Paula Wallace

Photography by Chia Chong

Paula Wallace serves nearly 15,000 students and more than 40,000 alumni as president and founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), a private, nonprofit, accredited university offering more than 100 academic degree programs. The university has locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and Hong Kong, and has been recognized for its revitalization of historic buildings by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and UNESCO. Wallace is known for creating many of the university's signature events, including the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, SCAD aTVfest, SCAD deFINE ART, SCAD FASHWKND, SCADstyle, and the SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival.

Wallace is an honorary member of the AIA, a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council, a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and a Georgia Trustee. She is the winner of the 2017 ASID Nancy Vincent McClelland Merit Award, 2016 Arthur Ross Award for Stewardship, 2016 Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award, and 2016 Roger Milliken Honorary AIA Legacy Award. In 2016, she was featured among Blouin Artinfo's "Power List: High-Wattage Women of the Art World" and named one of Condé Nast’s Daring 25. Wallace is the author of children's books, interior design books, and a memoir, "The Bee and the Acorn."

Wallace earned a Bachelor of Arts from Furman University, Masters in Education and Specialist of Education degrees from Georgia State University, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Gonzaga University.

3 words to describe Nature?

Resourceful. Tenacious. Sublime.

3 lessons Nature taught you?

Nature has taught me that anything is possible, with determination and patience. I titled my memoir The Bee and the Acornin recognition of two of nature’s wonders that inspire me most. Both are incorporated into the SCAD crest.

The bee (our mascot!) symbolizes hope. Back in 1978, when my family and I created SCAD, many people said our little dream would never fly. Our mission to focus on creative careers was very much ahead of its day. Seeking encouragement in those early years, I was reminded of a study completed by French entomologist Antoine Magnan, who noted that a bee’s flight shouldbe impossible. The bee’s body is far too large, its wings minuscule in comparison. The bee, of course, flies anyway, appearing to defy the laws of physics and rising to great heights. I guess bees have never paid much mind to what others think! And neither does SCAD.

In the South, where SCAD was founded, the acorn is a symbol of strength arising from humble origins. From tiny acorns, they say, mighty oak trees grow! Our students are acorns that flourish and grow into a mighty grove with broad limbs that touch and support one another and their communities. SCAD Savannah (among a family of four SCAD locations worldwide) is stippled with enormous live oak trees. Their comely limbs, draped with Spanish moss, sprawl across streets, boulevards, entire greenspaces. All of us at SCAD remember: each began life as an acorn.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The first is easy! Any view from SCAD Lacoste — where every evening is a new palette, every morning a study in color theory. For centuries, artists (Matisse, Picasso, others) have cherished Provence for its natural beauty and wondrous light. There’s a magnetism to the way the days move in Lacoste, stretching lusciously into the Luberon horizon. Lacoste both arouses the senses and quiets the soul.

My second choice would have to be Winn Park in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, a short walk from SCAD Atlanta. This park is an oasis of green and one of many beautiful public parks in the city. With a meandering stream and an enchanting iris garden, this vernal treasure offers many spots for a meditative retreat from urban bustle.

And third is my side garden in downtown Savannah, verdant and blossoming nearly all year round. I enjoy its brilliant red roses, the fountain’s murmur, the aromatic herbs in terra-cotta pots, reminiscent of my childhood. The side garden acts as a portal between my busy, professional life and a cozy, familial one.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...

The lure of the voyage. The promise of grandeur beyond the horizon. Savannah is one of the great port cities of the world. At Tybee Island’s North Beach, where we host our annual SCAD Sand Arts Festival, you can watch immense container ships wend the Savannah River. These ships’ magnitude and power astound. As they drift into the Atlantic and become smaller and smaller, I imagine where they might travel next — it’s the same feeling I get when I watch SCAD’s students and graduates sail off across the globe. The ocean makes dreamers of us all.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...

As though I’m home. I grew up around trees in Atlanta ("the city in a forest," they call it) and at my grandparents’ farm in Mississippi, where trees offered respite from the hot summer sun.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...

The power that rests beneath our feet. They say an ancient super volcano left the island of curious hexagonal rock columns off the coast of Hong Kong, near our SCAD campus on Sham Shui Po — it’s like nothing I’ve seen before. This formation impresses on me the infinite ways that nature asserts itself, and how our art stems from its beauty.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...

Possibility. As a girl in Atlanta, I heard Scarlett O’Hara’s refrain aplenty! Tomorrow is, indeed, another day. Both sunrise and sunset denote the opportunities that time affords to create.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...

The reprieve from a sultry summer day, as the afternoon storms drift along the coastline. The thunder storms bring winds and rains that make the bricks steam. The relief never lasts long, but a nice cool iced tea helps make the humidity bearable.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...

Nostalgic. One of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, begins with the line, “It was a dark and stormy night.” The winds of that storm carry the reader straight into the book’s plot. It’s wonderful that Ava DuVernay adapted the book. Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, and Mindy Kaling all have visited SCAD and shared their wisdom with students. It’s a joy when a beloved classic from childhood comes to life on film as the result of the leadership of visionary women behind the camera and on the screen.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

All four! SCAD’s locations in Savannah and Hong Kong reside next to two of the world’s great ports. Hong Kong is also situated alongside mountains, surrounded by country parks and nature reserves blanketed with forests. I would be remiss if I neglected the trees at all of SCAD’s campuses — live oaks in Savannah, maples in Atlanta, banyan in Hong Kong, and the cedars of Provence. Provence can even have a desert feel with its dry, hot summers. And, of course, Provence leads one to the Alps. We are surrounded by such loveliness on all sides!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10!

Would you share with us a childhood nature memory?

I fondly recall reading books under the magnolias on my grandmother’s farm near Collins, Mississippi, and shelling peas from her garden on the front porch. Porches offer the best views of nature and civilization. They create connections among indoor worlds, people, and the outdoors. I have fond memories of my parents’ porch in Atlanta, too, where my sister and I would pretend to be Laura and Mary Ingalls. Other times, I would sit tucked beside my father on a glider as he listened to baseball games on the radio against the backdrop of leaves rustling in the breeze.


Sofia Sanchez de Betak

Sofía Sanchez de Betak (aka, Barrenechea) is a Buenos Aires born, New York based, Art Director and Fashion Consultant.

An avid world traveler and style influencer, Sofía is the author of the Assouline published book, “Travels with Chufy",where she highlights off-the-radar hideaways and secluded retreats where those in the know seek unforgettable experiences. Sofía has been named among the 10 most influential women of Argentina, together with the country’s First Lady and the Vice-President. With a keen eye and love for fashion and travel, Sofía has collaborated with several magazines and brands, working on special projects and often served as a brand ambassador. This list includes Chanel, Valentino, Rodarte, Chloe, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Roger Vivier, Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti, Globe Trotter, Jason Wu, The Luxury Collection (Starwood Hotels), VogueCondé Nast TravelerHarper’s BazaarW MagazineRevista La NaciónPaper Magazine, among others.

3 words to describe Nature?

Prestine. Pure. Amusing

3 things Nature taught you?

That we should cherish it

That we should learn from her

That she is the wisest one of all

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Patagonia

Antarctica

Mallorca

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

In peace

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Small

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Powerless

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Blessed

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Awake

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Breathless

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Long horseback rides in the mountains of Patagonia… best views in the planet!


Dallas Taylor

After cutting his teeth as a sound designer/mixer for networks like NBC, Fox, G4, and Discovery, DALLAS TAYLOR launched Defacto Sound, where he’s led thousands of high-profile projects ranging from blockbuster game trailers and advertising campaigns to Sundance award-winning films. A respected thought leader on the narrative power of sound, Dallas is a sought-after speaker at conferences, a regular contributor to major industry publications, and creator of the podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz.

3 words to describe Nature?

Calming. Symbiotic. Human

3 things Nature taught you?

We are nature disguised in fancy clothes and fancy devices.

Nature is the most preferred human sound.

Nature is a double edged sword. It can kill us, but also be the most soothing thing for our brain.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Kalalau Valley Lookout overlooking the Na Pali Coast

Any stop along the Road to Hana

Anywhere in the Rocky Mountains on a warm day

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Peaceful

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Exploratory

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Terrified

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Time

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Sleepy :)

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Like getting a recorder. Good, clean, howling wind is rare and hard to capture.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

A mountain overlooking an ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I used to take long walks and bike rides in the Delta of Arkansas growing up as a kid. I grew up on a lake that was formed by the Mississippi River, but later leveed off. I grew up right before the explosion of the internet, so my childhood was filled with 4+ hour walks/rides up and down the Mississippi River and my lake (Horseshoe Lake, AR). I think that helped me sort out the difficult times in my childhood and ultimately prepared me for adulthood.


Jonathan Santlofer

Jonathan Santlofer is the author of 5 novels, including the international bestseller The Death Artistand Anatomy of Fear, which won the Nero Award for best crime novel of 2009. He is editor, contributor and illustrator of the short story anthology, The Dark End of the Street, editor/contributor of LA NOIRE: The Collected Stories, The New York Times bestselling serial novel Inherit the Dead, Akashic Books’ The Marijuana Chronicles, and The New York Times “notable book” It Occurs to Me That I Am America. His stories have appeared in numerous short story collections. Santlofer, also a well-known artist, is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants, has been a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, the Vermont Studio Center and serves on the board of Yaddo, one of the oldest arts communities in the U.S.

His bestselling memoir, The Widower’s Notebook, has received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, has appeared on more than a dozen “best books” lists of 2018, and is an Amazon bestseller. He was recently a guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

3 words to describe Nature?

Beautiful. Calming. Fierce.

3 things Nature taught you?

To be respectful

To slow down

When I bought an old house in upstate NY there was no lawn, no grass, which I planted and was awed when it grew!

