A covenant is a sacred word used to describe the bond between members of a similar faith or organization who share the same beliefs & principles and are dedicated to a common purpose, mission and vision. At the foundation we believe the work that we do together is in service to Mother Nature and to you through the power of plants.
Drake’s path has been paved with social activism, visionary thinking, and the desire to empower others. Growing up with two entrepreneurial parents during the 1950s, they instilled in him a progressive world view and a fearless independence. When the Sadlers moved to rural western Sonoma County in 1954, he experienced an enviable peace and freedom that would later feed his interest in the back-to-the-land movement of the late 1960s.
While attending college, Drake became a passionate voice against the Vietnam War. Respected civil rights leader and community activist Eddie Mae Sloan quickly identified his potential and drafted him out of the anti-war movement into the war on poverty, teaching him how to harness change for social good. Under her demanding mentorship, Drake helped set up Head Start schools, Family Planning Centers, community health clinics, food cooperatives, youth programs, and economic development projects to empower low income families.
During this same time, Drake met folk herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, who introduced him to the power of plants and their traditional uses and together they co-founded Traditional Medicinals (TM) in 1974. Dedicated to revitalizing herbalism in North America, these natural health pioneers were also early advocates of social business practices, designed to empower the many impoverished herbal collectors and farmers in their sourcing communities. In so doing, they set the groundwork for what would become the guiding principles for TM and decades later the purpose of Traditional Medicinals Foundation (TMF).
As TMF’s Co-Founder and as TM’s Chief Visionary Officer, Drake works on supplier community resilience through water and food security, women’s empowerment, healthcare, and education. Focused on social business collaboration with partners around the world, he remains a passionate and determined advocate for right livelihood and social equality. He is especially grateful to share in this meaningful foundation work with his wife Nioma and a dedicated team of like minded spirits.
Nioma’s keen intuition and capacity for compassion has lent her strength throughout all chapters of her life. As a lifeschooled student, Nioma spent her youth exploring books, which inspired her to ask questions about the world and think critically about its injustices. She found the social marginalization, discrimination and crimes against women to be most concerning, and during her youth, she had recurring dreams about working with tribal people in rural India. Little did she know the destiny ahead, working in indigenous communities.
When Nioma met Drake, their two passions joined, and they both knew they wanted to work together to create social change. Volunteering on behalf of Sonoma County’s Sloan House, (an emergency women’s shelter) and as a board member and organizer for the LUNAFEST (films by, for and about women), she cultivated her passion for social work and advocacy. She is also the tireless founder of WomenServe, an organization dedicated entirely to telling women’s stories of empowerment.
After many years traveling to Traditional Medicinal’s (TM’s) sourcing communities, the company acknowledged her efforts and achievements on behalf of women by naming her TM’s Goodwill Ambassador. This role demands three to four months of travel per year—particularly to India—where she bridges the mission of the company with that of the foundation. Nioma bases her community development philosophy on the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and takes her life mantra, “Love and Serve,” from India’s spiritual leader, Amma.
Director of Strategy & Partnerships
Emily was drawn to community development work early in her academic career—a vocation that gained real traction while she studied at Ithaca College and worked at an NGO focused on music therapy in East African refugee camps. Later, at The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, she received her master’s degree in International Development, with a focus on monitoring and evaluation. Two guiding principles learned during her studies have shaped her approach to development work: 1) development professionals cannot empower; they can only remove the barriers to empowerment, and 2) lasting change isn’t built solely on implementing preconceived best practices but on community-led development through collaborative engagement with beneficiaries. Emily has taken this philosophy with her to development programs in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Austria and South Africa.
After working for such passionate NGOs as Root Change, UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, and the Vienna Center for Disarmament & Nonproliferation, she joined Traditional Medicinals Foundation in 2013, first as a consultant and now as Director of Strategy & Partnerships. To date, Emily has focused extensively on implementing and overseeing the Revive! Project®. In addition to monitoring and evaluation, Emily’s work centers on the foundation’s larger objectives, working alongside Traditional Medicinals to develop a community engagement strategy focused on risk mitigation and ensuring a sustainable and equitable supply. She lives between Washington, D.C. and Oakland, CA.
Growing up with a passion for language, Amelia delighted in being able to communicate with people—first in English and French, then Spanish, and later Portuguese. With fewer communication barriers than most people, the world felt wide open, connecting her to people and ideas she might not otherwise have known. Most importantly, she realized, her language skills made her a keen listener—a power that also helped her connect with young people in various mentorship capacities. After earning her degree in International Studies and Global Security from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she sought to leverage that power to help others. Amelia comes to us with a myriad of community and international development experiences, most notably her work with refugees and children for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Washington, D.C.
Amelia’s interest in progressive business models drew her to Traditional Medicinals Foundation, where she realized the great potential of integrating business with social development work. As a member of the foundation team since 2016, she has found our business practices to be an effective tool for social change. As TMF’s Program Manager, Amelia’s work centers on program research, project implementation, and management of the foundation’s interventions and herbal education initiatives. In addition, she oversees the communications strategy for the foundation’s website and social media platforms. Amelia lives in Oakland, CA.