Who's Leading?

Meet our Facilitators

Olga Shustryakova

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 has a love for building community and bringing people together to connect, and also works as a coach helping people vision and actualize their deepest desires. 


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.

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.


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.

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. 

Whitney Waterbury

Led by endless curiosity, Whitney Waterbury has been questioning “normal” and talking with strangers since she could speak. She went on to study psychology, human development, sexuality and somatic therapy, which she uses to help people find healing and deepening aliveness through embodiment, connection and pleasure.

Whitney instigated the first Authentic Relating community in Memphis in 2018 where she continues to serve and delight in witnessing the power of connection to transform people and communities. When not facilitating events she can be found playing in the forest with her young ones, wild foraging and mushroom hunting, practicing yoga, learning to build things, traveling, Circling, dancing in public, hosting spontaneous gatherings, and cooking for the people she loves.

Ine Willems

"It's a great thing to be alive" is really good summary of Ine Willems personal mission, vision on the world and on life itself. She loves to discover and awaken the inner child to connect, relate and discover new things. Every new discovery makes her smile and shine even more. It is her passion to support others in finding their inner fire and joy in connection with others as well. She does that through writing, dancing, coaching, interactive training in group and balancing energy with Reiki.

Ine brings experience in appreciative inquiry, career coaching, future planning, conflict transformation, non-violent communication, Reiki, personal development, authentic relating and circling (including all of the ART International trainings). Her academic background includes psychology and intercultural mediation and cooperation. 

Ine loves ecstatic dance, meditation, writing, nature and cooking & sharing good food in her day to day life in Antwerp.  For more info, check: file:///C:/Users/mark1/Downloads/Bio-Corfu-FINAL.pdf 

Garrett Rokosh

Garrett Rokosh is the Founder of Play Connect Dance which facilitates unconventional experiences that intentionally serve universal human needs for play, self-expression, authenticity, movement, touch, empathy, acceptance, belonging, emotional-safety, and community. He is passionate about authentic relating, acro yoga, climbing, meditation, and ecstatic dancing.

Adam Morris

Adam Morris was doing his PhD in psychology at Harvard, when he had a transformational experience of profound interconnectedness while camping with friends in the woods. He came out of that experience with a vision of the social life that is possible for us: one of unabashed openness and overflowing love. After that experience, he embarked on an intense study of how connection happens (or doesn't happen) between people, which led him to an authentic leadership training in Boulder, a board room at the NYU business school, a circling immersion in Boston, a Buddhist monastery in Vermont, and more. His hope is to share what he's learned, and to continue learning.

Gabe DeRita

Gabe DeRita is a connection coach serving entrepreneurs and individuals seeking clarity and purpose. He offers personal development & business coaching, as well as psychedelic integration services. Gabe is a perennially curious student of life, with a colorful array of professional experience in  enterprise sales, business consulting, writing, tourism, communications, & bocce league refereeing. He's happy to nerd out about bikes, wild mushrooms, or music as well. He splits his time between San Francisco, CA, and Philadelphia, PA. You can contact Gabe by visiting Effective Connection.

Damian Gallagher

Damian Gallagher has a passion for people and exploring what is available in every moment. He loves the simplicity of living a life in connection with self and others. Damian considers one of his greatest relational strengths to be revealing his inner world when he’s feeling awkward or vulnerable (and he feels awkward writing this Bio). He thrives when working with others and enjoys facilitating Circling, AR games and Relational work. Damian also facilitates one on one Personal growth and Transformational work, as well as Men’s work exploring accountability, shadow, and presence. He finds pleasure in movement and embodiment and also delights in finding moments of slowness and stillness. Damian lives in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife and son.

Olga Shustryakova

Olga Shustryakova is the leader of Authentic Relating Moscow. She first met with Authentic Relating in 2018, and immediately fell in love with the practices. Since then, she has been leading ARG Nights for various Moscow communities, including Burning Man Russia and more.
Besides that, Olga is a professional translator and transcreator, localizing global ideas for Russian people.  She’s into psychology, meditation, literature, and digging in the depth with her loved ones.

Kyla Sokoll-Ward

Kyla Sokoll-Ward is a speaker, facilitator, and professional community builder who speaks about loneliness in the millennial generation and how millennials can use their emotional experiences as tools for connection. She has shared her message internationally, on multiple TEDx stages, and has facilitated millennial-focused programming around the world for thousands of young adults. Through keynotes, workshops, and 1:1 mentorship, she aims to disrupt the status quo of connection and challenge others to connect more intentionally, vulnerably, and empathically with those around them in order to build more effective communities for young adults. She’s a firm believer that we’re only one good question away from connecting with the entire world.