Photo Credit: Mike Zanine (Header Image)

Fusing the clever mind with the wisdom of the ocean, mountains and sky.

The Center for Nature and Leadership is a leadership incubator and national community of women designed to translate personal expertise and insight into impact for communities and organizations across the world.

We believe that:

  • The creative empowerment of women is a powerful tool for social, environmental, and personal transformation that is required for our world today;
  • effective personal growth is a process fueled by continuity and a supportive community for inspiration, motivation and accountability;
  • an established community of mentors and personal advisors provides a depth of growth that cannot otherwise be achieved;
  • nature-based leadership development supports the development of collaborative and generative soul-based leaders who lead with their heart, spirit and hands, as well as their minds; and
  • when women leaders are a part of a multigenerational and diverse professional community, they are more likely to be champions for each other’s work, creating exponential impact in a world that so desperately needs it at this time.

We believe that:

  • The creative empowerment of women is a powerful tool for social, environmental, and personal transformation that is required for our world today;
  • effective personal growth is a process fueled by continuity and a supportive community for inspiration, motivation and accountability;
  • an established community of mentors and personal advisors provides a depth of growth that cannot otherwise be achieved;
  • nature-based leadership development supports the development of collaborative and generative soul-based leaders who lead with their heart, spirit and hands, as well as their minds; and
  • when women leaders are a part of a multigenerational and diverse professional community, they are more likely to be champions for each other’s work, creating exponential impact in a world that so desperately needs it at this time.

With gratitude and acknowledgment

The Center for Nature and Leadership and the women of the Generative Council acknowledge all who came before us: human beings and the natural world that sustains us.

