As many of you may have noticed, we have had a changing of the guard here at Herbalists Without Borders. Gigi Stafne, long time Executive Director of HWB has stepped down from her position to focus on her thriving business and speaking engagements. Thank you Gigi for all of your years of dedication, hard work, and tireless enthusiasm for HWB.
Naturopath • Master Herbalist • Writer & Educator • Entrepreneur
Gigi Stafne, MH, ND, MI, has been a practitioner of natural and botanical medicine for 33 years with substantial clinical, health, environmental, social justice and entrepreneurial experience. She pioneered and created the first natural medicine clinic in West Central Wisconsin near Minneapolis, the Center for Healing Arts, bringing on a team of 12 skilled practitioners. She then founded an affiliated botanical medicine school which to date is one of the few in the Upper Midwest United States, Ontario, Canada and Lake Superior regions of North America that offers a professional Master of Herbalism Progam. For one decade, Gigi created and operated a United Plant Savers & Partners in Education project, the first UpS Botanical Sanctuary in Wisconsin, U.S. For her work there, she was awarded the 2007 North American Plant Conservation Award. She also launched a lake Superior regional chapter of Herbalists Without Borders, an international non-profit organization in 2006-2008. Gigi was appointed as the Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders International, and served in that capacity for the past decade, growing that non-profit from 7 projects to 73 national and international chapters. In 2017 the American Herbalists Guild awarded Stafne the "National Community Service Award" for her work and volunteerism. Gigi continues teaching at numerous national and global venues via Green Wisdom School of Natural and Botanical Medicine including that of being a national-international trauma trainer.
Prior to natural medicine, Gigi worked in the anti-violence field, from crisis intervention to public policy making. Her education began in Human Growth & Development and Family Social Science with the University of Wisconsin system. Furthermore, her education eventually lead to CAM degrees in Boulder Colorado which included a Master of Herbalism, Master of Iridology, Naturopathy & Natural Physician. Her continuing education and teaching is extensive, in women's health, environmental health, cross cultural medicine, ethnobotany, and beyond.
Gigi will continue in her role as Director and Lead Instructor of the Green Wisdom School of Natural and Botanical Medicine, as well as expanding her consulting business and founding the Fireweed Fund, a new micro-loan lending platform for socially innovating start-up small businesses and non-profits.
Meet Denise Cusack, our new Executive Director
Denise Cusack was appointed Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders in September. Prior to becoming the ED, Denise worked closely with Gigi Stafne over the past year designing and producing the new website as well as media and marketing items to support HWB efforts.
Denise has volunteered and organized within her community with many organizations over the years (and founded her own) including grassroots community non-profits, neighborhood organizations, national non-profits, community gardens, youth and nature projects, and holistic family groups. She is passionate about social and racial justice, grassroots activism, radical herbalism, access to affordable health care, accessing fresh food in food deserts, saving our medicinal plants, community supported agriculture, youth volunteerism, and healthy kids & families.
Denise has a BA from Columbia College in Arts Business Administration and has been a small business owner for over 2 decades. Denise has studied herbalism, aromatherapy, permaculture, and holistic nutrition with many wonderful and respected teachers over the past 25 years. Denise is currently owner of Wholly Rooted LLC, and is an herbalist and aromatherapist consulting with clients as well as handcrafting a line of herbal and aromatherapy products. Denise has a background in design and marketing from fortune 500 companies to home businesses and currently consults with a select group of small herbal/environmental related businesses to help them succeed and grow their brands in a competitive market via print and web design, marketing and media management and helps guide small businesses to learn and understand how to meet or exceed current GMP and labeling laws. She was Whole Foods and Herbal Health Editor for Tend Magazine for many years, and is a regular contributor to online and print magazines, writing about organic gardening, sustainable living, herbalism, aromatherapy, and whole foods. Denise loves to learn and do different things and is a writer, photographer, artist, designer, herbalist, aromatherapist, recipe developer, musician, and avid reader.
Denise spent many years living all around the US, but now she enjoys spending time with her family, growing a ridiculous amount of culinary and medicinal herbs in her many gardens, distilling her own hydrosols, and concocting away in her herbal studio just outside of Madison, Wisconsin.