Poetics of Aging

Planning Committee

Nader ShabahangiNader Shabahangi, Ph.D., conceived the Poetics of Aging movement. Nader received his Doctorate from Stanford University, is a licensed psychotherapist, and is cofounder of AgeSong. His multicultural background has fueled his passion for becoming an advocate for marginalized groups and for creating programs with the purpose of caring more comprehensively for elders. Nader also founded the Pacific Institute, a nonprofit organization that defines its mission as one of helping elders live meaningful lives. He is a frequent guest lecturer, including presenting at international conferences focusing on aging, counseling, and dementia. Nader authored Faces of Aging and co-authored Deeper Into the Soul and Conversations With Ed. When not devoting himself to his efforts with AgeSong, Nader indulges in creative writing, teaching, process-oriented psychology, and long dinners with his wife enhanced by good wine.

Sally GelardinSally Gelardin, Ed.D., NCC, DCC, JCTC, Conference Chair, delights in bringing together people and ideas. She is Moderator of Careerwell Tele-Interviews, Instructor of the Global Career Development Facilitator Training, creator of Job Juggler’s Lifelong Employability Program, and Adjunct Faculty/Portfolio Evaluator at the University of San Francisco. She has served as president of the California Career Development Association and is a frequent presenter in the fields of career and healthcare locally and globally. Sally authored three books, The Mother-Daughter Relationship: Activities for Promoting Lifework Success, Starting and Growing a Business in the New Economy, and Career and Caregiving: Empowering the Shadow Workforce of Family Caregivers.

Troy PiwowarskiTroy Piwowarski, Conference Chair Assistant, is an Existential-Humanistic (E-H) psychotherapist and is a third-year doctorate student at the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, taking a directed study course this year from afar. Troy is passionate about E-H Psychology, and is currently collaborating with AgeSong and the Existential-Humanistic Institute in conducting several research projects and facilitating process groups. Troy’s other passions include bicycling around the Bay Area, and finding new ways to integrate creativity into daily living.

Dinah Means-BailesDinah Means-Bailes, AgeSong Liaison, has worked in senior living more than 20 years, but is still always looking for new and better ways to improve care, service, staff benefits and business models. Her passion for education has fueled the internship program at Lakeside Park to include over 18 master and doctorate level students, and the ancestry program to include more than 20 students from local high schools. “One of Dinah’s greatest strengths as a leader is that she builds teams that grow in confidence and skill because of her leadership and mentorship” (Paula Hertel).

Mary Lynne Schoenbeck, MA, RPCC, NCCC, Conference Volunteer Coordinator, is a Career Counselor with 25+ years experience. She co-founded the Third Age Network, a group of career counselors and coaches who work with the 50+ population. She retired from Stanford’s Career Development Center and projects with Stanford’s GSB, School of Engineering, and School of Education. Mary Lynne Schoenbeck see individuals and groups in her career counseling and coaching practice in Los Altos.

Patrick FoxDr. Patrick J. Fox, Conference Proposals Co-Coordinator, is a professor of Medical Sociology and Health Policy, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Co-Director, Institute for Health & Aging, at the Univeristy of California, San Francisco. He is recipient of the UCSF School of Nursing’s Helen Nah Award for outstanding research contirbutions and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. Dr. Fox’s interests include the sociology of aging, long-term care, health services research, health policy, Alzheimer’s disease, economic costs of illness, and health promotion.

Brooke HollisterBrooke Hollister, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Her teaching and research at the Institute for Health & Aging, at the University of California, San Francisco focuses on aging health and social policy issues. Dr. Hollister also serves as Vice Chair on the National Board of the Gray Panthers, and has been a member since 2004. Dr. Hollister is the national director and co-founder of Students for Social Security and Concerned Scientists in Aging.

