Meet the 2019 Summit Speakers

Melissa Schwartz
Author, Coach, Pubic Speaker

Melissa Schwartz was born an intense, sensitive, empathic, power seeker. Her intuitive ability to decode misbehavior and her passion for giving a voice to the legitimate needs of highly sensitive children naturally evolved into becoming the co-creator of Leading Edge Parenting, co-author of Authentic Parenting Power and author of Under the Hood: A Manual to Understand the Inner Workings of Children. She is an internationally acclaimed author, parent coach and public speaker bringing new perspective based on current research and personal experience to transform the field of child development.


Learn more about Melissa at

Alane Freund
Psychotherapist, Horse Whisperer, HSP Advocate

Through two and a half decades as a therapist, Alane Freund, MS, MA, LMFT, (Lic. #36077) has helped youth and families focus on solutions through psychotherapy and consultation. Working closely with Dr. Elaine Aron, Ms. Freund has developed and implemented programs for highly sensitive people, children, families, and clinicians who serve them in her California therapy and team building practice, Heart and Mind Equine. An Advanced Certified Consultant on high sensitivity, she also holds Masters’ degrees in clinical psychology and school counseling. Ms. Freund specializes in family therapy and education with and about highly sensitive people, including LGBTQ+ families. A skilled facilitator and therapist, an HSP herself, and the parent of a highly sensitive teen, she teaches workshops, offers consultation, and leads groups and retreats, including the HSPs & Horses retreats in northern California with Elaine Aron, PhD. Ms. Freund is on faculty at Kripalu in Massachusetts and 1440 Multiversity in California as well as teaching at California Institute for Psychotherapy and the California Institute of Integral Studies in California. Ms. Freund has developed programs for highly sensitive people, children, families, and clinicians who serve them.


Learn more about Alane at

Tracy Cooper
Researcher and Writer

Tracy Cooper is a leading expert in Sensory Processing Sensitivity and Sensation Seeking. He appeared in the documentary film about highly sensitive people entitled “Sensitive-The Untold Story” and has appeared in podcasts and blogs on a range of related topics. Two books in publication: Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career, and Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person. Tracy is to be one of three featured teachers at the Weekend for Highly Sensitive Men Workshop at 1440 Multiversity in March of 2020.


Learn more about Tracy at

Jacquelyn Strickland
Therapist, Coach, Retreat Facilitator, Mentor, Sage

Jacquelyn has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 1993, the same year she became certified to utilize the statistically valid and reliable Myers Briggs Personality Assessment. Her work took a major detour after stumbling across Dr. Elaine Aron’s original, unpublished work in May 1996 while waiting for a bus in Marin County. She and Elaine co-created the HSP Gathering Retreats in 2001, and since that time she has quietly devoted herself to empowering sensitive people around the world. Besides Elaine Aron and a graduate degree in counseling, her work has been influenced by Dr. Brene Brown, a background in Social Work, Women’s Studies, Ecopsychology, and her Nature as Teacher & Healer experiences in the wilderness of Colorado, where she lives. She has recently added the title of Sage – and she teaches, facilitates, counsels, mentors not only with extensive knowledge of the HSP trait, but also with years of wisdom of living authentically as an HSP, mother, wife and grandmother.


Learn more about Jacquelyn at

Ted Zeff
Author, Teacher, Counselor

Ted Zeff, Ph.D., received his doctorate in psychology in 1981 from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Zeff has more than 25 years experience counseling sensitive children and adults. Dr. Zeff is considered one of the world’s experts on the trait of high sensitivity. Dr. Zeff is the author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide, The Highly Sensitive Person’s Companion, The Strong Sensitive Boy, Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy and The Power of Sensitivity. Elaine Aron, Ph.D., author of The Highly Sensitive Person, has written the foreward to his books.


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Sandi Schwartz
Author, Educator, Speaker

Sandi Schwartz holds a Masters in Child Development from Columbia University. Her award winning forty year career includes working directly with children, training educators and coaching parents nationally and internationally. Formally the Director and Parent Consultant for Mt. San Jacinto College’s Child Development Department, Sandi has transformed the lives of families through her parenting classes, her radio show “Leading Edge Parenting” and her book, Authentic Parenting Power.


