Meet the Members of Our Fair Trade Company

Maureen Dunn Fetscher

Founder, Interim Managing Director, Creative & Brand Director

You’d never guess that the founder of Mata studied filmmaking in college (fun fact: she made a documentary about people who freeze-dry their pets posthumously). Maureen displayed a knack for business since her very first lemonade stand, where she mastered the upsell with $.50 twizzler straws. A fascination with the way people, cultures, and religions work kept her seeing adventure around the world, but these days she loves nothing more than an afternoon at the park with her husband and young son.

Jonit Bookheim

Director of Marketing and Sales

While “don't be afraid to try something new” would be a good slogan for her, the simplest way to describe Jonit is to say: she has goals. Whether it’s to maintain a thriving houseplant population, get to know each and every Mata Traders artisan (there are several hundred), or to master the international game of billiards, Jonit will do it. Her hobbies include travel, kittens, and social justice.

Michelle Thomas

Director of Account Service & Operations

Sit her down to people watch on a bench in Turkey, read in the grass in the countryside, or dance on Midwestern farmland, and Michelle is a happy lady (with eye-catching style). She thrives on building relationships and making others happy, especially combining the two and connecting a new customer to Mata. Check in with her in twenty years, though, and you might find her halfway across the continent in a camper van.

Christine Kwon

Finance Director

A hobby-loving dog owner (Hi, Reggie!), Christine has tried it all - embroidery, woodworking, accordion, you name it. While her practical side makes numbers a breeze, she says she has an irrational love for zippers that lead to unusable pockets and watches that don’t tell time.

Katie Gavenda

Graphic Designer and Community Manager

With a colorful style and a passion for screen printing and letterpress, Katie wasted no time jazzing up her corner of the office. Originally from the east coast, she loves sand and saltwater, but spending any amount of time outside is what really keeps her happiness levels up. Comfort is key, and she’s rarely found without her office slippers (and during those chilly Chicago winters, even a blanket).

Justine Boquiren

Design Director

The ultimate multi-tasker has multiple languages under her belt - you can talk to her in Mandarin or Tagalog if you please. Walking the line between creativity and organization is not an easy task, but for Justine it’s second nature. She’ll also go out of her way for tacos, but for reasons NO ONE KNOWS, Justine does not like peanut butter.

Natalie Cruz

Customer Service Manager

Her Netflix queue is stacked with dozens of international films, but Natalie’s internet history is full of Instagram-famous weiner dogs. This girl knows what’s up in Chicago and she’s got a passion for making higher education more accessible to undocumented students. Her favorite outfit for restaurant-hopping, commuting or travelling usually involves stripes and the color red - ooh la la!

Maria Planansky

Inventory Manager

From Arcadia to the Art Institute to awkward stand-up comedy, the span of Maria's interests is vast. While she studied extremist movements in the U.S. for many years, she now enjoys extreme(ly lovely) piano playing (Carole King songbook, anyone?!) and LOVES dogs.

Avani Modi

Production Manager

With a passion for peace, it’s understandable that Avani says she could spend hours at the ocean. She loves traveling, swimming, dancing (sometimes belly dancing!), and hopes to never stop learning. Her advice to the world? “Be yourself and speak your mind.”

Miranda Thompson

Designer

With a love for big cities like New York, Chicago, and Munich, and a chic style (though she claims looking “effortless” actually takes a bit of effort), you might be surprised to learn Miranda has a very outdoorsy side. She’s climbed the two tallest mountains in the continental U.S. but her biggest challenge now is combating sweatshop labor, preserving artisanal practices, and empowering women through fair trade!

Bill Miller

Fulfillment Associate

If there were a TV show based around Bill, it would be called The Simple Life. He has an affinity for comedy and local theater, and an appreciation for wearing clothing until it’s worn out. Bill also loves the little things in life, like having an apartment near his favorite coffee shop and record store, and that feeling when the heated waiting areas at subway stops are empty in January.

Kayla Placencio

Retail Associate

A creative brain with a cultural soul, Kayla is trying it all. Her southwestern roots have given her a zest for life and a passion for process. She’s done screen printing, woodcuts, film, embroidery, and outsider/intuitive art, and her most interesting secret goal? Starting a all-female Rolling Stones cover band.

April Serrano

Sales Manager

Every day, April brings a zest for life and an attitude of enthusiasm to the office – she’s a real mood booster. Her love of quality products with a purpose won’t come as a surprise, but the facts that she lived in South Korea for six years, or is an avid cosplayer, might be a bit unexpected!

Maya Corzo

Wholesale Administration and Retail Specialist

Cusco and Barcelona are two places that hold Maya’s heart, but Chicago has been a great spot to feed her love of dancing, the beach, painting, and exploring the city’s restaurant scene. Her unique, think-outside-the-box style and concern for community development are what keep her excited to be a part of the Mata Traders team.

Carly Gerber

Marketing Coordinator

If Carly could live anywhere in the world, it definitely would be Maui, where she's been traveling to ever since childhood. On many nights, Carly can be found watching a band perform. But, a perfect night for her is watching a movie from her big, comfy couch and snacking on Milk Duds and Sour Patch Kids. She's also a big bookworm and is always reading a balance of fiction and non-fiction.

Our team extends beyond the walls of our Chicago warehouse all the way to India and Nepal,where over 1,000 talented artisans bring our designs from concept to collection.
You can learn more about who they are on our blog.