Weaving a Web of Support for Widows Worldwide

Board Members

Lisa Clyde – Director, Editor – Certified Massage Therapist, Sebastopol, California 
Lisa Clyde

After earning a BA in Liberal Arts at UC Santa Barbara, Lisa turned her attention toward raising a family. As her three children grow into themselves, Lisa is an honored and humbled witness to their journeys.  Since 2002, Lisa has been studying and practicing different styles of bodywork as a means to facilitate emotional and physical healing.  She feels blessed to have glimpsed life's mystery and learned life lessons through the gifts of mothering her children and working on/with people.  

Lisa has served on Advisory Committees at the Community Foundation Sonoma County and worked with Community Action Partnership to bring to fruition the dual vision of a new shelter for homeless women and developing a mentoring program to support the women as they transition out of homelessness.  Lisa has become involved with The Children’s Village, a non-profit agency creating a group home for siblings in foster care.  Lisa serves as an editor in the WidowSpeak project and dabbles in writing non-fiction stories, essays and musings.


Rosemary Devitt  – Director – Consultant/Facilitator, Sebastopol, CA

Rosemary is the Director of Finance for Community Support Network, a non-profit in Sonoma County which offers community based services to persons with mental or emotional difficulties. Prior to becoming the Director of Finance, Rosemary served on the CSN Board, offering her services in accounting, strategic planning and program evaluation.  She has been instrumental in guiding CSN through many transitions and is currently preparing for an audit.

Rosemary works on behalf of local and regional non-profits, consulting in financial accountability. She has served on the Board of Simplexity, an organization which explores the relationship between Art, Science and Spirituality. She also worked for the Seva Foundation for several years.

Rosemary earned an MA in Organizational Development from SSU in 1999, as well as a BA in Psychology from SSU in 1982.  Rosemary was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and is a world traveler, having spent time in India, Nepal and Europe.  Rosemary, a widow and a dancer, is the mother of two grown sons.  She is deeply intrigued by and a collector of people, their stories and their dance.


Megan Anthony Eierman – Secretary – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Napa, California 
Megan Anthony Eierman

Megan received a BFA at the University of Oregon and went on to receive her MA from John F. Kennedy University in Professional Psychology. She has worked in mental health, primarily for non profits, since 2002, focusing on child development and substance abuse. Megan currently works for Aldea Counseling Services, providing counseling for children on juvenile probation, in foster care, and/or are victims of child abuse.

Megan is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and is an active participant in her community, increasing mental health services for youth. Additionally, she works as a liason between Napa County and the Napa Unified School District, providing Substance Abuse Prevention services in the middle and high schools.

Prior to her recent move to Napa, Megan diversified her work by assisting as a prep-cook to various private chefs in the Bay Area. She interned at Chez Panisse Restaurant and assisted with fundraising events for the Chez Panisse Foundation.


AnnMarie Ginella – Executive Director, Editor – Sebastopol, California 
AnnMarie Ginella
photo by Lorna Booker

AnnMarie Ginella earned a B.A. in French Literature at Sonoma State University in 1991, and became a teacher at Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, CA., where she taught World and American Literature, World History and French. In 1997, she was suddenly widowed with three sons, and one suprise son, on the way. She returned to school in 1999, for a M.A. in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing and graduated in 2001. Her thesis is entitled, A Postmodern Widoe.

AnnMarie began her work with non-profits in 1986, as the Business Manager of the Marquee Theatre, in Santa Rosa, CA. She has served as Board Secretary for the Sonoma County Repertory Theatre, For Pete's Sake, and Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm. Additionally, from 1998-2001, AnnMarie served as Board President, and then, Executive Director of For Pete’s Sake, the non-profit formed in memory of Peter Eierman. From 2002-2005, AnnMarie worked in Development at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm, where she assisted in grant writing, program development, fundraising and outreach. In 2005, AnnMarie founded WidowSpeak, which incorporates her experience as a widow with her commitment to doing work that matters in the world, and her passion for reading and writing stories.


Catherine Gorchoff – Director – Midwife, Santa Rosa, California 
Catherine Gorchoff

Catherine grew up in Berkeley in the 50's and 60's. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at U.C. Santa Cruz, and received a Master's in Midwifery at Yale, in 1987. Catherine has worked as a midwife for 19 years, the past two years she has lived on the island of Molokai, Hawaii, where, for the past 20 years, all the babies on the island have been delivered by midwives.

Catherine has been a waitress, hotel maid, babysitter, veterinarian’s assistant, writing instructor, clinic director, 4-H leader, midwife, mother of two daughters, (and picked up several children along the way). She is a voracious reader, filmgoer and she loves theater, art, dance and music. The connections she makes with others are the heart of her life. Catherine will begin her MFA in Creative Writing in the Fall, 2006.


Carol Peek Griffin – Director – Artist, Provo, Utah 
Carol Peek Griffin

Carol grew up in Marin County, CA and was influenced by the natural beauty that surrounded her. She attended UCSB, UC Berkeley and graduated with honors from The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.  She has been a fulltime artist since graduation in 1986 and is in collections around the world.  Carol has participated in many museum shows and is shown by galleries in New York, San Francisco and Hilton Head, SC.

Since becoming a widow in 1999, she has focused her attention on raising her two children and painting.  In 2004 she moved with her growing daughter, Anna, and her wee son, Will, to be near family in Utah. To view her art visit: www.carolpeek.com.


Carla Musik  – Director – Bilingual Educator, Sebastopol, CA
Carla Musik

Carla is a Bilingual Educator at Cali Calmecac Charter School in Windsor, California. Additionally, she is an Adjunct Faculty Member of Santa Rosa Junior College, where she teaches Spanish and at Sonoma State University where she teaches Literacy Studies in Elementary Education. She is a former Board Member at:  Nuestra Casa, a Latino outreach program in Ukiah, California, and the Ukiah Valley Association of  Handicapped.  Carla serves on Sonoma State University’s Advisory Committee for the Teacher Diversity Project and is a member of CABE, the California Association of Bilingual Education.