  • We acknowledge the places we call home, where we live, work and play, throughout the U.S. are located on unceded Indigenous lands. As an organization committed to nature-based leadership for women, The Center for Nature and Leadership recognizes the continual displacement of Native people by the United States and is committed to working to dismantle the ongoing effects of this colonial legacy.
  • We acknowledge the Indigenous Peoples of the places where the Generative Council has gathered and held space: the Cayuga, Haudenosaunee, Susquehannock peoples of the Ithaca, NY region; the Kusso of Edisto Island, SC; the Shoshone-Bannock, Cheyenne, Eastern Shoshone of Moose, WY, home of Teton Science School; the Utes, Jicarilla Apache, and Pueblos of Abiquiu, NM near Ghost Ranch; the Anishinabewaki including the Ojibwe, and Sioux peoples of Land O’Lakes, WI; the Tillamook and Siletz of Lincoln City OR, home of Westwind; the Sioux, Northern Cheyenne and Crow peoples of northern WY; the Jicarilla Apache, the Cheyenne and the Ute of Crestone, CO; and the Huichol, descendants of the Aztecs near Sayulita, Mexico.
  • We also acknowledge that this country’s prosperity, and in many cases, our own, is built on the backs of slave labor and the involuntary removal of Native Americans from their homes, as well as other culture-destroying, brutal colonial tactics.
  • We commit to incorporating anti-racist and decolonial learnings into our teachings and to diversifying our membership by reaching out to communities of black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) to provide reduced or no-cost options (based on their personal circumstances) to enable their participation. We are also researching other ways we may be of service.
  • We are eternally grateful in mind, body and spirit to our non-human ancestors and all beings with whom we share this beautiful Earth: the hoofed ones, the green-leafed ones, the ones who bear fruit, the winged ones, the clawed ones, the scaled ones, the flying, the swimming, the crawling ones, the flowing and blowing ones, and the unseen ones.  They nourish us, energize us, and connect us.  They refresh our spirits, delight our minds, and remind us that every breath is a gift.
  • Finally, and most deeply, we offer heartfelt gratitude to the feminine: girls, women, mothers, sisters, and grandmothers throughout time, who gave us life, helped us grow, and continually sustain us through every triumph and despair. It is the women who hold the gift of life in their bodies, bring their gifts to their receptive communities in leadership of all types, and tend the hearth fires of their homes with nourishment, love, faith and hope. We seek to follow their countless examples, especially the example of Earth. She is the Sacred Mother of us All, and with many names from every place, humans have looked up, down and all around them, and said “Thank you, Mama”.
  • We acknowledge the places we call home, where we live, work and play, throughout the U.S. are located on unceded Indigenous lands. As an organization committed to nature-based leadership for women, The Center for Nature and Leadership recognizes the continual displacement of Native people by the United States and is committed to working to dismantle the ongoing effects of this colonial legacy.
  • We acknowledge the Indigenous Peoples of the places where the Generative Council has gathered and held space: the Cayuga, Haudenosaunee, Susquehannock peoples of the Ithaca, NY region; the Kusso of Edisto Island, SC; the Shoshone-Bannock, Cheyenne, Eastern Shoshone of Moose, WY, home of Teton Science School; the Utes, Jicarilla Apache, and Pueblos of Abiquiu, NM near Ghost Ranch; the Anishinabewaki including the Ojibwe, and Sioux peoples of Land O’Lakes, WI; the Tillamook and Siletz of Lincoln City OR, home of Westwind; the Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow peoples of northern WY; the Jicarilla Apache, the Cheyenne and the Ute of Crestone, CO; and the Huichol, descendants of the Aztecs near Sayulita, Mexico.
  • We also acknowledge that this country’s prosperity, and in many cases, our own, is built on the backs of slave labor and the involuntary removal of Native Americans from their homes, as well as other culture-destroying, brutal colonial tactics.
  • We commit to incorporating anti-racist and decolonial learnings into our teachings and to diversifying our membership by reaching out to communities of black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) to provide reduced or no-cost options (based on their personal circumstances) to enable their participation. We are also researching other ways we may be of service.
  • We are eternally grateful in mind, body and spirit to our non-human ancestors and all beings with whom we share this beautiful Earth: the hoofed ones, the green-leafed ones, the ones who bear fruit, the winged ones, the clawed ones, the scaled ones, the flying, the swimming, the crawling ones, the flowing and blowing ones, and the unseen ones.  They nourish us, energize us, and connect us.  They refresh our spirits, delight our minds, and remind us that every breath is a gift.
  • Finally, and most deeply, we offer heartfelt gratitude to the feminine: girls, women, mothers, sisters, and grandmothers throughout time, who gave us life, helped us grow, and continually sustain us through every triumph and despair. It is the women who hold the gift of life in their bodies, bring their gifts to their receptive communities in leadership of all types, and tend the hearth fires of their homes with nourishment, love, faith and hope. We seek to follow their countless examples, especially the example of Earth. She is the Sacred Mother of us All, and with many names from every place, humans have looked up, down and all around them, and said “Thank you, Mama”.

Our Leadership Team

These generous people give their time, talent and creativity to help give life to the Center for Nature and Leadership.  

BEVERLY WINTERSCHEID, PH.D.

Founding Partner, Board Member, Guide

Beverly is a mentor and motivator for women who want to change the world through passionate commitment to their ideas, families, organizations, and communities.

After 20 years of a successful business and academic career that included a Ph.D. in Business Strategy, a post-doc at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management,  positions as VP, Strategy and Organization for Manco-Henkel, Inc. and Director of Strategic Initiatives for Stratton Corporation. she had a profound awakening.   After investing two decades in change management with a large systems focus, she came to the conclusion that change happens one person at a time.

Acting on her discovery, she began training in ecopsychology and nature-based guiding with the Animas Valley Institute.  In 2008, she joined Marlboro College’s Sustainability MBA, launching a 2-year nature-based leadership development course, where she stayed for the next seven years.

Also in 2008, she founded the Center for Nature and Leadership (CNL) to blend traditional leadership development with scientific findings on the beneficial effects of Nature on humans.  The Generative Council is CNL’s keystone program, designed to provide diverse women leaders the time & space to develop their personal impact, meeting  in places of wild magnificence three times/year, and supported by an ongoing community of previous participants.

