As the Respectful Confrontation community grows around the world, we are establishing a team of devoted, talented leaders and coordinators. We would like to introduce them to you.
LA SARMIENTO (Washington DC) Advisor & Local Producer: I attended my first Respectful Confrontation weekend in Washington, DC in March of 2009. It was one of the most profound and powerful workshops I had ever taken (and I have taken many workshops in this lifetime!). The embodied understanding of my personal power and expressing it through authentic vulnerability has catapulted my trust and confidence in myself exponentially, so much so that I have been producing Respectful Confrontation events in DC for Joe ever since! I have been practicing vipassana meditation with and am a member of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW) since 1998. My practice and approach to the Dharma has been greatly influenced by the teachings of Tara Brach, Pema Chodron, Larry Yang, Eric Kolvig, Michele McDonald, Cheri Maples, Joe Weston, and Ruth King. Since 2005, I have been the Guiding Teacher/Leader of the IMCW People of Color and LGBTQ Sanghas. I integrate the Kalyana Mitta (“spiritual friends”) process and the concepts of Respectful Confrontation and Non-violent Communication into my gatherings to create a sacred space for group wisdom to arise. I am the IMCW’s Senior Retreat/Event Manager and am committed to bringing diverse teachers and programs to make the Dharma accessible to all. I am currently in the Community Dharma Leader Program IV through the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. I also am a Lead Teacher and the Registrar for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education that produces meditation/mindfulness retreats for teens between 14 – 19 years of age. I have been a bodyworker/energyworker in private practice since 1992 and teach mindfulness-based Reiki classes with my life partner Wendy Taylor in the Adams Morgan section of Washington, DC.
MANON ROMIJN (the Netherlands) Teacher-in-training & Local Producer: Co-founder of iDoDareDream Company and boardmember of the iDoDareDream Foundation. Trainer in business leadership and personal leadership, personal lifecoach. www.idodaredream.nl, www.manonromijn.nl. 2005 – 2007 travelled in a Landrover Defender from Holland to South Africa and back www.theafricanway.com. Studied economics and has worked in the financial world till 1999. My intention is to live with inner freedom and deeper connection to myself and the world and to inspire people to live their dream and ambition. As a real fighter, for a long time, I didn’t know how to react differently. I lived my life always ready to attack and ready for a battle. I didn’t realise how much energy that cost me. And even worse, I didn’t even realise how I lived a life not trusting anyone and not being able to really trust myself. Respectful Confrontation not only gave me the most important tools for how to stay respectful in any situation. How to express what is important to me and still be able to listen and try to understand the other person. Without a fight or without letting go of the things that are important to me. Studying and practicing with Joe Weston has been my “wake-up” moment. I learned how to get connected again with myself. I experienced my own inner power, my life energy. There was no reason anymore for me to behave so protective. I realised I am the one in power of how to life my life, and how I can influence my relations, both personal and business, which leads to a successful life in any way. ( Besides; it is my opinion that since we always influence the world around us, we have the responsibility to make that be a positive influence. ) RC is more, much more than just another philosophy with great tools; It shows you the way how to really get in contact with your inner self and how to (heart) connect with other people, with the world around us. It is way of living with the greatest positive effects on our personal life and professional!
HELEEN BRINKMAN (the Netherlands) Teacher-in-training & Local Producer:Communication trainer and actress, obsessed with behaviour, relationships and how people communicate. The spark that kindled this fire was the remigration from Australia to the Netherlands at the age of 7. Travelling in China, Central Asia, Russia in the nineties I became aware of the basic, universal human needs. If we can acknowledge our differences, look beyond them and see what we have in common, I believe a better world is at hand. Respectful Confrontation provides a practical framework with simple exercises to help individuals through this process. More than that, it made me aware of my reactive behaviour in challenging situations. I realized I chose not to be in my true strength. RC offered me the tools to regain balance, true strength and guts to speak my truth. This is the hard work. The result is that I’m a happier person, a better mom, wife and professional with deepened relationships. Respectful Confrontation is the core of all my work and private life.
CATHERINE FRELS (New York City) Corporate support staff & Local Coordinator: is a NYC-based performing artist with a passion for community building and engaged citizenship. She co-produces Respectful Confrontation workshops with founder Joe Weston and assists him at trainings with live role-play scenarios. Frels is a graduate of Duke University (BA, International Comparative Studies, Magna Cum Laude) in Durham, NC and of The Shakespeare Theater Company’s Academy for Classical Acting (MFA, Classical Acting) in Washington, DC.