When Carla is not involved in language and education, she can be found performing:  singing, storytelling, folk dancing and acting. She is the mother of two grown sons, one developmentally disabled and one an Oberlin graduate. She is an avid reader, a supporter of the arts and a traveler of many cultures. Through her involvement with WidowSpeak, Carla wishes to connect women from various backgrounds and cultures. She is a gatherer and teller of stories in English and Spanish and wants to see WidowSpeak serve the wider widow communities of Latina and Native American women, as well as women in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


Jacquilyn Schieber, E.A. – Treasurer, Accountant –  Santa Rosa, CA

Jacqui, an Accountant, has been an Enrolled Agent with the Internal Revenue Service for 25 years. She is the owner of Scheuer Tax and Bookkeeping Service, a family business, that was started by her father, Buz Scheuer, in 1970. Jacqui assists business and individuals with their bookkeeping, payroll, tax and financial needs.

Jacqui grew up in Sonoma County, CA. She has been married for 33 years and has two grown children. Jacqui serves as Treasurer on the Sonoma County Employer’s Advisory Council, a non profit whose mission it is to educate Sonoma County employers on such matters as Labor Law, Workman's Compensation and workplace environment.

When her daughter was younger, she served as treasurer on the board of the RugRats Fast Pitch Softball League. Jacqui has been involved with WidowSpeak since its inception in February of 2005.


Robin Wise – Director – Audio Engineer, Santa Rosa, CA

Robin Wise has served as audio engineer for radio documentaries, audio books, documentary films, and multi-media presentations. As a lecturer at The University of California at Berkeley, she teaches digital audio technology at the Graduate School of Journalism.

Robin’s business, Sound Imagery, is about enriching words with sound – bringing stories to life. She knows how to record a country and has done field recording in Cambodia, Central America, Europe, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and throughout the United States.

Robin’s forte is collaborating on a project from conception through delivery—as technical advisor, location sound recordist, digital editor, sound designer, mix and mastering engineer.

Project Awards: The Peabody Award, The Robert Wood Johnson Award, Silver Baton of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, AAAS Award, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Women in Communications Award, Clarion Award

Advisory Board

Michelle Berelowitz – MSW, Adjunct Faculty, Human Services, Cal State Fullerton, Fullerton, California

Michelle is an Adjunct Faculty member for the Department of Human Services at CSUF and provides consulting services to the nonprofit community. Michelle’s consulting services includes technical assistance to various agencies on strategic planning, program evaluation, program planning and implementation, collaborative development and research and data management. In addition, she serves on the Board of a non-profit organization serving 432 children and families in Orange County, California.

Michelle has worked on behalf of children and families as the Director of the Center for Community Collaboration at CSUF. In addition, she has worked as a day counselor at a residential treatment facility for adolescent boys; and eligibility worker and a social worker for the GAIN Program (CalWORKs); a special education teacher in Los Angeles; and a managing associate in community planning for the United Way of Orange County. Michelle received her masters of Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1994 and her BS in Human Development with a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1987.


Carla Caletti – Artist and Curator, San Francisco, California
Carla Caletti

Carla’s work uses visual language to give voice to women. Her most recent Bay Area curatorial project, "One World, Many Faiths; A Collection of Altars by Women Artists," was a multi-cultural exploration of diverse Bay Area women articulating their cultural and spiritual identity in the context of an "altar.” In her own figurative paintings, Carla explores the female form, while revealing the evolution of a woman expressing herself in the world. See the In the Arts section.

Carla received an Undergraduate Degree, with honors, in Interdisciplinary Studies at John F. Kennedy University. She has completed graduate work at San Francisco State University, in the Women's Studies Department. Carla has worked in administrative and artistic capacities with several San Francisco non-profits, including New Langton Arts and The Capp Street Project. To see her art, visit: www.carlacaletti.com


Sandy Clendenen 

Sandy Clendenen


I have always been interested in the creative spiritual dimension of life. I attended seminary for 3 years back in the mid-1970s. I was serving as pastor of a small church when I met my husband. After my husband I married in l978, I decided to absorb myself in the multifaceted life of our farming business. My husband had encouraged me to continue my studies, but it just did not feel right for me at that time. More about Sandy Clendenen.

View all of Sandy's WidowSpeak Blog posts.

Michele Hernandez
Michele Hernandez

Michele Hernandez is a free-lance writer living in Simi Valley, California with her three amazing teenage children. Compelled to minister to other widows after the 2005 death of her husband, Phillip, in a bicycle/automobile accident, she launched widowsbond.com--a support website for widows of all ages. This site also provides updates on a book she is currently writing, The Healing Power of the Widow's Bond. The interview based book chronicles the grief journeys of 28 women from around the United States. Publication is expected in the first quarter of 2009.

View all of Michele's WidowSpeak Blog posts.


Amanda Shaffer 
Amanda Shaffer

Blogger.  Caregiver.  Graduate Student.  Widow.

Contributor Amanda Shaffer has written and lived the experience of cancer for several years.  She received a B.S. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and is currently in the process of pursuing her Masters of Social Work. 

Amanda has overseen youth development programs in various contexts and locales, from teaching literacy to prison-bound teens to directing social programs for military youth.

After the loss of her husband to leukemia, she’s studying to become a medical social worker.  She chronicled her husband’s bone marrow transplant at cancer, it’s not just an astrological sign anymore, and currently writes at The Cat Lady and BlogHer.

View all of Amanda's WidowSpeak Blog posts.