David PetrovayDavid Petrovay, PhD, Conference Community Outreach, has 13 years experience working in a variety of settings including schools, public government agencies, non-profit agencies, and private practice has enabled me to help hundreds of individuals identify career goals, create resumes to reflect their skills and accomplishments, prepare for interviews, and learn ways to effectively communicate. He holds a Masters degree in Counseling and Guidance and a Doctorate in Education with a focus on career development both from the University of Arizona. His involvement as a member of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce and San Mateo Chamber of Commerce provide opportunities to interact with business people across a wide range of occupations.

Molly FreemanMolly Freeman, Conference Community Outreach, earned a PhD in Complex Systems Analysis and Distance Learning. She is an educator, researcher and political activist with experience in the fields of child health and early care, aging and adult development, and educational technology research. Molly designs instructional strategies for online colleges and instructors and is organizing a Certificate program on Domestic Violence Intervention and Prevention with the Health Sciences Center and Extension of the American University of Armenia.

Janice BlanchardJanice Blanchard, Conference Public Relations, is a gerontologist and a nationally recognized writer, speaker and consultant on aging issues. For over 15 years she has worked in academic, government and non-profit organizations to promote a new vision of aging that values elders for their wisdom and experience and as integral members of our communities. Renowned for her seminal work in Aging in Community, Blanchard consults with government, non-profit and private organizations to develop innovative housing and community-based solutions that strengthen the fabric of our communities, for all ages and all abilities – especially our elders.

Willa Smith, NCC, NCCC, RPC, PPS, Conference Public Relations, is Editor for Tele-Interviews at Careerwell (Self-employed) and Mentor, Cooperative Work Experience Education at Yuba College. She has been an Advisory Board Member at SBDC – Yuba College, Career Planning & Development Instructor, Project Coordinator, Outreach Specialist at Yuba College, and 4-H Program Representative at University of California, Cooperative Extension – 4-H Youth Development Program. Willa has over 20 years of experience in educational, career and personal counseling, primarily in Higher Education.

Faith WinthropFaith Winthrop is a Bay Area treasure celebrating 80 years of life in song as both an international singer/songwriter and a leading specialist in vocal technique and performance skills. Faith was the founding director of Glide Memorial’s now-famed ensemble and a faculty member at the SF Conservatory of Music. She continues to teach at The Jazzschool and Mills College and in her home studio. She has coached many acclaimed artists, including Ben Vereen, Al Jarreau, Holly Near and Paula West, as well as countless aspiring singers. Her interest in songs related to aging has inspired her new show to premier at San Francisco’s Razz Room in November.

Marita GrudzenMarita Grudzen, MHS, CEU Co-Coordinator, is Deputy Director and a founding member of the Stanford Geriatric Education Center, a national center in ethnogeriatrics within Stanford University School of Medicine. Ms. Grudzen was co-recipient with Chaplain Bruce Feldstein, MD, of the Templeton Award (2001-06) for the medical school curriculum they developed, Spirituality and Meaning in Medicine. Ms. Grudzen served as religious editor for Vol. III of Doorway Thoughts, Religious and Spiritual Issues in Cross Cultural Care of the Older Adult (2008). Other publications include Vital Connections in Long term Care (2004 with Barton, J. and Zielske, R.) and “Discerning the Spirit in the Rhythms of Time” (chapter in Aging and the Meaning of Time, 2001, with Oberle, J.).

Rush RehmRush Rehm, Professor of Drama and Classics at Stanford University, is the author of Aeschylus’ Oresteia: A Theatre Version (Melbourne 1978), Greek Tragic Theatre (Routledge: London 1992), Marriage to Death: The Conflation of Wedding and Funeral Rituals in Greek Tragedy (Princeton 1994), The Play of Space: Spatial Transformation in Greek Tragedy (Princeton 2002), and Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World (Duckworth: London 2003).

Josiah PolhemusJosiah Polhemus, is a writer/director/producer who grew up in Palo Alto and is a MFA graduate of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where he co-starred with William Hurt in Good. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, having won both Best Screenplay and Best Film for his short films Pause and Vision at the Hollywood Scarefest. He has appeared in over fifty plays and won Best Featured Male Performance for his portrayal of George Deever in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons; and his television roles include The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives and The Tracey Ullman Show.

