When we gather together great things happen
MEET OUR TEAM
Ilana Nankin Ph.D.
Founder & CEO, Lead Trainer | Leader of Love
Breathe For Change is my vision manifested into a global movement transforming lives through humanizing education.
Five words that describe me are loving, inspiring, unstoppable, leader, and teacher.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Facilitating life-changing learning experiences that create space for people to fully step into their whole and brilliant Selves, and through the process, individually and collectively transform themselves, their relationships, and their communities.
How did you end up on this team? I started this team! As a former pre-kindergarten teacher in San Francisco, I was—like millions of teachers—stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked, which brought me to my first yoga class. Yoga transformed my well-being, and I started integrating some of the practices into my classroom with my pre-K superstars, and saw unbelievable benefits in them both social-emotionally and academically. In 2012, I moved to Wisconsin to become a teacher of educators and pursue my Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at UW-Madison's School of Education. For my dissertation research, I created a social-justice oriented community of practice to support some of the pre-service teachers I had taught in translating their social justice ideals into action in diverse classrooms around the world during their first year as teachers. Through my research, I found that these teachers were stressed and overwhelmed, just as I had been, but had few to no tools to take care of themselves. This diminishing cycle of well-being revealed the critical connection between teacher well-being and effective teaching, and inspired us to implement wellness practices into our lives and teaching.
At the same time that the issue of teacher stress and burnout was surfacing through my studies, my current students—pre-service teachers who were doing their practicum teaching in schools in Madison—found out I was a yoga teacher and asked if they could rent out space for me to teach them yoga once a week in the student union. Of course, I loved this and said, "Yes!" After we started practicing together, students would constantly approach me and share the ripple effect: "The kids who typically have anxiety attacks before tests are now utilizing breathing techniques to calm themselves down and their test scores are increasing!" Or, "My students who often fight with each other or have tantrums, are now doing mindful movement to make better decisions." Seeing the power of these practices unfolding before my eyes, and knowing how under-prioritized teacher self-care is, inspired me in January 2015 to start the world's only 200-hour wellness and yoga teacher training specifically for educators. The moment I created this vision, I started telling everyone I interacted with, and within months it transformed into a movement—Breathe For Change.
What is your wellness and professional background? I am a former pre-K teacher, teacher educator, entrepreneur, transformational facilitator, and E-RYT-200 yoga trainer. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Psychology and Education, was a 2009 Teach For America corps member in San Francisco, and received my Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at UW-Wisconsin in 2016. I integrate my wellness experience with my pedagogical expertise to develop the curriculum and vision for Breathe For Change.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Yoga for sure! Coming to my mat every day brings me home. I truly believe that as educators, we must embody the practices we teach.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? To be honest, I spend most of my "free time" living and breathing Breathe For Change. Breathe For Change has become my family, my community, and my passion, and it continues to expand to include so many of my loved ones. I feel so blessed that work feels like play, and that thousands of people I love are on this path alongside me every day!
Co-Founder & President, Lead Trainer | King of Creation
Breathe For Change is creating an education system designed to unleash humanity's true potential.
Five words that describe me are authentic, purposeful, present, inspired, and grateful.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? I love witnessing people create harmony between their minds, bodies, spirit, and world.
How did you end up on this team? I have known Ilana since 2013. At first, when she was just starting B4C, I'd advise her on how to make it "a real business." Then I stopped by training one day and was immediately inspired to write a poem. She had me share the poem on the spot with the group, and it was one of those magical moments where time stops and everything just fits. I told her: "Give me a two-month trial period as your partner and we'll make this the real deal." She did... and the rest is history :)
What is your wellness and professional background? I have always lived my life as an active exploration of being human. I have sustained a devoted spiritual practice including meditation, yoga, and shamanic practices for 9 years. Professionally, I studied physics and math at University of Michigan, and then started a few tech startups that are still thriving today.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Since I was young, I have always connected deeply with native wisdom and healing traditions. My favorite wellness activity is connecting with nature through meditation, music, and dance. It cultivates unity between my humanity and divinity; between my individual self and the universe at large.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? I love to be present to all of life's mystery through freestyle rap, writing, reading, and hosting creative events.
COO | Queen of Quality
Breathe For Change is an organization that I am proud to share my talents, passions, and time with.
Five words that describe me are passionate, loving, dedicated, ambitious, and mother.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Joy as a leader comes when collaboration, communication, hard work, and trust contribute to all team members achieving personal and professional success.
