Get to know the MZ team members!
From staff to artisans, each individual has a unique experience and worldview that influences our business and mission as social entrepreneurs.
Shelley Tennyson | CEO + Founder
Shelley comes to MZ 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. MZ is her way of giving something back to them.
Liz Moffet | Executive Director + Head of Operations
Liz became a part of MZ through her love of all things handmade. An avid spinner, collector and dyer of yarn she finds the Zapotec people and their artisan traditions a dream come true. Her experience in e-commerce and management are skills she happily utilizes in order to be involved in keeping the artistry and heritage of the Zapotec weavers alive and thriving. Her belief in the fair trade movement and the beauty and satisfaction of items handmade are the very mission of MZ. She finds her role as Executive Director and Head of Operations at MZ the perfect fit for her skills and ideals.
Gisela Sejpal | Director of Sales
Gisela was immediately drawn to the artistry behind MZ and was thrilled to join the woman-run team. . 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 MZ.
Hannah Aronowitz | Creative + Marketing Director
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 MZ a perfect fit. She brings to the table her experience in journalism, marketing and sales to take on the role as Creative + 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.
Paco Santiago | Operations Manager
Paco was born in Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico, and hails from Zapotec ansestry. 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, taught Paco how to dye the wool, and now Paco passes on that knowledge to his own children. For MZ, he is the partner in Teotitlan who coordinates and ships all inventory orders to the US.
Ana Cris Medina | Design + Production Manager
Ana Cris is an industrial designer from Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. After completing her degree, she wanted to explore the more intimate process of designing for handmade techniques. She first came to Oaxaca to take a certification course in Industrial Design at Oaxaca’s renowned Centro de las Artes San Augustín. Drawn by the rich artisanal tradition, she decided to stay, and has explored every aspect of crafting objects from local materials. She feels that working with MZ is a great opportunity to get to know Oaxaca through its artisans, their traditions, and the materials they work with. Above all, she is motivated by the principles of fair trade, which support the makers and respect the traditional designs.
Jenna Vierck | Marketing Intern
Jenna stumbled upon MZ and was immediately impressed by the beautiful artistry, ethical practices, and the genuine relationship with the artisans. She grew up in Chicago but moved west as soon as she could to be closer to nature. In school she studied Environmental Science. Her biggest passion is traveling; with a love of exploring new cultures, meeting new people, and a fondness for putting herself in uncomfortable situations. She hopes to blend her passion for travel and sustainability with a love for writing to help share the stories of MZ.