Dia de Los Muertos Celebration Brunch

12:30-3:30 pm, Sunday, October 27
The Hacienda at Los Patios
2015 NE Loop 410, San Antonio

This Season of celebrating loved ones we have lost is so special to ABODE, and your support makes all the difference.

Please bring a friend and join us for brunch, learn the latest about ABODE and hear how you, as a HouseHolder, can provide for continued care of our guests as they enter their final journey in life with your tax-deductible sustainable gift.

We’ll share stories about Anne, Louisa, Jack and so many of the wonderful Guests we’ve cared for since opening our doors five years ago. In fact, Jack will be on hand to share a few words about his experience with us.

We welcome you to bring a photo or memento of a loved one for a Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda that we'll assemble together. We hope you’ll join us!

Please RSVP to adriana.garza@abodehome.org by Tuesday, Oct. 22 or call her at (210) 967-9891.


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Frank OstaseSki Keynote

9:15-10:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 25
Marriott Rivercenter, 101 Bowie St., San Antonio
$45 individual ticket

Under Registration, please select Frank Ostaseski Keynote Presentation ONLY.

Please plan to arrive by 9:15 a.m. Frank will begin his keynote promptly at 9:30 a.m.


OUR THEME

Anna was dying. A group of us sat with her as her breathing changed – we were surprised when she opened her eyes. “It’s so beautiful,” she said. “The colors. Can you hear them? Can you hear the flowers?” She was experiencing pure awe. So were we. Awe, connection and community carry us as we put one foot in front of the other to create, build and maintain community end-of-life homes across the country. In honor of Anna, we invite you to come experience all three at the 2019 Omega Home Network National Conference. Our theme: Can You Hear the Flowers? Planting the Seeds of Awareness.

When and Where

June 24-26, Marriott Rivercenter, 101 Bowie St., San Antonio

Audience

Whether you’re in the very early stages of planning and/or starting a home and wish to learn more, or you’ve been operating a home for years, this conference is for you and your team. In fact, it’s open to anyone interested in this very special topic.

Marriott Rivercenter

Cost

Omega Home Network Members: $250 per person (or $150 day pass)
Non-Members: $275 per person (or $175 day pass)
Add $50 for Monday, June 24 Boot Camp 

$45 individual ticket to the 9:30-10:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 25, Frank Ostaseski keynote only. Ticket is included in the overall conference price. If you’re just interested in the Frank Ostaseski keynote, please select that option when you click the button below. And please plan to arrive by 9:15 a.m. so that we can escort you to your seat in a timely manner.

Social Media Fans

Please follow and share our posts:

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#ohn2019 #abode #omegahomenetwork #death #dying #dyingwithdignity #spiritualjourney #zen #contemplative #sanantonio #sanantonioriverwalk #satx 


AGENDA, AT A GLANCE

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Day 1: Monday, June 24 Boot Camp

10-10:45 a.m. Registration for Boot Camp

11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Governance – Martha Jo Atkins

12:30 p.m. Lunch

1-2:15 p.m. Operations How-Tos – Kelley Scott 

2:30-3:45 p.m. Sustainability Through Relationship Building –
Sr. Kathleen Osbelt, Nancy Light

Official Opening for All Attendees 

4 p.m. Registration for All Conference Attendees

5:45 p.m. Welcome & Cocktail Reception


Cyra Dumitru

Day 2: Tuesday, June 25

8-9 a.m. Registration and Breakfast

9-9:20 a.m. Cyra Dumitru: Writing as Meditation & Self-Care
Caring for the dying requires a clear sense of purpose, commitment, collaboration, patience and deep inner grounding. Writing is one tool for the vital practice of the caretaker’s self-care: giving expression to our heart, soul and mind. Cyra Dumitru will explore writing as a form of play and emotional release. Writing prompts will be woven throughout the program – we’ll have opportunities to share our writing during the closing ceremony. 

Frank Ostaseski

 9:30-10:30 a.m. Keynote – Frank Ostaseski, Author, The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully 
Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight. She helps us to discover what matters most. And the good news is we don’t have to wait until the end of our lives to realize the wisdom that death has to offer. 

Clinicians and caregivers can harness the awareness of death, stepping beyond roles and duties to appreciate the fact that we are alive, to encourage self-exploration, to clarify our values, to find meaning and to generate positive action. In this keynote talk, Frank will offer mindful and compassionate approaches that address the practical, emotional, psychological and universal needs inherent in the time of dying. 

