Meet Julie Anderson
Julie grew up with parents who were well acquainted with the health care field. At the hospital a mile from her home, her mom worked as a registered nurse and her dad was in hospital administration. Her older brother and sister and Julie all had part-time jobs at the hospital through their teens.
Julie knew she wanted to work in a health-related field, and as a young girl she had hopes of becoming a doctor. She went on many visits with her mom delivering Meals on Wheels to seniors, and as her mom transitioned out of the clinical setting into home health care, Julie accompanied her on those visits from time to time.
Growing up in a neighborhood in the heart of Chicago was ideal. She loved living in a neighborhood where everyone walked to work, church and school and all the kids played together up and down the street. While this may sound like small-town America, it was actually a very diverse neighborhood only blocks away from high-stress neighborhoods. There were over 50 languages spoken at her high school. It was this diversity and watching her parents tenderly care for patients as part of their vocation and for those around them that shaped her heart to care about people. She knew that she would one day pursue a career in public health.
From a young age, Julie was participating in or watching sports. (Go Cubs!) In high school, Julie found her niche running track and playing volleyball. She began to think that somehow health care could be combined with fitness.
She earned her BS (health fitness) from Springfield College in Massachusetts and then spent a year working at a hospital wellness center in Chicago. In 1991, she moved to the Bay Area and started working at Stanford — where she has been working ever since. In 2001, the seed that had started growing so many years earlier took root and Julie went back to school for her Master of Public Health from San Jose State.
Julie currently is the manager of the BeWell Wellness Profile program. She does BeWell Advising and wellness coaching and has co-taught Weight Management classes. She enjoys helping people make a behavior change. Julie is also the associate director of Living Strong Living Well, a strength-training program for cancer patients and survivors at the local YMCAs, which began in 2002.
Julie knows that people often know what to do but just need support getting on track. She has developed deeper compassion for the experience of others because of her own life experience; as a mom in her 50s, Julie juggles work, marriage and the raising of a spirited 7-year-old. She is not always successful, but wouldn’t trade her life for any other. She enjoys bootcamp, camping, and reading a good book.
Meet Rosalyne Tu
Rosalyne Tu, MS, RD has traveled an educational and vocational path defining her skills and experience as a Biometrics Manager, Dietitian, Instructor and Coach for the BeWell Program.
Rosalyne began her career as a clinical dietitian working in hospitals and outpatient services. During this experience, Rosalyne quickly realized that telling people what they should do just wasn’t enough to help them change their behaviors. Knowing that she was destined to work in wellness and prevention, and recognizing the need to develop her skills in counseling and behavior change, Rosalyne went back to school and earned her MS in Nutrition and Applied Physiology from Columbia University.
After experiencing a few years of humid, sticky summers and arctic cold winters in New York City, Rosalyne came back west to continue her passions in wellness, public health and policy. She began working for the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD), specifically for The Childhood Feeding Collaborative, a program focused on educating families and pediatricians on best practices in feeding guidance for kids 0-6 years of age. During her time at the SCCPHD, Rosalyne was also on the reviewing committee for the recent Nutritional Standards, which passed in Santa Clara County. This policy, which went into effect in 2012, has been called “the most comprehensive healthy food and beverage policy in the state — and possibly the nation.”
Since starting at Stanford in 2011, Rosalyne has been able to combine her interests of health on a public health scale and her enjoyment of connecting with people on a one-on-one basis. In addition to managing the biometrics program at BeWell and coaching BeWell participants, she teaches nutrition and cooking classes. Rosalyne feels blessed and honored to have the opportunity to engage with so many of Stanford’s employees through the BeWell program. “From the thousands of honest conversations I’ve had with participants, I’ve learned that we all work on our well-being in different ways, and what we are able to do fluctuates as we go through different phases of life. There are so many work and life demands, and I, too, can easily forget about my own needs. The conversations we have at BeWell are reminders to ourselves and each other to keep our well-being in the forefront of our minds so that we can find ways to thrive and not just survive.”
In addition to being thankful for a job she loves, she is especially grateful for the new addiction in her life: her two daughters! Although life has changed drastically, Rosalyne is still working on maintaining her hobbies of gardening, experimenting in the kitchen, and physical activity — while establishing her “new normal” as a working mother of two.
