Rasur Foundation International Board Members

Rita Marie Johnson


Educator, author, speaker, and award-winning innovator Rita Marie Johnson has been sharing her method worldwide for over 15 years.  She discovered a synergy between empathy and insight that maximizes social-emotional intelligence, eliminates unnecessary suffering and leads to life-enriching choices.  This epiphany resulted in the Connection Practice, which works for people of all ages and from all walks of life. 

The Connection Practice won the Ashoka Changemakers Innovation Award: Building a More Ethical Society, chosen from 79 projects in 32 countries. In 2015, Rita Marie wrote Completely Connected: Uniting Our Empathy and Insight for Extraordinary Results, an Amazon bestseller in Conflict Resolution and in Communication and Social Skills, which has been endorsed by Eileen Rockefeller and President Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  In 2016, the book won a Nautilus Award in the Psychology category. Now the Connection Practice is used by individuals, schools, faith-based communities, non-profits and businesses and is spreading around the world.

For a short bio, click here. For a detailed bio, click here. She lives in Gilroy, California.  For more on our founder.  

Leigh Files


Leigh Files, the board’s Chairman, has been a board member since 2014. She has retired as program manager at Texas Instruments Incorporated and is also on the board of directors for the Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. She lives in Texas.

Shari Holland


Shari Holland is a founding board member and the Parliamentarian and current Secretary of the Board. She has a master’s in Public Administration and lives in Missouri.

Lynne Dowler

Retired Educator

Lynne Dowler has been on the board since 2013. She is a retired educator and serves on the board of Empower American Children. She lives in Texas.

David McArthur


The Rev. David McArthur, J. D., although currently retired, has served as an attorney, Asst. Attorney General, Unity minister, and speaker, trainer and director for HeartMath.  He has been involved with the Connection Practice for many years and is the author of Your Spiritual Heart and co-author of The Intelligent Heart.  He lives in Washington.

Philip M. Hellmich

The Shift Network

Philip M. Hellmich is a thought leader in creating a new narrative of peace, from inner peace to international peacebuilding.  As the Director of Peace at The Shift Network, Philip is the chief architect of the Summer of PeaceYoga Day Summit and World Peace Library – online global forums that seek to inspire, inform and involve people in the many ways that peace is emerging around the world. He also is the co-lead faculty of the Peace Ambassador Training.  He lives in California.

Dana Garnett

Dana Garnett helps owners of family and family-like businesses prevent emotional storms from wiping out their business. Dana is a Credentialed Mediator by the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association for civil and family cases, a Conflict Strategist, and a CPA. She is the founder of her private practice Mindful Strategy, LLC, which merges her Big 8 Accounting and International Fortune 100 experience with vastly acquired global life lessons. Dana empowers her clients by imparting real-time, in-the-moment conflict management skills which enable them to swiftly and effectively handle whatever business or life throws them. Key results include increased productivity, creative problem-solving, greatly reduced stress, and improved business, family and social dynamics. Dana speaks to local, state and national business forums.

For more information, please contact info@connectionpractice.org.

Rasur Foundation International Staff

Ellen Marie Anderson, Ph.D.
Director of Education


Ellen Marie Anderson bridges the worlds of science, education, and practical psychology. She has an undergraduate degree in German and a graduate degree in physical chemistry. Ellen retired from a career as a chemist at the Food and Drug Administration and as Executive Director of The Center for Soulful Living. In addition to her role with the Connection Practice, she is also the Executive Director for The Conscious Soul. Ellen is dedicated to inclusive leadership, loving service, and empowered action.

Kelsey Visser
Director of Parent Training


Kelsey Visser has her M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University in Washington, D.C. and is a Florida Supreme Court Certified County Court Mediator with over ten years of experience in teaching and training. Her primary focus has been peace and conflict resolution education and she’s had the opportunity to explore this topic on both the local and international level through her work with various nonprofits and organizations. Now, as a parent of two young children, she is passionate about also fostering peace in the home and hopes to help others learn and share the Connection Practice in her role as Director of Parent Training. 

Yumi Kikkuchi
Director of International Outreach


Yumi Kikkuchi is a Master Connection Practice Trainer. She founded Rasur Japan in 2016, which officially became incorporated in 2017.  There are 38 Japanese Connection Practice trainers as of January 2019.  Yumi speaks Japanese, English and some Spanish. She is passionate about spreading the Connection Practice in the world.  She is the author of more than 10 books in Japanese and is an international speaker on health, environment and peace. 

Graduate, Ochanomizu University, Letters and Education Department

Performing Arts (Dance Education)

CNVC  Certified Trainer Candidate

Ayako Nozawa, MA in Counseling, Ed. D. in Holistic Education
Director of International Teacher Training
Master Connection Practice, Master Curriculum Instructor


Aya Nozawa is an experienced holistic educator (and former counselor) for 30 years, has shared the Connection Practice with over 300 educators in the USA, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and has trained 60 Japanese Connection Practice Curriculum Instructors for day care, home school community, K-12, college and graduate school staffs/professionals. She was an academic facilitator in the Hiroshima peace education program, Oleander Initiative, wrote an academic article on the Connection Practice in education in 2017 and has made 6 presentations in international holistic education conferences in 5 countries. Aya is fascinated by the power of the Connection Practice, always ready to help it be integrated in an educational setting worldwide.

Helen Berman
Administrative Assistant


Helen has a Business Economics degree from UC Santa Barbara and has over 15 years of administrative experience. Helen and her husband live in Gilroy with their beautiful daughter. In her free time, Helen regularly volunteers at her daughter’s school and leads an Arts Alive program.

Thayne Rigby

Thayne Rigby is the co-founder of BuildPlatform.com. He has 18+ years as a web developer and designer. He has built websites for hundreds of clients over the years.  He currently has signed on to redesign and maintain the Connection Practice website in addition to his other duties.  You can contact him directly for potential future projects and for questions on the Connection Practice website.

The purpose of Rasur Foundation International is to spread the Connection Practice globally.

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