What path are you on?

Are you charting your life towards growth and purpose?

Could you use some help navigating the path ahead?

At TEND we partner with individuals and organizations to cultivate learning, growth, and development to be a stronger, healthier, more purposeful YOU.

TEND specializes in the following areas that promote growth and change:

For You

For Your Organization

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves.”

-Leo Tolstoy

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful”

-Flannery O’Connor

Why Us?

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Do you find that your life is stale, stuck, or stagnant?

If you’re honest with yourself, at times do you find yourself overwhelmed
by choices, conflicts, or complexity?

At TEND we take comfort and courage in the simple yet succinct words
of psychiatrist M. Scott Peck that open his bestselling book The Road Less Traveled:

Life is often made all the more difficult by isolation and the illusion of self-sufficiency.

At TEND we partner with and accompany individuals and institutions
through difficult situations and seasons and assist them in taking tangible steps
toward a brighter and more fulfilling future.

TEND serves to identify and illuminate the deficits and limits
of our educational experience, and in so doing, helps adults develop,
address gaps and blind spots interfering with growth and change,
and prepare for an increasingly complex world.

TEND is both metaphor and acronym for Taking Experience in New Directions. We work to encourage, equip, and empower you to become more attentive to your personal, professional, and spiritual growth. TEND works with individuals and organizations to deepen the roots of self-awareness and personal calling. TEND can assist you in discerning your professional and personal calling across the various seasons of life. For our clients who come from a faith-based perspective, we provide support and resources to cultivate trust and intimacy with God. TEND works to help you care for your calling, desires, and soul with the aim of experiencing life more abundantly.

Our Team

“Trees are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people." -FDR
TEND's team is here to help you breathe easier and gain fresh strength.






President and Chief Executive Cultivator

Favorite Tree: Redwood

Duane Grobman grew up in Orange County, California, surrounded by acres of orange groves. He is a near-native Californian (his first five weeks were in the Hawkeye State). Duane is founder and President of TEND, and serves as an Executive Coach, educational consultant, Spiritual Director, retreat and conference speaker, researcher, and writer. He has a passion for education, empowerment, spiritual formation, and leadership development. Duane has served in a variety of leadership contexts, from public schools, higher education, the local church, and leading a global foundation. Duane earned a Bachelor’s degree from Westmont College (Economics & Business), a Master’s degree from St. John’s College (Liberal Arts), and a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University (specializing in Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning Environments). While attending Harvard, Duane taught at the university extensively. He worked closely with and was deeply impacted by four professors while studying at Harvard: Robert Coles, Eleanor Duckworth, Robert Kegan, Ted Sizer. He treasures these four educators as formative and cherished mentors. Duane comments:

I have long appreciated the quotation of Michelangelo who, at age 87, stated, “I am still learning.” Though I am decades away from age 87, his words mirror my life experience. From as young as I can remember I have loved to learn and I have found that learning is a deep well of hope, joy, and change; a well I continually draw from. In high school and college I trained to be an architect and to this day I still greatly appreciate thoughtful design. But in college I found that my love of learning, including designing learning and personal growth experiences, surpassed my love of designing buildings. I subsequently left the field of architecture and pursued a career in education. For me, growth is a process that leads to discovery and change but often requires us to traverse pain, loss, grief, and disillusionment. Growth can occur in any season of our life, including seasons of fallowness, darkness, and deep questioning. Growth leads us to a deeper understanding of who we are created to be.



Favorite Tree: Sugar Maple

Kevin Johnson grew up on a farm in rural Minnesota. He holds a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Civil Engineering and worked at an environmental consulting company in the first half of the 1990’s. Kevin made a career change toward the end of that decade in which he became a technical instructor at a software company. The catalyst for this change included a year-and-a-half sojourn when he and his wife became high school teachers at a small international school in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. Discovering a love of teaching, Kevin found a way to keep that passion alive by working at four different software companies over the past 20 years, most recently at AppDynamics, a provider of application performance management software. Kevin comments:

Growing up on a farm I was surrounded by growth (or at times, the absence of it). Nature has always captured my attention. For me, growth mirrors the profound insight of author Robert Fulghum’s observation when he wrote, “Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.” The growth of that plant is a result of what the kindergarten student does, certainly, but it is also a result of something far beyond what the students or teachers or anyone else might be able to do. I am impressed when educators, coaches, or advisors combine this sense of what we ourselves might do with a sense of something transcendent that is also working with us, to bring about positive growth and change. I can’t overstate the positive impact this has had on my own life.