How did you end up on this team? After 10 and a half years working for an electronic medical record company, personal and family life called me to do something that fit into our current lifestyle and aligned with my passions.
As an elementary education and Spanish graduate, I’ve always had a heartfelt connection to young people, school communities, and education, so when I received a call introducing me to Breathe For Change (after a brief chat with a recruiter in Madison), it felt like a dream come true! I met with the recruiter around 9 a.m., and by 8 that evening Michael and I were chatting in the exact same coffee shop I'd been in that morning.
Leaving our meeting, I had butterflies in my stomach and knew I wanted to join the team. Over the next couple months, I continued to cultivate a relationship with Michael and Ilana and joined the team shortly after that! It's been an incredible journey thus far, and I am so excited for what's ahead
What is your wellness and professional background? I have a degrees in education (grades 1-8) and Spanish.
After college, I landed in an atypical teaching position as a corporate trainer at an electronic medical record company in Verona, WI. There I taught physicians and nurses how to do their medical charting in an electronic medical record, while managing teams, completing a variety of project management/ process improvement projects, and assisting the sales team and HR teams. After joining Breathe For Change I received my 200-RYT certification through B4C's training.
What is your favorite wellness activity? I love road biking! It is an incredibly peaceful yet vigorous way to explore nature while getting great exercise. I also love taking early morning walks as I watch the sun rise. The sounds of nature help me reflect and collect my thoughts for the upcoming day.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? Free time!? As a working mother of three young children, I don't have much free time in my life right now! With that said, I absolutely love camping and traveling with my family, cooking and baking, listening to music, biking, hiking, and practicing yoga, photography, date nights with my husband, and spending time with family and friends.
CFO and Director of Technology | Prince of Process
Breathe For Change is a movement to transform education by improving the health and well-being of teachers and school communities.
Five words that describe me are curious, optimistic, happy, enthusiastic, and dedicated.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? A well-designed process running at scale! I enjoy thoughtfully developing systems and processes to support our incredible team members in producing world-class educational experiences.
How did you end up on this team? A very fortunate string of events! A number of years ago I met Michael, our President, when I was starting college at the University of Wisconsin around the same time he was starting a co-working space near campus called 100State. 100State was a really unique place populated with startups, freelancers and creative-types which opened my eyes to a world of opportunity outside the standard career path idea with which I had grown up.
Fast-forward to my senior year, as a finance student I suddenly caught the programming bug and desperately wanted to become a software developer. I graduated from business school and with no software experience, took a cashier job at a deli which allowed me to study when nobody was in the store. I figured I could teach myself the basics and look for internships in the meantime...
Lo and behold, in walked customer Michael, and after not seeing each other for over a year we made sure to grab coffee and catch up. Michael introduced me to the young startup he was now apart of called Breathe For Change. "We're looking for a developer", he said, "but we don't have any money to pay you. So if you want to figure it out as you go and work for free that is okay with us!" My first software gig! One thing led to the next — I set up our financial systems, built a Salesforce knock-off to manage our customers, pitched in wherever needed and have been at it ever since! I've been with Breathe For Change since late 2015 and still pinch myself that we get to do this every day.
What is your wellness and professional background? My background is in finance and software development. Yet while I may hail from the business development world, with Breathe For Change I have been pleasantly surprised how a few simple techniques (like non-violent communication) can have a profound impact on my relationships and happiness.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Socializing with friends! After college as friends began to disburse across the country it became clear that maintaining friendships would take my active participation and it has been a source of joy to stay in touch with old friends.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? I will get intensely consumed by a hobby before moving on with abandon. It's currently soldering and browsing travel sites but stay tuned for next month's activity :)
Director of Trainings, Lead Trainer | Empress of Execution
Breathe For Change is my dharma and life's work!
Five words that describe me are tall, powerful, lifelong educator, earthling, your advocate and friend.
As a leader, what brings me the most joy? Seeing the teachings of yoga and self-care take root in our trainees and begin to do their magic. This work has been around for thousands of years for a reason, and watching our trainees develop a personal connection to these practices and bring them to life in their own lives and in their classrooms is my deepest joy and greatest purpose.
How did I end up on this team? My journey to B4C began in the classroom—I was a stressed-out teacher in desperate need of healing and a space for self-care. Through yoga I found what I was looking for and learned the true meaning of social-emotional learning. I became passionate about incorporating these teachings into my classroom and building educator skill and capacity in these areas.
