Our Team

Ash Gauer
Logistics & Event Management
Bio: A dual degree candidate in International Education Management and MPA, Ash hopes to curate a Market that celebrates values-driven business, and allows for constructive & candid conversations around consumption. Having witnessed firsthand the harsh working conditions of garment factories in Cambodia & China, she is passionate about supporting sustainable, transparent, and ethical supply chains in the fashion industry. Ash is a maker of sorts from jewelry to raw food treats. She loves barefoot boogies, yoga, [re]stores & bamboo. She feels blessed to be part of such a talented & powerhouse team!


Celina Lima
Vendor Outreach & Coordination
BioCelina Lima is pursuing her MBA and MA in International Policy Development at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Before that, she owned a baking business and was a freelance translator and business consultant in Europe and South America. She has lived in Brazil and Berlin and was the sales manager for a Fair Trade clothing company, Marquet, where she discovered the benefits of Fair Trade. She feels passionate about social change and wants to explore ethical supply chains and how to improve working conditions for farmers.


Melody Jensen
Marketing, Communications, Graphics, Social Media
BioMelody, a Utah native, came to Monterey and MIIS via Georgia (the country) where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her program is MBA and International Policy and Development; she plans to graduate in May of 2019. Melody is a passionate supporter of social enterprise and joined the Pop Up team to support and promote local entrepreneurs and to spread holiday cheer.



Ruth Lai
Fundraising & Sponsorship
Bio: MBA candidate, class of 2018, with a focus on finance and social entrepreneurship. Holiday pop-up market is where all the value of relational, social and environmental capital come together. If money couldn’t make this world a better place, inclusion and fair opportunity for everyone will. Ruth is proud to be in an executive role of this triple-bottom-line event and feel extremely inspired to work with the amazing team, vendors, and volunteers. Her secret dream career is becoming an independent food critic.


Tangut Degfay
Impact Monitoring & Evaluation, Social Media
BioHailing from Addis, Ethiopia, Tangut is pursuing an MA in International Policy and Development at MIIS, with focus areas in program evaluation; monitoring, youth development, and girls’ self-empowerment. Tangut feels energized by this vibrant and determined team in putting together MIIS Holiday Pop Up Market 2017! Tangut believes taking small but ethically-conscious steps have the power to transform our broken economic system by providing sufficient opportunities for producers and suppliers to thrive in an ethical and healthy market.


Jillian Flavin
Activities & Decorations
BioJillian is pursuing an MBA and MA in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She is passionate about utilizing business as a force for good and helps to create thriving communities through her support of socially and environmentally responsible enterprises. Prior to MIIS, Jillian worked as a sustainability-focused management consultant, owned her own childcare business and was a hospitality extraordinaire in the ski town of Mammoth Lakes, California.


Zara Currimjee
Sustainability Outreach & Coordination
Bio: Zara is pursuing an MA in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, where she also manages the Sustainability Council. She is committed to integrating sustainable practices all around campus and is looking forward to working with all vendors and customers at this year’s Holiday Pop-Up Market to make the event as green and waste-free as possible.


Airon Whitt
Marketing & Communications
BioAiron is a first-year graduate student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies where she is pursuing a dual degree in International Policy and Development and a Master’s of Business Administration. Airon recently returned from Costa Rica where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer working with small rural tourism projects, consulting small hotels and restaurants, and assisting small business owners and local artists with business planning and marketing strategies. Prior to Costa Rica, Airon was an event sales and operations manager for various large-scale hotels and resorts on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.



Baken VondenBenken

Barbara Burke

Alisyn Gruener

Toni Thomas

Ashley Gora


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