Leadership Message

Letter from the Vice President - September 2020

Dear members,

It is hard to believe September is here already! I hope this letter finds you all safe and healthy. It has been a challenging year for many, but remember AIA is here for you. As we all know Aromatherapy is wonderful for stress relief so reach out for your essential oils for support. 

I have some exciting news to share. In the last issue of Beginnings (the magazine of the American Holistic Nurses Association), several of our esteemed members were published including Marni Reven, Laraine Pounds, Jan Tomaino, and Valerie Cooksley (#aromaticsinaction)! You can check it out at AHNA.org. How have you helped the community by using your expertise? Let us know!

On October 15, we will have a special meeting to meet the candidates in our upcoming election. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about those who have stepped up to run in the election and why it is important to them to do so. Your input, including questions of the candidates and especially your VOTES, are very welcome and are vital to our organization. Immediately following our ‘Meet the Candidates’ presentation (about 1 hour), we will have our Annual Members Meeting. This meeting will give you an insight into what AIA and its committees have been doing all year to provide you with resources and opportunities to learn. You will also discover what projects are coming up for the committees. You may find a project that appeals to you and want to join in. You will have an opportunity to share your thoughts with the AIA Board and our members for the future. Immediately after the Annual Members Meeting (about 45 minutes), the AIA Board will have its Annual Board Meeting (less than 30 minutes). This is an open board meeting and members are welcome if they would like to stay on. Please make it a point to join us for these important meetings and to play an active role in AIA. 

For the rest of the year, I will be fulfilling the duties of the President as Inga will be focused on her family. I share this from her...

Dear Members,

Life has been challenging for me. Due to personal circumstances, I am taking a leave of absence from being your President of AIA till the end of the year. Paula Begel, our Vice President, is stepping up as Acting President during this time. If you have concerns about AIA please contact her at '[email protected]' I wish you all the best and will miss AIA during this time. Thanks for your understanding, support and prayers. I know Paula, the Board and Carla, in our home office, will continue to keep AIA strong.

Inga Wieser

In watching the news, it seems shopping for the holidays will be starting as early as Halloween and will be mostly online this year. I remind you that we still have some flour sack towels and seed collections for sale. They make great gifts and all proceeds go to support our Artisan Distiller Fund.

The AIA continues to work hard for you and the public. Join us on October 15th to learn just how much!

Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] if I can be of any help to you.

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