Meet Laura Becker-Lewke
Laura Becker-Lewke, BA, LLB, MBA, grew up in Chappaqua, NY and graduated from Wellesley College. She earned her law degree from McGill University and her MBA from New York University (now called Leonard Stern School of Business). For ten years of her adult life, Laura has lived in three foreign countries: Germany, Canada, and France. She is tri-lingual and brings a unique international perspective to BeWell.
Laura started her professional career as a litigator in New York City, and after three years she became the general counsel for an international shipping company, Navios, a former wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Steel. Navios was headquartered in Connecticut, with oices around the world.
After 10 years as counsel and manager/administration, and with the arrival of her third child and the opportunity to move to Germany, Laura changed focus and direction to raising a family and volunteering. She has worked with several churches, schools, and other volunteer organizations — all while raising four children and caring for an elderly mother who suffered a life-changing stroke.
In January, 2014, Laura was a member of the first cohort of Health 4 All at Stanford at the SPRC. Her community project involved work with InnVision Shelter Network to create a mentoring program for the un-housed. This program has now evolved into “Friends and Coaches,” and Laura continues to mentor her mentee.
Joining the Be Well coaching staff is a natural extension of Laura’s desire to ”make a difference,” and in her work she draws upon her life experience in addition to her Health 4 All training.
Laura is also active with an international not-for-profit, Hope Unlimited for Children, which rescues street kids in Brazil. Her interest in serving the marginalized and under-served has always been strong, especially since this work can lead to complete wholeness and well-being — physical, mental and spiritual.
Meet Laurie Ausserer
Laurie Ausserer is Health Education Manager at the Health Improvement Program and is also a BeWell Coach.
Laurie grew up in a small university town in central Washington State. She spent summers, on her horse Gail, exploring country roads, pastures, and creeks; spending time with friends; and swimming at the community pool. She remembers how skating on the neighborhood ice rink her father made each year and skiing in the Cascades just an hour west of town brightened and expanded the winter days.
Laurie recognizes now how the times spent playing, exploring, and “being” outdoors in her youth informed her career choices and provided the wellspring for her enduring fascination with the human body. Laurie truly appreciates the self-correcting and restorative benefits that can come from spending time in nature.
After earning a degree in Parks and Recreation Management, with an emphasis in Gerontology, Laurie went on to the University of Washington for graduate studies in Exercise Physiology. In college, Laurie began teaching group fitness classes and specialized physical activity for cardiac rehabilitation programs. She taught these classes for several years in Washington, New York, and California, while her children were small. Laurie then became a certified personal trainer, and continues today to enjoy leading the occasional fitness class.
Laurie’s quest to learn about and impact the health of others went into hyper-drive when she came to the Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC). For more than twelve years, she worked on a variety of research studies with leading investigators in health and disease prevention — including Marcia Stefanic, William Haskell, John Farqhuar, Michaela Kiernan, Kathy Berra, and Christopher Gardner. Laurie takes pride sharing the tested and practical health recommendations that have come from the groundbreaking research at SPRC. Laurie also applies two lessons ingrained from these years to her BeWell advising sessions. “My experience working with thousands of research participants taught me that, other than the assumption that most people value their health, all other presumptions about someone’s health must be le “at the door.” The second lesson, which became distinctly clear in her work at SPRC, is that our bodies, given the chance, are extraordinarily resilient. “Even small investments in our well-being can provide surprising results.”
In 2008, Laurie joined the amazing team of health professionals at HIP. “Spending time with the people that come into the BeWell program is truly a highlight of my job. I am humbled by the rich, deep, and varied lives of the people that come to into the program. If I can do anything to turn the spotlight on their particular strengths, to endorse what they are already doing for themselves, and then puzzle about how to find small lifestyle adjustments that ‘feel right’ and that excite them and enrich their lives, that’s pretty fun.”
Outside of her work, Laurie loves to hike, run trails, swim, garden, study and write poetry, and spend time with (and continue to learn from) three exceptional people in her life — her husband, and two daughters.
“Health, south wind, books, old trees, a boat, a friend.“ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Meet Debbie Balfanz
Debbie grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. A freak sledding accident at the age of 9 left her with a broken femur and a long recovery. Since that experience, Debbie has been interested in people’s beliefs and attitudes about health and their motivations to engage in health-promoting behaviors.
