Shane Rankin (Board Convener)
Shane has just returned as a Board member after working with the team as interim CEO when our previous Chief Executive decided to pursue other projects Trained as a land use and development planner, early in his career he worked on environmental conservation, land renewal, small town regeneration, and economic and small business development. He headed the Scottish agency for regulating crofting (small holdings) in the Highlands and Islands region, and led the merger and restructuring of several government agencies. Before he retired he was the UK senior civil servant responsible for European development, social and transnational funds in Scotland.
Ross Jackson, PhD
Chairman/Founder of Gaia Trust, Denmark. Originally from Canada, Ross has an educational background in physics, management and economics, specialising in operations research. Ross was for many years a management consultant and IT systems designer, working in various branches of the business world, eventually specialising in international finance, where his foreign exchange know-how provided the financing for Gaia Trust’s programmes to support a more sustainable world. Ross is the author of many books including Occupy World Street, We ARE Doing It, and Kali Yuga Odyssey.
Tim has worked in a wide variety of positions for European institutions over three decades, rising to the rank of EU Ambassador for eight of those years. Through this work he developed a passion for a range of issues, such as community-led development; the fight against injustice and inequality and for the dignity of the most vulnerable; for women’s, girls’ and children’s rights; for environmental conservation; for mitigation of the impact of climate change; for food security; for conflict prevention and mitigation; for culture and inter-cultural dialogue; for good governance and democracy-building; and for eco-innovation and eco-development. He is now officially retired yet currently pursuing pro bono work in support of several of the above issues.
John has been studying and exploring the evolution of culture and consciousness since the late 1960s. His work currently focuses on community and ecovillage development, philanthropy, networking, investing and sustainability education. He’s especially interested in healthy soil and sustainable food systems. John is President of the Hygeia Foundation for Health Science and the Environment, which he founded in 1977 in the USA, supporting and sponsoring a variety of projects, particularly those that promote sustainable and holistic living. John has been closely associated with the Findhorn Foundation Community in Scotland since 1974. He currently represents the Findhorn Foundation and Gaia Education at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
Monica has been leading social integration programmes in Brazil since her teens. She graduated in Journalism, before doing an MBA in the USA. A Faculty member of Gaia Education since 2009, Monica has facilitated the first Gaia in Transition in Vila Brasilândia, the largest low income community in South America. In 2016, her company, Oficina para Sustentabilidade, was elected by B the Change as one of the best social enterprises in the world, and she was nominated a Rockfeller Fellow amongst 21 global entrepreneurs. She is currently investigating how to measure social impact in societies by adopting systems thinking in a series of international collaborations.
Anna is dedicated to exploring community as a tool for resilience, regeneration, and liberation. She is the co-founder lead of two initiatives - Ecovillage Resilience 2.5+, doing participatory research with 20 communities about resilience in the face of catastrophic climate change; and Kincentric Leadership through the Polycrisis, supporting leaders to integrate the more than human world in their strategies and activities. Anna previously served as the co-lead and Education and Research Director of the Global Ecovillage Network and is the lead developer of the Ecovillage Impact Assessment, co-developer and facilitator of the European Ecovillage Incubator, Ecovillage Design Cards, and GEN Training of Trainers. She did her doctoral research on localisation and community building as tools for socioecological transformation, and also serves as a trustee of Transition Network. Having lived in the Findhorn Ecovillage for ten years, she now lives on a mountain farm in France.
Co-Chief Executive Officer
Pedro is an Astronomer with broad experience in Volunteer and NGO Management, who has participated in several humanitarian missions. The last two were as part of a rescue team in the Aegean Sea supporting the emergency refugee crisis in Greece. Pedro has also managed a homeless support centre in Portugal with more than 400 volunteers and is part of the board of several organisations, among them the environmental organisation, Quinta das Águias and the animal welfare organisation, Animais de Rua.
Pedro’s goals in Gaia Education are to create and promote a progressive working environment, supporting students and staff members with the technological aspect of our programmes, managing the Courses and Course Development team and also supporting the wellbeing of Gaia Education team.