10:45-11:45 a.m. Breakout Session (choose 1 of 3)

ABODE: The Story of a Successful Startup 

Patsy and Edwin Sasek in conversation with Mary Thorsby
What began as a vision to create a safe, peaceful and loving place for the dying has resulted in a truly beautiful home where those in their last weeks and days can leave this world with dignity and grace. ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying staff and volunteers have cared for more than 200 guests since opening its doors in 2014. They have touched the lives of countless others in and around San Antonio. In this special session, Mary Thorsby will engage founders Edwin and Patsy Sasek in a conversation about what worked, what they would have done differently and how they created a community of compassion, love and support that continues to thrive today.

Diversity Doesn’t Always Mean Inclusion

Waheeda Kara
Most of us are lucky enough to attract incredibly diverse guests, visitors and supporters to our homes – people of different ethnicities, customs, beliefs, ages and experiences. Waheeda Kara will share her expertise in how to care for guests from diverse backgrounds while being sensitive to their needs. Learn techniques on how to be genuinely inclusive in thought, word and action. The better we become at understanding and working within our differences, the better we can care for those who need us the most.

THE ART OF CHALLENGING CONVERSATIONS 

Martha Jo Atkins 
Dr. Naomi Remen writes about helping vs. fixing vs. service. From this framework, starting with managing our own energy first, Martha Jo Atkins will share tools for approaching potentially challenging conversations with Guests, families and colleagues. 

Tom Comstock

12 p.m. Lunch with Omega Home Network Update

12:25 p.m. Ed Alderette: Reflections

12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch Presentation – Tom Comstock: Exploring Our Compassionate Heart
Compassion is a vital human quality, especially for those who work in the field of end-of-life care. Recent studies indicate that by expanding our compassionate hearts, we can increase our general sense of well-being, experience less burnout and increase our resiliency in the face of suffering. In this session, Tom Comstock will help us examine our sense of compassion and practice some techniques that may help us become more spontaneous and effective in our compassionate response to those around us.  

1:45-2:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose 1 of 3)

Exploring Mindfulness for Guest and Self

Edwin Sasek 
The practice of contemplative care begins with mindfulness – a deepening awareness of the present moment unfolding in our lives. How can this simple practice, as ancient as human exploration into mystery and consciousness, help in our own care, so that we can benefit others through compassionate presence? Edwin Sasek will lead a simple mindfulness practice, including time for discussion.

Understanding the Impact of Military Culture on the Veteran’s End-of-Life Journey

Kathy Phoenix
Those who have served in our armed forces face unique challenges at the end of their lives – and significant struggles as they enter their final days. Kathy Phoenix will cover the various military cultural influences that contribute to a veteran’s experience. She’ll also distinguish between the different wartime eras and examine their impact on a veteran’s experience. And she’ll review interventions that can be helpful when providing care to veterans at the end of life.

ABCs of running a Three-Bed HomE

Suzette O’Calliham
Based on her in-depth experience in managing ABODE, Suzette O’Calliham will cover the 1,243 things needed to run a three-bed home in Texas. (Maybe closer to 10 things, but some days it feels like more.) From the art of choosing Guests, to working with hospices and volunteers, to maintaining paperwork in-house, Suzette has lived through some experiences and has tales to tell. Most of them are true. Bring your questions and your sense of humor. 

3-4 p.m. Breakout Sessions (choose 1 of 3)

Risk Management & Insurance Issues for Community End-of-Life Homes

Christine Shasteen and Glenn Day
Insurance professionals Christine Shasteen and Glenn Day from HUB International’s Healthcare team will step through a typical community end-of-life home insurance program including Management Liability (Directors & Officers Liability, Employment Practices Liability, Crime, Cyber Liability), Professional Liability & General Liability, Workers’ Compensation and Auto Insurance. Learn how coverage applies to employees, volunteers and independent contractors, whether your home should have a medical director, how to minimize risk and where to find helpful resources.

Mother Teresa’s Calcutta Training Camp: My Month on the Extreme Edge

Peg Armstrong
When psychotherapist Peg Armstrong started her practice in 1979, she was unprepared for the onslaught of young men dying of AIDS. The solution? Learn to care for the dying alongside Mother Teresa. What Peg learned in Calcutta was not what she bargained for, but it has transformed her approach and led her to assist with the creation of ABODE.