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Dutchess County, NY (where I had my house)

Canyon De Shelly

The Arizona desert

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Mostly calm

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

From a distance it makes me feel small. Inside, I can feel either protected or lost and it often reminds me of fairy tales, like Hansel and Gretel.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

I have never seen a volcano in nature. In pictures or films they amaze me with their power, and make me think of Pompeii, which I’ve been too.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Depends where I am, and what it’s like, but often good – if I’m paying attention (and I guess I should be).

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

I love thunder if I’m inside.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Again, if I'm inside, or on a porch, it’s like eerie though beautiful music.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

My upstate home was surrounded by forest, which I liked. I love driving through the desert. Being near the ocean is always special. Mountains are beautiful in the distance, but I’d never climb one.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

Not sure I would put a number on nature but it’s essential to my well-being. I live in a city so it’s important for me to escape on a regular basis. I am always calmer in nature, which makes me wonder why I live in a city!

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Getting lost at the beach when I was around 6 or 7. Always a kid who daydreamed, I wandered along the shoreline far away from my parents. I remember sitting in the sand and drawing pictures in it with a stick and watching the waves wash them away. I was very happy doing this, having the water lapping over my feet, and not at all afraid even though I knew I was lost. Eventually the lifeguards found me and took me back to their station, where they gave me ice cream.


Michael Shainblaum

Michael Shainblum is a landscape, timelapse and aerial photographer based in San Francisco, California. He has been working professionally as a photographer and filmmaker for 11 years since the age of 16. Michael first made a name for himself through his unique creativity and the ability to capture scenes and moments in his distinct style of surreal, visual story telling. A dedication to challenging the boundaries of creativity, as well as a flair for coming up with unique ideas, has since resulted in this dynamic visual artist being commissioned by large clients including Nike, Samsung, Facebook, LG, Apple and Google. You will also be able to find Michael's work published widely by media outlets such as National Geographic, Wired Magazine and The Weather Channel.

3 words to describe Nature?

Majestic. Unpredictable. Therapeutic

3 things Nature taught you?

How to truly appreciate the world we live in and just how much we need to protect it.

It has given me a sense of purpose in my life to be honest, through my photography and my art.

It had also taught me to appreciate the little things in life and to drown out the daily struggles. Laying down for a nap in the Sand Dunes, or enjoying the reflection of a mountain in a lake, these moments have helped me through some tough times.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Just my most recent nature spot I have been too. Each place is special and I feel like my most recent trips are the ones I have fresh memories about capturing.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

At home, I grew up by the ocean and I do not think I could live far from it.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Adventurous, nothing like a good hike through the forest.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Conflicted, so much powerful, yet devastating beauty.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

I have been shooting sunrise for over a week now here during winter in Utah and it has been bone chillingly cold. Yet every time I wake up and get to witness that beautiful morning light, it is worth it. I suppose it makes me feel fulfilled.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Excited, I absolutely love capturing and witnessing lightning strikes.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Like hopefully the timelapse camera I have set up is not going to blow over :P

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean just based on how I grew up, but I love capturing everything. The desert is my favorite at the moment, with all the incredible shapes, colors and textures.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10, I have dedicated my life now to capturing the beauty of nature and I would not have it any other way.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Funny enough I was never fully able to appreciate nature as a kid. I mean I went to the park and to the beach. But camping and hiking came a bit later on in my life during college. My family never had the ability to travel and the outdoors was never something that interested them. I found my appreciation of being outdoors through photography and I am so appreciative of that.


Maya Lockwood

Maya was born in Bangladesh, her roots lie in one of the oldest remaining matrilineal tribes that still reside in the jungle. She now lives in California.

She is currently the Communications Director at IndieBio, a leading seed stage investor and accelerator for biotech companies that are influencing the food, materials, therapeutics industries and more. IndieBio transforms scientists into entrepreneurs, giving their ideas the capital, network, structure and voice to emerge in billion dollar markets. IndieBio is a part of SOSV, a $500M global fund.

Prior to joining IndieBio, Maya was the Director of Engagement at Foresight Institute, an organization that brings together the world’s leading scientists, researchers, and technologists to facilitate high-level conversations and collaboration. She has worked with venture capital and startup clients, including Richard Branson’s 2015 Extreme Tech Challenge as their publicist. Her background includes 15+ years as an analyst, managing implementation, training and more with Meditech, UCSF Medical Center, and Symantec.

Maya wants to help the most influential people develop their message for a global audience. She is inspired most by entrepreneurs who are disrupting old systems with technologies that create solutions for our grandest challenges. She is an eternal optimist and futurist, who is deeply committed to the evolution of humanity and our planetary and human health.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Awe. Mother Earth. Home

3 things Nature taught you?

To surrender to the flow of life.

To know that everything is born and dies- that I will die too.

That I am always a part of her wisdom, grace and love.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Marin headlands for hiking

The Andes mountains for connecting with spirit

The Caribbean sea for snorkeling and diving.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Completely at peace when I look at the Pacific Ocean, where I often dreamed I’d be able to visit daily. My dream came true when I moved to to the west coast.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Like I’m surrounded by creatures, networks of trees, and life that only comes alive with my silence and awareness. The forests in Washington State are magical places.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Wonder at the earth’s magnificence. I rode a bike down the volcano in Maui at sunrise and it was exhilarating.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Grateful there’s another day, most beautiful to witness when held in the arms of my beloved.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Warmed by the thought of a storm and rain, assuming I’m safe and cozy indoors by the fire.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Like wrapping myself in a warm blanket, sipping tea, snuggling and reading a book.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I’m all of the above and in deep reverence for the four elements: the earth, fire, water, and air. Being in nature has brought me great healing, from swimming in the ocean or delighting in the waves, watching stars, climbing mountains or appreciating their majesty, or wandering through the forest and listening to my heart. I have found beauty in the desert at Burning Man and the red rocks of Sedona, which have all connected me more deeply with mother nature and the cosmos.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10 

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I remember snorkeling in the pristine coral reefs of Thailand when I was 6 or 7 years old with my dad. It was the most vibrant memory of a world we’ve completely disrupted, but I remember those colors so well along with the variety of marine life.


Sharad Kharé

Sharad is the co-founder of media company Kharé Communications. Beside creating content for companies such as Indochino, Innovative Fitness, Microsoft, Goldcorp, UN Women, Emily Carr University, Oncosec, Draper University, TEDx, Rick Hansen Foundation, Arkay Packaging and many others, he has been producing legacy documentaries and interviewing some of the world’s most interesting individuals. His infectious positive energy and communicative talents has allowed to sit down with people such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Jack & Suzy Welch, Chip Wilson, May Musk, Dr. Ron Burnett, Tim Draper, Bing Thom, and many more.

Sharad has a Masters in Communications and coaches storytelling & branding to leaders in private industries and public companies.

He is the co-founder of “The Indigenous Collective” and has been a prolific collaborator with the Indigenous community, directing and producing video projects that capture First Nations stories and culture. His past projects include the documentary Breaking Down Walls, Building Bridges (BCIT), Diversity Circles project video series, James Hart: The Dance Screen (Vancouver Art Gallery, and an Indigenous-women awareness video featuring Ellena Neel (BWSS).

Sharad is currently the President of TIE Vancouver, a global entrepreneur group that mentors and advises some of the most active entrepreneurs in the world.

3 words to describe Nature?

GREEN, BLUE, GOLDEN

3 things Nature taught you?

EVERYTHING HAS LIFE

WE MUST FEED THE EARTH AS WE FEED OUR OWN BODIES

THE SUN IS LIKE A GOD TO ME

3 most treasured Nature spots?

SANTA MONICA PIER

THE BEACHES OF GOA

DEER LAKE WHERE I GOT MARRIED

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

CALM AND RELAXED

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

LIKE EXPLORING

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

LIKE I AM SO SMALL IN COMPARISON

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

LIKE I AM CLOSE TO GOD

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

ANXIOUS FOR THE NEXT ONE TO COME

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

LIKE THE AIR HAS LIFE

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

OCEAN

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER WE HAD A FOREST CLOSE TO OUR HOME. MY BROTHER, MY NEIGHBOURS, AND I WOULD EXPLORE IN THEIR WITH OUR BIKES AND PRETEND WE WERE CHARACTERS OF THE HOBBIT. WE WOULD ALSO SEARCH FOR ANIMALS THAT LIVED THERE BUT WE NEVER FOUND ANY.


Kid Carson

Originally from Toronto, Kid is one of Canada’s most notable radio personalities. He started as mid day host for KISS 92, then moved to Z95 in Vancouver, hosted the morning show for The Beat 94.5 and finally host at KISS Radio. Kid has been honored with the BC Award of Excellence Association of Broadcasters, has received on multiple occasions the TV Week Readers' Choice Awards and was nominated a few times for Canadian radio personality of the year by CMW (Canadian Music Week). Some of his favorites interviewed guests include Eckhart Tolle, Dr. John Gray, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Gary Chapman and Malcom Gladwell.

For the past couple of years, Kid has been fully dedicated at launching a new digital platform he co-founded that will disrupt the growing podcast industry. The launch is set for early 2019.

3 words to describe Nature?

Connected. Provider. Intelligent

3 things Nature taught you?

I read a book called “the hidden life of trees”. It taught me that trees have personalities and are able to learn. They make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes. A tree that kept its leaves too long during one year will never make this mistake again. It makes you wonder, without brains, where do trees save their experiences? Learning this…taught me that there is an intelligence in nature that we don’t fully grasp.

That WE are nature… and not separate from nature like we are taught.

That, as an energetic human being, the environments I spend time in, have an influence on me.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

I love the old growth around lighthouse park, the smell, the energy.

Standing at the top of a mountain holding my snowboard in Whistler.

