SUSAN BORGSTROM, MA, BCCC, is the Director of SPA Sisters and a Certified Christian Life Coach focusing in Spiritual Formation. She has been a therapist, and has led women's small groups for 10 years. She loves "the magic" that happens in groups when women are authentic with each other. Gardening, biking, hiking and making art & crafts are on her short list of loves that have also enriched her life deeply spiritually. Her determined passion is to inspire, encourage and equip women to know and love themselves in authentic, sustainable ways. "The practice of being present to nature opens one's soul to a vast, mysterious power, beauty and grace. It can be a direct way to connect with God where wisdom, peace & strength are abundantly available."
NANCY BARRETT CHICKERNEO, PhD, LCPC, is the Founder of the non-profit organization, SPA Sisters: Spirit, Place and Authentic Self, nfp®, and author of Woman Spirit Awakening: Growing into the Fullness of Who You Are, Published by SkyLight Paths. A therapist for over 25 years and a professional water-color artist, she enjoys joining creativity and spirituality in the workshops she leads. Of her outdoor retreats, she says, “Nature is available for each of us, and I believe that when we allow ourselves to be fully present in it, nature will show us much about our authentic selves, the earth and The Creator. One of her greatest passions is helping women come to wholeness. She has combined family, friends, work and fun, for many years.
DEBORAH MARQUI, LCSW, is a therapist with a private practice in St. Charles, Il. Her mission is to help others integrate body, mind and spirit into health and wholeness. A passionate gardener and cancer survivor, Deborah has felt called to open her home with perennial gardens and wooded paths to the public. It has been my experience,” she says, “that as we contemplate God’s activity in nature, the earth becomes our Teacher and Healer. The earth lessons we learn give us the tools to help sustain and nurture our true selves. Healing Gardens at Stone Hill Farm offers a safe place to connect with the beauty and stillness of nature.
NANCY ANDREWS, MA, LCPC, is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and says her connection with nature has inspired her work as a professional artist and Art Therapist, as well as, her own personal and spiritual growth. She shares her joy of life and nature with others in order to help create for each of us, a life equal to our heart's desire. Nancy loves living her life creatively with love and passion whether in her gardens, her home or working on a new book with her daughter.
SHAWNA BURKHART, MSEd, NCC, LCPC, is a Life Coach and therapist with 9 years of experience. Shawna believes, “I must live my life authentically if I am to help others do the same. Nature is the best way I've found to give me that clear mirror for honoring who I am at my core, both spiritually and emotionally. The SPA Sisters program is a mindful, fun and life-changing tool in teaching women how to nurture their spirit and true selves.” Shawna grows herbs on her deck in the city, cans pickled beets with her grandma, and loves to hike anywhere, including the Alps and even Tasmania! Shawna considers it an honor to be present with other women as they grow within their spirit and self. “Women are pretty amazing!”
DONNA SCOTT, MSW, LSW is a social worker and spiritual director. She is co-coordinator of Christos Center for Spiritual Formation, training men and women in the Chicago area for the ministry of spiritual direction. Christos’ purpose is to invite people to slow down and listen to God in the silence of your heart. “When I was introduced to SPA Sisters, I was amazed at what a perfect fit this is for me. I love journeying with people who are asking the deeper questions of life and taking time to listen for the answers. Nature is where I feel most connected to myself and God. What a joy to share the journey with other women!”
GWEN HAWLEY, MAEL, MSW, LCSW has more than 17 years of experience as a therapist. Gwen's personal passion for the last 20 years has given her knowledge in the Health and Wellness and Personal Fitness fields, which she integrates into her life and work with others. Gwen Says, “Nature has always been a place of peace, wonderment, spiritual insight and comfort for me. Women are powerful partially because we have the ability to give life and nurture and we have to remember to protect and nurture ourselves.”
CATHERINE CONWAY, LCPC, CPT, CADC is currently a clinical therapist in private practice at Riverwalk Counseling Center, Naperville. She is also a Certified Poetry Therapist and Certified Addictions Counselor with over 15 years of clinical experience working with adolescents, young adults and women across the lifespan. “Exploring nature has been a constant thread in my life since early childhood. I discovered early on that nature offered space to play, discover, and create. Whether I am walking in my neighborhood woods or along the beach collecting seashells, I feel connected to the mystery of the sacred and divine. It is in nature that I am inspired to write my best poetry and share the gift of healing words with others. I go to nature to connect further with my authentic self and build connection and community with like minded women who are discovering their limitless possibilities and grace.”