Mary’s Quest for Death – Enable or Impede? An End-of-Life Care Ethics Case Study

Rich Ferguson
Regardless of how long we’ve worked in this field, we’re often faced with challenging ethical decisions when caring for our guests. How much should we step in? When should we step back? Hospice physician and longtime ABODE supporter Rich Ferguson explores concepts of suffering and options for a “good death” as well as techniques for communicating bad news.

4:15-5:15 p.m. Tips and Tools for Sustainability: Fundraising For All of Us
Dinero. Bucks. Moolah. We all need money to help us in our mission to care for people at end of life. If we're scared of talking about money or asking for it, we won't get very far. In this panel discussion, Hildegard House Executive Director Karen Cassidy and Francis House Director of Development Beth Lynn Hoey will talk about what has helped them find success with fundraising for their homes. ABODE Executive Director Martha Jo Atkins will moderate, leaving ample time for audience questions and sharing. 

5:30 p.m. Visits to ABODE


Day 3: Wednesday, June 26

8-9 a.m. Breakfast

9-10 a.m. Breakout Session (choose 1 of 3)

Volunteer program practices and tools to help your Home thrive

Rebecca Carver and Diana Gonzalez in conversation with Martha Jo Atkins
Do you struggle with decision making? Are you often unsure if you’re choosing the best options? Do you worry about operating inconsistencies? Then you may want to revisit your policies and procedures – or create new ones. Robert Soza will show us the essential policies and procedures end-of-life homes require. He also will show how to write them, using ABODE’s own policies and procedures as a model that you are welcome to adapt to your own home’s needs and culture.

Why Your Policies & Procedures Matter

Robert Soza
Do you struggle with decision making? Are you often unsure if you’re choosing the best options? Do you worry about operating inconsistencies? Then you may want to revisit your policies and procedures – or create new ones. Robert Soza will show us the essential policies and procedures end-of-life homes require. He also will show how to write them, using ABODE’s own policies and procedures as a model that you are welcome to adapt to your own home’s needs and culture.

ABCs of running a Three-Bed HomE

Suzette O’Calliham
Based on her in-depth experience in managing ABODE, Suzette O’Calliham will cover the 1,243 things needed to run a three-bed home in Texas. (Maybe closer to 10 things, but some days it feels like more.) From the art of choosing Guests, to working with hospices and volunteers, to maintaining paperwork in-house, Suzette has lived through some experiences and has tales to tell. Most of them are true. Bring your questions and your sense of humor. 

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10:15-11:15 a.m. Keynote – Michele Woodward: Storytelling for Marketing and Fundraising

Imagine the millions of humans who, throughout time, have gathered around campfires to share stories. Stories that enlighten, stories that motivate, stories that inspire. Do you know how to tell the story of the work you do in this way? 

Executive Coach and Writer Michele Woodward will show us how to craft compelling messages to bring awareness and support to our organizations' missions. We’ll learn the keys to effective storytelling, and then we'll have an opportunity to hone our skills in small group workshops.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Storytelling Workshop Breakouts

Following Michele Woodward’s keynote, Michele, Leigh Anne Preston and Tracie Shelton Hervey will facilitate smaller groups as we put our key learnings into practice.

12:30 p.m. Lunch

Rockey Robbins

1:30-2:30 p.m. Keynote – Rockey Robbins: Creating a Relational Home for a Six-Year-Old Choctaw Cancer Patient

University of Oklahoma Educational Psychology Professor Rockey Robbins will share the transformations he experienced while treating a young Choctaw boy who was in the process of dying from cancer – and the transformations that the boy experienced, as well. He’ll share his insights in a developmental context of growth from Becoming to Being, Realistic to Imaginative and from Death to Love. Rockey’s presentation draws from traditional Choctaw rituals and ideas as they relate to death and dying – and he’ll also relate the experience to his development as a therapist.

2:45-3:45 p.m. Breakout Session (choose 1 of 3)

ABODE: The Story of a Successful Startup 

Patsy and Edwin Sasek in conversation with Mary Thorsby
What began as a vision to create a safe, peaceful and loving place for the dying has resulted in a truly beautiful home where those in their last weeks and days can leave this world with dignity and grace. ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying staff and volunteers have cared for more than 200 guests since opening its doors in 2014. They have touched the lives of countless others in and around San Antonio. In this special session, Mary Thorsby will engage founders Edwin and Patsy Sasek in a conversation about what worked, what they would have done differently and how they created a community of compassion, love and support that continues to thrive today.

