Howie Shareff

Founder and Executive Director

Howie Shareff founded You Call This Yoga in 2007 as an organization to share yoga that was adaptable for people with physical ailments. As a 52-year-old practicing dentist and recreational athlete, he was managing his own severe arthritis for many years with gentle yoga – using the practice to prepare and recover from surgery. Through these positive experiences, he found that the practice of yoga to enhance healing and comfort could be accessible to anybody willing to breathe, focus and move mindfully.

Howie’s goal for the organization was to serve the community in an effort to improve social, emotional and physical health. He believed that yoga should be accessible for all people, delivered by skilled, passionate and professionally supported teachers. In 2010, Howie succeeded, with help from the NC Center for Nonprofits, in having You Call This Yoga recognized by the IRS as a 501c3 non-profit organization.

He has grown in the role as Executive Director with advice from the Small Business Center at Wake Tech, the Board of Directors of You Call This Yoga, and many coaches in our region. Howie enjoys engaging prospective yoga teachers, host partners, team members for YCTY, sponsors and students. He welcomes your contact to learn more about your interests. You can find him regularly playing disc golf to stay active and laughing at Raleigh’s Cedar Hills Park.

Board of Directors

President – Kiesha Battles

Kiesha Battles

Kiesha first connected with You Call This Yoga (YCTY) as a yoga practitioner in 2018, and has increased her service to the organization over the years through the development and teaching of key programming, both virtually and in-person.  Most of these programs were key contributions to the support of the YCTYcommunity during the 2020 pandemic, and have continued to support and strengthen the YCTY community since.  Along with Board Director Howie Sheriff, Kiesha developed the SAFE (Sharing, Accessible, Free flowing, Energy) Yoga Program, a program that seeks to engage and educate racial/ethnic minorities and low-income populations about the benefits of community yoga classes. Beginning in Durham, NC in 2021 the program has seen continuous growth and engagement, recently branching out to locations in Charlotte, NC.

 A native New Yorker, Kiesha studied at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ,  receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business Management in 1997 and a master’s degree in Asian Studies in 2000. For over a decade, Kiesha spent her career serving in various roles in the fields of Information Technology, Project Management, and Auditing. In 2010, she left corporate life to focus on mental wellness and her family. 

 Kiesha teaches yoga full time and has created and led numerous yoga programs and retreats. In 2016, she was appointed Co-Director of the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color, carrying its 25 year legacy at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA.  In addition to teaching and leading yoga programs for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte and CorePower Yoga locations in Charlotte, Kiesha runs her own studio and yoga school, IAMYOGA, where she has mentored, guided, and graduated over 100 yoga teachers and has made yoga accessible to the community she serves.

Kiesha describes herself as a humble soul who first connects to all beings at their core. She is passionate about service to her community, takes pride in being a regular blood donor for the Red Cross, and spends her free time reading, meditating, and breathing. Kiesha lives with her husband and two sons in Charlotte, NC. 

Vice President – Kristen Rae

Kristen RaeKristen is a yoga therapist who has over 15 years of experience teaching a variety of classes and workshops. In addition to her YCTY classes, she offers private/corporate classes and organizes yoga events and retreats. Kristen previously served as Secretary of the YCTY Board of Directors and as the Director of Programming. When Kristen isn’t teaching yoga, she is hanging with her family at the beach. She enjoys island life, live music, eating at fancy restaurants, and traveling with her husband.

Treasurer – Max Lanning, CPA

Max LanningMax Lanning is a CPA in a local Raleigh CPA firm, Norton Collar Lund Lilley, PLLC. Max brings his experience with financial reporting to YCTY. He graduated from North Carolina State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and 2014 with a Master of Accounting. He has practiced public accounting with the firm since 2014 and obtained his CPA license in 2016. Max’s role at his firm is managing financial statement audits, reviews, compilations, and preparations. He also is the lead auditor on many audit and review engagements with the firm in many industries, focusing in not-for-profit organizations. Max has many years of experience with nonprofit tax and payroll/contractor tax compliance.

Max joined the YCTY Board in 2020, acting as treasurer. He oversees the monthly accounting, facilitates tax compliance, and helps guide organizational finance decisions. He is in charge of ensuring the monthly financial statements are sound, annual 1099s are filed, the annual 990 is prepared, and the NC solicitation license is renewed annually.

In 2015, Max began his journey to become a healthier individual with a weight loss and exercise regimen. He has seen the emotional and physical benefits of exercise and a healthier lifestyle. Max is excited to be a part of a local  organization that ensures individuals, who would not otherwise have the opportunity, have access to an exercise practice.

Secretary – Cassandra Cureton

Cassandra CuretonCassandra Cureton

Board Member - Amma Fandiño

Amma FandiñoAmma Fandiño

President Emeritus – Barbara Vosk, Ph.D., RYT500

Barbara VoskBarbara is a founding member of YCTY, having served on the Board as Secretary since 2014 and as President for the first part of 2020. She has been a yoga practitioner for over 15 years, and completed her 500-hour yoga teacher training at blue lotus yoga in 2015. Barbara is a licensed practicing psychologist in Raleigh, and integrates many aspects of yoga into her clinical practice. Barbara offers training to yoga teachers and mental health professionals on ways to integrate yoga to assist those coping with anxiety, trauma recovery, and other emotional issues. She believes strongly in the healing power of yoga, and is passionate about bringing these practices to others-beyond the bounds of yoga studios. Barbara looks forward to continuing her participation in the organization as it moves into its second decade of providing accessible yoga to the Triangle community.