Writer | Teacher | Speaker | Retreat Leader | Spiritual Director

For over 35 years, Westina Matthews has turned her passion and creativity into realities for so many in the community at large. In 2009, Westina retired from Merrill Lynch with the title of managing director which reflected her progressive responsibilities, including philanthropy, global diversity, community development and business development. Upon her retirement, she was a Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University where she researched women and girls in Burundi in east-central Africa. She then joined the Jackie Robinson Foundation for four years as vice president, chief program officer. For twelve years (2010 – 2022) Westina was an adjunct professor at General Theological Seminary in the Center for Christian Spirituality where she taught contemplative spiritual direction.

Today, Westina serves on the boards of Spiritual Directors International (chair); the Gathering of Leaders — for clergy and lay leaders who have demonstrated entrepreneurial skills and who possess a hope-filled vision for the Episcopal Church); and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. She is a mentor for both The Leaders Way at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and the Trinity Church Wall Street Fellows Program; and offers spiritual direction at General Theological Seminary, Virginia Theological Seminary and Berkeley Divinity School.

Committed to leadership by example, Westina is or has served on the boards of over 30 not-for-profit organizations, seminaries, colleges, and universities, including: International Women’s Forum; Women’s Forum of New York (past president); Executive Leadership Council; University of Dayton; Bank Street College of Education; Wilberforce University; Trinity Church Wall Street; Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, and New York Theological Seminary.

Westina is the author of three books in the Have A Little Faith Series (2003, 2004, 2005); Dancing from the Inside Out: Grace-filled Reflections on Growing Older (2019); This Band of Sisterhood: Black Women Bishops on Race, Faith, and the Church (2021); and Soul Food: Nourishing Essays on Contemplative Living and Leadership (2023). She has contributed to several Forward Movement anthologies, including A Year of Daily Meditations (2011, 2014, 2015, 2016); as well as to Wisdom Found: Stories of Women Transfigured by Faith (2011) and Sisters! Bonded by Love and Laughter (2021) and I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Trust in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope (2021). Westina also was a frequent contributor to Sacred Journey: The Journal of Fellowship in Faith.

Westina earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in education from the University of Dayton, a PhD in education from the University of Chicago, and served as a postdoctoral research fellow at both Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


Westina leads several different types of workshops, adult forums, and retreats. She also is a lecturer and lay preacher.

Topics Include:

  • Dancing from the Inside Out

  • Spirituality in the Workplace
  • Mr. Rogers, God, and You: A Simple Faith
  • Henri Nouwen, God, and You: Deepening Your Personal Spiritual Life
  • What Is Mine to Do?
  • A Season of Promise (Howard Thurman)
  • With Open Hands (Henri Nouwen)
  • Treasure Mapping: A Mindful and Soulful Journey
  • Serenity and Peace in Times of Uncertainty
  • Deepening Your Personal Spiritual Life
  • For Women Fully Grown

Courses Taught:

  • Transactions and Transformation: Crucibles of Self-Discovery: Spirituality, Leadership, Ethics and Core Values
  • Introduction to Contemplative Spiritual Direction
  • Contemplative Spiritual Practices

  • Supervision of Contemplative Individual and Group Spiritual Direction
  • Offering Online Contemplative Workshops, Retreats, Forums
  • A Contemplative Approach to Spirituality and Sexuality


  • Kanuga Conference Center
  • Episcopal Parish Network
  • Episcopal House of Bishops
  • The Wisdom Project, University of North Georgia
  • University of Louisville, College of Business
  • General Theological Seminary
  • Yale Divinity School
  • Berkeley Divinity School at Yale
  • Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut
  • The Union of Black Episcopalians
  • Executive Leadership Council
  • Beecken Center of the School of Theology at the University of the South
  • Mepkin Abbey, Moncks Corner, SC

  • Transfiguration Spirituality Center, Cincinnati, OH
  • University of North Georgia Institute for Healthy Aging
  • Spiritual Directors International 2021 Conference
  • The Leverage Network Conference
  • Forma21 Conference
  • ChurchNext
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha, Great Lakes Regional Leadership Institute
  • Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
  • Episcopal Diocese of Long Island

  • The Church of Heavenly Rest, NY, NY
  • First Presbyterian Church, NY, NY
  • Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church, Bristol, RI
  • Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Birmingham, AL
  • St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, Raleigh, NC
  • St. James’ Episcopal Church, Houston, TX
  • St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Savannah, GA
  • St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, PA
  • St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Colorado Springs, PA
  • Trinity Church Wall Street, NY, NY