Shelley Tennyson | CEO
Shelley comes to Manos Zapotecas with a history of social service, business, teaching, and adventure. She owned and operated a whitewater rafting business catering to women, taught outdoor and adventure education in the mountains of California, taught English at a university in Tijuana, and most recently brought a business education program to the indigenous women near Oaxaca who are participating in the En Via non profit micro-finance program. Her Spanish has allowed her to develop lasting friendships with the incredible Mexican people. Manos Zapotecas is her way of giving something back to them.
Liz Moffett | General Manager
Liz became a part of Manos Zapotecas through her love of fiber. An avid spinner, collector and dyer of yarn she finds the Zapotec people and their way of life a dream come true. Her experience in e-commerce and social media were skills she readily offered in order to become involved in keeping the artistry and heritage of the Zapotec weavers alive and thriving. She was ecstatic to find that her belief in the fair trade movement and the beauty and satisfaction of items handmade were the very mission and tenets of Manos Zapotecas. She finds her role as General Manager of MZ the perfect fit for her skills and ideals.
Paco Santiago Bautista | Operations Manager
Paco was born in Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico. He belongs to the Zapotec culture that still exists in the Oaxaca Valley. The great majority of the members of the community are weavers, and Paco says that it is a good way to stay connected to their cultural heritage by preserving their craft. Paco and his 3 brothers are the fourth generation of weavers in his family; he learned the art of weaving from his father, master weaver Porfirio Santiago Mendez. He started his first rug at the age of 11. His mother, Gloria Bautista taught Paco how to dye the wool. Nowadays Paco is about to pass his knowledge to his two sons and two daughters. In the last four years Paco has traveled to the US, giving weaving demonstrations and rug exhibitions. He has joined Manos Zapotecas as the partner in Teotitlan who coordinates and ships all the orders. His English is nearly perfect!
Hannah Aronowitz | Marketing Manager
Hannah first encountered the beautiful Zapotec woven art when she was living in Oaxaca, volunteering with a microfinance NGO, Fundación En Vía. Her close connection with the weavers, love of textiles, and belief that commerce can and should have a positive social impact, made joining the team at Manos Zapotecas a perfect fit. She brings to the table her experience in journalism, marketing and sales to take on the role as Marketing Manager. She is a dedicated traveler, food enthusiast, and creative spirit who is passionate about social justice, sustainability, and ethical fashion. Hannah lives in Portland, Oregon and Oaxaca, Mexico.
Samantha Wattson | Design Coordinator
It was inevitable that Samantha would join the MZ team. Sam lives in Oaxaca year-round and has been working artisans in Teotitlan since 2011. Sam initially met Shelley through Fundacion En Via, while she was the managing director for the program. Sam began working with Manos Zapotecas in 2014 and is thrilled to be a part of another initiative dedicated to supporting these amazing artisans and their families. Sam brings her experience in marketing, project management and product design to MZ and drives the creative design process of Manos Zapotecas.
Gisela Sejpal | Sales Manager
Gisela is thrilled to join the Manos Zapotecas team and support it’s mission. Growing up in the beautiful country of Colombia, she developed a love for indigenous culture and art at an early age. She is especially interested in helping artisans empower themselves, their communities, and their children. Gisela’s extensive experience in sales, paired with her passion and belief in “transformative commerce” - the idea that business can act as an agent of positive change- makes her feel right at home at Manos Zapotecas.