As I began to grow in my own training and leadership in these areas, my path began to overlap with our founder, Ilana. She was looking for a Bay Area teammate and my name was brought up through a mutual acquaintance (who was actually one of our first B4C trainees)!
We eventually ended up bumping into each other at a yoga class and grabbing a cup of tea afterwards. Once I learned about the mission of the organization and its focus on educator well-being I knew this was a movement I wanted to be a part of! I jumped on board as our first full-time employee and have been rocking ever since.
What is my wellness and professional background? I was a classroom teacher for five years and hold credentials both as an education specialist and in the teaching of multiple subjects. I taught elementary special education for two years, fourth-grade general education for two years, and spent a year as a wellness program coordinator teaching yoga and wellness to middle schoolers in grades 5-8. I am also certified in the RULER approach, a social and emotional learning program from the Yale Cognitive Laboratory.
I completed my own 200-hour yoga certification at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center, San Francisco, in 2014 and am currently completing my 500-hour certification in their advanced program. Between teaching at Laughing Lotus and at Breathe For Change I have well over 1000 teaching hours and am an E-RYT 200 through Yoga Alliance. My areas of speciality include yoga philosophy, anatomy, yin, asana, hands-on healing, and SEL*F.
My favorite wellness activity is... I love my early-morning yoga and meditation routine! On my mat I feel more like myself—expansive, abundant, and connected to everything around me. My daily practice teaches me how to cultivate and grow my own joy and more skillfully navigate all that the rest of my day has to bring.
In my free time, what are a few of my favorite things to do? Beach walks with my partner and dog; taking uncomfortably close photos of my loved ones on my new camera; pretending I'm Georgia O'Keeffe and painting watercolors of the southwest; tapping into my midwestern upbringing and baking pies; digging for a good find in my local thrift stores; making playlists and then playing them loud enough to get in trouble with my upstairs neighbors. ;)
Laurie Sleep, Ph.D.
Director of Admissions | Khaleesi of Kindness
Breathe For Change is making the world better.
Five words that describe me are positive, kind, supportive, analytic, and fun-loving.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Supporting, encouraging, and empowering others.
How did you end up on this team? I was looking for a way to connect my two passions—education and yoga—and found B4C!
What is your wellness and professional background? I am a life-long teacher (and student). I taught elementary school for seven years before going back to grad school to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics education and an MS in mathematics. For 10 years, I taught math content and methods courses for preservice teachers, led professional development for practicing teachers, and conducted research on teaching and learning. During that time, I began regularly practicing yoga, first to manage chronic pain, but then got hooked on both the physical and mental benefits. I wanted to share this amazing practice with others, so I earned my initial 500-hour certification through YogaWorks and started teaching yoga. I currently study with Annie Carpenter and am an Advanced SmartFLOW Graduate with over 500 hours of SmartFLOW training. In addition to teaching yoga classes and trainings, I teach Hiking Yoga and lead retreats and workshops that integrate yoga, hiking, and nature as a way to facilitate connection and groundedness.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Hiking and yoga (separately or together)! I love being outside in beautiful places. I love to work hard and to let go. I love to focus on the journey, not the destination. I love the peace and groundedness created by both.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? Hiking and backpacking, yoga, being in nature, and spending time with family and friends.
Director of Trainer Recruitment, Lead Trainer | Maven of Matchmaking
Breathe For Change is a place where I can pursue my passion and purpose in the company of extraordinary, inspiring people.
Five words that describe me are kind, authentic, sparkly, and tenacious dreamer.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Seeing the impact that teaching yoga has on all beings and the ripple affect of this transformational practice. As folks begin to rediscover their most authentic Self and experience the pureness of joy, I feel inspired!
How did you end up on this team? It was after one of my yoga classes at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in San Francisco that this bubbly, cheerful young woman bounced over to thank me for being the "best teacher ever!" (Little did I realize this was to be my soul sister and future CEO, Ilana Nankin.) About a year later, I came onboard the first Bay Area training as a guest Holistic Nutritionist and had an absolute blast. My hope was to stay involved as a retreat leader and guest teacher for B4C, but as soon as Ilana told me about the company's mission, pedagogy, and values, I was hooked and quite literally said, "Forget it—I want to work for you for the rest of my life!"
