The YETI Team

Staff

Sean Adler, Program Coordinator

Sean grew up just outside New York City and found a love for the outdoors while studying forestry. After going to school for Outdoor Education in rural Vermont, they realized their passion for bringing young people outside. Their favorite part of this work is building community and relationships with new people while getting a breath of fresh air. After having the opportunity to lead experiences around the U.S, Sean has been settled in Seattle since 2020. They love backpacking, climbing, and canoeing. When they’re not at work, they love reading, playing games with friends, and sharing music.

Teresa Kessenich-Chase

Teresa Kessenich -Chase , Program Coordinator

Teresa grew up as an Army brat and would often cry when someone asked her where she was from as a child because she had been all over and wasn’t from anywhere. As time went by, roots were re-established in her mom’s home state of Washington and now she has spent half her life here. Washington is not only home, but it’s outdoor spaces are the 5th love of her life after her husband and kids. While living in Europe, her family would spend vacations camping, one time trading crepes for s’mores with French children. Her love for camping, then hiking, then every other outdoor activity she tried continued to grow. Teresa has a Master’s degree in Political Science and has many years of community organizing experience. She’s excited to continue work in building community and helping to create more equitable access to the outdoors

Sam Sauerbrei, Program Coordinator

Sam has always loved being outside! She grew up in the flat lands of the mid west and graduating form Iowa State University. Sam is full of joy and curiosity which she share with the young people on all her trips and clubs. When not YETIing Sam might be found biking, mountaineering, kayaking, rafting , traveling and so much more! 

Alex Binder, Field Instructor

Alex ventured from his childhood home of Connecticut to the Pacific Northwest, to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. He found a love for the outdoors in the mountains, skiing, climbing, and exploring with an extra large pack. Post college, he’s traveled around the world and educated students across multiple organizations, discovering a passion in teaching the activities he loves. Now settled in Washington, Alex is excited to be working with Y.E.T.I to continue his goal of building community in nature. 

L Kravit-Smith, Field Instructor

L is originally from Olympia, Washington before moving recently to Tacoma. But L was born in Guatemala. She graduated from The Evergreen State College with a degree focused in History and Political Science. Her hopes in working with Y.E.T.I. are to be able to work with youth in the outdoors, as well as gain more skills in leadership and team building. She comes from a background of farming and trail maintenance work! She hopes to bring her love of the outdoors into this program, as well as her passion for accessibility for all in the outdoor community. She is incredibly excited to be helping facilitate youth in their outdoor experiences. Outside of work she likes to crochet, climb, walk, read and dance. 

Eric Aker Field Instructor

Eric is an East Coast transplant that has been living and playing in the PNW outdoors for the past 20+ years. His favorite season of the year might be spring, where new growth begins and all activities are possible. He brings a multi-disciplinarian background in coaching technology professionals to learn new ways of working together and empowering people of all ages to experience outdoor adventures for the first time. His recent experience as a climbing & wilderness instructor through the YMCA Bold & Gold and professional development from AMGA & AIARE will help to unlock the YETI potential.

Jb Magpantay, Field Instructor

Jb grew up on an island in Alaska, where her love for the outdoors began. After high school, she moved to Seattle and earned a degree in Environmental Studies. Drawing on this passion, she has gained valuable experience working with students in diverse outdoor settings, from snow school to outdoor preschools. This journey has inspired Jb to channel her enthusiasm into the realm of education, ultimately becoming a dedicated school counselor. Her favorite outdoor activities include walking around Seattle parks, hiking and backpacking in the Cascades, and snowboarding at Crystal. She is eager to inspire and guide the next generation in fostering a deep connection with nature.

Sean McNally, Program Manager

Sean McNally comes to Y.E.T.I. with over a decade in the Outdoor Education Industry. Sean is extremely passionate about getting youth outside and sharing his life long love of the outdoors. He has led trips all over the U.S. and worked for organizations such as Explore Austin, Mountain Madness, Naturalists at Large, R.E.I. Outdoor Programs and Outpost Wilderness Adventure. Sean will be supporting the expansion of our school-based outdoor clubs and volunteer development to help Y.E.T.I. provide more opportunities to explore our public lands.  

David Dunphy, Executive Director

After studying environmental studies and business administration David set out on a journey to explore and connect people to the natural world. He Spent several years as a field instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the REI Outdoor School, The YMCA Bold & GOLD program and others; leading backpacking, kayaking and rock climbing programs. A Issaquah native, most recently served as the  Director of the Sammamish YMCA’s  Teen and Outdoor program. David Is always looking for new ways to  collaborate with schools and community organizations and find ways to break down barriers of accessing our public lands. He is excited to engage more young people  in transformative outdoor experiences that help them develop grit,  leadership skills and inform  their environmental ethic. David lives in Preston with his partner Shawna, when he is not out on personal trips you might find him volunteering with the Issaquah alps trails club, a local conservation group, supporting Seattle Mountain Rescue as a  field member or playing in the woods with his niece and nephew.  

Board of Directors

Noah Harper, Board President

A recent addition to the state of Washington’s population, Noah called Georgia his home until employment catapulted him across the country. Armed with a degree in computer science from Georgia Tech and a good attitude, Noah spends his working days in Redmond as a software engineer at Microsoft. Noah‘s passion for the outdoors was stoked by a beloved summer camp in the Appalachian Mountains called Camp Mikell. There he would return throughout his life, first, as a camper, and later as a counselor and staff member — coordinating the fun and activity of hundreds of children outdoors each summer. Soon after landing in Washington, Noah found Y.E.T.I, another organization that adds fuel to the passion for the outdoors in young people! These days you can find Noah backpacking in the mighty Olympics, skiing around misty Ranier, and biking soggy Seattle!

