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We are a committed team of people from diverse backgrounds who believe in every community's vitality and possibility. The Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island, outside of Seattle, WA., is our fiscal agent.

Jerry Millhon

Team Leader

Jerry Millhon founded Thriving Communities as an initiative of the Whidbey Institute while he was the Institute’s Executive Director from 2010-2015. His skill in organizing and managing projects and mentoring leaders helped the Institute through a challenging time of transition. He launched Thriving Communities in 2011 to focus on connecting, filming, encouraging, and celebrating people within organizations who make their communities thrive because of their work. It is his hope that our stories will inspire others to start similar projects in their community. In a challenging world, there is an inordinate amount of good news! Let's share and grow stronger communities!

Eden Trenor

Holistic Consultant

Born and raised by the blackberries, cedars, salmon and saltwater of the Pacific Northwest, Eden Trenor is a lifelong educator and published poet. She is in love with wonder and with the magic of values into action. Eden brings 20 years of leadership experience working with over a dozen nonprofit organizations in diverse fields - food systems, housing, youth leadership, climate, education, art, healthcare, and media - as well as government and corporate entities. Directly impacting thousands globally, Eden’s work has encompassed: facilitation, program design, systems development, community engagement, impact assessment, and curriculum development. In addition to this, a part of her expertise comes from extensive training in regenerative systems design, permaculture, transformational facilitation, and radical education models. A Leadership California and Leadership Institute for Just and Resilient Communities Fellow certified in Financial Social Work, Eden is also a practicing herbalist, craftswoman, photographer, flower essence practitioner. A runner and movement artist, she recently completed her first half-marathon and maintains a longstanding movement-based spiritual practice oriented toward collective liberation.

Anna Zefferys

Marketing and Communications Consultant

Anna Zefferys, based in the Greater Seattle Area, develops client-focused strategies by combining a deep understanding of business and trends with a strong sense of empathy. Through innovative business development initiatives, Anna informed M&A and litigation strategies at Shearman & Sterling in New York City. She also revitalized Towers Watson's risk consulting group by identifying and addressing growth obstacles, elevating the return on proposals for new business and the eventual divestiture of the reinsurance business. As an entrepreneur, Anna launched Oscar and Anna, a unique handbag brand featured in InStyle and Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue, and Treatmo, a mobile marketplace supporting small food businesses, including a regenerative almond farm in California. She develops marketing solutions for social good organizations through her agency, Asprey Digital. Her strategic marketing for the Kicking Gas campaign in Freeland, Washington, helped the startup exceed installation goals during a campaign sprint and gain national press in 2023. Anna also engages in volunteer work and channels her energy into her artistic and writing endeavors.

Ross Monagle


Ross Monagle is a filmmaker in Milwaukee, WI. He has a passion for producing videos about people and organizations who have unique and impactful story to tell. In Milwaukee, he works at a music and video production studio as a videographer and editor, working on everything from short web-based video, :30 TV spots, and feature-length documentary films. Ross enjoys every opportunity he gets with Thriving Communities to meet new individuals in all parts of the country, learn what it means to be part of a community, and shine a light (literally) on the people making a difference. Though he rarely smiles on set, it's not because he isn't having the time of his life, but because his lovely wife and 3 kids woke him up too early.


Lynne Willeford

Early Co-inspirator

Lynn Murray Willeford touched many lives on South Whidbey and beyond with her kindness, focus on community, her writing, and her brilliance. She was the co-inspirator for Thriving Communities in 2011. She died in February of 2022. She left a sustaining legacy of community activism, inspiration, and collaboration on Whidbey Island. She is a legend and a model for our work.

Stephan Schwarts

Friend + Early Advocate

Stephan Schwartz is the columnist for the journal Explore and editor of the daily web publication in both of which he covers trends that are affecting the future. He also writes regularly for The Huffington Post. 


Aimie Vallat


Aimie created REEL WITNESS in 2009 to produce documentaries to build conversations around tolerance, peace, and respect for our diverse human voices. Since then, RW has developed films about sustainability, food security, and our refugee community. RW created powerful visual stories for Thriving Communities for six years, celebrating grassroots leaders and groups that are creating lasting change in the Pacific Northwest. Present Moment, RW’s first documentary, was nominated for an Emmy award in 2015. After the first Travel Ban issued by the US government in 2017, RW also made Little Rebel about an asylum seeker from The Gambia, and in 2019, This Being Human, the story of an unaccompanied minor who fled Iraq to seek an education in America.

Ann Jess


Anne has always been a visual thinker. In the math and computer science fields, she honed her skills in systems thinking, analysis, process mapping, deep-listening, and synthesizing skills. She has always appreciated the arts, and now blends her business skills and artistic flair to create Live Graphical Recordings (visual representations) for change initiatives. Anne also facilitates using large Visual Templates (guides) and creates Synthesis Charts (timelines and story maps). Anne's experience includes software development, systems analysis, database design, organizational consultation, coaching, and facilitation. She received her MA in Organizational Development at Seattle University. She believes in the power of visuals. See examples of Anne's work at

Carolyn Tilden


Rooted in love, Carolyn cultivates deep relationships so she and others can courageously face their reality and be energized by the possibility of what wants to emerge. Founder of CataQuest Consulting, Carolyn’s leadership development work is grounded by her first-hand experience leading large-scale corporate initiatives as well as her personal journey to overcome roadblocks of her own making. Her work is a catalyst for challenging the status quo by talking about what really matters to inspire reflection and conscious action.

