We are a group of passionate, hard-working members dedicated to the mission of bringing about change in the world through the teachings and practices of mindfulness. Our teachers are themselves committed to living intentionally and mindfully and Grow Through Mindfulness supports them with one-on-one mentoring, continuing education and training sessions at Full Bloomed Lotus Center for Self-Awareness in Wilmette, IL.  In addition, they have received training from various recognized programs that teach them how to bring mindfulness into the classrooms and other settings in a secular manner so as to make it accessible for all people. They continue to learn and grow their own mindfulness practice through ongoing study and inner work.

Ramaa Krishnan,

Executive Director

Grow Through Mindfulness

Ramaa Krishnan has spent most of her adult life learning and developing approaches and techniques to calm the mind and train it to be a fit companion for the journey. In 2000, she began teaching others her unique practices. The studio she founded, Full Bloomed Lotus Center for Self-Awareness, can be found in Wilmette, IL where she works with groups and individuals, and collaborates with like-minded teachers. Her latest endeavor, Grow Through Mindfulness, furthers her dream to bring mindfulness into every household.

Katie Kolbe

Mindfulness Facilitator

Katie is a meditation teacher, speaker, Reiki Master and Access Bars Facilitator. She has studied and trained with Ramaa for over 14 years. Katie teaches meditation to children, teens and families, helping them create a sustainable and compassionate practice that supports living from the inside-out. Since 2016, Katie is delighted to bring the Harper Mindfulness Program into Wilmette’s Harper Elementary School as the artist-in-residence where she teaches grades K-4. She graduated from Northwestern University’s School of Speech with a focus in Radio, TV and Film. Katie is passionate about helping students Grow Through Mindfulness and is ever inspired by teaching children life skills that bring peace, increase compassion, and help them to self-regulate. 

CURRICULUM TEAM MEMBER

Julie Freeman

Mindfulness Facilitator

Julie’s source of joy, and her inspiration for evolving in self-awareness comes from raising her two teenage daughters. With a BA in psychology from Lake Forest College, she holds her Master of Social Work (MSW) from Loyola University Chicago and is a licensed school social worker. Julie is experienced in counseling youth and has worked at a therapeutic day school counseling children with social and emotional challenges ages 5-17. As an early childhood social worker, she worked with families and children with developmental delays ages 3-6 years. Julie currently is an active member of two parent education boards in her school district and sits on a family business board of directors. Julie is grateful to Ramaa for her life-changing teachings and is excited to share this wisdom with youth. Julie believes when we teach and talk about matters of the heart and shared human experiences we nourish the great connectors that bind us together. 

CURRICULUM TEAM MEMBER

Ann Barbour

Mindfulness Facilitator

Ann considers herself a full-time student in the school of life! This credo has given her many wonderful opportunities to use mindfulness to enrich relationships at work and home.  As a result, she is passionate about sharing her experiences, teaching tools and strategies to help create more connected and conscious communities.  Ann is a meditation teacher and has studied at Full Bloomed Lotus for more than ten years.  With a degree in computer science from Southern Methodist University and a previous career in telecommunications, Ann has also studied Reiki Level 1, Chirokinetic Therapy, is a Mindful Schools educator, and is in the process of receiving her Mindfulness Meditation Certification through both the Awareness Training Institute and the Greater Good Science Center, which is located at UC Berkeley.

MINDFUL CLASSROOM TEAM MEMBER

Elizabeth Whittle

Mindfulness Facilitator

Elizabeth's career as a special educator has allowed her the opportunity to work extensively with a diverse student population ages 3-21 in New York City, Salt Lake City and Chicago. Elizabeth earned her BA in secondary education, and her Master’s of Science in Special Education from State University of New York. She launched her career as a special education classroom and itinerant teacher in NYC. She specialized in educating preschoolers with autistic spectrum disorder utilizing Applied Behavioral Analysis. Elizabeth became interested in the whole child and the relationship between the caregiver and the child. She furthered her studies to learn and implement the Developmental Individual-Differences & Relationship model. This same concept would lead Elizabeth to more deeply embrace the mind-body connection and spark her passion for mindfulness. Studying with Ramaa she has learned strategies for achieving presence in a busy home with 3 children, a husband, and dog. Elizabeth’s mission in teaching mindfulness is to help youth discover they can thrive while creating a peaceful existence.

