Staff, Board and Consultants
Linda Stout, Executive Director, has been a grassroots organizer and activist for three decades. A thirteenth-generation Quaker born to a tenant-farming family, Linda founded a successful grassroots organization in 1984, in a conservative region of North Carolina. PPP worked successfully to forge extraordinary alliances across race and class lines and won major public policy changes. Linda’s awards include a Public Policy Fellowship from Harvard University, Honorary Doctorate for Allegheny College, and the Freedom Fighter Award of the Equal Rights Congress. She is the author of Bridging the Class Divide and Other Lessons for Grassroots Organizing, published by Beacon Press. Read more about Linda.
Anthony Rominske, Administrative and Finance Director. Anthony Rominske is a long way from his birthplace in the rural provinces of the United States. Growing up feeling isolated on his family’s 1890s homestead in northern Wisconsin, Anthony decided to travel outside of rural America into the world to expand his mind and life. He began traveling the world when he joined the Marine Corps out of high school. Read more about Anthony.
Board of Directors
President – Linda Stout, Asheville, NC – see above.
Treasurer/Secretary – Cheri Britton Honeycutt, M.Ed Knoxville, TN, has been helping progressive leaders and front-line workers in public health and the private sector for over 25 years. She is the Founder/CEO of Whetstone Consultations which provides training for professionals doing HIV counseling and testing. In addition, she is a professional facilitator, trainer, speaker, and coach where she helps individuals, leaders and teams stop just “showing up” and start performing so they can create real momentum and better results (cherihoneycutt.com)
She’s served on a variety of boards and is delighted to be a part of Spirit in Action’s important work. SIA’s mission aligns with her personal mission of boosting the health and well-being of those who are doing some of the most important work in the world . . . the grassroots, progressive leader.
Director – Tom Louie, Brighton, MA, is a long-time organizer, public policy advocate and media skills trainer. He works primarily with grassroots activists and community-based organizations on immigrant rights, public education and language rights issues. Over the last 4 years, Tom was the Director of Development and Communications at Political Research Associates (PRA). Prior to PRA, he directed programs at Mass. English Plus Coalition and Mass. Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, organizing statewide advocacy and communications campaigns. Tom was instrumental in pushing for the passage of legislative provisions protecting the rights of language minority students in Massachusetts and the state’s first Emergency Room Interpreter Services Bill. More recently, he led the research effort on the needs and status of programs for English Language Learners in the Boston Public Schools for the Citizens Commission on Academic Success.
Director – Bethsaida Ruiz, Oakland, CA.
Bethsaida Ruiz is a Boricua, gender non-conforming Buddhist warrior and cultural abolitionist who brings an abundance of experience, as a certified embodied life strategist, consultant, facilitator, trainer, and movement builder. The embodied healing arts and activism inform everything and everyone she engages.
As a gifted activist, transformative and restorative justice change agent, who has worked in the nonprofit and governmental agencies for over 25 years she is driven and adept at cultivating high-performance teams and developing collaborative relationships with a wide range of diverse communities, stakeholders, and government agency partners.
Her embodied trauma informed healing practices are crafted with a passion to mutually care for others in developing their ability to heal and transmute the impact of trauma, violence, and oppression. Her primary commitment is in focusing and healing the effect of and relation to the legacy of intergenerational historical and cultural trauma by connecting authentically to the ancestral benefits, strengths, and creative resilience that aid Black, Indigenous, and BIPOC communities to live joy filled and integrated lives.
Currently Bethsaida, is a leader and organizer in La Tertulia Boricua, a social cultural arts organization in Oakland, CA., where she is working on an anthology of Boricuas in the diaspora, due out the fall of 2021. Bethsaida is a member of the Bay Area Alliance for a Sustainable Puerto Rico (BAASPR), which is a bay area Boricua diasporic organization doing education, community building and organizing, supporting mutual aid and environmental justice organizations in Puerto Rico and in Oakland, CA., after hurricane Maria. Bethsaida is a core leader and organizer for Thrive East Bay in Oakland, CA. Thrive East Bay is a new kind of community relevant for the 21st century bringing people together at the intersections of personal and social transformation, informed by modern science and ancient wisdom, infused with a deep sense of purpose and interconnectedness, inspired by the arts, and focused on social change.
Bethsaida is a board member, consultant, coach, and trainer with Spirit in Action, currently working on a project as one of the trainers and coaches in Eastern North Carolina, utilizing the Take 10 training model. The training team works in collaboration with Blueprint North Carolina which comprises of a statewide partnership of non-profit organizations working together to ensure all North Carolinians have a voice in civic engagement, our democracy, and a full share of its benefits.
Bethsaida is Bi-Lingual/Bi-Cultural (Spanish, speak, read, and write). Bethsaida received her professional coaching certification from Leadership that Works. Currently working on an Embodied Social Justice Certification, with a completion in the summer of 2021, with The Embody Labs.
In Reverence, Grace and Humility, Deep Bows of Gratitude.
Spirit in Action is truly blessed to be able to work with some remarkable consultants who provide skills and services that help us to carry out our mission.
Kathleen Sharkey – Kathy’s career in nonprofit management has included fund-raising, marketing and communications, business administration, new business development, site development and project management. As a consultant since 2006, her client list is diverse, reflecting a range of interests and expertise. Kathy advises foundations, progressive groups, universities and botanical gardens—from small budgets to large—on fund-raising, communications and recruitment. She has developed marketing materials and social media campaigns, managed fund-raising databases, conducted organizational assessments, and planned museum and garden tours. As the founder of The Sustainability Project at Peace Development Fund, she trained staff, board and volunteers in non-profit organizations how to ask people for money to support their group; how to prudently use financial resources; and how to develop board leadership and governance. Kathy is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, where she was a European Studies major.
Working in partnership with Linda Stout, Kierra Sims and Bethsaida Ruiz work with grassroot organizations in Eastern North Carolina, utilizing the Spirit in Action Take 10 training model. The training team works in collaboration with Blueprint North Carolina which is comprised of a statewide partnership of non-profit organizations working together to ensure all North Carolinians have a voice in civic engagement, our democracy, and a full share of its benefits.
Kierra Sims – Kierra is a facilitator, movement builder and educator who is dedicated to moving resources to radical, imaginative ideas. She brings more than a decade of experience as an organizer in the U.S. South and central Appalachia to Spirit in Action, from focusing on the school to prison pipeline to introducing restorative practices to young people and creating a just transition away from a coal dependent economy. She is the Development Director at the Center for Third World Organizing, a social justice organization committed to building a thriving racial justice movement led by communities of color.
Previously, Kierra was on the Education Team at Highlander Research and Education Center where she anchored the Appalachian Transition Fellowship and the Seeds of Fire program. She is a member of Alternate ROOTS and serves on the advisory board of Power U Center for Social Change. Kierra earned a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Wofford College, where she studied the role of the church in social movements and co-founded Glendale Community Action, the first neighborhood association in a rural former mill village, organizing and facilitating community meetings.
Bethsaida Ruiz – See Bethsaida’s Board of Director’s bio above.
Linda Stout’s workshop “Building Power To Win” offers such critical tools for this political moment. As a young organizer, so many of the early campaigns I was a part of struggled to build a long-lasting and powerful base of support—and nurture a strong community amongst those folks. Linda tells inspiring stories about her own experiences in effective base-building that make it clear that building our power to win is possible.—Jess Grady-Benson, PeoplesHub