Our Team

Krista Tippett

Founder and CEO, The On Being Project; Host, On Being and Becoming Wise; Curator, The Civil Conversations Project

Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, a National Humanities Medalist, and a New York Times bestselling author. She grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, attended Brown University, and became a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin. She then lived in Spain and England before seeking a Master of Divinity at Yale University in the mid-1990s.

Emerging from that, she saw a black hole where intelligent public conversation about the religious, spiritual, and moral aspects of human life might be. She pitched and piloted her idea for several years before launching Speaking of Faith — later On Being — as a weekly national public radio show in 2003. In 2014, the year after she took On Being into independent production, President Obama awarded Krista the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.”

Krista has published three books at the intersection of spiritual inquiry, social healing, science, and culture: Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living; Einstein’s God, drawn from her interviews at the intersection of science, medicine, and spiritual inquiry; and Speaking of Faith, a memoir of religion in our time.

 

Liliana Maria (Lily) Percy Ruíz

Executive Producer, On Being Studios & Host of This Movie Changed Me (She/Her/Ella)

Liliana Maria is one of the founding team of four that brought On Being to independence in 2013. Born in Cali, Colombia, Liliana Maria immigrated to Miami with her family at the age of four. Like many public radio listeners, she fell in love with the medium while sitting in a car, listening to Click and Clack in the backseat of her father’s Honda Accord.

Liliana Maria studied English Literature and Film Studies at Florida International University. She has worked as an associate editor at MovieMaker magazine, and as a producer for StoryCorps and NPR’s “All Things Considered” on the weekends, where she produced the series “Movies I’ve Seen A Million Times.” In 2012, she received the Religion Newswriters Association Radio/Podcast Religion Report of the Year Award for her profile of four Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

Liliana Maria is the host of the podcast This Movie Changed Me, and proudly serves on the board of Centro Tyrone Guzman, the oldest and largest multi-service Latino organization in Minneapolis.

Lucas Johnson

Executive Director, Civil Conversations and Social Healing

Lucas Johnson has deep, global experience in conflict resolution and community organizing. He has been shaped by his time learning from veterans of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., most closely Vincent Harding and Dorothy Cotton, and by his work with human rights activists around the world, especially in Africa, Europe, and Latin America.

Lucas was a leader in the U.S. community of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), the world’s oldest interfaith peace organization, for 6 years, based in Atlanta and focused on the Southeast and mid-Atlantic.

From 2014 until he joined the On Being Project in December, 2018, he served as General Secretary of IFOR’s global operation. Among the work he will draw on and extend as part of CCP, he incubated a Beloved Communities Project in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium; and helped to create an Ethics of Reciprocity initiative with the United Nations.

Lucas studied at Mercer University and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He was born in Germany in a military family, grew up in Georgia (U.S.), and now resides between Amsterdam and the United States.

Colleen Scheck

Executive Director, Operations & Vitality (She/Her/Hers)

Colleen ensures our donors know the impact of their support and how thankful we are to have it. She’s inspired by the many people who express deep appreciation, in words and in donations, for the influence On Being has in their lives, and by the funding partners catalyzing that influence in ever-expanding ways. Colleen works across our non-profit enterprise to nurture the relationships that will enable us to serve media audiences and enhance public life for years to come.

Colleen was a producer with On Being in its founding years at American Public Media. She’s thrilled to return after wearing multiple non-profit management hats within and beyond public media. She has a degree in history from Northwestern University. Beyond work, Colleen cares about how we better support “twice-exceptional” children and accept neurodiversity. A life-long Minnesotan, she says “you betcha” sincerely. She loves national parks, Labrador retrievers, and naps. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, son, and yellow lab.

Chris Heagle

Producer / Technical Director, On Being Studios

Chris has been a voracious consumer of all things public radio for as long as he can remember. He worked as a technical director for Performance Today, and contributed to several other national programs. Chris is one of the founding team of four that brought On Being to independence in 2013, and he is thrilled to have landed at On Being.

Chris spent the better part of 15 years working in theater as a sound designer and production manager. Though he occasionally pines for the immediacy of live performance, he also believes that in the vast media landscape of our world, radio is still best at stimulating the imagination.

Chris holds a B.A. from Hamline University and an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois. When not in front of a computer screen, he loves the outdoors (regardless of the weather), just about every kind of music, and watching his daughters discover the world.