MINDFUL CLASSROOM TEAM MEMBER

Becky Pontarelli

Mindfulness Facilitator

Becky believes both yoga and mindfulness can help us to access the power of presence – one through the body the other the mind. A graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, she put her business degree to work in retail management for over 15 years directing a chain of area stores. First introduced to meditation and mindfulness through her personal yoga practice, Becky became a yoga instructor in 2008 and has completed her 500-hour Yoga Teaching Training Certification. She is trained in transcendental meditation, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and has been a cycling instructor for over 20 years. Becky has been a Full Bloomed Lotus student since 2009 and believes her visit to India with Ramaa was an important part of her study. Becky’s kids swear that belly breaths and mindful body scans are like a magic sleeping potion!  

MINDFUL CLASSROOM TEAM MEMBER

Lori Lichtman-Sander

Mindfulness Facilitator

Certified-International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT)

Lori received her Master’s in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from Loyola University, specializing in training and development. She fondly recalls having produced an educational and entertaining sing along video program designed for families to share music! As a Child Life Specialist at Children’s Memorial Hospital, she facilitated developmental playgroups and provided 1:1 bedside companionship. Lori has developed and implemented yoga programs to school age children (5-18) for NSSRA (Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association), as well as Laureate Day School at Lutheran General Hospital catering to students with social and emotional challenges. Prior to her training in Mindful Educator Essentials, she received her yoga certification through the International Association of Yoga Therapists.   She has spent over 20 years teaching children and adults of all abilities and varying therapeutic needs. Lori has been collaborating with Ramaa since 2004 and is a Reiki Master Teacher. She believes the true joy of working with children, is helping renew their tendency to naturally be in the mindfulness of the moment. 

MINDFUL CLASSROOM TEAM MEMBER

Patti Interrante

Mindfulness Facilitator

Professor Interrante (our Patti) holds an emeritus position at the Oakton Community College where she taught performance classes: stage acting, film, directing and public speaking for much of her career. She has directed many plays and facilitated performance workshops at the college. She holds an MFA in acting and an MA in Communications.  Recognizing that the skills of self-awareness and presence are vital to both performance and mindfulness led Patti to train in mindfulness. She believes mindfulness cultivates self-awareness, reflection and deep listening skills that nurture our inner lives and ripple out into the networks and communities in which we live. Prior to her work in education, Patti was a Joseph Jefferson Award nominated actor in Chicago theaters. Patti has supported community arts by serving on the board for the Des Plaines Arts Council, and reads the news on CRIS radio for the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind.

MINDFUL CLASSROOM TEAM MEMBER

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Lori Laser

Mindfulness Facilitator

Board of Directors

As a devoted mindfulness practitioner, Lori is excited to share the methods she has found to be life changing. Her experience as a parent has deepened her belief that self-awareness holds the key to fostering healthy relationships. As a member of the board of directors at Chicago’s Erikson Institute, and through her involvement at Evanston’s Youth and Opportunity United (YOU), she is committed to ensuring that all children have equitable opportunities to realize their potential. Lori currently serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children. She studied with renowned mindfulness educators through a two-year teacher training at the Engaged Mindfulness Institute. She completed the Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program in 2016. Lori came to FBL five years ago, and with Ramaa’s guidance has found more balance, fulfillment and connection. She is excited to work with Grow Through Mindfulness to facilitate and develop programming that promotes mindfulness practices in schools and other community settings.

Lori Muller

Mindfulness Facilitator

Board of Directors

Lori earned her BA from UW-Whitewater in Advertising and Marketing and began her career life as a creative director in advertising. As a mother of two young women growing up on the North Shore, Lori is well aware of the pressures girls face as they enter into adulthood. Her work with children through Girls on the Run, Girls Scouts and Brownies deepened her commitment to bring Mindfulness programs to communities so as to help build a healthy relationship with oneself. She is certified by The Carolyn Costin Institute as a family and individual eating disorder coach where she teaches mindful eating to her clients. She has served on the Board of Directors and as Fundraising Chair for Random Acts of Flowers, Writers’ Theatre, and Dare2Tri. Lori has successfully implemented an art program for Alzheimer’s patients at an assisted living facility. She is excited to continue to develop and grow programming that promotes mindfulness practices in schools and other settings.

Lisa Cohen

Mindfulness Facilitator

Board of Directors

After graduating from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, Lisa built a career as an independent communications consultant. Lisa has been philanthropically active in her local community serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused children and sitting on various boards including the Lake County Illinois Health Center and the USC Keck Leadership Medicine Board. Lisa has studied with Ramaa Krishnan for the past five years. She has completed Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training, the Mindful Educator training and is a certified Integrative Health Coach. Her desire to bring mindfulness to the health care community comes from her own experience as a cancer patient. As a recent survivor, Lisa understands firsthand the numerous benefits of a mindfulness practice and credits this practice in helping her decrease stress, remain positive and reduce pain throughout her journey.

