Continuing Education Support Administrator
Sandra Ackley joined the SEI team in 2020 after a long career on the East Coast. She has her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University but is an avid Kansas State University fan. Her, her husband, and their beagle Delphi moved to Colorado in 2019 after their youngest graduated from Kansas State University. She volunteers with her local church in various areas. They love to visit their adult children and of course their grandbaby (all out of state) if they are not out hiking, biking, skiing, or just exploring Colorado.
Ana Paula Bastian, JD
Director of Legal Affairs & International Relationships
Ana Paula Bastian is a native Brazilian who relocated to the United States in 1998 with no knowledge of the English language. She has since received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctorate in Law from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Additionally, she has studied abroad extensively in France, Chile, and Argentina. As a result of her travels and international upbringing, today Ana Paula speaks four languages fluently and considers herself a Global Citizen. She is also a published author, having self-published her first book, “A Dirty Word Called Grief” in December of 2020. The book is a collection of poetry and prose that offers an honest commentary on grief and reflects Ana Paula’s own experience navigating loss. Although the book did not make the New York Times Best Seller List (yet), publishing this work and offering it to the world has been a defining moment in Ana Paula’s own journey of healing trauma.
Outside of work, Ana Paula is passionate about writing, practicing yoga and meditation, traveling, experiencing and creating art in all its forms, healing work, and expanding her knowledge of different cultures and customs. Moving forward, she hopes to publish her second book and continue to grow professionally in the field of international relations and legal affairs. She currently calls sunny Playa del Carmen, Mexico home, a place she affectionally refers to as Playa del Karma and which has, she is happy to report, treated her well so far.
“My mission is to use my skill of connection to build bridges between the domestic and international facets of the organization so that SEI can continue to help resolve trauma worldwide.”
Director of Business Development & Fundraising
Paul is from a small town in Upstate New York called Cortland (famous for their apple namesakes and for their fly-fishing reels) and is currently living in Rochester NY (home of Kodak and Xerox). As of this writing, he has a one-year-old daughter named Mabel and a very smart wife in the technical writing field named Rachel. He graduated with a Master's in English and loves to read – mostly science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary literature these days but he will sometimes page through a non-fiction book. He is a huge Star Wars fan, an avid player of retro video games, enjoys watching baseball (go Yankees!), and has a proclivity for hiking when he's not relaxing. Above all, he is always happy to learn, talk, and listen. Feel free to reach out, his door is both digitally and physically open.
“My mission is to be a global ambassador for Somatic Experiencing® International, building new and enhancing existing relationships for our organization, and helping generate positive and informed financial, cultural, and spiritual growth for the modality and those we serve.”
Director of Programs
Marie comes from the environmental field with a passion for sustainability. Her research in environmental ascription and injustice motivated her to dedicate her life to non-profit work. When she is not posting the do's and don'ts of recycling around the office, you can find her either tending her community garden or 27 houseplants.
“My mission is to create and support a highly collaborative Programs department so my team can work together to create the capacity and flexibility needed to provide high standards of constituent service.”
Traci is a wife to Damon and a mother to 3 college-aged children. She is passionate about these roles and finds joy in being fully engaged in their activities and accomplishments. She has been a “numbers” person for as long as she can remember which has led her to her profession as an accountant and her volunteer work as the treasurer of her church and as a financial advisor. Her favorite pastimes are playing the piano, reading and bird watching.
Chief of Staff
Sony grew up in a small town in Southern Maine. In 2004, she graduated from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Art. After graduating she moved to Colorado to pursue her dream of living “out west”. Her plan was to live the life of a ski bum for a year and then move back to Maine to start her teaching career. Life had other plans and she was offered a year-round job at Eldora Mountain Resort in Nederland, CO running the group sales program. It was at Eldora that she met her husband Adam and through an Eldora connection that she ended up at Somatic Experiencing International. Sony was hired in June of 2013 as a Program Manager and that position has evolved in her years with the organization into the position she now holds, Managing Director of Professional and Community Development. Like many of us, she has seen the organization go through some ups and downs but is grateful for the strides the organization has made in the last couple of years and is grateful to be part of the SE community.
