Where the past, present, and future of leadership come together for the dignity and benefit of all.
At First Nature Foundation, our mission is to cultivate 21st Century Leadership: to help develop core self-leadership and collective leadership skills needed for this time.
Who We Work With
We work with leaders and teams in organizations to enhance their capacities for engagement, collaboration, and generative outcomes.
We also offer programs for children, teens, and adults to evoke more of their innate leadership potential for more success in school, career, relationships, and community.
In the process, we nurture a reverence for all sentient life, along with awareness of its inherent wisdom.
Kerul Kassel, President and Executive Director
Dr. Kerul Kassel has almost two decades of leadership coaching and transformative facilitation experience, with multiple coaching credentials. She has been quoted in TIME magazine, Real Simple, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. Dr. Kassel received a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University, where she was recruited to help develop and teach in the Sustainability Leadership certificate program within the Organizational Development and Leadership Masters program. She’s the author of The Thinking Executive’s Guide to Sustainability (Business Expert Press, 2014) and other books, and the lead editor of Developing a Sustainability Mindset in Management Education (Routledge, 2018). Kerul is also an elected official on the Harmony Community Development District Board of Supervisors and leads a number of community initiatives. Her horses are her leadership gurus, always teaching her leadership and life lessons that she shares with her playshop participants.
Argerie Vasilakes, Board Member and Collaborator
helps people rediscover the life in their businesses and communities. She co-founded TimeZero, a consulting firm that works with organizations as flourishing living systems, which draw insights from Nature for practical and prosperous results. She borrows tools from positive organization development, community gardening and transformative storytelling. Argerie has more than twenty years of experience as a business leader shaping the evolution of cultures in organizations undergoing disruption. She co-authored Transforming Ourselves to Transform our Organizations (OD Practitioner, 2017) and a series of blog posts on leadership and change in the web of life. She holds Masters degrees in Adult Education from Cleveland State University and Positive Organization Development from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. TimeZero is a sponsor of Leading for a More Socially Equitable and Ecologically Just World.
Katrina Rogers, Board Member
Dr. Katrina Rogers is the President of Fielding Graduate University, a position she has held since 2013. She began her time at Fielding in 2005 first as the Associate Dean for Fielding and Director of the Institute for Social Innovation and in 2011 moved into the role of Provost and Senior Vice President. From 1988 – 1990 she was a Fulbright Scholar in History. She is also a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarship, a post-doctoral fellowship, where she taught global environmental politics at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Rogers is an advocate for environmental and social justice issues. She has served on a number of committees and worked with international organizations such as the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization and the European Union. She led conservation projects in rural communities, lobbied Congress for stronger environmental legislation, and raised more than $20 million in grants and donations for conservation efforts throughout the country.
Patty Foley, Board Member
Patty Foley, CPA, owns a CPA firm developed to assist the small business and its owner/family. Her firm focuses on financial consulting and tax compliance as they are crucial to the small business owner. Patty has extensive experience with non-profit and community boards, was president and is now trustee of a fifteen member volunteer board to raise awareness and funds to support the Lucy Robbins Welles Library, served with Friends of Connecticut Libraries, was president of the New England Lace Group and is Membership Chairperson and Public Relations Director of Newington Community Television. In 2008 she was awarded the Outstanding Friend of the year by Friends of Connecticut Libraries, and in she was honored as a Distinguished Alumna and inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame at Housatonuc Community College.
Peggy Hoyt, Board Member
Peggy Hoyt is an attorney in Central Florida. Peggy practices in the areas of family wealth and legacy counselling, including trust and estate planning and administration, elder law, small business creation, succession and exit planning, real estate transactions and animal law. In addition to her law degree, she holds a Florida real estate license. Peggy is the author of All My Children Wear Fur Coats – How to Leave a Legacy to Your Pet, an informative and inspirational guide for pet owners who want to include their pets as part of their estate plans. She is a co-author of several other books, including: Special People, Special Planning – Creating a Safe Legal Haven for Families with Special Needs; Loving Without a License – An Estate Planning Survival Guide for Unmarried Couples and Same Sex Partners; A Matter of Trust – The Importance of Personal Instructions; Women in Transition – Navigating the Legal and Financial Challenges in Your Life; and Like a Library Burning – Sharing and Saving a Lifetime of Stories. Peggy speaks at the local, regional and national levels on estate planning and elder law topics including pet planning, special needs planning and planning for unmarried couples and same sex partners. Peggy has been featured on CNN Financial News, the Wall Street Journal and the Orlando Sentinel for her work in pet planning.
A former Premarin mare rescued from a ranch in Saskatchewan, Canada, Goldi has been the lead mare of our herd since 2006. Alert and vigilant in looking ahead for the benefit of the herd, she has a huge presence, and while she doesn't suffer fools lightly, she always has a soft place in her heart for children.
A former schooling horse, Dakota lived in a number of different places before he came to us in 2006. Our elder statesman, he is a true gentleman, and a leader's leader. A stoic and an introvert, he protects the herd from threats quietly and with dignity, but can also be a master trickster.
Although Kody lost one eye to cancer several years ago, shortly before he came to us in 2010, he retains his wisdom, his curiosity, and his sly humor. Kody is the herd sentinel, quick to alert others to changing circumstances and shifting conditions. Gregarious and playful, he is our goofball guru.
First Nature Ranch is located in rural Central Florida, yet is less than an hour from Orlando International Airport, downtown Orlando, and Disney World and all theme parks. A 26+ acre pasture with a woodland trail around its border, and built with attention to environmental concerns and best herd management practices, it's a serene and bucolic setting for many kinds of programs.
"Nature is not matter only. She is also spirit.”
—Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) Founder Of Analytical Psychology