After attending a transformation leadership training in upstate New York, it was clear to me that serving as a trainer for this incredible organization was my dharma (or purpose). During the summer of 2017, I joined the San Francisco and New York City trainings as an asana content trainer; in August, I came aboard the full-time team as the Director of Talent; and I continue to co-lead trainings and lead asana training as well as work on the recruitment, trainer development, and curriculum teams.
What is your wellness and professional background? While I was dancing professionally on Broadway, yoga came to me as a way to reduce my own stress, anxiety, and injury. I fell in love with the practice and soon became a certified instructor in 2010. After getting married in 2014, I took a leap of faith and moved from New York City to San Francisco to devote my life to health and wellness practices. Now based on the west coast, I am an E-RYT 500 and teach vinyasa yoga at Laughing Lotus Yoga and B4C. This year, I will also complete my M.S. in holistic nutrition from Hawthorn University.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Yoga and chanting on my harmonium—I love the wondrous fusion of movement, spirituality, mantra, and philosophy that comes from both the practices of asana and bhakti!
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? Soul Cycle; hikes around San Francisco with my husband; exploring new restaurants; reading historical fiction novels; swimming or laying out at the beach somewhere warm. :)
Director of Operations
Breathe For Change is a life-changing dream that’s coming true.
Five words that describe me are genuine, goofy, pragmatic, enthusiastic, adventurous.
As as leader, what brings you the most joy? Seeing those I work with come into their own and achieve their version of success.
How did you end up on this team? After 8 years traveling as a project manager for a large healthcare IT company, I took some time off to stay home with my new kiddo and reassess what I wanted to do. Breathe for Change popped up, and I immediately knew I wanted to be the super practical person behind the scenes, enabling these amazing, creative dreamers to spread their vision.
What is your wellness and professional background?
I graduated from the University of Michigan where I focused my studies on sociological and political systems, the pedagogy of intercultural learning, and the major forces of global change. After graduating I moved to Madison, WI to work and travel as a project manager and division leader at a large healthcare IT company. During that time, I learned that I love to work with team members to define success and creating tangible plans to achieve their goals, as well as geeking out over building easy-to-use technology.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Any activity that my body calls for that day! Whether that’s rolling out my mat for restorative yoga, going for a long run outside, or powering through burpees and weights. Sometimes, it's just booking a pedicure and reading a novel. Each day is different which keeps me energized and challenged.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? Lately, I’ve been tackling DIY projects with my family for our new home, nerding it up at game night with friends, and pretending I’m on the Great British Bake-Off. But to break me out of that routine, I love to leave the US and immerse myself in a completely new country.
Lead Trainer | Magician of Mysteries
Breathe For Change is a process of transformation...
Five words that describe me are beyond the mind and body.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? To see others light up in their own leadership.
How did you end up on this team? I meditated on my life's purpose for months, and one day I saw B4C's ad pop up on Instagram. It was the only Instagram ad I ever clicked on! Ten days later I stepped in to support and lead workshops in their first New York City training ever, and now I lead the B4C trainings and support content teams across the nation!
What is your wellness and professional background? I grew up in India practicing yoga, meditating with my parents and studying Indian classical dance (Bharatanatyam). I hold a B.A. in dance, theater and visual art from Pomona College, and an M.A. in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I completed a year-long training in yoga education in Mumbai, India. I have taught yoga at the Harvard Wellness Center, directed programs at a community makerspace, and helped establish the first altschool in New York City. I have led several wellness-based professional developments for educators across the world and envision a world where every child learns yoga at school and at home!
What is your favorite wellness activity? Yoga, dancing, and nature walks! All are good for mind, body and soul. :)
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? Cooking yummy ayurvedic food, reading, writing poetry (check out @soma.yoga.poetry), and traveling all over the globe.
JusTme (Timothy Scott Jr.)
Lead Trainer, Mindful Hip-Hop Artist | Curator of Creativity
Breathe For Change is motivation.
Five words that describe me are artist, meditator, tough-loving, big-hearted, intuitive.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? What brings me joy as a leader is encouraging others into seeing their inner leader come to the surface of their being in their actions, and then leading/following with them as we see fit.
