Workshop Leader Bios

Workshop Leader Bios

Christine Fox & Jennifer Mast
Kripalu Yoga

Jen Mast:
Like many yogis, the first moment Jen Mast stepped onto a mat, in 2005, changed her life. Very quickly, Jen fully immersed herself in her yoga practice, finding amazing benefits physically and mentally. In 2008, she brought yoga into the public school setting where she worked as a high school counselor. Here she advised a yoga club, worked with coaches and athletes, offered a weekly class for teachers and students and integrated mindfulness practices into her one on one counseling sessions.  Jen left the public school setting in 2013 to pursue yoga and the yoga therapy path fully.  She continues to bring yoga into the schools providing yoga/mindfulness programs and she works with a spectrum of athletic teams from lacrosse to Cheerleading.  She runs the Teen Yoga Program, Yoga for High School Athletes series and Girls Stand Tall Program at Revolution Community Yoga and she works with teens privately providing Therapeutic Yoga for anxiety, depression, injury, chronic illness and more.  Jen is an L.I.C.S.W., an RYT 500 hr., Lifeforce Yoga® certified  with Amy Weintraub, Yoga For Depression,  she received her 300 hour this past summer with IYT (Integrative  Yoga Therapy) and has participated in numerous  workshops and trainings ranging from anatomy to Yoga Nidra.  Jen has a fun and uplifting teaching style that will leave you refreshed and enlightened.

Christine Fox: Christine teaches Vinyasa Flow, Gentle, and Restorative Yoga classes. She is known for her ability to craft intelligent and creative sequences inspired by her own practice and study of Yoga. In Christine’s classes, you can expect specific instructions to create postures to not only bring more strength and flexibility to the body, but also to bring the body, mind, and spirit into the present moment. Each student is offered a profound opportunity to practice skillfulness in action. This mindfulness is the essence of the practice of Yoga. Mindfulness cultivates the ability to listen to the reactivity in the body, notice habits and patterns, and make decisions in the present moment from a compassionate point of view.

Christine graduated from Regis College with a BA in Mathematics and from Lesley University with an MS in Business. She completed her 500 hour training with Barbara Benagh at Down Under School of Yoga and her 200 hour training with Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.  She is also a certified Kripalu Yoga in the Schools teacher and delivers a research-based curriculum to foster self-regulation skills to adolescents. In addition, she has a teaching certification from Creative Kids Yoga to help children trust their intuition and move with intention through a variety of activities that are woven into the learning of Yoga postures, breathing techniques, and creative movement.

Christine has been practicing Yoga since 2000. Her practice has evolved over the years and it was when she started a family that she embraced her Yoga practice more than ever. It was her way to stay present, have compassion for herself, and better understand the connection with body, mind, breath, and spirit. This enriched her connection to her loved ones. Practicing Yoga gives her strength to explore the edges of her comfort zone–to be curious about possibilities. Her respect and joy for Yoga have her wanting to share this ancient practice with others to explore, together, possibilities in living with mindfulness and heartfelt intention.


Jeffrey McCarthy

Entrepreneurship Matters:  Entrepreneurship Skill Workshop
For the last 18 years Jeff has been a General Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners with offices in Boston and California.  As a Venture Capital investor, he has become known for forging long-term relationships with entrepreneurs.

Prior to joining North Bridge, he was CEO of New Oak Communications, a leading provider of VPN switches, when the company was acquired by Bay Networks (a Nortel line of business).   Before New Oak, Jeff was Vice President of sales and business development at Cadia Networks, a developer of ATM concentrator products for the service provider marketplace, and held senior management positions at Wellfleet Communications, including Vice President of Carrier and Channel Operations. During his eight years at Wellfleet, the company grew from fifteen people and no revenue to 5,500 people and $1.5 billion revenue. Jeff’s earlier career was in the computer industry at Computervision and Masscomp, working in finance, operations and strategic planning.

Jeff is a graduate of Northeastern University, School of Management (magna cum laude), and serves as an advisor to the University. He is a frequent guest lecturer at Northeastern MBA classes as well as several other colleges and universities. Jeff received his MBA (magna cum laude) from Bentley College.

Jeff and his wife, Cindy, are the founders of Danny’s Place Youth Services, a community organization dedicated to the positive development of middle and high school teens in the Acton and Boxborough region.

Marlee McGurl
Fighting Off the Freshman Fifteen:  Nutrition for Teens Workshop
Marlee is a Nutritionist who is especially passionate about pediatric health.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from University of Massachusetts Amherst and has worked at the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a Program Coordinator at Boston Children’s Hospital.  She is currently training to run her first half marathon with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization whose mission is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity.  When she isn’t working (or running), she spends most of her time with family, especially her niece.

Pam Ressler
Building Resilience through Mindfulness:  Managing Stress Skills for Teens Workshop
Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, MS, HN-BC is the founder of Stress Resources in Concord, Massachusetts, a firm specializing in building resilience for individuals and organizations through tools of connection, communication and compassion. Mindfulness plays a large role in the work Pam brings to her clients, especially in her expertise in teaching evidence based strategies of mindfulness in simple, relevant and actionable ways.

