HumanKind Fair Trade is a nonprofit retail store located in downtown San Luis Obispo, CA.
As a non-profit retail store, HumanKind has a unique business model. Our mission is to provide vital fair income to artisans in the developing world by selling their Fair Trade products and telling their stories here in San Luis Obispo.
A volunteer Board of Directors provides guidance for the store, overseeing various aspects of the store including finance, personnel, marketing, and volunteer coordination, etc. The Board has gone through many changes since it first formed in 2007, and continues to evolve.
The paid staff consists of a full-time manager, assistant manager, and part-time sales associate who work together to keep our shop growing and evolving.
Volunteers assist with the daily shop operations. We depend on dedicated, knowledgeable volunteers to educate the store’s patrons about the importance of fair trade and the work of HumanKind. Their dedication and passion for spreading the message of fair trade is the lifeblood of the store.
Interested in volunteering? Email LynAnne at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the store for an application.
LynAnne grew up in Kingsburg, a small town in Central California playing with fair trade toys. She ventured to the Midwest for college, studying graphic design at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, graduating in 2009. While in college, LynAnne took advantage of the school’s month-long study tours, traveling to Western Europe in 2007 and Southern India in 2008. Her education and travels ignited a love of cultures and an interest in how people live around the world. She she spent a year working with fair trade artisan groups in Cambodia as a Market and Product Design Advisor. There, LynAnne worked alongside artisans to develop products that would appeal to Western consumers. LynAnne left with a desire to give the people around the world a way to support themselves and their families. Following her year in Cambodia, LynAnne worked as Assistant Manager of Plowsharing Crafts in St. Louis, Missouri, a large Fair Trade store that began in 1985. She joined the HumanKind team in June 2013. In her spare time, LynAnne loves traveling, eating sushi, and working creative projects of all kinds.
Tim Kelly grew up on a ranch in Los Osos Valley, working in the orchards and vegetable gardens, raising goats for milk, and keeping bees. Tim developed a great respect and connection to the environment at an early age. He eventually worked for a small local landscape company building edible and sustainable landscapes. Tim then worked as the grower and nursery manager of San Luis Creek Nursery, a native and drought tolerant plant nursery. Before joining the HumanKind team, he spent nearly 10 years working with Green Goods, a local environmentally friendly design-build firm. There, Tim worked as a designer/sales person and the project manager. He currently lives in Nipomo with his wife, Alissa, and their furry family of two cats, two dogs and two tortoises. On his days off, Tim enjoys working in the garden or on the house, hiking local trails, seeing live music, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.
Laura Mullen is a “Heinz57″ Southerner who was happy as a clam in Texas until she was dispatched to California on a 6-week temporary assignment with Shell Oil Company. Her first day in San Luis Obispo, she had a meeting with one Pat Mullen, and the next thing you know, she finagled a transfer to the Golden State. Laura and Pat have been happily ensconced in SLO since 1993 and have 3 involved “young adults” age 16, 18 and 20. Laura is a self-proclaimed “professional volunteer” now, active at the First Presbyterian Church and SLO High School, and with AFS student exchange and the German School Committee exchange program with Rotary de Tolosa. Her family enjoys hosting exchange students and has hosted students from Germany, Denmark, Kyrghyzstan, and Japan. Laura’s Thursdays are spent, though, at HumanKind, where she has volunteered since the store opened in 2009.
Elizabeth Aebischer started dreaming about a fair trade store in San Luis Obispo in 2006 after her first child was born. The idea stemmed from her volunteer work organizing an annual alternative holiday gift market at her church, the First Presbyterian Church in San Luis Obispo, CA. The gifts at those markets meant livable wages, empowerment, improved communities, and care for our planet. With a group of dedicated people, she formed HumanKind Fair Trade as a nonprofit and raised funds to make that dream a reality. Her dream came true in 2009, when the store first opened. As a mother and a teacher, Elizabeth believes in a bright future for families all around the world. She loves how Fair Trade empowers artisans and farmers, many of whom are women, to become leaders and improve their communities with their earnings.
Sharon Juhnke's background in anthropology, archaeology, education and museum work drew her to the HumanKind store. She was fascinated by the stories of the people behind objects, and what she found that and more at HumanKind. She enjoys the opportunity to give back, educate herself and others about fair trade, and increase global awareness. As SLO County residents since 1986, Sharon and her husband raised their sons here, and have worked and volunteered in the community in a wide range of fields, from archaeology to giving behind-the-scenes guides at the Performing Arts Center to being volunteer coordinator at the high school. She says that HumanKind has been her most fulfilling volunteer job to date. When not doing something HumanKind-related, Sharon enjoys hiking, reading, jewelry-making, traveling, and cooking.
Joan Parker is passionate about her profession, giving to others and traveling. She spends the majority of her time as owner of Empowering Financial Solutions, Inc., a fee-only firm established in 2007 that offers personalized financial planning and investment management services to individuals. As a graduate of UC Berkeley, Joan spends time serving as the chairperson of the local scholarship committee, hosting the annual summer picnic and attending football games when time allows. She also serves on the Board of The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County and Women’s Legacy Fund advisory committee, a fund held at the Foundation. Her travels to Tanzania, climbing Kilimanjaro – and to South Africa to watch the World Cup in 2010 – sparked a desire in her to help those less fortunate. She is married to Larry Parker, an engineer at Diablo Canyon, and has two sons.
Jackie Parker moved to SLO in 1982 and worked for Caltrans for 30 years with a career in Human Resources and Administration. She and her husband Ben have two sons and over the years added to their brood by hosting several exchange students. Jackie’s own large family hailed from Oklahoma, but since 7th grade she loyally adopted California. Since retiring in 2009, Jackie actively volunteers with the First Presbyterian Church (deacons and homeless services), AFS (support for exchange students and host families), and is a member of the German School Committee Board. She and Ben particularly enjoy travel through home exchanges. Jackie enjoys biking, sewing, knitting, crafts, entertaining and friends.
Debby Nicklas is currently Vice President of Philanthropy for the French Hospital Medical Center Foundation. She led the effort to establish the hospital foundation in 2004 when Dignity Health acquired French Hospital. Under her leadership, the Foundation was named “Foundation of the Year” by Dignity Health in 2016. Debby has held numerous senior-level management positions in health care marketing, business development, public relations, and fundraising, and was a part-time lecturer at California Polytechnic State University. Debby has served as board chairwoman for the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, which named her Citizen of the Year in 2002. She received the Woman of Distinction Award from Cuesta College in 2006. Today, she is a member of Rotary Club de Tolosa San Luis Obispo, president-elect of the local chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals and a board member of RISE. She is deeply honored and very excited to join HumanKind. Debby lives in San Luis Obispo with her husband, Steve, and has two grown sons.
Whitney Szentesi joined the HumanKind board of directors in 2016, but she has a long history of volunteerism and has served on several nonprofit boards in San Luis Obispo County over the years. Her love of volunteering started in high school when she joined her campus’s Amnesty International Club. This organization nurtured her passion for raising awareness about human rights abuses and inequality around the globe, a passion which she brings to the HumanKind Board. Whitney works full-time as the Communications Analyst for the County of San Luis Obispo's Administrative Office and teaches part-time at Cal Poly. She moved to San Luis Obispo County from Ventura County in 2006 to attend Cal Poly and fell in love with the region. She loves to travel and see the world, but says her favorite thing about traveling is coming home to SLO County. She spends her spare time cooking up a storm with her husband, dog, and two cats.