MANAGEMENT

Jane Pasin

Strategic Advisor

Jane graduated Magna Cum Laude from Lake Forest College majoring in Business and Creative Writing. She graduated with honors from Notre Dame Law School. As Executive Director of a legal aid office, Jane supervised a team providing free legal services to individuals, small businesses, and nonprofits. She worked in the legal-tax department at PWC then at the international consulting firm, Hewitt Associates in their technical executive compensation department servicing clients including Coca-Cola, Philip Morris, and Tootsie Roll. She interpreted tax and securities law and published journal articles on behalf of the company. Her now inexhaustible interest in Mindfulness was first prompted over 30 years ago by her health struggles. The science and research speak to her brain, while a Mindfulness practice speaks to her heart. Mindfulness and her relationship to Ramaa have transformed her life, her career, her relationships and she is passionately dedicated to sharing it with others.

LEADERSHIP TEAM MEMBER

Prabha Sridhar

Secretary Treasurer

Prabha’s professional life spans across two countries – India and the United States where she has worked as a creative director and strategic planner on the advertising agency side, leveraging consumer insights to build major brands including Wrigley, Motorola, KitchenAid, Ziploc, and Glade. She has since transitioned to guiding non-profits and small businesses as they navigate the digital marketing world.

As an empathizer, who loves to understand more about human behavior, Prabha trained to become a certified professional coach and ELI (Energy Leadership Index) master practitioner from iPEC Coaching. As one of Ramaa’s long-term students, Prabha began to experience and appreciate how the practices of meditation and mindfulness can transform lives, families and communities.  Prabha’s deep commitment to an NFP based in India, that supports underprivileged children suffering from congenital heart disease inspired her to give to organizations like Grow Through Mindfulness, that are passionate, and promote growth and healing. 

LEADERSHIP TEAM MEMBER

Sharon Bussell

L.C.S.W. Advisor

Sharon Bussell received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Northwestern University and a Master of Social Work degree from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois.  She has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1982. With a friendship of many years, and as a student of Full Bloomed Lotus since it opened its doors, Sharon has spent countless hours with Ramaa delving deeply into Eastern and Western philosophy, comparing mindfulness and psychological practices.  Sharon is honored to serve on the leadership team of Grow Through Mindfulness in a consultative capacity.

LEADERSHIP TEAM MEMBER

Andrea White

L.C.S.W. Advisor

Andrea White’s career spans sales management, educational leadership, and non-profit management roles. She began as a public-school teacher, moved on to an executive sales and marketing position, then became president of a Catholic High School in Chicago and Board Chair of a multi-campus Charter School. Most recently, Andrea has served as CEO of Felician Services, providing support to thirty non-profit ministries throughout North America in the areas of education, senior living, and social services. She founded People Focus, Inc. a consultancy in strategic planning, organizational development, and career coaching. Andrea also founded the non-profit Pathways for Grief, which helps children suffering from the loss of a parent or sibling.
Andrea is honored to join Ramaa and GTM in seeking to develop ways we might live more wisely together in our world through mindfulness education.
Andrea has a BS in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois, Champaign; an M.Ed in Administration from the University of Virginia Charlottesville; and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from Loyola University Chicago.

LEADERSHIP TEAM MEMBER

Christine Colvin Casper

Communications Director

Christine worked in government and politics before embarking on a twenty-five year long career in network television news, including eleven years writing anchor copy for Tom Brokaw at NBC Nightly News. She won National News and Documentary Emmy Awards for her work on NBC’s Election Night team and for breaking news coverage of the 2008 financial crisis. She is honored to have the opportunity to help the Grow Through Mindfulness team communicate teachings that have enriched her life and relationships. Raising a teenage son, she has seen the pressures young people face up-close, and recognizes the tremendous value of these practices in a stressful world. She also has a special interest in applying mindfulness principles in end-of-life care settings. Christine is an avid student of Ramaa’s teachings at Full Bloomed Lotus, and has a BA in Political Science from Merrimack College, and an MA in Public Policy from Tufts University.

LEADERSHIP TEAM MEMBER

 

825 Green Bay Road, Suite 120, Wilmette, IL 60091

847-853-0600

info@growthroughmindfulness.com

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Registration with the Illinois Attorney General Charitable Trust Bureau or any other government agency should not be construed as an endorsement of FBL Cares, Inc.  FBL Cares Inc., DBA Grow Through Mindfulness.

© 2018 Grow Through Mindfulness