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About Pachamama Alliance / Staff

Educational Programs


Ben Schick

Program Director

Ben was formerly a board member and now serves on staff as its Director of Programs.

“Working for the Pachamama Alliance is a convergence of my business and media experience, my spiritual path, and my commitment to a life of service. But just saying that doesn’t capture the depth of feeling I have about arriving here. I feel like I’ve found the job of my dreams where I can do my best work while deepening my life’s work. Does it get better than that?”

Ben came on to the staff of the Pachamama Alliance in summer 2012. Prior to joining Pachamama, Ben was the first Executive Director of Challenge Day, the critically acclaimed international anti-violence youth program, and, most recently, CEO of MediaOne, a digital broadcast and production services company.

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Tracy Apple

Program Developer, Founding Board Member

Tracy has been involved since the inception, and was one of the primary people responsible for bringing the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium into being, as well as for creating and leading the Facilitator training program in the US and abroad. She is overall responsible for the content and message of Pachamama educational programs and for the effectiveness of the training programs. She also participates as a founding member of the Pachamama Board of Directors.

“One of my favorite things is traveling and finding that the message of Awakening the Dreamer totally resonates in people in so many different areas, countries, cultures and
languages. People light up no matter where they are—it’s just amazing! It is such a joy to be a carrier of this work.”

Tracy received an MA in Curriculum Development from UC Berkeley School of Education and taught gifted elementary school children in Richmond, CA. She was a founding member of The Hunger Project and a family oral historian for many years. She has been a camp counselor for kids from NYC slums, led youth hostel bicycle trips around Europe, led to donor trips to Africa and Bangladesh, and guided spiritual adventure travels in Tibet, Mongolia, Bhutan, Peru, Ethiopia, Morocco, Cuba. All roads have led to the same place: the majesty of the human heart, spirit and the natural world; an exploration of grace; and a living inquiry into what it means to live life for the benefit of all.



Maisa Arias

Engagement Coordinator – Global

Born and raised in Lima, Perú, Maisa holds a degree in Journalism and Social Communication.

“I decided to get into action by volunteering at an organization that was directly working towards my goal, the goal of changing the ways we are accustomed to and that take away any opportunity for a brighter future and for a more just world. I knocked on the door of the Pachamama Alliance as an intern and simply fell in love with the mission and the people involved. I kept my eyes open for any job opportunity with them and when it did I was so thrilled. I am filled with gratitude for this opportunity.”

Maisa comes from a family dedicated to social change and equality. Influenced by her family’s vision, she came to discover her true passion while working in the nonprofit field and with children for 10 years in San Francisco. During that time, it became evident to her that the younger generation needed and deserved a just world; the world that her own parents envisioned for all.

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Jason Bayless

Online Engagement Coordinator

Jason handles a broad range of functions, ranging from communicating with our volunteers to supporting the educational Programs team. He also develops, supports, and implements core elements of the online interface of The Pachamama Alliance’s engagement strategy.

“Social justice is not a single issue, it takes everyone to create a sustainable world. I am drawn to The Pachamama Alliance because of its unique position to reach out to other groups and individuals to become the common ground that brings us together for a common goal – a better, sustainable world.”

He is a diverse activist with a wide range of experience. Jason worked at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a number of positions including Senior Youth Outreach Specialist, Circus Monitor, and Senior Projects Specialist. He has traveled the country documenting and reporting animal abuse and neglect within the entertainment industry, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the NYC horse drawn carriage industry. For over five years Jason toured with two of the largest music events in North America, bringing the animal rights message to over 20,000 people, 13-25 age demographic, on a daily basis. As a member of The International Association of Internet Broadcasters (IAIB), Jason now spends his free time producing, editing and recording videos and podcasts on a variety of topics.

(415) 561-4522 Ext. 126


Naomi Benson

Moderator and Tech Support, Intensive

Naomi is the tech moderator and media manager for the Game Changer Intensive. In addition to managing content for the Game Changer Intensive, Naomi is responsible for creating videos for The Up To Us Speaker Series.

“Working at The Pachamama Alliance, gives me the opportunity to wake up every day and feel truly empowered. The Pachamama Alliance has provided me with not only a rich work environment, but also a soulful, grounded, space to collaborate creatively with others.”

Naomi has always had a commitment to creating dynamic media for non-profits. Previously, Naomi has worked at The Berkeley Art Museum, environmental film company My Planet and sustainable-living endeavor The Dumpster Project. Creatively, Naomi explores diverse topics through film and photography. She has shown her work at the Chicago Film Festival, The National YoungArts Competition, Southern Exposure Gallery, and other locations. Naomi sees this pattern of exploration extending into the future as she travels, learns from the people around her, and continues to produce engaging films.

(415) 561-4522 Ext. 128


Ian Kim

Program Manager, GC Intensive

Ian is managing the “Game Changer Intensive,” an online education and leadership development course launching in early 2014. The Intensive, offered to graduates of the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, extends on the messages and themes of the Symposium and prepares participants to join movements for systemic change and take action toward the future we all yearn for.

“The Pachamama Alliance is healing deep wounds that we carry as human beings in the modern world. It is a great gift to be able to contribute to this visionary work.”

Ian has worked as an institution builder, coalition organizer, and policy advocate for ten years. He was previously Managing Director at Rebuild the Dream, a national organization with a half million members, advocating for smart solutions to America’s economic and political mess. Earlier, while at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Ian advocated for policy solutions to build a strong, equitable and green economy in California. Ian holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management. Ian and his wife, Sunjung Cho, are often laughing at the antics of their daughter, Minju.

(415) 561-4522 Ext. 136


Ana Toepel

Engagement Coordinator – US

Ana is responsible for engaging new and existing members of the US Pachamama community in the various elements of our educational programs, and for serving as a liaison to the community, including communications and support structures.

“I am so jazzed to be a part of the Pachamama Alliance team, where the mission and vision that has been living in my heart and soul is now aligned. I feel so fortunate, too, for the opportunity to collaborate with people in the community who facilitate, lead and participate in our programs- they are incredibly talented, compassionate and proactive! Being in service of the planet together is a joy and an honor.”

Prior to joining the Pachamama team, Ana had a career in public education, working as a teacher and leader to bring an environmental focus to classrooms and schools and to serve culturally and linguistically diverse students and their families. More recently, she has been working on an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise and held several positions doing sustainability work, engaging people in implementing sustainable practices in their homes and workplaces.

(415) 561-4522 Ext. 105


Ruel Walker

Program Development Manager

Ruel has responsibility for the various training programs that participants can take after the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium: the Getting Into Action Workshop, the Symposium Facilitator Training, and the Facilitator Training Leaders’ Program.

“The message of the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium brings together all of the most important perspectives on the world that have guided my life to this point: love of the Earth, respect for all of humanity, depth of spirit, and the essential role of community and collective wisdom in helping us find our way home.”

Beginning in 2005, Ruel helped design and implement the training program for facilitators of the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, based on his studies of psychology, indigenous cultures, shamanism, and spirituality. He is also a practicing attorney (specializing in handling cases before state and federal courts of appeal) and a licensed psychotherapist, with degrees in law from The University of Texas Law School and in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

(510) 547-7935