Creating and achieving bottom-lines of all sorts, and helping others see the wisdom of Nature at work in their own lives is what she loves to do.  Cultivating fearless leaders, those who stand firmly on authenticity and truth, who strive to bring new visions into reality in concert with others is her passion and expertise.

And, when she’s not working with members of the Center for Nature and Leadership community, you’ll find her in the backcountry of her home in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, or sailing in the Bahamas.

 

BEVERLY WINTERSCHEID, PH.D.

Founding Partner, Board Member, Guide

Beverly is a mentor and motivator for women who want to change the world through passionate commitment to their ideas, families, organizations, and communities.

After 20 years of a successful business and academic career that included a Ph.D. in Business Strategy, a post-doc at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management,  positions as VP, Strategy and Organization for Manco-Henkel, Inc. and Director of Strategic Initiatives for Stratton Corporation. she had a profound awakening.   After investing two decades in change management with a large systems focus, she came to the conclusion that change happens one person at a time.

Acting on her discovery, she began training in ecopsychology and nature-based guiding with the Animas Valley Institute.  In 2008, she joined Marlboro College’s Sustainability MBA, launching a 2-year nature-based leadership development course, where she stayed for the next seven years.

Also in 2008, she founded the Center for Nature and Leadership (CNL) to blend traditional leadership development with scientific findings on the beneficial effects of Nature on humans.  The Generative Council is CNL’s keystone program, designed to provide diverse women leaders the time & space to develop their personal impact, meeting  in places of wild magnificence three times/year, and supported by an ongoing community of previous participants.

Creating and achieving bottom-lines of all sorts, and helping others see the wisdom of Nature at work in their own lives is what she loves to do.  Cultivating fearless leaders, those who stand firmly on authenticity and truth, who strive to bring new visions into reality in concert with others is her passion and expertise.

And, when she’s not working with members of the Center for Nature and Leadership community, you’ll find her in the backcountry of her home in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, or sailing in the Bahamas.

 

KIM SLACK

Executive Director, Board Member, Guide

I am an engineer-turned-science educator and nature-based leadership guide. My 12 years of water resources and remediation work as a civil/environmental engineer in the U.S., Kenya, and Haiti bring a practical and culturally responsive lens to my work as an educator, guide, and servant leader. I am wholeheartedly committed to nurturing healthy relationships between humans and nature through immersive, nature-based, experiential education that is accessible to all learners. I believe in amplifying marginalized voices through education, and I believe that Paolo Friere was right when he said, “education is radically about love”.

I am most alive when I’m wandering wild spaces of all sorts, from glorious expanses of wilderness to the overgrown back alleyway behind my house. I am humbled and honored to serve this community of visionary, radical, and powerful women.

 

KIM SLACK

Executive Director, Board Member, Guide

I am an engineer-turned-science educator and nature-based leadership guide. My 12 years of water resources and remediation work as a civil/environmental engineer in the U.S., Kenya, and Haiti bring a practical and culturally responsive lens to my work as an educator, guide, and servant leader. I am wholeheartedly committed to nurturing healthy relationships between humans and nature through immersive, nature-based, experiential education that is accessible to all learners. I believe in amplifying marginalized voices through education, and I believe that Paolo Friere was right when he said, “education is radically about love”.

I am most alive when I’m wandering wild spaces of all sorts, from glorious expanses of wilderness to the overgrown back alleyway behind my house. I am humbled and honored to serve this community of visionary, radical, and powerful women.

 

CHRIS SCHNEIDER

Board Chair, Guide

I am a passionate nature connector, creating deep and meaningful experiences between humans of all ages and the natural world. I bring 25+ years of corporate leadership and coaching experience at a Fortune 50 company. This includes leading corporate nature-based workshops for the last 10 years. In 2017, I founded and am President of the Outdoor Enthusiast Club in my company which has grown into a thriving community of 500+ members. We have recently launched our Equity in the Outdoors Series and are honored to partner with the Arizona Sustainability Alliance on community impact projects.

