Meet The Presenters
Glen Lord is a managing partners of Journey's of Hope Healing and Health, LLC and the co-creator of the Bereavement Cruise Grief Conference.After graduating from Boston University with a degree in Marketing and Operations Management, he was on the fast track to
accomplishing his goal of being a CEO of a fortune 500 company. The death of his son, Noah, in 1999 put brakes on the life he had so carefully planned. As Glen sought a new path, he realized that there was a need for genuine, accurate grief information. This realization, plus his extensive business experience, fueled the founding of The Grief Toolbox and creation of the Walking Through Grief® program. Both offer a community of grief resources around the world and a marketplace of grief and memorial products. Glen is past president of the national board of directors of The Compassionate Friends. He is a sought-after keynote, inspirational presenter and workshop leader. Most recently Glen has come full circle is Co-Founder and CEO of the International Grief Institute, which provides a variety of grief education opportunities including Grief in the Workplace that promotes success in supporting grieving employees.
Linda Findlay founded the Bereavement Cruise in 2015. She partnered with Glen Lord in 2017. Together they are the managing partners of Journey's of Hope Healing and Health, LLC and co-creators of the Bereavement Cruise Grief Conference. Linda Findlay became a bereaved parent with the loss of her infant daughter, Aubrie Marie. Linda founded Mourning Discoveries, Grief Support Services in 1991. Since that time she has filled the role of Aftercare Coordinator for funeral homes currently representing over 300 of them in 25 states and Canada. Linda has also continually facilitated several bereavement support groups as a hospice volunteer and is an AARP Widowed Person Service volunteer trainer and outreach provider and is a Christian Lay counselor for her church in SC. In a style reflecting compassion, personal loss, experience by working with bereaved families, and special training, she effectively communicates with bereaved families. Through the sharing of personal stories and professional experiences with both integrity and credibility, Linda provides valuable tools, understanding, solid practical ways to help the bereaved.
Lynda Cheldelin Fell
Lynda Cheldelin Fell is creator of Grief Diaries, CEO of AlyBlue Media, co-founder of the International Grief Institute, and international bestselling author of over 30 books including the award-winning Grief Diaries series. Believing in the power of storytelling to heal, she is an international speaker on healing and hope, and has curated the largest collection of grief experiences in the world. She is a certified critical incident stress management educator dedicated to creating a sustainable culture of support through best practice strategies. Lynda has earned four national literary awards and five national advocacy award nominations for her work. Learn more at www.LyndaFell.com.
Sharon Ehlers is the founding member of Grief Reiki® LLC. Prior to 2014, she was an executive-level professional with management, national policy, information technology, cybersecurity, strategic planning and leadership experience in the commercial, defense, industrial, intelligence and federal sectors.
After the suicides of a close friend and a former fiancé within a two-year period, she was confused about how many people either avoided her or didn’t want to talk about these events. In her grief, she tried to make sense of it all but it seemed like it was “never the right time” to bring it up with people. So she took a deep breath and tried to work through the grief on her own. She dragged herself into work and somehow made it through the days and weeks that followed. Her thought was there had to be a better way.
So after working in Corporate America for almost 30 years, she decided to start her own company to offer a multi-dimensional approach to grief through emotional recovery and spiritual healing. Now an award-winning Author, Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist® and Reiki Master Teacher, she is helping others to heal and recover from grief by providing them with a safe, compassionate and healing environment for their journey.
Ways To Wellness
Diane Speer is founder and director of Ways to Wellness Holistics and Pocono Consortium of Integrative Health. She is a pioneer in the fields of integrative health, holistic health and mindfulness with 25 years of experience conducting natural health education programming and research for medical centers, government agencies, non-profit institutions, academia, and corporate wellness. She is a holistic lifestyle educator and transformation life coach utilizing multiple natural healing modalities in her counseling and training techniques. Specializations include Hospice care, grief, mental health, stress management and chronic disease management. Diane brings a unique blend of experience, understanding, compassion and practicality to all of her offerings providing easy to use practical tools for holistic lifestyle. Her unique programming designs shed light on interpreting and incorporating the nature of holistic and mindfulness practices for personal transformation and healing integrated with all other aspects of life empowering people to live healthier, more mindful and fulfilling lives.
Melanie E. Rijkers (1971) is a life coach who uses photography as tool to connect to the present moment. Based in the Netherlands, she teaches how to See Pure (Being in the Moment) worldwide. She received her bachelor in fine art photography in the '90s and is an independant photographer ever since.
