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
    Catholic
    ​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.


  • 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.

  • Two of our advisory members work with Monica McBrady to make your conference
    experience beautiful and welcoming. 

    Erin Benbennick by day works in IT service management. She is a member of St. Mark
    in Vienna. Erin also works on honing her gift of
    storytelling through Toastmasters International and the Virginia Storytelling Alliance. 

    Joan L. Romett by day works as an attorney adviser with the U.S. Department of Labor. 
    ​Joan received a Catholic school education through high school in Montgomery County,
    Maryland. Her degrees from Maryland, University of Baltimore Law and James Madison
    attest to Joan’s commitment to the metro DC area.  She has become devoted to the causes of
    her parish, Missionhurst, and Cursillo.  Also, she is committed to helping animals of all types.



  • 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 Bethesda.

Welcome to your Future with Hope!