Jet-skiiing around the local islands… it’s almost meditative. This summer I had the experience of a lifetime when I rolled up on a pod of whales! We just cut the engines and floated in silence listening to them talk and breach the water a few times. It was surreal how close we were.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Calm, dialed in

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Curious!

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Tiny!

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Excited for the day ahead, and reflective of the day passed.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

I like it… builds some anticipation…

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Annoyed

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean all the way. It’s really important to me that I live within’ a few minute walk to the water.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

In elementary school, my friend’s family lived on a huge nursery. We spent hours and hours, running thought the forest, greenhouses, secret paths, tree forts, bush tunnels… it was epic and such a great memory


Michael Hebb

For the past 20 years Michael has been working to understand the secrets of human connection. His projects have turned into international movements and impacted millions. His second book "Let's Talk About Death" published by Hachette/Da Capo will be available in the U.S., U.K., and Australia in October of 2018. Michael recently became a Partner at RoundGlass to further expand his efforts to impact global well being.

Michael is the Founder of Deathoverdinner.org, Drugsoverdinner.org, EarthtoDinner.org, WomenTeachMen.org and The Living Wake. He currently serves as a Board Advisor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts; and in the recent past as Senior Advisor to Summit Series, Theo Chocolate, Learnist, Caffe Vita, CreativeLive, Architecture For Humanity, ONETASTE and Mosaic Voices Foundation.

In 1997 Hebb co-founded City Repair and Communitecture with architect Mark Lakeman, winning the AIA People's Choice Award for the Intersection Repair Project. In 1999 Michael and Naomi Pomeroy co-founded Family Supper in Portland, a supper club that is credited with starting the pop-up restaurant movement. In the years following they opened the restaurants clarklewis and Gotham Bldg Tavern, garnering international acclaim.

After leaving Portland, Hebb built Convivium/One Pot, a creative agency that specialized in the ability to shift culture through the use of thoughtful food and discourse based gatherings. Convivium's client list includes: The Obama Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, TEDMED, The World Economic Forum, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, X Prize Foundation, The Nature Conservancy.

Michael is the founding Creative Director of The City Arts Festival, the founder of Night School @ The Sorrento Hotel, the founder of www.seder.today and the founding Creative Director at the Cloud Room. He served as a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Communication at University of Washington. His writings have appeared in GQ, Food and Wine, Food Arts, ARCADE, Seattle Magazine and City Arts. Michael can often be found speaking at universities and conferences, here is his TEDMED talk.

3 words to describe Nature?

 Life, life, life…

 3 things Nature taught you?

Human connection is the electricity we need to light up the human forest.

I don’t make a distinction between the “natural” world and the “human-built” world. So in essence nature has taught me everything I know. I do acknowledge the difference between high frequency, rich environments, and low-vibrational places and communities. I learn equally from both, but the lessons are different. A healthy forest is a perfect example of high vibration, high connection, forest's speak to each other, the forest community transmits information about threats and opportunities across miles in seconds. They speak across species, across class, even animal to plant. We are suffering from a crisis of connection- human connection - which is just a subset of nature connection. I believe that living a meaningful life will elude us until we build networks of higher connection, not just via digital networks, but inclusive of the “natural” world. Our culture is toxic, and I don’t mean that as a judgement, I just mean it is working against human vitality. Connection is the cure, forests and mountains and oceans need to be interwoven powerfully into the center of our lives.

Our lives will continue to be bereft of meaning if our connection patterns look like the electrical grid and not an ancient forest. Every indigenous culture has revealed wisdom that mesmerizes us with its modernity, timelessness and clarity, this is not on the shoulders of a personality, an exceptional genius, but exceptional insight within a forest of vitality. We can’t begin to answer life’s important questions until we are living in a deeply connected ecosystem.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The Olympic National Forest, all of it.

The Oregon Coast, almost all of it.

Any glacial lake, anywhere.

 When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Like we are more than just thoughts and things, the ocean makes me feel expansive.

 When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

If it is a vital, alive, thriving forest, I feel a deep sense of love.

 When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Awe

 When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Sometimes sad, sometimes peaceful, sometimes excited.

 When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Powerful, connected to the earth and sky.

 When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

A sense of the wild.

 Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

All four. They all align with different parts of me.

 On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

 Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I spent much of my childhood in the woods, alone, building forts out of fallen branches and whatever I could find. It was a way of self-medication. There was heartache, pain and drama in my house and I was far too sensitive to be around it. I needed the woods, I needed to re-create a womb-like environment (the fort) because I wasn’t getting the nourishment I needed from my family. Later when I was a teenager and dealing with many existential crises, I climbed trees, massive Douglas Fir trees, 40, 50, 80 feet into the air. I would sit up in the trees for hours, and the pain would stop.


Denise Thomas

 

Denise is a proven and dynamic leader who has spent more than 20 years helping entrepreneurial companies develop breakthrough ideas. Her public and private company expertise spans the financial services, technology, healthcare, hospitality and online services industries, and she has led companies backed by leading venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins, Mohr Davidow and Sequoia Capital.

In the FinTech industry, Denise is considered a visionary and highly respected executive leader. She is one of the few women to receive venture funding for a FinTech startup. Denise founded ApplePie Capital to create a new, more efficient source of capital for franchise businesses.

Denise has founded three other companies, and held executive and management positions with SharesPost, Healthiest You, Navigenics, LesConcierges, OffRoad Capital, Onyx Microcomputer, Post Communications, Kao Infosystems, and National Semiconductor.

She has been a guest lecturer at both the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley.

3 words to describe Nature? 

GROUNDING. INSPIRING. FEARSOME

3 things Nature taught you? 

WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL

THERE IS MUCH TO LEARN

THERE IS WONDER AND FEAR

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

HALEAKALA CRATER

YOSEMITE

WALDEN POND

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…? 

EXPANSIVE

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

ADVENTURE

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…? 

SAD

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

INSPIRED

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

EXCITEMENT

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…? 

LIKE RETREATING

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

OCEAN

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

8

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

MY MEMORIES ARE NOT FROM MY CHILDHOOD UNFORTUNATELY. MY FAMILY DID NOT SPEND TIME IN NATURE.


Chris Burkard

Chris Burkard is an accomplished explorer, photographer, creative director, speaker, and author. Traveling throughout the year to pursue the farthest expanses of Earth, Burkard works to capture stories that inspire humans to consider their relationship with nature, while promoting the preservation of wild places everywhere.

Layered by outdoor, travel, adventure, surf, and lifestyle subjects, Burkard is known for  images that are punctuated by untamed, energized landscapes and peak moments of adventure. He has accumulated an audience of over one million followers to become a globally recognized social influencer.

Burkard is often central in synthesizing the creative projects he is involved in, across stakeholders. His holistic and visionary perspective has earned him opportunities to work on global, prominent campaigns with Fortune 500 clients, appear as a TED speaker, develop specialty product lines, teach national and international photography workshops and publish a collection of books, including a children’s book. Along with his team, Burkard is based out of his full-scale production studio and art gallery near his hometown in Central Coast California.

At the age of 30, Burkard has established himself as a global presence and influencer, accomplishing a prolific portfolio, connecting people from around the world and producing some of the most recognized creative work of our time.

3 words to describe Nature?

Beautiful. Vast. Wild.

3 things Nature taught you?

Patience

Freedom

Joy

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Yosemite

Highlands of Iceland

Pacific Ocean

I owe a lot to each of these places.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Calm

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Excited

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Disbelief. . . I cant even believe they are real. Did a trip flying around the volcanos in the Aleutian Chain. Still think I'm coming down from that experience..

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Excited, most of my favorite moments of my life have occured in that 30 minute window before and after sunset!

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Relaxed. Time for a good book.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

I don’t enjoy wind. It’s the most jarring of the elements. I'm more tired after being outside in the wind all day then if it was raining, sunny, or snowing.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

The ocean will always be where I am most comfortable. I grew up in a small beach town on the California coast more known for it's clam chowder then waves but I spent my whole childhood in the ocean. It will always be an important part of my life.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

9. Only thing above is my family.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I was lucky enough to grow up on the central coast of California which lends itself to a life lived outdoors. My first memory of being outdoors is for sure days spent on the beach with my family in Pismo. That’s where my fascination with the ocean began and why I started trekking up and down the coast in search of waves, which eventually led to searching along coastlines around the world!. I remember my mom paddling me out on a boogie board pushing me off into the water and saying the ocean is your friend. I was always scared but I loved the beach.


Scott Carney

Photo credit: Jake Holschuh

Investigative journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney (scottcarney.com) has worked in some of the most dangerous and unlikely corners of the world. His work blends narrative non-fiction with ethnography. Currently, he is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and a 2016-17 Scripps Fellow at the Center for Environmental Journalism in Boulder, Colorado. His books include the New York Times best seller "What Doesn't Kill Us" as well as "The Red Market" and "The Enlightenment Trap”.

Carney was a contributing editor at Wired for five years and his writing also appears in Mother Jones, Men's Journal, Playboy, Foreign Policy, Discover, Outside and Fast Company. His work has been the subject of a variety of radio and television programs, including on NPR and National Geographic TV. In 2010, he won the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism for his story "Meet the Parents”, which tracked an international kidnapping-to-adoption ring. Carney has spent extensive time in South Asia and speaks Hindi.

3 words to describe Nature?

Stunning. Brutal. Fair.

3 things Nature taught you?

That there is no division between ourselves and nature.

That the outside world is also the inside world

How we think about the environment is also how we think about ourselves.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The Nubble Westport, MA

Hampi, India

Outside Iquitos, Peru

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Calm, like the horizon has no limits.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Like there will be something unexpected just around the next bend

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

In awe of the power of the earth.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Like I'm at the beginning or end.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Usually a little surprised. I count the seconds between the flash and the clap to try to figure out how far away it is. The other day I got stuck in a thunderstorm and the bolts crashed fifteen feet from me. It was pretty terrifying. My instinct was to lie flat on the ground.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

IT depends where I am.  If I'm inside a house watching a storm pass it's a strangely comforting feeling. If I'm outside it can be brutal.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

I am nature. And so are you.  10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I remember climbing up the Nubble, a small but high rock that guards the Harbor in Westport, MA, while my mother yelled at me to get down. She was scared I would fall, but I just had to make it to the top.