“As a compassionate and authentic leader, I lead by example and set clear context and expectations for my team members. I create a safe environment for relationships to grow among diverse communities and ensure people have a voice and quality experiences.”
Deion was born to Carmen and Ivan Cossio in Providence, Rhode Island on Thanksgiving Day in 1993. He grew up playing every sport with his big brother Ivan. He graduated from Southeastern University in 2015 with a degree in Business Management. He ran Track and Cross Country all throughout his time at SEU, and it taught him so much about teamwork. He went on to work for Chick-fil-A’s non profit, the WinShape Foundation and served on the marketing team. When Hurricane Michael struck the Gulf Coast, Deion moved to Panama City, FL and ended up staying and helping in the efforts until 2020. He loves cooking and getting his people together. He has always been fascinated with how audio and video can bring people groups together. In his spare time, Deion loves to host and emcee events as well as play drums in bands. Deion and his wife Rebekah reside in the Windy City of Chicago, IL.
Managing Director of Operations
Krysti oversees the Operations Department at SEI. Operations develops and maintains processes and procedures that support the overall operations of the Institute.
Krysti believes in creating a community that can be excited about the possibilities found in disrupting the current way of doing things. Creating new pathways starts with developing trust and strengthening relationships. She believes in asking what each of us can do to support and challenge each other in a positive way to ask and answer questions that create growth and opportunity, both individually and organizationally.
Outside of work, Krysti is an animal lover with a self-diagnosed addiction to dogs. She also enjoys being outdoors, traveling, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, playing frisbee with her dogs, going to the theater, cooking, reading, and is a motorsports fan with a bit of an obsession for Moto GP and Formula One racing. As a youth, she volunteered for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix every year. The race is the largest vintage car race in the US and raises funds for individuals in the Pittsburgh area with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Autism continues to be a cause that pulls at her heart strings.
“My mission is to provide leadership that is courageous, curious, and kind. I will hold myself and my team accountable in a compassionate and productive way. Inspire the Operations department to support all constituent groups through finding solutions that embrace change, are creative, flexible, and aligned with the mission, vision and values of the organization.”
Legal Affairs and Ethics Manager
Having received her Paralegal Certificate in December 2020 from the American Bar Association, Kathy's passion revolves around learning about law, politics, and government. When she is not working or studying, Kathy enjoys spending time with her three felines: Penny, Lincoln, and Copper. Kathy is an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan, and is very close to her family. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, meditating, and playing video games in her spare time. Kathy is also a music buff, and she has played trombone for many years.
Marketing and Membership Assistant
Abigail grew up in Northern Michigan, where she developed her passion for nature, art and skiing. After spending 4 years traveling the world, teaching art, nannying and farming, she moved to Boulder, Colorado to study Art Therapy at Naropa University. As she begins the process of grad school, she is every excited to be apart the SE community and team.
Constituent Services Specialist
Prior to joining SEI, Katelyn spent many years working for Starbucks, both as a shift supervisor and a barista. In her free time, she is usually hanging out at home with her cats playing video games, going for mountain drive exploring all they have to offer, or playing Dungeons and Dragons.
kRISTIN vELAZQUEZ kENEFICK, psyd, psep
Director of Training & Faculty Relations
Dr. Kristin Velazquez Kenefick is of mixed cultural heritage – Puerto Rican, Irish and German, and is bilingual in Spanish. She has practiced as a licensed clinical psychologist for almost 25 years in the New York and Chicago areas. Her early career was spent in the area of child trauma, working in child advocacy and child welfare programs. She was awarded the APA Early Career Award in 2001. She then spent 14 years in academia as Associate Professor teaching systems intervention courses, study abroad courses around the globe, and trauma intervention courses. She became a yoga therapist and Somatic Experiencing therapist, integrating body-based interventions with psychotherapy in her private practice over the past 5 years. Currently, she serves as Director of Training and Faculty Relations at Somatic Experiencing International. She continues as an Adjunct Professor for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2015 for Multicultural Teaching. In her free-time she enjoys salsa dancing, yoga, playing piano and cooking with her teenage son.
