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Guayakí Yerba Mate - A Powerful Rainforest Experience

About Guayaki
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Team Guayaki

Management Team

Chris Mann
CEO / Chairman of the Gourd

Chris got his BA in Economics from Harvard University but quickly realized that economics conveniently forgot about sustaining the environment and protecting people. Through his experience with Guayaki and previously with Natural Flavors, a 100% organic, vegan restaurant that employed 25 people and 60 local farmers, Chris is finding that by recognizing common purpose, seemingly disparate groups can integrate social justice, environmental restoration and economic success.

David Karr
Co-Founding / Chief Brand Cebador

My passion is to share the extraordinary Guayaki story and to introduce people to the rich yerba mate culture and uplifting beverage.  I encourage people to develop a relationship with the plant and discover how mate can be a powerful plant ally in their life.  I find meaningful work in collaborating with forward thinking individuals to create sustainable, scalable, and ethical solutions to challenges facing humanity.  I love passionate dialogue, creative tension, and both connecting with and inspiring people.   I find great insight in the following quote:  "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.’”    -Howard Thurman

Alex Pryor
Co-founder Guayaki -  Chief Cebador

Born in 1971 and raised in Argentina experiencing deforestation rates increase hand in hand with poverty.  Searching for a healthier lifestyle and a liberal education, California served as fertile ground for revolutionary ideas during college years.  After sharing yerba mate for 7 years, in San Luis Obispo, together with friend, David Karr among others, the Guayaki business model was born.  Living back in Argentina, married and with two boys.  Currently leading the process of inclusive development for sustainable management practices of shade grown, organic and fair trade yerba mate together with small growers and indigenous communities.

Steven Karr
ShapeShifting Cebador

Steven has created all the packaging, literature, point of sale, and other pieces of brand identity including website, photography, and videos for the company.  Steven studied graphic design at Chico State and was studying language and fine art internationally in Europe when his brother David introduced him to yerba mate.  With a desire to help protect the planet, help people be healthier, and loving working daily, he joined David and his friend Alex to bring Guayaki Yerba Mate to the world in 1996.  Over the past 17 years, Steven has shared yerba mate with over 100,000 individuals, touring the country for 3 years in an RV, attending natural product type expos, and in every corner of his personal life.  Steven specializes in bringing Guayakí’s brand and products to the masses with a beautiful presentation and environmental sensitivity; his latest accomplishment was transitioning several of the brands dry mate products into a revolutionary biodegradable and a compostable packaging format.  He is also responsible for directing the social media, personally connecting the customers to the company and vice versa.


Global Cebador


Richard Bruehl
North American Operations Cebador

Richard has been with the team at Guayaki for over 11 years now.  Bringing with him the passion and commitment to the organic and sustainable lifestyle fostered from a BS in Nutritional Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  Starting out with his own Seasonal, Local, and Organic restaurant, Natural Flavors, his passion grew for true change on a larger scale, with steps into product development and R&D projects with several existing natural products companies.  While these efforts were rewarding, it wasn’t long before he finally realized it was Guayaki that could offer the path of true social and environmental accomplishments that we all know can be achieved.   The passion continues!

Sales Team

Ana Yazdi
So-Cal Area Events/Marketing/Special Ops Cebador

Guayaki Yerba Mate is not just a job for me, and it's not a drink, it's an integrated part of my life. I've always wanted to be involved in something that was about more than just a paycheck. Guayaki has made that dream come true. The passion for Guayaki as a company and the energy from  Yerba Mate are what fuel me everyday to help spread the awareness and goodness.

Katie Landry

Katie joined Guayaki in 2008, having previously conducted market research in the private financial sector.  She holds a masters in business administration from Tulane University, and spent four months falling in love with yerba mate (and Argentine gelato) in Buenos Aires.  Her interest in sustainable business ventures led her to Guayaki, which combines her passions for food, culture and health.  Now, inspired by Market Driven Restoration and the mental clarity of yerba mate, she spends her time sharing the good word with buyers, brokers and beverage drinkers across the Eastern Seaboard.   Katie lives in New York City, and most Saturdays you can find her strolling the Union Square Greenmarket with a gourd in hand. 


Mateo Sluder

Local Cebador

Mateo Sluder works with Guayaki because it unites his many passions while providing right livelihood.  Mateo's central passion in life is sharing the empowerment of whole food nutrition and herbs with others to help them have energy and positivity to enjoy life to its fullest.  Yerba mate's wide spectrum of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds, as well as its powerful mood lifting effects, make it a poster child for the power of nutrition and herbs.  Before coming to Guayaki, Mateo worked for 8 years as a grassroots activist in the areas of social, environmental, and indigenous justice.  During this time he earned his bachelor's degree in American Indian Studies, with a law focus.  Guayaki's activist mission of using the market for premium yerba mate to drive restoration of South Atlantic rainforest and indigenous cultures allows Mateo to build upon his previous work, empowering people and planet.  Mateo's favorite Guayaki product is Pure Endurance Bottles.