Terry Giles

Terry Giles was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State University at Fullerton and his Jurist Doctorate from Pepperdine University School of Law, where there is now a Terry M. Giles Honor Scholar. In 1975, he established what would become one of the largest and most successful criminal law firms on the West Coast. Some of Giles’ clients have included Richard Pryor, Kenneth Lay, J. Howard Marshall III and Martin Luther King Jr.’s remaining children. In 1983, Terry withdrew from the firm, disillusioned with the criminal legal system.

Starting over, he took a small Toyota dealership and built it into the fifth largest in the world. He then helped build a Canon copier distributorship into the third largest in the country and negotiated the sale of ComputerLand, a company with $2.5 billion in annual sales. He also reestablished his legal practice, but this time focused exclusively on civil trial matters and only for clients and causes that he believed in. In 2008 he was runner up for “National Jury Trial Lawyer of the Year” for his work in the Catholic predator priest cases in California.

Through the course of his career, he has bought/built 35 companies in a variety of industries. Today, his company, Giles Enterprises, has diversified interests in biotech, time management, European 5-Star hotels and restaurants, and financial portfolio investments. Part of his portfolio includes the Chateau Eza on the Mediterranean French Coast and Grand Hotel Son Net on Mallorca in Spain.

He is chairman of Landmark Worldwide Corporation, a San Francisco-based enterprise with 43 offices in 20 countries and Pacific Biomarkers, a diagnostic laboratory enterprise in Seattle. Additionally, Terry serves on the Boards of Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, the Pepperdine University Board of Regents, and The Giles O’Malley Foundation.

Terry has received the Medal of Honor Alumni Award from Pepperdine University, Alumnus of the Year from Pepperdine University School of Law, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Award, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award of California State University of Fullerton. He further serves as an adjunct professor of law at Pepperdine University School of Law.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Beautiful. Powerful. Terrifying.

3 things Nature taught you? 

Respect

Aloneness

Oneness

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Red Wood Forrest in California

The deserts of Arizona

The canyons and rock formations of Utah and Colorado

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

Small

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Peaceful

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

In awe

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Happy

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Uneasy

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

Nervous

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Mountain. The majestic nature of mountains inspires me.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

8, except when I am in it. Then it is definitely a 10.

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Even as a kid, it occurred to me that we have a finite number of sunsets in our life.  We do not know in advance how many that is, but I try to make sure to enjoy each one as much as I can.


Maria Jenson

Maria Jenson is recognized as a leader in the arts nationally for advancing innovative strategies to sustain creative communities in the midst of rapidly changing urban environments. As Creative and Executive Director of SOMArts, Jenson has deepened the organization’s commitment to racial equity, creating clear pathways for Bay Area artists to incubate new ideas and grow their careers. Through her leadership, Maria has expanded SOMArts’ educational and public programs, advanced new public-private partnerships, and fostered groundbreaking exhibitions such as The Black Woman is God, The Third Muslim: Queer and Trans* Muslim Narratives of Resistance and Resilience, and many more. These initiatives further SOMArts’ mission to engage the Bay Area’s diverse cultural communities in inspiring creative encounters at the intersection of art and social justice.

As an ardent advocate for the civic and democratic roles cultural institutions should play, Jenson has championed creative projects in community-based and DIY as well as more formal and institutional spaces. Prior to joining SOMArts, Jenson was a key member of the External Relations team in the Marketing and Communications Division managing the transition, rebranding and reopening of SFMOMA during the museum’s $300 million expansion. At SFMOMA, she worked across all departments as a lead project manager on marketing and engagement initiatives and she launched innovative community partnerships as the museum’s Cultural and Civic Ambassador. Jenson produced the museum’s Economic and Cultural Impact study in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, demonstrating the crucial role of cultural institutions in the civic and economic life of San Francisco.

Jenson was the Founding Director of ArtPadSF — an independent art fair launched in 2010 in partnership with Chip Conley. ArtPadSF transformed the Phoenix Hotel into an immersive and interactive platform to engage Bay Area artists, gallerists and art lovers, and enjoyed a successful three-year run that helped to launch the careers of many emerging artists.

A graduate of the 2018 Getty Foundation Executive Leadership Institute, Jenson is a sought-after speaker and thought leader on the role of cultural institutions in fostering a more democratic and equitable society. As the Bay Area continues to change, Jenson is leading SOMArts into its next iteration, strengthening and activating all parts of SOMArts' multivalent programming, including growing the organization's site-specific commissions and programs, as well as reinvigorating its artistic presence in the Bay Area.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Solitude. Grace. Ancestral

3 things Nature taught you? 

Resistance

Adaptability

Collaboration

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Leo Carillo Beach (Malibu, CA)

Multnomah Falls (Oregon)

Cadeques, Spain

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

At peace and whole

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Mythic, rooted

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

Powerful

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Hopeful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Sensual, alert, focused

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

Edgy

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Planting a tree in my backyard and watching it grow over the years.


Ken Gart

Ken Gart has been a partner at The Gart Companies since its inception in 1992. Prior to that time he was Co-President and Chief Merchandising Officer at Gart Bros. Sporting Goods, a family-owned and operated corporation, from 1983 to 1992. Ken started Specialty Sports Venture, LLC (SSV) in 1994 and built it to over 140 stores and into the nation’s leading specialty ski and bicycle retailer. SSV included Aspen Sports, Telluride Sports, Boulder Ski Deals, Colorado Ski and Golf and roughly 30 other trade names. The company was sold to Vail Resorts in 2010.

Ken was chairman of the Board of Denver Bike Sharing (DBA B-Cycle) where he was appointed to the position by then Mayor and now Governor John Hickenlooper. Denver B-Cycle was the first major city-wide bike sharing to launch in the US. Ken is currently chair of the Board for RPM Events Group which owns the Colorado Classic and Velorama. The Colorado Classic is a global professional cycling competition and Velorama is a music festival. The goals of the RPM Events Group are around health & wellness & economic development for Colorado. Ken has been called by Governor Hickenlooper his “Bike Czar”. This is a voluntary position to make Colorado the most bicycle friendly state in America.

Ken has held various memberships, directorships and chairmanships with The Nature Conservancy, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Telluride Foundation, Colorado Conservation Trust, Denver Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Denver Metro Boys & Girls Clubs and the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. Further, he serves on numerous other non-profit boards and committees.

Ken Attended Claremont Men’s College and graduated from Middlebury College and Stanford Graduate School of Business. He and his wife Rebecca have three children. Ken is an athlete, having climbed over 30 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, and is an enthusiast in the sports of skiing and cycling.

3 words to describe Nature?

Passion. Relief. Opportunity.

3 things Nature taught you?

Stop Breathe Relax Listen as you say so well

Instant change of perspective. It forces to think differently.

Self awareness and all the possibilities

3 most treasured Nature spots?

On any mountain with any of my 3 children. The time with my children in nature is priceless. The bond it creates is profound and so rewarding.

Any aerobic outdoor location. I love how exercising in the outdoors makes me feel. It is more than simply getting a shot of endorphins, it is more a full experience of feeling alive.

On a Colorado mountain, in winter, during a powder day, the rush is priceless

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Inspired. Small. and refreshed. It brings me back to this balcony in Italy, 20 years ago, overlooking the sea. My wife and I had just gotten engaged. We were looking at the water and started to cry, thinking about both of our parents who had passed away. There is something about self reflection and the ocean.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Fresh and full of air. Climbing up a mountain, you pass a point where you loose the trees. It is too high for them to grow, not enough oxygen and moisture. So when you come down the mountain and reach the tree line, smelling the pine cones and all the different aromas, it is comforting and refreshing. It is like coming home after a hard day’s work.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Reminds me of the smallness of the human species. How little we matter. How our impact on the world (in the big sense) is borderline insignificant.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

It is a moment of reflection. It puts me in touch with the day that is ahead and the day that has passed. It reminds me of the cycle of life, the beginnings and the ends, the past and the future, what was, is and will be.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

I really like the thunder. It is a cool way to experience nature. Feeling the energy around you, this incredible force of nature that is so powerful. It is inspiring.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

On the other end, the wind howling makes me ominous. When I am hiking, biking, climbing, and its starts to blow, I get the feeling of being threatened.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain through and through

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

9

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Camping. Our family wasn’t too big on camping, but I remember the few moments we did, with my father and brothers. What I remember the most is the campfire. Being in the outdoors, around the campfire, hearing the fire crackle, smelling the wood burning, it is a powerful experiences that touches so many senses. It is extremely comforting yet threatening. As a child, it is life changing.


Kent Thiry

Kent Thiry is chairman and CEO of DaVita, a FORTUNE 200 company with 75,000 teammates and approximately $14 billion in revenues. The company operates in 11 countries globally, delivering clinically differentiated health care to nearly 2 million patients.

DaVita has been the subject of leadership and culture case studies written by both Harvard and Stanford, and taught in many other schools and programs. Kent sits on the Harvard Business School’s advisory board and is regularly invited to speak on leadership and culture at top business schools, companies and not-for-profit leadership groups.

In 2016 he led Let Colorado Vote, a group that passed two ballot initiatives, one that re- established the presidential primary in Colorado and a second that opens Colorado’s primaries to unaffiliated voters. He is currently leading a redistricting reform initiative, Fair Maps Colorado, as well as a statewide Path to Shared Prosperity blueprint process with a group of CEOs from most of Colorado’s largest companies. He also co-founded The Aspen Group with Senators Bill Frist and Tom Daschle.

