Shalom House Advisory Council Members – From Left to Right – Peter Tlusty, Lynn Berkness, Frank Castelvecchi, Brian Morgan (Retired Council Chair), Mike Jackman, Mary Alexander, Becky Hansell, Bonnie Campbell. Not pictured – Frank Leaming.
Advisory Council Members
Shalom House Advisory Council
The Shalom House Advisory Council guides the direction of Shalom House. The Council meets quarterly. Finance, Marketing, and Buildings and Grounds Committees meet between quarterly meetings. It is a very strong working Council. There are currently eight members, including Mary Alexander, Shalom House director.
Mary Alexander has been Director of Shalom House Retreat Center since August 2009. Prior to her work at Shalom, she taught elementary school in King William County. From 1991 to 2004, she served as Director of Christian Social Services, a nonprofit outreach center in Morehead, Kentucky, where she was instrumental in developing several community-based cooperative programs. She taught in Milwaukee and worked for the Medical College of Wisconsin before moving to Kentucky. Mary is a Wisconsin native and graduated from UW Milwaukee (BS – Elementary Education) and Marquette University (M.Ed. – Educational Psychology, ABD in Educational Psychology). Mary and her husband, Don, enjoy traveling, biking, studying and spending time with family, especially their three grandchildren. Don and Mary have a Sheltie, Merle, who is a registered therapy dog that they take on visits to nursing homes, schools, and hospitals.
Lynne Berkness is Director of Development at Northstar Academy, a K-12 non-profit school which serves students with disabilities and challenges. Prior to Northstar, Lynne was Director of Planned Giving and Stewardship at Collegiate School and, earlier, an Environmental Specialist in the Air Quality Department-Air Regulations and Permits – Virginia Power. Lynne is a Richmond native and graduated from Collegiate School and The University of Virginia (BA – Environmental Sciences). She also serves on the Board of Virginia Association of Fund Raising Executives (VAFRE) and is currently Vice President. Lynne and her husband Peter have two grown children and are involved with greyhound rescue. Lynne is a two time breast cancer survivor, enjoys reading, long walks and family time.
Bonnie Campbell is a native Richmonder who graduated from St. Gertrude’s High School and then went on to undergraduate and graduate degrees. She lived in Colorado, California and Texas, before settling in Richmond. Her work background includes middle management and senior management positions for a Fortune 150 company and international development organization. Family includes a grown daughter with whom she co-founded a business in 2016. Interests range from volunteering for several ministries of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and local theaters to birding, and the Osher Institute.
Frank G Castelvecchi III
Frank G Castelvecchi III is a semiretired Fire Protection Engineer. He is married and is the father of three adult children. Frank is a long term volunteer firefighter and is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Church. He is a Knight of Columbus – 4th degree. He has a long history of involvement with Shalom House, including serving on the first Advisory Council in the 1980’s. Frank is a conservator of rare Heritage Narragansett Turkeys and Australorp Chickens and is a self-proclaimed car nut.
Becky Hansell worked for several years as a Project Engineer on Commercial and Residential construction projects, before staying home with her kids. Becky is graduate of Purdue University in Civil Engineering, and has lived in the Richmond area for the last 20 years. She has been a longtime user of Shalom House both for spiritual retreats as well as with scrapbooking groups. Becky volunteers extensively for her church with various women’s ministry offerings, both in leadership and behind the scenes. Becky, her husband, Mark, and two teenaged sons enjoy travelling, remodeling their home, flipping dilapidated houses, and camping. When Becky has free time she reads, scrapbooks, knits and plays board games with her family.
Mike Jackman is a retired Branch and Project Manager from The Federal Department of the Treasury and worked in IT at Capital One for ten years. Mike grew up in Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University before being drafted and serving two years in the US Army Infantry, one in Vietnam. Mike also worked on, but did not complete, a PHD program in Philosophy. Since retirement, he has completed programs in Life Coaching & Spiritual Direction. Currently, Mike also serves on the Boards at All Saints Catholic School and Circle Center Adult Day Care. At the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Mike presents a biweekly course on the “Mystics of the Church” and facilitates a Divorced and Separated Support Group. Mike serves as an adjunct spiritual director and serves on the faculty of Richmond Hill’s School of Racial Reconciliation, assists the social director in facilitating a weekly men’s group at Circle Center and reads to 2nd graders at All Saints and tutors a 4th grader. Mike enjoys reading (bookaholic), the outdoors and basically, everything else. He has an adult daughter in the DC suburbs
Francis J. Leaming
Francis J. Leaming retired from 33 years of service with the Department of Defense in 2009. In his last position he was employed as a Senior Management Analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon from 2000-2009. Previous work experience, from 1976-2000, included strategic planning, organization management, logistics, and contracting. Mr. Leaming has written and taught about contracting with the federal government and was Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM). He has been very active in a number of other organizations, including the Office of Social Ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Optimist Club of Caroline County, St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church in Ladysmith, and the Caroline Habitat for Humanity. He and his wife, Nina, have been foster parents for over 30 children. He holds an undergraduate BS degree in Management-Marketing from St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia, PA), an MBA from the University of Richmond (VA), and Master of Arts in Theology from St. Leo University (St. Leo, FL). Mr. Leaming is an ordained deacon in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and serves at St. Mary of the Annunciation in Caroline County.
Peter Tlusty grew up in Northern Virginia. He attended Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia where he received a degree in Early Childhood Education. He worked for Henrico County Public Schools and Collegiate School. He decided to put teaching on hold and opened a handcrafted furniture business which morphed into a home improvement contracting business. He ran that business for over 22 years when he decided to go back to teaching. He became the Director of Extended Day Programs at Saint Benedict Catholic School and now also teaches 4th grade at Saint Benedict. Peter enjoys music, cooking and eating, hockey, and horses.