Working for a faith that does justice.
Erin Brown joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network in 2019. Originally from the Milwaukee area, Erin received her B.A. in theology and Hispanic studies from the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota. After graduation, she moved to the Peruvian Andes as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. As a volunteer, Erin worked in after school programming for elementary school students at Parroquia San Pedro Apóstol in Andahuaylillas. Most recently, she was a member of the admissions team at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, WI. While in Milwaukee, she also served as a support person for the local Jesuit Volunteer community. Erin is an avid reader and outdoor enthusiast.
Networking and Development Director
Lena Chapin joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network in 2016. She loves meeting new people, forming relationships, and sharing her passions for humanity, faith, and social justice. She grew up in the Appalachian foothills of Southern Ohio. After graduating from John Carroll University, she spent a year in Immokalee, Florida with the Humility of Mary Volunteer Service. In 2013, she earned the title of Master of Science in Journalism and Public Relations from Ohio University in Athens. Lena enjoys outdoor activities, cooking, and reading. She lives in Cleveland Heights, OH.
Integrated Marketing Director
Kim (Miller) Coleman joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network staff in August 2011. After graduating from Gonzaga University with her degree in marketing and broadcast studies, Kim spent two years serving in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. During her first year, Kim worked with teens with developmental disabilities and provided programming and marketing services for STRIVE in South Portland, Maine. In her second year, Kim served as the outreach coordinator for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA in Washington, D.C. While at JRS/USA, Kim became very familiar with the Jesuit networks and created interactive refugee awareness programs, spoke to groups nationwide, and equipped students and parishioners to take action on issues affecting forcibly displaced persons. Kim is daily inspired by the Ignatian family members she meets, and she looks forward to continuing to empower students and parishioners to promote justice within their local and global communities.
Director of Education for Justice & Environmental Initiatives
Brenna Davis joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network in February 2019. Originally from Tennessee, Brenna graduated from Boston College in 2010 with a B.A. in theology and Spanish. After graduation, she moved to Cleveland as a Jesuit Volunteer and served at The West Side Catholic Center, a multiservice center for people experiencing homelessness. In this role, she started holistic wellness classes such as yoga and creative writing for center patrons. At the end of her JV year, Brenna began working at Saint Martin de Porres, Cleveland’s Cristo Rey High School, as a theology teacher and cross country coach. After four of the most joyful and challenging years of her life as a social justice teacher, Brenna transitioned to the role of main office coordinator at the school and focused on not only administrative functions but also developed initiatives to promote joy and self-care for faculty and staff. More importantly, she was the self-proclaimed assistant to the director of facilities in all sustainability initiatives on campus. She is a certified spiritual director, Cuyahoga County Master Recycler, and is a member of NCR’s EarthBeat Advisory Panel. In her spare time, Brenna enjoys reading, running, bullet journaling, speaking Spanish, writing letters, and digging through trash cans to properly sort recycling.
Assistant Director of Development
Sharayle Forest joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network staff in September of 2021. She is experienced in working for both the non-profit and for-profit sector. Sharayle attended Central State University where she obtained a bachelors of science degree in business administration. It was during her time in the for-profit world that Sharayle discovered her passion for outreach and humanity. In pursuit of a life of purpose, Sharayle took a leap of faith and walked away from 10 years of service in the for-profit sector to pursue a life of impact, service, and advocacy. She attended John Carroll University where she obtained a masters of science degree in non-profit administration. Sharayle loves sports, fashion, and anything in the color pink. She also enjoys music, crafts, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has nearly twenty years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. The Ignatian Solidarity Network is a lay-led, US-based national social justice education and advocacy organization grounded in Catholic Social Teaching and the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Best known for convening the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, the largest annual Catholic social justice gathering in the United States, ISN also engages hundreds of thousands of individuals each year through in-person and online programs, advocacy campaigns, and website content and resources.
Prior to ISN, Chris served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, a Jesuit university outside of Cleveland, Ohio, including coordinating short-term international immersion learning trips and social justice education as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Before his time at John Carroll, he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.
In December of 2020, Very Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), appointed Kerr to serve as a member of a new six member Advisory Committee for the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat (SJES) of the Society of Jesus Curia in Rome.
Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes across the U.S. about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at John Carroll University. Chris, his wife Jill, and their three boys reside in Northeast Ohio where they are actively engaged in their Catholic parish and community.
Ethical Purchasing Coordinator
Julie Myers is a mother to two young kids and married to a fellow justice advocate. After graduating from John Carroll University, she spent three years in Colombia, South America doing human rights work. She then got her master’s in ministry at a Presbyterian school in Chicago before moving back to Cleveland. She loves gardening, new recipes, and book recommendations.
