The founding story that hatched the philosophy of OpenNest.
In 2016, on the heels of an incredible trip with Conservation International and Summit Series, a project that raised $2 million dollars to conserve nearly 1 million acres in Northern Kenya, friends Drew Himel and Tyler Wakstein sat on the beach at Manda Bay, inspired to create a company that would make the world a better place.
Their vision combined Tyler’s personal relationships and professional ease with Drew’s digital background, expertise in leadership, and tenure owning a digital marketing agency (PCR).
The two nomads kept in touch, as Drew lived in New York City and Tyler worked and played in his backyard of Powder Mountain in Eden, UT. They would reconnect during Summit at Sea 2016 which set sail from Miami, FL the day after the November ‘16 Election. The narrative and conversations happened onboard would propel the two entrepreneurs to support one of the most pivotal issues and cultural movements of this generation.
Following Summit at Sea, Tyler and Drew were invited to Standing Rock to collaborate with media partners and celebrities for the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline and for the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. They agreed to use their seasoned expertise, talent and energy to build an overall digital marketing strategy and foundation to mobilize the larger movement. Standing Rock became their first client. The birth of OpenNest.
Officially launching in January 2017, both Drew and Tyler moved to Venice, CA to build a trusted team and network of thought-leaders on the foundation of openness. The Nest welcomes new ideas with a creative approach to problem solving. The Nest is a place to converse, experiment and create. The Nest is passion rooted in purpose, redefining ROI and placing impact at the forefront of every business decision.
Optimists are welcomed. Come join us in the Nest.
Tyler is an entrepreneur, creative strategist and community builder. Prior to co-founding OpenNest in November of 2016, he was a partner at Summit Series and led strategic partnerships at The Life is Good Company. He now sits on the board of the The Life is Good Kids Foundation. In 2015, Tyler co-founded and invested in Luce Farm, an organic hemp farm in Vermont. Tyler is an outdoor enthusiast, music lover and enjoys a cold Vermont IPA.
Drew, co-founder of OpenNest, has a fresh perspective on digital optimization, placing emphasis on the value of implementing adaptive digital solutions. In 2007, he founded PCR, a digital strategy firm that focuses on improving customer relationships through research, data analysis and strategic campaign development. Drew is happiest playing basketball, reading the latest sci fi novel, or eating a meal at Erewhon.
James Andrews is an entrepreneur, public speaker and founder. He previously founded Social People and served as a VP of Ketchum PR, working with clients like Nike, Beats By Dre, Monster.com, and FedEx. Andrews formative years were spent as a senior marketing executive at Columbia Records in the mid 90’s, helping develop artists like Nas, The Fugees, Destiny’s Child and Lauryn Hill become household names.
Katie harnessed her skill for storytelling, content creation and fostering meaningful relationships, during her five-year career leading lifestyle communications at GoPro. As an OpenNest partner, Katie has a diverse skill set as an innovative media strategist and proven track record increasing brand awareness. Growing up on the island of Maui, Katie developed a deep connection to nature and the importance of protecting environmental resources and culture. On the weekends you can find Katie in the ocean, camping, at a live music
show or playing with her dog Otis.
John joins OpenNest as an account lead helping develop engagement strategies and program oversight for top accounts. Prior to joining OpenNest, he spent five years as a Digital Strategy Consultant with IBM’s digital agency, IBMiX. Most recently he was the IBM Delivery Lead for the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and Mercedes-Benz Stadium fan engagement programs and Business Development Lead for IBMs Sports and Entertainment division. He, his wife, two children and two dogs strive for nightly self-curated Alexa dance parties in the kitchen of their South Florida home. Tunes include anything from Moana to Frozen to Trolls soundtracks.
Matt is a digital content strategist, partnerships pro and marketing executive with 14+ years experience developing and managing global brands, artists, and platforms through multi-channel marketing campaigns. Matt has a passion for sport but his roots lie in music having joined MySpace Music early on before launching the Artist Partnerships & Programming team at Pandora Radio.
Prior to joining OpenNest, Ashlee spent five years in the Digital and Strategy consulting teams at Ernst & Young (EY). During her time at EY, Ashlee partnered with organizations to help achieve their goals and drive sustainable performance outcomes. Ashlee has deep experience in leading and delivering strategy and transformation projects across private, public and social sectors. Currently based in New York, she was born and bred in Melbourne, Australia. Ashlee is a foodie, runner and beach lover.
In college, Chad Massura built and sold his college delivery startup, EnvoyNow. He then went on to support marketing, business development and operations at SpotHero and Polyphonic & Co. He's now responsible for operations, people and finances at OpenNest. With hometown roots in Chicago, Chad is currently based in Los Angeles. He loves discovering new music, finding cheap, delicious food and making asados--which he learned during a 4 month trip spent volunteering on organic farms in Chile and Argentina.
Nissa is a humble seeker of vibe, a renaissance creative committed to her own joyous personal growth and that inner voice that pleads her to “Build! Create! Love!” Extending far beyond her snowy Montana roots, Nissa is a serial maker of things. A collector, tastemaker, and procurement specialist. Nissa co-founded the culture, music and style blog Witness-This, the specialty handmade jewelry brand Uzala, and has produced music videos, photoshoots, and custom music playlists for venues, grocery stores and restaurants. Nissa has worked in tech for over a decade and has helped launch 6 start-ups.