Board Members

Justin Howell / Co-Founder & President

A photo of Justin Howell

Justin is an Atlanta native, educator, and social services professional. He began his profession as a public school teacher for 8 years before joining the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Atlanta where he has served for five years in a variety of roles – as the director of Education & Learning, Development and Fundraising, and, currently, as the Deputy Director of Programs. He has also volunteered for a local hospice provider, which sparked his interest in care for the dying and their friends and families. Justin has been a Buddhist practitioner for 25 years, maintains a daily practice, and undertook a pilgrimage to Buddhist holy sites in India and Nepal in 2014. Justin is enthusiastic about bringing his experience in education, human service delivery and contemplative practices to make the mission and vision of Compassion House for Living and Dying a reality for the Atlanta community.


Thomas W. Comstock MD / Co-Founder & Vice President

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Tom is a semi-retired physician who has lived in Atlanta since 1975. He has a long history of volunteerism having served on the Board of Directors of both AID Atlanta and Project Open Hand.  He was primarily involved with volunteer recruitment and training at those organizations. He has maintained a personal  meditation practice for over 25 years. Tom most recently has been teaching a secular contemplative  program which strives to expand our innate quality of compassion so that it becomes a  spontaneous and impartial response to all aspects of our  shared human condition. He looks forward to bringing his experience in volunteerism and contemplative practice to the important work of Compassion House for Living and Dying.


Leslie Flynn / Treasurer

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Leslie Flynn is an Atlanta native, with a business background in commercial real estate and accounting. She has been a community volunteer for Furkids Animal Rescue, Drepung Loseling Institute and Special Olympics. Over the years, she has become interested in how death and dying is dealt with in the U.S., and is an avid believer that we can do better in providing end of life care to others.


Shelby Failing / Secretary

A photo of Shelby Failing
Shelby Failing is a native Atlantan and a librarian and educator by profession. Through the experience of her step-father’s 15 year bout with Multiple Sclerosis and eventual death, she felt there needed to be more compassionate support for the dying and their loved ones. She is a board member of Compassion House to assist with the creation of such a place in Atlanta.

Shelby is an avid reader and runner who loves to spend time with her dog, Bane, and her cat, Duke.


Jeff Adams / Board Member

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Jeff Adams is a partner at Alston & Bird LLP. The focus of his legal practice is real estate development and fund-raising transactions for real estate investments. Helping create Compassion House is a fulfilling extension of his work. Creating an environment for people to consciously and respectfully prepare for and experience death, an essential and inevitable element of life, in space that allows them to express their faith, yet in a non-denominational community is a timely challenge. As others have also experienced first-hand, Jeff understands the limitations of hospice care. Compassion House, as an alternative, is a welcome part of what community is all about.

Jeff received his J.D., cum laude, in 2008 from Duke University School of Law, where he was executive editor of the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum. He received his B.A. in history from Duke University in 2004.


Carmen Ford / Board Member

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Carmen is an Atlanta native currently working with The Elder Law Practice of Daniel D. Munster. She is an End of Life Doula who possesses a 25 year background in caregiving for the elderly, which includes, but is not limited to the intricacies of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as volunteering for local hospice. Carmen also spent over ten years working in the music industry cultivating relationships and connecting people through their music. It is the culmination of caring for family and friends that revealed her calling – having now accompanied many to their destination from this life, Carmen does so with heart, soul and music.


Sharlyn Menard / Board Member

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Reverend Sharlyn Menard is a minister, an end of life doula, educator, and Veriditas-certified Labyrinth facilitator. Sharlyn is passionate about providing quality end of life care. Providing information on the choices available for families and their loved ones is vital if we are to have less fear and anxiety around death. By discussing end of life issues with respect and caring we can get at real engagement with questions of meaning. Serving as a non-medical supportive companion for the dying and their families, her work has brought her a deep understanding of the social tapestry of the world and our current historical landscape as it pertains to end of life. She believes that courageous conversations can truly change our approach to dying.


Hans Wakeman / Board Member

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Dr. Hans Wakeman is an active member of the Georgia Chiropractic Association and frequently attends seminars and educational programs to keep abreast of the rapidly evolving information in natural health care. He has strong ties to the natural health care community and has developed relationships with a wide variety of practitioners over the years. Hans simply loves people of all kinds and from all walks of life. This deep connection to others is the spark that informs his work and fuels his commitment to help others through his association with Compassion House.