“My mission is to create a safe large diverse container for faculty and staff so that we can be excellent employees who embody the principles of SE and cultural humility, so that trauma healing and resilience is available around the globe.”
Laura Kitzmiller, ma
Senior Manager of Creative Services
Laura's main passions include creative expression, holistic wellness, and learning for the sake of learning. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Kansas and an MA in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University. She is a Certified Crystal Healer, Reiki II practitioner, is enrolled in the Certified Aromatherapist program from Aromahead Institute, and is working on her first full length poetry book. In her free time, Laura enjoys writing poetry, spending time with her husband and their two tuxedo cats, reading, cooking, playing board games, and exploring all the fun and beautiful places Colorado has to offer.
katie kroll, MA
International Programs Administrator
Katie grew up in Colorado and loves the natural beauty of the Front Range. She also has a passion for travel that spurred her early interest in language study. She earned her BA in French at Colorado State University, followed by an MA in translation at Kent State University. She has studied abroad in Paris, France, and worked in Osaka, Japan. In her spare time, she enjoys learning languages, cooking, meditating, and spending time with family and friends.
Registration Administrator - Student Support
Outside of work, Kyia can be found reading, listening to music, writing, playing Dungeons and Dragons, or video games. Her dream is to someday be published author, which requires her to focus on and finish one project without starting another. She has spent years as a Certified Nursing Assistant for seniors in the Boulder area and is passionate about geriatrics.
Registration Administrator - Program Support
In her spare time from being a single mom to her amazing 14 year old son Asher, Monica indulges in practicing Reiki, studying different trauma healing modalities, reading both fiction and non-fiction, being an avid music fan, cooking, writing for the local newspaper, and spending time with family and friends. Monica plans to register for the SE training in the near future and develop her own healing practice integrating SE and Reiki; she also wants to resume a practice of spending time in nature and getting regular recreational exercise, and to explore ways to publish her creative writing.
Amie Leigh, mba
Director of Public Health Initiatives
Amie's work deals with public advocacy and program design with a strong emphasis on creating resources and partnerships for dealing with community-wide crises including disaster and social unrest. For 10+ years prior to joining SEI, Amie conducted workshops, seminars, trainings, and retreats with a passion for any and all subject matter that causes humans to thrive. Her academic training and professional background in large-scale public conflict mediation morphed into disaster crisis intervention when she moved to a region frequently beset by disasters and couldn’t help but feel the social costs of long term community wide distress. She experienced, first hand, the impact and undressed concerns that occur in those incidents and began to integrate modalities and wellness interventions to create resiliency resources, founding a disaster relief training organization prior to going the SE Institute to curate programs that serve public health concerns, such as Crisis Stabilization. As a student of human learning systems, and with a high degree of academic rigor, she loves to synthesize evidence-based, research-verified methods of dealing with community-wide trauma, building on the FEMA National Incident Management System, CERT Disaster Psychology curriculum, formed in the NOVA model of Group Crisis Intervention, collaborating with the rigor of Public Health Institutes at leading universities, and the Terrorism and Disaster Coalition of the Gulf Coast, and inspired by emerging research in neurobiology/ neuropsychology. Partnership and collaboration drive the engine of energy and enthusiasm that Amie is known for, as she looks to engage experts across fields and disciplines, building collations and partnerships, coordinating with local, state, and federal governance agencies to bring access to healing and wellness for all. Working to bring SE to the world in the most practical tactical ways is the fulfillment of a life dream, and Amie expresses that she couldn’t be more thrilled to work here.
“My mission is to help SEI reach places it has never reached by offering unstoppable passion for SE and community development. I am committed to inspiring and empowering my colleagues as an authentic and engaged leader, helping connect individuals, communities, and colleagues to our innovative and timely resources for somatic healing, resilience, and wellness for all.”
