Our Team

Board of Directors

Nydia Correa

Board Chair

Nydia Correa is a native El Pasoan and a proud graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso. She is blessed to be married to her husband Roland of 32 years and a mother of 3 adult children. Mrs. Correa has 38 years of business experience in both the corporate profit and non-profit sectors, with a concentration in finance and management. Her professional experience includes working in finance with a major airline, entrepreneurial business endeavors, and start-ups. Serving as Executive Director with House of Hope, a pregnancy resource and limited medical center, she had a growing vision and mission in mind. Therefore she affiliated with a National organization, The Guiding Star Project and established Guiding Star El Paso, a comprehensive, wholistic women’s and family healthcare center. She feels honored and privileged that her years as a businesswoman, entrepreneur, volunteer, mother, and wife can be used to empower women, honor men, and celebrate families in her local community and beyond.

Patricia de Lara Smith

Treasurer

Patricia de Lara Smith is a Life Science Engagement Manager at the consulting firm, a-connect. Her expertise is in new technology or program value chain analysis and customer experience. She brings a highly international background, having worked with different teams based in 29 countries. As an independent professional, she consulted for the International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine, and she wrote her MSc dissertation on fecundity awareness, contraceptive choices, and (un)informed decision-making, at The London School of Economics & Political Science.

Mary Ferrarelli

Secretary

Mary Ferrarelli is the Director of Adult Services for Visitation Home, Inc. for the past 7 years, a non-profit in Central New Jersey that provides day programming and low-income housing for adults with developmental disabilities. Mary decided to do a year of service after being introduced to Visitation Home, where she was a live-in assistant in one of their homes. Quickly realizing she found her dream job, Mary lived at Visitation Home as a “house mom” for 9 years, has worked in the day program, as an assistant director, and now director. Hailing from Ohio and graduating from the University of Dayton with her B.A. in Religious Studies, Mary and her husband Joseph of two years are excited for what the future brings.

Teresa Kenney

Board member at large

Teresa Kenney is a woman’s health nurse practitioner who has been practicing at Saint Paul VI Institute for 20 years. She was born and raised in Omaha, NE and went to the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing where she received a nurse practitioner degree. She is a certified medical consultant practicing the new reproductive health science developed by Dr. Thomas Hilgers called NaproTechnology©. Teresa has been publishing a newsletter online since 2008, called FertilityCare professionals and previously taught the Creighton Model Fertility System as a fertility care practitioner for 7 years. Teresa and her husband Daniel have been married for 20 years and have eight children.

Sharon Perkins

BOARD MEMBER AT LARGE

Sharon Kapavik Perkins, a Texas native, grew up in a large farming family. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Theology from the University of Dallas and is a doctoral candidate in Theology from the University of Dayton pending her dissertation completion. For over 40 years she has also worked professionally in the ministries of adult and children’s faith formation and as a speaker, course instructor, spiritual director, retreat leader and award-winning writer in the Catholic dioceses of Dallas, Fort Worth, Cincinnati and Austin. A recent Director of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Austin, Sharon currently lives in North Texas with her husband of 43 years (Mike) with whom she has three grown children and one grandson.

Mark Cavaliere

Board member at large

Mark Cavaliere is the Founder and Executive Director of the Southwest Coalition for Life based in the Borderland region of El Paso, Texas & Southern New Mexico. Mark has led thousands to action through 40 Days for Life, developed innovative sidewalk outreach programs, launched a Save the Storks Medical Ultrasound Bus, and has witnessed 3 local abortion facilities close in just over 3 years. Mark credits this success largely to God working through their partnership with Guiding Star El Paso, which he helped launch as a board member in 2017. His experiences with his wife and cesarean section, miscarriages, and homebirths — as well as his countless interactions with women considering and harmed by abortion—have made Mark extremely passionate about wholistic women’s healthcare as the ultimate solution to many of the symptoms we face as a culture an is frequently asked to train pro-life groups across the country He resides in Chaparral, New Mexico, with his wife, five children, along with their numerous chickens and goats.

