Meet the Blue Deer Team

Our team brings together people from all paths of life, who give of their time, talent and effort, to make Blue Deer Center available to the world.

Patrick Hanaway, MD

Chairperson for the Board of Directors

At his core, Patrick is a healer and teacher. His passion and extensive knowledge of western and traditional practices makes him a generous resource. Patrick brings his experience as a leader, compassion as a doctor, and empathy as a community Firekeeper to his position as Board Chair, implementing Blue Deer’s vision and mission.

As an initiated Mara’akame (healer in the Huichol tradition) and Firekeeper, he leads ceremonies and offers healing sessions to promote balance in people’s lives. For over 20 years, Patrick has served as a functional medicine family physician, along with his wife Lisa, in Asheville NC. Dr. Hanaway works to transform medical practice through awareness, education, research and clinical care.

Patrick started the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and was honored with the Linus Pauling Award for his pioneering work in the field of functional medicine. Partick received his doctorate of medicine from Washington University. He surrounds himself with nature, his community, his sons Wilkin and Devin, and his wife Lisa.

Amanda Kerner

Acting Executive Director and Board Member

Amanda’s leadership and business background allows her to manage the many moving parts of the present to serve the long-term goals of Blue Deer Center. Through Amanda’s enthusiasm, spirituality, work-ethic, and passion for learning, she works to build community. Volunteering her time is an important practice in her life. As an initiated Firekeeper, she hosts gatherings and builds ritual space to support connection.

Amanda holds a Business Administration and Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California. For over 15 years, she led and developed the family transportation business into a successful company in partnership with her husband, Alan. A mother, wife and grandmother, her home is always open and buzzing with visitors and the aroma and taste of good food.

Scott Reid

Board Member

Scott is a dynamic, experienced, and caring leader. As a Board Member, he brings over thirty years of domestic and international Project Controls and management experience, as well as an extensive background working within all levels of an organization. His skills range from strategic project planning & Scheduling to capital budgeting and cost control at a large scale in a variety of industries. He holds a B.S. in Construction Science from Texas A&M University School of Architecture with honors in Physics.

Scott brings his uplifting and positive character into every project. His commitment to spiritual transformation is key to leading the success of Blue Deer Center. As one of the first facility directors and chefs, he understands both the challenges and opportunities of running the Center. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife Meike. If you are at the Center, you may find Scott in the kitchen creating an incredible feast for everyone to enjoy!

Eliot Cowan

Emeritus Board Member

As our founder, Eliot Cowan is the ambassador who brings the mission of Blue Deer to all of his endeavors. Today, Eliot serves as a healer, counselor, teacher, public speaker, guide to apprentices, author, and ceremonial leader.

Eliot is recognized as a Tsaurirrikame or elder medicine man in the Huichol tradition. He has trained and initiated over twenty-five medicine people who are helping their clients in the U.S and other countries.

Eliot had a thriving practice as an acupuncturist for over 10 years. In his longing to deepen the healing of people, he gave new life to an ancient form of healing by wedding shamanistic approaches with Chinese Medicine. This modality is known today as “Plant Spirit Medicine.” Eliot went on to author a book about this healing and has trained hundreds of practitioners.

He received a B.S. degree in Anthropology and a masters degree in acupuncture from J.R. Worsley, where he also taught on the faculty. He is a musician at heart and loves taking walks along the river with his wife Victoria.

We are listening:  Do you have a question or feedback? Would you like to volunteer your time or make a donation? Let us know.

Patrick Hanaway, MD

Chairperson for the Board of Directors

At his core, Patrick is a healer and teacher. His passion and extensive knowledge of western and traditional practices makes him a generous resource. Patrick brings his experience as a leader, compassion as a doctor, and empathy as a community Firekeeper to his position as Board Chair, implementing Blue Deer’s vision and mission.

As an initiated Mara’akame (healer in the Huichol tradition) and Firekeeper, he leads ceremonies and offers healing sessions to promote balance in people’s lives. For over 20 years, Patrick has served as a functional medicine family physician, along with his wife Lisa, in Asheville NC. Dr. Hanaway works to transform medical practice through awareness, education, research and clinical care.

Patrick started the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and was honored with the Linus Pauling Award for his pioneering work in the field of functional medicine. Partick received his doctorate of medicine from Washington University. He surrounds himself with nature, his community, his sons Wilkin and Devin, and his wife Lisa.

Amanda Kerner

Acting Executive Director and Board Member

Amanda’s leadership and business background allows her to manage the many moving parts of the present to serve the long-term goals of Blue Deer Center. Through Amanda’s enthusiasm, spirituality, work-ethic, and passion for learning, she works to build community. Volunteering her time is an important practice in her life. As an initiated Firekeeper, she hosts gatherings and builds ritual space to support connection.

Amanda holds a Business Administration and Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California. For over 15 years, she led and developed the family transportation business into a successful company in partnership with her husband, Alan. A mother, wife and grandmother, her home is always open and buzzing with visitors and the aroma and taste of good food.