How did you end up on this team? Really, I joined B4C by happenstance, divine time/connection, and collective inspirational chemistry with the founding team. About two and a half years ago, I was at a school in Madison, WI, doing some work with a group of folks from Dr. Richard Davidson's Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. This is where I met Marci Speich, who was working with Ilana. Later that month, I received an email from Ilana. Next, she, Michael, and I had dinner and... well, here we are now B4C-ing everywhere. :-D
What is your wellness and professional background? For about four to five years now, I am a mindfulness instructor. I am certified as a 200-hour yoga teacher through B4C (WOOP WOOP) and have been for a year now. Through JusTmindfulness, I teach and perform in schools nationwide, and my Mindful Hip-Hop is being used and listened to worldwide.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Meditation and Yoga. Yoga gives me a clearer "innerstanding" of where I am as far as body, mind, and breath are concerned, so I may better carry myself throughout the day/evening. Meditation gives me space to tap back into source and self; I don't like being checked by others (even though its necessary sometimes) but I love checkin' myself. ;-)
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? In my free time, I like to:
cook w/ Ang
ghill with family and friends
to name a few... :-)
Community Engagement Lead | Curator of Confidence
Breathe For Change is the blink of an eye for an educator, and an everlasting impact on the future of our society.
Five words that describe me are creative, passionate, deep, adventurous, loving.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? I am overjoyed in moments when those around me are able to embrace the full spectrum of their being; accepting darkness and light, and experiencing the depth of their wholeness that opens us up to unity.
How did you end up on this team? I had always wanted to become certified to teach yoga, as this practice has brought me immense healing and peace, and in the spring of 2017, I completed the program. The experience not only deepened my self love and yoga practice, but inspired my passion for social justice in our education system. It is because of this that I am now a trainer for B4C as well as an Outreach Ambassador.
What is your wellness and professional background? During my undergraduate studies at Manhattan College I earned a B.S. in allied health science with a focus in nutrition, and a minor in psychology. I hosted “healthy hours,” led yoga for my peers, and launched a “campus cooking series,” as well as interned and worked at an eating disorder recovery facility in lower Manhattan. While these experiences were meaningful to me, tutoring my peers in anatomy and physiology ignited my love of teaching, and I decided to become an art teacher in order to incorporate the creativity that always lived inside of me into the learning process. Becoming a teacher is what presented me with the opportunity to join Breathe For Change; being a part of this organization has allowed me to combine each of my passions in order to be of service to others.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Yoga would have to be my favorite wellness activity as it is so dynamic: I can enjoy a gentle flow one day and challenge myself with an inversion the next!
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? Whenever I have free time I like to engage in a creative activity, whether that be drawing, painting, bullet journaling, or any other type of hands-on craft that allows me to experiment with materials and create new connections in my mind!
Lead Trainer | Goddess of Gracefulness
Breathe For Change is
Five words that describe me are
Video Lead | Master of Media
Breathe For Change is an undeniably transformational experience.
Five words that describe me are creative, musical, quick-witted, empathetic, and tech-savvy.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Sharing videos with the world that hopefully have a positive impact on others.
How did you end up on this team? I was recommended by the fabulous Robin to shoot freelance interviews and create some social media ads. I then took on the ChangeMaker project and have transitioned into a full- time employee.
What is your wellness and professional background? I graduated with a music degree in percussion, and traveled the world playing drums for various Broadway shows. On the road I fell in love with documenting my travels and taught myself how to shoot and edit video. When I stopped touring extensively, I turned that passion into a business. In the wellness profession, I’ve produced online courses and promos for some of the top Pilates instructors in New York City.
What is your favorite wellness activity? I enjoy meditation and regular massages. It’s important to take time out for yourself to reflect on your successes and how you can get better in the future.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? My wife and I love to travel. I’ve seen a baseball game at 22 of the 30 major league baseball stadiums. (Seattle, hopefully coming for you this summer.) I also love flying my drone to get cinematic Instagram videos. :)
Lead Trainer | Guru of Growth
Breathe For Change is changing the way that we value educator well-being and teach our children!
Five words that describe me are kind, powerful, thoughtful, funny, and silly.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Empowering others to make shifts that transform their lives.
How did you end up on this team? I studied abroad with Ilana back when we’re 20 years old! We became fast friends and stayed in close touch over the next 8 years. When she launched Breathe For Change, I was in the midst of a career move and considering what I wanted to do next. Michael and Ilana told me about their vision for B4C and I decided to jump in! What a journey it’s been.
