Our People

Julia Babiarz Creative

Design Consultant

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.

Lauren Vertrees

Board Chair, Senior Associate for 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. She believes wholeheartedly that there is a mindful little in each of us, and plays into that passion through teaching, hiking and boating in Lake Tahoe, cuddling with her Yorkiepoo, and planning her wedding with her fiancé .

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.  

Capacity Blueprint

Fundraising Consultants

Capacity Blueprint is dedicated to providing consulting services and training to the charitable sector to strengthen communities through fundraising and marketing strategy for those organizations to help build capacity and advance missions and impact. Working with Henry and David to build our fundraising capacity is a true gift!

Liz Graham

Program Manager

Liz is a Saint Mary's College graduate who is passionate about enriching youth communities through yoga, education, art, dance, and mindfulness. She recently completed her yoga teacher training in Bali and is thrilled to be sharing the magic of yoga within her community. When she's not teaching yoga or working with youth, she loves to spend time connecting with nature, sharing meals in the company of loved ones, and traveling to new places to adventure and immerse herself in other cultures. Prior to joining Mindful Littles, Liz worked with many Bay Area families, volunteered with international service trips, and taught preschool.

Hannah Jacobs

Community Engagement Partner

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Hannah has a BA in Psychology with a minor in Education and Applied Psychology from UC Santa Barbara, where she was first introduced to mindfulness. Before joining Mindful Littles, Hannah was the Bay Area representative for Be the Match where she fostered relationships between Bay Area businesses and organizations to grow the National Marrow Donor Registry.

She’s passionate about positive psychology, wellness and going beyond surviving to truly thriving. She believes practicing mindfulness and gratitude beginning at a young age encourages Littles to be happy, healthy, compassionate members in their communities. Hannah’s dedicated her professional career to the nonprofit sector with a commitment to “leave this earth just a little better than it was when I arrived.”

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, Literary Mama, 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.”

Brandi Asker

Board Member, Regional Director, Starbucks Northern California

Brandi is a Regional Director at Starbucks in 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 lives in the North Bay with her husband Damion, and two children Sadie and Sara, who are all working together to build a future retreat center on their land.

Gaby Groft


Gaby is in 7th grade and loves working with Mindful Littles because it inspires her to do great things! Plus she gets to make mindful videos with her dad. Gaby really enjoys doing arts and crafts and she wants to help change the world by spreading love, peace, and mindfulness.

Kate Schox

Board Member, Partner, Trucks Venture Capital

Kate is a founding partner at Trucks Venture Capital. Trucks.vc is a seed-stage venture capital fund for entrepreneurs changing the future of transportation, making transportation safer, cleaner and more accessible. She is also the co-founder of Schox Philanthropy. Schox.org is a philanthropic fund inviting select startup founders to commit 1% equity and make donations to curated nonprofits. Kate also plays an active role in her community as a volunteer yoga teacher and board member to several Bay Area non-profits. She holds an M.A.A. (Master of Applied Anthropology) from the University of Maryland, College Park, as well as a B.Ed from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Kate lives in San Francisco with her husband Jeff, their third grade son, and 16 year old dog.

Livia Segall


Livia Segall is 12-years-old and goes to Orinda Intermediate School. She creates content to help spread kindness and mindfulness, including videos for the Mindful Littles newsletter and YouTube channel. Livia enjoys playing tennis and doing contemporary dance and loves to explore new places around the world with her family. Painting is one of Livia's favorite things to do! She loves to paint with both watercolors and acrylics. She also takes pleasure in keeping up her family's garden.

Nina Segall


Nina is 12-years-old and is in seventh grade at Orinda Intermediate School. She is passionate about teaching kids compassion through service projects, such as making hygiene kits and writing gratitude letters. Her Mindful Middles videos empower people to bring mindfulness into their daily lives whether that is deep breathing or doing yoga. In her free time, she enjoys tennis, water polo, and contemporary dance. Nina also loves to spend time in nature, hike, travel, paint in the garden, and educate her community in taking better care of the earth.

Travis Groft

Adult Wellness Coach

Travis Groft is a proud and loving family man. At 18, Travis joined the U.S. Air Force on September 18th, 2001. He was stationed all over the world and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It was there that Travis became a man, husband and father and discovered his love of food and travel. In 2008 he and his family returned to the Bay Area. He quickly realized he needed more supportive self-care strategies in order to reintegrate into civilian life and grow as a person. He went back to school and began experimenting with mindfulness meditation and other body-based self-care techniques. Travis found that a holistic lifestyle and greater self awareness fostered emotional mastery and resilience, despite the many challenges he and his family faced. He graduated from San Francisco State University in 2014 with a B.S. in Kinesiology and has been a practicing health and fitness coach ever since. He is also an experienced facilitator, leading mindfulness and meditation workshops for veterans and sharing other self care strategies to anyone who may benefit from such practices. Travis continues to explore and grow as a person, which led him to Mindful Littles where he happily serves communities by sharing his passion for health and wellness with Littles and Bigs from all walks of life.

