Our Advisors

Brandi Mack is a holistic health educator, therapeutic massage therapist, and permaculture designer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Service Management, and a certification from Starhawk’s Earth Activist Training. Brandi is motivated to work in community, particularly with young people and is the co-founder of the Butterfly Movement, committed to Reframing, Reconnecting, Regenerating and Reactivating, women and girls as they Rebuild their personal and land ecology all over the planet.

Penny Livingston-Stark (Co-Director, Regenerative Design Institute)Penny Livingston-Stark is internationally recognized as a prominent permaculture teacher, designer, and speaker. Penny has been teaching internationally and working professionally in the land management, regenerative design, and permaculture development field for 25 years and has extensive experience in all phases of ecologically sound design and construction as well as the use of natural non-toxic building materials.

Trathen Heckman (Co-Founder, Daily Acts Organization)Trathen Heckman is the founder of Daily Acts, publisher of Ripples Journal and a backyard farmer. Former director of Green Sangha, he serves on the board of Transition US. Trathen inspires, educates and collaborates with communities, business and municipal leaders to harness the power of nature and inspired action to restore the health of our lives and communities. He lives in the Petaluma River Watershed where he grows food, medicine and wonder while working to compost apathy and lack.

Leslie Meehan (Threshold FoundationCompassion Games): Leslie Meehan is a leadership consultant and co-creator of collaborative networks committed to community healing and transformation. She has over 25 years experience in strategic planning, intuitive process, systems architecture, management, and peer facilitation in business and non-profits. Leslie is passionate about the power of whole-systems collaborative networks in our social evolution.

Carl Anthony (co-director, Breakthrough Communities): Carl Anthony, architect, author and urban / suburban / regional design strategist, is co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project. He has served as Acting Director of the Community and Resource Development Unit at the Ford Foundation, responsible for the Foundation’s world wide programs in fields of Environment and Development, and Community Development.  He directed the Foundation’s Sustainable Metropolitan Communities Initiative and the Regional Equity Demonstration in the United States. Carl funded the national Conversation on Regional Equity (CORE), a dialogue of national policy analysts and advocates for new metropolitan racial justice strategies. He was Founder and, for 12 years Executive Director, of the Urban Habitat Program in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Paloma Pavel (co-director, Breakthrough Communities): Paloma Pavel, PhD, President of Earth House Center, is co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project and served as Director of Strategic Communications for the Sustainable Metropolitan Communities Initiative at the Ford Foundation. She has taught at many Bay Area institutions, including the California Institute for Integral Studies, where she co-chaired the graduate degree program in Organizational Development. Pavel is a frequent lecturer and keynote presenter nationally and internationally on the theory of living systems and urban sustainability. Dr. Pavel is editor of the newly released book entitled Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis (MIT Press, 2009).

Kat Steele (Permaculture Educator)Kat Steele is a permaculture activist, designer, educator and founder of the Urban Permaculture Guild in Oakland, CA. She facilitates workshops on ecological design, sustainability, facilitation, permaculture and holistic healing. Kat speaks publicly about eco-social design, city repair, social permaculture and the power of placemaking. She has played a leadership role in developing women’s permaculture gatherings and support circles. Trained in Ecovillage Design with the Findhorn Foundation of Scotland, Natural Building withKleiwerks International, and Permaculture Design with the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.  She is recently engaged in counseling and coaching via the Interchange Counseling Institute and continues to be devoted to promoting inclusivity, localization, personal and community resiliency, believing these to be key strategies towards sustainability and “thrive-ability”.

Kevin Bayuk (Worker-owner, Lift EconomyUrban Permaculture Institute): Kevin Bayuk’s roots are in entrepreneurship, having spent nearly a decade starting and growing technology companies, and activating projects and organizations that regenerate healthy ecosystems and socially just and joyful environments. Kevin also serves as the Senior Financial Fellow at Project Drawdown developing the business case to address climate change through existing practices and technologies. He frequently teaches classes, workshops, does public speaking, facilitates meetings, plans events and provides one on one mentoring as a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute San Francisco. Kevin has helped design and start food security gardens and public learning experiences intent on reminding people that we,too, are nature.

Nahal Ghoghaie (Bay Area Program Coordinator, The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water)Nahal Ghoghaie is the Bay Area Program Lead for The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (EJCW), as well as the Policy Chair for the Bay Area’s Resilient Communities Initiative Coalition (RCI). She holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Tribal Leadership in Watershed Management and Climate Change Adaptation. Nahal leads EJCW’s work as the Bay Area Proposition 1 Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program administrator, and serves as an Advisory Committee member for the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority.

Pandora Thomas (Permaculture Educator, Co-Founder & Director, Black Permaculture Network)Pandora Thomas is a passionate global citizen who works as a caregiver for her mother and globally as a teacher, writer, designer, and speaker with over 25 years of experience. Pandora’s work emphasizes the benefits of applying ecological principles to social design.  She is currently a designer, teacher, and facilitator at several permaculture and ecological design schools and programs.