Prior to joining DaVita, Kent served in several senior executive roles, including chairman and CEO of Vivra Specialty Partners, a specialty health care company; president and then CEO of Vivra, a NYSE health care service company; and partner at Bain & Company. Prior board seats include the non- executive Chairmanship of Oxford Health Plans.

Kent earned his B.A. in political science, with distinction, from Stanford University, where he also was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, in 1978. He earned his M.B.A., with honors, from Harvard Business School in 1983, where he was also elected to the Century Club.

3 words to describe Nature?

Awesome. Complex. Essential

3 things Nature taught you?

The power of rejuvenation

The power of fresh air

How everything is connected

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Our family cottage in Wisconsin

Colorado rockies

Any place with a mountain bike trail that is far away from the road

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Small, in awe, & connected

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Peaceful, hopeful, & it creates in me a higher level of energy

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Respect, timelessness, a sense of faith, power that is beyond our realm and reach

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Fulfilled, calm, human

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Sense of anticipation, respect for the Universe, quiet

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Depends where I am and the clothes I am wearing. When backpacking I get a sense of excitement, that a challenge is coming. I need to know where safe ground is. It also reminds me the appreciation for the basics - being warm and dry.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Forest first, mountain second, ocean third.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

9

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Running through the forest in northern Wisconsin.


Chef Niki Nakayama

For Niki Nakayama, the art of cooking all comes down to feeling. Always one to follow her intuition, Nakayama’s instincts guide her path as a chef, and it continues to be the driving force behind every dish she creates. At n/naka, her highly acclaimed restaurant in West Los Angeles, Nakayama secures her place among the foremost chefs in the world of modern kaiseki—a traditional Japanese dining discipline based in gratitude and appreciation that balances taste, texture, and presentation through a progression of dishes served in a meticulous, thoughtfully curated order. For Nakayama, the kaiseki philosophy allows her to show a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature, with the purpose of, “highlighting natural flavors, presenting them in their purest way without over-complication, and serving them how they were meant to be in their peak season.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nakayama began her career at the popular Takao restaurant in Brentwood, following her graduation from culinary school in nearby Pasadena. After embarking on a three-year working tour of Japan immersing herself in the deeply nuanced methods and flavors of both traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine, including the art of traditional kaiseki, Nakayama returned to her hometown to open Azami Sushi Café on Melrose Avenue.

After eight years—during which she became known for her omakase menu—the chef branched out to host elaborate chef’s table dinners that resulted in Nakayama’s modernized kaiseki dining experience, which has become the signature cuisine of n/naka. As Nakayama describes, “I was ready to put my name on something, ready to take that leap and challenge myself—and ready to take the traditional kaiseki philosophy and make it my own.”

Today, n/naka serves as a global destination for modern kaiseki with a California twist, at which Nakayama serves world-class, artfully curated, and exquisite dishes in a progression designed to reflect the mood of season, time, and place. One of the toughest reservations to get in L.A., n/naka’s books typically fill up three months out, a testament to Nakayama’s resonance in the international culinary world. Critics also take note—the restaurant has appeared on Jonathan Gold’s “101 Best Restaurants” every year since opening in 2013, and continues to catch the attention of media including T Magazine (The New York Times), Eater, Vogue.com, and many more.

Nakayama’s devotion to sustainability also plays out at n/naka, with currently 70% of its ingredients sourced locally—a rarity in Japanese fine dining. At 2017’s Food on Edge symposium in Galway, Ireland, she explained how the pillars of kaiseki, to integrate your surroundings into the cuisine, find harmony with these sustainability initiatives.

Outside of the restaurant, the chef can be found at her Los Angeles home spending time with her wife and their three dogs—a golden retriever, a Chihuahua, and a terrier mix. One of her favorite pastimes, playing guitar, “allows for decompression,” she says, when she steps away from the kitchen.

3 words to describe Nature? 

GIVING. VAST. BEAUTIFUL

3 things Nature taught you? 

APPRECIATION

GRATITUDE

HUMILITY

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

ALL OCEANS, MOUNTAINS, FORESTS

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…? 

ALIVE AND SMALL

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

PEACE

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…? 

WONDER

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

LOVE

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

SCARED

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…? 

WONDER

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

OCEAN

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

THE FIRST TIME I EVER PLAYED IN THE SNOW AT BIG BEAR, I THOUGHT I’D FOUND MAGIC POWDER. EVERY TIME I SEE SNOW, IT REMINDS ME OF HAPPINESS AND HOLIDAYS.


Cherae Robinson

Cheraé Robinson is an entrepreneur, global development expert, DJ, and modern Pan-Africanist who is the founder and CEO of Tastemakers Africa, an experiences marketplace connecting curious travelers to local insiders in African cities. For nearly a decade, Cheraé sat at the nexus between science and partnerships raising visibility and support for large international nonprofit organizations. Her expertise centers on agriculture and public health with an emphasis on women-centered community programs. In this capacity she has spent time at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, and CARE. Cherae was a part of the team that created the Borlaug Institute for South Asia, a $100 Million USD Agricultural research institution in Delhi, India and the Carlos Slim Biotechnology Center, a $80 Million research facility in Texcoco, Mexico. She has traveled and worked in nearly 40 countries.

The winner of the inaugural “She Leads Africa” startup competition, Ms. Robinson has been named one of 10 Emerging Women Entrepreneurs in Africa by Forbes.com, one of 20 to watch by leading Silicon Valley trends group Culture Shift Labs, and a Woman to Watch by the United Nations Foundation and Innov8tive Magazine. Most recently she was named one of "50 People Changing The Way We Travel" by Conde Naste Traveller Magazine.

Cherae is a member Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Morgan State University. She splits her time between Brooklyn, NY and city-hopping the African continent. When not tackling the demands of running a fast-moving startup she spends her time learning every meme she can from her 10 year old son “Trace”

3 words to describe Nature?

Peace. Open. Possibility.

3 things Nature taught you?

Life has a rhythm

The world is much bigger than me

There is a realm to be understood beyond the noise we create

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The Hudson River

Lion's Head in Cape Town

Wli Falls in Ghana

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

At peace

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Curious

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

In awe

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Alive

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Nervous

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

On edge

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

An Ocean person

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

9

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I fell in love with both reading and nature on a summer vacation where I was visiting a friend of the family on Lake Ontario. Each morning I would wake up, read Anne of Green Gables and look out the window at the lake. By sunset I was skipping rocks across the lake after my daily swim. It was a beautiful moment to have as a child


Kody & Kyler McCormick

Brotherly duo, Kody and Kyler McCormick, founder of The Outbound Life, have never been interested in following the crowd. At young ages they set out to live out their dreams of travel, filmmaking, and entrepreneurship. This non-traditional path lead them to learn from some of their biggest heroes on the planet, receive recognition and sponsorship by some of the top brands in their industries, produce content for Fortune 500 brands, and speak on stages all across the country inspiring youth to chase their passions. The brothers have been seen and heard on platforms ranging from TEDx to Forbes, and LinkedIn’s Official Blog.

3 words to describe Nature?

Adventure. Peace. Recalibration

3 things Nature taught you?

To relax

To push my body physically

To live with less

3 most treasured Nature spots?

BC Canada

Northern California

Colorado Rocky Mountains

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Small and humbled

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

As alive as ever.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Curious of the science behind it

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Eager to explore

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

God is in control

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Determined to push on.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain/forest

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I’ll never forget taking ski trips with my family as a kid to Colorado. Beyond the hours spent carving fresh powder, my favorite part has always been to ski to an area where I was alone on the mountain where I could sit down and take in the view. The sounds of the world seem to drown away in the surrounding snow and the crisp air has a way of recalibrating the soul. This has been one of my favorite past times and I make it a point to be alone for awhile on every ski trip.


Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. He co-founded Wired in 1993, and served as its Executive Editor for its first seven years. His latest book is called The Inevitable, which is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He is also founding editor of the popular Cool Tools website, which has been reviewing tools daily since 2003. Every Sunday he and the Cool Tools team mail out Recomendo, a free one-page list of 6 very brief recommendations of cool stuff.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Complex. Self-correcting. Flux.

3 things Nature taught you? 

First nature taught me about the importance of constantly learning. Secondly, it also taught me about doing it my own way. Life is always hacking the rules and figuring out some solution. It is eternally surprising how every creature has figured out its own crazy livelihood by hacking the "rules" of biology. Each individual species is incredibly unique, even when they are related. Thirdly, it taught me that I am part of nature. I realized that there is only one life. Not in a poetic sense, but in an actual technical sense. That literally the lives of everybody and every living thing all go back, without interruption, to the very beginning of the first cell. There is just this one life that we keep replicating. Really there is only one life.

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

I really enjoy Yosemite. There is something about the scale, the depth and proportions of Yosemite that is very special for me. It is a type of wilderness that is accessible and touchable.

I have a particular relationship with the Himalayas since I have I spent a lot of time there. There is something about that giant wall of snow stretching over the horizon as far as one can see. It affects me in a way that is hard to describe. These mountains have their own gravity and I can feel it the same way that I feel the Earth’s gravity. I am pulled to the Himalayas.