Research Associate

Favorite Tree: Douglas Fir

Jason Miller is a Southern California native who uses Orange County as a launching pad for his traveling adventures. Jason serves TEND as a Research Associate, having led in a variety of church, non-profit, and University settings. As an Executive coach, educator and researcher, he is passionate about helping individuals and institutions grow their capacity to integrate their values, beliefs, and behavior. Jason received his BA in Social Science/Sociology from Biola University, and his MA in Christian Ministry and Leadership as well as his PhD focused on Leadership and Formation from Talbot School of Theology. An eclectic music enthusiast, hiker, and avid football fan (what we Americans call soccer), his great joy is the simple moments spent with his wife and 4 year-old daughter. Jason comments:

The irony of the human condition is one that seems to abhor the very things we need. Growth has several required elements we all tend to resent – these include hardship, the need for critique and mentorship, and the patience to frame good questions. Pain and struggle are often the necessary pathways to growth mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Similarly, though our inclinations are often defensive and self-protective, we need community and outside perspective to help identify and smooth the rough edges of our personal and professional lives. Many individuals succumb to the tendency to look for quick answers or fixes rather than engage in the discomfort of being confronted by meaningful questions. It has been my observation that leaders, myself included, are often assumed to have their world in order when many leaders internally cringe with the fear that they may be an imposter and their lack of knowledge or capacity will soon be on display. We therefore often remain isolated, at arm's reach from others to ensure these truths remain hidden, covering up what we lack through the use of answers of other leaders we perceive to be successful. Growth involves acknowledging the truth of our internal world without our fears or flaws being the defining aspect of our identity or leadership. We all have more to learn and facets of ourselves in which to grow. Our experience of learning and growing is advanced and enriched by doing so together, one question at a time.


Research Associate

Favorite Tree: Live Oak

Amy Drennan is a native Texan who currently resides in Southern California. Amy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Spiritual Director. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Trinity University (Speech Communication & Religion), two Master’s degrees from Fuller Seminary (Intercultural Studies, Marriage and Family Therapy), and a PhD in Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University, researching the intersection of leadership and adaptive change. Prior to her move to California, Amy was a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Texas. Currently, she teaches as an Affiliate faculty member and manages spiritual formation programs as the Executive Director of Spiritual Formation at Fuller Seminary. In her spare time, Amy enjoys finding live music venues, taking her rambunctious Boxer puppy to the beach, and generally finding any excuse to be active and outside. Amy comments:

I often see growth through continuous cycles of disorientation and reorientation that occur as we open our lives to God’s holy disruptions and invitations. The desire of our hearts is to deepen our understanding of God, ourselves, and others -- which necessitates that we engage with new perspectives. I affirm the insight of Walter Bruggemann: “The deep places in our lives – places of resistance and embrace – are reached only by stories, by images, metaphors and phrases that line out the world differently, apart from our fear and hurt.”

Living in this state of constant formation requires all of who we are—our heads (intelligence and thoughtful reflection), our hearts (spiritual and emotional life), and our hands (habits and behaviors) that are situated in the soil of our ordinary lives (our space, culture, or context). Gratefully, God’s spirit is imminently at work in our human growth and development.



Favorite Tree: White Oak

Ray Bennett grew up on the West Coast (Southern California and Oregon), but now calls the “City of Oaks” (Raleigh, North Carolina) his home. Ray is a professional problem solver. As a commercial litigator, he works with a range of technology and other clients to solve their complex business disputes. Ray also serves as a certified mediator because he believes deeply in the peace dividend that comes through settling disputes—releasing time, creativity, energy, and budget for more productive pursuits. Ray loves working with complex problems—and sometimes-complicated people—to help parties find a path forward for the future. Ray attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for his undergraduate degree, followed by Stanford Law School, before clerking for two federal judges: Judge T.S. Ellis in the Eastern District of Virginia and Judge Douglas Ginsburg on the D.C. Circuit. He returned to North Carolina in 2006 where he and his wife, Tara, have raised their four children. Ray comments:

I have long been inspired by the image of an oak tree, planted by a stream of water, whose roots run deep and who provides shade, comfort, strength, and rest to passersby. But as I long for that image, I am reminded of the long, slow process it takes to produce that tree. An oak begins as a tiny acorn, then grows into a sapling, and one day—after many years—a full-sized tree. In the earliest stages, its growth is not even visible. As my favorite Wendell Berry poem says: “The seed is in the ground, Now may we rest in hope, While darkness does its work.” When it comes time for a sapling, growth is happening both above and below the ground, and the tree has shades of what is to come. Yet growth still comes slowly—adding one year and one ring at a time. Still, throughout every season of the tree’s life, from acorn to sapling to mature tree, the essence of the oak tree that is to come is ever-present—and ultimately inevitable. We just have to be patient, and trust, while growth does its slow, steady work.