I am a founding member of the Generative Council and have been a nature-based leadership guide for the Center for Nature & Leadership for the last four years. I thrive creating opportunities for women to learn about their bio-region and providing space for their self-empowerment to be galvanized and flourish. Incorporating whole heart practices with intentional actions, I journey with others as they give their impactful purpose work to the world.

I call the land of the giant saguaro cacti my home in Phoenix, Arizona. I am beginning my next chapter of legacy work with the National Parks in the summer of 2021.

CHRIS SCHNEIDER

Board Chair, Guide

I am a passionate nature connector, creating deep and meaningful experiences between humans of all ages and the natural world. I bring 25+ years of corporate leadership and coaching experience at a Fortune 50 company. This includes leading corporate nature-based workshops for the last 10 years. In 2017, I founded and am President of the Outdoor Enthusiast Club in my company which has grown into a thriving community of 500+ members. We have recently launched our Equity in the Outdoors Series and are honored to partner with the Arizona Sustainability Alliance on community impact projects.

I am a founding member of the Generative Council and have been a nature-based leadership guide for the Center for Nature & Leadership for the last four years. I thrive creating opportunities for women to learn about their bio-region and providing space for their self-empowerment to be galvanized and flourish. Incorporating whole heart practices with intentional actions, I journey with others as they give their impactful purpose work to the world.

I call the land of the giant saguaro cacti my home in Phoenix, Arizona. I am beginning my next chapter of legacy work with the National Parks in the summer of 2021.

HOLLY BRAUN

Board Member, Guide

Ten years ago I shifted my professional orientation from advancing profit to fulfilling purpose and have spent the last decade helping redirect and align my organization’s existing mission of delivering safe and reliable energy to the societal charge of solving for climate change and reducing carbon emissions. I now work to advance the largest component of my organizations “low carbon pathway” through robust policy, customer-facing energy efficiency and technology, and organizational innovation.

Generative Council came midway through this journey and provided the necessary spiritual expansion to fulfill my quest. Retreating from the clutter, obligation, and pace of city-life into the quiet, reflective and harmonious non-judgment of nature was both humbling and emboldening. I found direction, clarity, and conviction that nourished and guided me to a place of sustained richness. I’m inspired how accessible this gift is and yet, it can be veiled and mysterious without models. While always a student, I am grateful to serve as a guide in this journey for future generations of council women.

HOLLY BRAUN

Board Member, Guide

Ten years ago I shifted my professional orientation from advancing profit to fulfilling purpose and have spent the last decade helping redirect and align my organization’s existing mission of delivering safe and reliable energy to the societal charge of solving for climate change and reducing carbon emissions. I now work to advance the largest component of my organizations “low carbon pathway” through robust policy, customer-facing energy efficiency and technology, and organizational innovation.

Generative Council came midway through this journey and provided the necessary spiritual expansion to fulfill my quest. Retreating from the clutter, obligation, and pace of city-life into the quiet, reflective and harmonious non-judgment of nature was both humbling and emboldening. I found direction, clarity, and conviction that nourished and guided me to a place of sustained richness. I’m inspired how accessible this gift is and yet, it can be veiled and mysterious without models. While always a student, I am grateful to serve as a guide in this journey for future generations of council women.

NANCY HENJUM

Board Member, Guide

With 30 years of organizational leadership, executive coaching and team facilitation experience, I seek to serve as a catalyst for positive engagement in and with the world. Two years ago I found the Center for Nature and Leadership. By bringing the wisdom of nature into my method and incorporating the practices I have learned with the women of the Generative Council, I have expanded my awareness, perspective and skillset.

