Maurissa Stone Bass, Director of Innovation
Maurissa Stone founded Iona Concepts, Inc. in 1993 as Training and Change Management Consulting organization, which is the umbrella for The Living Well Center. Iona Concepts’ mission is to facilitate planned change in systems, organizations and communities. An artist whose medium is life, fulfills her passion for facilitating individual and community development by creating resource circles for human and community expansion. Her artistic expression was formed by responding to the needs of social equity by designing and delivering creative, interactive media based training programs. Her career spans 25 years as a change agent conducting strategic planning, systems change and training initiatives for Federal, State, local governments and non-profit organizations. In addition to her role as the Director of Innovation, she also works as an Adjunct Professor. She conducts community development training and consultation nationally. Her unique niche is working with social justice and arts organizations by supporting infrastructure and resource development. Maurissa specializes in Strategic Planning, Community Development/Organizing, Non-profit Board Development, Career/Life Coaching, Retreat Planning/facilitation, Motivational Speaking, Organizational Development Training, and Iona Circles an organizational, systems and personal change management process designed to address work and life conditions that impact the human spirit and energy.
To hire Maurissa for seminars, consultation, press or anything revolving around The Living Well, please contact her directly.
Michelle Stafford, Director of Fitness and Wellness
Michelle “Divayogi” Stafford has been with us since our doors opened in 2009. Since then, she has developed a mindfulness program that combines the use of Yoga, Meditation, and Trauma Informed Care, so that the women, men, and children of our community have a safe place to let go, connect with one another, and heal their minds and bodies from toxic stress and stress related illness.
Michelle is a Certified Personal Trainer, Therapeutic Yoga Instructor, Trauma Informed Care Consultant, Yoni Egg Educator, and Reiki Practitioner. Her focus is on helping the African American Community gain empowerment through taking charge of their health, and achieving optimal wellness. Her hobbies include yoga, belly dance, gourmet cooking, photography, and gardening. She believes that we all have the ability to heal from the inside out if we have the tools to do so. Michelle is also known for her amazing Mione skin care projects. Organic shea butter based body products that melt on your skin.
This summer, she traveled to Las Vegas to educate women about the benefits of vaginal weight lifting as it relates to overall health and healing trauma at the ASSECT Conference (American Society of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists). She has spoken and presented at three Heart & Soul Passport to Wellness Expos, nationally. Most recently she facilitated a Healing Trauma Yoga class at the Healing Neen Conference in Downtown Baltimore. She has also worked as a consultant with Strategic Learning Partners. Earlier this year, Michelle was honored with a Black Wall street award from BmoreNews.
“Change your mind. Change your body. Change your life.” – Michelle Stafford
W. Henry Gregory. Jr. Ph.D, Thought Partner & Trusted Advisor
Dr. Gregory is a mental health professional with over thirty-five years of experience. He holds a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and master degrees in Community Mental Health and Psychology. He has expertise and extensive experience as a clinician, educator, trainer, consultant and researcher in a number of service areas including substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, criminal justice, juvenile justice, child welfare, school based mental health, and behavioral health.Currently, Dr. Gregory is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, School of Nursing. He also serves as the associate director for the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Department of Psychology’s Center for Community Collaboration. In addition, he is the cultural competence coordinator for MD CARES, a federally funded System of Care for youth and families experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges.
Dr. Gregory provides consultation and training to public and private agencies and direct services to individuals and families through his own organization, the Rafiki Consortium, LLC. Through Rafiki, he focuses on assisting service providers, policymakers, family members and other stakeholders in understanding and implementing skills, attitudes and treatment/service models that are culturally competent and grounded in a competency orientation toward promoting change.
Nneka Nnamdi, Director of Community Wellness
Nneka N’namdi is a Baltimore based entrepreneur engaged in conscious capitalism and community wellness work. As a member of the team, she curates community space for artistic, economic and social ventures.Skilled in creating healing spaces and teaching practical ways of managing trauma, Nneka and her sister Maya Onyango have created SisterGather; events for women of African descent to bond, heal and grow. Her study includes initiation in the practice of IFA, Principles of Trauma Informed Care as well as Masters in Management with a specialization in Organizational Leadership.
Her artistic experience includes West African dance with Sankofa Dance Theater, Dishibem, Urban Foli, Wombworks and #BaltimoreGirls. She’s a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Morgan State University, and lives in Upton with her two sons. She also recently gave birth to Fight Blight Bmore, a social and environmental justice tool for residents to identify, report and track blight.
Her work as an environmental activist has resulted in the following awards and fellowships:
- Baltimore Corps Elevation Award
- Associated Black Charities Women on the Move Award
- Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program 2018 Fellow
Kenya Ray, Organizational Management Consultant
Kenya, a Baltimore native, brought her comprehensive Human Resources experience to The Living Well Center to on board platform partnerships, conduct business coaching, and craft policies and procedures for The Living Well platform members. With a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University, Kenya enjoys public speaking and has a knack for facilitating intricate conversations. Her most challenging discussions however are had with her two teenage children.
Prior to joining The Living Well, Kenya worked as a Benefits and Wellness Manager at Venable LLP and as a Human Resources Manager for Under Armour. Currently a member of the HR team at Amazon.com, Kenya has an eagerness to help people; personally and professionally. Her volunteer services includes working with individuals and organizations who are under resourced and by providing youth development coaching.
