Spirit in the Desert Staff

Spirit in the Desert Staff

Meet your Spirit in the Desert staff!

Executive Director

Eric Simonson

Eric Simonson has been engaged in several capacities at Spirit in the Desert over the past few years. Encouraged by his ongoing friendship with Spirit’s Faith Mentor, Jim Hanson, Eric and his wife, Michelle, met the late executive director Richard Andersen, who introduced them to the mission and vision of the retreat center’s ministry. Their lifetime connections and engagement in Lutheran congregational service sensitized them to discover and embrace the impact and value of Spirit in the Desert. From there, they began attending…
Director of Advancement

Solveig Muus

Solveig Muus worked for a decade at Augsburg Fortress Publishers (Minneapolis) in marketing services before joining Christian Brands, a.k.a. Autom, a.k.a. CBC Group (Phoenix) where she was Director of Marketing, Director of Product Development, Creative Director and for the last 10 years, Brand Manager of the company’s Catholic wholesale division. Solveig also is principal of Silk Road Asian Sourcing, a consulting firm that advises clients on marketing strategy, catalog design, and product development and sourcing. “I am thrilled to be part…
Guest Services Director

Denise Berberich

For many of Spirit in the Desert’s guests, the Retreat Center’s well-known welcoming hospitality begins on the phone or in person with Denise Berberich, Guest Services Director. “My job starts with identifying what people need for a successful retreat, whether that is a group of 50 people, or an individual, couple, or family wanting a renewal experience. I gather their information and put together a package with all of the details for guest rooms, meals and snacks, meeting rooms, equipment, and…
Faith Mentor

Jim Hanson

Everyone’s faith journey is different. Each journey is unique to one’s own history and experience. Sharing that journey with someone else can be a powerful experience. In the speaking and in the sharing one can clarify and bring into focus where one has come from and open oneself to what lies ahead. Spirit in the Desert provides spiritual companioning for those who wish to explore their faith journey more deeply. Jim Hanson serves as Spirit’s “Faith Mentor.” The dictionary defines…
Spiritual Companion, Retreat Leader

Sue Palmer

Sue is a Spiritual Companion/Director, trained and certified through John Carroll University’s Ignatian Spirituality Institute, where she also received training in leading Silent Retreats. She has an MS in Mental Health & Wellness with an emphasis in Grief & Bereavement and has a heart for those experiencing the many griefs and losses that a life well-lived brings. Sue has experience as a Stephen Minister, a hospital Spiritual Care Aid, a divorce support group leader, and a hospice volunteer. Her passions…
Food Services Manager

Zoe Leonard

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest very close to the water on Puget Sound. We always had a bit of land and out of necessity grew, caught, or shot our food. We had a fairly large garden and chickens or beef in the back yard. I learned to plant, harvest, preserve, and cook from my mother and grandmother using what was available and making it taste amazing. I have a master’s degree in counseling and spent many years working…