Mark Severson

BOARD MEMBER AT LARGE

Mark A. Severson is a shareholder attorney in Severson Porter Law, P.A. He is an MSBA Certified Specialist in Real Property Law and has been selected multiple times as a Rising Star on Super Lawyers, a designation earned by no more than 2.5% of attorneys in each state.  He practices primarily in the areas of Real Estate, Business Law, and Estate Planning. Mark obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio as well as received his Juris Doctorate from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. When Mark is not a lawyer or working with various non-profits, he spends his time wife, Mallory and six children as well as multiple godchildren, nieces, and nephews.

Conner Smith

Board member at large

Connor is a Business Intelligence Consultant at SDG. He empowers pharmaceutical companies by building their data architecture, enabling them to make data-driven decisions. His specialties include automating data pipelines, data modeling, and dashboard visualizations. Inspired by Pope Saint John Paul the Second’s Theology of the Body, he strives to place the wholistic person at the center of healthcare. Connor has been a speaker on several Theology of the Body podcasts and is active in family life ministry.

National Project Staff

Leah Jacobson

CEO + Founder

Hailing from central Minnesota, Leah has been working with young people and mothers since 2000. Leah founded The Guiding Star Project in 2011 after feeling called to help women and families by providing resources that honor Natural Law and promote wholistic feminism. She seeks to create Guiding Star Centers to serve as beacons of hope, joy, and truth — safe havens that uphold human dignity in all stages of life. Leah lives in Minnesota with her family and works as a board-certified lactation consultant. As a mother to seven children, she has a special interest in supporting young women as they transition into their roles as new mothers.

Lisa Strei

President

Lisa is a Team Development Coach with over 13 years of experience in coaching and corporate training. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree and Masters of Business Administration from Iowa State University, as well as her Life Coaching Certification. Prior to forming her own company, Lisa had a 10+ year career with a Fortune 50 company in the Insurance and Financial Services industry, where she specialized in the training and coaching of agents on new products, technology, and processes, while earning her Certified Life Underwriter (CLU) and Life Insurance Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designations. She is an Authorized Partner with Everything DiSC® and The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™, as well as the founder of The Balanced Life Project. Lisa lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa with husband Mike, four busy children, and a mini golden doodle. She loves yoga, self-development, journaling, coffee, and watching home-improvement shows (although she is not handy whatsoever)!

Shawn Zierke

Vice president of affiliates

Shawn Zierke is an alumnus from the University of Iowa with a Master’s in Public Health – Health Management and Policy, an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship with over 16 years of non-profit leadership experience in the pro-life world. She has converted pregnancy counseling centers to pro-life pregnancy help medical clinics and upgraded PHMCs to full women’s health clinics. Prior to joining our team, Shawn led her consulting group and was contracted by for-profit and non-profit organizations for business, board governance, finance, human resources and healthcare grant development. Most recently, she authored and was awarded grants to fund the roll out of a registered RN Apprenticeship in Ambulatory Women’s Health for pro-life pregnancy help medical clinics in both Iowa and Florida. In 2006, Shawn converted a pregnancy counseling center to a medical clinic and then went on to found Informed Choice of Iowa Corp in 2007 which later grew to five pro-life clinics and a mobile unit. She and her husband of over 30 years, live in Gainesville FL. They have five adult children together, two sons-in-law, a soon to be daughter-in-law, a 1-year-old grandson, as well as their own newly adopted infant son, Samuel, who underwent a heart transplant in June 2022.

Sarah Ward

vice president of worldview

Sarah Ward, her husband Ryan, and their three children call Michigan home. She has been a licensed massage therapist since 2007 as well as studied at Saginaw Valley State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design with a minor in photography. She has been self-employed since 2007 and run both successful massage therapy and graphic design businesses. She has been a contracted graphic designer with Guiding Star since 2017. She accepted the position of VP of Worldview in July 2022 and is excited to be a more integral part of the team. She has always been passionate about wholistic women’s healthcare and empowering girls and women through the education of their natural bodily functions, she looks forward to helping grow and share the mission of Guiding Star with the world.

Kari Beadner

national cycle show coordinator

Kari Beadner is the Guiding Star Cycle Show National Coordinator. She and her husband Aaron have three living children and call Orange City, IA home. Kari is a certified FertilityCare© Practitioner and has been the Executive Director of Guiding Star Orange City. Kari is passionate about teaching women of all ages about how their bodies work and function naturally while providing all of their options for natural, wholistic, and life-affirming healthcare.
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