Christopher Thorsen


As founder of Quantum Edge, Chris has advised senior executives of major corporations and non-profit organizations for over 50 years. He has helped CXOs exponentially grow companies, revitalize moribund cultures, develop entirely new technologies and establish global presence. He taught conflict resolution to representatives of opposing factions from the war in Cyprus. A teacher of Aikido, Chris pioneered the application of the principles of Aikido [The Art of Peace] and Bohmian Dialogue [from the work of David Bohm] to intuitive leadership development, team synergy, and organizational strategy. He is also a master of Haiku, the Zen poetry of deep presence in Nature.

Dale Neinow


Dale Nienow is the Former ED Center for Ethical Leadership, Seattle, WA. Dale creates Gracious Space where people can work across boundaries to form collective leadership. He is known for helping people open up to deeper dialogue and new relationships that will move groups and communities forward on their compelling issues.

Danita Green


Danita Rountree Green, M.A., TLSC, is an author and transformational storyteller. As Co-founder and Executive Director of Coming Together Virginia, the local chapter of a non-profit committed to racial healing and social equity. The largest of over 50 chapters, engaging nearly 3000 members online, CTVA facilitates the "courageous yet clumsy" conversation on race and the legacy of the American Slave Trade in the former Capital of the Confederacy, working to bridge the racial divide. Green facilitates difficult conversations on race and generational trauma nationally. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today. To learn more about Danita's publications, storytelling workshops, and vision of a transformed world, go to:

Jim Anderson


Thirty-two years ago, Jim was spontaneously introduced to Jerry Millhon while visiting his
cousin Bob. Jerry and Jim felt an instant heartfelt connection and have been co-exploring
the themes of wonder and thriving ever since. When Jerry felt the emergent call to give birth
to Thriving Communities, he asked Jim if he would consider jumping into this new sandbox and play. All of Jim’s being instantly shouted YES! And off they went on an adventure
that challenged Jim to the core, illuminated and cleared many of his subconscious blind
spots and prejudices, and invited him to be a part of a life-giving community of courageous

Over the past few decades, Jim has built a successful and fulfilling consulting and
executive coaching practice supporting his clients in learning how to embrace disruption
as a catalyst for growth and innovation rather than as a source of disturbance or threat.
Jim specializes in supporting individuals and teams who want to improve leadership
skills, develop subtler presence and self-awareness and expand their capacity to grow
meaningful, sustainable relationships, and to consistently achieve results.

Lisa Holden


Lisa Holden lives in Milwaukee, WI, with her husband, Dan. Lisa was the Vice President of Accountable Care for Independent Health Care Plan (iCare) from 2014-2022. Thriving Communities featured iCare’s unique Care Management model in 2020. Holden has extensive and varied experience in nonprofit leadership and board service, government affairs, public policy, coalition building, and leadership. She recently co-founded an Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) business with her husband, Dan, Espiritu Horse. In addition, Lisa and Dan are offering services for veterans through their nonprofit, Veterans Equine Alliance.

Michael B. Maine


Michael B. Maine is a socially engaged artist who focuses his work primarily around issues of identity, systems, and social equity. The goal of his work is to encourage people to think beyond their assumptions help reach their own conclusions on how to change themselves and their environment. Michael finds inspiration within the various communities in which he is engaged. He organized We Out Here, a six-day festival celebrating Black excellence in the Seattle area in 2019 and has served as board president for both Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking and Reel Grrls.

Rhea Miller


Rhea Miller is a social artist and community organizer, speaker, and author of Cloudhand, Clenched Fist: Chaos, Crisis, and the Emergence of Community. She served over 10 years as County Commissioner of San Juan County. While there, she focused on environmental protection and sustainability. Currently, she’s the Community Liaison for the Lopez Community Land Trust. Her TEDx talk “When We Change the Way We look at Things (the Things We Look At Change)” includes stories of unlikely alliances that spurred community action.

Jeff Vander Clute


Jeff Vander Clute is a veteran technology entrepreneur, coach, and organizational transformation consultant committed to harmonizing human systems with Earth’s ecosystems. Jeff has built companies in multiple domains, including online and social enterprise, and he has consulted to a wide range of life-aligned businesses and charitable ventures. In addition to his work with organizations, Jeff offers retreats, pilgrimages, and other alchemical experiences for people who are ready to dive fully into their potential as change agents. Jeff is a longtime member of the Evolutionary Leaders Circle, past chair of the Source of Synergy Foundation, and a co-founder of Sourcing The Way --

In Memory and with Gratitude for their Contributions

Eugene “Gus” Newport

Early Co-inspirator

Eugene "Gus" Newport is a civil rights activist and early architect of the Dudley street Community in Boston, MA. In his hometown of Rochester, NY he began his political career as Chairman of the Monroe County Non-Partisan League. He served as Mayor of Berkeley, CA from 1979 to 1986. As a Martin Luther King Scholar at MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning he began to work with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative now over 25 years of sustainable success.

Anne Stadler

Friend + Early Advocate

Anne is a wise elder. Her specialty is offering services that support self-organizing individual and collective leadership. She opens space for the emergence of spirited leadership and inspired forms for collective evolution. A founder and organizer of local, national, and international peace efforts, and an award-winning television producer at KING 5-TV in Seattle Washington, Anne has decades of experience in guiding the formation of emergent communities.  She is a pioneer and fluent practitioner of Open Space Technology and Appreciative Inquiry.

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