Maria passionately believes in the value of diversity and trauma-informed practices and has spent the past 25 years pouring her heart into it. Maria spent 20 years as a School Counsellor and 5 years as Social Worker in numerous schools and nonprofits in the United States and Canada. In 2022 God took Maria on a different direction, and Maria took on a position within Hillsong Church, as the Global Ethnic and Racial Diversity Inclusion Manager. Maria’s passions were birthed in college when she spent two summers living and doing ministry in an inner-city community, with a ministry called Urban Promise. Maria is a sought-after trauma and diversity-and-inclusion trainer. In 2008 Maria became a TBRI trained practitioner through the Dr. Karyn Purvis Institute and in 2022 she received a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate through Cornell University. Maria has a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University and a Bachelors in Psychology from Trinity Western University. She has authored two children’s books: “Be Different & Be Kind” & “Hope.” Maria also writes regularly for the Hillsong Collected Blog. Maria is passionate about following Jesus. This deep surrender has resulted in Maria’s life looking radically different than she planned. Maria calls herself a precious jewels mamma as she & her husband Sam have 9 precious jewels, 2 biological and 7 adopted; as well as one adorable grandson. Maria’s passions are deeply personal as trauma interfaces her every day; as her jewels have varying different special needs; and as she and her husband have both a multi-racial and multi-ethnic family, with five different races and seven different ethnicities represented.