Writer, Teacher, Preacher, Guide
Our founders have been described as leaders with passion who can just as easily teach a class in martial arts as guide someone through a challenging life experience. Just as easily lift up a small business with exceptional administration and organizational skills as develop entirely new strategies and protocols for positive growth. Multi-talented with an indefatigable passion for improving people and organizations.
Julia has dedicated her life to living into her authentic self. Her journey began more than thirty years ago when she first stepped foot onto the dojang (martial arts training hall) floor. Being one of only a handful of children didn't dissuade her from the allure of the painted plywood floors and endless reps of bodyweight exercises. The development of the mind, body and spirit became her passion. Julia shares the lessons she learned through countless hours of practice and reflection the arts of Taekwondo, Kumdo and Hapkido. Earning an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Southern California and a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, Julia's academic pursuits center on connecting individuals to their true selves and to one another. Julia's ministerial service began at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery under the direction of the Reverend Winnie Varghese. She continued to grow into radical hospitality and dynamic ministry through dialogue with the Reverend Stephanie Spellers. Julia more recently served as a Chaplain for Soldier On, a non-profit serving struggling and homeless military veterans, and as a pastor at Westhampton Congregational Church.
Julia is a founding member of the Westar Institute's Praxis Forum. She currently serves on the steering committee of the Praxis Forum and as an Analyst for the Westar Institute. Through the Athena Initiative she hopes to assist more people, and organizations, to get in touch with who they are meant to be.
Virginia has a Masters of Social Work from Fordham University where she concentrated on both non-profit leadership and clinical applications. She believes that all aspects of social work, whether it be in administration or clinical work, assists positive growth in communities. Virginia is passionate about serving populations that are often overlooked: the elderly, veterans, the LBGTQ community, Native Americans, and those suffering housing insecurity. Through the Athena Initiative, Virginia hopes to help communities build bridges to these populations.
Virginia concurrently serves as the Director of Housing at Selfhelp Community Services, a NYC based non-profit working to keep seniors living independently.