Co-Chief Executive Officer
Sally has worked for over 17 years as a project manager, project development manager and fundraiser in the fields of international development, humanitarian aid and sustainability. Having worked for Findhorn Ecovillage as Youth Project Manager, she joined the International Committee of the Red Cross in 2007 in the Philippines and Guinea. Returning to Scotland in 2012 with Ecologia Youth Trust, she joined Gaia Education in 2016, holding various roles in projects, resourcing and partnerships. Her passion is supporting pioneering partners to launch their projects, working with them to share their learning, and that of Gaia Education, with those interested in regenerative lifestyles. With Pedro, she prioritises the wellbeing and capacity building of the Gaia Education team by building participatory, inclusive internal systems.
Chief Financial Officer
Fasil is a chartered accountant (ACMA, CGMA) and founding partner of Community Focused Accountancy. Fasil decided to leave a successful career in London working for a renowned asset management firm, European Credit Management, in search of a way to provide financial advice to community-based organisations in Scotland. Fasil has been serving as Treasurer of Gaia Education since 2015 and, more specifically, he manages the finances of GE projects in the Global South.
Marketing and Communications Manager
Saskia is our Marketing and Communications Manager at Gaia Education. She originally comes from Finland and has an international background after living in several countries around the world. She has a degree in Marketing with Digital Media from Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. Previously she has worked in digital marketing for a local charity as well as a support worker for children and young adults in need. At Gaia Education Saskia provides support and information for existing and potential students by connecting with them daily.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
An eloquent wordsmith with an aptitude to 'fluff up' any boring text - I weave my magic through my written words, a spiritual mindset, and artistic eye.
With a background in Journalism, digital marketing, photography, and customer care, I desire to work for something bigger than myself. I aim to convey Gaia Educations' true essence, beauty, values, and love through online means.
Discovering and sharing the full spectrum of colour that Gaia Education creates with you - our future change-makers. Connecting you with real human stories from our students, facilitators, members, and partners - pushing for a better future.
Silvia Di Blasio
eLearning & Academic Coordinator
Silvia Di Blasio is an Argentinian born Design for Sustainability graduate and EDE facilitator with a lifelong passion and dedication to social justice, sustainability, and transformational change. With a degree in Psychopedagogie and Adult Education, Silvia has specialized on eLearning, curriculum design and facilitation for social change. Silvia has been with Gaia Education since 2018, first as an eLearning assistant and, since July 2020 as eLearning coordinator; she oversees and supports, along with the GaiaEd team, the programmes in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Silvia brings a long track record of working as an educator, curriculum designer, online specialist, career coach and facilitator in organizations that include, among others the Work That Reconnects Network, the Permaculture Women’s Guild and three NGOs supporting immigrants and refugees to Canada.
Emmanuel Khodja (Manu)
Portuguese eLearning Coordinator
Emmanuel Khodja (Manu) works with a whole system design approach, promoting personal, organisational and environmental integrated development. Co-founder and first president of the NGO and Ecovillage Terra Una/Brazil, where he has been living since 2007. Academic coordinator of Gaia Education online courses in Portuguese, co-leader and educator in Gaia Education programmes in Brazil. Groups and processes facilitator, especially interested in next stage organisations. Founder of BioSistemica.com.br, a consulting, projects and training company working in sustainability, organisational change, permaculture and regenerative cultures.
Yan is part of our e-Learning team. Graduated in engineering, he has been exploring a holistic worldview in his life, as well as a concept of sustainability and regeneration. Yan has experience supporting EDEs and educational projects, leading to an era of collaboration and transformation.
Fundraising and Project Development
Jane works in sustainable development using an empowerment and engaged spirituality approach. She is consultant to Gaia Education on programme development and resource allocation. Jane supports all stages of the project cycle and has contributed as a needs-based consultant for community led, sustainability education and rights-based projects in Asia and Africa for over 25 years. Jane mentors several local and national NGO leaders in the Global South, often working in incredibly challenging situations. She lives in Findhorn Ecovillage and has taught on Gaia Education Ecovillage Design Education and Training of Trainers in Scotland, Germany, Myanmar, Canada, Estonia and Thailand.
