Welcome to the Speakers page!!
We have a fantastic line-up of presenters this year
who will share with us their inspirational stories
and cutting-edge work with death, dying and grief.
Browse their Bios and start planning ahead
to listen to each one of these informational talks!
Photograher: Right, before I die
Andrew George is based in Los Angeles. His work has been in 18 international exhibitions, most recently at Musea Brugge in Belgium. Andrew has won numerous awards for his photography and has appeared in the pages of The Huffington Post, DesignTAXI, Art Ltd., Quartz, Daily Mail UK, The San Francisco Chronicle, El Mundo, De Standaard, The New Daily, Le Journal de la Photographie, Russia Today, BuzzFeed, The School of Life, Booooooom and Trendhunter, among others. His photographs are in 85 public and private collections.
Palliative Care Education Program
Shoshana Ungerleider is an internist practicing hospital medicine at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. She received her medical degree from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR and completed residency at California Pacific Medical Center where she is now on the teaching faculty and serves on the Foundation Board of Trustees.
Shoshana started the Ungerleider Palliative Care Education Fund to support innovative programs that further palliative care education at every level.
EOL Navigators Program
Celebrant Foundation and Institute
Charlotte Eulette is the International director of the nonprofit educational org, Celebrant Foundation & Institute with headquarters in Montclair, New Jersey. The foundation certifies and teaches people to become ritual experts called Life-Cycle Celebrants® who create with families, individuals and organizations womb-to-tomb ceremonies to mark the milestones in life.
Charlotte has written and published many articles about the importance of personalized ceremonies in many magazines like American Funeral Director Magazine, Divorce Magazine, Spirituality & Health Magazine - and has been interviewed on BBC radio, Wall Street Journal, The NY Times and NPR radio.
Her TV appearances include: CBS Morning show and CBS News with Dan Rather and NBC news.
Urban Death Project
Katrina Spade is the founder and executive
director of the Urban Death Project, a new system for gently and sustainably
disposing of the dead using the process of composting. Katrina has focused her
design career on creating human-centered, ecological, architectural solutions.
Prior to architecture school, she studied sustainable design and building at
Yestermorrow Design Build School, with a focus on regenerative communities and
permaculture. While earning her Masters of Architecture at the University of
Massachusetts Amherst, she received a grant from the Massachusetts Department
of Agriculture to build and monitor a compost heating system, a project which
helped initiate the Urban Death Project. Katrina earned a BA in Anthropology
from Haverford College, and a Masters of Architecture from the University of
Jerrigrace Lyons has a long history in alternative health care. A Reiki Master, Certified Trager Practitioner, and founder of Final Passages, Jerrigrace also directs the Home Funeral Ministry. She has been interviewed and reviewed in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Mother Earth News, SF Magazine, KRON 4, and CNN Headline News to name a few, and was featured in a new PBS documentary “A family Undertaking,” which aired nationally in 2004. Jerrigrace founded Final Passages as a result of the unexpected death of her friend Carolyn Whiting. Because of Carolyn’s interest in a natural and conscious approach to death care, she left detailed instructions for a home funeral. This most personal, meaningful, and respectful experience awakened in her a passion to share it with others. She pioneered Final Passages in 1995 to reawaken a choice that our ancestors once held sacred.
Film: The Heart of Grieving
Dr. Michelle Peticolas has been working in the field of death and loss for over 17 years. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology with a minor in Clinical Psychology. She produced the award-winning 3-part documentary series, Secrets of Life and Death, featuring consciousness leader Ram Das and Zen Hospice Founder Frank Ostaseski (Oss-tah-ses-key) who also appeared in Bill Moyer’s 4-part PBS series, “On Our Own Terms.”
Michelle has been invited to speak and teach in hospitals, hospices, and professional organizations throughout Northern California, including UCSF, John Muir and JFK University. She has appeared on Voice America’s Good Grief, Comcast’s Newsmakers and KPFA’s Women’s Magazine.
We will be screening The Heart of Grieving during this event!!
Holistic Nursing at the End of Life
Barbara Dossey is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the holistic nursing movement. She is International Co-Director and Board Member of the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH), Arlington, Virginia and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Director, Holistic Nursing Consultants, Santa Fe, New Mexico; and former Samueli Institute Board Member (2008-2011), Alexandria, Virginia. She is a Florence Nightingale scholar and an author or co-author of 24 books. Her most recent include Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice (6th ed., 2012), Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer (Centennial Commemorative Edition, 2010), Being with Dying: Compassionate End-of-Life Care Training Guide (2007), and Florence Nightingale Today: Healing, Leadership, Global Action (2005).
Chrysalis Room Project
Loretta Downs, MA is a nationally recognized inspirational speaker, writer, facilitator and consultant on the subject of supporting the end of life experience with comfort and dignity. Ms. Downs is a storyteller with extraordinary experiences that suffuse her lively presentations with love, compassion, hope and wisdom.
Her inspiring perspective on the end of life is informed by over 25 years of being with the dying and the people who care for them. She has been a companion to AIDS patients, friends, family, hospice patients and nursing home residents, supporting them through the end of their lives. Six years of caring for her mother in a nursing home moved her to found Chrysalis™ End-of-Life Inspirations to advocate for private rooms in nursing homes and hospitals, creating sacred space for keeping vigil with the dying.
Transforming the After-Death Transfer
Amy Cunningham is a Brooklyn-based funeral director and celebrant with a passion for helping families arrange dignified, distinctive funeral and memorial services. She is the owner of a new funeral establishment called Fitting Tribute Funeral Services, and was listed as one of the “Nine Most Innovative Funeral Professionals” in the country by FuneralOne, a leading voice for change in the funeral industry. Amy was trained as a funeral celebrant by Glenda Stansbury and Doug Manning, completed all three levels of home vigil training with Jerrigrace Lyons, was exposed to Jewish Tahara ritual through a four-day workshop with Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips, and completed an end-of-life doula training with social worker Henry Fersko-Weiss at the Open Center where she is now on the faculty of the Integrative Thanatology certificate program.
Coach Yourself Through Grief
Dr. Don Eisenhauer, PCC, is the founder of Coaching at End of Life, LLC. He is a pastor and a Professional Certified Coach (accredited by the International Coach Federation). He is the author of the books Coaching at End of Life and Coach Yourself Through Grief. Don has a passion to help people live fully until they die. He enjoys teaching and equipping coaches, hospice workers, funeral directors, clergy, friends and family members to better support and care for the dying and grieving in their midst.
Don serves as a Hospice Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator. Additionally, he is a faculty member for other coaching practices, and he leads trainings and seminars throughout the world. He is also the co-founder of the Bereavement Management Group, providing software to help in the care of the grieving.
Mortalls: The Death-Positive Conversation Game
The hands behind MORTALLS are father/daughter team Jim and Jess Erskine.
Jim Erskine is an author of over thirty children’s books, humor books and educational curriculum resources, and operates the popular homeschooling website Homeschool Freebie Of The Day.com.
Jess Erskine is a book illustrator, graphic designer and videographer whose artistic skills made this project come to life.