MEET THE TEAM
Board of Directors
Amber has been making films for over two decades. Her heart though is in taking people to beautiful and remote places to immerse in unfamiliar cultures for healing and learning. Click here to learn more. She holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Master in Fine Arts, is Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Transpersonal Psychology. When she’s not making films and traveling the world, Amber teaches relaxation skills.
The joy, the laugher, the life, and the sacred wisdom that lives and breathes in the Amazon forest inspired Amber to help create The SOFIE Foundation. With a full heart she thanks the people currently in her life for showing up. Without whom none of this would be possible.
Born in Berlin, spending most of his professional life in Hamburg and London, Ezra Chaouli settled in Los Angeles in 2004. He received his BS in Economics from the University of London and holds an MBA from the Cass Business School, City University in London. Ezra has an extensive business background in real estate development, renewable energy investment, and venture capital funding.
As sustainability is only achievable by reconnecting with nature rather than separating from it, his pursuit is raising awareness in recognition that everything on our planet and the universe is connected. The technology to live in harmony with our environment is available, accessible, and economically viable. We just need the motivation and will to apply it. Ezra is a private pilot, paddle boarder, yogi and triathlete. His other passions include the study of Persian mysticism, the evolution of universal consciousness, and cooking.
Cate’s childhood was on a farm in Oregon surrounded by endless natural beauty and evidence of the indigenous people who lived on the land before her. This defined her life's direction as an advocate and steward of the planet. With her BA in Communication Design/Illustration, she committed her career to uplifting small businesses and nonprofits in primarily the humanitarian and sustainability sectors. She built The SOFIE Foundation website. Seeing first hand the devastation to our changing planet she joined the Red Cross as a volunteer and then an employee in the Marketing Communication Dept. for NCCR, which included managing 30 volunteer storytellers.
When Cate isn’t working she: volunteers, travels, organic gardens, photographs, and a life of conscious conservation; seeking to inspire, raise awareness and educate.
Matsini was the first to begin studying with Tatá from a very early age. As one of Tatá's successors and Spiritual Leaders of the Yawanawá, he is guiding many young Yawanawá people as well as non-native people into the spiritual studies of the Yawanawá with a lot of care and dedication. Following a vision, he founded a Spiritual Center in Mutum where people can study and learn about the many sacred medicines that are growing there. He has been walking this path for many decades and carries with him a lot of knowledge. He is firmly grounded in the Yawanawá culture, and also embraces new ways of working. He loves music and storytelling and walks with powerfully focused energy.
Tashka has served as Chief of the Yawanawá since 2001. Tashka and his wife Laura (Mixteca-Zapoteca) have worked to increase Yawanawá territory, reinvigorate Yawanawá culture, and establish economically and socially empowering relationships with the outside world. With other tribal leaders in the Amazon, he is working to restore dignity, identity and a sustainable economic future to indigenous populations, founded on their own values, culture and definition of prosperity. Tashka’s work as tribal chief has provided him with extensive experience in documentary film production, large scale events, writing and communications.
Sylvie, or Selva, has dedicated her life to loving service and the reconciliation of human beings with the original wisdom of nature and spirits. She has worked for more than 20 years on the path of healing, drawing on her deep connection to nature and ancestral knowledge. Living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, she collaborates with the main indigenous communities of this sacred territory—the Kogi, the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, and the Wiwa—and with other indigenous communities around the world. Working as a midwife, she also studies traditional midwifery practices of various cultures and shares this knowledge both in Colombia and abroad. Being the mother of five children—born through natural births in nature—is the inspiration for her deep work with women and families, planting seeds of reconnection with Mother Earth and the web of life.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Chad Walding is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the SOFIE Foundation. He's also a Doctor of Physical Therapy and co-founder of NativePath, a whole food wellness company based around ancestral health. He’s committed to helping people transform their lives through better ways of eating, moving, and living. As a physical therapist, Dr. Chad has 15 years of experience and specializes in treating the spine and restoring optimal functional movement. He's also spent extensive time with the Yawanawá people in the Amazon to study ancestral and holistic health. In May of 2018 he began his studies of the Yawanawá lineage by doing a Seya Dieta. He has deep relationships with many of the Yawanawá people and carries many of their sacred songs.