Faculty Members

Sarah Gershman

Sarah Gershman is an executive speech coach and president of Green Room Speakers, a communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC. Sarah is an adjunct professor of communications at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University where she lectures to students from around the world.

Sarah has coached and trained executives and staff at a variety of national organizations, companies and federal agencies. Recent clients include: Microsoft, General Dynamics, GDIT, Gulfstream, Kaiser Permanente, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the US Department of Justice, The US General Services Administration, the US Department of Commerce, the Asia Group, the Brunswick Group, GH Smart, SBSB, Eli Lilly, The U.S. Department of Treasury Executive Institute, POET, RTI International, HOK, the National Governor’s Association, ONE. the Truman National Security Project, the Brookings Institute, the World Bank, the Robin Hood Foundation, the Hudson Institute, Guardicore, the Kauffman Foundation, KCCT Architects, Hickok Cole Architects, RAND Construction, the American College of Cardiology, the American Psychology Association, Govini, OATH, and So Others Might Eat (SOME).

Sarah combines more than 20 years of facilitating and teaching with a strong background in theater and the performing arts.

Sarah has a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University and a Masters in Judaic Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Sarah received graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Johns Hopkins University.

Tirrany Thurmond

d is a student affairs leader, and diversity and inclusion educator, with a resume that spans over nearly a decade in large and small university settings. Her professional tenure consists of assisting university leadership on matters of diversity and inclusion, creating equitable programs and access for historically underserved populations, and consulting organizations on matters of social equality.

Tirrany is a national certified counselor (NCC) recognized by the National Board of Certified Counselors and a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC) recognized by the State of Maryland’s Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists. Her areas of interests are racial trauma and race-based stress, destigmatizing mental illness in communities of color, and the impact of Superwoman Syndrome on young adult women of color.

In her previous capacity as the director for the Multicultural Center & Non-traditional Student Services at Arkansas State University (Jonesboro, AR) and director for Mount St. Mary’s University’s Center for Student Diversity (Emmitsburg, MD), Tirrany proudly supervised the administration of university-wide cultural competence trainings for faculty, staff, and students and provided the campus with culturally diverse programming. In addition to her directorship, she served on the Inclusive Excellence Committee and the President’s Advisory Council for Diversity & Inclusion.

Currently serving as the Coordinator for Inclusive Excellence for Anne Arundel Community College’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Leadership (IDEAL) Office, Tirrany’s overseeing the implementation of culturally responsive teaching and learning for faculty, inclusive leadership and cultural programming for the College’s 55,000 enrolled students.

Proudly, Tirrany’s love for culture and history led her to give her first TEDxTalk this past February titled Tracing Your Roots: Resiliency and Self-Discovery through Ancestry Research. Her family’s story has inspired her to not only share, but to encourage others to spend time researching their family’s lineage.

Tirrany Thurmond earned a Bachelor of Science in behavior analysis from Savannah State University and Master of Education in counselor education with an emphasis in clinical-mental health from Georgia Southern University. She is a member of the Maryland Equity and Inclusion Leadership 2019 cohort. Her credentials and affiliations include being an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator, a certified Safe Zone facilitator, a member of NASPA, ACA, the National Association of Diversity.

Penny Catterall, Owner & Founder of Order your life LLC

After careers in banking, public relations and non-profit advocacy, she realized her true calling and has grown her business to include digital organizing, daily money management and downsizing. She loves to spend time organizing her computer files and clearing out her email inbox and teaching others how to do the same.

Paige Trevor, Professional Organizer, Parent Educator, time management coach, writer and speaker

For over 20 years, Paige has been teaching people at all stages of life how to overcome disorganization to achieve their goals. Paige blends practicality, humor and tips that meets client where they are to create spaces and lives that they love.

Avi Edelman

Avi Edelman (he/him/his) creates environments of warmth and empathy for transformational dialogue about the forces that shape how we see the world and how the world sees us. He has over a decade of experience as an experiential educator, dialogue facilitator, and diversity and inclusion trainer. He currently serves as Columbia University’s Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs and Manager of Diversity Education, where he leads intercultural dialogue programs for students and develops and implements trainings for thousands of students, staff, and faculty.