What is your wellness and professional background? I taught middle school science for a few years and also taught ESL when I was living abroad in Cairo, Egypt. I worked for a few exciting education technology companies in my 20s - Amplify and Coursera among them - in both business development and product leadership. I’m now in graduate school for clinical and positive psychology at Columbia University and in Tony Robbins coaching certification program. I love working 1:1 with clients as well as leading larger trainings as part of Breathe For Change.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Meditation, basketball and connecting with close friends. These activities bring me into flow state - where I am totally present and focused on what I am doing and who I am with. They also relax me and bring me inner peace and outer bliss!
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? I love to travel, I love to play basketball, swim and bike; I love to listen to live music and I love to connect with friends and family. I’m a bit of a self growth junky (the best kind!?) and love to grow and learn more about why I do the things that I do and why others make decisions and choices.
Lead Trainer | Minister of Mindfulness
Breathe For Change is growth.
Five words that describe me are authentic, open, curious, mindful, and agentic.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Listening and learning.
How did you end up on this team? I met Ilana and Michael after a fortuitous suggestion from a mutual friend, Laura. It was an immediate spark of friendship, through shared values and ways of seeing the world. We share a love for education and yogic science, so we joined together on the journey.
What is your wellness and professional background? I currently work as a research coordinator at the Stanford Mind & Body Lab and have served as a holistic athletic optimal performance coach for the past few years.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Formal and informal meditation is my favorite wellness activity as it serves as a catalyst for optimal health and wellness in all other realms.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? Exercise, hiking, college football games, coaching, playing poker, and watching Netflix!
Lead Trainer, Philosophy Lead | Trailblazer of Truth
Breathe For Change is
Five words that describe me are
Lead Ambassador | Goddess of Gratitude
Breathe For Change is often overwhelming to sum up. Basically, it is necessary for all humans to experience.
Five words that describe me are curious, determined, compassionate, positive, and demanding.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? I love mentoring people. Anything I can do to deepen someone's life experience professionally and personally brings me joy.
How did you end up on this team? After teaching yoga to adults and two- to eight-year-olds, I saw Ilana posting about Breathe For Change on Facebook. While I love children and have a passion for teaching elementary school, I am drawn to supporting the most important people on this planet (educators) with their own well-being and self care so they can avoid stress and burn-out. I reached out to Ilana to see how I could get involved, and the rest is history! I have had the privilege of being on the training team in New York City and Los Angeles, and it has been an incredible journey. I hope everyone in the world gets to experience a training at some point in their life!
What is your wellness and professional background? I am a Reiki Master, 500-hour certified yoga instructor, and IIN health coach. I have also trained in MBSR and MovNat. I believe we have to look at each human being as a whole and that integrating health and wellness practices into all aspects of life—spirituality, career, social life, relationships, home environment, home cooking, finances, and education—is key to leading a healthy and happy lifestyle. After earning my master's degree in childhood education and special education at Hunter College, I taught in both public and private schools in New York City as well as worked for the New York City Department of Education in the Office of School Wellness Programs, where I trained teachers how to do more physical activity with students in their classrooms by blending movement with academics. I also spent time working in advertising sales at A+E Networks.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Yoga and MovNat. People can become so disconnected from their bodies! These practices keep me grounded and help me connect my mind, body, and breath.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? In my free time, you can find me deepening my wealth of knowledge of holistic wellness, cooking delicious meals in my kitchen, and escaping the city for hikes and nature.
Executive Assistant & Support Lead | Princess of Paperwork
Breathe For Change is changing the world, one teacher at a time!
Five words that describe me are quiet, loving, dedicated, wife, and mother.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Making a difference.
How did you end up on this team? A mutual friend sent me a message asking if I would be interested in this position. I replied that I would be interested in learning more. I reconnected with Michael, who introduced me to Ilana. It was love at first sight! So blessed to have found a position that fits me so well.
What is your wellness and professional background? I was introduced to mindfulness a few years ago through UW Health as a way to reduce stress. I had the privilege to take the course with my husband and it was life- changing. My professional background has varied, from daycare provider to sales professional. I'm finally finding my happy place here at B4C!
What is your favorite wellness activity? Mindfulness, because it grounds me and truly makes me the best me I can be.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? I love to spend time with my husband, three daughters, and our golden retriever, Yogi! My "free" time typically includes attending soccer games and cross- country meets to cheer on my girls! I read as much as I can!
Lead Trainer | Hero of the Heart
Breathe For Change is the essence of self care, self love, and being of service.
