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 DIFFICULT.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ian Whitfield spent the first ten years of his life in India, born to British parents who were missionaries. He lived in London for twenty years during which time he met his wife, Liz, a professional violinist. Iain graduated from the University of Reading, England with a B.A. Combined Honors in German and Sociology. He moved to Boston, MA in 1986. He worked for over twenty years for The First National Bank of Boston (BankBoston) culminating in four years with BancBoston Capital. During his career, he managed a group of over thirty professionals serving the US transportation sector and later traveled extensively to Latin America pursuing the bank’s private equity business. He left the bank in 2000 to help tend to the needs of his youngest daughter who was afflicted with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy which eventually took her life. Since 2007 he has served as the Community Life Pastor at Hope Christian Church in Winchester, MA. Iain comments:
Over my professional career I was drawn to whatever personal development curricula was made available to me, both in terms of better understanding my own approach to working life as well as being better able to manage those who worked for me. Having been brought up in church life, I was also wonderfully impacted by observable transformation over time in my own personal character and spiritual formation. During the time of my youngest daughter’s serious illness, I became aware of the resources available to live a more reflective lifestyle in order to gain perspective and foster growth in me. It has literally changed my life. For me growth requires intentionality, nurturing and reflection. It can, and does, happen without those ingredients but fruitfulness greatly increases with them.
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.
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.
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-Pierre de Chardin
TEND is a tax exempt nonprofit organization under 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. We are also classified as a public charity under Section 509(a)(2) of the Code. We are qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers, or gifts under Section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Code.
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