Scott Reid

Board Member

Scott is a dynamic, experienced, and caring leader. As a Board Member, he brings over thirty years of domestic and international Project Controls and management experience, as well as an extensive background working within all levels of an organization. His skills range from strategic project planning & Scheduling to capital budgeting and cost control at a large scale in a variety of industries. He holds a B.S. in Construction Science from Texas A&M University School of Architecture with honors in Physics.

Scott brings his uplifting and positive character into every project. His commitment to spiritual transformation is key to leading the success of Blue Deer Center. As one of the first facility directors and chefs, he understands both the challenges and opportunities of running the Center. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife Meike. If you are at the Center, you may find Scott in the kitchen creating an incredible feast for everyone to enjoy!

Eliot Cowan

Emeritus Board Member

As our founder, Eliot Cowan is the ambassador who brings the mission of Blue Deer to all of his endeavors. Today, Eliot serves as a healer, counselor, teacher, public speaker, guide to apprentices, author, and ceremonial leader.

Eliot is recognized as a Tsaurirrikame or elder medicine man in the Huichol tradition. He has trained and initiated over twenty-five medicine people who are helping their clients in the U.S and other countries.

Eliot had a thriving practice as an acupuncturist for over 10 years. In his longing to deepen the healing of people, he gave new life to an ancient form of healing by wedding shamanistic approaches with Chinese Medicine. This modality is known today as “Plant Spirit Medicine.” Eliot went on to author a book about this healing and has trained hundreds of practitioners.

He received a B.S. degree in Anthropology and a masters degree in acupuncture from J.R. Worsley, where he also taught on the faculty. He is a musician at heart and loves taking walks along the river with his wife Victoria.

We are listening:  Do you have a question or feedback? Would you like to volunteer your time or make a donation? Let us know.

Support Blue Deer

The Center is here because of generosity.   Would you support transformation and healing in people’s lives by giving to Blue Deer today? Non-profit 501 c (3) Tax ID 22-3741704

Support Blue Deer

The Center is here because of generosity.   Would you support transformation and healing in people’s lives by giving to Blue Deer today? Non-profit 501 c (3) Tax ID 22-3741704

Linda Felch

Administrative Director

Linda has been and continues to be, a crucial figure at Blue Deer since its creation. Her intricate technical skills are interwoven in every function of the center. Such as, program registration, database management, website maintenance and communication with volunteers, donors and participants. With patience and calm, Linda maneuvers many challenges and changes throughout her day.

Linda holds a combined Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. She serves her local community as an initiated Mara’akame in the Huichol tradition, Plant Spirit Medicine healer, and Firekeeper.

She works from her country home in Pennsylvania, where she enjoys gardening, growing her own food, and spending time by the fire and stream with her husband, Randy.

Wendy Core

Program Production Director

Wendy brings her past production experience into every step of the process for our program development. She creates budgets, sets up procedures, coordinates effective communication, and provides local coordinator support for off-site programs. Her abilities ensure a smooth and effective healing experience for the participants, providers, staff, and volunteers.

She received her B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California. For over 15 years, Wendy worked in Television Commercial Production.

She is an initiated weather worker in the Nahua tradition. She lives and works from her lovely home in Santa Cruz, with her teenage son Sequoia and enjoys taking daily long walks.

Jessica De la O

Plant Spirit Medicine Director

Jessica’s life path has always involved helping people, whether that has been as a healer, counselor, educator, or firekeeper. Now, all of these roles come together for her to serve in her position to extend Plant Spirit Medicine's reach in the world. She is currently developing and organizing one of three initiatives to build awareness of the medicine for the general public. She is also coordinating the future Healer Training program for new practitioners in this modality.

Jessica currently offers Plant Spirit Medicine in Carrollton, Georgia. She serves on the Firekeeper Council and co-hosts community fires as an initiated Firekeeper. She also serves on LifeWays Women’s Initiation Council.

Jessica completed her Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Organization from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Jessica enjoys studying master musicians of classical rock music and exploring the natural world by hiking and going on outdoor adventures.

John "J" DiMenna

Property Manager

J brings his artistic aesthetic, physical capacities, and practical organizational skills to his daily work at the Center. He makes Blue Deer ready and welcoming for all participants whether they are there for a short visit or a long stay.

He is in charge of landscaping, maintaining facilities, ensuring compliance with all regulations, communication with service vendors, the local community and the Blue Deer team.

He brings his work experience from art handling and transportation, event coordination, guest service cleaning, woodworking, site installation management and metal sculpture working. He holds a Bachelor in Arts from Warren Wilson College in Folklore and Mythology.

J has taken part in various aspects of Blue Deer over the years including healing camp and volunteering. He loves art, acting, and music.

Anna-Lena Hilton

Huichol Art Project Director

Anna-Lena brings care and commitment to all of her work. As the director of the Huichol Art Project for almost 10 years, she has led and worked closely with the Huichol Art Council to make Huichol Art available to many markets. She has infused the project with efficiency, success, and an abundance of volunteers. She makes sure that the artwork is presented beautifully at the Huichol Art Boutique at Blue Deer.

