Who's Leading?

Meet our Facilitators

Sara Ness

Sara Ness is the Founder and Chief Instigator of Authentic Revolution. She began teaching Authentic Relating in 2012, founding a thousands-strong learning community in Austin, Texas and going on to train over 350 leaders and help found 30+ other communities worldwide. Sara is passionate about exposing the joy of human connection and exploring our creative potential through relationship. She has facilitated at schools, companies, yoga studios, a funeral, Burning Man, and more, bringing playful social technology into the mainstream and the….non-mainstream? Sara is into suggesting ideas like push up contests in fancy restaurants and convincing other people to do them too. Hence, community leadership.

Sara works most of the time. When not doing that, she’s into acroyoga, Ecstatic Dance, cooking, and spending time with the many people she loves. She’s most lit up by creating things – projects, books, movements, systems, anything that her heart and brain can chew on at the same time.

Mark Boughton

Mark Boughton has been studying communication skills and the psychology of relationships and interpersonal dynamics for over a decade. By the time he was twenty two, he had worked, traveled or volunteered on every continent of the globe, and had discovered a deep passion for understanding people. He stumbled upon Circling eight years ago, immediately fell in love with the practice, and has been facilitating relational practice ever since. He also works doing coaching and counselling with couples and individuals looking to create more deep and intimate romantic relationships.

Jennifer Ott

Jennifer Ott is a facilitator, coach, and mother-of-all-things who uses Authentic Relating practices to facilitate gatherings where the possibility to learn and grow through connection, vulnerability and intimacy blooms. She manages Authentic Sandpoint and works with Authentic Revolution as our Happiness Officer and Co-Whole Holder, keeping the team together with her gentle presence and willingness to handle any relational or logistical needs.

When not working with hearts or communities, Jennifer is most happy in her own backyard. Accompanied by her beautiful partner and their four amazing girls she loves to grow food, flowers, is an avid chef, baker and loving practitioner of all ways nourishing.

Barbara Samson

Barbara Samson has been Circling and going to Authentic Relating Games since 2014, and attending immersions when possible. She trained as a facilitator in 2017 at the Boston Circling Training. She has lived a diverse life, dedicating herself to science and pragmatic matters, working, travelling, getting married and giving birth. Along the way she noticed some work to be done on herself, and a growing curiosity about all things esoteric. She followed her curiosity and it led her to explore the heart connection she felt with others. She brings that curious attitude into the Circles she leads, which are usually Organic, and she always challenges herself to expand her capacity to welcome what’s true. She is not a healer or therapist, but a human being who loves to create a space for herself and others to discover connection.

Jason Zwolak

Jason Zwolak is one of the founders of Authentic Montreal and was previously a facilitator in Authentic Portland. He has been facilitating Authentic Relating events since 2012, including Games Night, circling, authentic relating games facilitator training, and circling training. Jason also owns a business developing software for theoretical biologists and enjoys walks with his dog, Maggie.

“This work has been instrumental to me in developing felt compassion by dissolving judgement and old patterns. I hope you will have equally profound benefits.” -Jason

Chris Gongaware

Chris Gongaware agrees with the research: the number one influence on human happiness is the quality of personal relationships. He spends his time pouring himself into a farm on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and creating and teaching better ways for people to actively connect with one another. In his "spare" time he is an active duty member of the US military. He has been involved with Authentic Relating for over 4 years, studying psychology for over 8 years, researching how life works for over 20 years, and been in awe of humanity his whole life.

Christine Kennedy

Christine Kennedy has a big heart, and a passion for kindness, connection, truth, growth, and unconditional love. She was introduced to Authentic Relating by Shay Pausa and to circling training by Sara Ness.  It was love at first site, and as a result, Christine completed ARC and T3 at the Integral Center in Boulder, CO and became a certified circling facilitator. She has hosted circling and Games Nights in her home in Phoenix, AZ for the past 4 years where she has gratefully witnessed amazing growth, healing, transformation, and connection – what she calls the magic of circling!