Having lived the first quarter of my life in 14 different places as an Air Force “brat”, I determined to plant my roots and since 1990 Colorado is the place I have grown my branches. The light in Colorado’s crisp blue skies and the strength from its’ magnificent Rocky Mountains have become my sustenance. In addition to the importance of place, my deepest connection is to the people in it. Giving to and receiving from community is one of my highest values. Generative Council is a precious part of my community.

NANCY HENJUM

Board Member, Guide

With 30 years of organizational leadership, executive coaching and team facilitation experience, I seek to serve as a catalyst for positive engagement in and with the world. Two years ago I found the Center for Nature and Leadership. By bringing the wisdom of nature into my method and incorporating the practices I have learned with the women of the Generative Council, I have expanded my awareness, perspective and skillset.

Having lived the first quarter of my life in 14 different places as an Air Force “brat”, I determined to plant my roots and since 1990 Colorado is the place I have grown my branches. The light in Colorado’s crisp blue skies and the strength from its’ magnificent Rocky Mountains have become my sustenance. In addition to the importance of place, my deepest connection is to the people in it. Giving to and receiving from community is one of my highest values. Generative Council is a precious part of my community.

CARY GAUNT, Ph.D.

Guide

Two great loves comprise the heart of who I am and the work I do in the world. One is a profound connection with the earth forged by my childhood on a small farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and honed through a lifetime of listening to the land, exploring and living in natural places. The other is a deep spirituality comprised of contemplative and nature-based practices, Soulcraft™, spiritual discernment, and wilderness rites of passage. I bring these two great loves together in my work as a sustainability leader and contemplative practitioner and teacher. My commitment is to support organizations and individuals in moving beyond sustainability to restoration and flourishing.

CARY GAUNT, Ph.D.

Guide

Two great loves comprise the heart of who I am and the work I do in the world. One is a profound connection with the earth forged by my childhood on a small farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and honed through a lifetime of listening to the land, exploring and living in natural places. The other is a deep spirituality comprised of contemplative and nature-based practices, Soulcraft™, spiritual discernment, and wilderness rites of passage. I bring these two great loves together in my work as a sustainability leader and contemplative practitioner and teacher. My commitment is to support organizations and individuals in moving beyond sustainability to restoration and flourishing.

KELSEY WEST

Board Member

Kelsey West works in corporate philanthropy, where she is skilled at finding the intersection of business and nonprofit missions for direct social impact. She has a passion for employee engagement and connecting them to the communities in which they work and live. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Planning, Public Policy and Management as well as a Graduate Certificate in Philanthropic Studies.

While she was raised in the green forests of Oregon, she now calls the red rocks of Arizona home. She goes to the outdoors to learn, explore, refresh, and reconnect. After participating in the Arizona regional gathering in 2019, she has remained committed to CNL’s mission of empowering women, connecting with nature, and creating a community of multigenerational leadership.

KELSEY WEST

Board Member

Kelsey West works in corporate philanthropy, where she is skilled at finding the intersection of business and nonprofit missions for direct social impact. She has a passion for employee engagement and connecting them to the communities in which they work and live. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Planning, Public Policy and Management as well as a Graduate Certificate in Philanthropic Studies.

While she was raised in the green forests of Oregon, she now calls the red rocks of Arizona home. She goes to the outdoors to learn, explore, refresh, and reconnect. After participating in the Arizona regional gathering in 2019, she has remained committed to CNL’s mission of empowering women, connecting with nature, and creating a community of multigenerational leadership.

DEBBIE SAGEN

Board Member

I have more than 30 years of experience in public, private and non-profit management, consulting and coaching and have served in leadership positions in local government, non-profit, and private consulting firms, including executive roles in non-profit organizations, community planning and economic development, training, leadership, and organizational development, legislative affairs, and fund development. As I was transitioning into my own consulting practice, the Generative Council provided the safe space for me to explore, learn, and grow as a leader, coaching practitioner, and independent consultant.