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Betsy Boyer, Vise President & Director

Betsy is a Tennessee hillbilly who after over a decade career in the maritime industry, came to roost as a video producer in the Pacific Northwest. Growing up in a hiking family, she learned the power of natural settings as a youngster and still craves them today. She is the owner of True Bearing Productions, a full service video production business in Seattle. Her interest in Y.E.T.I . was ignited as she watched her son grow up experiencing Y.E.T.I. programs. She is proud to be a part of this magnetic organization!

 
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Judy Reed, Secretary

Judy has a passion for supporting educational opportunities for underserved population and loves playing outdoors. In her 19 years working in the educational field, both in K-12 and community college, she has implemented programs and grants that serve students who experience barriers to success in one way or another to ensure they get the tools and support they need to be successful. At the age of 54 she made her first successful summit of Mount Rainier, which set her on a path to exploring a myriad of hiking and mountaineering experiences in the Pacific Northwest, including Mt Adams, Glacier Peak, Mt Baker and the Wonderland Trail.  She looks forward to sharing her passion to get things done with Y.E.T.I.!

Isaac Prieto, Treasure

Isaac moved to the Northwest from Long Beach California where he works at at Clark Nuber as an Account manager .  When he isn’t helping Y.E.T.I. manage its resources to maximizing our impacts for young people in our community he is spends his  time with his wife and son  enjoying all the Nature in our backyard. Isaac is passionate that young people will have the opportunity to enjoy their public lands the same way he is introducing his son to outdoor adventure. 

John Nelson, Founder & Director

John founded Y.E.T.I. to insure his own children and their peers participated in rich outdoor experiences. As a professional guide (mountains, rivers, sea) for over 30 years, he has experienced the magic that outdoor adventures can play on empowering adults; helping them discover a new version of themselves. He now enjoys leveraging what he’s learned into empowering the next generation. When he’s not engaged on wild adventures, he works as a Research Engineer for Adobe.

Claire Hefin, Director

Claire grew up in the Pacific Northwest, spending winter weekends in the mountains and long summer days in the Puget Sound! Claire found Y.E.T.I. through a family connection and was deeply moved by the
mission of expanding the opportunity for young people to learn and grow in the outdoors. Motivated to listen and empower folks to reach their fullest potential, Claire is passionate about bringing her HR skills and experience to Y.E.T.I. Outside of Y.E.T.I., you can find Claire & her golden retriever, Baker, making new friends on their weekly hiking adventures!

Maxi Polihronakis, Director

Maxi started her outdoor adventures growing up on a working, non-profit educational farm in Vermont where she created her own world in the woods and spent hours at the dairy barn welcoming the newly born calves with engaging conversation. Since experiencing her first life-changing backpacking trip at 18, she has developed a deep appreciation for the importance of human connection with the natural world. Her goal at Y.E.T.I is to integrate her professional skills with her desire to give all kids the opportunity to explore, get curious, and be challenged by outdoor adventures.

Tonya Seaberry, Director

Tonya is a Community Service Officer for the Des Moines Police Department. Her job involves community outreach, crime prevention and problem solving, and she has been at it for over 25 years! She is also active in many other safety and crime prevention endeavors in South King County. A lifelong Western Washingtonian, she is mom to a wonderful son, and is very excited to make a difference in the lives of our youth through Y.E.T.I. programs. They just need to be shown the way!

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John Olivera, Director

Jon works to support underrepresented, first generation, low-income college students as the Assistant Director of the Educational Opportunity Program at the University of Washington.  He developed his work ethic, communication skills, and love for helping others while guiding river trips in the Grand Canyon. His passion for the outdoors is matched by his desire to always be connected to youth.  Jon’s goal is to connect diverse undergraduates at UW to amazing opportunities that Y.E.T.I. provides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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Chris Lowe, Director

Chris is a PNW native with a passion for the Outdoors. He has built a career in the Outdoor Industry with stops at REI, Outward Bound and currently Grayl. Experiences are central to his ethos as a person and a parent. “The outdoors is the perfect classroom to teach the lessons of life.” A big fan of Y.E.T.I over the years he is now on the board of directors looking to give back and to the next generation of conservationists, enthusiasts and advocates for wild places.

Meera

Meera Rajagopalan, Director

Hailing from Texas, Meera moved to Washington state three years ago and now calls it home. After graduating from Georgia Tech, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to work in marketing at Microsoft and has since been involved in various disability advocacy efforts at the company and at the University of Washington. A big part of the move was gaining an appreciation for easy access to outdoor adventure and noticing how it expanded her worldview for what she could accomplish. Y.E.T.I.’s mission of lowering the barrier of entry into the outdoors and developing grit in kids resonates because she’s seen in herself how challenging herself in the wilderness has increased her own potential energy. Outside of the Y.E.T.I. board, you can find Meera photographing concerts, mountaineering, and going for long runs around the city.

Connor McCune, Director

Connor McCune lives for the endless pursuit of that perfect turn, be that in early morning dawn patrols arcing through snow and air at Snoqualmie pass, or dropping his heels while accelerating through wet roots and rocks in the amazing mountain bike trails of WA and BC. Connor always knew his calling was in the outdoors, and is excited to become part of the YETI Board to help share that stoke with others and help them to find that endless source of energy that will enable them to accomplish their dreams. Connor brings legal knowledge and expertise to YETI, to help guide the organization in this next stage of growth. While he normal occupies his time trying to understand inventions in the electrical and software arts, he is excited to apply his problem solving skills to the new and interesting challenges presented to YETI.

I am one of those parents that is not comfortable driving out of the city, and because of that, my kid did not have the opportunities to experience the great outdoor Washington has to offer. I am so grateful there's Y.E.T.I. to take my child to experiencing camping and rock climbing. I am looking forward to the next program event.
-- Y.E.T.I. Parent

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