Jessi Long has been living and working in Guatemala since 2009. Before founding JUSTA, Jessi worked in Washington DC for both Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and Green America’s Fair Trade Program. Her entry into the world of fair trade began through participating in Oxfam America’s CHANGE internship, when she founded the Students for Fair Trade group at Washington University in St. Louis. Jessi majored in Latin American Studies and spent eight months studying at Universidad de Chile in Santiago, Chile. She first traveled to Nicaragua at the age of 13, volunteering with the Center for Development of Central America, working in community and cooperative development during three subsequent trips. In addition to these passions, Jessi is also a RYT200 certified yoga teacher. She teaches at La Paz Eco-Lodge in San Marcos, Guatemala and also shares the benefits of yoga with the artisan cooperatives she works with.
Yochi Zakai manages U.S. logistics and wholesale relations for JUSTA. Previously, Yochi served as the Program Coordinator for Green America’s Fair Trade Program. During his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Yochi founded a business partnership called Brewing Hope with coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico and fair trade coffee roaster Higher Grounds Trading Company. More recently, Yochi traveled to Peru to connect with the Munay Rumi jewelry cooperative through Partners for Just Trade.
Carrie Laing serves as Development Coordinator for the textile collective and organization-wide educational programs in Guatemala. She has been living and working in Guatemala since 2008. Before joining JUSTA she taught preschool at the bilingual Life School, worked in the Development Office at fellow Fair Trade organization Maya Traditions, and owned her own cafe/community center, Cafe Q’anil in Panajachel. She also worked for 10 months as an international intern at CASA in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Carrie graduated with honors from Pitzer College in 2007 with a BA in Spanish Language and Culture with a focus in Latin America. She has traveled and lived in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Apart from her work, Carrie enjoys photography, writing, and natural soap making. She is excited to share in these creative processes with the women artisans of JUSTA.
Ella Alpina assists JUSTA with business development and accounting. She arrived in Guatemala in the end of 2011 and has been supporting the organization’s activities and programs. She received her MBA with a focus on sustainable business from Santa Clara University in California. In 2011, Ella spent 6 months living and working in Nicaragua. There she supported CO2 Bambú, a company that constructs bamboo shelters for indigenous communities, provides training and jobs, as well as reforestation efforts. Her interest in social development and sustainable business has led her to JUSTA to contribute creatively to the organization.
Lena Masur spent six weeks working with JUSTA in Guatemala. As a professional photographer, Lena photographed JUSTA artisans and their work. Her photos are featured throughout the JUSTA website. She also began a film documentary, spending time with the artisans and their families to capture daily life in Guatemala. In addition, Lena ran educational programs with the women, discussing topics from child nutrition to women´s reproductive health. Currently, Lena is a professor of photography at Wells College near Ithaca, NY.
JUSTA would also like to thank contributing photographers: Alex Bohman, Adam Vogel, and Ted Stein
Sebastian Lindemann worked with JUSTA in organizing its first artisan collective. His knowledge and experience in small producer development began through working with the Chilean government´s development organization in the rural southern regions of Chile. He has aided hundreds of small farmers to organize themselves in worker-owned cooperatives. Sebastian helped develop JUSTA´s collective´s systems of production tracking and personal financial tracking. Sebastian currently continues to work and live in Santiago, Chile.