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Global Just Designs Organizers
Jessi Long has been living and working in Guatemala since 2009. She founded JUSTA in 2010 and currently serves as Executive Director. Previously, 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 an E-RYT200 and RYT500 certified yoga teacher. She teaches in Guatemala, Mexico, and Costa Rica and also shares the benefits of yoga with the artisan cooperatives she works with.
Yochi Zakai serves as Chairman of the Board for JUSTA nonprofit. 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.
Mary Long serves as Vice Chair of JUSTA. Mary is a Conservation Planner and was a business owner for 20 years previously. She holds a Masters in Forestry and Environmental Policy, as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. She has travelled extensively throughout the world and holds a strong connection to the life and culture of Guatemala.
Robin Smith has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 13 years and is currently the Finance and Operations Director for an organization that provides health care and conducts health research in Haiti. She has worked and lived in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua and still feels a special connection to Central America. In her role as the Executive Director of Maya Traditions Foundation in Panajachel Guatelama, she worked directly with Maya women weavers to promote their Fair Trade goods and provide them and their families with education and health resources. In that capacity, she met JUSTA Founder, Jessi Long. Robin's love of Guatemala has led her to continues to volunteer her time with JUSTA and several other Guatemalan organizations from the US.
Kelly Abbott manages the wholesale relations, online retail stores, and various festivals for Global Just Designs. Previously, Kelly worked in Production Management and Design for a fair trade company based out of Nepal called Aid Through Trade. Her involvement in the fair trade community was inspired by international travel to Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. She graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Economics, concentration in Sociology, and minor in Astronomy. During her studies at JMU, she studied abroad in Belgium and volunteered in Costa Rica. Wherever she goes her ukulele is sure to follow and she loves collecting unique instruments from around the world.
Megan Baker has been an avid supporter & friend of JUSTA since it's inception. She currently organizes Global Just Design's festival schedule and is a member of the sales team at many events. She has also helped implement JUSTA's online sales presence as well as travelled to Guatemala on two different occasions to volunteer with the artisans. After meeting several of the artisans, Megan felt moved to share the benefits of therapeutic touch and movement with these hard working women. Many of the women have now experienced reflexology, Swedish massage and elements of isolated stretching, self-care practices that are not common place in this indigenous Mayan culture. She holds a B.A. in Dance and is also a Certified Massage Therapist.
Katie Gilray joined JUSTA as an intern through her University program in Canada. She is studying international relations with a focus on human development. Katie organizes for her community radio station, a women's shelter, and also has a special interest in art therapy. All of these have sparked her inspiration to work directly with women artisans through JUSTA. Katie does photography, design, sales and other organizing for JUSTA. She also has brought Global Just Designs to Canada to share the ladies' amazing art!
Ella Alpina assisted JUSTA with business development and accounting. In 2012, she spent two months in Guatemala 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. 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 womenÂ´s reproductive health. Currently, Lena is a professor of photography at Wells College near Ithaca, NY.
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 governmentÂ´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 JUSTAÂ´s collectiveÂ´s systems of production tracking and personal financial tracking. Sebastian currently continues to work and live in Santiago, Chile.