Five words that describe me are playful, creative, devoted, disciplined, and funny.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Seeing my students have break throughs. Creating space so that they facilitate their own awakening.
How did you end up on this team? Sam and Talia began coming to my yoga classes at Laughing Lotus NYC and invited me to come in as a guest teacher to teach a Bhakti workshop in 2016. I came back as a guest teacher in the spring of 2017 where I met Ilana and Michael. We instantly connected and was brought on as the lead asana trainer in Madison, NYC, and D.C. This is my first time stepping the role as lead trainer! I'm also a curriculum expert for the company.
What is your wellness and professional background? I am an ERYT 200 Hour Teacher and a 500 RYT Yoga Teacher. I was certified at Laughing Lotus Yoga center from their 200 Hour and 300 Hour Teacher Training program. I am a full time yoga teacher in NYC teaching at Laughing Lotus, Woom Center, B4C, and Equinox. I lead teacher trainings internationally and want to inspire my students to embark on the holy science of transformation.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Asana, Mantra, and meditation.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? I like to eat, have pedicures with Ilana, an arts patron, musician, performer, and lover of life.
Ambassador | Tigress of Trainees
Breathe For Change is a launch pad!
Five words that describe me are ambitious, outgoing, silly, talented, and kind-hearted.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Seeing transformation happen. Contributing to others' journeys in a positive way is a big part of my life's purpose. Witnessing any kind of breakthrough brings me so much joy.
How did you end up on this team? I attended the B4C Austin Summer Training in 2017; it was something that felt right for me from the start! It became a life-changing experience and I was so excited to be able to jump on board as an ambassador and help manifest this change for so many others! Following what has called to me and joining this team as an ambassador and support trainer is allowing me to bring light and love to others in a greater capacity.
What is your wellness and professional background? I have a B.A. in dance and theater, with a concentration in kinesiology and contemporary dance. I have used movement to heal others as a teacher and coach for the past ten years and have been practicing yoga and mindfulness for seven years. I'm passionate about helping to address the mental health crisis in this country, starting with our youth.
What is your favorite wellness activity? I love restorative yoga and meditation because of how amazing it makes me feel; it calms my mind and tunes me in fully! I also love long walks, hiking, and kayaking.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? I love writing, reading, dancing, nature, my kitty, my family, friends and community and acro-yoga!
Meditation Content Lead | Ether of Embodiment
Breathe For Change is love in action.
Five words that describe me are love, passion, adventure, wacky, and wise.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? The joy in leading comes from supporting others in knowing, loving, and embodying their most whole, brilliant, and powerful selves. I find joy in practicing leadership that empowers others to be leaders.
How did you end up on this team? I first crossed paths with B4C while living an extreme version of my yang entrepreneurial self, working on a software startup with Michael Fenchel. I thankfully followed a voice inside my heart that spoke of deeper fulfillment, leaving my job and beginning a journey of meditation, yoga, and art. I came to know the other extreme version of my yin self while working as a meditation trainer for B4C and studying visual arts. Since then, I have been dancing on a more Middle Path, leading a spiritual and entrepreneurial lifestyle as both National Meditation Lead and ChangeMaker Product Lead for B4C.
What is your wellness and professional background? I'm a 200-hour RYT, an art and wellness teacher, and a meditation trainer. I have studied and practiced many paths, including Kundalini yoga, Vipassana Meditation, Buddhism, and Christian Mysticism.
What is your favorite wellness activity? My favorite routine is a heavy workout to sharpen and focus the mind, body, and spirit followed by an opening yoga class for alignment and finally a grounding meditation for connection, clarity, and channeling.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? I'm an adventure artist who loves photography, ceramics, metalsmithing, slack lining, acro yoga, roller blading, camping, snowboarding, scuba diving, tree and rock climbing, and basking in the sweet sun!
Lead Trainer | Sorceress of Sunshine
Breathe For Change is wellness-focused, mindfulness-filled, transformational community goodness.
Five words that describe me are sunflower, teacher, listener, (acro)yogini, and vegan.
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? As a leader, it brings me the most joy to create a space where each individual feels comfortable, welcomed, and inspired to show up fully and share freely as they connect with themselves and others. Each one of us is a part of the same spark!
