people

people2018-11-03T21:43:44+00:00
mario yanez, funding director

ava klinger, operations manager

Ava Klinger is passionate about making connections between people and projects dedicated to building a resilient future for our planet. In her role as registrar for Gaia University, Ava has spent close to decade getting to know individuals and their projects taking her to permaculture sites and ecovillages worldwide. This is how Ava first met Mario and joined the Inhabit Earth team.

She holds a BA in Humanities and Russian History from the University of Colorado at Boulder and completed her Permaculture Design Course in 2013. She currently lives in Big Sur, California where she works remotely and is finishing up her Masters degree with Gaia University.

mario yanez, funding director

Jennifer Morgan serves as a healer, facilitator, designer, project manager, and life coach. Jennifer holds multiple certificates and graduate level degrees in fields relevant to integrative eco-social design, integral theory, emergence and consciousness.

Her most recent career highlights have been facilitating the 2015 and 2017 International Permaculture Convergences, co-facilitating the team developing the International Permaculture Co-Lab, and getting several articles published in the Permaculture Design Magazine and being invited as a speaker to the Conscious Evolution Summit.

Jennifer helped create Gaia University and was actively involved on the design team for 13-years. Inside the University, Jennifer performed as an Advisor and Teacher, and as the Director of Advisory, Mentor and Associate Services. She  also functioned as the facilitator of the Online Orientation, as project manager for the development of a Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and Gaia Radio, a student-led webinar series. She also developed and offered the Advisor, Mentor and Life Coach Training.

gary costales, board secretary

Gary Andrew Costales is an attorney with Costales Law. The Florida Bar has certified Gary Costales as an expert and specialist in the area of labor and employment law. Mr. Costales is a former EEOC trial attorney and Administrative Judge and has litigated class and individual cases throughout the United States.

Mr. Costales has also represented deserving employees in dozens, if not hundreds of contract disputes. Mr. Costales has also worked on behalf of municipalities and Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Costales occasionally publishes articles dealing with labor and employment law and also speaks at seminars.

Throughout the years, Mr. Costales has been involved in the South Florida Historical Association and the City of Coral Gables, having served on two boards of that organization and city. Mr. Costales is presently a board member of the City of South Miami’s Historic Preservation Board.

maria rodriguez, board president

Maria Alegria Rodriguez is the first Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, a bold and dynamic social movement organization that seeks the fair and equal treatment of all people, including immigrants. It builds and aggregates the connection, consciousness and capacity of its diverse membership across 10 counties in Florida. As a movement architect, Maria’s inclusive leadership has yielded impressive wins in college access, wage protections and combating criminalization, allowing more people to live, love and work without fear.

A social entrepreneur, she has co-founded or helped establish half a dozen award-winning organizations, including a free medical clinic, a housing cooperative, an arts & therapy group and an electoral entity, which are all thriving today. From foreign policy advocacy on Southern Africa and Central America, to domestic organizing for quality housing and healthcare at home, Maria brings principled and effective leadership that yields concrete results. She grew up in Puerto Rico in a multi-cultural family, is a graduate of Georgetown University and is the proud mother of Dante.

mario yanez, funding director

Mario Yanez is dedicated to envisioning and inspiring a transition toward life-sustaining, resilient human communities. He has an academic background in finance, information systems and ecology. He has several decades of experience applying systems thinking to developing and funding cutting-edge programming and creating provocative and relevant active-learning curriculum supportive of a much-needed cultural evolution. As a Permaculture practitioner, he is applying design at various scales, implementing regenerative productive landscapes, enterprises, and organizational and social systems. Mario is native to the Greater Everglades, has a home-base in the Northeastern U.S., and works globally.

mario yanez, funding director

Nathalie Zenny is an ocean-loving Conservation Practitioner with a social and international development bent. I have over sixteen years of experience managing projects. Her work has taken her to countries such as Jamaica, Haiti, the Bahamas, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, the Seychelles, Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Brazil. An ardent thallasophile (lover of seas and oceans), she is happiest by, in, on or near the water. She believe in purposeful and simple living, slow food, the kindness of strangers, and stopping to smell the flowers. Nathalie is a multilingual, multicultural citizen and ardent fan of the world.

mario yanez, funding director

shruti khandelwal, research associate

Shruti Khandelwal is an emerging licensed architect and an inter-disciplinary urban designer and researcher. She engages in dialogues for innovative ideas and problem-solving methodologies to arrive at comprehensive design solutions. She pursues her passion of research by engaging in neighborhood and community development projects by promoting ecologically designed built-environments facilitating food production systems. She has engaged in multidisciplinary research related to food, engineering, geography and regional studies, public health and nutrition. She consults as landscape architect, interior and graphic designer in the design field and data analysis and documentation and blogging in the research arena.

mario yanez, funding director

thais thiesen, managing partner

Thais H. Thiesen is a professional designer and educator focused on grassroots initiatives to help innovators grow more sustainable, dynamic and diverse communities. She received her Permaculture Design Certificate in 1999 from Douglas Bullock. She studied Landscape Architecture holds a Masters in Agroecology. Thais designed and lived in intentional communities in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and North Carolina. Her specialties include edible landscaping, ecosocial design, project management and teaching.

mario yanez, funding director

victor olefirenko, systems developer

Victor Olefirenko is an IT-guru and a programming ninja. He’s passionate about building complex online solutions to meet customers’ needs. His main principle in work is creating user-friendly environments with maximum functionality. Victor received his Master’s Degree in Computer Technology and Programming in Odessa State University in 2007 and has been taking part in various IT projects since then. Among them is the FoodPlaces platform, where he’s been working as a system developer, bringing best user experience to users around the globe. Victor lives with his wife and daughter in Ukraine and works remotely.