I am not a scuba diver, just a snorkeler, but the underwater is for me really an out-of-this-planet experience. I will never leave Earth but watching those sponges, corals and otherworldly creatures gives me the sense of exploring worlds that are beyond my reach. The underwater is an endless Star Trek movie for me.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

Small. I see the ocean everyday. I am nothing, it is so huge, and powerful.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Comforted. I feel really comfortable in a forest. There is something about a kind of presence of trees. Those wooden beings have some sort of elder wisdom. Except though at night. I can get spooked walking in a forest in the dark. I know it is totally irrational but I do. Maybe because the trees are watching.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

Smart. I know it is bizarre to say. There is something primevally basic about volcanos and lava. Seeing them reminds me of how far we have come from rock. Billions of years separate us. Lava and rock is everything that I am no longer.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Time. I feel the cycle that happens every day, and every time I look at the sun's arrival or departure, I find something new and interesting. There is a childlike spell to it.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Very excited. Thunder doesn’t come without lightning and I think lightning is just amazing.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

When the wind comes, my responsible mature home-owner mode kicks in. In my head, I am going through a checklist. Are the latches shut and locked? Is everything tied down? Are we secured? I am immediately thinking of safety and security.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

I am not a beach person or ocean person. I am most comfortable in the forest and mountains, but when I am in the desert, I am probably closer to my true self.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

To be honest it is probably an 8 for me personally. I am fortunate and have the privileged of living in a place that is right at the edge of a National Park. I mean literally our backyard touches it. The bobcats and mountain lions are right behind our house. We are also only less than a mile from the Pacific ocean. But we have a yard and garden and live only 9 miles from San Francisco. Wilderness is a tough place to be. I don’t think it is necessary that we live in wilderness, but it is important that it remains available. Like a bank we go to, to rejuvenate ourselves as a species. I think it is crucial that wilderness be there for humans. We need to protect it not just for its sake, but for ours. In the perspective of our human well-being, it is a 10.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I grew up in Northern New Jersey, and at that time, one block over from where we lived was a patch of trees that we called “The Woods”. In retrospect, it wasn’t very big, but as a kid, it was everything. We were free range kids. I mean our mom would send us out in the morning and we would ride our bicycles for miles away. I spent a whole lot of time in “The Woods”. We were doing all kind of stuff. I remember we were digging and looking for Native American arrow heads. I know now there are no Native American arrow heads out there, but we were looking for them, and then making our own bows and arrows. I also planted seeds in different patterns on the ground hoping that some day the plants would be growing in that pattern, creating some weird arrangement. People would wonder what was going on with those bizarre plants. “The Woods” was very important for me as a kid. At one point I made a nature museum. While the other kids were interested in kit models making planes and cars, I was making bird models so that I could identify them. It is hard to imagine how different my life would be had it not been for “The Woods”.


Candice Cook

Candice Cook Simmons is the Managing Partner at The Cook Law Group, a published writer, noted philanthropist, and business strategist in the technology, entertainment, and corporate sectors.

Her career began in private practice as a litigator where she represented luxury hotels, television and cable executives, real estate developers, technology companies, and an assortment of Forbes' and Fortune's notable business executives and corporate giants. Cook later expanded her experience beyond litigation to include a vast array of intellectual property, media, telecommunications, and social media issues. Her success in finding creative business-oriented solutions resulted in her invitation to join the Advisory Committee of several startups including music industry technology startup BlazeTrak, Para Music Group, and fashion industry pioneer, Fashion Advance. Today, Cook's firm has handled groundbreaking intellectual property matters—including the trademarking and strategy behind Dominique Ansel’s Cronut™ pastry—and business, entertainment, social impact/entrepreneurship, and talent issues for clients across the globe including Japan, China, Israel, Monaco, Mexico, France, U.S., UAE, and the UK.

Her success resulted in her being honored as a Pearl Honoree in 2009, selected as a finalist for Atlanta's Power 30 Under 30 Award, and a winner of the Celebration Award in Law in 2012. In 2013, she was selected as the Hollywood Power Player by Hollywood & Vine Magazine and in 2014 she was selected as the Barrier Breaker award recipient for her work in the field of law and for her vast hands-on philanthropic engagement addressing education, humanitarian matters, and social justice. She appeared in the HBO documentary "Good hair," the 2009 winner for Special Jury Prize for U.S. documentary at the Sundance Film Festival as well as the documentary Sag Harbor on the OWN network as part of the #Selma50 network campaign. She has also appeared in the American Bar Association Journal, O Magazine, Elle Magazine, The Today Show, and Sirius Radio. She was cited as one of the top interviews for the “Talentedly” platform of 2015 as well as one of the top-five podcast interviews for “Today’s Leading Women.” In 2015, she was the number 1 downloaded interview on the business podcast “Beyond The Business Suit”.

Cook is a contributing writer for the Levo League, Women 2.0, and Conscious Magazine and was a contributing author of the book Conquering The Bar Exam and Co-Editor of the Culture Shift Labs 20 People To Watch of 2015. She serves as an Advisory Executive Member for the United Way of New York's Young Professional Board, is an Advisory Board Member for TheHistoryMakers in Chicago, works to increase engagement as a Committee Member for Jazz at Lincoln Center, served as the Young Professional Board Member for both the Apollo Theater and New York Needs You and served on the Leadership Board for the Council of Urban Professionals. For the past two years, Cook has worked with the 12 Days of Christmas Organization in New York to provide necessities to families across the five boroughs in New York during the month of December and she has also worked to increase STEM awareness through her Advisory Board Work with the M.O.B. Accelerator and CultureShiftLabs. Most recently, Cook was proud to see her work with the rich history of TheHistoryMakers (the single largest archival collection of African-American oral history) rewarded via its acquisition by the Library of Congress. In 2014, Cook served as a Host for the Andrew Goodman Foundation Hidden Heroes Award. In addition to her legal practice, Cook is currently using her platform to aid the Ford Foundation via its Think Tank to assist with the “innovation economy” of Detroit.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Calming. Authentic. Transformative.

3 things Nature taught you? 

Nature has taught me to be patient; to respect life's process and the universe's unquestionable power; and to be reminded that all things are connected and each action has a direct consequence that affects things that are directly seen and also unseen by me.

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

I am from Atlanta, Georgia. Although I live near the concrete jungle now, I am blessed to have a beautiful backyard at my childhood home that is deep green with rose bushes and honeysuckle. My yard had plum trees, muscadines, and figs and the trees provide a balance of beauty and strength.

In New York, I treasure spending time in Sag Harbor with my son by the pond under a tree near my husband's family home. This spot is perfect for aiding me in lulling my son to sleep, viewing animals in the wild without being intrusive, and engaging in quiet reflection.

I went dog sledding in Utah and forever understood the feeling of losing your breath because of the beauty of nature. I always considered myself a beach person. I love the white Driftwood on the beaches on the Georgia Isles and the white sand of Turks & Caicos. But there was something about the mountains, and the trees under the landscape of a flawless sky that brought me so much peace, serenity, and resolve.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

Relaxed

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Motivated

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

In awe

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Blessed (to see another sunset or sunrise is a blessing). There are people who woke up who didn't get to live to see the sunset and there are many who went to bed and did not live to see another sunrise...life is a gift).

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

The need to keep things in perspective...storms come when they come and the only way to get through is to hold your own as best you can while it passes.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

The need to be "ready".

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

8.5

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My childhood was spent playing barefoot in the grass and grabbing honeysuckle from the vines while perfecting the art of tearing off the end of the honeysuckle and tasting the sweet nectar with friends until the sun went down.


Tina Wells

Tina Wells is the CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group, a marketing agency that creates strategies for clients within the beauty, entertainment, fashion, financial, and lifestyle sectors. For more than two decades, Tina has connected thousands of influencers and consumers to brand clients. Since founding her company, she’s developed and managed 30,000 “buzzSpotters” and 7,000 “momSpotters” –influencer and research networks for her clients that include Dell, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and American Eagle Outfitters.

Tina sits on the board of the Young Entrepreneurs Council, the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council (emeritus), and the Council of Emeritus Directors of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association. She currently chairs the Programs, Marketing, and Business Development committee of The Franklin Institute where she also serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

She is a member of the 2017 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute and the Academic Director (Practicum) of Wharton’s Leadership in the Business World program at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2018, Wells also joined the board of THINX. Her list of honors includes The Girl Scouts’ Woman of Distinction, Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Phenom Award, Essence’s 40 Under 40, Billboard’s 30 Under 30, Inc’s 30 Under 30, and Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business.

Wells is the author of the best-selling tween fiction series Mackenzie Blue and the marketing handbook Chasing Youth Culture And Getting It Right. Wells’ writing has appeared in the Huffington Post,he Journal of the American College of Radiology, Inc, Black Enterprise, Media Post, and Retail Merchandiser Magazine.

3 words to describe Nature?

Peaceful. Vibrant. Majestic.

3 things Nature taught you?

That there is something much bigger than me and any problem I think I might have. Also, there’s a rhythm to the world and things continue to move in their cycles and serve their purpose.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Lancaster, PA - where I’m from. Gorgeous pastures, rolling hills, absolutely stunning.

Maasai Mara, Kenya - my first safari and trip to Africa, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been

Tuscany, Italy - my brother has lived here for almost 10 years with his wife. I visit often and fall in love all over again each time.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Calm. Just hearing the ocean calms me.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Safe and secure. I also feel in awe at the enormity of it all.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Awestruck...but a little helpless and scared too.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Happy. A sunrise or sunset is an instant mood booster for me.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Curious.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Scared by the power of it.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain, for sure!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

9. When I purchased my home 11 years ago I planted some trees that are now enormous. Just seeing them every single day, in every season makes me feel so happy.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I’m the eldest of six children, and growing up my dad would take all of the kids in the neighborhood on nature hikes and trips to the park. I grew up in the part of southern New Jersey that is known for its farms. I still live there and see deer almost every night. Those park trips with all of my siblings and our friends were the best.


Greg Smith

Greg Smith is CEO of Icebreaker part of VF Corporation. Prior to this, Greg was General Manager for Icebreaker NZA (Australasia) having joined the company in 2013.

Greg has worked in a number of retail positions over the past 25 years and as GM for NZA was a key part of the Global Executive team spearheading the expansion of the traditionally wholesale led business into the new omni channel consumer led world we now live in.

