About Jam Circles
Shannon Leach, Executive Director
Before starting Gemini Landscaping, Shannon worked ten years as a landscaper in Mendocino County and mentored with renowned Landscape Designer, Gary Ratway. In 2005, Shannon began his own Landscape business in Sonoma County and has had a successful career servicing the greater Bay Area for over 10 years.
In parallel to his professional career, Shannon began working at The Sierra School of Sonoma County in 2009 where he developed and led a successful mentor program for boys and girls ages 10 – 18 years old.
In his eight years working with youth he taught the students landscaping as well as provided emotional support and guidance as a mentor. He also developed friendships with staff and students with whom he still remains friends.
His passion for personal growth and mentorship led him to the Mankind Project, a nonprofit training and education organization with three decades of proven success hosting life-changing experiential personal development programs for men. As part of his work with MKP, he was introduced to Boys to Men, their youth mentoring program initiative and has completed over 80 hours of mentor training through this group.
As a father himself, Shannon has a passion to support kids. It’s this drive that spurred him to launch Jam Circles in 2016 so that he would bring his commitment to mentorship to a wider audience.
William Grace Frost, Board Chairman
William holds a prevailing optimism regarding the influential role that mentors can play in offering authentic rites of passage to today’s youth. In his “day job”, he is an innovation consultant for multi-national corporations, but in his “spare time” he is passionate about helping men and boys grow into models of healthy masculinity. As the father and stepfather of 5 amazing (and challenging) young men, he has learned many lessons of manhood through humbling trial and error.
William has been participating in, and facilitating, men and teen groups since the late 70’s when he was first exposed to poet, Robert Bly, and his ground-breaking book, Iron John. He was initiated as a Mankind Project New Warrior in 2007, and in 2009, was integral in the establishment of the Journeymen mentoring program in Asheville, NC.
William’s eclectic career has also included being a restaurateur, professional soccer player, labyrinth designer and builder, executive coach, owner of a major innovation consulting firm, director of three international yoga resorts, non-profit development director and landscape architect.
Winston Friedman, Board Vice Chairman
Winston has been volunteering as a social and environmental activist since he was 18. He has a bachelor’s in environmental studies with an emphasis on sustainability and policy. Winston has worked with numerous student grassroots organizations, helped start and run a local chapter of the Pachamama Alliance and has been involved numerous local climate change campaigns with groups like 350.org. He currently works for a solar development company as a project manager and director of research.
Winston also helped found the LandWell Intentional Community, west of Sebastopol in 2016, where he lives on 22 acres, with 18 adults and 7 kids. The intention of the community is to discovery how to live in harmony with each other, the land and spirit. He feels grateful to have such a large group of people he considers family and such beautiful land to tend and call home.
In 2015 Winston went through the New Warrior Training Adventure, an initiation weekend for men through the ManKind Project. The initiation helped refocus Winston’s personal mission from focusing on the outside environment, to his own and to others’ personal and emotional environment. Winston has been actively engaged in Men’s circles ever since and is committed to sharing what he has learned from his initiation.
Peter Karp, Secretary
Peter’s passion for helping young men comes from his love of being a father to two extraordinary, grounded and young men. Helping them to grow in confidence, competence and emotional maturity is one of his greatest accomplishments. Additionally, his experience of participating in weekly Mankind Project (MKP) men’s circles for 13 years had given him a place to develop facilitation, group dynamics and deep listening skills.
Peter represents the Sonoma County MKP men’s circles and is the Coordinator for MKP’s 57 men’s circles in Northern California.
Peter is a business coach, and a Certified Co-Active Coach. Peter’s diverse career includes being a: Community Organizer, Garment Manufacturer, Franchise Owner, National Sales Manager, Public Broadcasting Underwriting Manager and Business Coach. Peter is a proud member Leadership Santa Rosa Class 27.
Tim Smith, Treasurer
Tim Smith is a business adviser and marketing strategist with over 30 years of combined management experience in media, advertising agency, corporate marketing and consulting.
In addition to his business experience, Tim was certified as a school mentor in Dekalb County, Georgia, which received national acclaim for its efforts in pioneering school-based mentoring.
He was also trained as a crisis intervention counselor in the Baltimore area, and served as both a volunteer and paid counselor for youth in crisis in the early 1970s.
Tim has dedicated himself to personal development work. He has undergone extensive training and has participated in over 70 courses, seminars and other programs over the past four decades. He has also been active in the men’s movement, and has participated in and/or organized men’s groups and retreats in the Atlanta and Northern California areas.
David Leake, Board Member
Inspired by Leach’s vision, David joined JAM Circle’s development team at inception. He serves as an assistant mentor-facilitator for boy’s circles and as a programs and school outreach committee member.
In our times of increasing estrangement between teens and adults, David is thrilled to carry JAM Circle’s mission to ally teens with adults, fostering relationships that enrich them both.
In our society of marked career instability and unrelenting change, he is passionate about imparting “soft skills” to teens.
Skills of emotional intelligence, adaptability, and unwavering self-worth which will serve teens reliably and well into adulthood no matter what the job market presents.
A certified Dream Builder Life Coach, yoga instructor, and apprentice to professional meditation teacher Peter Vroom, David is a wealth of resource to the teen boys for whom he co-facilitates Circles. He also brings adept maturity as a listener in Circle, with more than 500 Co-Counseling session hours as a Re-evaluation Counseling Community of Sonoma County member since 2011. Working directly with teens in Napa and Sonoma County public schools since 2009, David interacts with teens daily.
His commitment to personal development is steadfast, regularly attending a men’s support group, sustaining a daily meditation practice, and attending Co-Counseling workshops. Having participated in three “initiations” of his own —M.I.T.T’s Basic, Advanced, and LP, The Men’s Weekend, and the Vedic meditation course — he knows the timeless potency that a rite of passage offers. It’s a potency to instill a sense of belonging, optimism, and purpose.
Jeanna King Ruppel, Board Member
Jeanna is a Restorative Schools Leader who discovered her personal empowerment through the Circle Way. Her unique career background, includes animal behaviorist, school and business administrator, Positive Discipline Educator, Certified Peace Ambassador, Licensed HeartMath and Relationships Coach.
She is a graduate of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and Economy, a Forest Therapy Guide and is certified in Transformational Leadership. Jeanna co-developed Using Classroom Circles to Teach Restorative Practices, a curriculum for grades 4-12, with Center for Restorative Process used world-wide.
Jeanna has served for many years as a restorative justice conference facilitator. Jeanna currently is lead restorative specialist for Santa Rosa City Schools. She enjoys spending time deepening the relationships with herself and others by discovering the abundant beauty in nature, creating memories with her family and tending to her animals currently a cat, dog and horse.
We support adolescents in their journey to becoming healthy adults by modeling authentic relating, supporting self-awareness and emotional growth, in a community that honors their youthful energy.
Tax Exempt Status
Jam Circles is a fiscally sponsored project of Marin Link, a California nonprofit corporation exempt from federal tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service #20-0879422.