Legal and Practical Aspects of Board Selection and Management

Robert Soza
Boards of Directors play an indispensable role in managing the affairs of the non-profit corporation. Robert will cover best practices involving the use of policies, procedures and training as well as the importance of insurance coverage in relation to minimizing potential board liability. He’ll also discuss considerations relating to diversity of skill sets on a board, the use of accounting and tax professionals and public disclosure requirements – all of which are essential when seeking grants or funding from foundations.

Managing the Storm: The Essentials of Crisis Communication Planning 

Regina Waters
Crisis events can strike any organization. Surprisingly, many leaders say their organizations are unprepared to handle an event that disrupts operations and/or harms their institution’s reputation. Regina Waters will introduce a crisis planning framework that supports the broader communication strategy of any organization. We will review crisis threats most relevant to Social Model Hospice Homes, the elements of a crisis plan and message strategies and templates that can facilitate effective and timely communication with stakeholders. You’ll leave the session prepared to lead a team through the steps of crisis planning. 

3:45 p.m. Closing Ritual: Crossroads Ceremony


Many thanks to our sponsors:


KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

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Frank Ostaseski, Author of The Five Invitations

Frank is an internationally respected Buddhist teacher, visionary co-founder of the Zen Hospice Project and founder of the Metta Institute. He has lectured at Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic, Wisdom 2.0, and he teaches at major spiritual centers around the globe. 

In 2018, Frank received the prestigious Humanities Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. His groundbreaking work has been featured on the Bill Moyers PBS series “On Our Own Terms,” highlighted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and honored by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He is the author of “The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.”

     

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Rockey Robbins, PhD, Social Justice Worker, Professor, Healer

Rockey has been a professor in the Professional Counseling Program at the University of Oklahoma for 17 years, teaching courses in multi-cultural counseling, personality assessment and behavior disorders. His 50-plus journal articles and chapters relate to Native Americans and psychology. Rockey was the first recipient of a citation from the Oklahoma Psychologist’s Association for Social Justice Work. He travels extensively in the United States and Europe speaking on Native American issues and giving psycho-educational workshops for Native American tribes. 


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Michele Woodward, Executive Coach and Writer

Using her experience as a corporate executive, Michele is a Master Certified Coach who works with senior leaders who want to become more effective and grow their strategic vision. She also has trained and mentored hundreds of other coaches and is considered a “coach’s coach.” Earlier in her career, Michele served as lead press advance in the Reagan White House and principal organizer of the State Funerals of Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan. In 2010, she was appointed by President Obama as executive director of the year-long Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission. Michele is a sought-after speaker, workshop leader and author of several books and a popular blog.

   

Special Presentations

Tom Comstock

Tom Comstock, Certified Instructor, Cognitively Based Compassion Training

Tom is a semi-retired physician who has practiced medicine since 1975. He has studied and practiced meditation for the past 25 years, primarily in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. As a certified instructor of Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT), he has taught in a Central American prison and at the Emory University School of Medicine. Tom is co-founder and vice president of Compassion House for Living and Dying, a home in the early stages of development for people at the end of life in Atlanta. 

   

Cyra Dumitru

Cyra Dumitru, MA, PoetIC Medical Practitioner

An accomplished poet for the past 35 years, Cyra has facilitated writing as a healing tool for people of all ages. She is a long-standing faculty member in English Literature and Language at St. Mary’s University, therapeutic practitioner with The Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health and one of three certified Poetic Medicine Practitioners in Texas. Cyra has facilitated hundreds of therapeutic writing circles for people struggling with depression and traumatic histories, and for people seeking renewal by exploring what it means to be an embodied soul in a hurtful, beautiful world. Her poems have been widely published in literary journals as well as in publications designed for physicians. Her four book-length collections of poetry are What the Body Knows, Listening to Light, Remains and Elder Moon.


