Levi Gershkowitz - Founder & CEO
"Meaningful photography happens at the confluence of seeing and being seen."
Levi is a compassionate writer, photographer and director with a love for people and the stories they carry. His approach to storytelling humanizes the experiences of people in life-limiting situations and through Living in the Light, leads a team of equally insightful individuals.
Over the course of his life, he has become an enthusiastic advocate for people living with rare diseases. This passion began with the many families he met as a child, while volunteering for National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association (NTSAD), and would only grow in its depth and breadth. In 2012, he founded Living in the Light as a platform to highlight previously untold stories and shine a light on the unique wisdom and beauty of the rare disease community, while educating medical professionals working on treatments about the daily realities of those they aspire to help.
In addition to his dedicated work running Living in the Light, Levi has extensive experience traveling and working internationally with refugee populations. He holds a B.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Keene State College of New Hampshire and is a long-term practitioner of Thai Acupressure and Massage.
Jeff Reinhardt - Director of Advocacy,
(English, Italian, Spanish)
"From listening and storytelling we derive the truest human compassion. It reminds us of our commonalities and forges bridges over the broadest of waters."
Jeff has been re-telling fascinating stories for most of his adult life. Through an array of mediums, he seeks to illuminate populations often marginalized in our society. Jeff joined Living in the Light in 2014 to focus his prowess of writing and publishing on the rare disease community. Since then, he has collected myriads of awe-inspiring tales from those affected by rare, genetic conditions, and turned them into passionate prose.
Outside of his rare disease advocacy, Jeff has written, edited, and designed numerous grassroots publications. He also worked for two publications at the Hutchins Center for African American Research at Harvard University (Du Bois Review and Transition Magazine). Jeff currently lives in Tucson, AZ, where he also works with No More Deaths, a humanitarian aid organization providing critical food, water, and medical aid to migrants in the desert. He is also a performer, bringing music and political theater to the world through his longtime involvement with the Bread and Puppet Theater and the Rural Academy Theater among others. He graduated from Emerson College in 2008 with a B.F.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.
Daniela Peltekova - Director of Communications and Outreach
(Bulgarian, English, Russian, Dutch)
“Movement, even just making a shape or changing a position, opens up the possibility of a new perspective. Telling a story is putting experience in motion by expressing language into visual shapes in order to create a shift in perspective.”
Daniela is a seasoned strategy, change management and communications specialist. She excels at helping executives and companies tell their stories across audiences, media, and disciplines.
She believes that lasting change can be created by empowering authentic connection and thus, clear communication and understanding. Her passion for patient advocacy and narrative medicine led her to working with Living in the Light where she helps to facilitate organic change at an organizational level. Having been a long-term sufferer of chronic Lyme disease, she is dedicated to engaging through empathy and listening.
Daniela’s passion outside of communication strategies is dance. She is a certified dance meditation teacher, bringing movement and holistic, body-based wisdom into all her endeavors. She likes to write poetry, enjoy the LA sun, visit her family in Bulgaria and lead dance classes and workshops.
Trishna Amirault - Executive Assistant,
(English, Cantonese, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin, Sindhi and Spanish)
“Working at Living in the Light is teaching me how to be more compassionate and empathetic. By learning about people’s struggles, I learn more about myself and how best to be of service.”
If you open the door to the Living in the Light office, you’ll likely find Trishna diligently working, with a glass of her own freshly made juice, a warm and humble smile, and a ready-to-go attitude. And lots of color coded post-it notes.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Trishna’s independent streak led her to travel across the globe to pursue an education at Mount Holyoke College where she studied Economics and minored in Mandarin. Her journey after college brought her in many directions including working for Berkshire Blanket and starting her own sticker company, catering to personal organization. Her hobbies include vegan cooking, makeup application, music, and swimming. In addition to English, she speaks six languages conversationally––Cantonese, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin, Sindhi and Spanish.
Trishna felt drawn to working for Living in the Light because she wanted to be part of a company that is mission-driven and people-focused. In the office Trishna wears many hats. She oversees the nuts and bolts of day-to-day operations and scheduling, serving as project manager and as a crucial point of contact with many of the families we work with.
epli - Photographer
“Celebrating what is—the everyday extraordinary."
epli is a documentary photographer and educator born and raised up and down the East Coast and now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her fascination with human beings' personal and communal growth has inspired a career of vulnerable visual storytelling. Fascinated by how we are all connected, epli is humbled to make her living through studying life through her lens. Having studied Photography and Peace & Conflict Studies at Guilford College, Greensboro, NC and continued her schooling in Documentary Photography at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies, she comes to the work with ever-growing curiosity, skill and passion. When not working with Living in the Light, epli is dedicated to her personal documentary family photography business which takes her all over the country. As a passion , she always has a social-political documentary project in the works exploring themes of race, gender, privilege, masculinity, gentrification, mental health and sex work. Outside of photo, epli has a background in early childhood education. Romping around the beautiful woods and trails of Northern California with kiddos and her rescue pup Poa is a huge source of simple and abundant joy in her life.
