The Sophia Institute Board of Directors
We are proud to have such a dedicated group of people on our Board of Directors who exhibit mindfulness, wisdom, and contemplative practice within their service to our mission.
Ellen Dressler Moryl served as the first director of the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs from 1978 through 1983. During that period of time, she designed and launched a number of the OCA’s on-going projects including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival (which marked its 37th anniversary last Spring) and the City Gallery at the Dock Street Theatre. She was also a catalytic force in developing the Charleston Black Arts Festival (1979, 1981 and 1983) in cooperation with the Charleston chapter of the LINKS, Inc. and the Gibbes Museum of Art. In 1984, the Black Arts Festival evolved into the annual MOJA African-American and Caribbean Arts Festival, which celebrated its 33rd festival year in 2016.
From 1984 through 1992, she lived and worked in Portland, Oregon, serving as executive director of Artquake, Portland’s annual arts festival and also as director of communications at Oregon Public Broadcasting, a statewide network of public radio and public television stations. In 1992, Mrs. Moryl returned to Charleston to serve as development director for the arts for the City of Charleston and in 1993, she resumed directing the City of Charleston office of Cultural Affairs. In 2003, the OCA, under her direction, received the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award in the government agency category.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Ellen M. Moryl received her undergraduate training in music at Portland State University with further study in early music performance at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. Her performance credits include the Portland Youth Philharmonic, principal cellist with Portland Opera Orchestra, and the Portland (now Oregon) Symphony Orchestra. She was formerly assistant principal cellist with the Charleston Symphony. Mrs. Moryl currently performs with several chamber music ensembles in the Charleston area including the Ensemble of St. Clare at Mepkin Abbey, which she helped to organize in 2001.
Mrs. Moryl’s community service activities have included serving on the Board of Directors for the Trident Urban League, the Charleston Rotary Club (she served as program chair for three consecutive years) and the Charleston Advisory Board for SCETV. She has served on the boards of several local arts organizations including the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra and Advisor to the Taylor Festival Choir, among others. In addition, she was the founding president of the South Carolina Arts Alliance in 1981 and now
serves as Board Member Emeritus of that group. Mrs. Moryl coordinates instrumental music for congregation KKBE, is coordinator of the St. Stephens String Quartet and the Ensemble of St. Clare at Mepkin Abbey. She is also Artistic Director Emeritus of the Spotlight Chamber Music Concerts for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
J. Goosby Smith serves as the University’s inaugural vice president for community belonging and chief diversity officer. Guided by God's call to unite God's people, Smith approaches her specialty areas of human diversity, inclusion, and belonging with intellectual rigor, methodological soundness, patience, a healing spirit, a love for humanity, and a good-natured sense of humor.
Before rejoining Pepperdine, where she had previously served as a faculty member in Seaver College’s Business Administration Division, as a member of the Seaver College Diversity Council, and as inaugural faculty co-chair of the university diversity council with Edna Powel, and as an adjunct member of the Graziadio faculty, Smith served as a faculty member, assistant provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and director of the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. She also taught at California State University, Channel Islands and Butler University.
A nationally sought-after public speaker, educator, and consultant, Smith has worked with a wide range of organizations, such as the Cleveland Clinic, KeyBank, the United States Navy ROTC, and the US Department of Agriculture. She is an active member of Greater St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where she formerly served as a steward, Young People's Division director, and as a virtual education teacher. She is a member of Mensa America, Jack and Jill of America, and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, having previously served as inaugural faculty advisor and later graduate advisor for Pepperdine’s Tau Lambda chapter.
Smith earned a BS in computer science from Spelman College and an MBA and PhD in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University. In spring of 2022, she expects to complete her MDiv from the Interdenominational Theological Center.
Board of Directors / Teaching Faculty
Henk Brandt is the author of Sleeping with Sophia, a collection of poems, and The Heart of a Pilgrim, a spiritual memoir. Henk is part of a new breed of speakers and consultants who are working to bring soul into the workplace and heart into the way we conduct ourselves in the world. Henk’s innovative fusion of Western empiricism and Eastern wisdom offers a new vision for embodying dynamic growth at every level. As a mindfulness-based counselor, Henk has developed a non-pathological system that empowers practitioners to transmute painful experiences into expressions of natural growth. According to Henk, mindfulness provides a proven process for overcoming adversity by moving beyond the victim-perpetrator dyad. In this way, permanent solutions are achieved, instead of temporary ones. He emphasizes that the obstacle is the path: “People need to learn how to minister to themselves by changing how they use their minds so that over time they actually rewire the way their brains function. Mindfulness-Based Counseling enables people to find the light inside the dark, to dwell on the frontier of unknowing and to engage in mature intimate relationships that are consciously committed to mutual growth.”
A Time for Awakening: Mindfulness Training and Heart Callings
Board of Directors
Cam Busch is Founder and President Emeritus, Tennessee Art Therapy Association; Licensed, registered, and Board Certified Art Therapist; Recently retired Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist; exhibiting artist and photographer of 40 years; Distinguished Fellow, Global Alliance for Arts and Health; National consultant with the SAHCS (Society for the Arts in Healthcare Consulting Services) and owner of Art Therapy Consults and Studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Currently Minister of Transition at Jubilee! Community in Asheville, NC, Laura previously served congregations in Rochester, NY, Takoma Park, MD and Mills River, NC. She’s been a hospice and a trauma chaplain, worked in transitional homes for people coming out of prison and off the streets, directed a small retreat center, and done nonprofit grant and communications work. She has served on boards for inner-city ministries, grassroots climate action, Guilford College Alumni, and affordable housing. She is mother to a young adult son, and enjoys hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with her four-legged sidekick, Zoey.
Board of Directors / Teaching Faculty
Carolyn Rivers is Founder and Director of The Sophia Institute. As a teacher, visionary, and spiritual mentor, her work centers on personal, interpersonal and societal transformation that fosters the emergence of Feminine, cultivating wisdom and mindfulness, for a more just, sustainable, flourishing world. Carolyn has worked professionally with many of the transpersonal leaders of our time, who are now on the faculty and National Advisory Board of the Sophia Institute. Carolyn is taking a stand for educating women to be change agents in creating a more conscious and compassionate world.
Carolyn Rivers' remarks at the 2017 annual luncheon