As a facilitator and artist Kenya enjoys developing icebreakers, team building activities and party games. When she isn’t yelling from the stands at a sporting event, she is reppin’ her hood with her fellow #BaltimoreGirls in front of a camera and throughout the City’s arts community. Kenya is thankful for her training in West African dance under Baltimore based Sankofa Dance Theater. Not only did her training birth her love of African dance, it also forged relationships that have since blossomed into her extensive extended family.
What’s her most unforgettable attribute? Her boisterous laugh!
Ukana McPherson, Facilities Manager
If you have ever booked an event at The Living Well you have met the woman who owns this beautiful smile. She is the engine to our revenue generating line of business of space rentals. With immaculate customer service, we are grateful that she is committed to building community. Like many Change Makers on The Living Well platform Ukana works a full time job. She spends her days as a Surgical Coordinator at Katzen Eye Group where she has worked for 17 years.
We met Kana, as we call her, short for her Nigerian name pronounced Ookana, as the co-founder of COSL (Circle of Self Love). This group joined our family early on Charles Street and hosted dance classes and a Chunky Girl Fashion show, photo shoots and held a safe space for women of all sizes. Kana, a 1996 graduate of Lake Clifton/Eastern is a mother of a teen daughter who is also an artist. She enjoys attending dance classes and is a Avon representative.
Dominic Nell, House Photographer & Director of Operations
Dominic Nell, native Baltimorean is the quintessential Renaissance man. A graduate of Randallstown High School, Nell attended St. Augustine University as well as North Carolina State. He returned to Baltimore after exploring his creative urges in California, and found he enjoyed mentoring inner city youth. Coaching football provided him with deeper insight into the opportunities to support the development of young men who lived in his historic Penn North.
In 2009 Nell picked up a camera and discovered a new gift of photography. His most notable work was the documentation of the 2015 civil unrest known as the “Baltimore Uprising”. The Kids Safe Zone a Baltimore City community Center, and The Reginald Lewis Museum are an example of where he has facilitated photography classes for local youth.
Farmer Nell is his alter ego as his recent study of urban farming under the City-Hydro program has manifested into a new business venture named City Weeds. This business is gaining market share across the city by resourcing microgreens used by chefs across the City. Farmer Nell teaches Food for Life for youth in Baltimore City after school programs under his BeMoreGreen program. Nell received 2017 Red Bull Amaphiko Fellowship for his Food Justice social venture initiative.
Schaun Champion, House Photographer
Schaun Champion is a published photographer, currently based in Baltimore, Maryland who travels all over to capture life through her lens. People, places, things and the simple joys of life are her visual love language. Fluffy Pop Postcards was created as a way to share her travels, to capture “emotion” and tell story through her “postcards.” Since then it has evolved into much more. Whether it’s a portrait, street photography, travel photography, events, weddings, commercial or photojournalism, her goal is to capture life for the adventure that it is.
Her interest in the arts, language, anthropology, and philanthropy has lead her to develop the A Looking Glass Project, which is dedicated to enabling and encouraging underrepresented teens in Baltimore through travel and photography. Learn more: www.algp.org
Dr. Bridal Pearson is a Thought Partner, Consultant, and Qigong teacher at The Living Well. He is the program director and senior lecturer of the graduate program in Human Services Administration at the University of Baltimore. He also teaches at Coppin State University. Bridal is an award-winning professor. He earned the IOTA PHI LAMBDA Sorority “APPLE FOR THE TEACHER AWARD” in 2013, for Outstanding Service in Education. He also earned the 2014-2015 UNIVERSITY SYSTEMS OF MARYLAND “BOARD OF REGENTS” FACULTY AWARD for Teaching and Collaboration. This is a coveted award and the highest possible recognition for a professor within the University Systems of Maryland. He has educated hundreds of leaders over 15 years. He formerly held jobs as a therapist, mobile treatment team specialist for the homeless, advocate, and organizational consultant. He currently volunteers his time at the Baltimore Office of Civil Rights as the Chairman of the Civilian Review Board. Bridal is also a martial artist and has trained in traditional Kung Fu schools. He teaches Qigong and Tai Chi at The Living Well, Helping Other People through Empowerment (HOPE), and Moving Forward as a vehicle to create healing throughout his community. He views himself as a social entrepreneur who engages in actions to empower and transform those who are most marginalized in our society by educating, mentoring, advocating, and leading by example while existing as an active agent within his community.
Andrea Pyatt is an energetic and loving student of yoga. A dancer and yogi for more than 35 years; she is dedicated to helping others recognize the light and power that lies within each person. Understanding that we are energetic beings having a human existence, her focus is on supporting every age and body type on their journey of selflove and awareness through the practice of yoga. As a Registered Yoga Teacher-200 hour with Yoga Alliance, her training and teaching style encompasses aspects of Sivananda, Iyengar, and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. She is currently in the process of expanding her yoga knowledge and training to incorporate Pre-natal Yoga and Radiant Child Certifications. She has taught yoga to Baltimore City School Children for more than 2 years. She also participated in the Baltimore City Council 2017 Senior Symposium, teaching chair yoga to our community elders. As a daughter of Baltimore City and current resident, she is vested in creating safe sacred spaces for the growth of our community.