Jaime Carpenter - Contributing Photographer
“Sometimes life throws unexpected things into our paths and we feel like we are going to lose our minds, but then we end up finding our soul. I found mine again through a camera.”
Jaime was first introduced to LITL in 2018—while living in Spain, her family’s story about traveling the world with two children with glycogen storage disease 1a (GSD1a) was featured by LITL. A friendship formed and as Jaime's skills as a photographer progressed, she later joined the team.
Jaime first honed her craft through a passion of sharing her family’s journeys and adventure, using their images as inspiration to others also dealing with medical obstacles to still live life to the fullest and pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.
Prior to becoming a traveling mom, Jaime worked in sports medicine with Olympians and NCAA Division I athletes. Life changed when her first, and then second child was diagnosed with GSD1a. These events birthed a rare disease advocate, and Jaime now finds great meaning in connecting with other rare disease families, helping to visually tell their stories.
Jaime currently resides with her family in Boulder, CO and holds a master’s degree in Sports Medicine: Kinesiology through the University of Virginia.
Brandon Heath - Contributing Photographer
“I believe that visual media has the ability to touch our lives in a powerful way. What I love most about my career is being able to bring joy and pride into the lives of the people who entrust me with preserving their memories. For that, I am honored and grateful.”
Brandon is a photographer, videographer, and technical assistant based in Atlanta, GA. His mother, a photographer of over three decades, exposed him to the art form at an early age by sharing her wisdom of the art of illuminating the essence of people and places. Brandon remembers setting up makeshift backgrounds in the basement with his sisters and filming dramatic scenes in their backyard, pretending he was Spike Lee—from there he was hooked.
Brandon then honed in on his abilities behind the lens by picking up freehand drawing, developing an acute eye for angles, contrast, and focal points. His passion for visual media coupled with his love of people inspired Brandon to start his own company, Heath Film and Photo. Brandon’s passion for travel and charity work have led him to work internationally with the non-profit organization, She Saves a Nation, which empowers refugee girls in Kenya, Uganda, and Thailand.
Working with organizations such as She Saves a Nation and Living in the Light has completely changed Brandon’s outlook on portrait photography and videography and solidified his commitment to creating powerful change through those powerful mediums. Enacting true compassion, the backbone of his Faith, Brandon is propelled to continue to connect with people on a deeper level as he works to better the world, one moment at a time.
Phil Toran - Head of Video Production
"Creativity is an innate mindset within all of us. It must be exercised."
Phil is a master filmmaker with a vision. At the very core of his work is a genuine care for and curiosity about people. He loves to ask questions: What is your story? How can we tell it? When it comes to addressing these questions creatively, using the power of cinematography to engage audiences, he thrives.
Phil has produced feature films, television, and documentaries, working on productions such as Law & Order SVU (tv), The Man at the Counter (short), and Lawless Frontier (feature). He describes his work with Living in the Light as particularly transcendent. Behind the lens and at the editing helm, the vulnerability and connection he feels in working directly with families is unmatched.
Outside of his work in film, Phil partakes in various fundraising events in support of veterans and active duty military and their families. He enjoys playing ice hockey with his friends and travels frequently to Spain, with his wife, who is from Andalucia. He holds a degree from Fairfield University, with a major in Film (concentration in cinematography) and a double minor in music and marketing.
Devin Lafferty - Lead Designer
(English, Spanish, Dutch)
"When I see these people, I feel their joyful beauty, heart-wrenching pain and determined perseverance. From that place, I visually present them in all their depth."
Devin has immersed himself in the outward expression of organizations working toward meaningful change for over fifteen years. He believes in the power of relationship through the way we communicate who we are in the world using design, imagery, and the presentation of language. He holds a B.S. in Graphic Communication from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
Since working with Living in the Light, Devin has found great joy in presenting the stories of incredible people who work through amazing challenges. He is touched by the courage of the individuals facing these rare challenges and the loving care offered by the people in their support systems. It is with great honor and sensibility that he arranges the beautiful photography, stories, and videos the team creates into powerful layouts.
Devin regularly engages in expressive art, meditation, and personal growth. Deepening his path into the mental health field, he has offered a mindfulness-based therapeutic presence at Windhorse Community Services and art therapy at Pathways Hospice. He completed a master’s degree in Transpersonal Art Therapy at Naropa University.