Amanda Bernal-Carlo Carlo is originally from Colombia where for several years she studied the ecology of the Andean Forest and the Paramos. She is a scholar of Biogeography, Ecology and Medicinal Plants. In 1989, while carrying out research on the biogeography of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, she became involved in the study of the Kogi Indians, their philosophy of life, and their traditional healing. For several years she collaborated with the Fundacion Pro-Sierra, an NGO supporting these Indigenous communities. In 1996, she received the First National Research Prize from the Colombian government for the work she had accomplished on the Colombian Andean Mountains.
Dr. Bernal is a full Professor in the Natural Sciences Department at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York where she has worked as the Chair of the Department, and as Associate Dean of the Office of Academic Affairs. She worked on the creation of several initiatives at the college including the Honors Program for Liberal Arts students, the Summer Honors Institute, and the Center for Teaching and Learning. For 12 years she was the Chair of the College Wide Curriculum Committee. Prof. Bernal-Carlo received the International Exemplary Leadership award from the Chair Academy as well as the Exemplary Initiatives award for Curriculum Innovation from the Instructional Leadership Academy.
Susan Ka’iulani Stanton (Haudenosaunee/Native Hawaiian) is the Founder and Senior Grandmother of Grandmothers Circle the Earth Foundation, an international organization that travels the world in service of Mother Earth and future generations, giving birth to new Grandmother councils all over the planet.
Susan is Vice-President of The Great Balance, bi-located in the United States and Colombia with a focus on building a culturally appropriate university and the planting of one million trees to protect and perpetuate the culture and sacred land of the mamos, the Indigenous People of the beautiful Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
She is a delegate with the International Public Policy Institute to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and has also participated in United Nations forums on Indigenous rights. Susan lives with her husband Brad Walking Bear Stanton (Narragansett) on the Mississippi River in the heartland of North America.
John Gillen, a native of New York City, studied plant physiology, morphogenesis and ecology at the City University of New York. He is an Assistant Professor of Biology in the Department of Natural Sciences of Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, where for eight years he served as Biology Unit Coordinator, and has been for many years a member of its college-wide senate. He is one of the directors of the Torrey Botanical Society, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, and is its recording secretary. For over 30 years he has also been serving on the board of directors of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality.
Dr. Gillen has been collaborating for a number of years on projects in the Mata Atlântica region of Brazil and in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada. In addition to his scientific pursuits, he has given tutorials at the Graduate Center on Old Irish, one of the oldest Celtic languages, and is a research fellow of the CUNY Institute for Irish-American Studies.
Janis Roze, originally from Latvia, is Professor of Biology Emeritus of the City University of New York, currently Senior Resident Scientist of the CUNY’s Americas Center on Science and Society. He was Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and Resident Scholar at the UN Institute for Training and Research, as well as at the UN Center of Science and Technology for Development. He has held several senior academic positions in Latin America. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia, and for several years, he was Professor of Zoology at the Central University of Venezuela. He has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Commagüe, Argentina, and at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Dr. Roze has given lectures and seminars in almost all the Latin American countries and in several countries in Europe. He has written nine books and produced three documentaries on evolution, serpents, and human genetic rivers. His recent interests are human development and transformation, the interdependence of science and spirituality and the deeper human destiny. His activities encompass several projects and collaboration in Argentina and Brazil and especially in Colombia where he is collaborating with the Arhuaco tribe of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on numerous projects.
Ruth Bernal has over 20 years of progressive experience in both public and corporate accounting. She began her career and education in Colombia with 6 years of experience in Accounting and Economics, and an M.S. in Finance. In California, she worked as a Senior Accountant in a small CPA firm. Upon moving to New York, Ruth worked as an Assistant Controller for Grace Courier, Inc/ Corporate Express. She also went back to school and added an MS in Accounting with honors at Long Island University.
Ruth has a broad international background working in the US, where she has worked as a US Controller for Ocasa Argentina, as LATAM Regional Controller for DHL, as Business and Financial Reporting Manager for the US office of Hellman Worldwide (based in Germany), and as VP and Corporate Controller for Interamericana Transport Industries—the LATAM Distributor for Volkswagen/Audi. Ruth was with Interamericana for 11 years, until the company was dismantled after losing the distribution contract with Volkswagen/Audi. After leaving Interamericana, Ruth accepted the CFO position at Sun Commodities Inc., a $400M dollar produce distributor where she is currently employed.
Ruth has excellent experience and a broad range of responsibilities including Financial Accounting and Reporting, Budgeting and Forecasting, Cash Management, and Banking and Treasury functions. Ruth is a proven leader, having directly managed teams from the Controller level to AP and AR professionals. It is a privilege for The Great Balance to have as treasurer someone who is a reliable, driven, professional, and personable individual.