After college, Debbie went to Princeton University to pursue a PhD in social psychology, with a focus on health psychology. During her time there, Debbie was able to find an outlet for her passions — advising, mentoring, and teaching — through her roles as a peer health counselor, teaching assistant, statistical consultant, writing advisor, and adjunct faculty member at local community colleges. In addition, Debbie was able to pursue research questions that fascinated her, such as: “How can we frame messages to increase compliance among at-risk adolescent girls who need to come in for follow-up?”
A regular exerciser since college, it was in graduate school that Debbie began to appreciate all the benefits that came from regular physical activity, including mood and stress management. A fabulous aerobics instructor turned Debbie into something she never thought she’d be: A Morning Exerciser! Relocating to California years later brought about an unexpected benefit: for the first time in her life, Debbie saw the appeal of running outdoors and began to run a couple of times a week.
Debbie has worked for Stanford since January 2002. She spends her time coordinating behavior change groups for employees and community members. In addition, she evaluates programs offered by BeWell; teaches Healthy Living classes; provides input into the design of the BeWell Employee Incentive Program; and works one-on-one with participants who want to make a behavior change.
As a working mom of two boys with celiac disease, Debbie understands firsthand the realities of trying to prioritize your health while juggling all the other demands of life in Silicon Valley. While she has room to improve when it comes to healthy meal planning, she does prioritize physical activity and “me time,” which helps her deal with life’s many curve balls. She makes time to get moving (even if it’s only a little bit) most days, and keeps (relatively) sane by taking walking breaks during the day; running on the weekends; and attending fitness classes when she can. It turns out she really enjoys yoga, a type of exercise she swore she’d never do!
Drawing on personal and professional experiences, as well as the knowledge she’s gained from working with hundreds of Stanford employees, Debbie has learned to identify and manage the barriers to a healthy lifestyle. She helps other busy people understand that by making small realistic changes to their lifestyle, they can greatly improve their health and the health of those around them.
Meet Soowon Kim
Soowon Kim, PhD, has been with Stanford since 2005. Her primary role is to evaluate the health promotion efforts of BeWell.
Soowon’s professional training focused on the examination of the role of nutrition in health and disease and the development and evaluation of interventions for achieving and maintaining healthy eating patterns. It is important to Soowon that we approach health and wellness from the multiple pathways through which biological, behavioral and contextual contributors affect individuals and the population. She is also committed to improving the health and well-being of every individual, including those who are underserved.
Prior to working at Stanford, Soowon was a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF through the W.K. Kellogg Scholars in Health Disparities Program, where she focused on issues of health disparities and social determinants of health. She was also a visiting scholar at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.
Soowon was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. Coming from a big family that likes to celebrate with great eating experiences, food has always held a special attraction for Soowon. Any aspects of food — growing, cooking, serving and eating food — brings joy and excitement for her.
Soowon believes we are all unique individuals with the power to make meaningful life changes. In her role as a wellness coach, Soowon walks alongside her participants on their wellness journey, helping them hold their focus on their desired outcomes. She employs assumption-free, nonjudgmental, and open communication to help her participants achieve their wellness goals. Soowon shares with BeWell participants one of the most valuable lessons she has learned working at Stanford: move away from the “all-or-nothing” mindset and appreciate any tiny steps you can take to improve health and the quality of life.
Meet Jerrie Thurman
Jerrie is a senior health program manager at Stanford. She coordinates 90 fitness professionals who instruct over 200 group fitness classes each week at Stanford University. She has collaborated on numerous Worksite Wellness and Department Programs, and instructs a variety of fitness and health education classes.
Jerrie has worked at Stanford for almost 25 years. She is also a 30+ year veteran of the fitness industry.
Some of her professional accomplishments include: recent graduate of the Stanford School of Medicine’s Health 4 All Fellowship program, MA degree in instructional technology, and BS degree in human performance/exercise physiology.
Jerrie is sympathetic to the “sandwich generation” employee. She has three children ages 15-27, an elderly mother, and works full-time. She is intentional about doing regular activity, and encourages others to be as active as they can. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, singing, reading and fine arts activities.
Meet Jayna Rogers-Bunio
Jayna Rogers-Bunio is the Wellness Manager and the Workshop Manager for BeWell. She has been a health educator and researcher for the Stanford School of Medicine for the past 15 years in the areas of smoking cessation, weight management, women’s health and wellness coaching for long-term behavior change.
