Guayakí Yerba Mate - A Powerful Rainforest Experience
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.
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
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 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.
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!
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Having experienced different career choices, I feel that I have finally found my niche here at Guayaki. I have an AA degree in Business Admin and Economics and a BS in Physical Education. I have held positions from office management to book keeping to hospitality to coaching. I have lived in Sebastopol since 1980 and am now raising my own kids here. I started at Guayaki in 2009 and work in Finance and Quality Control. I feel blessed to come to work every day, to such a positive environment, with people who are so passionate about the product we produce, and what we stand for. The things I like best about Guayaki is how everyone works together. It is really refreshing to be in a non-competitive (internal) work environment. I was first introduced to Guayaki, in 2006 by a girl, on my track team, who would religiously drink it before every practice and every meet, (she turned out to be a very successful athlete). I am passionate about our products and what they stand for. It is not just a beverage, it is a mission. I carry samples in my purse to hand out to everyone. Guayaki is the best place to work, and I look forward to being here for many years to come.
Customer Care Team
I started working with Guayaki full time in 2006 managing our wholesale division and stellar customer care team. With over 10 years in the specialty beverage industry it was Guayaki’s commitment to ethical and sustainable business practices that inspired me to join this team of amazing people. I love music… making it and listening to it, being outdoors, sharing yerba mate and the Guayaki story with folks. When I am not at work you can usually find me backpacking or sitting on a porch with my old guitar, a gourd, and some animal friends.
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
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.
I am Mason the dread pirate of the warehouse. A salty sea-dog from the desert, I sail the placid plane of the warehouse flying my wreath flag, plundering pallets-o-product to send to my fellow Mate mates. Punching the clock I give a hearty har har knowing that I am helping to keep swarthy profit lovers from pillaging the riches of the rainforest. Raising my gourd high I give a salute to my Teamateys for a campaign well waged. Arrrrr!!
The Guayaki Mate Bar
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.