From 2013 on she spreads the gift of Seeing Pure, turning Eyespiration into a to counceling and healing practice. Sharing the happiness of creating contemplative photography, sessions often involve creating great images together. With PhotoTherapy clients work with reviewing photos and discuss feelings they experience.
Melanie is a proud mother of two teenage sons. Married to Hans, who is her partner at Artstudio23, photo studio and photography academy since 2007. Together with her family Melanie lives in the city of Breda, an hour from Amsterdam and 2,5 hours from Paris France.
International Grief Institute
We are honored to have Deana join us on The Bereavement Cruise for the fourth time. She has participated in every cruise. With over 26 years as a pharmaceutical professional, Deana Martin’s innovative and critical thinking skills provided a solid foundation for her experience in corporate training, clinical research and international project management. After her only two children died in a car accident in 2011, Deana focused her passion on the bereavement field. Certified in peer grief support, Deana’s extensive background is augmented by her interest in psychology, organizational behavior, public speaking. She is now an ordained minister, author, and national grief educator.
Marguerite joined us on the 2018 Bereavement Cruise as a guest and then as a presenter and part of our elite team of grief experts for the 2019 Bereavement Cruise. In Marguerites own words:
"I married my best friend/soul mate in 1984 and I thought my "happily ever after" was just beginning. My husband had a chronic illness and every day of our marriage was a medical challenge. As a result of our medical issues, we struggled with infertility. In 1986, my perfect world, as I knew it, came tumbling down around me. My mom, my best friend, passed away rather suddenly.
So, my “informal" grief education journey started in 1986. I learned about anticipatory grief with my husband's illness. We were so relieved when we discovered that all the feelings we were experiencing due to our inability to have children were perfectly normal and grief-related. I was working in the Department of Corrections, at the time, and realized that my students, the inmates, were suffering from several "varieties" of grief: disenfranchised (ambiguous), delayed, cumulative, to name a few. I initiated a Bereavement Program at the correctional facility and trained inmates to be peer counselors. I facilitated a weekly grief support group.
After my husband's passing in 2010, I enrolled in a Bereavement Studies Program at Maria College, Albany, NY. As a result of my coursework, I began to facilitate a pet loss support group through my veterinary clinic and an anticipatory grief support group for caregivers through the Office of the Aging.
It is my goal to assist/accompany others in their grief journeys and pay forward the support I was given."
Contact at margkershaw at aol.com
VANESSA POSTER, Partner: VIP Consulting
Vanessa has been a nonprofit professional for more than 30 years. Her strengths are organizational, training and motivational support for staff and volunteer fundraisers.
Vanessa's professional experience includes executive coaching as well as strategic planning, management consulting, and business and program development. Her expertise in nonprofit organizations gives her a background in board development, grant-writing and fundraising.
Vanessa also teaches creative writing and is a published poet. She has studied Method Writing with Jack Grapes for more than 20 years and has been teaching since 2017. Vanessa was widowed in 2015 and used poetry to help her cope with her grief. Her poems explore themes of grief, love and gratitude.
Students say of her classes, “As a teacher, Vanessa is emotionally encouraging, empowering and provides excellent tools for writing and coping with life.” She is honored to have had some poems published: https://thievingmagpie.org/vanessa-poster-three-poems/ and https://fourthandsycamore.com/2018/11/27/the-poetry-of-vanessa-poster/, as well as in Grief Dialogues, the Book.
Vanessa is a locally elected official in Redondo Beach, serving as a Trustee at the Beach Cities Health District and in 2018 was named Trustee of the Year by the Association of California Health Districts. Vanessa graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a BA in Humanities, with Honors and Distinction and an M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature, with Distinction.
A contemporary singer/songwriter in the tradition of James Taylor, Janis Ian, and Joni Mitchell, Marie Chabot, a New England native. weaves her musical stories around her acoustic guitar and piano. She grew up listening to the singer/songwriters of the 70s and 80s in her home state of Massachusetts, and began performing in local clubs and coffeehouses as a college student to earn money for her tuition. Later on, she moved to Nashville, TN, where she worked as a studio background vocalist, and sand on demos for other songwriters. She eventually moved back to Massachusetts, where she continues to write songs, record independently, and perform as a solo artist.
Marie has a MA in Theology from Loyola University, New Orleans, and works as a Director of Faith Formation at a church in Easton, MA, in addition to her career as a musician. Most recently, she has been traveling back and forth from Massachusetts to Nashville, TN, working on a new album of original songs. These songs deal with her recent losses — her husband, parents, a close aunt, as well as stories about her grandfather’s immigration from Italy in the early 1900s. Telling these stories, facing her feelings about these losses, has been an emotional, healing process. The songs have a decidedly spiritual bent, and the melodies and instrumentation reflect the Celtic and Italian overtones of her recent travels to Italy and Scotland.
