Board of Directors
Ellen Hall, President
Ellen Hall’s experience in education includes serving as Principal of Oak Grove School (K-12) of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America and co-founding Mountain View High School in Ojai California. Earlier she was cofounder of Laurel Springs Independent Study Program and the Cottage Coop Nursery School in Pasadena California. She wrote and published “High Schools in Crisis, What Every Parent Should Know” in 2004. Ellen left her position as the Executive Director of Meditation Mount in Ojai California to serve Alma full time.
Ellen served as Mayor of the City of Ojai, California, was the Executive Director and Co-founder of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and President of the Ojai Valley Green Coalition. She was the Director of the Ojai Valley Museum. Ellen graduated from Antioch University in Santa Barbara California.
Ellen Hall extended bio (PDF)
Julie Heyman, Secretary/Treasurer
Julie Heyman is a skilled administrator and strategic thinker with a passion for the new education. Graduated from Rutgers University as the “Most Promising Teacher” from the Education Department, she taught high school and returned to Rutgers as an Admissions Officer.
In the 1980’s she served as Assistant to the President of an international meditation organization (SYDA) and Assistant to the Director for the New York State Office of Aging in Albany, NY. Serving as the assistant and agent for author and renowned visionary in childhood and education, Joseph Chilton Pearce, she went on to become the Headmaster of Gopal Shala, a first through twelfth grade international school at Gurudev Siddha Peeth, Ganeshpuri, India. She administered several international projects for the SYDA Foundation and organized domestic and international events.
Jeanne Marie White, Director, International Coordinator
During Jeanne Marie’s 35 year career as an Architect/Educator she has applied her approach to education, speaking and teaching in grade schools, colleges, workshops and conferences in Brazil, the US and Europe. In 2004 Jeanne Marie designed, built and founded Centro Caraivas in the center of Brazil where people come to be immersed in nature and learn from their hearts, the essence of who they are. This Center accommodates up to 40 people and offers opportunities to participate in co-creating a better world. Jeanne Marie founded two schools and a theatre company, taught Art and Design at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College. She is the author of Dhyana, The Art of Silence; The Journey to Vida; and Living in Meditation. Her new book, The Light Within the Heart is an urgent call for a New Education that will respond to the new generation of minds emerging on the planet.
Michael Lindfield, Director
Michael Lindfield is a highly regarded consultant and coach with over 45 years of international experience in helping individuals and organizations unleash the creativity of the human spirit to meet the needs of our times and the call of a brighter future.
Michael learned his craft from a broad range of experiences that include: a 14 year residency as a gardener and as Director of Education at the Findhorn Community in Scotland; small-scale organic farming in western Sweden; conducting seminars and presenting at conferences around the world on the theme of ‘transforming self and society’ and as a senior organization development consultant with The Boeing Company from 1989-2005.
He is author of ‘The Dance of Change: an Eco-Spiritual Approach to Transformation’ and numerous articles featured in psychology, education and business journals. Michael has studied and applied the Ageless Wisdom teachings and been involved in Creative Meditation since the late 1960s.
Michael is co-founder of The Science of Group Work initiative and currently serves as Board President of Meditation Groups Inc. (MGI) that is responsible for the welfare of Meditation Mount in Ojai, California. He is also a resident member of the Community of Living Ethics in Umbria, Italy.
Caryn Bosson, Director
Caryn Bosson has been leading nonprofit organizations for more than 30 years, and has been a resident of Ojai since 1993. From 1997-2007 she was the founding Executive Director of the innovative Ojai Valley Youth Foundation. This organization was founded on the principle that young people thrive when they are included, connected, and respected members of the community, and not only that, the community thrives as well. By involving Ojai’s teens as leaders, and connecting them with adults as mentors and partners, the OVYF developed programs, events and services that launched hundreds of Ojai’s young people to discover their gifts and become proactive citizens. Caryn has received several awards for her work, including being named as an Ojai Living Treasure.
For the past 8 years Caryn has been serving in various leadership roles at the Los Angeles based environmental nonprofit, TreePeople, developing a deeper understanding of what it takes to effect systems change at the level of individual action. A graduate of University of California Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies, she is completing a Masters of Science degree in Organizational Leadership.
Tim Hall, Director
Tim is a man of many passions and accomplishments. Concurrently with his years as a Master Teacher, his dedication to the health of the planet has taken him into agroforestry in Mexico, Asia and Africa. He is also engaged in locating water for wells in drought stricken So. California. He has been an agricultural consultant and a land manager.
In Tim’s decades in the classroom, he has taught over 20,000 students at all grade levels. Bilingual, he has individually tutored many students with special needs in high schools, junior high and elementary.
As a Master Teacher he has taught teachers the various aspects of the profession, including classroom management without threat or fear, and bringing lessons to life. Timothy has a BA from CSUN and his Teacher Training from USC. He has taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Ojai Unified School District and private schools. He brings his passion for learning, a global perspective and profound connection to nature.
