Experience autumn at Esalen with A Time to Reflect November 3 - 8.


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.

Douglas Drummond, Director of Healing Arts and Somatics

Douglas Drummond brings more than 15 years of international hospitality experience to Esalen in his role as Director of Healing Arts and Somatics. A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, he is also a certified health coach as well as a certified teacher in Heart of Yoga and 5Rhythms. Prior to joining Esalen, Douglas was the Director of Wellness at Amanyara in Turks & Caicos and previously served as a General Manager and Business Development Director for Lumeria Maui. He is originally from New Zealand and currently makes his home in Big Sur with wife, Lucia Horan, and their daughter. He holds a senior red belt in Kung Fu/Tai Chi and enjoys free diving and surfing.

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

Ian Johnson provides vision and direction to the use and integration of developing technologies into Esalen’s core purpose and activities. He is responsible for managing all aspects of information technology, telecommunications and technology physical plant at Esalen. After getting his first taste for technology at the dawn of the personal computer revolution in the late 1970s, Ian has focused his professional practice area on building the technological capacity of the organizations he’s worked at with an eye to endless possibilities. He has worked as an IT and leadership professional for more than 30 years, working in nonprofit, corporate, private consulting and government sectors, but focused on public service organizations and the societal good. He has worked as Director of Technology for the world’s largest airport management consulting firm, IT Director for a mid-size public school district in northern California, and as an analyst, developer and network engineer for several software and hardware companies. Personally, Ian has been involved in public safety and community emergency preparedness for more than 20 years and is a volunteer firefighter and emergency manager in California.

Stephanie Lewis, Director of Guest Services

As Esalen’s Director of Guest Services, Stephanie Lewis is committed to providing exceptional service for the more than 12,000 seminarians and students who visit the Institute annually. She is the former Director of Rooms at Sanctuary Beach Resort and has a breadth of experience working for Monterey and Carmel area hotels such as the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa and Bernardus Lodge. Stephanie returns to Big Sur having previously served as Ventana Big Sur’s Director of Guest Services. In this position, Stephanie played a leadership role in helping the hotel re-open after the area’s closure in the 2017. 

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, Chief Financial Officer

Camille Wright has more than 30 years of experience in providing insightful fiscal management including budgeting, long-range strategic financial planning, financial forecasting and establishing financial controls and procedures. Prior to joining Esalen, Camille served as Director of Finance and Operations for The Brandeis School of San Francisco where she restructured the organization’s business office and operations and oversaw multiple renovation projects to the campus. She previously served as the Chief Business Officer for The Alexander Dawson School in Las Vegas, Head of School and Chief Financial Officer for Fox Chapel Country Day School in Pittsburg, and was a Founding Principal for a start-up school by Challenger Schools.  She has a MBA from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from CSU Sacramento, and she is active with Spirit Rock Meditation Center.



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