Justin Winfield Owen

Justing started working for Guayaki in the Raspberry Revolution era three or so years ago. What excites me? Yerba mate. Cold box real estate. Turftron. Signalling theory. Music. Surfing. Charger football. Abundance. And the human spirit. I'm currently (when not selling the mate experience) editing my first novel. Fun is a good thing.

Justin Bley

Nearly a decade ago, while exploring southern Brazil, Justin B was first introduced to the magic of maté.  As an outdoor enthusiast, yerba maté quickly became his "fuel' of choice on all of his backcountry adventures.  Weather sipping a hot gourd on top of a snow-covered peak in the Rockies or enjoying a refreshing "terere" on a mountain bike excursion, Justin carries the bessing of sharing the magnificence of Guayaki wherever he goes.

Michael Newton

It was over a decade ago when yerba mate was passed ever so reverently into my life by David Karr.  As I was tuning up my guitar in his living room, he comes walking in with a packed gourd and hot kettle.  Life hasn't quite been the same sense.  Soon thereafter, I was bringing a gourd into my college exams and eventually found myself driving a beautifully painted RV (La Selva) across the country sharing the wonders of this plant.  I currently reside in sunny Southern California and work in the realms of sales, while pursuing the noble art of the cebador. 


Grant Walker

SB/OC/LA Beach Cities Sales; University Cebador

Swaying back and forth to the chords that the vintage 4x4 played on the red earth, our university group dipped through the veil of butterflies and entered the jungle world of the Ache Guayaki.  A world where money hangs on trees that flourish under the rainforest canopy and local groups benefit greatly by keeping it that way. Back at this point in 2010, my young passion for drinking yerba mate crossed with witnessing, first hand, the effects of Guayaki’s business model at the Ache Guayaki’s reserve. The green light turned on and I had a radical shift in perspective related to global business; it was also during that time that I had the opportunity to start working for Guayaki.

Yerba mate propelled me through my Biology and Spanish majors as a college student with such focus and clarity that I couldn’t help but tell everyone about it. Whether it was back in the long library days at The University of San Diego or now when I’m surfing, backpacking and fly fishing in the Sierras or skiing in the Rockies, I have found no other comparable source of uplifting, performance driving energy. Yerba mate is a lifestyle that I am fortunate enough to call my job. I have the privilege of making it accessible to university students across the country and beyond, and to those that reside in the lifestyle pockets that weave along the Southern CA coast.

Jose Pepe Sanchez
Los Angeles Area Manager and Cebador
I've traveled extensively around the world and lived abroad in South America. As an alum from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and I seek to continue the learn by doing philosophy and legacy with Guayaki. I've worked at various capacities all within marketing and communications. 
As a Cebador in Los Angeles my goal is to raise our community's health and wellness awareness by way of drinking and sharing more Yerba Mate. 
I dance to Latin music, I'm an athlete and passionate about quality cuisine. Especially when I harvest it from my garden!
My favorite way of drinking mate is in a gourd with good company and a squeezed grapefruit.


Beau Seguin

Mid-Atlantic Cebador

Beau was introduced to mate from an Argentine co-worker during his high school years, he has been hooked ever since. The tradition of sharing a gourd had such an impact on Beau he began sharing mate immediately in his high school, through college, and now makes a living by doing so. "A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between work and play; labour and leisure; mind and body; education and recreation. He/she hardly knows which is which. He/she simply pursues thier vision of excellence through whatever it is they are doing, and leaves others to determine whether he/she is working or playing. To him/herself, he/she always appears to be doing both." - Francois Aguste Rene Chateaubriand