William Hall, Chief Financial Officer
Bill Hall retired as a partner at KPMG, LLP, in the Information, Communications, and Entertainment practice. Bill has served primarily in the technology and software segments and has been involved with numerous initial public offerings, secondary and debt offerings, and mergers and acquisitions. He has also advised the structuring of complex business combinations for many public and private companies as well as SEC reporting and compliance issues for his public clients. Through his 19 years at KPMG, LLP, Hall has assisted clients in IPOs, secondary equity offerings and private equity sales aggregating to several billion dollars. Hall received his B.S. in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from California State University, Northridge. He is a Certified Public Accountant in California.
Lydia Gracing, Director of Administration and External Affairs
Lydia has over 30 years in the field of personal and organizational transformation. She is an expert in translating large initiatives into practical learning solutions and high impact organization development processes.
Lydia has worked with a wide range of organizations including healthcare, telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing and government. She brings a distinctive blend as a leader in a Fortune 100 company and an external consultant.
Lydia is a licensed Institute of HeartMath® Coach, a certified Practitioner of Appreciative Inquiry from the Corporation for Positive Change. Her overarching goal is to uplift, inspire and help individuals reconnect with their reservoirs of joy, creativity, and fulfillment.
Michael Rubalcava, Content Producer
Over the last 28 years Michael has been involved with television shows, feature films, marketing and training content, within a multitude of industries and locations throughout the world.
This experience has imbedded a deep understanding of production and what is needed to make a production successful. If you were to ask Michael, “What is the one thing that you need to make a production successful?” He would tell you, “Relationships”. The ability to build strong relationships within the industry has been one of Michael’s greatest assets
His marketing, entertainment and promotional projects include such companies as Disney, DreamWorks SKG, Meta Creations, Equity Toys, National Geographic, American Film Institute (AFI), Sony Playstation and PBS. Michael founded two production companies who among other things produced two seasons of a nationally syndicated TV show. Michael is skilled as a producer, cameraman and editor and has been part of a freelance team since 1995 that has produced several Emmy award-winning projects.
Over the last decade Michael has been an intricate part in the creation and production of training and educational programs for several diverse sectors of business. Michael decided to focus exclusively on content creation and distribution within the corporate and entertainment industries and he continues that work today.
Suzie Nixon, Development Director
Suzie Nixon brings a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship to non-profit organizations dedicated to healthy community for everyone. Through program planning, dynamic partnerships, grant writing, and fun(d)-raising strategies, she enlivens the capacity and vision for meaningful processes and outcomes, collaboration, and self-actualization. Community-building programs initiated and developed by Suzie include: Inventures (entrepreneurial training program for young women ages 16-21) and the Ojai Valley Wellness Village (one of ten in California through the California Wellness Foundation),
For the last 10 years, Suzie was the Director of Alumni Relations, Grants and Stewardship for the Thacher School in Ojai, CA. For the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation she managed the Annual Fund and Endowed Funds, the stewardship of donors, grant writing and strategic planning. As a co-founder, she served as the fundraiser a well as instigating public/private partnerships for the benefit of youth. At Girls Inc. of Carpenteria she did fundraising, grant writing and innovative program development as well as budgeting and serving the Board of Directors
Tyler Suchman is founder and principal of Tribal Core, an internet strategy consultancy in Ventura County, CA, which was founded in 2002 and named one of the 2007 Top 40 Under 40 by the Pacific Coast Business Times. Tyler also founded Towngiving, Inc., a 501(c)(3) dedicated to creating sustainability for non-profit organizations at the local level. As partner/Chief Strategy Officer of Dennison+Wolfe Internet Group, he owns and operates numerous Ojai websites, including The Ojai Post, a community blog with 4,000 daily visitors. Tyler serves as a Director of the Ojai Valley Green Coalition.
Tyler is a frequent speaker on web strategy, internet marketing and social media. He is a guest lecturer at Pepperdine University – Graziadio School of Business and Management and California Lutheran University as well as on the faculty of Ventura County Community Foundation.
Recently retired from his life-long business, Brian is interested in functioning as an angel investor for principled endeavors that are focused on introducing more beauty into the world. He has been involved in both non-profit and for profit boards over the past 30 years. Past board positions have included a symphony orchestra, a hospital, and a trade association. Currently, in addition to Meditation Groups Inc., he serves on corporate boards of a manufacturer, a retailer, and a community bank.
Darakshan ‘Dave’ Farber
Darakshan Farber serves as a “connecter” immersed in the arts, community organization, and emerging spirituality. He was a software architect for thirty years, and co-founded Sandpiper Networks which developed Internet technologies that eventually became “the cloud.” He is a graduate of Suluk Academy as well as the Nine Gates Mystery School, and created the Seven Pillars Journey of Wisdom, an immersive “transformance” experience based on the Seven Pillars. He is currently a nomad on a world walkabout.
Elinore Detiger began her global work at the United Nations early in her life. She travels extensively linking people and supporting initiatives for a better world. As a philanthropist and humanitarian she helped found the University for Peace in Costa Rica, the International Council of Wise Women and the Millionth Circle Initiative. She is a Fellow of the Findhorn community and maintains residences in Iona, Scotland and the Orosi Valley, Costa Rica. Her spiritual strength and relentless support of the women and children of the world make her a valued advisor.