Sumyyah BilalSumyyah Bilal, M.A., born in Birmingham, Alabama, almost during slavery, attended segregated schools. That beginning shaped who she is today and is something she treasures. In inner city Detroit, she taught Middle School. In the San Francisco bay area, she served as placement counselor at SF State, career counselor at Mills, program coordinator at Youth for Service for Oakland USD, and training placement coordinator with the Berkeley Urban League. While working with her husband as house parents at the Florida Sheriff’s Boy’s Ranch, she became familiar with computerized career information systems at the Florida Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (FLOICC). In 1980, she became Director of the Montana Career Information Systems, and in 1986, moved to her current position, as Executive Director of EUREKA, the California Career Information System.

Jeff ByersJeff Byers, Co-Coordinator, Conference Speakeasy, tells stories in a variety of venues, from Bay Area elementary schools to graduate school classrooms, from the Asian Art Museum to the Century Club of San Francisco, from small groups in senior residences to public theater stages. He was featured at this year’s National Center for Creative Aging symposium at the Aging in America Conference of the American Society on Aging. He also teaches storytelling to individuals and groups of all ages and is a board member of the Storytelling Association of California.

Bob KanegisBob Kanegis, Co-Coordinator, Conference Speakeasy, listens for stories, tells stories, and lives a storied life. He performs at schools, libraries and at community events nationwide. His passion for encouraging others to tell their stories, has led to long term teaching residencies and projects with incarcerated teens, corporate leaders, farm worker families, and the United Nations Association through the “Visions and Voices project.

Marilyn HarrymanMarilyn Harryman a “southerner” by birth, grew up in greater Los Angeles, CA. Befriending her husband in the jr high band, she maintained their friendship and has “kept the music playing” for 50 years. After a year in graduate school, she joined him in Ankara, Turkey while with the Army Security Agency. She taught English at Middle Eastern Technical University and they traveled extensively in the middle east and Egypt. Returning to Berkeley, Marilyn earned a masters’ degree in counseling. As a counselor in West Oakland for 22 years and 12 as district coordinator for counseling, she was able to create a high school success guide, produce/host, CCC Live! Counselor Community Connection, KDOL TV, become a counselor educator, and author, and maintain a private practice as career counselor and counselor advocate.

Barbara Rose BrookerBarbara Rose Brooker is founder of AgeMarch and author of the Viagra Diaries, which will be made into an HBO series featuring Goldie Hawn. She notes, “How we age is who we are. Age is not about a number. It is about living life to the fullest, asking new questions and always forming new goals.”

Tom GrayTom Gray is the Activity Director at Sierra Pointe Assisted Living Community in Roseville, CA. He is often asked to train new employees and take on special events that involve all 24 communities. Tom has an associates degree in airport management. He also majored in computer programming at Chapman College and majored in English with American River College. He is state certified as an Activity Director and has received certification to work with residents in physical training. He is a Vietnam Veteran and served in the USAF as an Airborne Air traffic controller and Command Post Specialist for 17 years until he was medically retired and receives a disability pension. He has received a USAF Meritorious Service Award and 3 USAF Accommodation medals. Other awards include Division/Department Management and Leadership, Supervisory and Teaching skills. Tom also worked for the Sacrament History Museum for 20 years as an Operations Director, had his own business in exhibit installation.

Denise BondyDenise Bondy, a certified Activity Coordinator, has advocated for people with developmental disabilities for 30 years and engaged in the visual arts in many capacities. In addition to teaching art, she has worked with Bay Area agencies and was the activities and volunteer coordinator of The Cedars of Marin for 10 years. In 2009, she coordinated a unique and colorful multi-artist show titled “Working Out: Artists With Developmental Differences” in the Rasmussen Art Gallery on the Pacific Union College campus.