My connection to nature has been a life-long practice, developed over years of work and play outdoors. My home at the foot of Pikes Peak backs to the National Forest, allowing my family and I to embrace, respect, and nurture the urban wildland interface each day. Participating in Generative Council constantly deepens my love for using nature’s lessons to teach us more about ourselves and learn sustainable ideas and practices from one another.

DEBBIE SAGEN

Board Member

I have more than 30 years of experience in public, private and non-profit management, consulting and coaching and have served in leadership positions in local government, non-profit, and private consulting firms, including executive roles in non-profit organizations, community planning and economic development, training, leadership, and organizational development, legislative affairs, and fund development. As I was transitioning into my own consulting practice, the Generative Council provided the safe space for me to explore, learn, and grow as a leader, coaching practitioner, and independent consultant.

My connection to nature has been a life-long practice, developed over years of work and play outdoors. My home at the foot of Pikes Peak backs to the National Forest, allowing my family and I to embrace, respect, and nurture the urban wildland interface each day. Participating in Generative Council constantly deepens my love for using nature’s lessons to teach us more about ourselves and learn sustainable ideas and practices from one another.

BRITTIN WOOD

Board Member

As a child, I grew up in the rural countryside of Iowa – rolling prairies, seasonal forests, meandering creeks and corn fields. I like to say I was raised by Midwest hippies, who were down to earth and practical, while they taught my siblings and I to appreciate our natural surroundings, even the pig farms down the road. Those days of building winter snow forts and giving each other wheelbarrow rides for down home entertainment, road tripping to the country’s greatest natural landscapes and watching many PBS nature series, all contributed to my affinity for being outdoors and surrounded by the world’s natural beauty.

It was my junior high science classes that inspired me to dedicate my education and career dedicated to making a difference in this world through the study of environmental sciences and the application of conservation practices and strategies. Fast forward twenty…plus-some years, and I’ve collected an array of experiences and fortunate opportunities that has led me to today’s adventures: owning and running a business that works with underserved markets to deliver energy efficiency and health and safety benefits in their homes and living spaces. While I don’t get out with the wheelbarrow as often as I used to, I find that I am able to keep my connection to the outdoors through biking, kayaking and traveling to new terrains to help me remember my roots and youthful origins in nature.

Being involved with CNL and the Generative Council has been inspirational and healing at just the right times in my life. I am grateful for the places I have seen, the women I have connected with, and the purpose I can continue to support by participating on the board.

BRITTIN WOOD

Board Member

As a child, I grew up in the rural countryside of Iowa – rolling prairies, seasonal forests, meandering creeks and corn fields. I like to say I was raised by Midwest hippies, who were down to earth and practical, while they taught my siblings and I to appreciate our natural surroundings, even the pig farms down the road. Those days of building winter snow forts and giving each other wheelbarrow rides for down home entertainment, road tripping to the country’s greatest natural landscapes and watching many PBS nature series, all contributed to my affinity for being outdoors and surrounded by the world’s natural beauty.

It was my junior high science classes that inspired me to dedicate my education and career dedicated to making a difference in this world through the study of environmental sciences and the application of conservation practices and strategies. Fast forward twenty…plus-some years, and I’ve collected an array of experiences and fortunate opportunities that has led me to today’s adventures: owning and running a business that works with underserved markets to deliver energy efficiency and health and safety benefits in their homes and living spaces. While I don’t get out with the wheelbarrow as often as I used to, I find that I am able to keep my connection to the outdoors through biking, kayaking and traveling to new terrains to help me remember my roots and youthful origins in nature.

Being involved with CNL and the Generative Council has been inspirational and healing at just the right times in my life. I am grateful for the places I have seen, the women I have connected with, and the purpose I can continue to support by participating on the board.

Follow the energy!

Get access to support from a diverse community of inspired women leaders.

Subscribe To Our Periodic Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Periodic Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive periodic updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!