With a background in community health education and a master’s degree in public health, Jayna’s experience with behavior change and group facilitation adds depth to the wellness services she provides at Stanford.
The Stanford community is near and dear to Jayna. She advocates for a wide range of employees at Stanford, and employees are at the center of her decision-making and input on program design.
As a working mom and daughter of aging parents, Jayna understands how difficult it can be to fit physical activity into a busy and ever-changing schedule.
Meet Maia Tamanakis
Maia Tamanakis’s passion for health and wellness began at a very young age. Her father owned a small “health food” store near her rural hometown in Massachusetts — before Whole Foods and others were even on the map. Vitamins, supplements and natural foods were a part of her life growing up, although Twinkies were one of her favorite foods back then! Her mom and uncle were both physical education teachers who excelled at basketball, football and wrestling; thus, sports, exercise, and athletics were a part of the culture in which she was raised.
Having faced some health challenges as a young child, Maia became fascinated by the human body and medicine and continued a love for learning biology and physiology. She remembers during high school being riveted reading Bill Moyers’ book, Healing and the Mind, and she thought that the field of psychoneuroimmunology would be a cool thing to continue to study. In college, she continued to learn and explore human behavior and biology, and she thought maybe medical school was where her path would take her. However, she found that medicine wasn’t holistic or preventative enough, so she waited to see what else might prove her calling.
After graduating from Boston College, her passion was fueled for personal fitness training and life coaching after seeing how both had powerfully impacted her own health and well-being. She decided to pursue certifications in both and found her niche — at a time when disease prevention and wellness coaching was just coming on to the scene.
Shortly after being certified as a wellness coach, Maia decided to leave her small home town for a position as a corporate wellness coach at a technology company in Santa Clara. Thrilled by fulfilling a long time dream of moving to California, as well as work in a field she loved, she stayed in that position for eight years — coaching employees and providing health education and promotion as part of their onsite wellness program.
Through the years working with people and as part of her own life’s journey, she has validated the inseparable connection between mind, body and spirit that she knew always to be true — ever since she picked up that copy of Healing and the Mind. Since then, Maia has delved deeply into the practices of yoga, meditation and prayer, and she enjoys helping others experience mindfulness and spirituality as part of their wellness journey.
Maia is very grateful that she is able to bring her love and experience in wellness to the Stanford community as a BeWell Coach and support others on their wellness journey.
Meet Carol Hunter
Carol Hunter is the associate program manager for Healthy Living, where she coordinates classes, webinars, and apps that provide health and wellness education to Stanford staff and faculty. She draws on her diverse background in public relations, youth sports, school administration, and journalism to juggle the many aspects of her role, including coordinating logistics for almost 40 classes each quarter, wordsmithing class descriptions, and hosting webinars. She enjoys the opportunity to work with expert instructors in wellness and create meaningful experiences for participants.
Carol received her bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from UC Berkeley, where she marched for four years with the Cal Band. She returned to Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism a few years later for her master’s in journalism. Although she still roots for the Bears on the football field, she has grown more comfortable wearing Stanford red and is extremely proud to be a part of the University’s program to promote a culture of wellness where all are valued, supported, and empowered to thrive.
In her spare time, Carol loves dancing, cooking, playing games, and spending time in nature with friends and family. She lives in beautiful Half Moon Bay with her husband, two teenagers, and a bearded dragon.
Meet Elizabeth Skolnik
As a BeWell Coach, Elizabeth Skolnik, CPCC, works with participants to incorporate wellness best practices into their busy lives.
Elizabeth’s background is in Organizational Development. She received her BA in Education and Community Studies from University of California at Santa Cruz, and her Professional Coach Certification from the Coaches Training Institute (CTI).
In keeping with her goal to educate, in her early years, Elizabeth developed educational programming for San Francisco Television Station Viacom Cable Six. Following that, Elizabeth spent many years working for a management consulting firm, designing learning interventions that leverage the Neuroscience of Behavior Change.
As a Certified Professional Coach, Elizabeth works with individuals on a personal level to incorporate wellness and balance in their hectic lives, and on a professional level to develop the authentic leadership behaviors necessary to build organizations of trust, engagement, and innovation.
