Our board members are the wisdom keepers of our organization. They come from a myriad of lifestyles and experiences and are dedicated to the Balanced Rock mission. They are a very hands-on part of our organization. We are honored to have such a rockin’ board!
Anne is a psychotherapist who has had a private practice for over twenty-five years. She works with individuals and families. Her psychotherapy is grounded in a spiritual orientation. She began her own meditation practice in the early 1970’s with Suzuki Roshi and Kobun Chino Roshi. This has provided a touchstone for her work and her life ever since. Before getting her license in psychology, she taught in the public school systm and ran the Environmental Education Program for the Redwood City School district. She also led Wilderness Trips for Carlmont High School and taught for Outward Bound. The Sierra mountains have always felt like home to her.
Vice President, Instructor, Co-Founder
Eliza is passionate about making the world a better place through cultivating personal balance and awareness and facilitating others doing the same. For Eliza, connecting with the natural world and yoga have been two powerful forces for growth and peace. In her work she aims to share these experiences so that others may reap the benefits.
Eliza has been living in Yosemite since graduating from UC Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies in 1993. She has been leading people on adventures in the outdoors since 1989, working for Yosemite Institute, Outward Bound in Colorado and Alaska, Where There Be Dragons in Tibet, and Wild Women Workshops in Alaska and Yosemite.
Eliza first discovered yoga in 1991 while living and studying in Nepal and India for a year. Since then she has been a passionate practitioner, studying a variety of styles including Iyengar, Bikkrim, and Ashtanga with Pattabhi Jois and her primary teacher, Richard Freeman. Eliza has been teaching a blend of these styles in Yosemite since 1995 with an emphasis on breath, flow and joy. She was certified as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist from the California College of Ayurveda in 2000 and is currently practicing Ayurvedic medicine in Yosemite.
Eliza lives with her husband, Nate, and two daughters, Calliope and Scarlett. While not busy with her little girls, she enjoys rock-climbing, surfing, and playing guitar.
Monte S. Meyers, MBA, CMA, has over 30 years of experience in the fields of accounting, strategic planning, budgets, financial systems, accounting processes, and financial reporting. He is the founder of Shining Star Consulting, helping nonprofit organizations improve their financials systems and processes, pass audits, create effective budgets, develop clear policies, and produce timely financial reports.
He has a passion for helping nonprofit organizations achieve their missions. His work in creating sound accounting systems and practices for his clients helps the leadership and managers of these organizations to understand their financial position and capacity, make important decisions with timely and useful information, and meet government and other funder requirements.
Monte is married to Wanda. They have four children (3 girls and one boy), and six grandchildren. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Monte has served on the Board of Directors of NatureBridge Yosemite for 12 years, and serves on the audit and finance committees of the NatureBridge. He also served for six years as Chair of the Backpacking Section of the Sierra Club’s highly acclaimed Inner City Outings program in the SF Bay Chapter, and lead many trips to the great outdoors with inner-city youth, who otherwise might not have the opportunity to see the mountains and stars. And he is the Treasurer for Balanced Rock Foundation. For pure enjoyment, Monte sings tenor with the UC Alumni Chorus, and loves seeing the San Francisco Giants play ball!
Marcia has worked in the nonprofit sector for 30 years, with 25 years experience as an executive supervising staff, balancing budgets, fundraising and working with Boards of Directors. She is currently the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area. Prior to that assignment, she was Chief Operating Officer for YMCA of the East Bay in Oakland, CA, and formally the Vice President of Operations for Yosemite National Institutes.
Marcia was a participant on the very first Wild Women Workshops yoga/writing and backcountry trip in 2000. After this life empowering experience, she’s been an enthusiastic participant, donor, and volunteer ever since.
From a very young age, Marcia’s family took frequent camping trips to local, state and national parks. She still enjoys birding with her Mother of 80 years old. She’s become an avid bicyclist, hiker, kayaker and tri-athlete. She focuses on being in a state of meditation during these activities.
Marcia is excited to be linking her love for the outdoors and creative arts with her nonprofit management expertise to help launch Balanced Rock. Real joy is in helping others find inner peace.
Nicole brings to Balanced Rock a passion for facilitating experiences in which people connect to nature, themselves, and others. She is a firm believer in, and has experienced first hand, the power and vital importance of the courses that Balance Rock offers. She was a participant on their first course, and has also served both as a course instructor and marketing director.
Professionally, Nicole has applied her focus of educating, inspiring, and empowering others and working towards positive change in a variety of ways. She currently serves as Program Director at Sierra Business Council, working on collaborative projects that address economic prosperity, community well being, and environmental vitality. She worked with Patagonia Inc. on reaching environmental and social goals. Nicole also collaborated to launch an affordable green housing business, is a published researcher on eco-entrepreneurship, and has worked as a LEED certification project manager. Nicole has over 10 years of experience in education, including teaching science in Mammoth Lakes, field instruction for Yosemite Institute and Outward Bound, and curriculum development and grant writing for environmental education programs.
Her degrees include a Masters in Sustainable Business, a Masters in Teaching, and a BS in Environmental Policy and Behavior. Her strengths include her ability to connect well with others, her balanced analytical skills, and a focus on implementing solutions. Nicole has a deep love for backcountry skiing, climbing on granite, and swimming in alpine lakes. You are likely to run into her frolicking through the Sierra with her contagious smile.
Pete Van Kuran
Pete Van Kuran and his wife Virginia have been living in Palo Alto, on the San Francisco Peninsula, for over 30 years. Pete has been an avid climber and backpacker since his first trip to Tuolumne Meadows in 1958. Since then, he has made more than 50 trips into the Yosemite backcountry. One of his personal goals to accompany his one year old grandson to the summit of his namesake – Mt Lyell.
