Being Adept

Leadership Team

Itamar M. Bikszer, RN
Director of Communications and Curriculum Development
Itamar is a graduate of UC Berkeley and has his nursing degree with training in critical care. In addition to leading student lessons, Itamar works for Kaiser Permanente’s Critical Care Department in San Rafael, California.



Eli Froneberger
Eli grew up in Fairfax, California where he attended Sir Francis Drake High School. At Drake, Eli joined the  Peer Resource Program, educating middle school students about  topics teens they were sure to  face during high school such as prescription medications, marijuana, alcohol, peer pressure, bullying and tobacco. Eli attended Ventura College in Los Angeles. He  currently attends the College of Marin in Novato, California.



Emma Basaran
Emma was born and raised in Corte Madera, CA. She graduated from Redwood High School before attending UCLA, where she received a B.S. in Anthropology with a Minor in Spanish. Emma currently teaches spin fitness classes in addition to serving as a facilitator in the classroom. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine.



Mariel Keener
Mariel Lopez Keener grew up in Mill Valley, California. She attended Redwood High School for two years before transferring to Tamiscal High School. Mariel taught English as a Second Language in Luang Prabang, Laos and also worked as a tutor and mentor for middle school students in San Francisco’s Mission District. She received her B.S. in Anthropology with a Minor in Ethnic Studies from University of Oregon.



Bently Anderson
Bently grew up in Pleasanton, California where he attended Amador Valley High School. Bently majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology at Sonoma State University. During his undergraduate years, his academic focus centered on: counseling, cognitive development, stress management, and the sociology of drug use. Bently plans to continue his education to one day become a marriage and family therapist.



Cassarah Chu
Cassarah was raised in the east bay, graduated from El Cerrito High School and soon after packed her bags for an undergraduate education at UCLA. While there, she developed a passion for promoting positive body image, for working in non-profit fund development, and for promoting student and public health. When she isn’t facilitating a Being Adept workshop, she may be found riding her mountain bike through the bay area’s many trails or figuring out a way to continue travelling the world.



Megan Botel
Megan grew up in San Rafael, California and attended San Rafael High School. Throughout high school, she worked as a peer educator for Beyond Hunger, a non profit educating middle and high school students on mindful eating, body image, and eating disorder prevention. Megan recently graduated from New York University with a major in Environmental Studies and minor in Psychology. She plans to attend graduate school next year to become certified as a school psychologist.



Maggie Buchanan
Maggie was born and raised in the East Bay. She attended Saint Mary’s High School in Berkeley and went on to graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in global and international studies. After graduating, she worked as a supervisor and mentored at-risk youth from all over the US as they completed community projects in rural Mexico. She has also worked as a running coach promoting physical health, positive body image, and healthy friendships for middle school age girls in the Bay Area. She loves to run and travel the world, and she is training for her first marathon.



Wanda Chao
Wanda was raised in Oakland, CA and attended Berkeley High School. She later majored in Cognitive Science and minored in Linguistics at UC San Diego. Through her time there, Wanda discovered the importance of maintaining healthy physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Outside of the classroom, Wanda enjoys volunteering in her community and learning new languages. She is currently pursing a career in nursing.



Ryan Gertz
Ryan grew up in Sausalito, California. He graduated Redwood High School, and continued on to study at Syracuse University. He earned a B.F.A. in Film Production, with an emphasis in Linguistics. Since then he has worked as a video editor in Manhattan, New York, and deckhand for cargo sailing vessel Kwai throughout the South Pacific Ocean, where he discovered a personal knack for elementary teaching of English as a second language.



Steven La Gatta
Steven is a second-generation Californian born and raised in Marin County. After earning his B.A. in Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR and WWOOFing in France for five months, he returned to the Bay Area to settle in Oakland. Ever since, he has been trying his hand at a variety of odd jobs including park maintenance in Muir Woods, slinging burgers from a food truck window, making deliveries on his motorcycle, and a brief stint as a master pipe organ builder’s apprentice. However, his passions lie with social and economic justice, as well as a general existential concern with wellness in all of its manifestations. He has been working with Being Adept since late 2014, and we’re all very glad to have him on board!



Mike Guinasso
Mike Guinasso was raised in Marin County where he attended Marin Catholic High School and then went on to study psychology at Santa Clara University. While at Santa Clara, Mike began working for the Son Rise program helping autistic children develop socially, where he found that he was passionate about working among the youth. This newfound interest is what drew him to teach with Being Adept, where he feels comfortable in front of students in the classroom. He is currently looking to transfer out of Santa Clara and finish his bachelors in psychology elsewhere.



Franny Wong
Franny grew up in the east bay and attended College Park High School before going to UCSB to study Biology and Psychology. While at UCSB, she discovered her passion in health and nutrition through working at the food bank as a nutrition educator, being a competitive collegiate triathlete and promoting student health as a peer health educator. She then moved to England and received her Master’s in Human Nutrition from the University of Sheffield. During her free time, Franny likes to travel, climb and hanging out with her dog, Tulip!