our story

We founded The Body Positive in 1996 because of our shared passion to create a lively, healing community that offers freedom from suffocating societal messages that keep people in a perpetual struggle with their bodies.

We have been fortunate to spend our time with a widely diverse group of people for more than two decades. Our work is informed by every one of the precious souls who has honored us by sharing their unique body experience. We have made a commitment to honestly telling our own stories, and offering space for others to do the same without fear of judgment, comparison, or criticism. It is in this type of environment that each one of us can find what we need to become embodied: to tell our own truth and step fully into—and love—our unique selves.

Our People

Founders
CONNIE SOBCZAK

founder & Executive Director

Connie’s experience with an eating disorder in her teen years and the death of her sister Stephanie inspired her life’s work to help people live with more appreciation and love for their precious bodies. She founded The Body Positive in honor of her sister, and to ensure that her daughter Carmen and other children would grow up in a new world—one where people are free to focus on the things in life that really matter. Connie is the author of Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice!), her book in which she skillfully and lovingly reconnects readers to their essence and life force. She has been training Be Body Positive Facilitators for more than twenty years, and uses her creative skills to produce The Body Positive’s curricula, videos, digital courses, and trainings. Connie’s passion is watching the light that emerges when people recognize and embrace their magnificent, authentic selves.

ELIZABETH SCOTT

Co-founder & Director of training

Elizabeth Scott, LCSW, CEDS-S, is an educator and psychotherapist whose work focuses on the intersection of embodiment, social justice, and mindfulness. As Co-Founder and Director of Training for The Body Positive, Elizabeth instructs treatment professionals, educators, and students to use the Be Body Positive Model to end eating disorders and promote joyful embodiment. Elizabeth is a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist and IAEDP(TM) Approved Supervisor (CEDS-S). She studies Insight Meditation and has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Board Of Directors
JEN GORMAN

Board Chair

Jennifer Gorman, MC, is the Director of Operations at Center For Discovery, where she has been fortunate to work since 2002, initially as a Program Director and therapist and currently as the leader of Discovery’s growing eating disorders division.  Prior to joining Center for Discovery, Jen was fortunate enough to serve in leadership positions in two other nationally respected treatment centers, where she specialized in the treatment of eating disorders and trauma, and started and directed several Outpatient and Family Programs.

Jen is a fierce advocate for people with eating disorders and their families having access to appropriate and life saving treatment, for as long as they need it.  She has been instrumental in training others to argue effectively for the need for treatment and has worked to build collaborative relationships with payers and to demonstrate the value of providing appropriate treatment in a timely manner.

Jennifer attended the University of Arizona on a full athletic scholarship, earning a Psychology degree while playing Division 1 volleyball.  Her training as an elite athlete contributed greatly to her ability to thrive in a team setting and to the development of a strong work ethic and leadership skills.  She lives in Cypress, California and is happily married to her High School sweetheart, with whom she is raising a wonderful 11- year-old son.

PAUL HAMMOND

VICE Chair

Paul Hammond has collaborated with The Body Positive for several years as a creative consultant, working on videos, print and digital graphics, and the new Body Positive Psychotherapy continuing education online course. Paul and his wife, Christina Spann, recently launched a design, marketing, and consulting firm called Pumphouse Studios after selling their lighting fixture design business. Prior to his time in the lighting industry, Paul was Creative Director for Victory Technology, where he managed the production of a multimedia textbook and 50 online continuing education courses in Emergency Medicine. He and Christina are the parents of a 27-year-old daughter, Allis.

PRISCILLA TRAN

SECRETARY

Priscilla Tran comes to us with an extensive background in community development, marketing, and case management, spanning 11 years. With her heart rooted in service, she has served as Division Director of March of Dimes in the state of Nevada and Youth Market Director of the American Heart Association. She served as Clinical Outreach Supervisor of Center For Discovery in Northern California for many years, where she had the honor of meeting Connie and Elizabeth. Their passion for their work and spreading the message of The Body Positive was infectious, and she was hooked!

Priscilla currently serves as Treatment Placement Specialist for the Recovery Division of Acadia Healthcare. Every day she speaks to individuals and their loved ones who are suffering from self-hatred. She hopes through her work she can be a conduit to a sliver of joy and hope in these people’s lives.

Priscilla is honored to join The Body Positive board, where she will use her marketing expertise to help the organization continue to expand their reach and grow their programs.

CATHERINE CARDOZA CONNER

TREASURER

Catherine Cardoza Conner is Managing Partner of the Cardoza Family Partnership, a real estate development and investment company. Her community involvement includes board and committee service with Girl Scouts Heart of Central California, Gallo Center for the Arts, Stanislaus Community Foundation, and St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. Cathie and her husband have two daughters and currently reside in Loomis, California. She enjoys yoga, running, hiking, family vacations at the beach, and traveling around the country watching her girls play competitive soccer.

Cathie brings to the board her skills in financial management and organizational development, and her awesome ability to build partnerships. She has already connected us with the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California, where the conversation has begun about creating an alliance that has the potential to reach thousands of girls.

JESSICA DIAZ FRANCE

Board Member

Jessica Diaz France began working with The Body Positive as a high school peer leader in 2001. Since then she has supported the organization by helping to write curricula, developing and facilitating peer leadership trainings, blog writing, and participating in video projects. Jessica represents the organization through speaking engagements and workshops nationwide. She holds a B.A. in politics, and minors in legal studies and music from the University of San Francisco. She also holds a Masters degree in Social Work from San Francisco State University. Her thesis project was curricula for a 1-unit masters level course entitled "Size Diversity for Masters of Social Work Students." She currently works for the County of Marin, Mental Health and Substance Use Services as a Mental Health Practitioner, specializing in adults with severe and persistent mental illness. In December 2014 she completed a certificate of Leadership from Dominican University of California, Leadership Academy from the Barowsky School of Business and Leadership. Jessica is a bilingual Spanish speaker and lives in Marin County with her husband.

BABAK SANI

Board MEMBER

Babak Sani is an attorney specializing in intellectual property law. He is a partner at the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend where he has been practicing for nearly 25 years. Babak has been a longtime supporter of a number of non-profits focusing on education, the environment, immigration reform and other social justice causes. For some of these organizations, including the East Bay Community Law Center and the Clemency Project, he has provided pro bono legal services. He has helped lead a campaign to revise the history and social science content standards for K-12 textbooks adopted by the State of California in order to better reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the society. Babak has been a friend of The Body Positive for a number of years, is a father of two daughters and lives in Berkeley, California.