Meet Us

Board of Directors

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Philipa von Kerckerinck

President

Shortly after completing her MA in International Affairs and Development at The New School in NYC, Philipa von Kerckerinck was working to complete her 200 hr yoga teacher training when it struck her that yoga could be a powerful tool for development. Since that day she has been working to materialize her vision of using the practice of yoga (including traditional yoga postures, breath work, mindfulness & meditation practice, music, dance/movement, discussion, philosophy, laughter, and celebration) to establish a more holistic means of cultivating positive change throughout the world, one child at a time.

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Alessandro D’Ansembourg

Vice President

Alessandro’s experience in strategic consulting for non-profits stems out of more than a decade of experience in international development, humanitarian aid, and philanthropy. Thanks to his experience, Alessandro has been able to successfully consult and guide implementation for clients, both in a small and large scale, in the non-profit and commercial sectors.

Alessandro’s broad involvement with non-profit organizations across a range of issues has given him insight on a strategic capacity and on the tactical deployment of resources. He has been involved in running The Santa Maddalena Foundation’s writers retreat in Florence, Italy since 2000, and has been the Secretary of the Board of Trustees since 2006. In addition, he lived in Damascus, Syria working with the United Nations (UNRWA) on social services for Palestinian refugees. During this time, he co-founded and directed Offline:Media, a non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the original work of media professionals from conflict regions. He is also a member of the Family Council of the Flora Family Foundation since 2006 and a fellow of the Institute for Philanthropy. Alessandro is also on the Board of Slow Food USA. As of 2016, Alessandro is on the Board of Advisors of Amigos de las Americas, and the Institute of Play.

Alessandro holds an M.A. in International Affairs and Non-Profit Management with a focus on Media and Culture from The New School University in New York, and a B.A. in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He speaks Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Dutch, and is passionate about photography.

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Rachel Brunke

Treasurer

Rachel’s background is in accounting, She has a B.S. in accounting from the University of Delaware. She spent the first 5 years of her career in the audit side of public accounting and worked the next 10 years in the mutual fund industry, primarily in accounting and reporting. While taking a break from the corporate world to raise her 2 daughters, Diane and Anna, she took on many volunteer positions, most in accounting roles in various non-profits. Currently she has her own business and provides accounting services to small businesses and non-profits. While continuing to volunteer in a number of accounting and finance roles Rachel has recently tapped into her creative side, taking on the costuming for her daughter’s high school production of Fiddler on the Roof. Rachel has been married to her husband Jim for the past 25 years and resides in Kennett Square, PA.

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Kaye Gentle

Secretary

Kaye joins us with over 15 years of experience in customer/employee relations and holds a Masters Degree in Interpersonal Communication. She is the Executive Director of Om Shanti Brands, and has worked closely with RTY before joining the board. She believes that if everyone lives by the golden rule to “treat others as you would like to be treated” we could all do a little to make the world a better place. For Kaye, supporting RTY in every way she can is fulfilling in ways words cannot express. She is confident that the impact of cultivating positive change in our youth around the globe is beyond measure and she is honored to take part.

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Katrina Alber

Peace Corps Liaison

At Northwestern University’s Cancer Prevention Consortium, Katrina is changing attitudes toward clinical trials and helping cancer prevention researchers recruit participants. She designs interactive web tools and websites to make the clinical trial process more transparent to participants. Prior to her work in Chicago, Katrina moved to The Gambia in West Africa for two years, where she empowered rural communities through health and food security training. Katrina now maintains that connection with The Gambia by volunteering with Roots Tribe Yoga, an international development NGO working in countries all over the world.

Katrina holds a Master’s in Public Health from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.

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Alexis Nelson

Alexis is a certified K-12 educator and works in a public high school in Vermont. She is a lifelong athlete and loves yoga because it is reminiscent of her former practice as a competitive gymnast. She is excited about bringing yogic principles to schools because the self-care lessons learned and reinforced in the Roots Tribe Yoga curriculum may be the missing piece for teachers searching for authentic and creative ways to engage students in practicing “soft” skills, such as perseverance, grit and optimism.

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Sakiko Fukuda-Parr

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr is Professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York. She is a development economist interested in human development and human rights approaches. Her recent publications include Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights (with T. Lawson-Remer and S. Randolph, OUP 2015) which received the 2016 Best Book in Human Rights Scholarship Award of the American Political Science Association; MDGs, Capabilities and Human Rights: The Power of Numbers to Shape Agendas (co-edited with A. Yamin, Routledge. 2015); Human Rights and the Capabilities Approach: An Interdisciplinary Conversation (co-edited with Diane Elson and Polly Vizard; 2011) and Food Security in South Africa: Human Rights and Entitlement Perspectives(co-edited with Viviene Taylor, UCT Press 2015). She was the founding editor of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

Brain Trust

  • Brian Ford
  • Joanne Leffeld
  • Sharon Johnston
  • Sophia Demas
  • Dawn Smelser
  • Barbara Pizzala
  • NdeyFatou Ceesay
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