Learn more about Sandi at

Maryam Hasnaa
Initiated Priestess

Raised by two parents who are spiritual teachers, Maryam Hasnaa has been immersed in a world of mysticism, ceremony and celebration since before she was born. An initiated Priestess, she has found her calling teaching others how to embody their higher selves and live their soul’s purpose. Recognizing the wisdom of being a Highly Sensitive Person, Maryam Hasnaa has learned the importance of living in alignment with one’s intuition and most authentic self. She uses her gifts to remind other beings of the vibrational, energetic nature of this universe. She incorporates ancient wisdom as well as cutting edge information to intuitively teach in a way that will awaken wholeness and create deep transformational healing. Through shining her light so brightly her intention is that others will see themselves reflected and do the same.


Learn more about Maryam at

Rachel Schneider
SPD Author, Advocate and Educator

Rachel S. Schneider, M.A., MHC, is a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) advocate and the award-winning author of Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory IssuesHer second book, Sensory Like You: A Book For Kids With SPD By Adults With SPD, is the first book written and illustrated for kids with SPD by adults with SPD, and it won the Creative Child Magazine 2017 Seal of Excellence Award in July 2017.  Her third book, a guide for teens with sensory differences, will be published by Future Horizons in summer 2020. Rachel lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.


Learn more about Rachel at

Bevin Niemann
Conscious Leader

Bevin Niemann has been passionate about conscious leadership for twenty years, since she accepted her very first role as a supervisor. She’s been a mentor, coach and trainer for college interns, early to mid-career employees, entrepreneurs and senior managers. Bevin served as the vice president of a 50-year old not-for-profit organization and handled a million-dollar real estate portfolio for the largest landscape company in the United States. She is also the founder of the Global Cooperative for Sensitive Leaders and The Guild of Perceptive Souls.


Learn more about Bevin at

April Snow

April Snow is a psychotherapist in downtown San Francisco who specializes in helping Highly Sensitive Introverts learn to embrace their Sensitive Strengths and live a life on their own terms that allows them to thrive. The path to thriving often involves looking deeply at childhood attachment wounds and guiding clients to reframe the inner narratives that say Sensitivity is a weakness. Her belief is that being a Highly Sensitive Person doesn’t have to stop you from living a fully engaged life.


Learn more about April at

Christina Fletcher
Parent Coach & Energy Worker

Christina Fletcher is a Spiritually Aware Parent Coach and Energy Worker who is passionate about helping parents find their heart center, so themselves and their children and develop their sensitivity as a superpower. Christina believes that, as energy beings, being sensitive creates a deeper sense of living which supports empathy and empowers individuality. Throughout her work she loves to give clients simple tools to help feel grounded and centered within themselves, so they can radiate out their individual spark of life.


Learn more about Christina at

Amber Rochelle
Intuitive Life Coach

Amber Rochelle is an intuitive life coach and expert on sensitivity. She is devoted to helping highly sensitive women thrive in an often insensitive world. Known as “The Sensitive Badass®”, Amber’s mission is to change the narrative in our culture around the word “sensitive” and to lead sensitive souls to a place of empowerment. She believes that sensitivity is a superpower if you choose to treat it as one and that this world desperately needs the healing powers that sensitives have to offer.


Learn more about Amber at

Imi Lo
Clinical Psychotherapist & Mindfulness Teacher

Imi Lo is the Founder of Eggshell Therapy and Coaching, and author of Emotional Intensity and Sensitivity (Hodder & Stoughton, 2018). Her mission is to inspire and empower emotionally intense, sensitive and gifted individuals to rise from being the ‘misfits’ to leaders of the world. She is a qualified Clinical Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Schema Therapist (ISST), and Mindfulness Teacher (in MBSR, MBCT). She works holistically, combining East and Western philosophies with other psychological and spiritual healing modalities. Combining her life-long passion and clinical expertise, she founded Eggshell Therapy and Coaching and the Eggshell Transformations Podcast, where she works with intense people across the world.


