Mary Talpas, Manager and Web Designer

Mary provides website design and marketing implementation for a wide range of clients.  Mary started work in the high tech industry at National Semiconductor and Shugart Associates. Her work at Apple Computer, from 1984 to 1998, included managing the implementation of new products and processes in manufacturing and engineering. Mary has an Associates Degree from Deanza College, Magna Cum Laude, and a B.S. from the University of San Francisco in Information Systems.

Irene Tsouprake, LoveTank Founder
Believing that straight lines are beautiful but meant to be colored outside of, Irene colors all over the page and onto the walls at every chance. She’s done stints at wildland firefighting, journalism, motherhood, small business development, acting, motherhood again, larger business development, corporate meetings and events, business ownership, yes-motherhood AGAIN, nearly-dying-but-not, writing, congress briefing, Gross National Happiness advocating, and finally, (exhale) living with and for purpose.  Grateful for each of these experiences, she’s committed to a new business paradigm, one that marries profit to purpose and helps companies expand the indicators by which they measure success beyond quarterly profits. Irene recently performed a one-woman show about Judy Garland, is a triathlete, and also curates and co-organizes Tedx Santa Cruz.

Susan Ditz is a results-oriented communications professional.  For more than 30 years, Susan Ditz has launched products, established brand identity, turned around negative images and influenced change.  Key to Susan’s accomplishments in public relations has been a strong track record as a journalist with the San Jose Mercury News, numerous business journals and a long list of magazines. Years in the trenches as a print and online writer have given her an insider’s understanding of how the media works, plus a knack for finding engaging stories, mining them for all the angles and presenting them in a compelling, understandable voice.  Having grown up in a California ranching family with roots that go back to before the Gold Rush, Susan’s unique perspective on agriculture also comes from a decade spent as a successful herb farmer.  She is a member of the American Agriculture Editors Association, San Mateo County Farm Bureau, the Western Music Association and the Dude Ranchers Association.

Andrea Hultzen is a Logistics Engineer and delights in pursuing the expansion of her consciousness and capacity to love. Her ability to connect with people and understand what is needed in any given circumstance has proven itself invaluable as an event producer and project manager over the last 10 years. A raw food and nutrition aficionado, we count on her to keep our junk food habits in check. Dre is devoted to helping create a more compassionate world for her sons to grow up in.

Amir Magal, Expert Tribal Revivalist, is a brilliant photographer and social activist renowned for his Tribal Body Markings project, it is simply impossible for Amir to separate art from life. He loves capoeira, music and yoga, and is a well respected photographer in all of those worlds. Recently, he’s focused his creative energy on igniting Tribal Revival inside corporations in order to grow community and purpose. Amir volunteers as a camp counselor for disabled adults several times a year.He also paints, draws, cooks… well… you get the picture.

Erika Schuetze has more than 13 years of public relations experience, working for a wide range of technology companies, nonprofit organizations and cleantech ventures.  She has strong media relations research and outreach experience, working with Silicon Valley clients such as Veritas (now Symantec), Business Objects, Agilent and many start-ups.   With extensive experience in media relations, she has a track record for meeting and exceeding goals and has successfully secured coverage for her clients in their target publications, including Wall Street Journal, Inc., InformationWeek, BNET (CBS Interactive), Consumers Digest and American Way Magazine as well as many vertical publications.  Most recently, Erika has transformed her technology experience into a deep understanding of the cleantech and sustainability sectors.  She has developed research reports, created targeted media lists, comprehensive databases and customized pitches for early-stage cleantech companies.  Her work includes public relations outreach in the solar energy, sustainability consulting, energy management and LED lighting sectors. A graduate of San Jose State University, Erika continues her communications education via seminars and workshops in sustainability and social media.

Sheila Schat  serves as Director of Partnerships, is passionate about life and work and is invigorated by creative and engaging people, places and ideas. She has spent 15 years working with innovative nonprofit organizations formulating solutions to the nation’s most pressing social issues. A musician at heart, Sheila has toured the US, Canada, and Europe as a fiddler and cellist. A dual national with the Netherlands, Sheila is comfortable in both English and Dutch.

Mariah Tanner, intern extraordinaore, is a senior at California State University, Monterey Bay where she is studying Collaborative Health & Human Services with a dual concentration in Public Health and Social Work. Her passion for serving the local community, empowering individuals to thrive, and dedication for increasing civic engagement is what moves her to achieve excellence from herself and others. Her work with United Way of Santa Cruz County, and as a Peer Mentor for underachieving college students, has led her to a deeper understanding of how when given the right tools and encouragement, the possibilities for success within individuals and society is endless. Having spent 21 years as a competitive swimmer, Mariah is transforming her love for the sport through entering the world of triathlons.

Sandy Skees, Advisor/ Founder
Sandy is a senior sustainability communications strategist and works with companies in the Consumer, Sustainability, Social Innovation, Food/Ag, and Cleantech sectors including clients in CSR software, industrial waste reclamation, venture capital, solar, gaming, energy management, and food education sectors.  Sandy is on the Advisory Board for Sustainable Brands, a board member of Mini Mermaid Running Club, founder of Yes& Circle of Change and the 100+ Women Who Care giving circle, and has appeared as a speaker or guest blogger for Sustainable Brands, Sustainable Life Media, Sustainable Minds, West Coast Green, PRSA International Conference, and the What’s Next Lecture Series.  She spends as much time as she can hiking in forests, sitting on beaches, cooking with others and learning something new every day.
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