Starhawk (Author & Founder, Earth Activist Training): Starhawk is one of the most respected voices in modern earth-based spirituality.  She is the author or coauthor of twelve books, including The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, long considered the essential text for the Neo-Pagan movement, and the now-classic ecotopian novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, now in development for film and television.

Magenta Ceiba (Executive Director, Bloom Network): Magenta Ceiba is the executive director of the Bloom Network. She co-designed their international decentralized governance system, and spearheads global media and action campaigns. Magenta founded HiveMind, an urban festival that supports coalition building among people and initiatives devoted to restoring ecology, right use of technology and holistic healing. She has served as editor and curator for Aorta Magazine, a magazine for female and trans-identified radical political artists. As a practicing artist, healer and community leader, she describes herself as an “Imagination Healer”, reminding people of our collective capacity to create the world we truly want to live in.

Howard Cohen (Music and Events Producer, Rightside Solutions)

Jessica Bates (Food Forest Farm West): Jessica has been gardening for over 13 years, run multiple gardening education programs (adult, high school and elementary), co-founded the Ashby community garden in Berkeley, CA, has worked with multiple bay area landscapers, and is a certified permaculture teacher and designer as well as an Alameda County “Master Composter”. She specializes in organic perennial and annual food production and CA native and “bay friendly” plants. Jessica has also raised chickens in the urban environment and constructed four chicken runs out of reused or reclaimed materials, and is assisting renowned East Bay organic bee keeper Alan Hawkins.

Ana-Marie Jones (Chief Resiliency Officer, Interpro Inc.): Before joining Interpro Inc. as their Chief Resiliency Officer, Ana-Marie Jones was the Executive Director of CARD – Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters. In her tenure, she has re-written and redefined CARD’s services and curriculum to be based on community building, economic empowerment and leadership development philosophies. Before joining CARD in April 2000, for three years Ms. Jones worked for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Coastal Region on projects supporting community organizations and people with special needs. She was also the acting Executive Director of the Northern California Disaster Preparedness Network, a 5-year funding initiative dedicated to creating emergency preparedness and response resources for vulnerable and underserved communities.

Carolyne Stayton (Executive Director, Transition U.S.): Carolyne Stayton is Executive Director of Transition US. She is adept at aligning community activities towards unified goals, a skill honed from over thirty years of working with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. She has successfully galvanized communities around various social issues and has particular expertise in program development, participative leadership and “learning” organizations. Carolyne has a master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration, resides in Sebastopol, California and is passionate about stewardship and protection of the natural world.

Marissa Mommaerts (Director of Programs, Transition U.S.): Marissa is an avid gardener, homesteader, community organizer, and activist. She came to Transition US after six years working with government, civil society, and the private sector to promote just and sustainable solutions to poverty and public health crises. Prior to Transition, Marissa worked at The Aspen Institute coordinating a global communications project on reproductive health and population growth.

Ryan Rising (Permaculture Action Network): Ryan Rising is a community organizer and permaculture educator based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, and co-founder of the Permaculture Action Network.. Ryan focuses on creating community access to land for local food growing and regenerative living – connecting people to take direct action and transition to a resilient way of life; and social permaculture – the ways we make decisions, build resilience, resolve conflicts, and organize in community. Ryan has taught numerous courses and workshops, including the Elemental Alchemy Permaculture Intensive before Symbiosis Gathering in 2013, the recent Permaculture Action Course in Santa Barbara, and a month-long Gaia Education certified Eco-Village Design training in Nicaragua.

Dana Pearlman designs and facilitates action learning experiences. Her academic background is in clinical psychology and strategic leadership towards sustainability. Her sweet spot is at the intersection of authentic leadership, tapping into other ways of knowing (beyond cognition) the world, collective healing and community building in order to accelerate the profound transformation that is needed in our world. She co-authored and published: The Lotus: A practice guide for Authentic Leadership towards Sustainability. Dana is also co-creating a start up, the Global Leadership Lab, that is bringing together systemic change-makers to transform our world towards a thriving ecosystem through leadership, community and project/venture acceleration, working with ventures that will impact 1 billion people or more.

Rafael Jesús González, born in the bicultural/bilingual setting of El Paso, Texas/Juárez, Chihuahua, attended the University of Texas El Paso, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, & the University of Oregon. Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing & Literature, he has taught at the University of Oregon, Western State College of Colorado, Central Washington State University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Laney College, Oakland (where he founded the Mexican and Latin American Studies Dept.). He was Poet in Residence at the Oakland Museum of California and the Oakland Public Library under the Poets & Writers “Writers on Site” award in 1996. He served as contributing editor for The Montserrat Review and received the Annual Dragonfly Press Award for Literary Achievement in 2002. In June 2007, he was honored for excellence in poetry at the 20th World Congress of Poets, Montgomery, Alabama.