His areas of expertise include unconscious bias, privilege and oppression, LGBTQ solidarity, anti-racism, building socially just practices, communicating across cultures, and more. For seven years, he has led an annual civil rights pilgrimage for teens through the U.S. south to explore the history of social justice in Black and Jewish communities. As an independent trainer, he has worked with individuals and organizations across the country to develop inclusive practices, build spaces of trust and understanding, and foster a culture of dialogue. He was featured in National Geographic’s documentary series America Inside Out, leading a workshop convened by Katie Couric. He is an above average juggler with waning professional circus aspirations.

Ruth Wyler Messinger

Ruth Wyler Messinger is a former political leader in New York City and a member of the Democratic Party. She was the Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York City in 1997. She is married to Andrew Lachman, her second husband, and has three children. She is formerly the President and CEO of American Jewish World Service, an international development agency. Messinger is also a board member of Hazon and a trustee emerita of the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women. In 2015 she was named as one of The Forward 50.

Currently, Messenger serves as the inaugural Social Justice Fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the Social Justice Activist-in-Residence at the JCC of Manhattan

Tabori Coleman, Education Director at Anti-Defamation League

Tabari A. Coleman, MPA is a training consultant and social justice advocate known for his thoughtful but direct approach in facilitating dialogue sessions that focus on building empathy. With more than 17 years experience in diversity and

inclusion training and social justice work, he brings a wealth of knowledge, passion and expertise to his work. He works as the Director of Professional Development for the Anti Defamation League, and oversees the development of skills training for ADL’s national cadre of facilitators, leads national Train-The-Trainer workshops and supports national and regional education staff with professional development learning opportunities. Tabari is also a trainer for the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJSTL) where he has been facilitating anti oppression programs, youth leadership development and Building Inclusive Communities workshops since 2002.

Tabari works with COCAbiz, an arts-based training program as a facilitation consultant on their Acting With Awareness team which uses collaborative theatre exercises and reflective discussions.

He travels nationally and internationally delivering training programs, workshops and giving presentations. He engages with early childcare centers, K-12 schools, universities and colleges, community organizations, law enforcement agencies and corporations on a variety of topic areas including managing unconscious bias, microaggressions, creating inclusive spaces and communication strategies. He has written training programs on a variety of topic areas including addressing bias, exploring identities, ally-building, analyzing curriculum through a social justice lens and facilitation skills. He received his B.S. in Speech Communications and a Masters of Public Administration and Policy Analysis from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When he’s not trying to leave his mark on the world, Tabari enjoys cooking, antique stores and flea markets and spending time with his partner Amy and their daughter AmariLouise.

Cheryl Magen, AFP Leadership Coach

Cheryl Magen is an Executive Leadership coach, with over 25 years of experience coaching professionals, leaders, managers, clergy and educators. Cheryl has worked in NFP organizations in various leadership roles and has served as a graduate level faculty member teaching Experiential Education, Management and Leadership. In addition, she founded the M.S. in Camp Administration and Leadership degree program at Touro University Nevada. She was a CEO of a NFP organization, the founder of a day camp, and a program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

As a coach, Cheryl helps her clients to find the sweet spot of success for their goals and aspirations.

She is certified by the International Coach Federation at the PCC level. When she’s not coaching, she is an avid reader, spoon collector and loves crafts, cryptograms and travel.

Eric Dubbin, AFP Leadership Coach

Eric Dubbin has been an executive coach in the Federal Government since 2007. His goal is to help those he coaches become ‘more competent and powerful observers of themselves.’ To that end, he engages his clients in conversations to identify personal goals that align with their own values and sense of purpose. The focus of the discussion is on the client’s path from where they are to where they want to be. He has coached professionals from many different disciplines inside and outside federal service. Among them are scientists, community leaders, doctors (human and veterinary), business owners, managers, lawyers, and other professionals. As for his background, Eric is a veterinarian (part time these days) and cantorial soloist who, over the years, has been on his own professional and personal journey. He was born and raised in Miami, FL, currently lives in mountains of Frederick, MD, and likes to read, play guitar, sing, walk his dogs, and watch birds.

Debra “Debs” Weinberg, AFP Leadership Coach

Debra Silberman Weinberg has served as both a successful lay-leader and a professional in the Jewish community.

