board of directors

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 Baxter

Board President

bio_baxter

Anne W. Baxter came to California to attend Stanford University and promptly fell in love with the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Over the next  years, she led Outward Bound Courses and trips for Carlmont High School in the Sierras. She taught 5-6th grade in Redwood City for 8 years and during that time directed the Environmental Education program for the school district…(back then, it was called “Outdoor Education”). After teaching, Anne returned to graduate school for a degree in Clinical Psychology and has had a private practice in Palo Alto for 35 years.

Anne has practiced meditation in the Soto Zen tradition for some 40 plus years. She currently serves on the Board of Nature Bridge’s Golden Gate campus. Anne is a devoted fly fisherman and birder; she takes great sustenance from the natural world, from poetry and from her spiritual practice.


Eliza Kerr

Vice President, Instructor, Co-Founder

elizakerrEliza 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, Bikram, 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 and offering Panchakarma retreats.

Eliza lives with her husband, Nate, and two daughters, Calliope and Scarlett. While not busy with her girls, she enjoys rock-climbing, surfing, and playing guitar.


Monte Meyers

Treasurer

bio_meyersMonte S. Meyers, MBA, 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, LLC, 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 while meeting government and funder requirements.

Monte is married to Wanda and they love Yosemite! They have four children (three girls and one boy), and eight grandchildren, and aim to bring as many of them and other family members as they can to Yosemite and the Sierras. “Balanced Rock brings a holistic way of connecting people to themselves and to the great outdoors” he says. “And Balanced Rock is unique in that it serves to connect people to Yosemite in a mindful and healthy way.”

Monte has served on the Board of Directors of Nature Bridge Yosemite for 17 years, and serves on the audit and finance committees of the Nature Bridge. He also served for six years as Chair of the Backpacking Section of the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings program in the SF Bay Chapter, and led many trips to the great outdoors with inner-city youth, who otherwise might not have had 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. He loves seeing his grandkids, and loudly cheering on the San Francisco Giants!


Marcia Hodges

Board Member

bio_hodges Marcia Hodges was one of the first Board members for Balanced Rock.  She was very eager to accept the responsibility because she was on the very first backpack trip when the program was called “Wild Women Workshops”.  That trip had a profound impact on her life and she was more than happy to help provide similar life-changing opportunities to other women and men. 

Marcia has 30+ years experience in management roles for nonprofit organizations.  She currently serves in consulting roles as an interim executive director and facilitator of strategic plans and board development discussions.  Marcia is passionate about helping nonprofit professionals find balance in their lives as they build their professional acumen.  This passion was definitely sparked by the Staff, Board and programming of Balanced Rock, for which she will be forever grateful.


Pete Van Kuran

Secretary

petePete Van Kuran and his wife Virginia have been living in Palo Alto, on the San Francisco Peninsula, for over 50 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 60 trips into the Yosemite backcountry. Today he enjoys introducing his grandchildren to the joys of the High Sierra and especially Yosemite.

Now retired, he spent an 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. Pete serves as secretary of the board for Balanced Rock and as treasurer for another Yosemite non-profit: Restore Hetch Hetchy. He is also an active project participant of the Alumni Consulting Team of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Brenda Ostrom

Board Member

bio_BrendaOstromBrenda 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.


Maggie Jones

Board Member

For the past 9 years, Maggie been working for NewBank, a company her father started 45 years ago. She works in the Marketing department, marketing NewsBank’s products to Public and Academic Libraries worldwide and entering new markets for which their products may be of value.

18 years ago Maggie first visited Yosemite National Park. Struck by its majestic beauty and drawn to the unique community, she quickly made it her home and spent the next 8 years of her life there raising her 3 children.
Although life has since moved her home base to Naples, Fl., Yosemite and the community within it remains to hold a large part of her heart. Maggie is honored to have the opportunity to be on the Balanced Rock Board of Directors to help share the magic of Yosemite with others.


Rosa Aranda-Lister

Board Member

bio_rosaRosa has always considered Yosemite the special place it is and to her fortune 17 years ago her path crossed with Balanced Rock (then known as “Wild Women Workshops”). Rosa participated in Balanced Rock’s backpacking trip in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, Alaska in 2001. This experience was life transforming and that was the beginning of her endless connection to this great non-profit organization. 

After retiring as an Administrative Professional from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2013 she returned to Balanced Rock for Advanced Yoga Training and was certified as a Yoga Instructor (200-RYT).  Rosa always shares and promotes Balanced Rock’s mission and values.  She offers donation-based yoga practices in her community and sends all of the proceeds to Balanced Rock.


Sarah Cupery-Ottley

Board Member

bio_SarahCuperyOttleySarah Cupery Ottley joined the Balanced Rock Board of Directors in 2014. Sarah is the Executive Director of Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC), a youth development nonprofit empowering underserved youth through integrated literacy and wilderness experiences. She has worked in the field of environmental and wilderness education since 2002 and brings to Balanced Rock an expertise in risk management, nonprofit administration, and fundraising.

Sarah personally enjoys the outdoors through backpacking, rock climbing, and other adventure activities, but she also values time to garden, read and write in nature. She is particularly inspired by the mission of Balanced Rock, because other people are able to connect to themselves, humanity and nature through our programs. As she explains, “These connections make individuals better citizens of our communities, country, and planet.”


Yvon Chouinard

Member Emeritus

bio_yvonYvon 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

Member Emeritus

sheltonShelton 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.