Leadership Message

Letter from the Vice President - June 2020

Dear Members,

Welcome June! I hope this letter finds you all well. I love this time of year when my garden flowers are in full bloom. The colors and aromas are exquisite. 

The AIA remains busy during this time. Our committees and representatives are very active. 

The Conference Committee is busy getting ready to bring you the best conference yet. We are pleased to announce that Rhiannon Lewis has agreed to be our keynote speaker! Watch for an email soon to register for the EARLY early bird rates. That’s not a typo! We will open registration extra early with an early early bird discount. Sponsorship, advertising and exhibitor opportunities available! Contact ‘[email protected]’ for more information. 

AIA representation is GROWING! steadily. Are you interested in becoming  a state representative? We still have openings. Now is an exciting time to volunteer! Login to the ‘Member’s Only’ section and click the ‘Be a volunteer’ link to sign up today! Our National Co-Repesentatives and their team are doing a wonderful job with tools and tutorials to assist you in your role as representative. Representing AIA is a great way to engage with others to learn and socialize with your colleagues in Aromatherapy. Representatives earn two CPDs each year and are in a prime position to earn $10 credit (for your dues) for each referral that becomes an AIA member.  

Our summer journal is being prepared for shipping now. North American members will receive a printed copy in the mail within the next few weeks. (Bear in mind that the pandemic is also having an effect on mail delivery.) Members outside North America will receive a digital issue, but can order a print copy for free (shipping is extra). You can order copies on our website. 

Do you have a passion topic or a case study to share? The AIA would love to receive contributions from our members for our journal and webinars. Visit our website to learn how to submit your articles for the fall and winter AIA journals. Interested in presenting a webinar? Send your topic, summary and learning outcomes to [email protected] for consideration. 

While things may have slowed down due to Covid, other activities remain steady and need your help. The ‘Intangibles Study’ still requires additional funds. The Artisan Distillers fund is still raising money. Now that most areas are starting to reopen with new social distancing rules in place, you may be finding long lines to get into stores to shop. Why wait in line? You can order beautiful botanical print kitchen towels and organic and heirloom seeds for 2020 planting on our website. The proceeds support our Artisan Distiller Fundraiser. Placing an Amazon order? Go to ‘smile.amazon.com’ and select the Alliance of International Aromatherapists as your charity and AIA will receive a portion of each order placed. Buying  Aromatherapy books? Check out our AIA booklist on our website and click through the links provided to order via Amazon. AIA receives a portion of your order. It’s a win-win!

 The AIA is a member of the Colorado Nonprofit Association. This membership has been invaluable to AIA as we receive many benefits and resources to improve our organization and to remain compliant with nonprofit requirements. In the coming months, you may notice some changes to our website content and membership renewal documents. The AIA voluntarily participated in a legal audit last year hosted by the Colorado Nonprofit Association. We have already begun implementing some of the document changes, additions within our website, and standard operating procedures as recommended.  

As always through these challenging times, AIA is here for you. Feel free to contact us at ‘[email protected]’ We welcome your feedback. Share your thoughts at [email protected] You can leave your comments anonymously if you prefer. 


Paula Begel

AIA Vice-President 

 Meet Your Support Team 

Lora Cantele - Our AIA Executive Director. Lora has been with AIA since 2005 working and volunteering in many positions. She has held various board positions, including president, vice president, director, executive director and has served as chair on the conference, fundraising and education committees as well as being a committee member on our former publications and review committee. Email Lora


Lisa Browder - Journal editor - Aromatics in Action. Lisa has been working for AIA for just over a year now.  We are very pleased to have Lisa working with AIA.  She has done a fantastic job with the journal. Make sure you reach out to Lisa if you have articles, case studies, recipes, and other items of interest for our journal. Email Lisa 


Carla Pearson - AIA Office Manager. You may have met Carla at the AIA conference last year. She came and volunteered her time, just to get to know us. An impressive beginning for Carla. It was a great opportunity for the board to get to know her and we are pleased that she is joining our support team. Welcome Carla. Email Carla

  Meet your Board of Directors

Paula Begel, NYS LMT/BCTMB,CA - Vice President 2019-2020

I have been a Physical Therapy Assistant since 1992, a NYS licensed massage therapist, and Nationally Board certified LMT since 1996. Before that I was a certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor, martial artist, instructor. My experiences in the clinical setting include Phlebotomy and laboratory assistant. I had education and experiences in both the medical and holistic worlds. I was exposed to Aromatherapy in massage school. At that time, my school was owned and operated by Andrea Butje and Cindy Black. How fortunate for me to have these ladies appear 10 years later in my life to get my Aromatherapy certifications and Meridian Massage certification. I was honored to be in Cindy’s first class and have my name mentioned in the book!  My love of essential oils grew more as I continued learning from Andrea, Rhi, Robert and all the other greats! I started with an MLM and quickly realized there was so much more to learn. As I continue to teach, I also continue to learn. My full time work is currently massage therapy, personal Aromatherapy consultations, blending and teaching classes as a CEU provider. Email Vice-President

