Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. YES! works with social changemakers at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal and systemic change, and aims to co-create a thriving, just and balanced world for all. Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India, where she served as coordinator of the Swapathgami (Walkouts-Walkons) Network. Shilpa has researched and written numerous books and articles, and facilitated workshops and gatherings on topics including globalization, creative expressions, ecology, democratic living, innovative learning and unlearning. Her publications include A Poet's Challenge to Schooling, Reclaiming the Gift Culture, Other Worlds of Power, Paths of Unlearning, Unfolding Learning Societies volumes one, two and three, and several issues of Vimukt Shiksha (“Liberating Learning”) and the Swapathgami newsletter “Making Our Paths of Living and Learning”. She is also co-author of “Connect. Inspire. Collaborate”, a highly sought-after facilitation manual.
Michele Bissonnette Robbins is Managing Director of YES!. She is also a mother, singer/songwriter and transformational healing facilitator. As a teenager, Michele volunteered for peace in Russia, and studied ecological and spiritual communities around the globe. In 1994, at age 18, she joined “YES!”, with which she toured the United States speaking to more than 50,000 students in high school assemblies. In 1998, she became a founding partner in YES!’s birth as an independent non-profit organization and co-directed the organization with her beloved, Ocean, until 2006, when she left to give her time more fully to homeschooling/unschooling her twins with autism, exploring her musical path, growing her family’s garden and to the deep reflection and inner work that were calling to her. In 2010, as Ocean stepped back from YES!, Michele stepped forward again into her current role.
Nga Trinh-Halperin serves as the Development Catalyst for YES!. Her community-building experience weaves together civic engagement, economic development, and arts & culture for positive social change. She is thrilled to be in evolving conversation and action about how it all comes together to increase quality of life, be in balance with the planet, and deepen our personal practices. Nga has engaged with nonprofits and public agencies for over 15 years as a consultant, director, board member, and volunteer. Continuing to live in Santa Cruz with her partner of 20 years, Justin, and two young boys, Milo and Khai, has been a sweet blessing.