Zack Rose

Producer / Technical Director, On Being Studios

Zack was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and at the age of four his family moved to the much warmer climate of Bemidji, Minnesota. Friendship and his ears brought him to Minneapolis in his twenties to absorb as much music and art as he could. His love of listening and learning about audio brought him to a career in public radio, where he has spent the last 15 years, learning in practice and in conversation with colleagues every day.

His recent focus has been on classical music, but his work has included mixing daily regional talk shows and national classical programs, editing and mixing podcasts, recording symphony orchestras and operas in concert halls and small groups in recording studios. Zack knew he found his passion when he realized that he actually enjoys sorting tangled audio cables.

Julie Siple

Senior Producer, On Being Studios

Julie is the senior producer at On Being Studios, leading radio and podcast offerings for On Being with Krista Tippett.

She grew up in Rochester, Minn., and her favorite day of the week was Tuesday – the day the bookmobile from the local public library stopped near her house. (She always checked out seven books, the maximum allowed.)

Before joining On Being, Julie spent two decades at Minnesota Public Radio as a producer and reporter. She began on Morning Edition, cutting her radio chops on cold, dark mornings before the rest of the state woke up. Over the years, she produced each of MPR’s flagship programs, a limited run podcast, and a pilot program. She also spent several years as a reporter, covering hunger and poverty in Minnesota.

Thanks to generous journalism fellowships, Julie spent a year reporting in Berlin and several months in Munich. She got her start in journalism at Catalyst, a magazine covering school reform in Chicago. Before that, she majored in English at Carleton College, counseled teenagers in Chicago, and watched healing rituals in three countries thanks to a Thomas J. Watson fellowship.

She loves novels, travel, and anyone who introduces her to new food.

Gautam Srikishan

Producer, On Being Studios (He/Him/His)

Gautam is a longtime audiophile, consuming all things podcast- and music-related. Before joining the On Being Project, Gautam spent several years working for StoryCorps as a field producer, as he traveled, recorded, and archived stories for the national oral history project. Since then, he’s worked as an audio engineer and producer on many projects, including podcasts like Nice Try! Utopian, Land of the Giants: The Netflix Effect, and The Cut. When he’s not working on podcasts, you can find him writing new music, re-watching his favorite Studio Ghibli movies, or passionately explaining to people why they should play Dungeons and Dragons.

Pádraig Ó Tuama

Poet/Theologian and Host of Poetry Unbound

Pádraig grew up in Cork, on the south coast of Ireland listening to the radio, reading poetry and wishing he could share Wonder Woman’s superpowers. After school he had a nomadic decade before settling in Belfast. He has degrees in Theology — with particular attention to narrative and public theology — and also qualifications in conflict resolution.

Pádraig has numerous publications in poetry and prose. His interest in poetry began early, in school, when learning poetry off by heart in both the Irish and English languages. For him, poetry is a lifeblood.

Pádraig presents Poetry Unbound and is poet/theologian, working alongside staff and project partners to deepen theological reflection and resources through the On Being’s reach.

For almost 20 years Pádraig worked in faith-based conflict resolution in Belfast; engaging with partners and participants in addressing the ongoing legacy of violence and trauma in the north of Ireland. As part of this, he led Corrymeela, Ireland’s oldest peace organization, from 2014-2019, as well as having worked as freelance poet in residence for Corrymeela from 2005-2013.

He lives in Belfast with his partner Paul Doran, with whom he co-founded Tenx9, an event for people to tell true stories from their own life

Christiane Wartell

Senior Manager, Editorial Operations

Christiane is The On Being Project’s senior manager of editorial operations, overseeing content flow and development for our community.

Before joining On Being, she was the managing editor of Texas Monthly, where she led editorial operations and story production for the organization. Before that, she served as the company’s director of digital media. In that role, she shaped digital strategy and oversaw their platform development efforts. She moonlighted as a tasting companion to the food editor, and became a self-anointed “taste bud.” She also acted as the “sidekick” to the Barbecue Editor, and has very strong feelings about potato salad.

Prior to Texas Monthly, Christiane worked as the director of production for the interactive group at WNET, New York’s PBS station. She collaborated across departments to cater to web properties for multiple arts, nature, culture, and documentary broadcast series.

Christiane received a history degree from the University of Texas at Austin. When she is offline, you may find her wandering in the wild with her big dog or in an antique shop getting lost in the odds and ends.

