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A Note From Dr. K

Across the country and around the world, professionals in every industry are physically, mentally and emotionally wrung out.  No one has escaped the impact of prolonged exposure to Tridemic pain unscathed.  The compounding stress and trauma has overloaded and frayed even the most well-resourced among us, priming us for reactivity. 


This is a moment of tremendous opportunity.


The skills we need to navigate from here are accessible, universally applicable, and represent innovative understanding in how to communicate, coach, and lead beyond these turbulent times. 

Whether you're looking for transformative one-on-one coaching, group coaching as a source for support and inspiration, or broader systemic consulting services to expand your workplace to meet the demands of today's professionals, we have a coach and a program for you.

In the end it's really very simple: we all need a deeper bench.

Dr. Kemia M. Sarraf

CEO and Founder, Dr. K

Kemia M. Sarraf

Founder & CEO


Faculty Director

Senior Executive Coach 

The arc of Dr. K's more than two decade career has included medical practice, public health programming, nonprofit development, and executive coaching.  Dr. K founded Lodestar in 2016, responding to a growing need for subspecialty coaching methods for professional clients who were reporting high levels of severe burnout, vicarious trauma and moral injury. 

Ann V. Deaton


Senior Faculty

Ann brings a  two-decade career as a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Division Director to professional coaching.  Celebrated author, Master Trainer, Executive Coach and Certified Team Performance coach, Ann co-created the Trauma-Informed Professional Coaching curriculum for health care leaders, and the Trauma Mitigation Master Class for professional coaches.

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Ann Deaton

Antoinette DuBois Ayers


Senior Faculty

Antoinette DuBois Ayers is a 20 year veteran of Executive Coaching, specializing in Leadership Development, Innovation, Team Productivity and Diversity.  Her clients include Financial Services, Healthcare and Nonprofits. 

Antoinette is co-developer of the Registered Corporate Coach (RCC), the training program of the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches.


Michael Forlenza


Senior Faculty

Dr. Forlenza is an experienced leader, international leadership consultant and development coach across corporate and economic sectors, including financial services, academic medicine, healthcare, law enforcement and government. 

Dr.  Forlenza is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and is a professional development coach for numerous programs at the University of Pittsburgh including the Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP), the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), and the Physician Scientist Incubator Program (PSIP).

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Greg Pawlson


Senior Faculty

Dr. Pawlson has held senior positions in academic medicine, public policy/governmental organizations and the payer community.  His primary focus is now on  Executive Coaching and leadership development, and he is a coach for the National Academy of Science/National Academy of Medicine Fellowship Programs. 


Dr. Pawlson is certified in positive psychology, resilience and grit from the Center for Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is an ICF Certified Executive Coach, and Fellow of the Institute of Coaching at Harvard McClean Hospital.


Kiana S. Joersz


Senior Faculty

Kiana is an experienced Attorney and Advisor, with 15+ years consulting and advising for a top-tier investment bank, private clients, and multiple federal agencies.  Kiana specializes in executive leadership coaching, veteran/military clients, workplace investigations and discrimination, diversity and retention initiatives, and strategic workforce realignment.  Licensed in Washington, D.C., Colorado, and Maryland. 

Kiana serves dual roles at Lodestar, both as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Faculty Facilitator and Coach.

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Lynn Black


Senior Faculty

Dr. Black served as the Chief Medical Officer for the International Medical and Surgical Response Team for the National Disaster Medical System.


Her work focused on gender-based violence, refugee health, disaster response, healthcare delivery for resource-poor areas.  Her international experience includes clinical delivery and leadership positions with emergency response teams, academic institutions, government programs, U.S. Federal government agencies, and non-governmental human rights organizations. 

Dr. Black is recognized for her work on ethical issues involved in disaster response and the resiliency of responders and survivors. 


Dr. Black is an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Attending Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she also serves as a Physician Wellness Coach


Wendi Wills El-Amin 


Senior Faculty

Wendi Wills El-Amin, M.D. is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and is faculty in the Department of Family Medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  She is a highly experienced physician coach and Academic Strategist in the Department of Medical Education.


El-Amin served as assistant dean of medical education at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and as director of outreach at the Center on Health Disparities and director of the UVA Cancer Center Health Disparity Initiative.  She is a passionate advocate for equity and justice in medical education, and a tireless champion for physicians in training.

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Dianne Rizzo


Senior Faculty

Dianne Rizzo is an leadership and executive coach, specializing in personal and organizational leadership development.  She has over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, both as a practicing clinician and as the leader of multidisciplinary teams.


Dianne's approach is influenced by principles from the study of positive psychology, mindfulness, and resilience.  She is skilled at designing and delivering coaching and consulting engagements that energize participants to take bold action.


