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Passion Spark Leadership, Facilitators, and Interns (paid and volunteer)


Jerry Beckerman
President & Founder


For over 40 years, Jerry has been involved in a wide variety of activities in the worlds of student inspiration, social research, new products, community non-profits, strategic planning, marketing, and new venture development. Consistent throughout his career, he has transformed ideas into tangible reality by building teams of smart passionate professionals. He holds a bachelors in psychology from UC Berkeley (1975), and has developed and launched a variety of successful for-profit ventures until, in 2003, he founded the nonprofit Segue Career Mentors. Segue facilitated 90,000 student career exposures to inspire student about the career options that are available to them in the work world. Now with Passion Spark, Jerry leads a Socratic-based program, a form of mentorship at scale, that gently guides people to "Do what you love and earn a good living," to discover your passion and then match it to a fulfilling career. To see a more expansive bio click here

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Celia Howen

Senior Facilitator, Region Director


Celia brought to our curriculum development and insights about college students from her practical, hand-on experiences.  She served for 20 years as a highly popular college and career counselor, and staff leader, at Westmont College in Santa Barbara.  She holds a Masters degree in Higher Education and College Counseling.  With her penchant for creating safe spaces, when she happens to cross paths with former students in the community, they offer her heartfelt thanks.  She empowers students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership by providing professional development coaching, general workplace skills, and guidance for industry specific internships and job searches.  When not focusing as a Passion Spark facilitator, she serves as a personal and professional development consultant working with individual clients, churches, non-profits, and for profit companies.

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Alondra Tolentino

Media and Operations Manager


Alondra's passion to support students to find a career path they love, has combined with her communications skills to creatively guide our media refinements in our outreach materials.  She is an avid reader, always interested in learning and engaging her community.  She finds solace in writing and inspiration in literature.  She graduates in Spring ’24 from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies and English. She relishes the education focus of Passion Spark to support students to create the lives they want to live.  She is an active writer and contributor to publications such as The Berkeley Fiction Review, a literary publication, and the online magazine, Her Campus Personally.  After graduating Cal, her next academic focus will be pursuing a master’s degree.  Her plan is to develop her career within the field in ways that allow her engage her passions and give back to her community.


David Steinhart
Training Specialist


David added to our development of our facilator training systems in practical, meaningful, and creative ways.  He is an Educator and Training and Development Professional with over 32 years experience. For 10 years he taught public speaking and communication courses at California State University, Los Angeles. In the corporate arena he brought his skills to serve major corporations including Bank of America, Boeing, Packard Bell, Prudential, Rocketdyne and United Technologies. David taught skill building business programs such as time management, thriving through continuous change, delivering successful business presentations, and how to be an effective leader. Drawing on these years of experience, David helped guide Passion Spark to develop its program to train facilitators.

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Senior Facilitator


Kaitlyn's love of empowering young people led to her earning her Masters in Educational Psychology.  She trains faculty in techniques for guiding students.  She earned her Bachelors in both Psychology and Business. Kaitlyn is highly passionate, persuasive, and articulate in her work with partners. Kaitlyn has exceptional interpersonal aptitude so that she quickly establishes rapport with individuals from diverse backgrounds and ages. She engages these skills as a leader of her peers and in her professional encouragement of young adults to put forward their best efforts to create a long-term plan in support of a career path that enables them to follow their true passions.

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Leanna Izen


Leanna received a Bachelors in Child Development with a minor in Psychology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.  While there, she greatly enjoyed developing skills as an Orientation Leader for the New Student and Transition’s Program where she assisted students in making a positive transition to college life. While in graduate school, she has become particularly passionate about social justice issues and developing cultural proficiency. Her skills were further developed by serving young people at the Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Currently, Leanna is attending California Lutheran University for her Masters in Counseling and Guidance and relishes opportunities make college and career experiences as wonderful for others as it is for her.


Gavin Frye
Master Facilitator


Gavin's 30+ years experience as a seminar leader, and as a licensed therapist and facilitator, were highly supportive in the curriculum development for Passion Spark.  He has two Master’s degrees, one in counseling and one in education. He has been a guiding light and deeply engaged consultant during the development of Passion Spark Retreat Workshop. A key Specialty of Gavin’s is supporting individuals in career and life transitions with an emphasis on passion and creativity. He served on the faculty at the University of Santa Monica and co-facilitated their Master’s Degree Program in Spiritual Psychology for 16 years. He is well-known designer and facilitator of workshops, including Discovering and Creating Your Life’s Work, Sacred Passages, and Guiding Your Family From the Wisdom of the Heart.


Tracy Defilippis
Senior Advisor, Facilitator

Tracy experience over 15 years as a transition specialist added greatly to our refinement of the curriculum. She holds a master’s degree in counseling and guidance. Her successes come from first engaging and knowing the individual young adults she serves, earning their trust, and then supporting them into planning and finding their passions and matching careers. She is an expert in educating and supporting young people in many forms of transitions, including individual and group counseling, special programs (life skills, service learning, career exploration), personal development, special education (IEP’s & 504’s), and facilitating vocational growth opportunities through innovative career development strategies by bridging the expertise of the educational and business communities.

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Jeff Greenapple
Facilitator, Region Director

Jeff is a much-loved School Psychologist, with over twenty years of experience as a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist.  His insights continue to improve our curriculum focused on inspiring teen Retreat participants.  He empowers parents toward establishing richer and more satisfying relationships with their children, and has geared his practice to working with teens and families with teens. Trained in Psychodynamic and Cognitive/Behavioral Therapies, he engages adolescents in support of their personal and future goals.  With a focus on social/emotional learning and motivation he has created and implemented school programs for children that have nurtured their academic and emotional success. He has a strong commitment to children overcoming adversity and learning self-management, self-discipline, and self-purpose.