Delia Carroll (13 Moon CoLab): Conceived in Pennsylvania, born in California, Delia Carroll is a hardy pioneer species deeply rooted in the soil of Bay Area counterculture. She has a degree in the art of living and diverse skills within the business, artistic and familial realms. She is a devoted plant mistress, a high quality organizer and an agent for regenerative social systems. A founding member of the 13 Moon CoLab, she works to awaken people to their own agency in the creation of a world based on the Permaculture Ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share.

Konda Mason (Co-Director/CEO, Impact Hub Oakland): Konda honed her business leadership skills as a Grammy winning artist manager in London, an Academy Award nominated film producer in Hollywood, and an Off Broadway hit theater producer in New York…just to name a few. Additionally, Konda leads ecotourism trips to the Amazon rainforest and is a facilitator trainer for The Pachamama Alliance.  She is a partner in Earthseed Consulting, LLC, where she is producing/directing the web series “Green Street Loft”, a program aimed at deepening the connection of the African American community with land, place and the sustainability movement. She was a co-host for the Shift Network’s 2012 Season of Sustainability and is a Certified Permaculture Designer. A human equity advocate, prolific urban gardener, and social entrepreneur, Konda’s work is driven by the vision of realizing in her lifetime a genuinely just and sustainable world.

Ashara Ekundayo (Chief Creative Officer, Impact Hub Oakland)Ashara is a cultural worker of the urban landscape and brings her whole self and more than 20 years of professional experience into the social entrepreneurial movement. Through her company BluBlak Media Consulting, she has worked with local and national organizations to build capacity for increased community engagement through the uses of creative practice, exhibition, strategic communications design and project management. She has held Fellowship positions with the U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs and Green For All, and is currently a member of the “Future Soul Think Tank” at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her passions for social media, technology, and civic hacking also find her writing STEAM Curriculum for BlackGirlsCode.com, and hosting a food Tumblr blog and in-person series called “Grits & Greens.”

Ashara is also the Curator for Omi Arts Gallery – a contemporary art space located inside Hub Oakland featuring one-person exhibitions, performances and lectures.

Jada Imani is an MC, dancer, poet, and co-founder of Tatu Vision Collective. She sees art as a vessel for healing and evolution. Jada Imani is a member of Youth Speaks, and a frequent collaborator with Hip-Hop for Change, Negus World, Sistar Cypher, Ashby Flea Market, and other groups/individuals who actively help unite our community.

Gerardo Marín (CA Youth Project Director, Pollination Project): Rising from the Chihuahua deserts’ El Paso, TX border; Gera is generator of connection, love, and motivation whose being is rooted in traditional Mexican healing art, agriculture, and music. For ten years based in Oakland, CA; he has dedicated his service to boost the power and inter-cultural unity in youth, social justice, and Mother Earth rights networks across Abya Yala (Guna name for “the Americas”). Gera mentors youth, community organizers, and educators in indigenous mindfulness practices, ritual, and inner-resilience practices to recharge their souls and bodies. Gera is in his element when he gets to facilitate Power Up Circles that include physical training, dance, stress-relief breathing techniques, and relaxing meditation. Gera is also a trainer and (Ollín-Teotl) movement building mentor for Rooted in Community National Youth Food Sovereignty and Justice Network that for 18 years has offered programs that activate transformative youth leadership for building a just, sustainable, and nourishing food system for all.

Dr. Gail Myers (Co-founder, Farms to Grow): Over the past 15 years, Dr. Gail Myers has been lecturing, researching, teaching, writing and documenting stories of African American farmers, sharecroppers, and gardeners. Myers is considered an expert in the anthropology of African American farming. Her background includes community organizing, research and program development, farmers’ market and cooperative development, and program evaluation. In 2004, Dr. Myers founded Farms to Grow, Inc., which works with black farmers farmers and local, state, and federal organizations to bring produce from black farmers and accurate history and education to low income communities. In 2013, Dr. Myers founded the Freedom Farmers Market, bringing produce from black farmers and local vendors to West Oakland. In addition to managing the operations of Farms to Grow, Inc., managing the Freedom Farmers Market, and working with youth in middle schools, she lectures frequently around the country and consults for community based, local, state, national organizations and federal departments.

Susan Juniper Park is an Oakland-based activist and organizer engaged at the cross roads of ecological, economic and social justice efforts. She is also deeply engaged in healing work, urban farming and permaculture. She envisions a world of deep systemic change that will move us all towards living in balanced interconnection with the Earth and each other–a world that is based in justice, deep culture and bioregional resiliency. She has previously ran a grassroots economic development project for a food justice organization, managed a farmers’ market, worked at a worker-owned cooperative, did fundraising for a grassroots non-profit and was part of a long-standing land defense direct action project. Currently she is involved with Oakland’s Economic Development Without Displacement Coalition, and is a core organizing member for Living the NEXT Economy Convergence happening in October in Oakland. She immigrated from Korea as a child where she experienced living in extended family, using only an outhouse and no existence of grocery stores.