Shalom Mountain Management
In 2011 the charitable work of Friends of Shalom Mountain was combined with the work of Shalom Mountain Retreat and Study Center under one not-for-profit 501(c)(3), Shalom Mountain, Inc. (“SMI”). The SMI Board of Directors is made up of individuals representing the Shalom community: Dianne Weisselberg, Steven Ferrao, Jean “Gino” Miele, Jess Schust, Tom Penn, and Alex York are the current Board. The Board brings with it tremendous talent, passion and dedication for the transformational work of Shalom Mountain.
The Board of Directors works with the management of Shalom to provide governance and support for the Mountain. Together, this group is responsible for holding the space for our community’s unfolding.
From Left to Right: Jean “Gino” Miele, Steve Ferrao, Jess Schust, Victoria Myer, Dianne Weisselberg, Alex York, Nance McGee, Ben Wild, and Tom Penn.
Management & Operations
Nance McGee, Executive Director
Nance McGee is Executive Director of Shalom Mountain and is responsible for Programs & Operations. She is a body-centered, process-oriented therapist in private practice and has led retreats and workshops at Shalom Mountain and in communities in the U.S. and abroad. Nance has extensive experience working with addictions recovery, family systems and has specialized training in the healing of complex trauma (Somatic Experiencing). She is passionate about the power of loving community, the joy of being a woman and in deepening the journey to God.
Victoria Myer, Business Manager
Victoria volunteers as Business Manager for Shalom and oversees the financial and business aspects of the mountain. Victoria has been involved with the Mountain since first attending as a teenager with her dad, and is committed to ensuring that Shalom is sustained for future generations. She was instrumental in transitioning Shalom from a private entity to a 501(c)3 non-profit, and before that served on the board of Friends of Shalom Mountain.
In her years of participating in Shalom she has attended individual and couples retreats, Training in the Art of Loving, and the Wisdom School, among other events. Victoria has long been a practitioner of earth-based ritual in community and has been informed by studies in yoga, shamanism, creative process, Tantra and most recently the teachings of Marc Gafni. Her role as a mother and a lover has been a significant gift that she offers into the world with great integrity and an open heart.
Victoria has a BA in Psychology (Eastern Mennonite University), a MA in Romance Linguistics (University of Alberta), and has taught Spanish and English as a Second Language.
Board of Shalom Mountain
Stephen Ferrao, Treasurer
I’ve been a member of the Shalom community since 1995, when I was 8 and brought to Shalom by my parents, Margie and Joe. I graduated from Montclair State University with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance. In April 2013, I became a Certified Public Accountant, and am now a practicing accountant in New Jersey. The loving community of Shalom is what keeps me coming back, again and again. Shalom is a second home for me, one in which I feel connected to the land and the people. I don’t get that anywhere else in my life. This is why I serve on this Board. It is important to me.
Jean “Gino” Miele
BA, Columbia University, East Asian Language and Culture/Japanese Art History. Also: Oberlin College, Stuyvesant High School in New York City.
My first Shalom Retreat was in 1989. There hasn’t been a day since then that I haven’t been grateful to be part of the vibrant community that is Shalom, and for the “training in the art of loving” offered on the Mountain. There were years when simply knowing Shalom existed gave me what I needed to carry on. It is a great pleasure, and a comfort to me, to know more and more people are leading Shalom Retreats, and that there is a robust and ever-expanding curriculum being offered at Cattail Road, and beyond.
Serving on the Board is one way I choose to contribute to the global shift in consciousness happening at this very moment. Another way is by being as intentionally loving a husband, stepfather, son, stepson, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend as I can. I consciously integrate the skills and principles of loving into the photographic workshops I lead, and the dharma-talks (thinly disguised as photo-lectures) I deliver in my role as an artist and photo-educator. I relish the fact that making my living as a photographer provides opportunities to invite people to envision the best in things, to see that transformation is possible, and to recognize that seeing is an act of creation. We are all active participants in the creation of our reality – individually and collectively.
Now, more than ever, I believe it is possible for all of us – every single person on the planet – to be conscious, loving, and fully alive. Shalom Mountain is a critical part of this global work, as is each and every one of us. Helping people remember the beautiful truth of who they (we!) are is the most important work there is. Everything is an unfolding, an evolution. Shalom Mountain has helped immeasurably in the unfolding of my own personal growth, and in helping me be ever-present to the awareness that my truth is not The Truth. It is my privilege to contribute to the continuing unfolding and expansion of Shalom. After all, there is no “them,” only us. We are Shalom, and it’s up to each of us to be the change we want to see in the world.
I have been at Shalom since before Shalom was at Shalom. My first Shalom Retreat was at Kirkridge in September of 1974. Shalom was recommended to me, as it has been for many people, by a friend who had just attended his first Shalom. I might not have gone yet if my wife had not wearied of my stalling and just signed us up.
My history with Shalom since then has been good. I love the process and what happens on retreats (or trainings or whatever). The Introductory Training was especially important for me coming at a time where I was deeply stuck.
