Rob has over 20 years of performance and business experience in the entertainment industry. He has exhibited extensive leadership as a director, producer, and union liaison. In addition to his artistic work, he has taught theatre to professionals and children for over 15 years developing workshops, seminars, and master classes.
Rob received his Masters of Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work in 2009. As a social worker, he has developed programs within the LGBT community for teens and seniors, worked in hospice for the past five years, and mentored at risk youth while connecting them to college opportunities within the CUNY system. His current career endeavors involve social policy and advocacy.
Why Rob joined the Compass Yoga board:
“Time and again, history has shown how the actions of a small group of like-minded individuals can alter the perspective regarding a particular social issue. This shift opens a path for dialogue, engagement, and advancement. I share a strong belief with Christa and fellow board members that service to our [many] communities is a fundamental duty. The mission of this organization speaks to my commitment to those among us who have given much, and now need our advocacy in order to resume life as productive, proactive members of society. I look forward to being a part of the growing vision of this exciting endeavor.”
She holds a master’s degree in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding with a concentration in trauma healing. Amy is interested in the convergence of the arts and conflict resolution fields. As a trainer and facilitator, she has designed workshops for youth that employ the arts to teach trauma awareness skills, encourage resilience, address root causes of conflict, and build capacity through dialogue and education. She has also designed workshops for women and girls that explore gender and power issues.
Amy is the co-author of Transforming Trauma: An Interactive Role Play for Community Leaders and Caregivers – a piece that was used by the STAR program (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) to train civil society leaders on how to recognize and address trauma in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. She also wrote and compiled an Arts Resource Guide on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Amy’s experience as a volunteer for the International Rescue Committee, where she helped resettle refugees from Sierra Leone, inspired her to work with people who have survived war and conflict. She has traveled to Bosnia where she had the privilege to speak with refugees and internally displaced persons about their experiences, and she has conducted interviews with refugees from Lebanon, Palestine, and the DRC. She spent six months at the UNHCR, the refugee agency of the UN, where she helped to develop the Heightened Risk Identification Tool, managed an awareness-raising project on child participation and was a contributing writer for several manuals and information sheets, including the Age, Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming Guide. Amy is a roster member for the United Nations Volunteer Programme.
Why Amy joined the Compass Yoga board:
“Compass Yoga’s mission – to provide therapeutic yoga to underserved populations with a special focus on returning veterans and their families – is one that resonates with me. In graduate school I immersed myself in trauma, spending long hours attempting to comprehend the effects of trauma on soldiers. Initially, I focused exclusively on child soldiers, but then I expanded my research to include adults. At the time, the war in Iraq was just a few years old, and I wanted to understand the impact of experiencing and participating in combat.
There are now two million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a society we don’t often discuss the true experience of war and its concomitant mental health struggles. But the act of sending men and women into war, in both combat and non-combat roles, has profound implications. Many soldiers who witness or participate in traumatic events will experience psychological consequences. Among combat veterans, aggression that is often explosive is a common feature, and the rate of PTSD rises from light to heavy combat.
Trauma is insidious. It disturbs one’s sense of security and safety. It smashes all frames of reference, dislodging the patterns and meaning that we use to create order in the world. The biologist Mary E. Clarke states, “excessive trauma, whether physical or psychological, actually alters brain structure, adapting it at the cost of its more sophisticated functions to survive under otherwise unbearable circumstances. If healing of such brains does not occur
once the stress is past, persons may be unable to live comfortably in more normal social settings.”
Regardless of one’s political beliefs, we have a collective responsibility – one that requires a long-term commitment – to support the men and women who are transitioning from military to civilian life. By offering classes that help heal the body and mind and providing a space that fosters community and connection, Compass Yoga will play a crucial role in helping veterans expand their capacity for resilience. The mission is thrilling and full of potential. Veterans have little access to resources that support them after they return, and the needs are great. I am excited to join Compass Yoga because I believe the work has the power to be utterly transformative, to be a bridge between two disparate worlds. The
possibilities for growth and engagement are endless.
Additionally, my desire to be part of Compass Yoga stems from my belief that it will be a catalyst for dialogue. The nature of the work and research lends itself to deeper and more complex discussions about what it means to go to war and how we analyze the true cost. Returnees deserve to have a voice in what should be an ongoing discussion about our society’s relationship to war.
Finally, I am thrilled to be able to support Christa, who I have personally known for over ten years. Her passion and dedication is both infectious and inspiring. Her vision is clear and momentum is building. I feel privileged to be present for the birth of this new entity, this creative and special organization that will partner with veterans and other underserved populations.”
Lorenzo E. (Lon) Tibbitts
Lon is the Manager of Strategic Operations Planning for American Express Global Payment Options and also serves as Chairman and Director for Rite Care of Utah, a non-profit provider of free speech and reading therapy for children with speech or reading disabilities aged 2-12 with offices in Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah. He has previously served as Director of Advertising for Copperfield Publishing, President of Shoreline Ltd. and LaMirada Inc., both small venture capital firms, SVP of Utah Printing and Group Manager of the Granite Mountain Records Vaults.
Lon was educated in Literature and Economics at the University of Maryland and Brigham Young University. He and wife Lana are the proud parents of three feminists and one son – all grown and doing great things.
Lon loves to chase little white balls around pristine green spaces, hike in the mountains of Utah with Lana, do anything on, in or by the sea, and spoil his grandchildren. His passion is creating a freer, more open and democratic world for his children, grandchildren and their peers all over the world.
Michael is a strategy and operations professional combining traditional business and financial analysis with understanding of the needs of firms and government programs evaluating development of and investment in sustainability strategy. He monitors developments in renewable energy generation and efficiency technology, NGO activity, and environmental policy in the US and Asia.
Michael is a graduate of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, an accredited LEED Green Associate, Asia Society member, and active participant in Net Impact. He is currently pursuing ongoing studies of Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.
Why Michael joined the Compass Yoga board:
After Christa helped me discover yoga several years ago it has become an indispensable tool for keeping myself balanced. It is such an important part of managing the stresses of daily life these days that its absence is immediately noticeable. I would think that the kind of things that generate anxiety for me – work schedules, finances, etc. – pale by comparison to the experiences of the veterans that Compass Yoga aims to serve. I think that what yoga has been able to do for me will be far out shadowed by the impact yoga could have for this population.