Erin Colasacco

Creative Director, On Being Studios (She/Her/Hers)

Erin is the creative director at On Being Studios, leading the art department in any and all organizational pursuits. As a graphic designer and art director, she is a seasoned image-maker, translating the essence of On Being’s audio/digital offerings into precise and beautiful visuals. Prior to her role at The On Being Project, she spent nearly a decade in the advertising industry developing creative dynamic storytelling content that made lasting impressions. Her work has been recognized with awards and coverage by The Webby’s, Adweek, The Drum, and Communication Arts.

She loves her daily walks around Lake Harriet and exercise in any form, improv comedy, arts and crafts, international solo travel, cake in any form, and furnishing her home with a curated mix of curiosities.

Lilian Vo

Associate Art Director, Community & Design (She/Her/Hers)

As a Vietnamese Seattle native, coffee naturally runs through Lilian’s blood. She graduated from Macalester College, where she received her B.A. in international studies with a double minor in anthropology and Japanese. Wildly curious and energized, she is passionate about merging her design thinking with her academic interests, as a self-taught designer. Manifested from her three passions of food, design, and community, she founded The Sticky Rice Project in 2017, a community media initiative that aims to bridge the intergenerational gap in the Seattle Vietnamese community using food. She is eager to continue exploring the different avenues of human connection and the role of media at On Being.

Laurén Drommerhausen

Senior Operations Manager, Operations & Vitality (She/Her/Hers)

With a passion for the tangible brand experience, Laurén cut her teeth in the advertising industry, gaining exposure in human resources, process implementation, and event production. Laurén’s hard work and “passion for compassion” was recognized by AdFed’s list of standouts: 32 Under 32. She received her bachelor’s degree in advertising from the Art Institutes MN and served six years in the United States Air Force.

Laurén is a born and raised Minnesotan who’s inspired by Scandinavian design and enjoys maintaining her home — everything from landscaping to remodeling. In her free time, Laurén volunteers with Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute as part of their adaptive sports and recreation program. She finds relaxation and restoration in yoga (both teaching and practicing), long nature walks, trying new restaurants, and watching puppy videos.

Suzette Burley

Hospitality Coordinator, Operations & Vitality

Suzette graduated with a degree in marketing and management from Mankato State University. Prior to On Being, she held positions in sales, recruiting, and management.

She enjoys golf, reading and more reading, coffee and more coffee, skiing, long walks, and hiking in northern Minnesota.

Her greatest joy is gathering friends and family around her candle-lit table for a night of food, conversation, and lots of laughs.

Eddie Gonzalez

Associate Director, Civil Conversations and Social Healing

Eddie Gonzalez has a keen interest in the dance between inner and outer life, the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we tell each other. He joins On Being Project after a decade of work around stories and spiritual care, most recently at StoryCorps, where he worked across the United States and Canada to help individuals and organizations create space for reflective conversations through community-based storytelling and audio recording projects. Before StoryCorps he was a hospice chaplain and received his clinical pastoral education while earning an M.F.A. in creative writing.

Eddie believes deeply in the power of collaboration and will be based in New York City, connecting the growing ecosystem of projects, leaders, and listeners as well as developing meaning-making products for the On Being community. He feels most alive when he’s gathering around the table with friends and family, reading and writing, or exploring the outside world on foot. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, John Henry Greenwood.

Ben Katt

Associate Director, Religious Life & Social Healing

Ben Katt has spent over 15 years working at the intersection of spirituality, community, and social healing. After completing his M.Div, he moved to Seattle where he spent a decade launching and leading Awake, a contemplative-active faith community, and co-created the Aurora Commons, a supportive space for unhoused neighbors and committed to radical hospitality and mutual transformation. His deep engagement in community development in his own neighborhood inspired him to help other congregations and organizations serve their local contexts in his work as co-founder of the Parish Collective, creator and host of the 99-episode RePlacing Church podcast, and denominational agency leader.

Ben’s work is animated by his commitments to levity, gravity, curiosity, and creativity. He is enthralled by ever-evolving spiritual journeys of individuals and communities, and is fascinated by the practices and wisdom that have emerged from across religious and cultural traditions. He enjoys practicing and teaching meditation, running in the woods, craft beer with friends, and karaoke with strangers. After 14 years in the Pacific Northwest, Ben recently returned to his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife and three children.