Jen Shepherd - Secretary 2020-2021

Jen is a clinical aromatherapist and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with a mission to empower behavioral and mental health professionals to integrate aromatherapy into their practice, safely and effectively. She is also a wellness clinician, providing individual aromatherapy and wellness coaching, along with short term counseling through her business Shepherd Wellness, LLC. Jen is also an educator and works as an adjunct faculty member at two local community colleges.  Email Secretary

Carol Scheidel, RN, CCAP - Treasurer 2019-2020

Carol Scheidel has a passion for aromatherapy & a passion for professionalism.  She is a Registered Nurse and became a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner in 2005. Carol assumed ownership of RJ Buckle, LLC in March 2016, when Jane Buckle, RN, PhD retired.  She previously practiced clinical aromatherapy in a large hospital in Fort Worth, Texas where she was also the nurse ethicist.  Carol continues to consult and teach aromatherapy and ‘M’ Technique®. She has presented at international aromatherapy conferences in Mexico, Japan, France and Hong Kong. She has been a member of AIA since 2011 and has served on the AIA Board since 2014. Email Treasurer

Denise Joswiak, BSN, RN, HNB-BC, CCAP, CA - Director 2019-2020

Denise Joswiak created the Aromatherapy program for Allina Health system.  She has enjoyed teaching patients, families and nurses throughout her 34 years as a nurse. At Allina Health, Denise currently teaches classes involving self-care and integrative therapies.  Denise is the Integrative Health Clinical Site Lead for United Hospital and sits on the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing Nursing Council.  She is co-facilitator of the United Hospital Holistic Nursing Council.  Denise co-authored two research articles and three poster presentations regarding implementation and effectiveness of aromatherapy in the hospital setting.  Her passion is learning and teaching about aromatherapy. Email Director

Venetsana (Venessa) Levin, Registered Aromatherapist-Director 2019-2020

Venessa is a Holistic Practitioner, Forever Student, Educator and Owner of Grateful Aromatics, LLC. A graduate of the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy (Tampa, FL), she has also earned the Advanced Diploma in Aromatic Medicine with Mark Webb (ITHMA).  Her passion is empowering others to use the potent and healing gifts of aromatics safely and effectively. In addition to Grateful Aromatics, she also enjoys being a member of the team at Naturopathic CE, a naturopathic learning community and the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy helping to support their continuing education needs.  Email Director

David Kropp, Certified Aromatherapist-Director 2019-2020

He creates and sells natural Aromatherapy products through his company, Essentials by DK and sells them and essential oils at markets and vendor shows in the Oneonta, NY area. All of his products are natural with no added synthetics or additives. You can also find him teaching about natural products and essential oil safety at special workshops. I feel I can bring something to the table for AIA. I am passionate about essential oils, Aromatherapy products, and safety.  Email Director

Colleen Thompson, RA, EOT - Director 2020-2021

Colleen Thompson has worked in the field of Aromatherapy since 1995 and has been a Registered Aromatherapist® since 1997. Colleen has owned 3 aromatherapy stores over the course of her career however her main focus these days is teaching Aromatherapy Certification through her school Essence of Thyme College of Holistic Studies. Colleen has sat on many Boards in a variety of capacities. Email Director

Nancy Lubin - Director 2020-2021

Nancy has studied many wellness modalities as diverse as Homeopathy, Five Element Theory, and Zentangle. As an avid organic gardener, she makes many of her own wellness tinctures and remedies. 

Her first Aromatherapy certification (2013) is from Aromahead Institute, with continuing education in advanced courses from Rhiannon Lewis, Madeleine Kerkof Hayes and Mark Webb’s Aromatic Medicine Diploma course. In addition to her Aromatherapy training, she is a Certified CO-Active Life Coach and Certified Zentangle teacher. Email Director

Marian Reven - Director 2020-2021

Marni is a Master’s prepared Registered Nurse with over 28 years of experience. She is a Registered Aromatherapist and owner of MoMa Aroma LLC, specializing in Consultation and Education in Aromatherapy.

Marni is an active member of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists where she is part of the Research and Media Committees and serves as the State Representative for West Virginia. She is passionate about health and wellness and serves as a founding board member for WV Wellness Inc.. Finally, Marni is a board-certified Nursing Staff Development Specialist and is a seasoned educator in both clinical and academic settings. Email Director

Inga Wieser, MS, MA, APAIA, MH - President 2020-2021

Inga Wieser completed her bachelors and master’s degrees at Michigan State University in education in 1978.  In September 2013, she graduated with honors from the American College of Healthcare Sciences with a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine earning a double major in aromatherapy and herbal studies.  She continued her education becoming a Board-Certified Naturopathic Doctor and earning a Master’s Degree in Herbal Medicine.  She continues to travel around the world taking classes and attending seminars for the latest and most comprehensive education to pass on to her clients.  She served on the Board of Directors of the Alliance of International Aromatherapist and as Education Committee Chair, before being elected as President.  She seeks to help others through education and support with the use of essential oils, herbs, diet, lifestyle practices, and homeopathics in her clinic.  Email President


I hope you have enjoyed this view into the people working behind the scenes for AIA.


Inga Wieser, ND, MS, APAIA, MH
AIA President