I’m Sara Wernick Schonwald (she/her), founder of Listen to Lead. I work and play at the intersection of justice, healing, somatics and organizational development.
As a consultant, I support individuals, teams and organizations to dismantle white supremacy from within themselves, their interactions and their policies + practices. As a coach, I offer a process of politicized + embodied leadership development to help clients better align their actions with their values.
I'm also a practitioner of biodynamic craniosacral therapy, a hands-on healing modality, in the lineage of Body Intelligence and in community with Minneapolis and St. Paul-based practitioners who ground their practice at the intersection of healing and justice.
I am a member of the design/core faculty team for the Racial Healing Leadership Cohort at Penumbra's Center for Racial Healing. Additionally, I am a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory and the Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory; and a trained practitioner of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) . I also facilitate and participate in Jewish spirituality practice groups for activists with Inside Out Wisdom & Action and serve on the board of Jewish Community Action.
Prior to founding Listen to Lead in 2011, I had many roles in the education sector: classroom teacher, department chair, teacher trainer, teacher coach, community facilitator, and family liaison.
I earned a B.A. in Psychology from George Washington University and M.A.Ed. in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from Stanford University.
I’m an Ashkenazi Jewish woman who is a white straight cisgender mom, spouse, proud Minnesotan, Gen X / Millenial "cusper" and ENFP. I love initiating impromptu dance parties, singing in the car with my family, studying Kabbalah and earth-based Judaism, debriefing reality TV dating shows with friends and being active outside in all seasons.
For some writing about my own journey exploring connections between justice, healing, Jewish spirituality, change-making and the body, you can find me on Medium here.
*This Relational Bio is an introduction that runs counter to the way we think about “important information” in most U.S.-American workplaces. And yet, the information below is as (if not more) important to me as/than the credentials listed above.
I’m Sara Wernick Schonwald, daughter of Paul and Joan Wernick. I’m the wife of Ian Schonwald and mother of Elia and Silas. I’m the granddaughter of Lou and Sadie Wernick and Miriam and Harold Frishberg. I’m the great-granddaughter of Joseph Wernick, Eva Legan, George Millunchick, Gertrude Unterman, Benjamin (Nisehholz) Frishberg, Sophie Heller, Albert (Barovsky) Barr and Nina Bieber. I am a soul-sister, cousin, auntie, niece and in-law to chosen family and bio-family who are spread across the globe.
Most of my great-grandparents fled anti-Jewish violence and pogroms in Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine to settle in the USA in the early 1900s. (One great-great-grandmother arrived to the USA as an immigrant from Germany.) I currently live on Dakota land two miles from where I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I have learned with and from past and current teachers, collaborators, mentors and co-conspirators (some of whom are all of these things and some of whom are just one): Nehrwr Abdul Wahid, julius erolin, Beth Zemsky, Sarah Bellamy, Susan Raffo, Alejandra Tobar-Alatriz, Sun Yung Shin, Michelle Chen Libi, Tyrai Bronson, Nausheena Hussain, Carin Mrotz, Beth Gendler, Asma Mohammed, Lila Sarene, Jodi Pfarr, Allison Boisvert (z”l)*, Pearl Dobbins, Alfonso Wenker, Trina Olson, Tisa Mitchell, Sam Blackwell, Suleiman Adan, Liz Loeb, Levi Weinhagen, Bill Mease, Krista Scarvie, Rabbi David Jaffe, christine smith, Sun Mee Chomet, Marilyn Colby-Rivkin, Victor Klimoski, Mary Jo Wimmer (z”l)* and more.
My greatest teachers (and most fun co-conspirators) are Ian, Elia and Silas.
The teachers I haven’t met but whose ideas inform my work include Tada Hozumi, Staci Haines, Bayo Akomolafe, adrienne maree brown, Paulo Freire, Lama Rod Owens, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, Tema Okun, Jo Kent Katz, Peter Levin, Rabbi Jill Hammer, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Brene Brown, Thich Nhat Hanh and more.
The communities and groups with which I currently find inspiration, holding, challenge and care include Shir Tikvah, The Collective, Penumbra Theatre, United Bodyworkers & Artists, Inside Out Wisdom & Action, my Havurah, the D’ror Va’ad and Jewish Community Action.
*z”l: Transliteration of a Hebrew acronym that means “May their memory be a blessing”