Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Global Head of Product
Ryan is an award winning B2B EdTech product innovation and management executive who takes products from concept to market in a 0 to 1 fashion. Having worked for one of the leading global leadership development firms for more than a decade, Ryan has the unique ability to bring together market strategy, innovative product solutions, and drive execution of business outcomes. Having worked with admired global companies in a range of different industry sectors, Ryan understands the challenges that complex organizations face and is able to translate these challenges into training and development solutions that have measurable impact.
Global Head of Growth & Customer Success
Alexie is a dynamic business executive with 20 years of experience enabling customer senior executives to accelerate meeting their strategic needs and challenges through SaaS sales, marketing, and professional services. This includes use cases in the areas of agile and digital transformations, employee engagement, and building a culture of innovation with industry-leading global corporate brands. He spends much of his free time running and hiking the trails on Mt. Tamalpais, practicing and teaching yoga, and practicing mindfulness and mediation. Alexie has 15+ years practicing mindfulness in the business environment and loves to teach the celebrated SIY program.
Global Head of Finance & Accounting
Alex brings his extensive background in Corporate Accounting and Finance along with his passion for mindfulness and social change to the SIY Global team. He is extremely excited to participate in such a worthy cause along side the incredibly talented staff and contributors at SIY Global. When he isn’t busy at work, Alex loves to continue his pursuit of knowledge of all things cheese, and to get out in nature on his bicycle.
Global Head of People & Culture
Ilana Robbins Gross
Ilana brings her diverse work experience – including grassroots organizing in New Orleans, education in Brazil, and technology in San Francisco – to her work at SIY Global. Regardless of industry or geography, Ilana seeks to act on her values, striving to create a world where people have more opportunities and are able to take full advantage of them. Outside of work, Ilana loves to travel, create costumes, and practice yoga.
Director of Marketing
Director of Product Development
Jason is a talent management consultant and I/O psychologist with a long history in leadership development, change management, coaching, and program design. He has worked across many industries, geographies, and with leaders at all levels. He believes mindfulness is the key to a healthy world. He also has a passion for travel, photography, drums, and chocolate.
Head of Teacher Development
A management consultant by trade, Brandon worked for large corporations in Dubai before transitioning to spend a few years residing at monasteries of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. SIY Global was a natural bridge of his business experience and mindfulness practice, so after enrolling in SIY’s teacher training he decided to join full-time. Brandon finds himself traveling frequently; particularly memorable adventures include Japan, the Maldives, and Swaziland.
Head of Anchor Client Development
Judith comes to SIY Global with a background in Marriage and Family Therapy where she focused on cultivating emotional intelligence through mindfulness with her clients, and fostering connection between head and heart and mind and body. Prior to becoming a therapist she worked at Google and is excited to integrate these two worlds in her role at SIY Global. She believes that changing the way we show up at work recursively impacts the way we show up with ourselves, in relationships, and in the world.
Caitlin manages SIY Global’s teacher training program and the ongoing development of SIY teachers. An SIY Certified Teacher, she brings a background in leadership development, behavioral health, and trauma-informed practice to her work with organizations. Prior to SIYG, she spent a decade working globally in roles that center individual and community well-being. A first-generation university student, she holds Bachelors degrees in Political Science & International Affairs, is a trauma-informed yoga teacher and is currently completing a Masters in Clinical Social Work at UNC Charlotte. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains and gleans her greatest lessons living mindfully with her partner and Aussie cattle dog, Bodhi.
Lead Visual Designer
Grace joined SIY Global after a decade as a mindfulness and embodiment facilitator and entrepreneur, teaching individuals essential skills to support well-being and personal growth, training organizations to collaborate and work more effectively, and supporting brands to authentically tell their stories and connect with their audiences. She has led retreats and workshops around the world for women to deepen their self-awareness through contemplative practice. Grace believes in a world where work can be joyful, organizations are regenerative (delivering value for all of their stakeholders, communities and the earth), and individuals can be vulnerable and honest with themselves and each other….she’s also by nature a major optimist! She loves a good story and is passionate about embodying mindfulness and care in the way we tell the SIY Global story. After spending years traveling the world, Grace now lives in the mountains in New Hampshire with her toddler, husband, dog, and bunny, and enjoys a simpler way of being; walking in the forest in all seasons and sitting mindfully with tea.
Customer Success Manager
Nafessa has the unique ability to connect deeply and empathetically which allows her to intuitively see, improve and transform systems in order to help people and organizations thrive. Before joining SIY Global, she spent 10+ years as a Social Impact Consultant and as a Social Worker who has worked with various populations including survivors of torture. Nafessa holds a dual Master’s in Global Public Health & Social Work from Columbia University. Her work and passions have taken her around the world, including time in Spain, India, Indonesia, and Kenya. In her spare time Nafessa is often found breaking into song and dance to fulfill her Bollywood dream.
Customer Success Manager
Cori is thrilled to bring her experience as a classroom teacher and educational technology specialist to the SIY Global team. She began her career as a classroom teacher in 2003 after earning a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Michigan. After 12 years in the classroom, where she sought to involve mindfulness and emotional intelligence into the daily lives of her students and colleagues, she joined the world of educational publishing, supporting educators and learners around the world. She is passionate about the power of mindfulness and emotional intelligence in navigating everyday life. She seeks to live out the mission of SIY Global at work and in her personal life.