A challenge that I would like to see pursued now is finding new ways to apply the Principles and Skills on and off the Mountain either as part of outreach or of bringing new programs to Cattail Road.
Off the Mountain I am a venture capitalist with a focus on the life sciences and a broader focus on the whole process of starting companies and building ecosystems that change the future. Much of my work these days is with mature companies but my real passion is working with startups which is where all the fun really is.
Jessica “Jess” Schust, Secretary
I have a BS in Biology and MA in Education from Adelphi University, Garden City, NY. I also have a School Building Leader certificate from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. I completed both Training in the Art of Loving and Shalom Retreat Leadership Training.
I have been a high school science teacher for 16 years and a chairperson of science for three. Throughout my educational experiences, I have found that community building, active listening, and intensional loving of both my students and my teachers has been the foundation upon which I have been able to create successful, vibrant learning environments.
I have been doing personal work, exploring what it means to be me and what that means for the world, for over 15 years. I have been coming to Shalom since 2013, and through consistent application of The Principles and Skills of Loving, I have learned to create the type of community that fosters humanity and kindness at both my school and in my private life.
In the short time that I have been coming to Shalom, I have completed numerous retreats, completed the Training in the Art of Loving (formerly Intro Training), the Shalom Retreat Leadership Training, and chaired the committee that organized Shalom’s 40th Anniversary. I have also cooked for retreats, attended work weekends, and volunteered my time to support a place that has forever changed my life for the better.
My current person work is centered around releasing old structures, thought patterns, and ways of being that are connected to a scarcity mindset and to move into living from abundance. As I meet with success in this new adventure my life become richer and more joyous. It is my goal to not only shift my personal lens from scarcity (fear-based thinking) to abundance (love-based thinking), but also to help shift these paradigms in our world.
I am so excited to expand on my service to Shalom by serving on the Board of Directors as Secretary. I look forward to contributing to the thriving future of Shalom Mountain, with Gratitude, Love, and Abundance!
Dianne Weisselberg, Chair
BA Ramapo College of New Jersey, Comparative Literature; MSW Clinical Social Work, New York University School of Social Work; Licensed Master Social Worker, New York State; Certified Chakra Therapist, Sacred Centers; Reiki Master; Belief Closet Practitioner.
A Spiritual Healer, Chakra Therapist and lifelong journeyer, I have lived, worked, led, learned and loved at Shalom since my first retreat in 1997. In 1998 I began studying Shalom Process, and from 1999 – 2000 I lived at Shalom as an intern and resident. From 2006-2009 I ran the kitchen and served as Cook’s Liaison. My studies at Shalom included Process Therapy, Retreat Leadership, Couple’s Work, Dream Work, and multiple advanced trainings series.
I currently live in Woodstock, NY. I am the owner and resident healer of Namaste Sacred Healing Center, where I serve as Priestess and offer Spiritual and Emotional healing drawing on Shalom Process, Energy work, Chakra Therapy, and the psychological and shamanic influences in my background.
Since the beginning, Shalom has walked with me like a sister through my journeys, helping me to understand, deepen, expand and evolve my understanding of myself, this life and my place in it. In 2001, my world cracked open with the untimely death of my husband, Jonathan Harelick. I have no doubt that the love and support of this place and community were what helped me survive and find meaning in that tragedy. Since then, Shalom Mountain has enlarged, transformed and saved my life many times. This is where I learned to believe in magic again.
I am deeply honored to again serve this community. To serve on the board is a delightful gift and honor, to be part of the vision for the future as we evolve Love together. To that vision I bring a great capacity for love and possibility, a gift for synthesis and creative thought, well-honed skills in listening and holding multiple voices with reverence, and a deep awe of the magic that happens when a group of people come together in dialogue.
I am deeply committed to the work of Shalom Mountain. That is to say I am deeply committed to the love that Shalom Mountain brings to the world. My time at the mountain has awakened parts of me that I did not know existed. I entered with 5 senses and I feel like I gain one more each time I visit.
I have observed Shalom’s leadership team engage and support the community. More recently, I have been amazed to witness the strict governance that works behind the scenes to ensure a sustainable and vivacious future for Shalom. Throughout my 15 years of corporate work, I worked closely with Fortune 50 executives and boards of directors where governance is meticulously studied and refined. I can proudly report that my predecessors on the board have erected a strong backbone of loving oversight that will carry Shalom for many decades to come.
Outside of Shalom, my personal calling is to bring the gifts of community and experiential education to high school students. The support of a loving community, like we experience at Shalom, is never more critical in a person’s life than in their adolescent years. This gift was given to me at that age and it has expanded my life ever since.
My work in education and at Shalom is driven by my desire to allow others to experience these gifts that have been given to me.
Alex York is a process facilitator who is committed to bringing the skills and principles of loving to young adults and teens. He has trained at Shalom Mountain Retreat Center, completing the Intro Training, the SRLT, and the Internship. A recent graduate of Hampshire College, he studied mysticism, theology, and the anthropology of religion. Alex’s passion is with the concept of spirituality within Shalom Process and the universal truth of sacredness inherent in human community.