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Another Great Testimonial!

Rick Hinterthuer, Ed.D, former, Executive Director of the North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education (NAPHE) and Director of Aging Services for the UAMS Schmieding Center for Senior Health.

I spent seven days with Valerie Brown and 11 other pilgrims at Ghost Ranch, as we experienced a Journey Toward Wholeness – A Courage and Renewal Retreat. As a Presbyterian pastor who has served the institutional church for 40 years, I came to the retreat tired, burned out, and numb to the power of the Living God. Through Valerie’s fierce and tender leadership, we were led into a deep encounter with the Spirit – exploring our own inner truth within the safe and compassionate embrace of community. I have returned home deeply rooted in holy grace and vitality, and encouraged to re-discover God in my life and my ministry. Valerie Brown is a precious gift – one who leads and encourages out of her own integrity and wholeness.

Susan R. Andrews, General Presbyter, Presbytery of Hudson River

“The most valuable aspect of the coaching process was the deep personal connection and trust I felt for Valerie and the process.  Her listening. Feeling safe and supported as I said what came up and experienced Valerie’s following my lead.  Feeling accepted. I liked being connected by phone.  It provided me the safety of not being seen and allowed me to react more deeply to Valerie’s questions.”

Laina Clugston, Facilitator, Center for Courage & Renewal

“Valerie has an incredible openness, flexibility, great insight, strong capacity to listen and respond, commitment to moving the process forward, and a goal-orientation but willing to adapt the process to shifting circumstances.”

Antonia Rudenstine, Ed.D, Director, reDesign

“Valerie has an ability to deeply listen; skill level in reframing, mirroring and validating; ability to have “spirited” conversations; commitment and desire in helping me as a client.”

Jana Rickerson, LCSW, Director, Public Health, Family Mosaic Project, Bay Area, San Francisco, CA

“Valerie is an extraordinary leadership coach. She helped me improve my communication with staff, reducing internal school conflict and helped me clarify the elements of mission-driven, child-focused education in our school.”

Karmala Sherwood, Executive Director and Head of School, Smith Leadership Academy, Dorchester, MA

As an educator, I have attended many professional development sessions over the years.  I have always come away with new awareness and ideas for my work.  This went far beyond that.  We were listening to the voice of each other’s questioning souls.  The trust and honesty that developed was truly unprecedented for me.  It was not professional development that you could file away.  It was and is a life-long skill to practice.  As I once said to the others “I hope I have enough years left to figure out not only some of the answers but some of the questions”!

And, Valerie was at the heart of it.  She modeled intense listening skills and always asked questions that nudged us to look further and deeper.  She affirmed our honesty and questions and created the “safe space” for all of us to do so.  Right after each session, we would get a summary and further questions for each of us to consider.  She would check in again before our next scheduled time.

What an amazing experience!

—Anne Riley, Center for Courage & Renewal Facilitator

Prior to the first session and between the following sessions Valerie shared suggested readings and journaling prompts on the readings as a way to continue our personal explorations and practices between the small group sessions.

Valerie was artful in her ability to listen deeply, reflect on the kernels of our growing edges, and gently push each of us into discovery. She is highly experienced and open to her own continuous learning.

—Douglas Babkirk, University of Main Cooperative Extension and Center for Courage & Renewal Facilitator

Also wanted to tell you how much this past December’s ‘Open Heart’ Retreat has meant to me ….. I few weeks ago I managed a face-to-face session with my spiritual director, who lives in Austin …. She hadn’t seen me since last fall, when things were … shall we say… a bit rocky in this interim ministry I’m serving this year…. She described such a difference in my presence in March, and after talking at and around various issues, she said something to the effect, ‘Seems like that retreat at Pendle Hill was some sort of catalyst for change in you.’ I think she was right : the craziness of my current ministry continues, but since January I’ve had a different resilience to its challenges…. Thank you.

—Barbara Coeyman