Elizabeth has a dedicated yoga practice and enjoys the simple things in life: her family, good friends and garden. She understands the stress which comes with being a working mother, surviving cancer, and raising a child with special needs. Elizabeth credits her yoga practice and healthy living for helping her maintain a balanced and purposeful life.
Meet Claire Palomo
Claire grew up in a small town in the foothills of California. Living in such a rural area and growing up on a ranch, she adopted a very active outdoor lifestyle — camping, hiking, playing sports, gardening and raising animals, which she continues to practice and sustain today.
Claire attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and graduated with her degree in psychology and anthropology. During her senior year, she volunteered at the local women’s health center, which inspired her initial interest in supporting and counseling people on wellness and behavioral change. Along the professional path that led her to health coaching, Claire worked in a wide array of social service facilities. She worked as a mental health counselor working with at risk youth providing special education services to children with various mental health needs and as a stabilization counselor at psychiatric health facilities in the Bay Area.
This work led to her increased awareness and interest in a holistic approach to health and wellness and was the catalyst for her learning various modalities to treat both physical and mental health concerns. Claire earned her certification as an Integrative Health Coach from Duke University in 2012 and began working at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. She worked primarily with veterans who had experienced traumatic brain injury and PTSD and supported them in sustaining behavioral change and a healthy reintegration back into civilian life. Claire has completed trainings in mindfulness stress reduction and has a personal interest in reducing one’s stress and improving overall mental and physical health with proper nutrition, physical activity and various body/mind techniques.
Ultimately, Claire’s passion for health and wellness is what drives her — both professionally and personally. She believes that the maintenance of one’s health lies in the values of each individual person and that a beneficial healthcare system is one that strives to treat the person, not the symptoms.
Meet Karen Carrie
Karen was raised in the Bay Area and was part of an active family that enjoyed spending time outdoors. Even at an early age, she could be found designing healthy meal options and customized fitness routines for her friends, family, and neighbors.
Karen earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Jose State and went on to a successful career in human resources, working in banking and high tech in a variety of roles. After caring for her three children, she returned to school, pursuing her Masters in Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University. She is grateful for her time at Santa Clara, where she had the honor of studying with Dr. Dale Larson and Dr. Shauna Shapiro, studying the mind-body connection, positive psychology, and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Karen is concurrently serving her practicum at a local community agency providing counseling and mental health support for individuals, couples and families.
Karen’s life has been greatly influenced by the health challenges of family and close friends. She understands that each individual has unique physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs. Karen is excited to work with individuals to create an integrative and holistic approach to diet, stress reduction, and a lifetime of healthy habits.
Meet Kirsten Olshan
Kirsten was born and raised in Great Falls, Virginia (outside of Washington, D.C.). She grew up in a close family, with three sisters, one being her twin sister. Health and sports were always emphasized in her family and both parents were also very active. Kirsten spent most of her childhood on sailboats and in the dance studio. She grew into a competitive athlete in sailing and running and a performer on stage and in the dance studio, which furthered her belief that health and good nutrition are the foundation for high performance as an athlete and if life in general. She now lives in Capitola and loves to surf with her son and do anything on the water.
Kirsten earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Dance from George Mason University and is pursuing her masters in Exercise Science, Health Promotion with a focus in Sports Physiology and Nutrition from Cal U Pennsylvania.
Kirsten has been a personal trainer and a classical Pilates educator for 25 years working with professional athletes and clients with many health challenges — from heart disease, MS, cancer to other physical limitations. Kirsten currently teaches yoga, dance, TRX, cycle and Pilates classes throughout the Bay Area. Some of her favorite work has included leading guided meditation classes at Heart Fit, a local non-profit, which is a supervised exercise program for those with diabetes and heart disease and challenges. Believing also that the younger we start healthy habits, the easier they are to maintain for a lifetime, Kirstin created a program with UCSC Students called ‘Healthy Steps,’ which launched in 2016 at Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz. She hopes to relaunch this program for PCS and other schools in the future.
Kirsten has been teaching at Stanford since 2014. She enjoys health coaching since it approaches the psychological aspects of what gets in our own way to be healthy. She recently attended the training with Stanford Living Well Living Strong program and looks forward to getting more involved with BeWell.