Gretchen Honnold

Program & Operations Manager, Civil Conversations and Social Healing

Gretchen Honnold believes in the critical relationship between meaning-making and effective change-making. She has worked as an international nonviolence program coordinator, civil disobedience trainer, rapid-response and digital community organizer, and behind the front desk of her local YMCA. For the past decade, she has facilitated local and global community organizing efforts working across race, class, culture, faith tradition, and other lines of difference.

Gretchen grew up in North Carolina, and has yet to adjust to Minnesota winters. She is a passionate systems geek, believing that thoughtful institutions can be the foundation for building meaningful relationships at scale.

Jhaleh Akhavan

Community Engagement Associate, Civil Conversations and Social Healing

In the role of Community Engagement Associate, Jhaleh is excited to work with groups and individuals in the ongoing practice of culture change and social healing. While previously working at StoryCorps, Jhaleh recorded living histories and facilitated audio documentary workshops for local and national projects. They have also freelanced as a podcast/audio producer, visual scribe, and tender-of-plants. Jhaleh grew up in the rain-drenched Pacific Northwest near the Salish Sea, and pursued interdisciplinary studies at The Evergreen State College with a focus on Human Development and Learning for Social Change. She currently lives in Brooklyn and still loves being surrounded by plants, people, and other growing things. Rooted in our inherent creativity and capacity for learning, Jhaleh is invested in opening up time and space for individual and collective listening, re-vision, and choice that supports the transition to a just present.

Lillie Benowitz

Pastoral Engagement Associate, Religious Life & Social Healing (She/Her, They/Them)

From a desire to deepen interconnection, Lillie Benowitz is energized by fostering innovative expressions of spiritual practice, ritual, and community. In this role, Lillie brings creativity and curiosity to accompanying religious and spiritual leaders in building muscles for social healing.

Lillie has experience convening and facilitating groups from different perspectives, guiding cultural change in organizations, and leading projects in intersectional, interfaith, environmental, and racial justice work. She has run an environmental awards program and created storytelling and art-sharing spaces.

Lillie holds a bachelor’s in Africana Studies and Politics from Mount Holyoke College and was a 2019 New Leaders Council Fellow. They currently serve on the board of the Shir Tikvah Congregation where they focus on aligning values with action.

Lillie lives in Minneapolis, MN and feels most grounded connecting with beloveds or curled up with a book and her morning coffee.

Jay Cowles

Treasurer, Board Member

Jay Cowles is a former media company executive and owner, with a long history of community engagement and entrepreneurial interests. As chairman of Cowles Media Company, he led the family owners and board of directors during the 1990s, until the sale of the company (and Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper) in 1998. After the sale, Jay led his family’s investment company and office until 2016.

Jay has also served for decades on a variety of civic and nonprofit boards, and is currently the vice chair of the Minnesota State colleges and universities system, in addition to several other boards. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School (MBA).

Konda Mason

Board Member

Konda Mason is the co-founder and CEO of Impact Hub Oakland, a beautiful inspiring co-working space supporting and connecting socially engaged changemakers and social entrepreneurs in creating community and bringing their projects to life as they create a better world.

Konda uses permaculture design principles, sustainable business practices, yoga, storytelling, Buddhist theory and Integral theory through a lens of social justice, to inform her work. A human equity advocate, Certified Permaculture Designer, and social entrepreneur, Konda’s work is driven by the vision of realizing in her lifetime a genuinely just and sustainable world.

Srinija Srinivasan

Board Member

Srinija Srinivasan is co-founder of Loove, a developing music venture designed to demonstrate how commerce and technology can be guided by artistic values rather than letting our culture be led by market values.

An accidental tech exec, Srinija joined Yahoo! in 1995 as one of their first five employees and self-titled Ontological Yahoo. With a background in AI, Srinija’s work at Yahoo! centered on the human experience, starting with the categorization system of the Yahoo! Directory and rapidly expanding into leading editorial and policy issues globally including network editorial standards, privacy and data use, advertising standards, youth safety, community guidelines, accessibility, and corporate responsibility. She served as Yahoo!’s vice president, editor-in-chief until stepping down in 2010. During that time she also chaired the board of non-profit SFJAZZ through the planning, campaign, and 2013 opening of the SFJAZZ Center.

Srinija serves as a vice chair of Stanford University’s Board of Trustees and she is a member of Stanford’s Humanities & Sciences Council, the Stanford Live Advisory Council, and the HAI Advisory Council. She recently concluded participation in the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, and she’s a 2000 Henry Crown fellow of the Aspen Institute. She lives bicoastally between Palo Alto, CA and Brooklyn, NY.