The Esalen Inspirational Film Festival kicks off April 28. Limited space still available.


Executive Leadership

The Esalen Leadership Team

Terry Gilbey, General Manager and CEO  

Terry Gilbey is a seasoned executive who has worked in both for profit and nonprofit organizations leading change, bringing stability, and empowering organizations to step into their full potential. While his primary focus has been solving complex problems within organizations and teams, he also has started companies from the ground up. Terry retired from the corporate world 10 years ago and first came to Esalen as a work scholar. He later returned as an extended student, and then remained on with a handful of community members during the Institute's closure. At that time, he worked in the Esalen Kitchen and supported the management team as they worked through the complex task of re-opening. Terry was named General Manager to oversee and support daily operations and, in January of 2018, took on the additional responsibility for Programming, Human Resources, and Marketing and Communications. 

Terry strives to maintain an attitude of continual learning, leadership trustworthiness, and personal authenticity. He has experience and a proven track record in transforming organizations, projects, and people through a focus on continuous improvement, integration, and adoption of industry best practices and processes, effective team-building and collaboration, customer satisfaction, financial responsibility, and cross-functional relationships. Having lived and worked in multiple regions of Europe, North America, and Asia, Terry also values how geographic and cultural diversity can broaden perspective and strengthen a team.

Gordon Wheeler, President

Gordon Wheeler is a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience in his field along with a history in teaching and consulting with nonprofits on such topics as mission development and strategic planning. The author of numerous books and articles in the field, Gordon is noted for his work integrating the Gestalt tradition with relational and developmental psychology. His focus includes child and lifelong development and education, individualism, gender issues, and the dynamics of intimacy and shame. Gordon's writings also have centered on values and cultural psychology, including multi-cultural issues and post-Holocaust studies. His work has been translated into more than a dozen foreign languages. He teaches and trains clinicians around the world, and also serves as editor and director of GestaltPress (a logo of Taylor & Francis publishing group). Together with his wife Nancy Lunney Wheeler, Gordon has pioneered Gestalt Relational Constellations, integrating Systems Constellations work with Gestalt-based client experiments. Nancy and Gordon have seven children and numerous grandchildren. When not at Esalen they make their home in Santa Cruz, California.

Cheryl Fraenzl, Director of Programs   

With a strong commitment to personal growth and social transformation, Cheryl Fraenzl has served as the Director of Programs for Esalen Institute since 2006. Cheryl has work in a leadership capacity supporting emerging ideas through the Wellbeing Project, Esalen Program Ambassadors, the Holistic Centers Network, and numerous other strategic partnerships. Prior to Esalen, Cheryl focused on transformative education as well. For more than five years, she worked as the Central States Regional Manager for Programs Abroad for AFS International Exchange Programs. For more than three years, she was the Director of Volunteer Development for the Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area and for more than five years she served as the Program Coordinator at the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce Business/School Partnership program. Cheryl resides in Carmel, California, where gardening, beekeeping, and meditation play a major role in her life.

Ian Johnson, Manager of IT

Lori Putnam, Director of Marketing and Communications 

A highly skilled communicator with a proven ability to align creative and innovative concepts with clear strategy, Lori Putnam manages all aspects of Esalen’s marketing efforts including executive communications, branding, donor relations, and workshop enrollment. She has more than 20 years’ experience working in the higher education, nonprofit, and technology industries where she honed her skills in storytelling and stakeholder engagement. She is a former speechwriter with extensive experience in crisis communications. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Lori earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and her master’s degree in Communications Management from the Annenberg School of Communication. She is an advocate for neurodiversity and supporting the integration of social skills training and mindfulness practices in elementary and middle schools.

Tatyana Sanikovich, Director of Human Resources 

Tatyana Sanikovich is an accomplished human resources professional with 10 years of experience in the hospitality and nonprofit industries. As Director of Human Resources at Esalen, she has served as a proactive change agent to help lead positive culture change and help grow the organization through innovative practices and staff development. Working in collaboration with the leadership team, Tatyana has also led the development of new Human Resources practices and policies to support healthy employee morale for a nonprofit that features a residential staff community. She formerly served as the Human Resource Manager at Carmel Valley Ranch and Human Resources Coordinator at the Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club. Tatyana is a supporter of Waldorf education and experiencing the larger world through traveling.

Camille Wright, Director of Finance




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