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Rachel Kiliany Joins Common Ground as Executive Director

Common Ground Healing Arts is thrilled to welcome Rachel Kiliany as Executive Director. Starting on January 28th, Kiliany will join the Common Ground team and begin leading the organization into its eighth year as Charlottesville’s non-profit wellness studio.

Kiliany’s career has been focused on working with communities to develop strategies to increase wellbeing and prevent harm. She comes to Common Ground from the University of Virginia where she worked in the Office of Health Promotion leading various initiatives and interventions aimed at sexual harm prevention. Kiliany’s experience includes strategic planning, coalition building, development of student and staff wellness initiatives, and teaching on the subjects of culture change and gender-based violence.

“We are extremely fortunate that Rachel will be joining Common Ground as Executive Director,” says Benita Mayo, board member and yoga teacher. “Rachel is passionate, enthusiastic, and her values and skills align with our mission. Rachel’s experience as a community health and wellbeing professional will be essential in leading the organization through change. As a practitioner, I look forward to partnering with Rachel as she leads Common Ground into 2020 and beyond.”

Kiliany holds a BA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she majored in cultural anthropology. She also holds a Master of Public Health degree from Georgia Southern University, where she focused specifically on community health. “Wellness requires so much more than individual people making specific choices, especially when those choices are not accessible to everyone,” she says. “Wellness is about communities coming together around the shared belief that we all have a right to feel good in our bodies.”

“We are grateful that Rachel is Common Ground’s new leader,” says board member Ken Horne. “Charlottesville is a place that has experienced a lot of trauma, both recently and historically. While progress is underway, serious inequities persist. The board is confident that Rachel has the right skills and consciousness to guide the organization responsibly and ethically, while furthering our mission to make wellness services more affordable and accessible to ALL members of the community.”

“I believe that everyone has a right to feel comfortable and valuable in their bodies exactly as they are right now,” says Kiliany. “A core part of making this right a reality involves creating spaces like Common Ground, where people are encouraged to express empathy towards themselves, their bodies, and each other. This is the foundation for creating more kind, equitable, and just communities.” In her free time, Rachel enjoys spending time with her partner, Daniel, and their two dogs, Ellie and Scarlett. Rachel also enjoys coaching gymnastics and making art.