Our Team

Leah Jacobson

CEO & Founder
Hailing from central Minnesota, Leah has been working with young people and mothers since 2000. Leah founded The Guiding Star Project in 2011 after feeling called to help women and families by providing resources that honor Natural Law and promote wholistic feminism. She seeks to create Guiding Star Centers to serve as beacons of hope, joy, and truth — safe havens that uphold human dignity in all stages of life. Leah lives in Minnesota with her family and works as a board-certified lactation consultant. As a mother to seven children, she has a special interest in supporting young women as they transition into their roles as new mothers.

Abby Johnson

Board Chair
On September 26, 2009, Abby Johnson, then a Planned Parenthood Clinic Director, was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. She watched in horror as a 13-week baby fought, and ultimately lost, its life at the hand of the abortionist. At that moment, the full realization of what abortion was washed over Abby, and a dramatic transformation took place. She is now one of the country’s leading pro-life advocates and dedicated to providing authentic Women’s Healthcare!
She is the author of Unplanned, founder of And Then There Were None (a ministry that assists abortion clinic workers out of the industry), and Board Chair of The Guiding Star Project, where she has helped to open seven women’s health centers dedicated to ending the demand for abortion.

Laura Ricketts

Vice Chair
Laura is a wife, a mother, a birth and bereavement doula, and a student midwife. Laura is also certified in psychological first aid and trauma. Laura uses her personal experience as a bereaved mother and her professional experience as a doula to serve women and families through her ministry: FiLumena Birth and Bereavement. In addition to being Vice Chair of The Guiding Star Project, Laura is on the Board of Directors of TeenSTAR USA and is a client manager for And Then There Were None. Laura resides in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her amazing husband and four living children (and just a few cats!).

Ryan Kramer

Ryan Kramer is a stay-home-dad to four beautiful children. He is active in his church community and also serves on the board of directors for St. Francis Elementary School. He lives in Ironton, MN with his wife and children.

Ryan Kramer headshot jpeg

Katie Murry

Secretary
Working as a youth minister, Katie saw a great need for young women to receive accurate and honest information about their bodies, as well as wholistic care for their entire lives. Katie was drawn to The Guiding Star Project’s model and mission to provide wholistic, life-affirming care to all women. Katie lives in south central Pennsylvania with her husband and four children. She enjoys cooking, gardening, coaching her children, coffee, and sushi.

Mary Teck

Operations Director
Mary has watched the growth of The Guiding Star Project since its beginning and is happy to be able to now be a part of the staff. After completing her Master of Arts in management in 2013, Mary wanted to be useful to a good cause and has found a great home in the Guiding Star family. Mary lives in Ironton, Minnesota, with her husband and their three small, noisy, tenacious children.

Elise Verwers

Affiliate Manager
Elise holds a degree in English from the University of Washington and has contributed to blogs for The Guiding Star Project and Natural Womanhood. Elise interned with NBC Universal during the 2010 winter Olympics as a guide to the games for NBC and GE executives. She also spent eight years serving veterans with the Seattle VA Regional Office. Elise and her husband, Derek, recently relocated from Seattle, Washington, to Memphis, Tennessee. They have four children including a daughter and a son with them here and twin sons in heaven. Elise is an avid traveler, camper, and coffee drinker.

 

Annie Celotto

Board Member at Large
Like her lifelong hero, Saint Mother Teresa, Annie believes that simple acts, like making someone smile or laugh, make the profoundest impact on an individual’s life, which is why she believes in utilizing new media to do just that. Annie, founder and principal of Alice Paul Group, believes that there is nothing more important than seeing the dignity in every person. She is humbled that she gets to wake up every day and help the world to see that dignity through the client work that Alice Paul Group does. She is grateful.