Our People

Our people are the heartbeat of Mindful Littles. From our passionate staff to our visionary founder, to our dedicated board members and advisors to the inspiring youth leaders and volunteers, so many people have helped us grow and continue to guide us on our magical journey forward.

The Crew

Tanuka Gordon
Founder & CEO

After being inspired to leave a more compassionate world for her two young daughters, Tanuka discovered her life's purpose with the founding of Mindful Littles. Tanuka's business background in designing engaging product and service experiences for technology companies has come full circle as her innovative vision for Mindful Littles continues to provide transformative compassion experiences for the most important audience- our youth.  Tanuka is recognized as a rising leader in education and service. She has spoken at several national education conferences; she is a member of the Transformative Educational Leadership (TEL) national cohort and won the Jefferson Award for public service. She has an MBA/MSI from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is certified as a yoga and mindfulness instructor.  When not working on her passion project, she loves hiking, camping, traveling, writing...and last but not least spending quality-time with her two daughters and family.

Tanuka Gordon

Founder & CEO

Lisa Sadikman
Content Manager

Lisa is a freelance writer living in northern California with her husband and three daughters. She writes about raising girls, women’s issues and parenting. Her writing can be found on her blog Flingo, Scary Mommy, Motherwell Magazine, Brain, Child, HuffPost Parents and others.

At Mindful Littles, Lisa oversees the website content and communications, supports curriculum and curates resources to inspire mindfulness in both Littles and Bigs. Her passions include surfing, spinning, coffee, finishing crosswords, reading and keeping up with her daughters’ Spotify playlists.

“With three girls of varying ages, I’m often quickly switching modes to meet their needs. It’s definitely a challenge, but tapping into compassion and empathy does wonders to shift the energy from precarious to positive for both me and my girls. I love that Mindful Littles reinforces what’s already true for our kids: they’re born with open hearts and helpful hands. They just need our encouragement to realize their love and care can change the world.”

Lisa Sadikman

Content Manager

Pravesh Mistry
Chief Revenue Officer, Truework - Board Member

Pravesh brings extensive financial experience to Mindful Littles along with a compassionate heart, collaborative spirit and desire to help build a strong foundation for the nonprofit.

"I believe that making a long-term meaningful impact starts with the littles of today," says Pravesh. "Being able to set littles on the right path early will have an exponential impact for our future."

Pravesh holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Majors in Finance, Marketing and Information Systems from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He currently serves as the Chief Revenue Officer for Truework, a fintech firm that helps verify financial data for consumer-centric lenders.

Pravesh Mistry

Board Member

Anand Arun Desai
Portfolio Manager, Penserra Capital Management-Board Member

Anand holds a B.S. in Managerial Economics from UC Davis. As a Senior Vice President - Portfolio Manager for Penserra Capital Management, he and his team manage the day-to-day activities for 40+ exchange traded funds (ETFs), across multiple investment types. 

Anand first learned about Mindful Littles during the Covid-19 pandemic when he was assessing his own mental health and self-care techniques: "It became clear very quickly that Mindful Littles is an organization I want to support, specifically because of the aspects of mindful service and education." What started as curiosity soon grew into a position on the Mindful Littles board. Anand also serves on the board of The Street Smarts and is the Chair of The Penserra Foundation.

Anand Arun Desai

Board Member

Desiree Aquino

Senior Manager, Internal Communications and Community Relations, Simpson Strong-Tie

Desiree is a Senior Manager of Internal Communications and Community Relations at Simpson Strong-Tie. Her role includes managing all internal communications strategy, programs and projects, working with the  Executive Leadership Team to support their communications objectives, and leading companywide strategy and relationships with national and international nonprofit partners to create and promote positive social impact.

Desiree also holds a professional coaching certification with a specialization in Energy Leadership assessment. Over the last few years, as an advisor and now a board member, she has graciously offered her communications expertise to Mindful Littles as we continue to grow.

In addition to Mindful Littles, Desiree supports several other nonprofit organizations, including the International Rescue Committee, Human Rights Campaign, and Pandemic of Love.

Desiree Aquino

Board Member

Molly Bellero Fischer

Head of Enterprise Sales, Modern Treasury

Molly is the Head of Enterprise Sales at Modern Treasury, a platform that automates the cycle of digital money movement. In addition to serving on the Mindful Littles board, Molly volunteers with Lion's Heart running a service volunteer group for 12-year-old young women.

When she's not working or volunteering, Molly likes to hike, walk with her dog, watch her kids play sports and hang out with friends. She also has a regular meditation practice. If she could have one super power, Molly says it would be to be a singer because "music connects people like nothing else!"  She lives in Moraga with her son, daughter, husband and giant schnauzer!

 

Molly Bellero Fischer

Board Member

Lauren Vertrees Wilson
Director of School Success at XQ Institute

Lauren’s synergistic path to Mindful Littles was sparked by her passion for empowering and supporting students. Lauren began her career teaching diverse, gifted and talented and low-income populations in Denver, Colorado, where she witnessed the power of mindfulness through the eyes of her second and third grade students. Her classroom teaching experiences, complemented by her current work rethinking school systems at XQ Institute and previously in education policy at Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) continues to drive the focus of her work.