Digital Communications Coordinator
AJ Rowe joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network staff in 2021. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and received a Jesuit education through both high school and college, graduating from John Carroll University in 2021. Throughout his college education, he took part in various service opportunities and was a member of the Leadership Scholars program, while also serving on the executive board of several student organizations. He began to volunteer for non-profit charity organizations, including Direct Relief, The Wild Foundation, and more, and was excited to take a position with the Ignatian Solidarity Network when he saw a chance to integrate his faith with his passion for social justice and change. AJ has a passion for video work and cooking, and lives just outside of University Heights, OH.
Ann Smrekar joined the staff of the Ignatian Solidarity Network in October 2021. A native of Toledo, Ohio, she is a graduate of John Carroll University with a degree in English. After a few years out of college she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps as a member of Hartford, Connecticut’s first JV house. There, she worked with pregnant teens and teen moms. Ann returned to Cleveland having gained meaningful friendships, a passion for volunteerism, and a deeper understanding of the world around her.
Professionally she has held administrative, technical writing, and customer service positions for area businesses, and is excited to shift focus and work for an organization that encourages us to live out our faith and do good in the world.
Ann lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, daughter, and son. In her free time, she is an avid knitter and crocheter, enjoys listening to music, is always on the hunt for great radio stations, and loves hiking with her family and friends.
Kelly Swan joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network staff in 2016 and is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University. Kelly began her career in northern New Jersey with children experiencing homelessness and in family ministry for an Episcopal parish. She then returned to her childhood mountains of West Virginia and coordinated a religious education and service immersion trip program at a parish in Charleston, WV, spent a year working and living in community at Nazareth Farm in Doddridge County, WV, and most recently spent six years in Wheeling, WV, engaged in projects related to holistic family life, community education, Appalachian advocacy, sustainable agriculture, and mothers’ spirituality. Kelly served as interim director of Wheeling Jesuit University’s Appalachian Institute in 2010, co-founded Black Swan Organics, a precursor to Grow Ohio Valley, a food justice non-profit in Wheeling, WV, served as interim director of the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley, and was a writer and the production editor for INWheeling and Metroburgh Magazines in Wheeling and Pittsburgh. Kelly lives in the Cleveland area with her family.
Gabrielle Bessmer is a senior at Mercyhurst University. She is majoring in social work and minoring in psychology. With her BSW she hopes to work within advocacy and policy to promote social justice. Gabrielle previously attended Walsh Jesuit High School and resides in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. At ISN, she is working closely with the Ethical Purchasing team and expanding Racial Justice resources, specifically for the 21-Day Ignatian Racial Equity Challenge.
Parish Social Justice Engagement Intern
Francis is currently a master of theological studies student at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, where I specialize in both systematic theology and the Frankfurt school of thought. Francis was born and raised in Cleveland, OH and enjoys spending time with his wife and dogs, backpacking, biking, and writing.
Ethical Purchasing Project Coordinator
Matt is currently working on his master of theological studies degree at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. Prior to his studies, Matt served as senior policy advisor in the Jesuit Conference’s Office of Justice and Ecology. Originally from Scranton, PA, Matt is a graduate of Scranton Prep and Fordham University.
Caitlin is a student at John Carroll University majoring in early childhood education with minors in Spanish and peace, justice & human rights. Caitlin is from Akron, Ohio and attended Walsh Jesuit High School. At John Carroll, she is also involved in weekly service with the Center for Service and Social Action, greek life, and the Arrupe Scholars Program. Caitlin has been on immersion trips to Nicaragua and Ecuador and will being going to the U.S.-Mexico border in January 2022.
Emily Girard is a student at John Carroll University and is from Cuyahoga Falls, OH. She is double majoring in psychology and peace, justice and human rights.
Kiera Reilly is a student at John Carroll University. She is majoring in psychology with a concentration in child and family studies and minoring in peace, justice, and human rights. Kiera is from Avon, OH and is a graduate of Saint Joseph Academy in Cleveland. On campus, she is very involved in campus ministry, the Center for Service and Social Action through weekly service, and Greek life. She is also an Arrupe Scholar. Kiera’s passion for social justice stems from being involved in Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice in high school, attending two service trips to Louisville, KY, and the Navajo Nation in Arizona, and from attending the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Darian Benitez Sanchez
Darian Benitez Sanchez is a DACA-recipient and a first-year at Harvard College. He is involved with the Institute of Politics on campus and works towards advocating for immigration justice. Darian is from Phoenix, Arizona, where he graduated from Brophy College Preparatory and helped lead the Dream-On Campaign.
Annika is a student at John Carroll University, where she is double majoring in sociology with a concentration in criminology and peace, justice, and human rights. She is also minoring in leadership development. She is involved with the sorority Chi Omega, the Arrupe Scholars Program, and the Student Hearing Board. During the summers she lives in Daytona Beach, Florida, right off the beach!