Christine’s professional career includes many roles in health care, hospice, ministry, mental health, teaching, consulting and public speaking.  She is mom to a 17 yo son and 19 yo daughter who she loves dearly.   When she isn’t working, spending time with family, you will likely find her hiking, reading, meditating, doing crafts, or hosting a circling or authentic relating event in her home or here on COnnect.

Caroline Johnson

Caroline Johnson is a graduate of The Circling Institute’s Art of Circling training with Guy Sengstock.  She also completed Authentic Leadership Facilitator Training with Sara Ness and brings skills in group process and facilitation, counseling and NVC (Nonviolent Communication). 

Caroline is passionate about awareness and intention, curiosity and leading from the core self. 

When Caroline isn’t facilitating Authentic Relating Games or Circling, she is probably traveling!  She holds an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling with a particular interest in Internal Family Systems.


Ben Korta

Ben Korta is a somatic movement practitioner, facilitator, and writer.

He recently completed a Master’s in Theological Studies and is currently pursuing an ISMETA certification as a Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist.


Jessica Tartaro

Dr. Jessica Tartaro is an Intimacy Therapist with nearly 20 years experience working with individuals, couples and groups. Former Fulbright scholar, she has traveled the world conducting research on growth through trauma as well as studying with leaders in the authentic relating and circling movements. Her gift lies in embodying vulnerability as an invitation for you to find the most authentic, alive, vital and creative parts of yourself through which to connect with others. Compelled by the beauty of the land and people, Jessica has migrated from Dallas, TX to Port Townsend, WA, where she has re-opened her Intimacy Coaching practice down the street from the Rose Theatre. Look for her dance events, ongoing communication games and workshops on orgasmic connection. Read more about her offerings at www.DrJessicaTartaro.com.

Kim Crowley

Kim Crowley completed Authentic Leadership Training with Sara Ness and brings additional skills in dialogue facilitation, workshop design and delivery, teaching, conflict transformation, Non-Violent Communication, music therapy, and a variety of methods for structuring conversations around issues that matter. Values infused in her life and work include curiosity, perspective-taking, social mindfulness, managing bias, co-creation, collective critical thinking, authentic spirituality, and building clarity.  Kim holds an MS in Industrial and Organizational Psychology as well as multiple certificates in facilitation and meeting management.

Kim organizes her life around helping people hear each other. Her heart-felt hope:  When we’re truly seen and heard, we become more able to connect deeply, get needs met together, and co-create some pretty amazing stuff. 

Zach Robison

Zachary Robison is a lead facilitator and facilitator trainer who enjoys creating a space of self-exploration that primarily focuses on cultivating interpersonal skills. He has a laid back, playful leadership style balanced by a desire to hold space for whatever depth arises.  In leading games in many different areas of life such as schools, businesses, festivals, summer camps, and leadership workshops, he has learned how to embrace what is real in any moment and have that be where we connect.

Anke Verhees

Anke Verhees is one of the pioneering women offering Circling in Europe. She co-led Authentic Europe and started her own company ConnectionLab in 2015. She offers Life & Leadership Coaching, intro weekends to Circling and 6 month deep-dives, using Circling as a tool to develop leadership, agency and capacity.
Anke is a lover of all things human and relational.  She calls herself a relational nerd and hopes to keep her life-long curiosity till the day she dies. She loves having her quirky community of fellow deep divers around her, and can just as well enjoy being in nature and quiet, reading epic fantasy novels and not having to deal with any humans. She describes herself as at least 50% introverted, identifies as HSP and is a real big fan of not taking life, and herself, too seriously. As a leader Anke combines a big heart and a sharp brain and loves the focus of birthday circles.

She lives in Amsterdam (and partly in her cabin near the forest) with her boyfriend.

Peter Will Benjamin

 Peter Will Benjamin is a Certified Life & Business Coach with a strong focus on Authenticity, Self Love and Connection, Mildly obsessive Circler, Injury & Pain Specialist Avid Dancer & Instructor


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