Board of Directors
Angela Parker is a Co-founder and President of Realized Worth. Realized Worth is a global consultancy focused on the design and implementation of employee volunteer programs with wide range of clients including Apple, Microsoft, Abbott Labs, At&t, McDonald’s, AstraZenenca, and others. Prior to launching Realized Worth, Angela managed long-term volunteers at non-profit organizations, worked with at-risk youth and children, and led groups in disaster relief efforts. With an additional background in communications, Angela writes for various publications on the topics of engaging employees in volunteering, entrepreneurship, and employee engagement.
A graduate of Upaya Zen Center's chaplaincy program, Liz recently founded Portland Dharma House, a residential community for meditators in Portland. She also teaches meditation and mindfulness to inmates at the Southern Maine Re-entry Center, works as a meditation coach for the app 10% Happier, and mentors Buddhist chaplains in training. Prior to moving to Portland in 2014, she worked for 2 decades as an educator of adult learners, primarily as an instructional designer, facilitator and project manager of online learning programs in collaboration with schools and non-profits across the United States. Liz is active in her community garden in Portland and loves to be outdoors in all seasons.
An Eagle Scout, Greg has loved the outdoors since his parents first took him camping in the Colorado Rockies when he was only two months old. His favorite places for adventure include the Rocky Mountains and the southern Utah desert. After more than 25 years in the corporate world, Greg stepped away to pursue theological studies and training to become a spiritual director. In addition to serving on the board of Renewal in the Wilderness, Greg is on the board of the Chicago Theological Seminary. Greg believes that it is vital for each of us to periodically take time to separate ourselves from our normal, typically hectic routines, in order that we might be able to gain some perspective on our lives while being renewed and restored. Not surprisingly, Greg feels that the best place for renewal is in the wilderness.
In both work and personal life, Lisa seeks opportunities to help individuals and organizations cultivate healthy, responsible relationships between human and natural communities. Lisa grew up in the small towns of New England and Wisconsin. She developed a strong connection to the affirming rhythms of wilderness while doing work ranging from environmental education to trail maintenance in the mountains and coasts of Alaska and Washington to program management and organizational development in Maine. Meanwhile, her life’s journey has expanded to include parenting, caregiving, writing and participating in the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine’s Interfaith Ministry program. Lisa and her family have developed a strong commitment to Maine’s resourceful communities, wild coast, fertile farmland and rocky mountains. Lisa lives in an aging farmhouse on the coast of Maine with her husband, two teenage sons and a handful of animals.
Sharon Welch, Ph.D.
Raised on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle, Sharon Welch has long known the restorative power of deep engagement with the bounty and beauty of the natural world. Sharon is currently a member of the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network, and a Fellow of the Institute for Humanist Studies. She is Professor of Religion and Society at Meadville Lombard Theological School (Unitarian Universalist) in Chicago, IL. She has held positions as Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri from 1991-2007. She was assistant and then associate professor of Theology and Religion and Society at Harvard Divinity School from 1982 to 1991. Sharon has led in the development of a model of education that is grounded in deep immersion in both the social and natural worlds that surround us and sustain us. She is the author of five books and numerous articles in the field of social ethics.
Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Ph.D.
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is Professor of Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and is currently a consultant to the Carter Center “Scholars in Action” and the Women, Religion, Violence and Power program. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ since 1974, she is the author or editor of thirteen books. Susan has become widely known as a blogger on religion in the public square and she writes for several online news outlets. From June of 1998 until June of 2008, she served as the 11th President of Chicago Theological Seminary. Prior to the Presidency, she had been a Professor of Theology at CTS for 20 years and director of the Ph.D. Center for five years. Susan has a Ph.D., from Duke University, a M.Div from Duke Divinity School and a B.A. from Smith College.
Zack is a writer, educator, wilderness trip leader, and small business owner. His love of paddling began as a child growing up beside the Penobscot River in Old Town, Maine and grew into a profession when he began guiding canoe and kayak trips after high school. In 2013, Zack and a friend launched Portland Paddle, a sea kayaking and paddleboarding outfitter that offers guided trips on Casco Bay. When Zack is not running the business, he works as a freelance writer and editor. He is currently a doctoral candidate in American History at the University of New Hampshire specializing in environmental history. Zack is on the board of two local organizations in Maine focused on conservation and preservation. He also serves on the Portland Parks Commission.
Tom has loved the outdoors since spending endless days camping, hiking, and boating around NH, Maine, and Massachusetts while growing up. After spending 13 years in Chicago for school and work, he is happy to be back in New England around the mountains and the ocean where he most easily finds his spiritual renewal. Tom has worked closely with start-ups and non-profits for the last 11 years - first in Chicago with the University of Chicago's Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and now at Bowdoin College as part of the staff of the McKeen Center for the Common Good. Tom is passionate about connecting young people with non-profits and philanthropic work, especially work that supports the continued growth of his home state of Maine. In his free time, Tom is hiking all of the New England 4,000 footers with his pup Nigel, active in his town and church community, and going on outdoor adventures with his wife and toddler.