Greg’s role gives him a unique opportunity to oversee the ongoing profitability and growth of wholesale and eCom side of the business along with retail.

His philosophy on success is simple. Recruit great people, give them clear responsibility and accountabilities and let them win.

Born and raised in New Zealand, when Greg is not in the market, he can be found catching the best surf breaks, playing football, or running around with his wife keeping up with the keen pursuits of their five children.

3 words to describe Nature?

Everything. Powerful. Beautiful.

3 things Nature taught you?

Humility

Appreciation

Perspective - it makes you realize how connected we are to something bigger, it helps you understand the role that we play in the Universe. We are One with the Universe.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Cardrona, New Zealand

Mangawhai Heads, New Zealand

The Catlins, New Zealand

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Energized

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Calm

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Small

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Satisfied

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Excited

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Scared

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10, it brings me peace, wellness and happiness, but I also can cope without it. I just need to return to nature every time I need to replenish myself, after a lot of traveling or working for long periods in the city.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I was skiing with friends on Mt Ruapehu - the conditions were great, the weather superb and everybody was having fun. Then a series of small events led us into a really unfortunate situation and suddenly we found ourselves fighting for our lives. I didn’t know if I was going to survive, it was really scary, but it was also an extremely powerful experience. It taught me about humility and perspective, how you can enjoy nature one minute, feel like you are heaven, then within a blink of an eye, you struggle to survive. Never take anything for granted.


Jacqueline Raposo

Jacqueline Raposo has written over three-hundred interview-focused features articles for major food publications. Her stories center around the culture of food – how eating connects and disconnects us – as well as the challenges facing those in the hospitality industry today. She also pens essays on functioning in a busy world as an adult with lifelong chronic illness. Her first bookThe Me, Without: A Year Exploring Habit, Healing, and Happiness – publishes in January.

Jacqueline finds humans fascinating, and believes everyone has a story to share. She walked barefoot in the New England woods often as a child of the early nineties, got Lyme disease, and lives with complications to this day. Jacqueline still goes camping, identifies trees and birds, and takes her dog (who’s had Lyme, too) out in the grass any chance she gets. She can’t go far, but she goes deep.

3 words to describe Nature?

Detoxifying. Fortifying. Unanswerable.

3 things Nature taught you?

Talk less, listen more.

Pay attention – a hawk can kill a junco in two seconds flat – don’t miss the moment.

Nothing I create will ever be as beautiful as a walk with my dog during a snowstorm.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Overlooking the Atlantic from Sao Miguel in the Azores, where my father is from.

The honey locust, tree of heaven, and plants deskside on my windowsill in New York.

Any forest in New England I can go into with my best friend, Lyndsey.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Small and powerless and insignificant and humble. In the best possible way.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Ready for a very slow walk to make up stories, identify things, and whisper quietly so to not wake sleeping trolls.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Like an upward adventure is about to happen.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Like I can almost see the ghosts of all those who have stood in that same spot before me, equally in awe.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Like I should stop what I’m doing and observe the sky, so I’ll know how it’s changed later.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Like it’s time to get out a notebook and fountain pen.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Forest. I’m never more at home then when with the trees, nestled alongside water. If I can be in water surrounded by trees, even better. Hot springs? Never leaving.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10. I live in a city, yet surround myself with Nature. I find it everywhere. I cannot live without it.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My favorite books in childhood were those about running away to live in the woods: The Boxcar Children, My Side of the Mountain, etc. I succeeded only in decorating an empty shed with plates made from broken floor tiles, building a fire pit in the woods behind our property and, eventually, trying to heal my dad’s poison ivy with a soak made from ferns. It was something.


April Vokey

Photo by Jeremy Koreski

April Vokey began fishing as a toddler. By the sixth grade she was saving her allowance for weekend visits to the local tackle shop where she eventually stocked her ‘hand-me-down’ Plano box with every lure and bait she could afford.

After discovering a passion for fly fishing in her late teens, April soon dedicated her entire life to the pursuit. She began her guiding career on the Fraser and Harrison rivers for sturgeon and salmon, but left after several season to found her own guiding operation, Fly Gal Ventures, in 2007 at age 24. The company was built on the basis of the promotion of education and encouragement to those who looked to chase their dreams. She has since established herself as a respected authority in the sport and has traveled the globe in pursuit of gamefish on a fly rod.

Her writing has appeared in numerous industry leading publications including Fly Fisherman, Fly Rod & Reel, and Fly Fusion magazines. In July 2012, April became the first fly angler to be featured in Outside magazine for their “XX-Factor” segment.

Also a popular TV personality, April has been featured on the Outdoor Channel’s Buccaneers and Bones series, 60 Minutes Sports, The Steve Harvey show, Discovery Channel’s Refined, Discovery’s/OLN’s Close Up Kings, and WFN’s Fly Nation TV.

Most recently, Vokey proudly wrote and hosted her own exclusive series, ShoreLines with April Vokey, as shown on the World Fishing Network. The series focuses on fly-fishing’s rich history and the people it consists of. Feeling limited by airtime, she has since branched out with her podcast, Anchored with April Vokey, an uncensored series dedicated to archiving the stories and personalities from some of fly-fishing’s most influential people. The show is one of the only fishing podcasts solely recorded in a face to face environment where April ensures to ask questions apart from the norm.

She now resides in Canada for six months of the year, and in Australia for the other six. Her dog, Colby, travels with her between countries, keeping her safe from grizzlies and kangaroos alike.

She is a FFF certified casting instructor, a fly-tying instructor, an active conservationist, traveling speaker and an eternal student of life and love.

3 words to describe Nature?

Beauty. Balance. Brutality.

3 things Nature taught you?

How small I really am.

That every day on this planet is a gift.

That predatory animals are more ruthless than an ethical human hunter/angler could ever be.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

BC’s north-west

Australia’s north-west coast

New Zealand’s South Island west-coast

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Humbled

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Complete

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Intimidated

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Thankful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Invigorated

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Eager to bunker down

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

When I was around seven years old my parents took me to a nearby river. A large, chrome chinook salmon lay dead and washed up on the rocks. It hadn’t spawned yet, but had died from a head injury during its migration. My parents explained salmon and their lifecycles. It was an invaluable lesson. In that moment, I learned: how complex BC’s eco-systems are, how the inevitable death of the salmon had a bigger reward in the end, and that I could catch these enormous creatures if I just waited for them to enter the river. From there I became an angler.


Julie Packard

Julie Packard is founding executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Based on a lifelong passion for science and nature, she has led the Aquarium to become a global force for ocean conservation. She chairs the board of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, a global leader in deep ocean science and technology and she is deeply engaged in ocean conservation strategies through her work as a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Julie served as a member of the Pew Oceans Commission which published a blueprint for improving governance of America's ocean waters, and more recently served on the California Parks Forward Commission to develop a sustainable path for California's state parks. Julie holds a master’s degree in biology with a focus in marine algal ecology.

3 words to describe Nature?

Calming. Safe. Inspiring

3 things Nature taught you?

Humility

Curiosity

Perspective

3 most treasured Nature spots?

California’s Sierra lakes

Big Sur Coast

Redwood forests

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Intrigued

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

At home

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Small

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Serene

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Unsettled

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Anxious

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountains. They put time in perspective and put us in our place.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I grew up in the 50’s, in the foothills of what’s now called Silicon Valley. After school I’d ride my horse through our apricot orchard, into the hills and oak forest behind our house. We rarely had a destination in mind, but the act of aimless wandering was the best part. Sometimes I’d meet up with other kids and their horses, but some of the best times were alone. I loved experiencing the changing seasons in California, from the progression of spring wildflowers in the sunny grasslands and shady ravines, to the hot dry summers during the apricot harvest. These days so many kids don’t have nature to explore nearby and if they do, they’re surely not allowed to venture far from home. How did we let such a basic right of childhood disappear?


Jacques Andre Dupont

Considered by many to be an authority in marketing, sponsorship and the development of large-scale cultural projects, JACQUES-ANDRE DUPONT is the President of L’Équipe Spectra and 3 of the biggest Festivals in Montreal - the International Jazz Festival, the FrancoFolies, & Montréal en Lumière.

Dupont supports the musical development of the next generation of Québécois artists thanks, among other endeavours, to the creation of the Blues Camp for teens during the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, and staging a series of concerts presenting high school, cegep and university students. In 2017, following the publication of a report by the Conseil des Montréalaises (Montréal Women’s Council), he launched the Hirondelles, an all-female safety team dedicated to maintaining the security and well-being of festival fans and vulnerable people. He is also responsible for many projects addressing the sustainable development of the group, including making the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal carbon neutral, an international first at the time.

He is also a passionate photographer whose work focuses on wildlife and nature. His images have been featured in several major medias like Canadian Geographic, National Geographic, Africa Geographic, Wildlife Photographic, Outdoor Photography, Paris Match, the London Telegraph, China News, La Pravda, etc. His pictures have been selected/or won several photo competitions internationally and have been been exhibited in several countries around the world. With is photography he only wants to achieve one simple goal: bring the beauty of nature into light.

3 words to describe Nature?

Grand. Fragile. Us

3 things Nature taught you?

The more I connect with it, the happier I am.

Even the ugliest animals are beautiful.

It is the best smelling thing ever.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

My three favourite nature spots so far (because I want to see them all!) are

The Serengeti plains of Tanzania because it was love at first sight for me;

Yellowstone National Park, because this where I knew right away I would become a nature and wildlife photographer;

And my own backyard forest in Bolton West, Quebec, because I am the luckiest man in the world to have this in my own backyard every day.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Peaceful. Probably the infinity of it, with the suiting sound of the waves

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Curious! I want to explore it… Find an owl nest or a fox hole. And walk along a trustful moose (which happened to me this spring)

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Small and scared. Will my number come up today?