How did you end up on this team? I let go of something else to create space for something new. While working in my corporate role, I continuously felt the desire to focus more on empowering others in their own well-being. At this time, I taught about 12 yoga classes on the side each week because I loved building community and supporting others in their practice on and off the mat. Within a couple of weeks of leaving my full-time job, I learned about Breathe For Change through a friend. To learn more, I attended Madison Nonprofit Day and met with Michael for a Meditation Break and spent time with Sarah in Legs Up The Wall. They were so down-to-earth, and I felt so connected to this work! A few days later, Michael and I met to see how I could support B4C. The following week, I became our fourth employee. Now, more than two years later, I continue to share my passion for wellness practices, creative marketing, and community building each day.
What is your wellness and professional background? Wellness: Since the sixth grade, it feels like everything I've done has had a wellness component to it! My curiosity and passion for wellness practices are endless! When I began college, I really developed a committed yoga practice and appreciated its presence in my life, on and off the mat. Half way through college, I received my 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certification through Inner Fire Yoga in Madison, WI. Within my first few years of teaching, I had taught more than 1,000 hours in studios in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. I received my E-RYT. With Breathe For Change, I share my expertise in asana and anatomy with our trainees.
Professional: At UW—Madison, I studied marketing, international business, and Spanish. I conducted research with the Adolescent Health Research Team and marketing research Department. Additionally, I spent time working in marketing and design at an underwear company and in inventory planning at a major retailer. I continue to study digital marketing and social media strategies.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Rolling out my mat with fresh air and no expectations is my favorite wellness activity. Each day, my home practice looks and feels totally different. It is my time and space to completely honor my physical and emotional feelings, explore my expansiveness, and embrace the playful journey of life in all of its variety. Sometimes, my practice involves kitty snuggles or dance outbreaks. Other times, my practice involves a mindful stroll or partner poses. Oh, and I especially love practicing yin and acroyoga!
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? In my free time, I love strolling along the water, snuggling with our two purr-babies, Buddy Bhakti and Baby Buddha, cooking yummy vegan eats, hiking through the Oakland Hills or Muir Woods, and practicing yoga with community. I love sharing any and all of these things with my partner, family or friends!
Lead Trainer | Freestyler of Philosophy
Breathe For Change is for Purpose
Five words that describe me are Toss up between flowing in a fantastically fun yoga class full of cool beats and lying on a bunch of bolsters and other props in restorative yoga (aka advanced napping).
I have been studying and teaching yoga for 20 years after discovering the practice during my rehabilitation from painful spinal conditions and chronic stress. I’m a former news broadcaster turned communications exec turned book author and solo-preneur who believes yoga is the answer to everything, including long lines at Trader Joe’s and bad haircuts.
How did you end up on this team? A bit burned out by the business of yoga, my friend Robin Wilner (Director of Talent) said, “I have a job for you.” After my first B4C training, I felt a renewed purpose for teaching within a smart platform to convert ancient knowledge into modern wellness and social good. Robin is the Maven of Matchmaking and nailed it when she matched my yoga brain with leading philosophy, and I am honored to be all in.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? Explore new places, traveling with my husband and mini golden doodle, cooking efficiently and healthily, and being a couch potato binge watching Japanese reality shows.
Kristin "Cricket" Redman
Designer | Baroness of Branding
Breathe For Change is an amazingly complete yoga teacher training program plus a movement for building real supportive change in schools.
Five words that describe me are curious, driven,
As a leader, what brings you the most joy? Watching people grow and thrive in their work.
How did you end up on this team? As a yoga teacher, and owner of a creative agency who works for a lot of education policy organizations, it's been a lovely stroke of luck to be introduced to Ilana, Angie, and Michael and to help them evolve the brand, website, and manual design. This has been a labor of love to work with the team to support this amazing movement—and a dream come true.
What is your wellness and professional background? I completed my 200-hour YTT certification with Sianna Sherman in Los Angeles and am wrapping up my 500-hour YTT certification with Christina Sell and Giaconda Parker. I was trained in neela kantha meditation with Paul Mueller Ortega and have studied philosophy with David Brooks and Christopher Hareesh Wallace. I teach at a couple studios in Madison but have also run a creative agency called Cricket Design Works in Madison, WI, since 2002.
What is your favorite wellness activity? Yoga, meditation, and skiing.
In your free time, what are a few of your favorite things to do? I love to cook and I love to dance and sing, preferably at the same time.
Writer & Editor | "Wizard of Wordsmithing"
Breathe For Change is
Five words that describe me are
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