About Us: Who We Are - Staff

Job opportunities:

We're hiring a Co-Director of Organizational Development. Find out more, here.


You can contact staff by email or calling the main office at 510.444.1232


Staci K. Haines

Executive Director



Staci K. Haines is the founder of generative somatics, and committed the

interdependence of personal, collective and systemic transformation.


“We are shaped by our deeply personal experiences and our social conditions.  Through embodied transformation and collective action we can move ourselves, communities and society toward what is life-affirming.  The focus of generative somatics is to bring the transformative power of somatics to serve social and environmental justice movements.”


The generative somatics methodology emerges from the Somatics tradition of Richard Strozzi-Heckler integrating somatic awareness, somatic opening and transformative practice, toward embodiment and skillful action. Staci integrates her extensive work in trauma and healing, a systemic analysis of power and movements for social change, into this unique and powerful work. She is a senior teacher in the field of Somatics and leads courses in Somatics and Leadership, Somatics and Trauma, and Somatics and Social Justice, as well as running teacher training programs.  She has been working and teaching in the field of Somatics for the last 18 years.


Staci is also a founder of generationFIVE, a social justice organization whose mission is to end the sexual abuse of children within 5 generations through survivor leadership, community organizing, transformative justice approaches and movement building (www.generationFIVE.org). She has been working and organizing re: child sexual abuse prevention since 1992.


Lastly, Staci is the author of Healing Sex: A Mind Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma (Cleis 1999, 2007), a how-to book offering a somatic approach to recovery from sexual trauma and developing healthy sexual and intimate relationships. Her book has been nationally recognized and translated into German, Japanese and Spanish. Healing Sex (S.I.R 2004), a DVD of the work, features actors and real life testimonials, focuses on using somatics to heal from various forms of sexual trauma. Healing Sex includes both men and women as survivors of sexual trauma, and represents people from a diversity of communities, and has both English and Spanish subtitles (www.healingsexthemovie.com).



Chris Lymbertos

Program Director




Chris Lymbertos has been the Deputy Director at gs since 2012 and in August of 2016 has had the honor of transitioning into the role of Program Director. Born and raised in Iran from Syrian and Armenian parents, she lives deeply in the contradictions of an exiled identity and made a commitment to transform the lives and conditions of her family, community and peoples.  Chris has spent the last 25 years working with organizations and efforts committed to the liberation of peoples impacted by racism, homophobia, xenophobia, capitalism and imperialism. She has studied and practiced somatics since 2008 and as much as possible, integrates what she learns into her life and work. When not working, she looks for ways to get friends to join her in being outside in beauty and adventure.



Spenta N. Kandawalla

Senior Program Consultant


Spenta Kandawalla, L.Ac., is committed to helping grow work at the intersection of transformation and organizing. She has studied somatics for over a decade, and has focused the past eight years on designing and delivering relevant, powerful somatics to social justice (SJ) leaders, organizers, and members. Prior to gs, Spenta organized queer and trans low-income youth of color, providing training in participatory action research, developing their leadership skills, and pushing for youth voice and decision-making at all levels of organizational, community, and political processes. She simultaneously worked with organizations and communities to build their own capacities to center the most impacted leadership and create just, democratic processes and structures. If she could, she would go back and do it all again with a somatic orientation in order to facilitate more healing, build more resilience, and increase the power and effectiveness of all the young people and adults she interacted with. In addition to her work with gs, Spenta is a licensed acupuncturist exploring how acupuncture can support healing from trauma, and how herbal medicine can be an effective agent in working with chronic illnesses. She has just transitioned out of the Program Director role and into a Senior Program Consultant position, in order to offer more time to building her community healthcare practice. Spenta feels lucky and honored to continue her work with gs through teaching and program support.

Danielle M. Feris

Resource Development Director



Danielle has been a community organizer since 1999, including work with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, MoveOn.org, Democracy Now!, and campaigns for workers rights, affordable housing, immigrant justice, healthcare reform, and Palestine justice. From 2010-2015, Danielle served as the founding Director of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network working in partnership with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Danielle has been a generative somatics student since 2012 and in gs Teacher Training since 2016.  


Danielle is a born-and-raised New Yorker who lives in Oakland; she is White, Queer, and Jewish, and has Russian, Polish, Lebanese, Syrian, and Cuban ancestry; was raised with upper-middle class privilege; and has recently begun to engage with her identity as a person with mental illness and extreme fatigue. Danielle finds resilience in the sand at the beach, singing, and time with kiddos who call her "tio/uncle"; she writes poetry and fiction, and lives in regular connection with Jewish ritual, text and tradition.



Yashna Padamsee

Program Manager



Yashna is a first generation South Asian immigrant queer femme raised in and by the US South. Yashna has spent over a dozen years supporting social movements through creating innovative infrastructure and sharing liberatory healing practices. Seven of those years was in her previous work and role as the Events Director for longtime gs partner, the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Yashna has been a gs student since 2008, in gs Teacher Training since June 2017, and joined gs staff in November 2017 as the Program Manager and staff lead of the Disability Justice committee.


When not working, Yashna enjoys listening to podcasts, texting with her niece who is in North Carolina, eating dumplings with her partner Ang, and taking their dog Monkey to Point Isabel for a beautiful California sunset.



Mahfam Malek

Program Coordinator



Mahfam has held different roles in racial, economic, and environmental/climate justice movements over the years, including facilitator, non-profit staff of many stripes, social justice-oriented stand-up comic, direct action organizer, environmental educator, and more. Some years back, their passion for justice began to fuse with their obsession with politicized healing and transformation. This brought them to the path of somatic practitioner (in training) and now, to Program Coordinator at gs.


Mahfam is originally from Tehran, Iran, was raised mostly in the Los Angeles area, and has now lived in Oakland longer than they've lived anywhere else. Though their longing for homes past is strong, they happily identify as a California kid who loves cavorting about in the woods with their dog and hitting the Town with their partner and friends.