Staff • Board • Contractors & Volunteers • Senior Fellows
Small team, big hearts, hard work. Our staff works to care for this organization, its spaces and programs, and its future every day. Many hold multiple roles in our self-organizing system. You can click the photos or links below to see all the ways they serve.
Thomas lives onsite and works with the team to ensure all participants and visitors find a welcoming home at the Institute. He supports the land and facilities, helping to create an environment that facilitates the life-affirming work happening here. As a photographer, filmmaker, contemplative juggler, and teacher of movement awareness, Thomas seeks to inspire a sense of wonder and delight in our relations with Earth and Other.
Sommer started working with us in October 2018. In addition to her work with the Whidbey Institute, Sommer loves spending time with family. She’s a homemaker with a six-year old stepson, Reece, and a partner, Jason. They have two dogs and a cat, and enjoy baking, cooking, board games, and movies.
After many years as a Whidbey Institute program participant and volunteer, Cathy joined the staff to work on database and fundraising projects. Her past work in eco-outreach and regulatory compliance connected businesses, communities, and agencies to practical changes that make a difference. Cathy’s husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grand-dogs help ground her passions and hopes. She’s a board member at Sound Circle Center, a Waldorf adult education institute. Rowing on Seattle’s Duwamish River helps keep her happy. Engaging in ways to be a better human keeps her humble and inspired.
When she’s not at the Whidbey Institute keeping our office in order, Madisun runs her own brand of community merrymaking as a freelance events coordinator and operates a non-profit program under the Whidbey Island Arts Council. In her free time, she can be found on a nearby farm with her husband, a rescued street-to-farm dog, and four hilarious ducks.
Holly is a mission oriented, passionate, and experienced business strategist. Her academic and professional expertise ranges from industrial engineering, manufacturing, and marketing to economic development, business development, and grassroots network development.
Lety’s professional interests range from science and marine biology to climate action and social service work. She is passionate about food security and affordable housing as it relates to homelessness, and explored both during a previous position with a community land trust on Orcas Island. She has extensive international living and travel experience, including as a translator for the Kuna Yala Indians in the San Blas islands during a colleague’s climate impact writing project. She is a proud mom who considers raising an amazing young woman to be her greatest accomplishment, and shares that her daughter is currently attending UW.
Nick first came to the Pacific Northwest 49 years ago as part of the US Coast Guard’s icebreaking service. He has made four trips to the Antarctic and two trips to the Arctic, and has also served as a lighthouse keeper on Lake Superior. Since leaving the service, Nick has worked in the hospitality business here in the Puget Sound region, opening and renovating hotels. He and his husband recently moved to Clinton. He is a father to a 34 year-old son and shares his home with a four-year-old Australian Cattle Dog named Oliva. Nick enjoys the sea, traveling, and gardening.
Benjamin works to support the care of the land and facilities at Whidbey Institute. His work weedwacking, cleaning outdoor spaces, caring for trails, and more helps ensure that visitors can feel at ease when on the land, and by extension encourages fruitful experiences in this place. His ever-growing breadth and depth of knowledge in the life sciences and land stewardship and his experience on small farms and gardens are early-career expressions of his commitment to invite more intentional, healthier relationships with our ecological home. Ben lives close to Whidbey Institute and, when he’s not gardening or exploring the forest, he spends time reading, cooking, and sharing meals with his close friends and housemates.
Beno lives according to a simple philosophy: “if you take care of what’s in front of you, close by, then by extension you’re helping to take care of the world.” Beno has been involved for decades as a volunteer and for several years as a staff member, serving as a handyman/go-to-guy with extensive skills, a creative outlook, and a contagious attitude of honesty, service, and dedication.
Jules is a practicing herbal scientist, mindbody movement arts practitioner, and owner of Wild Standard Botanicals. She stewards the educational indigenous and medicinal plant and food garden for the Whidbey Institute and develops nature-based education programs for all ages, including students of our local Waldorf Schools. She has been facilitating integrative health coaching, herbal science and medicine, movement arts, and mindbody education for over a decade and holds a pre-med BS in Herbal Science from Bastyr University.
Bryan McGriff grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He and his family currently live in an intentional, multi-generational community in Port Townsend, WA. Before joining the Whidbey Institute, he worked in Waldorf education as an administrator and teacher. Developing healthy communities and collaborative forms of working together were tenets of his previous work, and Bryan is eager to support and learn from his colleagues and the Whidbey Institute’s wide network of transformational leaders.
As a trail runner, Bryan is looking forward to exploring the forests and campus and joining their conservation. Along with family game nights, He also enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee and appreciates the inclusive values of the sport. He will usually have a disc on-hand for a quick throw!
Marta’s background is in the performing arts. She is a certified facilitator of Movement-based Expressive Arts and holds a masters in psychology. Her work history is an eclectic mix which includes Sign Language interpreting, co-founding Calyx Community Arts School, coordinating hotline volunteers for the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services, managing the Power of Hope summer camp, choreographing musicals, landscaping, and short-term stints in China, Dominican Republic, and Nepal. She has taught expressive arts classes to students of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine.
Yadi grew up on a family farm in Puerto Rico, where she developed her deep love of the archipelago’s forests, beaches, and natural places. She moved to Washington State nine years ago to pursue a doctoral degree in Naturopathic Medicine and a master’s in Acupuncture. In addition to caring for her own body, mind, and spirit, she loves to support others in doing the same. Yadi spends time in nature to stay grounded and connected, and says that she felt called to visit this land often even before joining our staff team.
In this transitional period of Yadi’s life, she feels fortunate to support the Whidbey Institute’s ongoing work to promote individual and collective health and care for Mother Nature.
As a member of our housekeeping team, Rose helps keep our spaces clean, fresh and inviting! She is active in the arts, including singing and visual arts. She also sews, both at home and in her role with the Whidbey Institute. Most of Rose’s childhood was spent on Whidbey Island, and she still lives nearby with her cat Jasper, one of her most beloved friends.