IT and Backoffice Support
Luigi is our IT and Backoffice Supporter. He is based in Porto, Portugal. Where he studies International Relations and helps Gaia Education to have a fantastic website and other systems working properly!
Ana Salac Kleist
Ana is a graphic designer with a background in the sustainable development field. She worked in different projects and organizations between Brazil and Switzerland always building bridges.
Ana worked with artisans in the Amazon Rainforest, in a major recycling program in Brazil, in a startup accelerator in Geneva and also cofounded a fair trade store in Rio de Janeiro.With a natural interest for initiatives enabling women empowerment, Ana is currently an independent professional with more than 11 years of international experience. A natural communicator with excellent people skills, Ana creates customized graphic design works that translate ideas into images.
Ana is also certified mediator with a social development perspective by EcoSocial Institute endorsed by her cultural exchange experience living & working in different countries.
Projects and Programmes Support Associate
Trained in Social Entrepreneurship, and with a chemical engineering background, Leonor is an enthusiast for people and their societies, looking to apply and develop her entrepreneurial and professional skills to bring about positive social impact. She has been working in the third sector since 2018, having worked in multiple roles and all kinds of organisations from regional NGOs to the United Nations. She is the founding curator of the Global Shapers Community Hub in Kutaisi, Georgia where she is currently based, a community of doers who want to have a positive impact in their society. In Gaia Education, she is our Projects and Programmes Support Associate. She wants to expand Gaia's Network and spread sustainable education as much as possible throughout the world.
Project Development and Partnerships Coordinator
An avid reader and learner, deeply committed to the interrelated challenges of avoiding the climate crisis, recovering biodiversity and achieving social justice, through community-led, Nature Based Solutions.
Javier is now based near Granada (Spain), and has been interested in ecovillages and sustainable communities since he helped organise the EYFA Ecotopia gathering in Ukraine in 2003. Later, he lived for 14 years in the intentional community of Can Masdeu near Barcelona, practising regenerative agriculture and beekeeping, and working as an environmental educator. For the last 5 years, he has been developing and writing research proposals, working with a wide diversity of organisations, such as the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation (IUNG) in Pulawy, Poland.
He brings his experience in facilitating knowledge exchange between different kinds of organisations and scientific disciplines in order to develop projects with a participative, holistic and proactive approach to research.
Spanish and Portuguese Communications Coordinator
Rafael is our Spanish and Portuguese Communications Coordinator. He comes from Brazil and has a degree in journalism, having also a background working with advertising agencies and marketing in the corporate world. As an enthusiast of permaculture, he has an interest in regenerative cultures, especially in the subjects related to agroecology, sustainable models of land occupation, and bioregionalism. At Gaia Education, he brings his experience and skills to promote sustainability and transformative education for the paradigm shift we want to see in the world.
Face-to-face courses consultant
Macaco Tamerice (Martina Grosse Burlage) is a sociologist, a life coach for meaningful relationships specialized in community-building, inner transformation, leadership and conflict resolution.
She has been living at Damanhur since 1993, where she has held many roles of social and artistic responsibility, not last leading the Federation.
In 2008, she became Vice President and then President of the Global Ecovillage Network-Europe (GEN Europe) until 2015. She is one of GEN’s UN representatives and the President of the NGO Damanhur Education.
Macaco is a multi-lingual international speaker, facilitator of many courses and seminars and a certified GEESE Educator (since 2011)
Trained in music and voice, she has toured as a professional jazz singer in Europe, Canada and Japan and has lead voice classes and seminars since 1984. In her life she has been active in many fields of sustainability, from the social realm and engaged spirituality to economy and eco-building. She lives in a straw bale house that she built together with her husband.