Operations Staff

Rev. Diane Berke

Rev. Diane Berke

Founder, Spiritual Director

Rev. Diane Berke is the Founder and Spiritual Director of One Spirit. Ordained as an interfaith minister in 1988, she is a widely respected pioneer in developing interfaith/interspiritual ministry education. Diane is on the faculty of Andrew Harvey’s Institute for Sacred Activism, a founding member of The Contemplative Alliance of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a founding member of Transformation365, and a certified facilitator for the Circle of Trust® work of the Center for Courage and Renewal. She is the author of numerous books and educational manuals, including Love Always Answers, The Gentle Smile, Developing and Deepening Your Spiritual Practice, and Interfaith Ministers’ Service and Reference Manual.

A psychotherapist and spiritual counselor for over thirty years, Diane is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of New York. Most important, Diane is widely known and respected for the impact she has on those who study with her. With boundless care, clear intelligence, and deep safety, she creates an extraordinarily rich learning environment. Diane’s students, as well as her clients in private sessions and participants in her workshops and retreats, report experiencing profound acceptance and a deep invitation to the truth that facilitates genuine transformation and healing.


Ilene Sameth

Ilene Sameth

Chief Executive Officer

Ilene Sameth became the Chief Executive Officer of One Spirit Learning Alliance in 2016 and brought many structural changes to the organization that resulted in increased programming, fundraising and community connections. She has an extensive background in strategic planning, fundraising, capital campaign management, financial oversight, event management, staff and community development and IT.

 

Prior to her position here, she had a 20-year career leading synagogues throughout New York City. including at Romemu, a ground-breaking community that experienced historic growth during her time there. From 2003 to 2012, Ilene served as Executive Director at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) in Greenwich Village, a dynamic organization in both the Jewish and LBGTQ worlds. Ilene is drawn to organizations, both professionally and personally, that challenge participants to deepen their connection to spirituality and community and that stress education as a path to both. Before beginning her career in the religious non-profit world, Ilene was an opera singer for 15 years, performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and throughout the country. In her spare time, Ilene enjoys hiking, cooking and “House Hunters.”


Gordon Brode

Gordon Brode

Director of Organization Development

As One Spirit's Director of Organization Development, Gordon Brode integrates his fascination with human and organizational systems, performance through learning, design thinking, and strategic problem-solving into the development of visionary collaborative solutions that dynamically empower One Spirit's mission. His diverse experience in a variety of industries including intensive phases in professional theater, talent management, software design, branding, web design, and systems development has fed his passion for creating the conditions for innovation and collective wisdom.

Gordon received his MS with distinction in Positive Organization Development and Change at Case Western University's Weatherhead School of Management and a certificate in Emotionally Intelligent Leadership and Executive Coaching. An avid student of consciousness, his interests include flourishing enterprise (reframing for-profit business as an agent of world benefit), appreciative inquire and other methods of whole-systems change, and the organizational applications of presencing and intuition as seen through the lens of complexity science and emergence.


Rev. Darren Polito

Rev. Darren Polito

Director of Admissions

Darren graduated from One Spirit in 2009 and sort of never left. He is an artist, dancer, and performer (often in drag!) who seeks to stir people's awe and enthusiasm through playful perspectives. Darren has been using dance as a spiritual practice all his life and as a conscious practice for over 20 years  and also leads Ecstatic Dance workshops. A new enthusiasm, as part of his second role at One Spirit as part of the Media Team, is in finding ways to create sacred, personal connection through technology.

Darren was Creative Director of SpiritualityandPractice.com where he has a blog, The Ritual Space, about his passion for creating rituals. He has been a hairstylist/makeup artist, event/display designer, and the official tour guide for Food Network Kitchens and Studios. 

Other passions include his high holidays of Halloween and Gay Pride when he creates elaborate costumes to wow the masses.

Darren lives in NYC with his precious cat, Chandon, who he found the summer before starting seminary and who has been one of his greatest teachers.


Rev. Nic Bullitt

Rev. Nic Bullitt

Engagement Catalyst

Rev. Nic Bullitt is the Engagement Catalyst at One Spirit. As a community-builder, and communications liaison, she helps to foster relationships that have been formed year-over-year among our graduates, current students, faculty, and those who are just discovering One Spirit.  Nic holds an MBA from Fordham University in Marketing and Management, is a certified yoga instructor, and an ordained minister with the University of Metaphysics. She is passionate about spirituality, personal growth and development, and especially the “Ah-ha!” moments that expand our perspective!


Emrah Akyildiz

Emrah Akyildiz

Finance and Operations Assistant

Emrah Akyildiz has been working at One Spirit Learning Alliance since 2016. He assists the organization in the finance office, coordinating of volunteers, and classroom rentals.

Emrah always takes an energetic approach when working with others and colleagues, works hard to understand their expectations. He is diligent, driven, a clever problem-solver, and takes on challenges willingly.

Emrah studied computer science at Istanbul Aydin University and possesses a strong background in software development/IT, marketing and finance. He holds extensive experience in a variety of backgrounds and always strives to make ethics, creativity, and perfectionism top priorities in his business.

Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Emrah and has lived in New York since 2013.