Rachel Mills-Brantley

Facilitator

Rachel has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, working in and with schools for nearly 20 years. She also worked as a Crisis Counselor in a police department and most recently co-developed the Be CALM Program, which is a mindfulness-based SEL program for middle and high school students. As the Safety Management Supervisor at Student Success Agency, she provides clinical supervision services to members who support students' mental, social, and emotional wellbeing. Currently Rachel is working towards her 200-hour Lead with Compassion Yoga Teacher certification. Rachel loves camping, hammocking with her children, paddle boarding and playing in the water, reading, attending and hosting self-development/insight retreats and snuggles with her dogs and kitties. Her mindfulness practices include yin yoga, mindful movement, self-compassion meditations and loving-kindness practice. If she could have any superpower, it would be to zap compassion into people when they are upset and about to harm or berate someone. “What sparks joy in me is creating communities and spaces in which we empower the light within each other to shine together. I believe this is the positive energy and force we need to create a more just world.”

Mary Patel

Facilitator

Mary is one of the founding team members of Mindful Littles, even piloting the first service project in our founder's backyard.  During the nonprofit's first year of operations, Mary was an instrumental partner in organizing the initial service learning projects and helping establish the Mindful Littles platform.  With extensive training from YogaWorks, YogaKids and Mindful Schools, Mary now facilitates self-care and yoga classes for educators and parents. She is also a yoga teacher at other local studios in the Bay Area. “I want my kids to grow up in a community where we spread compassion and help each other. My hope is that when my kids grow up they never think twice about being inclusive and helping others.”

Tami Boehle-Satterfield

Advisor, Trauma Consultant

Tami practices solution-oriented healing from a deep ecological perspective. This approach appreciates the interconnectedness of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and facilitates an interdependent healing for profound health. Incorporating cutting-edge brain science, Tami helps people create shifts and adjustments that facilitate new understandings and support change away from unproductive or burdensome behaviors while increasing motivation, creativity, and self-confidence. She is a seasoned licensed psychotherapist certified hypnotherapist, practitioner of Healing Touch energy medicine, and a Reiki Master. Outside the healing studio, Tami enjoys time with her husband and adult children. On weekends, she is often found painting or editing her latest book. She loves to hike, garden, be in the sun, and believes cats are like potato chips — it’s hard to have just one.

Michelle Chang

Advisor, Director LEAD, SFUSD

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
Part Hawaiian, Michelle likes to bring the aloha spirit to those she encounters. She also loves being in the water whether it's swimming, snorkeling, relaxing or SCUBA. Aromatherapy is a daily practice for her and she enjoys learning about and hearing others' perspectives on wellness. She says if she could have one superpower it would be to spread love, kindness and the ability to be empathetic to everyone. She loves to belt out the song "Superbloom" by Misterwives, bake and spend time outdoors with her daughter, husband and two dogs.

Marianne Whitfield

Facilitator

Marianne is currently a senior at Chico State University and will graduate with a degree in public health education by Spring 2021. She received her 200-hour yoga teaching certification from CorePower Yoga in Portland, Oregon in 2014 and for the past 6 years has continuously taught vinyasa, gentle yoga, pranayama, and mindfulness. In addition, she is a personal trainer and works with high-intensity interval training as well as dance fitness. Marianne grew up in Oroville and returned to California in 2017 to be closer to her family and bring her experience of yoga to her hometown. Marianne believes movement and breath in sync can connect us to our bodies deeply and awaken the intuition within. She aims to bring fun and joy into to every class. Her strong and sweet voice guides students through practices that leave them feeling cared for and refreshed. When she is not teaching classes, she loves hiking, swimming, singing, and hanging out with her daughter and her pets.

Stuart House

Advisor, Civil Rights Movement Veteran

Stuart (Stu) House was born into a northern Black middle-class family in Detroit, far away from the unfolding Civil Rights Movement in the South. One evening in 1960, he turned on the television news and watched in awe as young students in the South nonviolently sat-in at restaurants only to be hauled off to jail by white police officers. Realizing how Black people had been systematically discriminated against and disenfranchised for generations, Stuart, then 17, went to Mississippi to join the Movement. During his time in the Delta, he promoted Black cultural, political, and intellectual thought as a musician. Later on, he devoted most of his attention to voter rights projects in Alabama, where he was arrested in Selma for encouraging Black voters. Stuart attributes the courage and fearlessness of ordinary men and women for his involvement in the struggle for Civil Rights. “I think that their sacrifice also emboldened us to keep on fighting, to keep on struggling, because they lost their lives.” Today, Stuart lives in Northern California where he is the Director of Facilities for the Orinda Union School District.

Julia Stenzel

Advisor, Brand & Strategy

Julia not only brings a calm demeanor and presence to our team, but brings a wealth of knowledge on nonprofit strategy and brand management. She co-authored the book, "The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy, and Affinity" and has consulted for many nonprofits helping organizations become more effective in achieving their mission and goals. Julia is the team's sherpa, guiding us with her strategic expertise and parenting perspectives. She has been a very active member of the community in various leadership capacities for the Educational Foundation of Orinda and the local school district. She's also trained through Mindful Schools and has a regular meditation practice.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation

Pro Bono Legal Counsel

Christine Tringale

Advisor, Director VIVA Social Impact Partners

Christine has spent her career making an impact across sectors. She is currently 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.

She says if she could have one superpower, it would be to fly and she loves to belt out any song from Moulin Rouge! On weekends, Christine can be found exploring new restaurants, spending time with her new rescue dog Boki, and visiting with friends and family.

Mark White, Ph.D.

Advisor, 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.