Our Team

Tanuka Gordon – Founder / Executive Director (aka  Chief “Experience” Officer)

family-photos-2016-4Tanuka 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.

Cheryl Haritatos- Director of Community Development
Cheryl was the former Director of Corporate and Community Development at Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. While working there she specialized in building relationships with companies and community groups to support the House, both financially and with the gift of their time. She brings these unique set of skills to Mindful Littles helping us build and grow our community development program.
“Working at the House opened my eyes to the world of medical breakthroughs and heartaches and the emotional roller coaster that families go through, especially the siblings of the hospitalized children. If all our littles have the tools to stay grounded among turmoil and to have the heart and compassion to help those around us, the world would be a better place. Compassion isn’t sprouted overnight, it needs to be taught at an early age, nurtured and set into practice. Community and the sense of giving is very important in our family and Mindful Littles is spreading that love to littles and bigs alike.”
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.”

Notable Volunteers

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
  • Maya Vasudevan
  • 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: info@mindfullittles.org or submit an inquiry on our Contact Us form.