SDI Staff

Executive Director

Rev. SeiFu Anil Singh-Molares, MTS

Rev. Seifu is the Executive Director of SDI and an ordained Zen Buddhist priest, as well as a practicing spiritual director/companion and motivational speaker. He is a veteran of numerous interfaith and interspiritual efforts over the years, including Seeds of Compassion in Seattle in 2008, where he was one of the chairs, and as founder and executive director of the Compassionate Action Network. He has a Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard University.

Rev. Seifu is an accomplished speaker and university lecturer and is a key contributor for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. In a previous life, he was also an executive at Microsoft, where he successfully grew international groups and divisions and provided leadership to multi-cultural teams around the world.

Chief Operating Officer

Rory Briski

Rory is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in management and consulting and brings a wealth of international expertise with key leadership roles in Sales & Marketing, Operations, Engineering and Executive Management. Rory has established himself as a thought leader in the fields of strategic planning and business development. He is also a best-selling author with several of his published books within the top 20 best seller lists. Rory is also an inventor with three issued US Patents. Rory is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer, and his perspectives have been featured in various newspaper, radio and television news reports on ABC, NBC, CBS, NWCN, KKNW, The Bellevue Business Journal, The Seattle Times, and others.

Director of EDUCATION

Frederica Helmiere

Frederica is a global professional, scholar, teacher and complexity enthusiast. Inspired by the subversive-mystical Christian tradition and a penchant for mountains, she has spent two decades exploring entanglements at the intersections of spirituality, social justice, and ecology. Prior to joining SDI, Frederica served as a global interfaith peacebuilder with the United Religions Initiative and as a professor at the University of Washington and Seattle University, teaching undergrad and graduate courses on religion, power and privilege, and global concerns of social and environmental justice. Frederica holds two masters degrees from Yale Divinity School and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a BA from Dartmouth College in Religion & Environmental studies. She lives and plays in Seattle with her partner and two young children.

Director of Content & Communities

Steven Crandell

Steven guides SDI’s storytelling and local community-building — on our website, our blog, social media, in our webinars and through our SDI Communities program. He sees spiritual companions as the catalyst in an ongoing “contemplative revolution.” His unofficial job title is “Director of Encouragement.”

Creative Director

Matt Whitney

Matt is a multidisciplinary artist and educator who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and lives in Seattle. He works between drawing, painting, photography, video, design and illustration. He is the host of SDI’s weekly podcast, SDI Encounters, which engages in conversations around spiritual direction, contemplative practice, and spiritual care. He also works as a spiritual director and is certified by the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.

Creative Services Coordinator

Ann Lancaster

Ann grew up surrounded by spirituality and nature on an organic dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. She manifested a career in the tech industry after her graphic design studies took her from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to her new home in Seattle, where she spent years working as a contractor for companies such as Microsoft and Google. When not immersed in front of a computer screen creating websites or playing video games, she can often be found at various concert venues throughout the world, basking in the beauty of live music. Ann is also a certified Reiki Master with dreams of working as a life coach for those experiencing challenging spiritual awakenings. She brings a potent blend of open-minded wonder and down-to-earth practicality to the design challenges at SDI.

Membership Services Coordinator

Marisa Carpenter

We are very happy to announce the return of Marisa Carpenter as SDI’s Membership Services Coordinator. (She worked in this position during 2017-18 – answering members’ questions and solving members’ problems with kindness and competence.) We love her calm demeanor, her can-do attitude, and her focus on attentive service. (She’s an awesome listener!) Before returning to SDI, Marisa worked as an aircraft dispatcher in Snohomish, Washington,  USA. (She’s now learning to be a pilot.) She says she’s grateful to be back in our community and is devoted to supporting our members worldwide. We are glad she decided to re-join the team. Welcome back, Marisa!

Membership Assistant

Alizabeth Rasmussen

Alizabeth is a spiritual director who brings wisdom, heart and efficiency to her part-time role helping Desiree Casil with the important work of supporting our SDI community, especially our members in 42 countries around the world. Alizabeth also serves as Meditation Facilitator, Writing Facilitator and Stroke Group Facilitator at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Washington, US.

Member Support, Advertising

Reggie Dirnberger

If you want to advertise in any of the SDI publications, Reggie is an amazing resource. With years of experience in ad sales, abundant energy and a steely determination, she is a master of the art of the possible.

Community Outreach and Program Development Coordinator

Lizzie Salsich

Lizzie is a community weaver and spiritual practitioner in her home of St. Louis, MO. She leads classes and workshops in body-based sacred practice in St. Louis and facilitates embodied ritual retreats at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, MA. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Truman State University and is trained in a variety of contemplative and mystical practices. She completed her Contemplative Spiritual Direction training through the Alcyon Center for Spiritual Living in Seal Cove, ME and is passionate about furthering the work of liberatory, counter-oppressive, and embodied spiritual companionship. Lizzie facilitates the SDI New Contemplatives program and is delighted to grow with SDI towards a more intergenerational, multicultural and multispiritual community.

SDI Australia/Asia-Pacific Coordinator

Kristen Hobby

Kristen Hobby

Kristen is former chair of SDI’s Coordinating Council. She is a spiritual director, retreat leader and mindfulness teacher based in Singapore. She has just completed her work PhD thesis on the topic of young children’s spirituality.

Presence Journal Editor

Nick Wagner

Nick has been editor of Presence since 2001. He manages the entire team — editorial panel, authors, poetry editor, art editor, copy editor, proofreader, and graphic artist.

Presence Media Review Editor

Pegge Erkeneff

An author and spiritual guide, Pegge lives in the wilds of Alaska. She was the founding editor of Listen, and created that publication for ten years, along with donning many other SDI hats starting in 2004. She’s currently a storyteller for a school district spanning 25,600 square miles, and in her spare time takes thousands of photos on her iPhone, befriends wild critters, offers Reiki and healing touch, and loves to laugh. Her favorite place is on a beach, in a great convo, with a friend, stranger, or her pen and journal.

Poetry Editor

Jennifer (Jinks) Hoffmann

Jinks was born and raised in South Africa, but has lived with her beloved husband, her soul historian, in Canada since 1966. She is a retired psychotherapist, and is a spiritual director, poet and writer. She has numerous publications, primarily of poetry. Jinks was on the Coordinating Council of SDI from 2008 to 2014. Jinks’ favorite ways of paying attention to Mystery, and listening for guidance for the big and little things, are through dreams, reading, and poetry writing. She also studies the divine as she walks though her days, since clues for awakening are hidden everywhere, in plain sight. Jinks has nineteen grandchildren and nine great-grands, and counting.

Finance, Bookkeeping

Heather Gordon

Heather Gordon

Heather is the SDI bookkeeper extraordinaire – efficient, effective and direct.

Finance, CPA

Valerie Pickens

Valerie Pickens, CPA

Valerie has deep experience as a CPA. She is a valued advisor to SDI.