As a sought after speaker to local, national and international audiences on strategies of resilience, Pam serves on the executive leadership board of the Stanford University’s Medicine X program and is an appointed member of the Consumer Health Council of the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners. She is an adjunct assistant clinical professor member at Tufts University School of Medicine and designed and co-directed the first graduate level Mindfulness course at Tufts in 2014. Pam is a featured contributor to WBUR’s Cognoscenti pages, an author with various print and online journals, and has been interviewed extensively on her research on resiliency, mindfulness and social media in healthcare. She has consulted with and implemented programs on building resilience and mindfulness with students, teachers and staff in both public and private schools throughout the northeast


Brenda Kurtyka & Charles Allen
Time Management:  Time Management Skills for Teens Workshop
Brenda Kurtyka: Brenda Kurtyka is an Organizational Psychologist who assists individuals and teams fulfill their greatest potential by leveraging 25 years of coaching, mentoring, and leadership development roles within commercial business and the United States Air Force.  Brenda’s passion is to help young people hone the life and leadership skills they need to adapt and excel throughout school, career, and life transitions.  Her recent Organizational Psychology work centers on developing future leaders within the Millennial Generation by bridging the cultural and communication gaps that are often inherent in generation-diverse teams.

Brenda’s education spans the fields of Organizational Psychology and Executive Coaching (William James College), Business Management (Lesley University), and Science, Engineering, and Leadership (the United States Air Force Academy). She and her husband reside in Acton and have two daughters who attend the Merriam Elementary and RJ Grey Junior High Schools.

Charles Allen: Charles is an Organizational Psychologist who has worked in a number of positions in higher education and youth workforce training and development. Charles most recently served as the Director of Alumni Support at North Star College Preparatory Academy (a member of the Uncommon Schools Charter School Network) in Newark, NJ. In this role, Charles was responsible for assisting and advising over 300 students in graduating and succeeding in college on over 65 campuses throughout the United States. In this role Charles has worked closely with college administrators, corporate funders, and local shareholders to build strategic relationships in order to best serve students in achieving postsecondary and career goals. Charles is also currently serving as a Business Affairs Consultant to Audible Inc, providing guidance on employee engagement and student career development initiatives. Finally, Charles has served as an Adjunct Faculty member in the MAOP program.

Previously, Charles has also served as Career Program Manager for the Posse Foundation in their Boston Office. In this role, Charles worked with over 400 undergraduate students and program alumni toward job placement, career advising, and professional development training. Additionally, Charles stewarded Career Partnership relationships with over 45 organizations that included State Street Financial, Fidelity Investments, Reebok International, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Citizen Schools, Liberty Mutual, Massachusetts General Hospital, and WGBH.


Nicole Gabai
Be Organized:  Organizational Skills for Teens Workshop
Nicole Gabai is a professional organizer who discovered many years ago that one of things she enjoys doing most is creating order out of chaos. Her focus is to help clients move from feeling stuck, discouraged, overwhelmed or afraid of change to a place of feeling encouraged, hopeful, happier, peaceful and productive so they can move on with their life!

Working with her clients, she creates customized solutions and helps them discover what systems work specifically for them. They soon realize that through the process of becoming organized, they will have renewed energy and excitement about their life. To be organized is to be successful.  

Prior to founding B. Organized, in 1999, Nicole worked in television production for 10 years at MTV, Nickelodeon, and the Orlando Film Commission. She worked as a production manager, producer, prop buyer and set decorator. Nicole learned many skills that are essential for being organized and keeping up with the pace of a very demanding business.

Nicole is a member of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Professional Organizers. She has written a recurring column for Cape Cod Parent & Child magazine, as well as having been featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles and on WXTK radio, “The Century 21 Real Estate Show.” Nicole has also taught classes on organizing through the Falmouth Adult Education Program.


Michelle Silbert
College Preparation: Teen College & Career Exploration Workshop
Michelle Silbert founded Ignite Your Sparks! Holistic Career Coaching to help teen and adults imagine, explore & build their dream careers, as well as create the structures and plans to help them reach these goals.  Michelle especially enjoys working with college students with ADD/ADHD & other learning challenges, and career launchers and career changers, including caregivers making plans to return to the workforce.  She works from the inside out and helps her clients use career assessments like Strengths Finder, the MBTI Step 2, Skill Scan, and values inventories to set goals that propel their purpose.

Michelle’s educational background is in psychology, public health, & social work, with a  long-time focus on youth mentoring and leadership development. In the past, she managed a school-based violence prevention program, did community-based youth health research, taught teens about safe travel, and worked as a teacher naturalist at both local farms and wildlife sanctuaries. Michelle is a local Acton mom and is involved with Girl Scouts.


Lora Fickett

Money Management
Lora Fickett, CPA, MBA is a Certified Financial Stress Reduction® Coach.  For years she has worked with Corporations to coach employees to reduce their financial stress making them more productive at work, increasing retention thus decreasing the turnover rates, and allowing employees to be happier, healthier and loyal.  She works with executives and business owners to increase their sales, focus on better money management and make better business decisions.  She also works with teens to help them start a financial foundation and learn concepts around money management, giving them a head start toward a life of financial freedom.

Lora lives in Littleton, Ma with her husband Daniel and has 4 children.  She enjoys shooting archery, swimming, horseback riding, reading, painting, doing mixed martial arts, watching football, going to the movies and spending time with her family.  Her key to success is always remaining positive and something not many people know about her is that she was on the 2010 USA Field Archery Team, competing at the World Games in Hungary.