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!

Pete Van Kuran


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 President 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.


Eliza Kerr

Vice President, Instructor, Co-Founder


Eliza has been living in Yosemite since graduating Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies in 1993. She has been leading people on adventures in the outdoors since 1989, working for NatureBridge (formerly Yosemite Institute), Outward Bound in Colorado and Alaska, Where There Be Dragons in Tibet, and Wild Women Workshops in Alaska and Yosemite. Eliza co-founded Balanced Rock in 2007 and since then has served as an instructor. She has served as both President and Vice President of the Board of Directors.

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, with whom she has completed two month long teacher trainings, as well as twelve other week-long intensives. 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 also holds Ayurvedic certificates from the Amercian Institute of Vedic Studies, Rishikesh College of Ayurveda, the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, and the Ayurvedic Institute. She is currently practicing Ayurvedic medicine and offering residential Panchakarma in Yosemite.

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. 

Monte Meyers


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 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 20 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.

For pure enjoyment, Monte sings tenor with the UC Alumni Chorus. He loves seeing his grandkids, traveling, 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.

Anne Baxter

Board Member


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.

Koren Stewart

Board Member

Born in New Orleans and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Koren’s journey with yoga began over 14 years ago. It wasn’t until moving to California over 10 years ago, that her family encouraged her to complete the 200-hour RYT training with the Balanced Rock Foundation. It was during this time that she fell completely in love with Yosemite National Park and the beauty of California.  

Although Koren is currently a Loan Officer for the US Government, teaching yoga fulfills her desire to help others realize its overall health benefits. Koren feels that she can reach more people who may not feel comfortable or have the means to go to the local yoga studio. She is the owner of, her side business. Koren’s professional background is in financial management, speaking engagements, and facilitator of diversity and inclusion practices. In 2006, she represented the State of New Mexico in the Mrs. United States Pageant, an adventure she refers to as comical and enlightening. 

Koren is the mother of two grown boys, Tyson and Dillon. Along with the multitude of tasks of being a mother of two boys, Koren and her family spend time hiking, exploring, and enjoying the great outdoors as much as possible. They often return to Albuquerque to visit her mom Aimee and their family. Koren and her husband have started construction of a yoga studio in the New Mexico Jemez Mountains, so they can host seasonal retreats, off road adventures, and guided tours of New Mexico’s cultural and aesthetic features.

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.

Kerry Carter

Board Member

Kerry Carter, MBA, lives in Austin Texas. He has over 30 years of experience in the field of IT Consulting, software project management and small disadvantage business consulting. Kerry has held various leadership roles with IBM, Deloitte Consulting and National Instruments. He was the creator and co-founder of FlowYoga, one of the first Vinyasa focused Yoga studios in the community of Cedar Park, Texas. Kerry sold the business in 2017 but the vision and designed mission lives on with the growth of 4 yoga studios across the greater Austin area.

Kerry ventured on his first Yoga retreat in Yosemite with Balanced Rock in 2012 and was hooked! He has been on several retreats with BR since. Each and every retreat has brought about such wonderful inspiration, self-reflection, and total respect for nature and its needed preservation.

Kerry is married to Brenda and between them they have four grown children, and five cute grandchildren.

Kerry personally enjoys yoga, the outdoors through backpacking, hiking, road tripping in our airstream, and snow skiing. Kerry is grateful to support the vision and mission of Balanced Rock and helping to reach its overall goals and objectives.

Robb Hirsch

Board Member

Biologist by training, naturalist by heart and photographer by passion Robb Hirsch has an intimate relationship with the natural world. This connection was established early during annual childhood visits to Yosemite, forging a bond with this magical place. Following an undergraduate degree from UC Irvine, he began a career as a field biologist, working on a variety of projects for California State Parks, USGS and several private firms. Concurrently, his love for traveling and exploration led him through Africa, Central America and the Western United States. Photography was originally a means to document his work and travels but soon became the focus. His photography has been featured in international competitions, calendars, magazines and gallery showings and he leads customized, small group photography workshops in Yosemite and surrounding Sierra Nevada. Robb’s debut book, The Nature of Yosemite- A Visual Journey, published in 2019 by the Yosemite Conservancy combines imagery of the park with text teaching about the natural history. In 2002 he and his wife moved to Groveland, CA, where they still live with their son and two dogs, and opened Mountain Sage a combination photo gallery, coffeehouse, music venue, plant nursery and gardens. His images and more info can be found at

I endeavor to create visually compelling images that evoke emotion and an appreciation for the natural world that surrounds us. -R. Hirsch

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.