Get to know our advisory board of Spirit-filled people we go to for prayer... and conference assistance! Come along as we prepare to serve you.

  • The Rev. Charles Smith was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Arlington in 2006. He
    has served at parishes including St. Veronica in Chantilly and St. Ambrose in
    Annandale, and currently is parochial vicar at
    St. Raymond of Penafort
    ​Church in Springfield. We are grateful to have him as the conference spiritual adviser.

  • Working with Father Smith, Joan Sheppard is responsible for the conference's liturgical
    elements. Joan serves as the Director of Faith Formation at
    Good Shepherd Catholic Church
    in Alexandria. Joan answered the call to full-time Church ministry in the midst of a
    23-year career in contracts and finance with a government contractor.  In her current
    capacity, she leads the K-12 children’s programs, adult faith formation programming, and
    the initiation ministries for the parish.  In 2016, Joan received her master of science ​in
    church management degree from Villanova University. 

  • Karen Audant and her husband, Patrick, are empty nesters who often connect with the Lord in outdoor spaces (camping, running, hiking, and so on). Karen, who is passionate about education and instructional design, also finds grace places in activities such as ice skating and yoga. She and Patrick have a son and a daughter and live in Arlington, where they worship at St. Ann. Karen will design a light physical activity for conference attendees.

  • Erin Benbennick by day works in IT service management. She also is very
    involved in her parish, St. Thomas a Becket in Reston, in areas including the prayer
    shawl ministry, Adoration (with husband Dave), and Cursillo. Erin also works on
    honing her gift of storytelling through Toastmasters International and the Virginia
    Storytelling Alliance. At the conference, ​she helps Monica McBrady make
    ​everything beautiful and welcoming. 

  • Emily Borman is editor in chief for Conversation with Women, where women
    anonymously share their stories of struggle, and ultimately joy, in living the Catholic faith regarding marriage, sexuality, chastity, and society.  Emily is also a Master Catechist for the
    Diocese of Arlington. She and her husband, Bill, worship at Our Lady of Hope in Potomac
    Falls ​and are nearing an empty ​nest. Emily is responsible for working with
    ​conference exhibitors.

  • Small-group discussions, one of the most popular features of the 2016 conference,
    will be organized for the 2017 edition by two of our Maryland sisters in Christ. 

    ​Rose Folsom is the owner of Virtue Connection, which helps people who are ready for spiritual
    growth become more patient, forgiving, and prayerful. Through Virtue Connection, Rose offers
    talks, retreats, and workshops to put tried-and-true virtues like self-control and generosity
    into practice in daily life. Rose and her family worship at St. Andrew Apostle in Silver Spring. 

    Carol Monaco is the writer-editor of
    Journey to Our Lady, a spiritual publication that helps
    readers develop a closer relationship with the Blessed Mother. Journey has readers across the
    country and aboard, including in Malta, the Philippines and Ireland. Carol also recently released 
    Heavenly Mother Help Me: Prayers, Poetry, and Prose for Daily Living. She is a
    member of the World Apostolate of Fatima (USA) and Association Jeanne Jugan. She
    ​ worships at Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethes

Welcome to your Future with Hope!