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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 Cebador / VP Marketing

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 -  Latin America 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.

 

Patrick
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

Saskia Baur
Sales Coordinator

Ana Yazdi
So-Cal Area Manager
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
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.


Bernadette Goldstein
It has been my pleasure to work with Guayaki since June 2007!  I work with the National Grocery and Specialty distributors and retailers to bring Guayaki to the shelves of the Grocery stores.  Beautiful Sebastopol CA, (Guayaki home office) is home for me and my wonderful husband and daughter.  I enjoy eating and drinking well, and Guayaki’s Pure Heart is my favorite RTD !


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.

Andy Ford

NYC Cebador

I joined the Guayaki team in 2011 and manage business for the NY Metro area as well as the northeast.  I’ve been in the beverage industry for 8+ years and reside in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  There is a greater meaning to mission-driven companies that feature organic or sustainable ingredients and this has certainly drawn me to Guayaki, not to mention their tasty mate…!  When I’m not sharing the mate experience in NYC, I’m often at: live music venues, the beach, a snowy mountain on a snowboard, a pond/stream with a fishing rod or a boat within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  One Love-Bup Bup.

 



Operations Team


James Farag
I manage the Purchasing and the Inventory at Guayaki.  This includes everything from managing the import of the yerba mate through customs and into the U.S., sourcing and procuring ingredients for our TB Blends, beverages, and packaging materials, as well as ensuring we have enough finished goods on hand to fulfill orders at our various warehouses.  I started in March of 2002 at an entry-level accounting position and have grown with the company into my current role.  One of the joys of my job is working at a company that shares many of my core values about organics, fair trade and sustainability while making a real difference in the lives of people in South America through our reforestation and social justice programs.  All this, while living in beautiful Sonoma County – Life is good!


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.

 

Julie Beaty

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.

 

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.
 
 
 
 
Iain Maissen
San Francisco Cebador
 
I love music, the outdoors, snowboarding, sharing Yerba Mate, and most of all helping people. Yerba Mate is more than just a drink or a plant, it is a way of life.  Helping people has always been a passion of mine and being able to make both a social and environmental impact globally through the power of sharing his unique plant, is a blessing and a privilege. Mate crosses many boundaries and can be shared with all types of people from many different walks of life. Yerba Mate allows me to walk side by side with those people on giving  me glimpse of their unique journey in life and helping me learn and grow with each unique expeirence. My favorite drink , besides out of the gourd, is the Citrus and unsweetened Terere. My favorite part of sharing Mate, besides learning from others, is the looks on peoples faces when they take their first sip and seeing them smile and  lives change in just one sip.
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
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!


Customer Care Team


Scott Turner
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 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.


Mason Ringer
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