Founder and Board
of Directors

Dr. Carol Weyland Conner, Founder and Principal Advisor

Born in 1942, Dr. Conner grew up in Central California’s San Joaquin Valley. She studied English literature at UC Berkeley, French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, and medieval studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore before receiving her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Catholic University in Washington, DC, in 1976. After teaching for several years in the George Washington University School of Medicine, she went into private practice as a therapist, practicing for twenty-five years in Walnut Creek, California, during which time she was also a volunteer counselor with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in San Francisco. Dr. Conner currently serves as the spiritual director of Sufism Reoriented, where she has mobilized the spiritual group’s members and resources to respond increasingly to the call to serve children and neighbors in need.

In September 2013, Dr. Conner founded the White Pony Express (WPE) program, with the goal of it becoming an independent nonprofit organization, supported by volunteers throughout the entire county. WPE incorporated as a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in March 2014, with the mission of helping to eliminate hunger and poverty throughout Contra Costa County.

Gary Conner, President and Executive Coordinator

Mr. Conner served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Field Artillery and afterwards graduated from Hastings School of the Law in 1979; he was Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Law Journal; a member of the Thurston Society, and qualified for Order of the Coif. Mr. Conner practiced law as a tax attorney and transactional attorney in San Francisco and Walnut Creek, CA, Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, MD. He co-authored a book on small business success, and a series of six articles for the San Francisco Examiner on the 1986 Tax Act. Mr. Conner was the first President of the Hospice of Contra Costa (the first hospice in the East Bay—now known as Hospice of the East Bay). He has initiated and fulfilled several charitable enterprises over the past 35 years.

Lorraine Granit, Secretary

Dr. Granit completed her doctoral studies in social science research and clinical psychology at U.C. Berkeley in 1970. In addition to her clinical practice and teaching, she has trained and managed employees and volunteers throughout her over 40-year career. She managed and trained drug counselors for an all volunteer nonprofit. She has managed two psychiatric clinics, one a multi-racial clinic in Oakland and the other, one of the first private psychiatric clinics in Walnut Creek, which she established. More recently, she has spent more than 10 years training and managing volunteers for a wide variety of programs for Sufism Reoriented: a model traffic demand management program, entertainment and dinner programs, a community outreach program, and archive development programs.

Isa Campbell, Treasurer

Dr. Campbell has over 35 years of experience in the social services field, building leadership development in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. She holds a PhD in organizational behavior and a Masters of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. She recently retired from the FAA after 13 years as an organizational psychologist. Prior to joining the FAA, Isa managed a company of 40 professionals providing rehabilitation counseling services. She was also chair of the Board of Directors for the nonprofit Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), which provides drug and alcohol research. Isa is a certified executive coach and recognized national speaker. She has presented articles and lectures to thousands of leaders across the country in such prestigious organizations as the Brookings institution.

Mary Brooks

Ms. Brooks is a certified financial planner/practitioner and holds licenses that include Series 7, Series 63, Series 65, and California life and health insurance. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and has also completed Dorsey Wright Advanced Technical Analysis Training. She believes in contributing time and energy toward helping her community, and this manifests itself in the many positions she has held over the years. They include co-chair of the East Bay Women’s Conference; founding member of the John Muir Hospital Women’s Philanthropic Circle; board member of the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce; and member of the Friends of Clausen House Dance, an integrative dance program for adults with developmental disabilities.

Joy Hedgepath

Ms. Hedgepath graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Delaware in 1970. She has worked for several organizations, including the Council of Better Business Bureaus, and a vocational high school in Maryland, and was self-employed as a professional organizer for 15 years. She has held her current position as Personnel Coordinator for The Meher Schools in Lafayette, CA for more than seven years. Volunteering has always been an important part of her life, and she has served a variety of organizations in various positions for over 41 years. Currently, in addition to being a WPE Board member, she is the service coordinator for Neighbors Helping Neighbors (serving the Saranap area of Walnut Creek) and is on the Steering Committee for the White Pony Inn program.

Vince d’Assis

Mr. d’Assis earned a Bachelors Degree from Bowdoin College in both History and Religion, and completed his Master’s in Special Education with a specialization in Behavioral Disorders and Best-Practice/ Program Evaluation at the University of Maryland. He currently teaches second grade and manages the aftercare program at The Meher Schools in Lafayette, CA. Vince sits on the school’s Elementary Leadership Team, Special Needs Task Force, Administrative Leadership Team, and WASC Accreditation team. He is preparing to begin a doctoral program in Educational Administration with the goal of entering a career in educational leadership.

Randa Shockley

Ms. Shockley is a vice president/corporate communications manager for Bank of America, supporting its Global Wholesale Banking Technology & Operations’ Chief Information Officer, whose global organization operates in 28 countries with nearly 35,000 employees and contractors. She has been with the bank since May 1998. Her prior experience includes working for Pacific Bell and acting as a co-partner/manager of her own business. Randa has over 27 years of experience in leading communications and marketing efforts for private and corporate businesses, and partnering with national and international business clients and other communication groups to develop effective communications strategies.

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