Our Board of Directors
If you are interested in joining YGB Board, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DR. KENNETH ATCHITY, CHAIR CEO, STORY MERCHANT
KAYOKO MITSUMATSU Founder/President
As an avid yoga practitioner in Los Angles, Kayoko founded Yoga Gives Back in 2007, a non-profit organization whose mission is twofold: first, to mobilize the global yoga community with gratitude and second, to empower women and children in India to build sustainable livelihoods. In its 15th year, YGB provides more than 2400 underserved mothers and children with micro loans and educational funds. YGB’s global campaign has reached many US cities and thirty countries worldwide with its mantra, “For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life.”
Prior to moving to the USA in 1992, Kayoko was a producer/director for NHK Japan’s National Public Broadcaster, working on primetime current affairs and documentary television programs; and cultural attaché at the Embassy of Japan in London. Her passion for documentary filmmaking is rooted in the perspective gained from years of living abroad including Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom and USA. Kayoko now uses her skills to film and produce YGB FILMS to share YGB’s fund recipients’ real stories with the global yoga community.
For the last three decades living in Los Angeles, Kayoko had continued her work for NHK’s feature documentary programs as producer/director, but since 2016 Kayoko has become YGB’s Executive Director full-time.
“First half of my life was to learn from experiences. Second half of my life is to serve others as much as possible! Thus, I am dedicating my life to a non profit, Yoga Gives Back, as Founder and President, to empower underserved women and children in India. YOGA has given me so much, a way to find peace in my heart, most importantly FAITH in myself. I am eternally grateful and I know millions people in the world share the same gratitude. So why not join us? We can do so much more if we come together, #OneMillionYogis!”
Gail comes to Yoga Gives Back with over 30 years of experience in the areas of finance and accounting. She has worked for public accounting, city government, hospitals, insurance companies and one of her favorites a flower farm in Oregon. She gained critical knowledge in a small business environment while working in her husband’s produce and specialty food store. Gail has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a CPA certificate in the states of Missouri and Oregon. She has held board positions and served as the treasurer for several not for profit organizations in the areas of hospital management, home health and hospice, chamber of commerce, community aquatic center and holiday lighting event. Gail currently teaches yoga in her own studio as well as continuing some consulting work with a Medicaid contractor in Oregon.
Being touched by yoga over 20 years ago, it left a lasting impression on her life. When moving to LA in 2015 and retiring she began to think about the choices she wanted to make with her free time. Yoga was the clear answer and she obtained her certificate as a yoga instructor. Upon hearing about Yoga Gives Back from a friend she began to investigate and became very interested in volunteering with the organization. After attending the gala last year as a volunteer she was even more convinced dedicating some free time to the organization and its mission felt right.
“Blending my love and appreciation for yoga with my financial background feels like the perfect place to spend some time. Thank you for the opportunity.”
Founder of Jocelyn Solomon Yoga, based in Santa Monica, California, Jocelyn is also a senior teacher at YogaWorks.
Jocelyn is joining the board to grow her commitment to YGB and inspire her students and community to expand their practice by taking their yoga off the mat and into activism. Jocelyn will fold in her legal expertise she gained as a public defender and civil rights attorney, lifelong practice of activism, passionate public speaking and profound love of yoga and service to her work on the board. Jocelyn hopes to help catapult YGB to its next level, creating systems and infrastructures that will support YGB to expand the important work of its mission.
“I support the mission of Yoga Gives Back wholeheartedly. The practice of yoga has carried me through so many times in my life, so it makes complete sense to give back to the women and children of the motherland of a practice that has quite literally been a life saver to me and so many of my students. Service and philanthropy is a core value of mine and my family, and I am thrilled to become a part of YGB.”
Harmony Slater is a Certified Ashtanga Yoga Teacher and Certified Integrative Wellness Coach. She traveled to East Asia in 2002 to study Buddhism, after completing two degrees in Philosophy and Eastern Religion. In 2004, she began a life-long love affair with India, spending the next fifteen years living there for extended periods of time immersed in yoga practice and philosophy. She co-founded two yoga schools in Canada and has shared her experience with pregnancy and childbirth in the books: ‘Yoga Sadhana for Mothers’ and ‘Strength and Grace: A collection of Essays by Women of Ashtanga Yoga’. She’s a contributing editor for Sonima magazine and the host of the Finding Harmony Podcast.
For over twenty years Harmony’s mission has been to share the deeper teachings and practices of buddhism and yoga to enhance wellbeing and spiritual integration. She’s taught workshops in over 30 different countries and now is primarily focused on helping professional women struggling with burnout, restore their energy, and reconnect with their purpose, passion and profession.
“Yoga Gives Back is an inspiring, transformative organization that invests in one of India’s most valuable and yet, underrated resources: women. By empowering these motivated women to create something for themselves, their families, and their communities and by encouraging them to further invest in their children’s education, this simple act of micro-financing becomes powerful enough to change the lives of many generations. As a daughter, wife, and mother, my heart was deeply touched by the testimonies of the women whose lives have been forever changed because of their involvement with this non-profit organization. India is a place that is very close to my heart, and I, personally, have been forever changed because of my connection to Her and Her gift of Yoga. India is a country where my spirit feels very much at home, and my heart breaks for so many women there who work so hard to support their families and are often victims of abuse and inequality. My life has been blessed by India in more ways than I can express and by several great Teachers, Gurus, who have brought me out of darkness and into the light. I feel that Yoga Gives Back is an opportunity to share this light with the people, the sisters, who reside in the country of my heart and truly need our assistance. It is a tangible way for me to say “thank you” to Mother India for all that She has given us and continues to share.”
MARK BILLINGS, Founder Mosaic Development Consulting
Mark Billings is the Founder of Mosaic Development Consulting. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in campaign management and nonprofit consulting to the YGB Board. He has provided fundraising counsel to educational, social service, and religious institutions throughout the United States, and has participated in securing over $225 million for organizations he has served. His particular expertise is in development strategies, prospect research, and data analysis. Mark resides in Ojai, CA with his wife and two children. He is a graduate of USF and a proud participant of the Semester at Sea program (F’97).
“Yoga Gives Back helps build awareness, community, and gratitude for yogis throughout the world while helping women and children in India. A global community practicing gratitude and graciousness is inspirational, and I’m happy to play a small part in helping YGB in further its mission.”
Pritha Ogden is Director, Partnerships & Business Development at Peacock, after being a Director in the Film Strategy & Business Development group at arthouse film studio Focus Features. Prior to her time at Focus, she spent 3 years in the Private Wealth Management division at Goldman Sachs. Pritha is a proud Jersey girl who originally hails from the colorful and bumbling city of Calcutta, West Bengal. She lives in New Jersey with her husband.
“I support YGB because I was fortunate enough to be born to parents who had the means and dedication to move me and my brother out of India at a young age and give us the opportunities to pursue any manner of education and professional lifestyles that we desired. The overwhelming majority of children in my hometown are not nearly so lucky and their limited paths are decided for them at a very young age. Oftentimes these paths are restrictive and binding and irrepressible. I want to help remove these barriers to prosperity for the children of Calcutta and elsewhere in whatever capacity that I am able. The work that YGB does is instrumental in doing just that and it deserves to flourish.”