Meet Daryl M. Walker
Having had a long and successful career with a Fortune 100 corporation, Daryl understands the challenges of balancing career, family, friends and volunteer work while maintaining a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. As a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), Life Coach and Certified Personal Trainer, Daryl believes you do not need to do it “perfectly”; rather, you can thrive being in a safe and supportive environment for learning and practice while you take realistic, incremental steps toward your health and wellness goals.
Facing life-long challenges with weight, Daryl has been able to “walk the talk” — maintaining over the past 15 years a 60-pound weight loss thanks to healthy eating, daily meditation and consistent movement.
A long-time resident of San Francisco, Daryl loves to travel, hike, participate in group fitness and be engaged within his various communities. Daryl looks forward to supporting, encouraging and celebrating with his clients as we each strive to be our best selves, make a difference and live happier and healthier lives.
Meet Neelam Murthi
Neelam Murthi has a master’s degree in education. While working in a clinical setting as a registered nurse, helping patients with recurrent preventable diseases, Neelam realized she wanted to be an advocate for health promotion. She became certified as a health coach through Wellcoaches and earned an Integrative Nurse coach certification with the International Nurse Coach Association. She is also a yoga and meditation practitioner. Neelam launched wellnesswithneelam.com in 2016.
As a nurse, Neelam told people what to do. As a health coach, she guides people to come up with their own solutions. Her philosophy includes the concept that when we are able to care for ourselves, we can be fully present for others in this fast-paced culture.
Neelam finds great personal satisfaction in helping others find balance between their physical and mental well-being. To do so, she uses an integrative/holistic approach and guides people on finding a realistic balance in life for optimal health.
Meet Cecille Tabernero
Wellness Philosophy: True wellness is an integration of the being as an entire whole — which includes mental, emotional, socio-cultural and physical aspects of well-being.
Guiding people to take responsibility for their own health and well-being by sharing what I have learned over the years in the areas of physical activity, nutrition, stress management and relationships (with self and others) is a great passion of mine.
My career in wellness started over 20 years ago in the fitness industry — managing gyms in the East Bay and eventually becoming a personal trainer. Taking my interest in kinesiology (study of human movement) and combining that with my passion of preventive healthcare has led me to where I am today. I look forward to continually learning and spreading the message of well-being to the Stanford community.
My favorite wellness activates include hiking, strength training, getting creative with arts and crafts, journalizing, reading and dancing hula.
Meet Julie Croteau
Julie Croteau is an accomplished senior communications professional with over 15 years’ experience working across industries and markets. She directs marketing and communications for BeWell at Stanford University and for HealthySteps to Wellness Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health.
Julie is recognized as the first woman to play men’s NCAA baseball (St. Mary’s College of Maryland), as well as the first woman to coach men’s NCAA Division I Baseball (University of Massachusetts). Croteau played professionally for the Colorado Silver Bullets in its inaugural year as the team’s starting first baseman. She is also one of two women to ever play in a Major League Baseball sanctioned winter league (Hawaiian Winter League), and her baseball glove and photo are on permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Following her professional playing career, Julie was the television host of Rockies Weekly, the official magazine show for the Colorado Rockies and provided pre-game reports for the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s. She also served as a television commentator for the World Series and All-Star Games for Major League Baseball.
In 2004 Croteau coached the United States Women’s National Baseball Team, which captured Gold at the 2004 World Cup in Canada. In 2006, Croteau was tapped to be the Manager of the Women’s National Team which also captured Gold in Taiwan.
In addition to her many on-field accomplishments, Croteau served as an Associate Director for Development for Major League Baseball; worked as an Advisor for Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns; and made an appearance in the major motion picture, A League of Their Own.
Croteau obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and attended Smith College on a full academic scholarship for graduate studies in Exercise and Sports Studies. An avid hiker and ongoing student of Italian, she enjoys her free time with her husband and two children. They reside in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Honors & Awards
- Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, Glove and photo on permanent display
- San Francisco Giants, Honoree 2017
- St Mary’s College, Trailblazer Award 2017
- San Francisco Olympic Bid, Member of Board of Directors 2012
- International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Woman & Sport Achievement Award Nominee 2007
- International Baseball Federation, First female coach in Federation history
- Women’s Sports Foundation, Honoree 1989,1994 & 2006
- American Association of University Women, Margaret Brent Award 1993
- Nike, Sponsored athlete 1993-1994
- White House and Senate, U.S. National Girls and Women in Sports Honoree 1990
- Baltimore Orioles, First pitch 1992
- NBC Today Show, Sportsman of the Week 1989
- Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Guest appearance 1989
- National Organization of Women, Most Valuable Player Award 1988
Featured in Glamour, People, Seventeen, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids & Smithsonian
Meet Dominique Del Chiaro
Dominique Del Chiaro, is the Senior Manager for BeWell’s Healthy Living program. Dominique is devoted to offering quality health education classes based in current research that address the needs of the community. Her vision is to create a culture of wellness where people feel empowered, supported and inspired to thrive. She is a seasoned instructor and trainer and has facilitated wellness courses for more than 25 years. In addition to managing the health education programs, Dominique teaches meditation and contemplative classes and is a dance, yoga, and fitness instructor.
