Meet the Team

David-Dorian Ross

Founder, CEO

Wondering about me? Leveraging the power of the internet, I have had the honor to introduce over 100,000 students around the world to Tai Chi. I am the founder and CEO of TaijiFit, the creator of the TaijiFit mind-body exercise program, and have created more than 150 educational DVDs and television programs. I've taught almost 2000 students TaijiFit, many who are instructing others. I'd love to share my love of Tai Chi with you. If you're interested in this ancient art, this is a perfect place to start.

Support Staff

Heather Powell

Director of Operations and Technology

Heather is go-to for all things operations, squirrel herding, and technology. She also focuses on the majority of the Network Management as well as website development. Having been in the online entrepreneurial space for several years, she’s enjoying the vibe here at TaijiFit.

She’s also a graphic artist and designer, has 6 pigs as amazing pets, and is mom to three beautiful humans.

Jessi Kennedy

Director of Marketing and Creative Services

Jessi has been in the marketing & creative field for nearly a decade. Her focus is ensuring the right information gets to the right people, with a focus on heartfelt messaging that resonates with those for whom it was intended.

On a personal note, Jessi is an avid WoW player, artist, and mom to one human and two dogs.

Jennifer Smith-Petersen

Director of Customer and Interpersonal Relations 

Jennifer is thrilled to be part of the team and is big-hearted, organized, and a natural relationship builder. She has 20+ years of experience working in a wide range of customer-focused environments ranging from supporting a leader in the wellness industry to working with seniors in both activities and social work.

She loves the beach and forest and is lucky to have easy access to both in her beautiful New England town. 

Instructors + Mentors

Chris Hitchens

Traditional Tai Chi Instructor

Chris was a high school chemistry teacher for 27 years, and is now the owner of the THREE TREASURES Health and Wellness studio.

Forced into an early retirement after developing an autoimmune condition, Chris found DDR and TaijiFit about 8 years ago and has been a faithful student ever since. Chris states "the TaijiFit program has had a profound effect on my health situation, so it has been a natural progression to share my experiences."

Along with teaching group classes during the week, Chris meets 1:1 with Veterans and has a steady schedule of volunteering Tai Chi services
to VSOs such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Team RWB, and the Semper Fi Odyssey.

Deb Gunn

TaijiFit 200 and Foundations Instructor

According to Deb Gunn, "as someone who is getting older myself, I know the struggles that come with aging. I'm so excited to offer this wonderful healing modality. TaijiFit has made such a difference for me and my clients."

Deb has seen improvements in not only physical movement and balance, but relief from arthritis pain, stress and better sleep to name only a few. In a world filled with chaos and stress, Deb believes Tai Chi offers the calm in the storm.

John Plunkett

TaijiFit 300 Instructor

A retired Chief Information Officer, John followed a checkered career path that allowed him to work in many difficult industries.

John is also a veteran, serving 6 years in the Navy at various duty stations.

His teaching experience includes both formal education settings and corporate training. The University of Richmond recognized John's contributions by awarding him the Distinguished Faculty and Distinguished Alumni designations.

Heather Umberger

Bamboo Fusion and Foundations Instructor

Heather Umberger is a dancer, healer, wellness presenter, movement advocate, and business owner. Over the last 28 years, she has worked in the roles of Rehabilitation Counselor, Bodyworker and Integrative Wellness Practitioner. The techniques she practices (Taijifit, Bamboo Yoga, Relaxation Therapy, Nia, Laughter Yoga, MELT Method, and Ageless Grace) have ignited her own wellness journey and assisted her in achieving remission with a chronic illness.

Heather brings playfulness and curiosity to her private and group sessions and inspires people of all ages and capabilities to use movement variety to “feel better” and awaken authenticity and infinite potential. 

Audra Whitcomb

Fire Fusion Instructor

Audra started her wellness journey as a mother to a very active child. After seeing her daughter enjoying karate classes, she joined herself and was hooked! She soon discovered she has a love of all things martial arts, wellness, and teaching. Two decades later she has two second degree black belts and a few other belts as well, and is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor as well as a martial arts instructor.

When a chronic health issue prevented her from continuing her previous arts, she discovered Tai chi and began exploring mindfulness and moving meditation. Then she met DDR and has happily been part of the TaijiFit community ever since!

Audra also loves travel and doing new things. She lives and travels with her family in their RV — you never know where she'll turn up!

Judy Whitlock

Lead Mentor

​Judy's story begins 83 years ago in Storm Lake, IA. After obtaining her Master's Degree, she decided it was best to leave the nest.

Judy taught in Pomona for 31 years (K through 8) and then became a middle school counselor. After retiring, Judy started teaching Water Aerobics.

Then in 2014, she found David-Dorian Ross, signed up for his classes and here she is—happier than a bird with a French fry!