Inayati Order Staff

Inayati Order Staff2018-07-16T19:34:03+00:00

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Jennifer Alia Wittman
Executive Director

Jennifer Alia Wittman has been a leader in the Inayati Order for over 20 years and has an extensive background founding, stabilizing, growing and advancing nonprofit organizations. Initiated by Amida Cary in 1996, she soon began to serve as a youth leader in the Order. A member of the Board of the Inayati Order from 2001–2006, she was a graduate of the first class of Suluk Academy (Kafur) in 2007.

Prior to her work with the Inayati Order, Alia was extensively involved in the youth service movement, being appointed to numerous state commissions and national projects. In the 1990s, Alia was a young leader in the National Service movement, helping to establish AmeriCorps in Maryland. In 1998, she was hired to be the Executive Director of Hands On Baltimore, a volunteer organization dedicated to working with every segment of Baltimore’s community, from grassroots organizers to corporate leadership.

After years of such service, Alia was guided to work with the Inayati Order. In 2002, she took over as General Manager of Omega Publications (now Suluk Press), the publishing arm of the Inayati Order. In 2006, Alia co-founded and became the first Executive Director of Seven Pillars House of Wisdom, promoting sustainable ecological systems and the inner life, as well as cross-cultural and interspiritual understanding.

In 2014, Alia took over as Interim Manager of the Inayati Order–North America and the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, New York, before being hired solely as Executive Director of the Inayati Order in the summer of 2015.

 

Kenneth Sparks
Executive Assistant

Kenneth Sparks is a seasoned professional, with over 20 years of administrative, human resources, and operations experience. He has worked with corporations, nonprofits, and small business on many levels. Kenneth has had extensive training in customer service, logistics, and time management. He has used this training to play a key role in supporting organizational growth and success in his past positions. Kenneth was born and raised in New York City, and received his education in Business Administration. He and his family have been residents of Virginia since early 2016. Kenneth is excited to bring his skills and experience to the Inayati Order here in Richmond.

 

Khawar Alidost
Administrative Assistant

Khawar Alidost has a strong background in office management and customer service. In her previous position, she served as Administrative Assistant at Stratford University where she is completing a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Administration. Khawar has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University and speaks a variety of languages, including Persian-Dari, Urdu and Hindi. She and her family are refugees from Afghanistan, relocated by the United Nations to Richmond fifteen years ago. Khawar has a passion for religion, philosophy, and history, and is delighted to be working in an environment that allows her to explore these interests.

 

Jenni Thomas
Digital Media Manager

Jenni Thomas is a Richmond local with extensive experience with online marketing, content management, websites, e-newsletters and lists, social media, audio and video. Jenni has served as an Email Marketing Manager and/or Web Developer for companies such as ForRent.com, Lillian Vernon, and Dollar Tree. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Web Development from the International Academy of Design & Technology in Tampa, Florida.

 

Sara Tarana Jobin
Musical Director & Special Projects

Sara Tarana Jobin dedicates her talent to the One who gave it to her and to the Message of Love, Harmony and Beauty. She is a symphony and opera conductor and a student of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s teachings. As Musical Director of the Inayati Order she will bring together all aspects of herself in service to the Message.  She has conducted the San Francisco Opera in seventeen performances of six different productions, including two world premieres, since 2004. She can be heard on disc conducting Frederica von Stade in music of Chris Brubeck, and leading John Musto’s Volpone which was nominated for a Grammy in 2010. From 2015-2018 she served as Resident Conductor for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. While working part-time for the Inayati Order, Tarana maintains varied professional projects including with the LA Opera, LA Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series, and Center for Contemporary Opera in New York City.