Dominique received her BS in Human Development at UC Davis, a MeD in Education at the University of Hawaii, and is currently a PhD candidate in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
Dominique loves dancing hula, hiking the high country, biking and skiing, and doing travel adventures all over the world.
Meet Charelle Fernandez
Charelle joined the Stanford in 2016 as the director of HealthySteps, the hospital employee wellness program for Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health (Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford). She has over 25 years of experience in the health, fitness and wellness industry and a passion for enhancing the lives of others through creating an environment of health, wellness and happiness. Before joining the wellness team, Charelle was a district manager for Optum / Plus One. She provided executive oversight of wellness centers focusing on employee engagement, operational excellence, quality service, and integrated wellness programs for several Fortune 500 companies in the Bay Area.
For 15 years, Charelle served as Cisco’s wellness center manager showcasing cutting-edge facility design, technology solutions and the latest trends in programming. Before relocating to California, Charelle worked for the private club leader, ClubCorp in New Orleans, LA. Charelle received a MS and a BS degree in Health and Human Sciences, both from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Meet Sonia Halvorson
Sonia has been working with Stanford since 1994. She moved into the role of Lead Technology Manager for BeWell in 2018. She is responsible for managing all websites and web-based applications for Healthy Living and BeWell.
She has a Bachelors degree in International Economics from the American University of Paris and a Masters degree in Instructional Technology from San Jose State University. She has been designing and developing rich internet applications for the Stanford since the early days of the world wide web.
Sonia is based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and enjoys hiking, walking her dog, hanging out with her daughter, and making amateur documentaries in her spare time.
Meet Emma Hamilton
Emma is a senior software developer at Stanford. She develops and maintains web sites and databases, as well as evaluates and implements general IT solutions for the department. She is responsible for the development and maintenance of the Living Strong Living Well and the BeWell Walkers websites.
She is constantly experimenting with new technologies and techniques. She is very passionate about Web Development, and strives to better herself as a developer.
She received an M.S in Computer Science from Texas Southern University, and a B.S in Mathematics and Computer from Azad University.
She has one daughter. In her free time, she enjoys drawing with color pencils and painting with oils. She also enjoys spending time in the kitchen, especially baking and designing cakes.
Meet Mia Primeau
Mia has a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island, and an M.A. in Somatic Psychology from John F. Kennedy University. Mia has worked in many areas of health and wellness. In 2009 she founded the University of Rhode Island’s Yoga program, and taught classes in yoga and mindfulness for students and staff. In graduate school, she developed a small private practice as a wellness coach, focusing on end of life acceptance. She went on to serve as a grief counselor at Pathways Hospice.
Mia’s work with end-of-life inspired her to focus more on prevention and early intervention. She went on to teach middle school Health and Wellness at Summit Public Schools. In 2016, Mia joined Stanford as a wellness coach. Inspired by the potential of the program, Mia gladly accepted the role of Marketing Specialist. She has been in this role since 2017.
Mia absolutely loves her work at Stanford. Every day, she looks forward to problem-solving and creating meaningful experiences with participants and co-workers. In her spare time, Mia enjoys relaxing with friends and family, spending time outdoors, learning, listening to stand-up comedy, and exploring the arts.
Meet Patty Purpur de Vries
Born and raised in North Dakota, Patty earned a full-athletic scholarship to attend Stanford University in 1985. While at Stanford, she was a 9-time NCAA All-American (Shot Put and Discus), collegiate olympic weightlifting champion in 1989, and competed at the 1988 Olympic Trials.