BREAKOUT PRESENTERS/FACILITATORS

Ed Alderette

ED ALDERETTE, ME.D., MSW, ABODE VOLUNTEER

Ed’s stellar career includes 29 years as a psychotherapist, more than seven years as administrator for statewide mental health programs, six years as a professor at Tulane University’s medical school and at the Our Lady of the Lake graduate program and more than six years in the priesthood. He has been an active ABODE volunteer since 2015 and facilitates two meditation groups each week. Ed believes that ordinary awareness can graduate to spiritual awareness when we set the stage to go to an alternate state of consciousness (as in a trance). We learn what meditation is by meditating.


Peg Armstrong

Peg Armstrong, MA, LPC, Psychotherapist 

Peg’s 40-year practice offers a specialty in grief and bereavement counseling. An early personal tragedy propelled her into a lifelong career in coping with loss, a major theme in her academic research, training and teaching, her work with psychotherapy clients and in her spiritual practices. Peg studied psychology and philosophy with Viktor Frankl in Vienna. Other highlights in her training include a workshop by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and working with Mother Teresa in India. Her book “I-Openers” is now in its third printing, and she presents videos on dealing with grief and loss including “How to BE with Someone Who is Dying.” An original board member of ABODE, Peg also offers workshops and seminars nationally.

 

Martha Jo Atkins

Martha Jo Atkins, PhD, LPC-S, Executive Director, ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying

Martha Jo is a death educator, professional counselor, researcher and executive director of ABODE. Founder of the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas in 1997 and a TEDx speaker on deathbed phenomenon, Martha Jo is happiest at the bedside talking with Guests and families. Her research centers on the trajectory of dying – especially the language, metaphors and movements common in the dying experience. Her book, “Signposts of Dying,” was born of her personal and professional experiences with people at end of life. She earned her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from UT San Antonio and is pleased to mentor masters and doctoral level interns at ABODE. Martha Jo is the Omega Home Network Board Vice President. 

     

Karen Cassidy

Karen Cassidy, MSN, MBA, EdD, Executive Director, Hildegard House

Karen is the founder and executive director of Hildegard House in Louisville. For over 30 years, Karen was a nursing professor teaching public health and gerontology. While serving as nurse practitioner on a hospital-based palliative care team, she learned of individuals who needed hospice care, but could not access it because they had no home or loved ones to care for them. She left the palliative care practice and started Hildegard House with a group of other nurses and social workers. Karen was the recipient the 2018 AARP Purpose Prize, an award that celebrates creativity, innovation and inspiration during the second part of life. Hildegard House was the winner of the Premier Cares Award, a national award that honors nonprofits that are improving the health of underserved populations with innovative, replicable healthcare solutions.

   

Glenn Day

Glenn Day, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, National Healthcare Practice of HUB Healthcare

Glenn has been in the insurance industry his entire career, earlier with the Chubb Group. He maintains close working relationships with top carriers in the healthcare field and coordinates personnel and resources to deliver high-level service to HUB’s healthcare clients.

In 2014, Glenn was awarded The Medical Protective Company’s Buchman Award that recognizes significant contributions in serving and providing solutions for the healthcare community. He has been published in national magazines and continues to share his knowledge in print.


Richard Ferguson

Richard Ferguson, MD

Rich is an internist and hospice physician – and director of Embrace hospice – in San Antonio. He served as the first director of the Hospice and Palliative Care fellowship in the Audie Murphy Hospital. His ability to engage in difficult questions about dying and the changes in behavior that it incurs makes him a popular conference facilitator on death and dying. Rich often says that being allowed access to the intimacy of the dying experience is sacred and humbling, and that he is honored to be part of it.


Beth Lynn Hoey

Beth Lynn Hoey, Director of Development, Francis House

Beth has served as the Director of Development for Francis House since the position was created in 1997. She has been instrumental in creating and implementing a strategic development program, raising over $1 million annually. She has worked in the development field for 28 years and is an accredited Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) since 2000. Beth continues to devote her time on various boards in the community, currently serving on the Leadership Council of the Women’s Fund of CNY. She enjoys presenting and working with non-profits on development and organizational strategic planning, focusing on fostering a culture of philanthropy.

 

Waheeda Kara

Waheeda Kara, President of the National Inter Organization Collaborative

Born in Chittagong, Bangladesh and a San Antonio resident for the past 32 years, Waheeda is president of the Inter Organization Collaborative and chair of the SOL Interfaith Center. She serves on the boards of ABODE, Awaaz, Victims of Domestic Violence, San Antonio Cancer Educators Collaborative and Musical Bridges Around the World. In addition, she has served as a national board member for FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance USA, as vice chair for Aga Khan Foundation USA - Southwest Region and she co-founded the Muslim Cultural Heritage Society. Among other awards, the State of Texas honored her with a Civic Engagement Resolution for 30 years of civic service. In 2018, she was honored by DreamWeek as a Woman of Distinction.

