Our people bring the Pearlstone experience to life.

Meet our wonderful staff of inspiring and dedicated individuals that bring the Pearlstone experience to life.

Our Leadership Team:

Jakir Manela

Chief Executive Officer, Pearlstone and Hazon

jakir@pearlstonecenter.org 410.500.5366

Jakir Manela is the CEO of both Pearlstone and Hazon, just outside of Baltimore, MD . He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2004, and after training as a Teva Jewish outdoor environmental educator, he founded Kayam Farm at Pearlstone in 2006. Jakir was promoted to become Pearlstone’s Executive Director in 2012, helping to lead an amazing team engaging over 22,000 participants each year in immersive retreats, experiential Jewish outdoor education, and community sustainability initiatives. Jakir works collaboratively with a wonderful staff and board, as well as supportive funders and partners, leading Pearlstone towards a campus master plan and $20 million capital campaign that will transform Pearlstone’s 180-acre campus and double its impact. Jakir was the 2014 JCSA North American Young Professional of the Year, and received the inaugural Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom in 2016 for the groundbreaking Jewish farm-based curricula Chai VeKayam & Hadrah Alach. For the past ten years, Jakir has helped lead Pearlstone to its perennial status in the Slingshot Guide as one of the most innovative Jewish organizations in North America. Jakir lives just up the road from Pearlstone with his incredible wife Nets, four boys ages 4 to 14, and an energetic puppy named Gaia. He coaches youth sports and loves building campfires and making music with friends.

Eve Wachhaus

Chief Operating Officer, Pearlstone and Hazon

ewachhaus@pearlstonecenter.org 410-500-5374

Eve Wachhaus (WALK-HOUSE) builds hospitality systems. She is an experienced hospitality director, a former non-profit executive director and a foodie. Eve’s lively past includes Principal Investigator on a dirt-eating research project for National Institutes of Health, sole proprietor of her own catering company, and management positions with Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, Hyatt Regency Baltimore, and several museums. Eve has managed over a dozen food and beverage operations, banquets, catering, restaurants, entertainment catering venues, in the corporate, social and Kosher markets, and loves bringing meaning to people’s simchas. As Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Harrisburg Area, Eve earned her place in Harrisburg’s top Movers and Shapers list and was a recipient of both the Distinguished Service Award and the Excellence in Public Beautification Award from the City of Harrisburg. Eve was a frequent webinar and conference presenter for Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) with expertise in community engagement, home preservation, marketing and ReStore leadership. She also served in her community’s Long Term Disaster Recovery Committee. As a side hustle, Eve owns Do What Ema Says, a Mediterranean Food Blog and catering company, where you will find she heaps on the spices and encouragement, and also, she's got a killer Baba Ganoush recipe. When not working, Eve is happiest cooking and dancing around her kitchen with her husband, adult kids, and foster dogs.

Claudia Fath

Director of Finance

cfath@pearlstonecenter.org 410.500.5341

Greg Strella

Director of Stewardship

gstrella@pearlstonecenter.org 410.500.5382

Rabbi Petaḥya Lichtenstein

Director of Education

plichtenstein@pearlstonecenter.org 410.500.5370

Rachel Feldman

Director of Development

rfeldman@pearlstonecenter.org 410.500.5368

Sonja Sugerman

Chief of Staff, Pearlstone and Hazon

ssugerman@pearlstonecenter.org 410.500.5376

Rachael Walkins

National Culinary Director for Hazon

rwalkins@pearlstonecenter.org 410-500-5387

Lee Fenner

Director of Guest Services

lfenner@pearlstonecenter.org 410.500.5386

Our Hospitality Team

Heather Mekiliesky, Director of Sales
Maggie DeLauney-Elder, Event Coordinator
Alex Antaniuk, Hospitality Services Manager
Galia Mardari, Hospitality Associate
Jonah Senker, Campus Manager
Bridget Stephan, Pool Manager

Our Retreat Services Team

G Mardari, Retreat Services Manager
Chris Wilson, Retreat Services Manager
Alena Antaniuk, Retreat Services Manager
Kingsley Walkins, Retreat Services Assistant Manager
Maddie Wroe, Retreat Services Assistant Manager

Our Culinary Team

Rebecca Pauvert, Executive Chef
Edwin Gonzales, Sous Chef
Cristina Villafuerte, Cook
Tricia Dunne, Cook
Aaron Selby, Cook
Julius Balzac, Head Mashgiach
Harriet Schlein, Mashgicha
Jeffrey Shulevitz, Mashgiach
Mark Sunshine, Dish Washer

Our Program Team

Jill Eisen, Assistant Program Director
Beth Denaburg, Farmer Educator
Steph Katsampis, Educator
Mira Menyuk, Director of Tiyul Adventure Camp
Joan Plisko, PhD, Director of Community Sustainability
Ann Ulick, Program Coordinator
Stern Christian, Lead Educator
Joe Murray, Caretaker & Wilderness Educator
Hili Harel, Israeli Shaliach

Our Stewardship Team

Glenn Maskell, Director of Maintenance
Menashe Link, Assistant Director of Maintenance
Perri DeJarnette, Land Steward
Joe Murray, Caretaker & Wilderness Educator
Lindsay Crisler, Seasonal Farmer

Our Administrative Team

Missy Richardson, HR Generalist
Jennifer Folayan, Registrar and Marketing Coordinator