Amanda has been with SEI for over three years and has enjoyed watching her role with the organization grow. She is a mother of two rambunctious boys and spends her free time practicing photography and growing her vegetable garden. She is passionate about creating irresistible vegan comfort food, creative writing, and celebrating Christmas in July…. because once a year just isn't enough!
Training, Student, and Faculty Relations Coordinator
Outside of work, Madeline is either practicing yoga, listening to classic rock, or hiking with her dog. She graduated from Naropa University with a degree in Contemplative Psychology and Yoga Studies, with a concentration in Somatic Psychology. She is looking forward to beginning the SE™ trainings in order to deepen her knowledge of Somatic Experiencing® and how trauma impacts the nervous system.
Sarah mcafee, MA
Director of Strategic Communications
Sarah grew up in Alaska, which taught her to appreciate nature, solitude, and adventure. She has lived in Colorado since 2007, which has much of the same natural beauty and opportunity for exploration that she loves, but a lot fewer bears. Her career and her heart are grounded in nonprofit leadership and strategic communications, and she's worked for a variety of important causes, from affordable housing and global sustainability to health equity and access to education. As the Director of Strategic Communications, she is working to bring leadership and direction to all of SEI's communications and marketing strategies.
“I believe deeply in the power of storytelling and communication to drive change for healing and justice. My mission is to bring SE to new and diverse audiences, weaving together a global network of practitioners, students, and leaders who are healing trauma and transforming lives.”
A/P and A/R Manager
Aren't people fascinating? Emily is constantly in awe of humans and what makes us each perfectly unique, the common threads we share, our sweet endearing qualities, our oh-so-abrasive behaviors, our dreams, and our demons. Emily loves supporting people and the organizations that strive to serve them. She has worked in many capacities for a variety of human service nonprofits and governmental agencies over the years. Now that her hair is graying and her stride is slowing, she has found accounting to be a perfect way to be of service. She values providing a stress-free delivery of the necessary details for organizations and the balance it allows with her busy family life. The best things in life for Emily are very simple… an attentive breath, a peaceful walk, and a warmhearted gaze shared with a loved one.
Constituent Services Manager
Katy began her professional career as a fine art photographer which taught her presence, self-reflection, and creative problem solving. Along with those skills, her passion for leadership and growth drives her professional life. When not at work, Katy can be found painting, writing, hiking in the Front Range, spending time with her loved ones, and reading tarot.
Jennifer has her Associates Degree in Accounting and Business Administration. She has worked in the accounting field for over 7 years and joined SEI in January of 2018. Outside of work, she is an avid hockey fan, loves reading mystery books and watching true crime TV shows. She also loves to hang out with her friends or her dog Varly in her downtime.
Public Health Project Manager
Kianna graduated from Yale University In 2020 with a degree in the history of Science, Medicine and Public Health. Her undergraduate research focused primarily on American healthcare systems and healthcare for marginalized communities. Since graduating, Kianna has worked in a clinical research facility focused on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, as well as continuing her research on health disparities Kianna is excited to bring her research background and project management skills to the Public Health Initiatives Department at SE International. Outside of work Kianna enjoys exploring the unique food scene of whatever city she happens to be in.
Program Support Specialist - Admissions Department
Rene is an artist, illustrator and writer. Her ambition for the creative arts has led to local gallery showings, graphic designing and publications for her poetry. She also has a passion for studying philosophy, anthropology and mythology. In the past, Rene has volunteered for Pop Culture Classroom, Denver Comic Con and the Therapeutic Riding Center. Her eclectic background brings a holistic and creative approach to problem solving. She values compassion, mindfulness, synergy and innovation. Outside of work, Rene can be found relaxing by reading, cooking, playing games, watching anime, or spending time with her loved ones.