Favorite Tree: Aspen

Rita McIntosh was born in the San Francisco Bay area and has lived most of her life in and around Northern California. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Westmont College. After college Rita lived and worked at Mt Hermon Christian Conference Center as a ministry intern then spent the next season earning a Masters’ Degree in School Psychology from San Jose State University. Over a twenty-year period, she worked in schools ranging from State-run preschool through high school developing specialties in Gifted Education and School to Work transitions. Rita also wrote government and foundation grants for both school programs and non-profits. She and her attorney husband have raised two daughters and a son who are all now young adults. The last twenty years Rita has walked alongside young women, helping them develop skill and confidence as mothers, Christians, mentors and leaders. Rita comments:

My perspective on growth is that “slow and steady wins the race.” Walking step by step toward the goal more often gets you there than waiting for inspiration. Slow growth rarely receives attention yet usually lasts; whereas rapid growth is noticed but often not maintained. Plants show us that there are seasons where growth is very noticeable; however, the spurt of growth would not be able to happen or to endure without consistent sunlight, watering the roots, feeding the soil and occasionally pruning-- even in times when there is nothing to show for it. Metabolizing appropriate nutrients on a regular basis is important so that growth occurs naturally, as it was designed to do. Discerning and establishing the elements for optimum growth is the challenge. People will grow naturally when infused with love, encouragement, truth. TEND offers accessible nutrients that nearly everyone I know could benefit from. I delight in tuning in to people’s needs and helping them to notice how they’ve grown and creating opportunities for them to use their new skills and character.



Favorite Tree: Birch

Susan Martin has lived on the West Coast from Santa Cruz to Seattle. She completed a bachelor's degree and post baccalaureate work at Seattle Pacific University. Her degree is in Special Education specializing in Adaptive and Corrective Physical Education for students with severe and profound learning disabilities. During Susan's college years she spent her summers serving at Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center in Santa Cruz, CA where she met her future husband. Susan and her husband Lee have been married 40 years and have three grown adult children. They are all located in the Seattle area and enjoy close relationships.

Throughout her professional life Susan’s most steadfast roles have been educator, motivator, and community developer. These roles have been lived out in a variety of settings, from churches, homeschooling communities, Christian camping, adventure travel, educational excursions, therapeutic horseback riding, and serving foster children as guardian ad litem in the court system. Susan is always ready for a new adventure and is a committed lifelong learner. Susan comments:

My perspective on growth? Stay curious. Always wonder what's next. Be on the lookout for opportunity to become more of what God has in store for life. I value effective tools that help me understand my strengths and weaknesses. My goal every year is to have an experience or develop a skill that helps me have a fuller perspective on life and how others perceive it.

My "Can Do!" attitude has led me to attend and organize events for others to gain better self-awareness and to create community. "If it can be done, then let's do it!" has been a strong mantra in my life. As a life-long camper, I love a good campfire that brings warmth and light and wonder. I see living and learning as a process of bringing warmth and light and wonder to those God brings along my path -- to learn together and to encourage one another. Socrates once wrote: “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” With God’s help, I work to keep the flame of learning burning bright.



Favorite Tree: Bonsai

Chandra Mallampalli is a historian of modern South Asia and of World Christianity. He earned an M.Div. from Fuller Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For more than twenty years, he taught in the history department at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, where he held an endowed chair. He and his wife Beverly currently live in Boston, where he is a research fellow at Boston College. Chandra is the author of four monographs, the most recent being South Asia's Christians: Between Hindu and Muslims, which offers a general history of Christians and their interactions with South Asia's Hindu and Muslim communities. In addition to his scholarly interests, Chandra is passionate about looking carefully at American culture and how it often militates against core aspects of following Christ and being whole. Chandra comments:

As the son of Indian immigrants to Wisconsin, I grew up understanding what it feels like to live between multiple cultural spaces and not fit neatly into any of them. Over time, I have come to appreciate the virtues and creativity that can accompany life at the margins. I believe growth occurs in people when they allow themselves to be pruned - letting go of things that don't deliver lasting goods, so that new life and new imagination can emerge. Learning from mistakes, having self-compassion, and finding a path out of ourselves and into community and essential aspects of the growth I've experienced in my personal spiritual journey. I've learned these lessons vocationally, and also on the tennis court and in my journey as a history professor.





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Unearthing Wisdom

At TEND we work to unearth wisdom through cultivation:
cultivating change, learning, rootedness, and above all, cultivating our souls.


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

-E.E. Cummings

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”

-Gail Sheehy

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

-Albert Einstein


“If you attempt to act and do for others or for the world without deepening your own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love, you will not have anything to give others.”

-Thomas Merton

“Learning is not child's play; we cannot learn without pain.”


“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

-Eric Hoffer

“Change is the end result of all true learning.”

-Leo Buscaglia

“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.”

-Martha Graham


“The farther the outward journey takes you, the deeper the inward journey must be. Only when your roots are deep can your fruits be abundant.”

-Henri Nouwen

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien

“The chief thing that separates us from God is the thought that we are separated from Him. If we get rid of that thought, our troubles will be greatly reduced. We fail to believe that we are always with God and that He is part of every reality. The present moment, every object we see, our inmost nature are all rooted in Him.”

-Thomas Keating

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

-Alice Walker

Our Souls

“The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering but in the development of the soul.”

-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

-Helen Keller

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability— and that it may take a very long time.”

-Pierre de Chardin

“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.”

-Brennan Manning

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