Learn more about Imi at

Jeannette Folan
Integrative Health Coach

Jeannette is an integrative health coach specializing in highly sensitive people – with particular affection for sensitive children and teens. She is the author of Diary of A Teenage Empath, an educational novel for sensitive teens and Discovering the Power of Sensitivitya child/parent activity book. Her understanding of the HSP trait, playful writing style, vivid imagination and devotion to kids allows her to reach her audience in uniquely light-hearted and supportive ways. Recently, Jeannette also developed an accredited HSP program for mental health professionals with Dr. Wendy Nickerson of the Nickerson Institute.


Learn more about Jeannette at

Maria Hill
Transformational Coach

Maria Hill is the founder of Sensitive Evolution, an online platform supporting the self-actualization of sensitive people and author of The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World. She has created the Emerging Sensitive Program, a one-year transformative journey designed to help sensitive people connect their intuitive wisdom with the needs of the world. Its gentle insight-driven, connect-the-dots approach harnesses the gifts and wisdom of sensitive people to advance a natural connection with the world. Sensitive Evolution uses frameworks and patterns which make sense of the world’s complexity to release the self-doubt that comes from sensitivity providing sensitive people with a natural and thoughtful self-confidence.


Learn more about Maria at

Esther Bergsma
Author & Researcher

Esther Bergsma, MA, is a frequent speaker on High Sensitivity in the Netherlands. She is an author, trainer, scientific researcher and expert on High Sensitivity. She wrote the book Hoogsensitieve Kinderen (Highly Sensitive Children). Her second book is about the Highly Sensitive Brain. This gives a unique insight in the functioning of the brain and the daily problems HSP encounter.


Learn more about Esther at

Denise Dryden
Metaphysician & Integrational Coach

Denise is an extroverted sensitive and empath providing leadership in fields of education, therapeutic programs, and individual self-knowledge. She is a historian, educator, mother, and metaphysician. She has built an Integrational coaching practice supporting parents and young adults as they navigate through frustration, confusion, anger, grief, blame, and sometimes denial that often accompany sensitivity. She has been consuming Psycho-Educational Assessments for adolescents and young adults since 1995, observing the dominant patterns of the last decades while modernizing and enhancing them with the rise of information on the ‘Energetically Sensitive’.


Learn more about Denise at

Alyssa Adams
Intuitive Business Coach

Alyssa Adams is a psychologist and intuitive business coach. She specializes in helping sensitive entrepreneurs overcome overwhelm so they can grow their business with ease and create a life of freedom and purpose. Alyssa loves helping entrepreneurs with big feelings to create success while building emotional “grit.”


Learn more about Alyssa at

Jocelyn Burke
Educator & Coach

Jocelyn Burke, MA.Ed. is an educator, Executive Functioning coach, and the Program Director of Club Xcite, innovative educational & family services in San Diego, CA. Utilizing her integrative background in education, behavior, mindfulness, yoga, and Neurolinguistic Programming, Jocelyn loves to apply her passions to empower students, families and educators to reach their fullest potential by tapping into the power of their Executive Functioning.


Learn more about Jocelyn at

Brooke Nielsen
Marriage and Family Therapist

Brooke Nielsen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with advanced training in trauma therapy (EMDR) and couples therapy (PACT and EFT). She uses a strengths-based approach to help Highly Sensitive People address their pain, past and present. Brooke is also the Founder of Intuitive Warrior, an online community which offers resources and programs that inspire finely-tuned people to embrace their trait and step into their innate power and purpose.


Learn more about Brooke at

Arianna Smith
Licensed Mental Health Practitioner

Arianna Smith (she/her/hers) is a licensed mental health practitioner and coach based out of Denver, Colorado. She specializes in inspiring and guiding Highly Sensitive People in managing overwhelm, overcoming the past, and creating a life that is deeply soul-nourishing. On off-hours, she can be found in her backyard with her (non-HSP) partner, drinking endless cups of Earl Grey, bingeing on YA lit, and narrating her cat’s thoughts.


