Our Team

Joanne Leider
Co-Founder

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Joanne Leider is a registered nurse and is a Co-Founder of MeditationWorks. She has been married 27 years to Jeff, a surgeon, and is a mom to Jake, Founder of MeditationWorks, and Joey, a Georgetown University medical student. She has been practicing yoga and mindfulness daily for over 17 years and loves fitness, healthy food, rescue dogs and The Heidelberg Project.

  • Registered nurse for over 30 years
  • 13+ years experience in recovery room
  • Daily practitioner and expert in yoga and meditation for over 17 years
  • 10 years of fitness and health instruction
  • 4 years of patient and practitioner medical education

Jake Leider
Co-Founder, COO

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Jake is a Co-Founder of MeditationWorks and has been on the team since day one, helping it grow from the ground up and keeping everything running smoothly. After experiencing the benefits of meditating in his own life, he strives to create a convenient and effective way for people to meditate consistently.

  • BA in Finance – Michigan State University
  • Five years of personal meditation and yoga practice
  • Enjoys golf and hockey, but loves most his deaf rescue dog, Willow

Josh Leider
Chief Marketing Officer

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Josh is our late Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer who has been with MeditationWorks since 2017. He spreads the word about meditation, encourages people to explore it, and investigates new platforms for people to practice it through. He’s always had an urge to help individuals find happiness in life. Here, he’s able to reach hundreds of people every day.

  • BA in Marketing, Minor in Economics - Michigan State University
  • Past CEO of TempoRun LLC
  • Seven years of personal meditation and yoga practice
  • Happiest when in the sun running, hiking, or really anything outside
  • Obsessed with sweet potatoes...eats them (almost) daily

Justin Barnes
Meditation Director / Teacher

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Justin Barnes is a 40 year-old yoga and mindfulness teacher with over seventeen years of daily instruction and practice. He is a lifelong "Deadhead" and loves the outdoors. He and wife Janelle are proud parents of 3-year-old Gavin Garcia Barnes.

  • 17+ years of both yoga and meditation teaching
  • Completed over 200 hours of teacher training, with certificate
  • Co-founder and Director of Blue Yoga in Birmingham, MI
  • Teaches yoga and meditation daily to hundreds of students weekly

Sarah Balthrop
Program Director

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Sarah is our Program Director and Guide Manager, who's been with MeditationWorks since 2017. Her attention to detail ensures your meditations, and the entire experience from start to finish is of highest quality and effectiveness. She’s passionate and dedicated to helping others improve their own health and happiness.

  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Certification - Beaumont Hospital
  • Certified Wellness Practitioner and Worksite Wellness Specialist - National Wellness Institute
  • BA in Wellness, Health Promotion, and Injury Prevention - Oakland University
  • Ten years of personal meditation and yoga practice
  • Usually cooking/baking...if not, she’s having fun outside or traveling.

Fran Babbitt
Guide / Email Guru

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Fran is a Meditation Guide and our Customer Support (sometimes known as “Clarity”), and has been on the MeditationWorks team since 2017. She keeps our systems running and our meditators informed, including our “Monthly Happenings” page. Watching stressed and unhappy individuals transform into mindful beings who enjoy life is her true joy.

  • Fifteen years of personal meditation and yoga practice under Justin Barnes
  • 20+ years of banking experience assists in relating to our meditators
  • Avid golfer, foodie, connecting with friends and loves the outdoors.

Autumn Sehi
Meditation Guide

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Autumn is a Meditation Guide, who has been with MeditatonWorks since 2018. She’s a mom of three, who wakes up with the intention to make everyone’s day a little easier. Whether you’re a CEO, an intern, or a working parent, she knows life is stressful and her passion is to help.

  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Certification - Beaumont Hospital
  • Certified Wellness Practitioner and Worksite Wellness Specialist - National Wellness Institute
  • BA in Wellness, Health Promotion, and Injury Prevention - Oakland University
  • Five years of personal meditation and yoga practice
  • Enjoys quality time with family, doing projects around the house and a quiet cup of coffee in the morning

Sam Derian
Creative/Branding Director

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Sam leads our creative strategy and design vision for MeditationWorks. A member of our team since 2015, Sam has supported our services by delivering a recognizable style with clear messaging. He is constantly improving our brand and believes that purposeful design and meditation are the key to building a better future.

  • BA in Advertising with a Specialization in Graphic Design from Michigan State University
  • Product Design Lead - General Motors
  • 4 years of personal meditation practice
  • Has a passion for photography, cooking and the outdoors
  • Loves the process of making his morning coffee and finds it somewhat of a meditative ritual
  • Submitted 3 patents in 2018

Jordan Reed
Social Media Manager

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Jordan is our Social Media Manager, who’s been with MediationWorks since 2017. She uses our social media channels to connect with new and existing meditators - giving them insight into upcoming programs, meditation tips and a look into our day to day. She’s dedicated to making sure people understand the importance mental health, as well as physical.

  • BA in Public Relations & Advertising – Central Michigan University
  • Senior Project Manager at MRM//McCann
  • Five years of Advertising Agency experience working on top automotive brands such as The Lincoln Motor Company and Cadillac
  • Two years of personal meditation practice
  • Loves experimenting in the kitchen, traveling anywhere warmer than Michigan and seeing live music

Gretchen Knoell
Advisor

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Gretchen advises MeditationWorks because she believes in the benefits that mindfulness meditation brings to employees in corporations. She, and her husband Mark, moved from San Francisco to Detroit in 2010 to be closer to their parents and to give their two sons a “sturdy” Midwestern upbringing. Gretchen brings to MeditationWorks many years of experience starting and building companies as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

  • Co-founded Lake Street Capital, successfully managed over $1B of investments in the Healthcare, IT, Communications and Software industries.
  • BS Cornell University, MBA Harvard University
  • Attended first Silent Meditation Retreat at Spirit Rock (an Insight Meditation Center in West Marin County CA) in 2007.

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David Leider
Advisor

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David has advised our Co-Founders, Joanne and Jake Leider, since they opened up shop.

  • Founder, FocusGrowth Ventures LLC.
  • Co-founder and previous CEO, GSTV (Gas Station TV).
  • Senior management positions at Yahoo!, Walter Thompson (WPP), Doner (MDC Partners) and Organic (Omnicom).
  • Previously served on the board of the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Camp Make-A-Dream.
  • BA University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with Honors.

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