Tanuka Gordon – Founder / Executive Director (aka Chief “Experience” Officer)
Tanuka spent her career working in user experience and product management for technology companies, where much of her time was focused on how to create meaningful product experiences that engage the customer. Now after starting Mindful Littles, she applies her professional background to create inspirational experiences (i.e., the Mindful Littles Experience) for youth and families to help children be compassionate. Tanuka oversees the organization’s vision and strategy, designs the programs and events, and loves connecting with and inspiring youth. Tanuka also teaches kids yoga and mindfulness in her local community and facilitates design thinking workshops. She is trained through Mindful Schools, YogaKids and YogaFlowSF. Her daily mindfulness practice is an important way for her to stay grounded.
“My children are my greatest teachers and my greatest source of inspiration. They are the reason I first journeyed into mindfulness and the reason I am inspired to integrate mindfulness and compassion into our daily lives as a family. They are the reason I started Mindful Littles. I want my children to view mindfulness and kindness as a natural and organic part of their everyday lives. I want them to thrive in a community where kids are more conscious and aware of themselves and others; where they are kind, and where they can safely, freely and confidently express their authentic selves. As I continue my own mindfulness journey as a parent, as an adult, and we continue to learn as a family, I want to share what I learn on our Mindful Littles blog, where I’ll continue to post reflections. I hope that we can create a community where littles are inspired to Live in their Hearts, to be in tune with their own inner light so that they share this light with others.”
Mary Patel – VP of Pizzazz
Mary is passionate about the Mindful Littles mission and has been with Mindful Littles since the inception piloting the first project in Tanuka’s backyard. Mary not only ensures that our events operate and run smoothly but that our events always have pizzazz. She oversees the finest details of our custom events- from managing the arts, crafts and activities to designing our brochures, programs and banners. Mary can be found spray-painting and stenciling crates for firefighter events to cutting out 400+ random acts of kindness to hand out to kids. Our events have a “Pinterest-able” quality because of Mary’s thoughtfulness and dedication. Mary has been trained through Mindful Schools and through YogaKids to teach mindfulness and yoga to youth and has a daily mindfulness practice.
“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.”
Julia Stenzel – Mindful Sherpa
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 our 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. We are grateful to have Julia on our Mindful Littles crew and are looking forward to the Mindful Littles mountaineering journey with her.
Maya Vasudevan – Shutterbug Ninja
Maya joined the Mindful Littles team after attending our first Haiti event, and brings an infectious giggle and genuine warmth to the team. Maya is not only our resident photographer but she also has ninja-like skills with her love of data and her ability to source the most eccentric finds for our events like seven tree logs for our nature program. Maya has completed coursework through Mindful Schools, and has participated in various kid-friendly meditation and mindfulness programs Since her children were toddlers, her family has enjoyed meditating together as part of their nightly bedtime routine.
“In recent years, mindfulness has been an important tool and valuable skill for my family to help find calm, focus, and balance in our hectic lives. I was excited to join Mindful Littles to be able to take part in a local, community-based activity that teaches children about both mindfulness and service. In addition, I have had the opportunity to work with a fabulous team and meet wonderful people from the community!”
Molly Hanahan – A.C.E. (Arts, Crafts, etc) Connoisseur
Molly joined the Mindful Littles crew after attending our inaugural event. Since then Molly has been an incredible member of our team always bringing positive enthusiasm, creativity and willingness to help out in whatever way she can. She has an eye for the fine details and creativity and always ensures that our event experiences are filled with a lot of love. Molly has completed training through Mindful Schools and loves spending time with her beautiful family outdoors.
Ninon Shesgreen – Maker, Giver, Creative Nest-Builder
Ninon Shesgreen is a creative genius and has a heart of gold. This incredible combination manifests in unique awe-inspiring products she creates through her own company Vagabond Ruth. Prior to Vagabond Ruth, Ninon spent years working as a teacher for the hearing-impaired. She has been dedicated to Mindful Littles since attending our first pilot event. For our Diversity program, she contributed countless hours to create a beautiful handmade quilt of the American Flag- representing “Different Hearts, United As One.” This quilt will now be rotated each year through different faith-based institutions in honor of World Cultural Diversity Day. Soon after our Diversity project, we adopted her into the Mindful Littles family to help infuse our team with her sweet energy and creative prowess.
“My children teach me patience, understanding, grace, and my own capacity for all encompassing love. I try to teach them in turn, that they have unique gifts to contribute to this big, wonderful world. This personal belief is mirrored in the mission and message of Mindful Littles. Kids need opportunities to learn empathy, compassion, inclusion and that we all, large or small, can help. Kindness, like laughter, is contagious.”
In addition to our dedicated crew above, there are some other notable volunteers and many more from the community who have been instrumental to Mindful Littles. We are grateful for their ongoing support.
- Julie Atkinson
- Sarah Bennett
- Danielle Castro
- Sharon Castro
- Yvonne Ling
- Sonali Perera
- Rob Seitelman
- Betsy Shandalov
- Jill Targonski
- Iris Wu
Join our Crew
We are looking for volunteers and leaders to help out at our events, find new partners and help grow our organization. If you are interested in volunteering with our team, then please contact us at: email@example.com or submit an inquiry on our Contact Us form.