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Susanne de Munck Mortier
Founder of International HSP Center

Susanne is the founder of the International HSP Center where she coaches and educates children, adults and professionals in Italy, The Netherlands and via global virtual connection. She guides parents with HSCs who struggle in education and who want to be seen, heard, understood and accepted for who they truly are. Susanne was an elementary teacher and also has experience in special education. She has worked with children, teens and adults in a 1:1 setting to give them the personal attention needed in order to bloom. She is currently writing a book about high sensitivity in education and interviewing people from all over the world about their experiences in education from the point of view of a student, parent or teacher.


Learn more about Susanne at

Patricia Young
Life Coach for HSPs

Patricia Young is a life coach for Highly Sensitive Persons, and hosts the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive. Patricia is passionate about pulling back the curtain on perfectionism and modeling vulnerability by sharing about how she processes through struggles in her own life. She loves helping HSPs turn their perceived weaknesses into superpowers.


Learn more about Patricia at

Megghan Thompson
Parent Coach & Mental Health Consultant

Megghan Thompson is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor and a Parent Coach/Mental Health Consultant. She has been working with Highly Sensitive Children, teens and their families for 10 years, and owns a group private practice in Maryland that specializes in working with HSCs, HS teens and young adult HSPs who engage in life-threatening behaviors like daily meltdowns, aggression, suicidal actions, promiscuity and self harm. Megghan’s mission is to defeat the statistic that HSPs make up 50% of the population that seeks therapy but only make up 20% of the population. She’s doing this by building an army of parents equipped with the support and accountability to rapidly transform their relationships with their children.


Learn more about Megghan at

Caroline Ferguson
Mindset Trainer

Caroline is a mindset trainer and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist. She works with sensitive influencers, helping them dig out self-sabotaging beliefs and habits that stop them from making a difference. An advocate for the superpowers that come with being a highly sensitive person, Caroline especially loves working with the 30% of HSPs who are also high sensations seekers (HSP+HSS), whom she affectionately calls “Sensitive Upstarts”.


Learn more about Caroline at

Karly Randolph Pitman
Founder of Growinghuman(kind)ness

Karly Randolph Pitman helps highly sensitive people who struggle with sugar, perfectionism, and worthiness and who want gentle support to nurture habit change, grow self compassion, and soften striving and overdoing. She offers online group classes, small group coaching, do at home courses, books, and lots of free resources at her website. Growinghuman(kind)ness arose from two things: Karly’s experience with 20 years of eating disorders, chronic depression and anxiety and from bearing witness to other people’s stories of challenge, growth and rebirth. At its root, growing human(kind)ness is about softening the ways we judge ourselves, to embrace both our suffering and our wonder with a soft, tender heart.


Learn more about Karly at

Jason Freeman
Speaker & Resilience Coach

Jason Freeman’s goal is to speak to millions to inspire them to persevere and do their imperfect best. Birth trauma left Jason with a pronounced speech impediment and coordination differences. For years, he struggled with feelings surrounding his disability. In the last decade, he has taken countless steps that have transformed how he experiences life. Jason doubled majored in English and Social Work and has a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry. He is a professional speaker, perseverance coach and the author of Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best.


Learn more about Jason at

Sonali Vongchusiri
Parent Coach

Sonali is a parent coach and founder of the Raising Your Strong-Willed Child series. Sonali’s unique style incorporates her own experience as a sensitive, high needs child turned parent as well as her learnings through parenting her own highly sensitive, strong-willed child. She combines heart-centered and empowering parenting approaches with work to bring a parent’s awareness to the challenges at the root of the unrest they feel. Her passion is supporting parents to return to a form of parenting that restores trust, connection, confidence and delight in themselves and their relationship with their child.


Learn more about Sonali at

Clare Myatt
Somatic Coach & Psychotherapist

Clare Myatt is an HSP who has been specialising in trauma-shame-addiction since her California licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1995. Her book, Love & Imperfection: A Therapist’s Story, explores these themes. In 2000 she became one of Strozzi Institute’s first certified Master Somatic Coaches, weaving together her therapeutic-coaching style in the decades since. Known for her ability to create a safe space, she see clients in Birmingham and London UK and internationally via the web.


Learn more about Clare at

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