Lauren has a Master’s in Elementary Education from USC and an undergraduate degree from UC Davis, where she majored in Managerial Economics. She is also deeply passionate about yoga and is a certified yoga and mindfulness instructor.

Lauren Vertrees Wilson

Advisor, Director of School Success, XQ Institute

Christine Tringale
VP Implementation and Data Strategy, Deed

Christine is Director of Data & Analytics at VIVA Social Impact Partners, a consulting firm dedicated to amplifying the work of impact-forward organizations and initiatives through data, strategy, and communications services. She specializes in drawing insights from data sets and presenting the data in visual ways that facilitate transparent communication and promote learning and discussion. Prior to VIVA, Christine worked in strategy roles with Participant Media, Disney, LEK Consulting and Deloitte Consulting.

Christine earned her MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and her Bachelor of Science in Business from University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.

Christine Tringale

Advisor, VP Implementation and Data Strategy, Deed

Nick Botsford
Finance Manager, Safeway

Nick lends his expertise to support financial planning for Mindful Littles as well as community partnerships. His background is in finance and analytics along with 20+ years of experience in people management. He values his work with Mindful Littles because he believes the organization positively shapes the way people think and feel, particularly children.

Nick Botsford

Advisor, financial management

Cuong Nguyen
Head of People, Playworks 

Cuong Nguyen is the Head of People Operations at Playworks, a national education organization dedicated to using the power of play to transform children's social and emotional health.  He has been an active advisor to Mindful Littles since 2020 providing instrumental support in human resources issues and strategies for the growing nonprofit.  

Cuong Nguyen

Advisor, human resources

Dr. Stephanie Machado
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Public Health, CSU Chico

Dr. Stephanie Machado is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health and Health Services Administration at California State University, Chico. Her background is in public health nutrition and implementation science. She received her Doctorate of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley in 2020 and her MPH in Health Behavior/Health Promotion from the University of Arizona. Her BA is in Sociology/Anthropology from Middlebury College.

Stephanie's research focuses on school and community-based interventions to improve nutrition and physical activity opportunities for low-income youth and families. Her passion is working with organizations that run school-based health interventions.

Dr. Stephanie Machado

Advisor, Assistant Professor, Public Health, CSU Chico

Mark White, Ph.D.
Researcher, SEL Program Evaluation

Mark White is a research fellow at the Institute of Social Research where he studies program evaluation with a focus on programs designed to build social and emotional skills in students. He received a PhD in education in 2017 from the University of Michigan. His interest in mindfulness began a few years ago as he began to read about the research on the benefits of mindfulness and he has since started a personal practice. With stars aligning, Mark first got introduced to our Mindful Littles founder through his sister, and was excited to join the organization after learning about the great work being done at the nonprofit organization.

Mark White, Ph.D.

Advisor, Program Evaluation

Myriam Martinez
Curriculum Development, SEE Learning

Myriam studied psychology undergraduate and has a Masters degree in Education as well as in Psychotherapy. She worked as a high school student counselor for over 10 years. Currently, Myriam is collaborating in curriculum development for Social Emotional and Ethical Learning (SEE Learning). She's passionate about helping kids connect through compassion and kindness and, as a native Spanish speaker, is excited to bring Mindful Littles' practices to Spanish speaking communities. 

Myriam Martinez

Advisor, Spanish language curriculum

Michelle Chang
Director, LEAD, San Francisco Unified School District

Michelle is the Director of LEAD (Leadership Equity Achievement and Design) in the San Francisco Unified School District. She assists school leaders in their professional development, creation of support structures, troubleshooting and communications at 17 school sites.

Michelle is also the unofficial advisor to the Pacific Islander Coordinator in the district. She has a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Bachelor of Arts in Biology, a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and a supplemental credential in science.

Michelle Chang

Advisor, Director, LEAD, San Francisco Unified School District

Brandi Asker
Regional Director, Starbucks

Brandi is a Regional Director for Starbucks, Northern California. She's passionate about coaching, inspiring, and uplifting leaders in the organization to their greatest potential. Acting as a connector in all sectors (private, public, NGO) to help unite forces for greater impact is a primary objective in all work she involves herself in. Brandi believes in the connectedness of all things, and the needed support to uplift consciousness in all we do, in our business, in our schools, and in our communities.

She holds a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies, focused on Organizational Leadership and Political Science; was founding chair of Women’s Development Network, and ran for public office, all to better understand and involve herself in interconnected ways for the sake of impact and change. 

Brandi Asker

Advisor, Regional Director,
Starbucks

Stacy Allred
Managing Director, Head of Family Engagement & Governance at J.P. Morgan Wealth Management

Stacy has dedicated her career to working alongside individuals and families to more effectively navigate the complexity and promise of wealth. She is excited about supporting the Mindful Littles mission to help cultivate a more socially conscious generation of children and families.