 

Nancy Light

Nancy Light, BSN, RN, MPS, Executive Director, Francis House

Nancy is the executive director of Francis House. Previously, she held the director of operations and resident care coordinator positions with Francis House. She has worked in various medical settings in positions from staff nurse to vice president for Patient Services, giving her a multitude of experience. Nancy’s service includes serving with Central New York Organization of Nurse Executives, New York Organization of Nurse Executives, VNA Systems Board of Directors, Nascentia Health (formerly VNA Systems of CNY) and Hospice of Central New York Professional Advisory Committees and LeMoyne College Department of Nursing Professional Advisory Board. She has given many presentations on compassionate end-of-life care in an effort to improve the experience for individuals and their families. Nancy is the Omega Home Network Board Secretary/Treasurer. 


Suzette O'Calliham

Suzette O'Calliham, RN, Managing Director, ABODE Contemplative Care for the dying 

A registered nurse for 43 years, Suzette manages the End-of-Life Navigators, visits potential Guests and their families and tends to ABODE’s day-to-day needs. Suzette has a knack for bringing light to even the most difficult situations. She helps tough conversations go a little more smoothly, and she makes her colleagues and Guests laugh. Suzette is a gifted clinician and teacher, and the perfect liaison between ABODE and the 20 hospices ABODE works with in and around San Antonio.

 

Sister Kathleen Osbelt

Sister Kathleen Osbelt, OSF, Founder, Francis House

Sister Kathleen is a Franciscan Sister of the Neumann Communities and the founder of Francis House. During her 40 plus years of ministry, she has been a teacher, hospital chaplain, director of mission effectiveness for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities and manager of a major building project for the Sisters of St. Francis. She is currently the director of Mission Outreach of Francis House, educating the local community on issues related to grief, death and dying; mentoring groups who are working to establish a home; and hosting retreats for those who work with end-of-life issues. Sister Kathleen is an Omega Home Network Board Director.


Kathy Phoenix

Kathy E. Phoenix, LCSW, Social Worker Specializing in Grief and Bereavement

Kathy has had the privilege of journeying with individuals as a social worker since 1989, working in the areas of mental health, chronic illness, geriatrics, palliative and hospice care and grief and bereavement. Kathy also has served in the U.S. Army Reserve and continues to incorporate veterans and their families into her social work. In addition to private practice, Kathy is a clinical assistant professor of social work at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. She earned her BSW in 1989 from Colorado State University and MSW in 1996 from the University of Kansas. Kathy is a doctoral candidate at Capella University and will complete her DSW in June 2019.


Leigh Anne Preston

Leigh Anne Preston, Facilitator, Foundation Director

Leigh Anne recently served as president of the Raymond B. Preston Family Foundation in Henderson, Ky., a charitable foundation serving that community for nearly 30 years. She continues to play a key role in that foundation and has reviewed countless grant applications, noting how organizations with a variety of missions tell their stories. Leigh Anne has worked in the private sector as well, with an extensive background as a national trade association executive. As the former owner of a popcorn processing company, she focused on international marketing strategies that grew her export sales to 70 percent of her business portfolio. Leigh Anne is a frequent guest speaker and has facilitated many panels over the years.

   

Edwin Sasek

Edwin Sasek, Founder of ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying

Edwin’s 27-year career as a hospice chaplain began in 1993 after completing a degree in hospice and grief counseling at the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Hospice Institute in New Mexico. During an internship in Uvalde, Texas, he met Patsy, a hospice educator, and they married, eventually moving to San Antonio. Edwin and Patsy are also artists, and they have collaborated on artwork including a line of greeting cards to help comfort dying and grieving people. Edwin’s vision of a spiritual community to care for the dying became reality when ABODE Contemplative Care of the Dying opened in 2014. Last year, the Saseks opened Las Almas gallery and gift shop in an oasis of oaks near ABODE.

