Ruth Ann is a professional life coach and nonprofit consultant with a strong commitment to social change organizations and entrepreneurial ventures She currently serves on the Regional Council of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. She is the former executive director of Rebuilding Together San Francisco, which renovates homes, schools and community centers with the involvement of thousands of volunteers. She is also an alumna of LeaderSpring and later served as chair of its Leadership Council. Ruth Ann has a Masters of Regional Planning from University of North Carolina.
Founder and Director
Laura is a social entrepreneur and an adopted person. Prior to founding the Adoption Museum Project, she spent 14 years as a marketing and communications professional including senior positions in corporate, nonprofit and start-up organizations. Laura’s passion for personal and social transformation, storytelling, public space, and arts and culture inform her vision for the museum. Contact Laura: email@example.com
Elayne Chou, Ph.D.
Elayne, an adoptive parent and adoption professional, is a licensed psychologist in private practice who counsels adolescent and adult Asian-American adoptees, and also works with adoptive parents. In her practice she also provides career assessment and counseling to individuals who are in career transition or exploring career options, and has been a consultant, trainer, keynote speaker, and workshop facilitator on career development topics to universities and organizations nationwide. Elayne puts her career development expertise to use in her work as a Senior Consultant for Leadership Alliance, a talent management consulting firm where she helps companies with their executive hiring, executive coaching, and leadership development needs. Elayne serves as Secretary on the Aurora School Board, and is an Advisory Board member of PACT, An Adoption Alliance. She has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from The Ohio State University.
Ben serves as the Deputy Director of the San Diego Museum of Man. He has worked for fifteen years in various roles as a museum educator and administrator with an emphasis on arts-based education, lifelong learning and professional development. His museum experience includes six years in the Education Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum, three years as Associate Director of Education at the Skirball Cultural Center and three years as Head of Interpretation at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. He has presented nationally on the museum’s role in learning, public value and social change. In 2010, Garcia was named Pacific Region Museum Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association.
Zoë Klein is performing artist, producing director, event planner and an international adoptee, born in Bogotá, Colombia and raised in NYC. Zoë has been the Producing Director at CounterPulse in San Francisco where she has been integral to the design and execution of the theater’s brand new three-story facility. Zoë has toured 28 countries over 6 continents co-directing acrobatic dance company Paradizo Dance, which has won multiple awards, was seen on So You Think You Can Dance, and was a top Finalist on America’s Got Talent. Zoë was a CounterPulse 2016 dance artist in resident producing Born, Never Asked. Her work inspires audiences through seemingly impossible athletic movement, visual imagery, and interactive gallery installation to reveal the complexities of international adoption, reclaiming native identity, and inviting conversation around loss, ethics of family making, and the importance of origin.
Susan Dusza Guerra Leksander, LMFT
Susan lives with the perspectives of adopted person, first mother and adoption professional, and enjoys inhabiting the most fertile ground where all three meet. Susan is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked with all members of the adoption/foster care triads since 2008. She is currently First/Birth Family Specialist at Pact, an Adoption Alliance. In that role, she provides direct services to expectant parents considering adoption and first families. She also educates adoption professionals and adoptive parents regarding the intersections of adoption and race and first/birth family experiences. Susan previously supervised a Family Preservation program supporting at-risk families. Susan has co-facilitated retreats and workshops for first mothers through the On Your Feet Foundation (OYFF) of Northern California, which provides services to first/birth mothers post-placement. She is currently President of the OYFF Board of Directors. Susan is a first mother who placed her daughter in an “open” adoption, which was subsequently closed by the adoptive parents. She was adopted transracially at birth and with the support of her adoptive parents, reunited with her first families as a teenager.
Kit is an adoptee from Hong Kong. He grew up in Canby, Oregon, which is where he developed his fondness for sports and nature. Kit received his B.S. in Journalism and Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon and went on to earn his M.A. and Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Currently, he is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Merced. Kit has published an article in Critical Discourse Studies entitled, “‘Real Families’: The Violence of Love in New Media Adoption Discourse,” and a chapter in an edited volume called, “Creating (Un)equal Families in The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.” His research and teaching interests include Race, Family, and Adoption; Critical Ethnic Studies; American Studies; Asian American Studies; Race and Law; Immigration and Citizenship; Transnational Feminism; Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Sports; U.S. Empire and Colonialism; and Critical Pedagogy. Kit also contributes articles on adoption research for the online magazine, Gazillion Voices. He has worked as both a counselor and assistant director at summer camps for transnational and transracial adoptees.
Penny has spent her career furthering the mission of museums by creatively managing the business of fundraising. She started out at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and went on to be Head of Development at both the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University, and most recently the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, UC Berkeley. Penny earned her Masters in Arts Administration from the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Rachel is Director of Birthparent Services at Adoption Connection, a nonprofit open adoption agency in San Francisco. She is passionate about working with women experiencing unintended pregnancies to empower them to create the best plan for their situation. Rachel advocates for ethical, strengths based and culturally competent social services for families in disenfranchised and oppressed communities to support them while they make challenging family planning choices. Rachel is a current Board member of On Your Feet Foundation Northern California and a volunteer for Healing Waters, a rafting company that takes HIV positive participants on outdoor wilderness adventures. She is a former Board member of the Sea Change Program, a non profit organization dedicated to transforming the culture of stigma around abortion and other stigmatized reproductive experiences.
Lee is the Fresno Poet Laureate (2015-2017), a professor, adoptee and adoptive parent. He is the author of two books, This Many Miles from Desire and Gardening Secrets of the Dead. His poems and essays have been published widely in literary magazines, anthologies, and college textbooks such as The Bloomsbury Review, Visions Across the Americas, and Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, among others. He has given readings and presentations throughout the United States and served on the Board of Directors of the English Council of California for eight years. Born in Daejeon, South Korea and adopted at ten months, Lee teaches in the English Department at Fresno City College and in the low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.
Susan is a biracial Asian adoptee, activist, performer and writer. From 2004 through 2010, she served as the Director of Pact Family Camp. She is also the co-editor of the anthology A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption (North Atlantic Books). Her work has appeared in many publications, including Growing Up Asian American, CHOICE, Making More Waves, Hip Mama andLiterary Mama, where she has been a columnist and creative nonfiction editor. She has performed her solo performance about adoption and reunion, The Ice Cream Gene, to audiences in New York, Cambridge, Los Angeles and San Francisco. She lives in Oakland with her family.
JeaRan Kim is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Tacoma. Her research focuses on the placement stability of adopted children. As a social work practitioner, the majority of her practice focused on child welfare and adoption including work as a child-specific adoption recruiter for foster youth; conducting training and home studies for prospective adoptive parents; providing post-adoption services; and managing a training program on adoption for mental health and social work professionals. She is the author of the blog, Harlow’s Monkey and has been published in several anthologies including Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption and the recent A Good Time For the Truth: Race in Minnesota. JaeRan was adopted from South Korea.
Gretchen Sisson is a research sociologist at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco. Her work focuses on the social constructions of parenthood, specifically examining adoption and birth motherhood, teen pregnancy and young parenthood, and abortion and reproductive choice. Gretchen has degrees from Amherst College and Boston College, and serves on the Boards of Directors for both Backline and Bitch Media. She lives in San Francisco with her spouse and two young children.