For more information about Marie Chabot, and to listen to her music, visit www.mariechabot.org.
Chuck & Almika Pryor
Licensed Funeral Directors
We are honored to have our first funeral director joining us on the Bereavement Cruise. Mr. and Mrs Pryor, owners of PRYORITY FUNERAL EXPERIENCE, LLC from Houston Texas, are caring and experienced professionals who understand that each family is unique and has personal requests and traditions. These requests and traditions are of the utmost importance. Their participation with The Bereavement Cruise adds a special perspective on caring for families. Often times, the funeral director is in the background. Society often times think of funeral directors in a negative light. Join us on this special cruise and experience for yourself-the authentic compassion that these very special people will share!
Please note that the listed presenters have committed to participating on the cruise, however, Journey's of Hope Healing & Health does not guarantee their participation as life happens and sometimes a presenter may need to cancel their participation at any time!
Dr. Tanya Lord
Tanya Lord PhD, MPH. When tragedy strikes an individual, it is common for the impact to be life altering. It was for Tanya, a special education teacher turned stay at home mom when her son, Noah, had a devastating healthcare experience. This fired her desire to improve patient safety, quality and the patient experience. Combining her expertise in Quality Improvement and a passion for including all healthcare stakeholders, Tanya works locally and nationally improving care through better Patient and Family Engagement. Following Noah’s death Tanya further found her poetic voice. Her writings illustrate the power of love’s connection to overcome even the deepest separation.
As the primary contributor to and co-founder of The Grief Toolbox Tanya’s expressive poetry speaks directly to the aching heart of those who have been touched by loss and brings comfort, understanding and inspiration to millions of people around the world.
Esther Gold, R.N.
Esther Jussila Gold is a
R.N. and aCollege Professor in Health Science. She is a Grief Recovery Method Specialist. Esther has an Inservice Teaching and Learning Certificate from St Clair College-her final assignment; Bereavement 101. She is a former Certified Psychiatric, Mental Health Nurse in Ontario.
Esther acquired knowledge to live life with loss following the death of her parents, Eero and Anne, her brother Ralph, and her cherished son David.
Esther wants to be the face of a bereaved person, with hope, to live life fully, live life with loss and be the voice for those who suffer in silence, until they are ready to be heard.
Esther will share simple tools, self care techniques and strategies to help those who grieve. Esthers message is, " Grief and Joy Can Coexist."
"Our Grief is not to define who we are but rather our love for our loved one, does define who we are.
My Son did sing," Love the Living" -which we do, as we daily live life with the loss of someone who deserves to be remembered and to remain unforgettable."
Richard Pryor is a Transformational Life Coach & Author. After losing his son 4 years ago his world ended and he saw no purpose to keep moving forward. He eventually discovered his warrior and found his true self by developing his mental toughness, changing his focus and giving a new meaning to his loss which helped him RISE out of the ASHES of his grief with more love, empathy, compassion and a burning desire to change the world. He then wrote “Warriors Of Life” as his first step in serving the people in the world that have losses in life and struggle with grief.
Richard also servers people in prisons, shelter’s, substance abuse clinics to help them find hope and meaning in life, regardless of their situation and provide them with an opportunity to take advantage of second chances in life. He has also created a growing community of educational and coaching programs at the Warriors of Life Institute were he supports people by Serving, Helping, Inspiring, Empowering and Transforming them so they can discover their WARRIOR, find themselves and Move Forward through any life challenge that they encounter. “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
Terrell L. Whitener
Terrell L. Whitener is a native of St Louis, Missouri. Terrell received his Bachelor’s degree from Southeast Missouri State University and his Master’s degree from Webster University.
Terrell recently retired after a 44 year career that included successful careers in hospitality (Marriott International) Government (State of Missouri) as well as the Carboline Company,
Terrell was Co-Founder of Productive Workforce Development where he served as Managing Partner of this Workforce Development and consulting firm. Productive Workforce Development worked alongside the Department of Justice during President George W Bush administration to help make the Second Chance Act and successful Prisoner Re-entry programs a reality, Terrell also founded the National Offender and Missouri Offender Workforce Development Conferences before stepping aside to take care of his late wife Robyn. Recently Terrell added author to his list of accomplishments with the release of his first book The First 365 “Learning to Live After Loss” published by AuthorHouse a division of Random House Publishing.
Terrell has one son Matthew is a successful sportswriter and radio personality with a growing national following,