Stacy Allred

Advisor, Managing Director, Head of Family Engagement & Governance, J.P. Morgan Wealth Management 

Meera Manwani
Senior Talent Manager Program Manager, Nuro

Meera is a Senior Program Manager at Nuro focusing on building talent programs to enable and support career development, internal mobility, performance management, and more. She loves what Mindful Littles focuses on because it is "...so important and will help spread joy and empathy to service as well as help kids understand what others are going through and feeling and help them manage their own emotions."

Meera Manwani

Advisor, Senior Project Manager, Nuro

Gaynor Brown
Advisor, The Teacher's Guild 

Gaynor is a fervent believer of empowering communities to connect through compassion. She has had a critical role in establishing the Teacher's Guild - an organization incubated at IDEO and focused on activating teachers' creativity to solve major challenges.  Since 2020, Gaynor has been an advisor with Mindful Littles strengthening the nonprofit's unique culture of design thinking and innovation. 

Gaynor Brown

Advisor, The Teacher’s Guild

Maggie Roach Black
Co-Founder, Bloom Leadership

Maggie is the Co-Founder of Bloom Leadership where she coaches, trains, consults and facilitates with the goal of making the workplace a better place. Previously, she served as Vice President of Programs for Galileo Learning. Maggie holds a BA in Psychology & Political Science and an MA in Education, both from Stanford University. 
 
She says her dream superpower would be to "...understand what someone is truly trying to communicate, regardless of my own perspective, speaking different languages, communication styles, or other barriers."

Maggie Roach Black

Advisor, Co-Founder, Bloom Leadership

Tania Wong
Associate Principal in Accounting, Airbnb

With her deep experience in finance and accounting, Tania provides valuable insights to Mindful Littles from an analytical perspective.  As a yogi herself, she quickly learned about and resonated with the Mindful Littles mission and truly believes in the importance of fostering mindfulness and compassion in our youngest generations.

Tania Wong

Advisor, financial analytics

Livia Segall

Livia is a freshman at Miramonte High School in Orinda, CA and one of our long-time youth volunteers. She loves writing, playing tennis and cooking and baking. "I felt inspired to work with Mindful Littles when I  first made Peace Kits for Paradise kids at my elementary school. Working with Mindful Littles helps me connect with our community as well as do good for others in need," she says. For Livia, mindfulness is taking time alone to breathe deeply and calm her body and mind. If she could have one superpower, Livia says she'd love to be able to know and speak any language. "Since I love traveling and immersing myself in different cultures, it would be great to communicate with locals." When she's not expressing herself through contemporary dance, you might just catch her belting out "Till Forever Falls Apart" by Ashe and Finneas or hiking in the backcountry or near a river or lake.

Livia Segall

Youth Leader

Nina Segall
Youth Volunteer

Nina is a freshman at Miramonte High School in Orinda, California where her favorite subjects are English and Spanish. In addition to leading different activities at Mindful Littles service learning events, Nina also enjoys volunteering with Las Trampas School, Inc. and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. "I was inspired to work with Mindful Littles when Tanuka came to my school to have us make Peace Kits for kids in Paradise after the Camp Fire," says Nina. "I ended up delivering the Peace Kits with the Mindful Littles team and ever since I have been involved. I love teaching younger kids compassion and gratitude though service learning. It's amazing to facilitate experiences where kids get excited about helping those in need and learning to use their breath to navigate emotions."

Nina's passion is to take better care of the earth and preserve its wild spaces so it's no surprise that she loves spending time in nature hiking and gardening. If she could have one superpower it would be to "memorize concepts, facts, and other things very quickly. I think it would be a valuable skill and it would help me in school." She also likes to play waterpolo and tennis, do yoga and her favorite playful practice is dancing. When she's not dancing, you might hear her belting out "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. Nina lives in Orinda with her parents and twin sister.

Nina Segall

Youth Leader

Our Extended Family

Our work isn’t possible without the help of the incredible partners we work with to support our organization.

Julia Babiarz
Gondola Design

Julia is the creative wonder behind our Mindful Littles website! She is a Creative/Art Director and Web/UX Designer, collaborator, communicator, connector of thoughts and minds; an innovator, ideator and inspirer; detail-oriented big-picture thinker. She has extensive experience creating for all channels of online marketing—website, email, CRM, SEO, SEM, campaigns, performance media—as well as e-commerce websites, mobile apps, and brand identity. For more information, check out her work at Julia Babiarz Creative

Julia Babiarz

Creative, Gondola Design

Mark Sly
Digiance

Mark is our resident web developer and trouble shooter, lending his expertise to keep our website up and running!

Mark Sly

Digiance

Emily Feldman
Bookkeeper

Emily keeps our accounting and bookkeeping neat and tidy!

Emily Feldman

Emily’s Bookkeeping

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation

Pro Bono Legal Counsel

Wilson Sonsini
Goodrich & Rosati,
Professional
Corporation

Pro Bono Legal Counsel