 

Patsy Sasek

Patsy Sasek, Founder of ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying

Patsy and Edwin Sasek have been combining their talents for more than 25 years to conduct workshops, retreats, organize art shows, serve on boards, create art and build community. With a degree in fabric science and fashion design from UT-Austin, Patsy started Mustard Seed Designs in the early 1990s for her design and manufacture of purses and accessories. The business includes her artwork and Edwin’s artwork and photography as well as a line of greeting cards, fabric design and writing. Last year, the Saseks opened Las Almas gallery and gift shop in an oasis of oaks near ABODE.

   

Kelley Scott

Kelley Scott, BSN, RN-BC, CHPN, Executive Director, Clarehouse 

Kelley has been caring for dying people throughout the 32 years of her nursing career. Her clinical experience includes working with oncology, bone marrow transplant and chronic ventilator patients, home hospice case management and serving as a palliative nurse consultant with an inpatient palliative care service. Kelley is the executive director of Clarehouse, the first of its kind in Oklahoma – a social model hospice providing a loving home and care for dying people in need.  She founded this project and has overseen all aspects of its startup and development. Nationally, Kelley provides consulting and mentoring to aspiring social model hospices and serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the Omega Home Network. She maintains specialty certification in the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, serving on the Executive Board of the Northeast Oklahoma Chapter of HPNA. Kelley is a frequent speaker in end-of-life care and education, as well as nonprofit startup and development. 


Christine Shasteen

ChrisTINE Shasteen, Executive Risk Consultant, HUB Healthcare 

Christine has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry with specific expertise in healthcare, executive liability and professional liability. During her seven years at HUB, she has focused on healthcare clients, earning certification as an expert in HUB’s healthcare specialty practice. Christine is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, earning a B.S. in business with a specialization in management. 


Tracie Shelton

Tracie Shelton, Strategist, Marketer and Storyteller; Founder, Alamo Kitchens

Tracie has spent the majority of her career helping develop strategies and priorities to drive organizations forward. The founder of Alamo Kitchens, a culinary co-working space and incubator, she has spent the last several years working directly with small businesses as they launch, pivot and grow. She uses story, and the art of storytelling, to help organizations reach their target audience and make an impact in the community. An invited speaker and facilitator, she loves both learning and teaching. Tracie is most excited, however, when helping others actualize their goals and dreams.

   

Robert Soza, Attorney and ABODE Board Chair

Robert is an attorney with Jackson Walker, specializing in commercial and environmental disputes. He began his legal career in Los Angeles where he served as a staff attorney on the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department, “The Christopher Commission,” that investigated excessive use of force by the LAPD after the Rodney King riots. In addition to his law practice in San Antonio, he devotes time to promoting and working on pro bono and public interest projects in Bexar County. Robert is the father of two Eagle Scouts, the youngest of whom completed his Eagle Project at ABODE – a meditation labyrinth in the back yard of the ABODE home. Robert now serves as the president of ABODE’s Board of Directors.

Robert Soza
     

Mary Thorsby, Community Builder and Connector

Mary has spent more than 20 years working with and advising entrepreneurs, startups, Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits – building their followings and making connections to support and celebrate their success. Most recently, Mary secured and delivered world-class speakers and programming – more than 60 events per year – as Vice President of Marketing and Events for Watermark, a Bay Area-based leadership organization. Her sold-out events featured leadership and communications experts such as Daniel Pink, Sallie Krawcheck and Deborah Tannen. She is delighted to produce this year’s Omega Home Network National Conference – and to facilitate the conversation with Patsy and Edwin Sasek in the ABODE: The Story of a Successful Startup breakout session.

Mary Thorsby
     

Regina Waters

Regina Waters, PhD, Professor 

Regina is a professor of communication and dean of the College of Graduate Studies at Drury University in Springfield, Mo. As a public relations instructor, she mentors students through the process of creating crisis communication plans for nonprofits and businesses in southwest Missouri. Regina teaches integrated marketing communication courses and is interested in health communication campaigns. In 2018, she guided a student team in the development of the BucketList+1 campaign, a grant-funded initiative that promotes completion of advance directives. Regina is on the board of the Hospice Foundation of the Ozarks and is a passionate advocate for dignity at life’s end. 

   

Birth Month Flowers

Our beautiful Birth Month Flower art comes from artist Nikki D. May – you’ll find her flowers on a number of great products! Use code OMEGA when you make a purchase and she’ll donate a portion of her sales to our conference.