Board of Directors
Co-Chair of the Board and Founder
Lisa Brenninkmeyer is the founder and co-chairman of Walking with Purpose. Raised as an evangelical Protestant, she entered the Catholic Church in 1991. She has developed curricula and led Bible studies in Europe, Mexico and the United States for women and children. She founded Walking with Purpose in 2008 out of a desire to see women come to know Christ personally. Her speaking and writing are inspired by a desire to see women transformed as they realize how much God loves them. Lisa holds a B.A. in psychology from St. Olaf College. She lives with her husband Leo and their seven children in Annapolis, Maryland.
Co-Chair of the Board
Julie Ricciardi has a wealth of professional experience from corporate and non-profit enterprises. She spent five years in corporate restructuring at Chase Manhattan Bank before joining UPS in international marketing and eventually running marketing for the U.S. ground business. She has served as president and currently leads strategic planning at Neighbor to Neighbor, a food and clothing pantry. Walking with Purpose has renewed her faith and has inspired her to reach out to women who are looking for spiritual renewal. Julie was educated at Boston College earning a B.A. in economics and theology. She lives with her husband David and their two children in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Melissa has extensive professional experience in communication and graphic design and has worked with many leading corporate and non-profit organizations including MCI, World Wildlife Fund, AARP, and Time-Life. She is also the founder of the Georgetown Women’s Bible Study, an Interdenominational scripture study group in existence for over twenty years. Melissa is very excited to bring her love for scripture and women plus her passion for marketing and design together for Walking With Purpose. Melissa has a B.F.A. in Fine Arts and Communication Design from The University of Texas, Austin. She lives in Washington DC with her husband Dale and four daughters.
Carolyn Brown brings professional experience in the areas singing, conducting and teaching. In addition, she has over a decade of experience as an active volunteer in the areas of youth and women’s ministry in parish life in her former residence within the Diocese of Arlington in Northern Virginia. She is passionate about the mission of WWP and supports media strategy and leadership development efforts. Carolyn holds a B.A. in theology and philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville and an M.A. in liturgical music from Catholic University of America. Currently she resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband Luis and four children.
Jillian Buhl brings deep expertise in the visual arts and design as well as event planning to her current role as director of promotions for Walking with Purpose. She is also the coordinator of the WWP chapter at St. Thomas of Villanova in Pennsylvania. After being raised in the Protestant Church, Jillian entered the Catholic Church in 1996 where her faith and dedication grew. She is passionate about her work with Walking with Purpose and thankful for the opportunity to use her God-given talents to draw women closer to Christ. Jillian holds a B.A. in fine arts from Moore College of Art and Design where she taught in the fashion design department. She resides with her husband Keith and two children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Krystyna Olmstead brings professional experience from a fifteen year career as a research scientist. Her background in informatics, engineering, and planning as well as a strong desire to help women grow closer to Christ and to the Catholic faith help her serve the WWP Board. Krystyna has a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, a PhD in Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine from Thomas Jefferson University and is a tenured scientist at a large, national institute. She lives with her husband Joe and dog Lola in Maryland.
Joene Merlo brings professional experience in the areas of education and advocacy. She has over 20 years experience in various parish, school board and women’s ministries. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from West Chester University. She feels blessed to be in the role of expansion after being a coordinator at St. Joseph’s Parish. Joene is looking forward to helping more women know the love of Christ as they share WWP with their parishes. Joene lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania with her husband Kevin and six children.