She is a practicing Mara’akame, a traditional Huichol healer. She also serves her community as a Firekeeper in the Catskill Mountains. She has co-owned and managed a spiritual gift shop for over 30 years with her husband, Krishna.

Anna-Lena is a stepmother and a grandmother to two beautiful granddaughters. You will often find Anna-Lena in her garden or taking care of her two dogs.

Safia Sharon Johnson

Accounting Manager

Safia’s dedication has been unwavering and consistent for Blue Deer. Her financial and retreat management skills have facilitated the creation, opening and growth of the center. She is one of the original co-executive directors and therefore has deep knowledge of the center's inner workings.

After moving to Florida, she continued her support as the Accounting Manager -- maintaining the books, tax returns and financial reports, and collaborating with our CPA and the Board of Directors. She keeps the center in good standing in all legal and financial perspectives.

Safia is a Plant Spirit Medicine Healer. It brings her great joy to develop her own spiritual growth and support that of others through the mission of Blue Deer.

Linda Felch

Administrative Director

Linda has been and continues to be, a crucial figure at Blue Deer since its creation. Her intricate technical skills are interwoven in every function of the center. Such as, program registration, database management, website maintenance and communication with volunteers, donors and participants. With patience and calm, Linda maneuvers many challenges and changes throughout her day.

Linda holds a combined Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. She serves her local community as an initiated Mara’akame in the Huichol tradition, Plant Spirit Medicine healer, and Firekeeper.

She works from her country home in Pennsylvania, where she enjoys gardening, growing her own food, and spending time by the fire and stream with her husband, Randy.

Wendy Core

Program Production Director

Wendy brings her past production experience into every step of the process for our program development. She creates budgets, sets up procedures, coordinates effective communication, and provides local coordinator support for off-site programs. Her abilities ensure a smooth and effective healing experience for the participants, providers, staff, and volunteers.

She received her B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California. For over 15 years, Wendy worked in Television Commercial Production.

She is an initiated weather worker in the Nahua tradition. She lives and works from her lovely home in Santa Cruz, with her teenage son Sequoia and enjoys taking daily long walks.

Jessica De la O

Plant Spirit Medicine Director

Jessica’s life path has always involved helping people, whether that has been as a healer, counselor, educator, or firekeeper. Now, all of these roles come together for her to serve in her position to extend Plant Spirit Medicine's reach in the world. She is currently developing and organizing one of three initiatives to build awareness of the medicine for the general public. She is also coordinating the future Healer Training program for new practitioners in this modality.

Jessica currently offers Plant Spirit Medicine in Carrollton, Georgia. She serves on the Firekeeper Council and co-hosts community fires as an initiated Firekeeper. She also serves on LifeWays Women’s Initiation Council.

Jessica completed her Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Organization from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Jessica enjoys studying master musicians of classical rock music and exploring the natural world by hiking and going on outdoor adventures.

John "J" DiMenna

Property Manager

J brings his artistic aesthetic, physical capacities, and practical organizational skills to his daily work at the Center. He makes Blue Deer ready and welcoming for all participants whether they are there for a short visit or a long stay.

He is in charge of landscaping, maintaining facilities, ensuring compliance with all regulations, communication with service vendors, the local community and the Blue Deer team.

He brings his work experience from art handling and transportation, event coordination, guest service cleaning, woodworking, site installation management and metal sculpture working. He holds a Bachelor in Arts from Warren Wilson College in Folklore and Mythology.

J has taken part in various aspects of Blue Deer over the years including healing camp and volunteering. He loves art, acting, and music.

Anna-Lena Hilton

Huichol Art Project Director

Anna-Lena brings care and commitment to all of her work. As the director of the Huichol Art Project for almost 10 years, she has led and worked closely with the Huichol Art Council to make Huichol Art available to many markets. She has infused the project with efficiency, success, and an abundance of volunteers. She makes sure that the artwork is presented beautifully at the Huichol Art Boutique at Blue Deer.

She is a practicing Mara’akame, a traditional Huichol healer. She also serves her community as a Firekeeper in the Catskill Mountains. She has co-owned and managed a spiritual gift shop for over 30 years with her husband, Krishna.

Anna-Lena is a stepmother and a grandmother to two beautiful granddaughters. You will often find Anna-Lena in her garden or taking care of her two dogs.

Safia Sharon Johnson

Accounting Manager

Safia’s dedication has been unwavering and consistent for Blue Deer. Her financial and retreat management skills have facilitated the creation, opening and growth of the center. She is one of the original co-executive directors and therefore has deep knowledge of the center's inner workings.

After moving to Florida, she continued her support as the Accounting Manager -- maintaining the books, tax returns and financial reports, and collaborating with our CPA and the Board of Directors. She keeps the center in good standing in all legal and financial perspectives.

Safia is a Plant Spirit Medicine Healer. It brings her great joy to develop her own spiritual growth and support that of others through the mission of Blue Deer.

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Get Blue Deer Updates

Subscribe to our emails for the latest info.

© Blue Deer Center

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