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Staci Mallett


Staci’s greatest passion is supporting students on a journey that shows them who they are so they become their best.   She is a student leader in a peer to peer mentorship program helping students navigate the college journey and acclimate to university culture. She earned her masters in Leadership in Higher Education at California State University, Channel Islands, after she first earned her BA at CSUCI. Staci believes that, “To live life is to help others so that all may live life.”

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Crista Scott
Senior Facilitator


Crista received her Master’s Degree in Psychology, with a focus in Positive Psychology, from California Lutheran University. She believes in the power and meaning brought to a life by discovering your passions and pursuing your dreams. Her academic path led her to research the mental health benefits of pursuing a life filled with passion and intrinsic motivation. She has presented at several psychology conferences around the world and is published in over ten scientific journals on passion, flow, and happiness.  Since graduating, she created a wellness retreat program based on the experiential lessons that nature settings offer to us.  She is driven to help others discover their life’s purpose, and believes Passion Spark plays a vital role in helping local youth discover their dream careers.


Hannah Conner


Hannah is passionate about guiding students to success and has years of successes doing just that. As a high school mock trial coach, she guided her teams to many wins. Her favorite part about coaching the mock trial team was watching the students use the skills they leaned in mock trial to grow into driven and successful young adults. She has mentored high school students to help them prepare for college or career goals and helped them develop public speaking skills. She graduates in May from California Lutheran University with degrees in both Sociology and Criminal Justice and will then attend graduate school to study medical sociology and go on to educate young people about health issues.

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Anne Van De Water
Senior Advisor


Anne contributed to the Passion Spark curriculum development in many significant ways.  She is an Internationally Certified Life Coach.  She was certified by the International Coaches Federation, and was trained at the Coaches Training Institute. For 25 years she has provided coaching and counseling for children, teens, and adults. Anne walks the talk and lives a life of passion and purpose. As a high school student, her exuberant communication of her passion in her college admissions essay and interview resulted in her being accepted by first choice college. Her Mission is to support students to live in alignment with what they truly love, what truly lights them up, and what evokes the deepest states of happiness in their life. She has witnessed countless students positively visions. Today, Anne is the creator of True Self Mastery, a program devoted to supporting students in activating their highest potential.

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Anne-Marie Beck
Senior Advisor, Facilitator


Anne-Marie's understanding of what young people experience in the college realm opened our eyes to important nuances to improve our curriculum.  She gains immense joy from helping young people to discover their inherent strengths and passions, and then connect those strengths and passions to the world of work. She is a highly skilled Career Counseling professional who combines her deep and current knowledge with authentic caring for the youth she serves. Her dedication is apparent in her achievements, such as a Master of Science in Counseling, specializing in Career, from Cal State University, at Northridge. Anne-Marie’s undergraduate degree was earned from the University of Oregon, and is in Cultural Anthropology. Anne-Marie’s diverse experience includes providing career services in multiple community college campuses and to a juvenile detention center. Her personal and professional philosophy is that: “The world of work and career have the power to transform and heal lives.” She is committed to continuing to help young people enrich their lives with a deep understanding of themselves, as well as the ability to connect that understanding to meaningful employment and career paths.”

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Jill K. Allen

Facilitator, Region Director


Jill has been a true blessing in supporting our organization's development.  She earned her Masters Degree in Organizational Behavior from Phillips Graduate Institute, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Bridgeport, CT.  Upon receiving her Masters, she worked as an adjunct professor at Phillips.   She worked as an executive coach and consultant, specializing in the Entertainment industry. She has a genuine passion for guiding young people to successful careers where they can lead satisfying lives.  She spent many years as a member of the Professional Coaches and Mentors Association and is on the board of Kids and Families Together, a not-profit organization in Ventura. 

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Shereen Thor
Senior Facilitator


Shereen is a life coach who specializes in helping people go within to discover their passions so that they can navigate their life according to their own inner compass. She believes that without looking within oneself one can feel lost and, by looking inside, one can design an extraordinary life. Beginning with a Cal State University Bachelor’s degree in Human Communications, Shereen spent 10 years learning from experts and helping people create their own fulfillment and success. She also earned a certification as a Professional Coach from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC) and is certified in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Her passion is to support people to awaken and connect with the passions that live within them.


Jasmine D’Angelo


Recent experiences living abroad brought Jasmine a real-world understanding and respect for multicultural issues, diversity, and inclusion. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Humboldt State University. She served Humboldt State as a University Ambassador. Important to her role as a facilitator, while as Humboldt she was trained and then guided students in a highly successful Latino Peer Mentoring program that focused n the academic skills and tools needed for success. During the past four years working in higher education, her bright and energetic attitude has been a key source of motivation for students transitioning into college. Jasmine is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Guidance at California Lutheran University.


Allie Morris


Allie believes that life is like novel, and that each person has the opportunity to write an epic story. She holds a Bachelor’s in Global Studies with a minor in Spanish, and has traveled in Latin America and Africa. She has worked with children and teenagers in the United States and abroad, and feels energized by the excitement that students bring when talking about the things they care about. Allie has worked developing and activities program for international high school students as a part of Education First Language Travel and leads the Young Life organization in the Conejo Valley. She is passionate about providing safe spaces and meaningful experiences for young people to explore and pursue their dreams.

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