In her spare time, you’ll find her on the stage or in the audience of local community theaters. She thrives on helping to create joy for others through the performing arts.
Before joining SIY Global, Lindsay brought her passion for well-being and transformational experiences to individuals and groups in various settings as a clinical music therapist, vocalist, and facilitator. Her exploration continues to evolve as she integrates her previous experience with a deep desire to expand the positive impact she can have in the lives of others. Outside work you can find her enjoying time in nature, traveling to new places, reading a good book, and drinking all the boba.
Program Management Associate
Aislinn joins SIY Global with an authentic enthusiasm for helping individuals lead fuller, more meaningful lives. She has a decade of experience creating high-impact, evidence-based products that support individual growth and well-being. She has written or produced dozens of engaging, digital programs teaching skills in positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and rationality, ranging in scope from a few minutes to full-fledged apps. Aislinn holds a master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and is also keenly interested in the relationship between well-being and the natural world. She loves time spent with family, hiking, cooking, and growing food.
Kevin is an experienced accounting and finance professional. He is excited to help SIY Global not just in accounting but also his perspective as someone who was born and grew up in other country. He’s also very excited to learn more about mindfulness and helping other to start practicing mindfulness exercise. His hobbies including playing soccer and exercise. He loves to attend to soccer matches all over the world!
Board of Directors
Elizabeth R. Koch
Member, Board of Directors
Over the past decade Elizabeth R. Koch has helped found companies in the fields of publishing, media, neuroscience, and transformational experiences. They include: Tiny Blue Dot Foundation, a research foundation that seeks to understand and measure the quantity and quality of consciousness; Catapult, an award-winning publishing company that celebrates extraordinary storytelling; and, most recently, Unlikely Collaborators which creates unlikely collaborations through four areas: Experiences, Storytelling, Investments and Impact. All of Elizabeth’s companies and activities share the same goal of bringing people’s awareness of their Perception Box™.
“We all live inside an invisible but ever-present mental box—a Perception Box,” she explains. “Built from the material of your beliefs, the Perception Box has the power to distort your reality and leave you feeling isolated, disconnected, and fearful. By asking sometimes contradictory but always consequential questions, our goal is to show people how to understand and work with their Perception Box—how to overcome the limiting beliefs that hold them back, expand the possibilities of perception, and invite in new ways of seeing and being seen.”
Elizabeth graduated from Princeton with a BA in English Literature. She earned an MFA in fiction from Syracuse University, where she was advised by George Saunders and won the Joyce Carol Oates Prize for short fiction.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Rich is the CEO of SIY Global. He was previously the director of executive education and people development at Google, where he was also one of the first SIY teachers. Rich previously founded Wisdom Labs and has also served in senior roles at eBay, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America. He received his PhD in Psychology from Columbia University and is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review.
Dr. Amishi Jha
Dr. Amishi Jha, PhD is Director of Contemplative Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami. Prior to her current post, she was an Assistant Professor at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her B.S in Biological Psychology from the University of Michigan, her Ph.D in Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience) from the University of California–Davis, and her post-doctoral training at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University in functional neuroimaging.
With grants from the Department of Defense and several private foundations, she leads research on the neural bases of attention and the effects of mindfulness-based training programs on cognition, emotion, resilience, and performance in education, corporate, elite sports, first-responder, and military contexts.
In her laboratory at the University of Miami, she uses functional MRI, electrophysiological recordings and behavioral techniques to understand why our attention sometimes fails us, and if it can be trained for greater focus and less distractibility. She launched the first-ever study to offer mindfulness training tools to active-duty military service members as they prepared for deployment. What she has discovered is that without intervention, attention is compromised, and attentional lapses increase. Yet, with mindfulness training, attention can be strengthened and protected.
In addition to her own published body of research, her work has been featured at TED, NATO, the World Economic Forum, the Pentagon, and the UK Parliament. She has received coverage in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, Mindful Magazine, NPR, and more. In addition, she has been interviewed by Joe Rogan, Brene Brown, Russell Brand, Deepak Chopra, Duncan Trussell, Dan Harris, Sharon Salzberg, and many others. In her national bestseller, Peak Mind (Harper Collins), she shares her discoveries on how attention can be trained for optimal performance and well-being. You can find Dr. Jha at http://amishi.com.
Dr. Ekaterina Denkova
Dr. Denkova is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami. She serves as the Assistant Director of the Neuroimaging Facility and Assistant Director of Research for the UMindfulness Initiative. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Strasbourg after which she joined the University of Alberta as a CIHR Fellow. She serves as Co-investigator on several federally funded grants with Dr. Amishi Jha.
Dr. Denkova expertise is in cognitive and affective neuroscience. Using brain and behavioral methods, she studies the neural basis of cognitive and affective processes and their trainability with mindfulness training. Her program of research focuses on: 1) The interplay between cognitive and affective processes underlying personal memories and thoughts, such as mind- wandering, ruminations, and intrusions; 2) The impact of mindfulness training on these cognitive and affective processes in high-stress/high-demand professionals.