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

A sunrise? Alive, energized, happy to be up early in the day, and looking forward to what’s next. A sunset? happy, relaxed and looking forward to a glass of wine to celebrate the day that just ended so well.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Hoping for a spectacle: the drums, the light show… It’s better than Cirque du Soleil!

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Wanting to snuggle with my wife, as usually it is winter and -20 celsius outside, at our home that we named Domaine des Vents (Field of Winds), for it is really the windiest place.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I think I am an African plains person. That is why I love also so much the Serengeti AND Yellowstone (as it is called the Serengeti of America…).

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10, and then some! For the last 20 years I have been suffering from anxiety attacks on a regular basis… I guess that stress is my Achilles' heel… But since the last few years, nature photography has been the most amazing medicine for me…

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

It's the blue hour, just after the sunset. My dad took me fishing, north of Quebec city. And suddenly, for the first time ever, I hear the call of the loon. Wow! It sounds like a wolf. I am mesmerized by it. Since then, every time I hear a loon calling I go right back to that day, where I was so well, with my dad.


John Wood

JOHN WOOD is the founder of Room to Read, an organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children. Room to Read envisions a world in which all children can pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their communities and the world.

At age 35, John left his position as Director of Business Development for Microsoft’s Greater China region to found Room to Read.

John’s award-winning memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children tells how he raised millions from a “standing start” to develop one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in history. The book was described by Publishers’ Weekly in a starred review as “an infectiously inspiring read.” Translated into 20 languages, it is popular with entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and educators alike, and was selected by Amazon.com as one of the Top Ten Business Narratives of 2006 and voted a Top Ten Nonfiction title of 2006 by Hudson Booksellers. The book was also featured during John’s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the resulting “Oprah’s Book Drive” with Room to Read raised over $3 million from viewers.

John’s follow up book, Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy, tells the story of how the organization successfully tackled the next steps of scaling beyond his wildest dreams while maintaining integrity and raising money in a collapsing economy.

John has been named by Goldman Sachs as one of the world’s 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, has been a three-time speaker at the Clinton Global Initiative and is a five-time winner of Fast Company Magazine’s Social Capitalist Award. He has been honored by Time Magazine’s “Asian Heroes” Award, selected as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, is a Lifetime Achievement Honoree of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Disruptive Innovation Awards, and is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He was selected by Barron’s as one of the “25 Best Givers” in 2009 and 2010, ranking 11th and 9th on the list, respectively. In 2014, John won the World’s Children’s Honorary Award Laureate through the World’s Children’s Prize, the annual educational program for the rights of the child and democracy—often called the Children’s Nobel Prize. In recognition of his passion to open libraries for the most under-served populations, he was described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the Andrew Carnegie of the developing world.”

John also serves on the advisory board of the Clinton Global Initiative and New Story.

Since 2000, Room to Read has impacted the lives of ten million children across Asia and Africa through its programs in Literacy and Girls’ Education. It aims to reach 15 million children by 2020.

3 words to describe Nature?

Best. Thing. Ever.

3 things Nature taught you?

Take time from work to enjoy it.

Breathe deep

Stay in shape, stay young.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Annapurna Circuit of Nepal, because a hike there inspired the formation of Room to Read

Sand dunes of Namibia

Any hiking trail in my adopted home city of Hong Kong

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Grateful to live near it.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Like I need to put on my hiking or running shoes, grab my wife Amy, and get out there!

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Assuming it’s dormant, like climbing to the top.   If active, then reminds me that I need to update my will    ☺

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

I’m hugely nocturnal, so sunrises not happening for me.  Sunset makes me do a reality check on whether I’ve accomplished all the work goals I’ve had that day, and if not, to get on it.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Like I need to grab a good book, lie on the sofa, and enjoy the warmth and security

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Like I should be out hiking

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

The latter 3, impossible to decide

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10.  I globe-trot constantly for Room to Read, and in every city I always try to find Nature, and of course build my holidays in places like the Dolomites and Namibia and Nepal so that I can over-dose on it.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

The first time I skied in Colorado I knew that I needed to abandon dreams of university on the east coast, and so I ended up having four very happy years at the University of Colorado in Boulder.


Felicity Aston

Felicity Aston is the first and only woman in the world to ski across Antarctica alone. The 1,744km, 59-day journey completed in January 2012 also made her the first person in the world to traverse the continent purely by muscle power without the aid of kites or machines. In 2015 she was awarded the Queen’s Polar Medal for services in Antarctica and was appointed MBE for services to Polar Exploration.

In 2009 she led the 38-day, 911km Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition, the largest and most international women’s team ever to ski to the South Pole. The team included women from Brunei Darussalam, Cyprus, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Singapore, New Zealand. Felicity was responsible for selecting and training this diverse, multicultural team of novice adventurers for one of the most arduous journeys on Earth. Her book about the expedition, ‘Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole’ was published in March 2011 and was a finalist in the Banff Mountain Book Competition. She has written two further books, ‘Alone in Antarctica’ (with a foreword by Joanne Lumley) and ‘Chasing Winter: A journey to the Pole of Cold’.

Previously, Felicity has led several other notable expeditions including the first British women’s crossing of Greenland, a 700km winter crossing of Lake Baikal in a Siberian winter and an adventurous expedition in Iceland for young people with a brain injury. She was also part of the first, ever, all-female team to complete the Polar Challenge, a 500km endurance race to the magnetic north pole, and has completed the notorious Marathon Des Sables, a 150-mile foot race across the Sahara. More recently, Felicity led a 35,000km expedition in a Land Rover Defender to the Pole of Cold (the coldest inhabited place in the world) in the far northeast of Siberia. Felicity has been elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London and is a Fellow of The Explorers Club in New York.

Trained as a Physicist and Meteorologist, Felicity’s first polar experience was as a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey. Based for three years on a remote research station on the Antarctic Peninsula, her job was to monitor climate and ozone. In 2013 she co-presented a two-part series for BBC Science exploring atmospheric physics and cloud science called, ‘Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets of the Skies’ and in 2016 she co-presented a three-part series for BBC History called ‘Operation Gold Rush’ retracing the route of the 1898 Klondike stampede across the Yukon.

3 words to describe Nature?

Space. Joy. Relentless

3 things Nature taught you?

Resilience

Perspective

Humility

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The Icelandic Highlands

Fossil Bluff, Antarctica

Kentish Coast, UK

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?,

Restless

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Protected

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Small

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Lucky/grateful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Nostalgic

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Intrepid

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I'm a snow and ice person...be that on the ocean, in the mountains, within a forest or as a desert

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My childhood home backed onto woodland. When it snowed - a rare event in southern England - the woodland was transformed into a new and magical place. It was so exciting and even though I knew every inch of the woods I would rush to explore this 'new' environment. I was always very conscious it was temporary, that I had to rush to see everything before it all disappeared.


Lillie Hodges

Lillie Hodges graduated from Middlebury College with a focus in Geography and Global Health and is currently working as a Community Manager at RightPet, building community and content to help people find the right products and techniques to keep their animals happy and healthy. While in Vermont, Lillie worked at 1% for the Planet in its community development team. During her time there, she particularly enjoyed working on partner acquisition and engaging their global network of environmental non-profit organizations.

Lillie’s commitment to experience worlds beyond her own and to foster meaningful connections with people and organizations led her to work for the Aspen Institute in Colorado on their 2016 Aspen Ideas Festival team.

Additionally, she serves as a Vanguard Board Member for the Aspen Institute’s Society of Fellows and a Junior Council Advisor of the American Museum of Natural History. In 2018, she began working on a long-dreamed of personal project - Aspiring Roots. Aspiring Roots is my way of pairing my passion for food and creativity with the insights and lessons I’ve learned about nourishing recipes, self-love practices, and healing techniques.

3 words to describe Nature?

Centering. Alluring. Awe-inducing

3 things Nature taught you?

Perspective

Resilience

Peace

3 most treasured Nature spots?

More Mesa cliff trail, Santa Barbara CA

Roman Road in Grovely Wood, Wiltshire England

Jardin Publique, Bordeaux France

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

As if the waves can absorb any turbulence within me, challenged by the endless stretching horizon of possibilities, and ultimately relaxed and at peace with the moment.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Very small and young, and in awe of the resilience and energy within the vast organism of a forest.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Humbled by the earth's ability to both destroy and heal, and by my youth and smallness in that moment.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

A sense of opportunity to “reset” myself while feeling in sync with the natural world.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Fascinated, thrilled by the suggested risk and power, and reverent for the scale and depth of nature.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

As if it proves nature’s whims can overpower any of New York City’s hum.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean - The ocean is not only where I seek joy and solace, but also where I’ve learned some important lessons about myself. Overcoming the fear of being past the chaos of the breaking waves, I would spend hours there swimming, floating and jumping with those I love. There is a spot just past the waves where your toes can still barely touch the sand, and where each passing swell challenges the notion that I’m able to control my own destiny, or alone in my journey. In its vastness, it can hold your experience and all the others all at once - often leaving me and anyone I’m with with no idea of the passing time other than being carried down the beach in the current and tides.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10 - Growing up surrounded by it in Santa Barbara, nature was core to how I could reflect on my wellbeing and find purpose and peace. Now that I'm living in Brooklyn, I've brought the green to me - surrounding myself not only with plants at home and spending many hours in New York’s parks but also with my newest nature-loving family member - Simba, an adopted kitten.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

As an only child growing upon a horse ranch surrounded by an avocado orchard, I often had wondrous adventures climbing the tree trunks and suspended in the canopies - a source of indepence, satisfaction, and calm. Once, around age 10, I convinced my friend to help me build a ropes course by borrowing my mom’s riding reins and lead ropes. We learned some key lessons about planning and physics that day; and the tree swing, our most stubbornly knotted rope, remained until that part of the orchard was cut down after dying in the CA droughts.