Sunny Nakae


Senior Faculty

Dr. Nakae is the Senior Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion, Diversity, and Partnership, and Associate Professor of Medical Education at the California University of Science and Medicine.  Prior to joining CUSM she served as Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine where she holds an adjunct appointment as Associate Professor of Social Medicine, Population and Public Health.  


Dr. Nakae is the author of Premed Prep: Advice from a Medical School Admissions Dean, from Rutgers University Press.

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Lisa Ellis


Senior Faculty

Dr. Ellis is the Executive Director of Wellness for providers and trainees at VCU Health.  She is a VCU Health Board Member and serve on the Audit and Compliance and Safety and Quality Committees as well as the Governance Committee.  


Dr. Ellis recently completed 8 years as the Chief Medical Officer for MCV Physicians and two different interim roles as Vice President of Ambulatory Operations at VCU Health.  

She served as the Governor for Virginia American College of Physicians 2012-2016, Immediate Past Governor ACP 2016-2020


Kate Deaton


Senior Faculty

Kate is a trauma-informed coach and Occupational Therapist who brings over 30 years of experience in the Healthcare, education, and business worlds. Kate is certified through the Coaches Training Institute and the International Coaches Federation.


She is also a Feldenkrais practitioner with a keen understanding of our underlying physiology and how that impacts us as leaders and human beings. Kate has deep expertise in enabling others to recognize their inner saboteurs and to develop a healthier, more robust self-concept.  She brings vast experience to facilitating coaching groups, and is an invaluable resource for learning and growing together.

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Jean Johnson

Dr. Johnson is the founding dean of the George Washington University School of Nursing (GWSON), professor emerita and a certified executive coach following completion of the Hudson Institute’s coaching program.  She brings significant leadership experience to her coaching practice having been a dean as well as president of two national nursing organizations. 


Dr. Johnson has been recognized for her contributions to health care being inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty, and being selected as a National Program Director by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 


Senior Faculty


Julie Donley


Senior Faculty

Dr. Julie Donley is passionate about helping healthcare professionals thrive in leadership and create healthy, safe work environments to support the healthcare workforce.


Dr. Donley is an executive coach, author, keynote speaker, and facilitator, Julie’s expertise includes helping leaders navigate conflict, become self-aware, communicate effectively, practice empathy, and utilize coaching skills to create an influential culture resulting in highly productive teams.

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Neil Gordon

Director of Communications

As Lodestar's Communications Director Neil Gordon draws upon his extensive experience helping experts, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and other visionaries to become the face of a movement. Neil is a former member of the editorial staff of Dutton, now a division of Penguin Random House, and has ghostwritten multiple books for major publishers like HarperCollins and Hay House. He has been featured in media outlets like Forbes, Fortune, Inc., NBC Palm Springs, WACH Fox 57, and KTLA, and is a VIP contributor for Entrepreneur.

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Kelly Hurst


Anti-Racism Specialist

Associate Faculty

Kelly Hurst is a national organizer for Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training, and a master facilitator for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work around the Country.  She is teaching faculty at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in the office of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion.


Kelly is Executive Director of Being Black at School, a national advocacy nonprofit.  Kelly is currently a doctoral candidate, pursuing her Ed.D in Leadership and Learning in Organizations at Vanderbilt.

Elliott (Ellie) Hirshberg 


Associate Faculty

Adult and Pediatric Critical Care specialist, front-line responder in the COVID pandemic, Dr. Hirshberg currently serves as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah and is in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care and the Division of Pediatric Critical Care.


As a dedicated practitioner of both adult and pediatric critical care, her specific clinical interests involve investigating the disparities and links between adult and childhood physiology. Her academic interests include creating replicable clinical trials in the Pediatric ICU.  

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Kerri  Lockhart


Senior Faculty

Dr. Lockhart is a board-certified pediatrician and Fellow at ACGME Equity Matters DEI Leadership Learning Community. She is Vice President of the Cook County Physicians Association, holds a Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion certification through Northwestern University, and is an attending physician at Rush University Medical Group.


Dr. Lockhart has a passion for teaching and mentoring young physicians, and was the recipient of the 2021 Excellence Humanism in Medicine Award, and was voted the '21 Outstanding Medical Student Educator.

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Karen Shanker


TIPC™ Fellow

Licensed clinical social worker, Board Certified Nurse in both pediatric nursing and as a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.  

Kim Sepich

M.Ed, CAS 

TIPC™ Fellow

Academic Professional in the Department of Teacher Education at University of Illinois.  Kim joined the initial cohort in Lodestar’s inaugural Trauma-Informed Leadership Coach training program.

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