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Faculty + Affiliates

Top Tier Coaches.  Trauma Responsive Leaders.  Decades of Experience.

Kemia M. Sarraf

Founder & CEO


Faculty & Program 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.  Read Full Bio

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Ann V. Deaton


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

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.  Read Full Bio


Antoinette DuBois Ayers


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

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.  Read Full Bio

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Kiana S. Joersz

Chief Operating Officer


Senior Faculty & Executive Advisor

Kiana Joersz is an attorney specializing in employment law and administrative policy.  During the arc of her 15+ year career, she served as a Vice President of Employee Relations at a Fortune 50 investment bank in New York, an advisor and manager at private law firm, and served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.  Kiana  specializes in business development, executive consulting, workplace investigations, strategic workforce realignment issues,  and discrimination and retention initiatives.  


Kiana is the COO of Lodestar, and serves as Senior Faculty, Training Facilitator, and Executive Advisor.

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Wendi Wills El-Amin 


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

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.  Read Full Bio

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Greg Pawlson


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

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.  Read Full Bio

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Kerri  Lockhart


Director:  Equity, Diversity + Inclusion

Senior Faculty & Professional Coach

Dr. Lockhart is a board-certified pediatrician and Fellow in ACGME inaugural DEI officers Equity Matters National Initiative. She also holds a Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion certification through Northwestern University. She is dedicated to creating inclusive organizations and devotes time to presentations on this important topic.


Currently, Dr. Lockhart volunteers her time as the Vice President of the Cook County Physicians Association and as an unofficial mentor to pre-medical students.  Read Full Bio

Lynn Black


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

Dr. Lynn Black is passionate about ensuring that those in service to others have the opportunity to achieve well-being for themselves and their organizations while negotiating the myriad stressors that lead to individual and organizational trauma
so present in today’s workplaces.  She has been widely recognized for her leadership and contributions in clinical practice, public health, hospital administration, and nonprofit growth and leadership. 

Read Full Bio


Dianne Rizzo


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

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.  Read Full Bio

Sunny Nakae


Senior Faculty & Professional Coach

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.  Read Full Bio

Jean Johnson


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

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.  Dr. Johnson has previously served as a dean as well as president of two national nursing organizations. 

Dr. Johnson has been 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.  Read Full Bio

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Ken Jenkins


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

Ken Jenkins is a professional emergency manager with extensive experience in planning, logistics, training, deployment, response, and after-action analysis. Ken has built a remarkable track record, successfully preparing for and responding to emergencies, including terrorist attacks.  

Today, Ken utilizes his crisis response experience with leadership development programs and coaching to help organizations and individuals navigate through the
obstacles holding them back from being the best they can be.  Full Bio Pending

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Julie Donley


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

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.  Read Full Bio

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Dr. Lisa Ellis


Associate Faculty & Exeucitve Coach

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.

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Laura Berenstain


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

Dr. Laura Berenstain is a physician, coach, author, and speaker who combines executive leadership coaching with the practice of pediatric cardiac anesthesiology.  Dr. Berenstain is an ICF Certified Coach, Fellow of the Institute of Coaching at Harvard McLean Hospital, and volunteer Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Cincinnati.


Laura currently serves on American Society of Anesthesiologists committees for Physician Well-being.  She is also an Advisory Board member and coach for the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia’s Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Initiative and Board of Directors member for the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society. Read Full Bio

Kate Deaton


Senior Faculty & Executive Coach

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.


Kate 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.  

Stephanie Byerly


Executive Coach & Lodestar Fellow

Dr. Byerly is an academic anesthesiologist, Certified Life Coach, and published author, and has served in numerous leadership positions throughout her career, including as the Chief of Staff, Medical Director, Chair of Resident Recruitment, and as Chair of The American Society of Anesthesiologists Committee on Women Anesthesiologists.  

Dr. Byerly is a champion of gender equity, wellness, and mind-body medicine. She is a fierce advocate for wellness for physicians, and has a special interest and training in working with women physicians.

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.  Learn more at


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.  Read Full Bio

Kelly Hurst

M.Ed, Anti-Racism Specialist

Associate Faculty

Kelly Hurst is a national leader in antiracism organizing & training, and a lead 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 a doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt where she is pursuing her Ed.D in Leadership and Learning in Organizations.  Read Full Bio

Elliott (Ellie) Hirshberg 


Associate Faculty & Coaching Fellow

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.  Read Full Bio

Susan Poggio

Support Staff Manager

Susan Poggio brings two decades of experience in the corporate world in Operations Support and implementing innovative technology-driven solutions.    

Susan is also the Co-Owner and Proprietor of The Spice Apothecary.

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