In 1992, Patty purchased $40 worth of business cards and began her career providing personal fitness training. By 2008, she grew her fitness & wellness company, TimeOut Services, to employ over 100 employees with annual revenues of over $5 million. In January, 2009, Patty sold all corporate contracts, including those with Cisco, Yahoo! and Safeway, and the rights to her trademark Community BootCamp program to PlusOne Holdings of New York (now Optum).
Today, Patty is the Associate Director of Faculty and Staff Wellness and the Director of the Stanford Leadwell Network.
Meet Katie Shumake
Katie holds a B.A. in English and B.S. in biology from NC State University and an M.A. in health communication from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her past professional experience includes marketing and communications at a company specializing in social-emotional products for children and a non-profit implementing nation-wide workplace wellness programs. Katie also worked as a research assistant at the Environmental Protection Agency.
She was inspired to go into public health communication through her own personal wellness journey. Realizing that better well-being is achievable, Katie wanted to use her skills to make health and wellness more accessible for others. She started as the marketing specialist for BeWell in 2015 and is proud to have made contributions to Stanford’s growing culture of wellness.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Katie returned to the area in 2019 to raise her family. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, exploring new places, and going on walks with her family.
Meet Jamie Silacci
Jamie is a dedicated mother of three who believes that whatever we put our minds to we can achieve. After earning an A.A. in Human Development and a B.A. in Adult Development and Gerontology, she is currently pursuing an M.P.H. at California State University Northridge. Her strengths are multi-tasking and keeping a positive mindset. In her studies, she is particularly interested in matters concerning geriatric quality of life.
She started with BeWell in 2015 as an Administrative Associate and is now working as an Associate Program Manager of Events and Outreach, coordinating all of BeWell’s signature events. To further her skills, she became a Certified Quality Event Planner through the Board of Trustees of the Management and Strategy Institute, an internationally recognized certification. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to the beach with her family and drinking Starbucks!
Meet Linda Lydon
Prior to joining the BeWell team, Linda had 18 years of experience dedicated to collaborating and connecting students and employers. As the Recruiting & Partner Program Manager at the Career Center, she was responsible for building, managing, and sustaining strong relationships with employers recruiting at Stanford. She provided connections and guidance to students and employers regarding recruiting policies, procedures, and trends.
For five years, Linda had the privilege and opportunity to weave in her passion for health and well-being, community service, gratitude, and mindfulness into her professional experience at Stanford as a Healthy Work Environment Ambassador and a Cardinal at Work Ambassador. These experiences were the catalyst in earning her Corporate Wellness Specialist Certification and Life Coaching Certification.
As a Program Specialist for the Outreach team, Linda is able to share her passion for emotional and physical health and well-being, and mindfulness utilizing her strengths of organization, prioritization, and cross-collaboration.
Meet Christi Cerna
Christi believes “movement is life”! After working at IBM for 15 years, she took advantage of an opportunity to return to school and pursue her true passion. She received her degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant in 2002, and worked in a physical therapy office for 8 years. She became a Comprehensive Certified Pilates Instructor through Power Pilates and a Level II TRX instructor. It was her TRX training that initially brought her to Stanford in 2013, teaching fitness classes. Ever on the lookout for new opportunities and ways to promote health, Christi began working full time for BeWell in 2018.
As the primary point of contact for BeWell and Healthy Living, she embraces the team’s mission to create a culture of wellness where all are valued, supported and inspired to thrive.
Christi enjoys exercising (of course), hanging out with her bullmastiff, running, hiking, and frequent visits to Henry Coe State Park, where she can immerse herself in nature.
Meet Les Schlaegel
Reporting to the Vice President for Human Resources, Les is responsible for the design, administration and communication of the employee benefits program for approximately 16,000 faculty and staff and 4,500 retirees. Mr. Schlaegel also leads the university’s BeWell Program and Stanford Medicine’s HealthySteps To Wellness Program. Les also is responsible for the oversight of the university’s Global Human Resources Department.
Prior to joining Stanford in 2006, Les earned over 40 years of public health programs and employee benefits experience with several fortune 500 companies managing both their domestic and international benefit programs. In addition, Les was a founding father of both the Pacific Business Group on Health and the Institute for Medical Quality, a subsidiary of the California Medical Association.
Mr. Schlaegel earned his MS degree in Comprehensive Health Planning from UCLA.