Rebecca Schwartz, MA
Senior Manager of Engagement & Marketing
Rebecca Schwartz joined the SEI team in 2018 after a long career in the for-profit world of marketing and business development leadership positions that span multiple industries, from publishing to commercial real estate. Her passion for social entrepreneurship drove her professional success. Outside of work, Rebecca is actively involved in organizations that focus on bringing people from diverse backgrounds together, and organizations that focus on the mental health of LGBTQIA+ teens. Rebecca is an avid reader. When she is not reading, you can find her hiking with her dog, creating art and making jewelry.
Robel is very ambitious and is passionate about creative arts, including writing, music, painting and crafts. Outside of work, he likes to be involved in sports such as competing on a team or in a league, hiking or other exercise. When he is able to he volunteers at the local food bank. He completes six hours of continuing education each year. He keeps up with his area of expertise through reading professional journals, attending seminars, and taking an occasional class, either online or in a traditional classroom.
Daniela Pineda Soracá
Cultural and Operational Growth Manager
Daniela was born in Bogotá, Colombia and grew up in Northern Colorado since her early childhood years. As a first-generation immigrant her core values are centered around intercultural competencies and community/civic engagement. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in the Economic Development field who continues to invest time and resources in sustainable ventures benefiting indigenous female entrepreneurs in Caazapá, Paraguay. Daniela also serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Northern Colorado Intertribal Powwow Association reflecting her commitment to Native American populations through cultural celebration and philanthropic projects. In her free time she enjoys promoting nutritional wellness, camping, meditation, boxing, supporting the CSU Ram community, and finding the nearest dance floor.
For 20 years, Caroline has been bringing people together to share in engaging and educational experiences. From self-care to compliance, she enjoys creating experiences that help people grow both personally and professionally. Event coordination involves expertly managing stakeholders as well as participants. Caroline has spent years expertly fulfilling the unique needs of presenters and learners in both in-person and virtual learning environments. She's excited to channel these skills into bringing you events that are meaningful and transformative.
Marv Tuttle has been serving in the capacity of Interim Executive Director since December 2018, and as of January 2021 is now Executive Director. He provides leadership and guidance to the SEI Board of Directors, professional staff and other key constituent groups of the organization, supporting efforts to convert the organization’s strategic vision into action. He has worked nearly 40 years in association and non-profit management, most recently as the executive director/CEO of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), a national professional association based in Denver, Colorado, where he spent nearly 30 years of his career in a variety of leadership roles. Marv and his wife Lynn reside in Centennial, Colorado. They raised four children and have two grandchildren. A native of Iowa, Marv is an avid Iowa Hawkeye fan, no matter the sport. He enjoys bike riding, golf, basketball, long walks and reading.
“My mission is to be a catalyst for conversation, connection, and collaboration for all constituent groups of SEI with the goal of creating an inspired and united community dedicated to sharing the values and benefits of Somatic Experiencing worldwide.”
Emily Tworek (she/her) is originally from the small town of Edinboro, Pennsylvania, but as of April 2021, she has made her home in New York City. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2020 with a dual major in English and Business, a minor in Spanish, and a certificate in Literary Translation Studies. She discovered her love for development while working at Rochester-based literary nonprofit Writers & Books and at Pittsburgh CLO, a regional theater focused on producing musicals in Pittsburgh, PA. She has a passion for telling stories about organizations and the people who make them exceptional, which she is excited to bring to SEI. Outside of work, she loves cooking and baking for her friends, reading, exploring museums and restaurants around Manhattan, seeing theatre, and attempting to learn the kalimba.
“SEI’s mission could not be more important in our world right now, and I’m honored to be a part of bringing it to fruition. I envision a development department which communicates the vitality of the SE modality to donors around the world, increases access to our programming and community, and inspires positive growth for the organization and for those we serve.”
Programs Project Manager
Rachel Volberding aspires to one day become a Certified Coach and SEP. Currently, Rachel's passion for leadership and growth inspires her work as Programs Project Manager. Rachel also volunteers through her church as a Ministry Resources Elder on Session, as a soprano in the choir, and as a Kid's Hope Mentor.