She is a certified leadership coach with particular interest in not-for-profit organizations.“Debs,” as she is commonly known, completed the Leadership Coaching certificate program in 2007 and subsequently a certificate in Facilitation at Georgetown University. As a coach, Debs sees her coaching role as both supporting and challenging you.

Professionally, she is formerly the Executive Director of ACHARAI: The Shoshana S. Cardin Leadership Development Institute from September 2005-June 2015 and the Director of the Darrell D Friedman Institute for Professional Development for ten years. She also served as the Director of the Baltimore Institute for Jewish Communal Service (renamed the Darrell D. Friedman Institute for Professional Development or DFI) for ten years. As a volunteer leader, Debs served most recently as the Chair of the Board of the Associated when Covid 19 disrupted our world and has served as President of organizations of various sizes throughout her leadership journey.

She earned an M.A. in Modern Jewish History from the Baltimore Hebrew University and an M.S.W. from the University of Maryland School of Social Work with a certificate in Jewish Communal Service from the BIJCS/DFI. A lifelong learner, Debra earned a certificate in “Women, Leadership and Change” through the Johns Hopkins University and participated in the first class of the Weinberg Fellows Program: Leadership Training for Executive Directors of Non-Profit agencies in 2001.

Scott Brown, AFP Leadership Coach

Scott Brown Leadership Coaching, LLC builds upon his 36 years as a Jewish leader and a nationally recognized profile as an experienced and successful professional and volunteer leader. Scott holds a certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University and has been designated as a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Under his leadership, Hillel received the highly regarded Prism Award by the Washington, DC Chapter of the ICF for Coaching Excellence. Scott has specialized in organizational excellence, strategic human resources and coaching throughout his career at camps, JCC’s, synagogues, and Hillel both locally and internationally.

Dr. Erica Brown, AFP Faculty

Dr. Erica Brown is an associate professor at George Washington University and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of eleven books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality. Her forthcoming book is Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet. Her other books include Take Your Soul to Work: 365 Meditations on Every Day Leadership and Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death (Simon and Schuster), which won both the Wilbur and Nautilus awards for spiritual writing. Her previous books include Inspired Jewish Leadership, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, Spiritual Boredom, Confronting Scandal and co-authored The Case for Jewish Peoplehood (All Jewish Lights). She also wrote Seder Talk: A Conversational Haggada, Leadership in the Wilderness, In the Narrow Places and Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe (All OU/Koren). She writes a monthly

column for the New York Jewish Week and has blogged for JTA, Psychology Today and Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and tweets on one page of Talmud study a day at DrEricaBrown. She previously served as the scholar-in-residence at both The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston. Erica was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow and the recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award for her work in education. Erica has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University and Baltimore Hebrew University.

Ellen B. Kagen Waghelstein, AFP Faculty and Leadership Coach

Ellen is on the faculty of Georgetown University and Director of the Georgetown Leadership Program, a national learning and consultation effort on effective leadership and change management for professionals and civic activists. She has over 25 years of experience training and facilitating at the national, state and local levels and regularly trains, consults and coaches with such entities as the Michigan Office of Children, Youth and Families, Missouri Department of Mental Health, New Jersey Division of Health, Maryland State Department of Education, Kansas City Public Schools, Greater Miami Jewish Federation and Hillel Jewish Day School.

In addition to her professional experience, Ellen has a wide range of lay leadership involvement at the local, national and international levels. She is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program and is a past chair of the National Young Leadership Cabinet of United Jewish Communities (UJC) and PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values. She currently serves on the boards of JESNA as national chair of the Lippman Kanfer Institute and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington as vice chair of Women’s Philanthropy as well as the boards of two innovative start-ups, Judaism Alive and JChoice. Ellen served as the founding president of the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning, the new collaborative education and identity building agency in Greater Washington, DC where she successfully integrated three separate organizations into one new entity. She also co-led the efforts to create a nationally recognized, community-wide, teen identity agency called JET, Jewish Experiences for Teens. Ellen and her husband David established the Waghelstein Family Hopes and Dreams Endowment Fund to further advance leadership opportunities for emerging activists