Now retired, he spent active career in business, working for a variety of Silicon Valley icons including Hewlett Packard, Tandem Computers, and Wind River Systems. Most of his business activities have been customer focused either in sales or marketing and business operations, and he brings this background to help Balanced Rock move to the next stage of its development.
Brenda Ostrom embodies sustainability in action as the founder of the local Yosemite Community Supported Agriculture organization Mountain Meadow Farms. She raises both chickens and tomatoes on her farm, delivers local, organic produce to the Yosemite community, educates local schoolkids on the food chain, caters through her company Naked Catering, and advises the National Park Service on transportation management and visitor capacity issues.
Pam Kuhn has been working in branding, communications, marketing and public outreach for over 20 years. She began her career as a graphic designer in San Diego for award-winning studios. After a month-long, transformational hiking trip in New Zealand, Pam joined the Peace Corps in 2004 in search of a higher meaning for her life, and served as an environmental educator and community development volunteer in a mountainous, remote, tribal village in the Philippines for over two years.
Upon her return, Pam became an interpretive park ranger at Yosemite National Park, focusing mostly on public involvement in planning efforts, event planning, Wilderness best practices, and communications with the public. While in that position, she received an incredible opportunity to help plan and implement the first ever National Parks Institute seminar, a partnership with UC Merced, which brought park leaders from around the globe to California for an 11-day leadership training. From 2010-2012, she became Balanced Rock’s executive director where she focused her marketing efforts on building the brand. Her current path has taken her to Sonoma and Marin counties where she currently continues to use her communications expertise for Marin County Parks.
She lives in the north bay with her ecologist husband and beautiful son where they’ve purchased a small family farm that they are in the process of rehabilitating. Beyond her family, her passions are exploring the natural world, yoga, and all aspects of sustainable living.
Rosa’s passion for yoga began in 2001 when she connected with Wild Women Workshops (now Balanced Rock). Quickly, she acquired a love for the meditative and cleansing practice.
Recently Rosa retired from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where she worked for 23 years as an Administrative Professional. Inevitably, these changes evoked her love for nurturing in nature, and a passionate ambition to pursue yoga teacher training with Balanced Rock.
In addition to yoga, Rosa enjoys hiking, walking, biking, and just about anything outdoors. Her family is the focal point in her life. She has raised four boys with whom she is extremely close. She has five grand-children and five step-grand-children.
Sarah Cupery Ottley is the Executive Director of Adventure Risk Challenge, a youth development program that integrates literacy and wilderness programming to empower underserved high school youth in Northern and Central California. While earning a Bachelor’s of Music degree from Wheaton College in Illinois, Sarah spent her summers working at National Parks in Arizona, Alaska and California. After solidifying a passion for adventure and a love for wilderness, Sarah began a career in environmental education, spending five of seven years in this field at Yosemite Institute (now NatureBridge).
In 2009 Sarah joined the staff team of Adventure Risk Challenge and led the launch of a new program site in Yosemite and the Central Valley. Sarah quickly gained a passion for the field of youth development, and it took very little time for her to see first-hand the effective of ARC’s programming. During the five and a half years that she has been employed with ARC, Sarah has been the Course Director of Summer Immersion Expeditions, the Outreach Coordinator for the Central Valley Programming, the Program Director and the Executive Director of the organization.
Sarah speaks conversational Spanish and has been certified as a Wilderness First Responder for twelve years. She has received additional training in nonprofit leadership, fundraising and grant writing, organizational risk management, expository reading and writing education, and youth development. Sarah enjoys traveling, backpacking, rock climbing, running with her dog, and playing the fiddle in a bluegrass band called The Trespassers.
Yvon Chouinard is founder and owner of Patagonia, Inc., based in Ventura, California. He began in business by designing, manufacturing, and distributing rock climbing equipment in the late 1950’s. His tinkering led to an improved ice axe that facilitated the French ice climbing technique and is the basis for modern ice axe design. In 1964 he produced his first mail order catalog, a one page mimeographed sheet containing advice not to expect fast delivery during climbing season. Business grew slowly until 1972 when Yvon added rugby shirts to his catalog and his clothing business took off.
In the late 1980’s, Patagonia’s success was such that Yvon considered early retirement. In some ways he would have preferred to disappear into the South Pacific with his fly rod and surfboard. However, he decided to continue directing Patagonia’s course, in part to use the company to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. As part of this goal, Patagonia instituted an Earth Tax, pledging 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. In 2001, Yvon, along with Craig Mathews, owner of West Yellowstone’s Blue Ribbon Flies, started One Percent For The Planet, an alliance of businesses that contribute at least 1 percent of their net annual sales to groups on a list of researched and approved environmental organizations.
Yvon spends much of his time in the outdoors and serving on the boards of numerous environmental groups. I work every day of my life. My job is to be the “outside” man, studying lifestyles around the world, coming up with ideas for new products, new market trends, seeing that Patagonia stays relevant in a rapidly changing world.
Shelton Johnson is renowned for his National Park Service interpretive work and living history program telling the near-forgotten story of the Buffalo Soldiers—African-American cavalrymen who played a pivotal role in protecting Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park at the turn of the century. Shelton featured prominently in the 2009 Ken Burns PBS documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” He has been widely recognized for his poetry, literature, interpretation, and his role in helping to connect people of color to national parks, and he was recently the recipient of the Freeman Tilden award—the highest award offered by the National Park Service in Interpretation. Shelton is the author of “Gloryland,” historical fiction that traces the path of a Buffalo Soldier. Shelton, a native of Detroit, Michigan, has worked as a U.S. Park Ranger since 1987, and attended Graduate School at the University of Michigan, majoring in Poetry. He is passionate about connecting underrepresented and non-traditional visitors to Yosemite National Park and to the outdoors in general.