Brea Obendorf
Portland Cebadora
Yerba mate showed up in my life early on. My first sip of this potent brew came handed down to me from a Brazilian Gaucho atop his horse in the southern swampy plains of Bonito, in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil in 2006. With my travels and while working towards my BA in International Studies, la yerba consistently seemed to follow. I was often passed a gourd, as a sign of hospitality, while living and studying in the vibrant city of Buenos Aires in 2010, but truly found myself falling in love with the effects and culture of mate while hiking the rugged mountains of Cordoba, Argentina and amongst the sands of quaint Uruguayan beach towns. It was after a chance encounter with Patrick, our Global Cebador, that I embraced the opportunity for yerba mate to become an integral part of my daily life, not only in consumption, but in career. I couldn't be happier with this journey thus far; I find great joy and peace in working for a company that is aligned with my personal values and is bringing such a game changer into the marketplace. Oi, I'm Brea, a proud Cebadora on behalf of Guayaki. Sharing gourds and our mission driven company model, with passion, on the daily. Salud!
Olivia Kronemeyer
San Francisco Cebadora
"The summer before college, while perusing the aisles of a natural food store in my hometown of Southampton NY, a yellow bag of Guayaki’s loose leaf mate caught my eye. Throughout my freshman year, drinking mate gave me the boost I needed to perform on the tennis court and in the classroom. And while an interest in culture inspired me to live and study in Europe and Southeast Asia, and immerse myself in new cultural traditions, mate inevitably found it's way back into my life... and it hasn't been the same since! 
In addition to spreading the good word about yerba mate, I love riding my bike to Ocean Beach, exploring different neighborhoods in San Francisco, Motown Mondays and making Mate Latte’s for friends. 
For me, yerba mate isn’t just about the immediate clarity and positive awakening I feel when drinking a gourd; it’s also the opportunity to share culture and tradition, exchange ideas and contribute to the improvement of our amazing planet and the lives of people with whom we share it.”
Franklin Smith
Portland Cebador
I came to Guayaki after finishing graduate school in Miami, where I did M.A. thesis research on Fair Trade yerba mate in Argentina.  I was first exposed to yerba mate while living in Chile in 2008, and since then, it has accompanied me on travel, work, and study throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe.  I am continually amazed by the plant, in not only what it does for personal health, but also in the role it plays in a tradition of stimulating dialogue and openness between individuals.  I am inspired daily by the Guayaki story, and am grateful for the opportunity to share yerba mate with others, most especially when it is tied to a mission that strives for sustainability, conservation, and social justice. 


Operations Team

Janal Cruz

I came to Guayaki in 2006 as part of the Purchasing and Finance Team. Since then I have had the pleasure of discovering the joy of working for a company that shares my values.  The mission and people of Guayaki make it exciting to come to work each day.  My position at Guayaki includes purchasing and sourcing ingredients, working with suppliers and coordinating with producers to help ensure our customers receive the high quality products they expect from us.  Whether it’s an energy shot, can, or loose leaf I always have mate with me. Some of the best conversations begin over a gourd and some mate.

Kim Fetzer
Office Manager
I love what I do at Guayaki!   I have degrees from UCLA and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and have spent a lot of years, twenty, in fact, in the food and hospitality industry.   It is wonderful to be part of a company that sets the standards for promoting organics, fair trade, and sustainability from the raw source to the final product.  As the office manager at Guayaki, my role is to provide support for fellow cebadors, so that means that I do something different every day.  I might order paper and pens, set up an employee training, wrangle the office copier, manage all types of correspondence,  plan a land stewardship outing, and coordinate the purchase of brewing equipment, all by lunchtime.  It’s pretty much like “herding cats” but drinking yerba mate helps keep it all on track. Mate chocolatté in the morning and peach terere in the afternoon are my go-to favorites.

Jennifer Jordan

QA Coordinator

Taste Testing Cebadora! Quality Assurance is my game!  I joined Guayaki in 2014 and I  have carefully inspected every ingredient  that goes into making these  delicious products.  I graduated from California State University of Northridge and  majored in Consumer Science .  I have worked in the Flavor, Cheese, Meat, Baking industry and finally Mate-The Best!   I enjoy every minute I am at Guayaki.



Customer Care Team

Bobbi Willkins
Bobbi joined our Customer Care Department about 1 ½ years ago and soon proved that she and Guayaki are a perfect fit.  Bobbi processes your web orders and answers the morning phones, helping customers place orders, answering questions and solving order mysteries.  “I am very excited about our product,”  Bobbi says.  “I have moved away from the stomach churning caffeine of coffee and into healthy, energizing mate, and I enjoy hearing our customers tell me the same thing.   Our staff is wonderful….it says a lot about a business when all the employees truly care for each other and are happy to be working together.  I love my job!”


Product Fulfillment Team

Lucia Diaz
I started working at GUAYAKI almost fourth years ago as a Production Supervisor. I love to work in Guayaki; it is a great place to work
In my free time I love to play tennis, and I love the competition. In my tennis bag I always have with me RTD"s or an energy shot and always
Teabags as you can see GUAYAKI IS ALWAYS in my tennis and in my life.

The Guayaki Mate Bar

Noah Andrus

I joined the Guayaki team in 2014 as the Manager of the Guayaki Yerba Mate Cafe here in Sebastopol CA. As a long time Yerba Mate aficionado & restauranteur, joining the Guayaki family to be the face of our companies community space has been a natural fit.  My focus here is to provide the mate experience to those seeking to learn more and feed you non-GMO/organic food.  When I’m not at the cafe, you can find me kayaking, mountain biking or doing some wood working, usually fueled by some strong brewed San Mateo & rooibos.