AHG Staff and Volunteers


Mimi Hernandez, RH (AHG)
AHG Executive Director

Mimi Hernandez comes from a background as an herbalist and an ethnobotanist. She has a Master of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from Tai Sophia Institute and a Certificate in Non Profit Management from Duke University. Mimi believes strongly that keeping plant wisdom alive is essential and has dedicated her life's work to serving as an advocate for both traditional and professional herbal pathways while building cultural bridges of understanding. 

Heather Lee Compton
AHG Assistant Director

Heather Lee Compton was born in Chicago, but has deep roots in Western North Carolina where she has resided most of her life. A love of plants and the natural world was instilled in her by her parents from an early age. She graduated from Brevard College in 2002 with a BA in Fine Art. She enrolled in 2008 at the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism in Asheville, NC, finishing both the Fundamentals in Herbalism program and Traditional Herbalism certification program. Heather has published a book on Herbal Body Care with Sterling Press. She brings almost two decades of management experience in both the for profit and non-profit sectors to the American Herbalist Guild. In her free time Heather runs long distances competitively; makes art; gardens; dances; volunteers and does social justice work; and plays with her animals: pibble Lilith, cats Luna and Autumn, and snake Lazarus.

Sara Vesta
Office Manager

Sara Vesta is a Life-Cycle Celebrant and ordained interfaith minister based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Through her ceremony writing and consulting business, Vestal Ceremonies, Sara co-creates meaningful rites of passage and personal rituals that honor the richly complex spiritual and cultural identities of her clients. Sara has a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons University.

Sarah Houdek
Special Projects Manager

Sarah has found joy and wonder in the natural world since childhood.  She completed her BA in Philosophy from University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2006, writing her senior thesis on environmental care-based ethics and expanding moral communities to include non-human forms of life.  She brings years of professional and non-profit experience.  Some of her interests beyond herbalism are: social justice work, cooking plant-based foods, gardening, watching birds, studying astrology and world religions, writing, and reading novels.  She enjoys living in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband and masked tuxedo cat, Mogget.

Patricia Kyritsi Howell
Admissions Coordinator and Co-Chair, Symposium Committee

Patricia Kyritsi Howell, an AHG Registered Herbalist since 1997, recently accepted a staff position as Admissions Coordinator. In this role she acts as liaison between Registered Herbalist applicants, the members of the Admissions Committee, AHG staff and the Education Committee, to facilitate communication and provide support to members pursuing RH membership. As a volunteer for the American Herbalists Guild, she is currently serving her eighth year as co-chair of the Symposium Committee and formerly served two terms on the Governing Council. Patricia is a practicing herbalist, the author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians, director of the BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies and co-owner of Wild Crete Travel. As Herbalist in Residence at the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center she coordinates programs that emphasize the rich traditions of Appalachian herbalism. Though her roots are in the Great Lakes region, she has made her home in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of northeast Georgia for the past 26 years.

Nicolina Ruiz
Events Manager and Social Networking Coordinator

Nicolina is a Panamanian-American herbalist, yoga teacher, and healing arts practitioner. She has been involved in the wellness field professionally for over 13 years and also holds a background in graphic & web design creating visual branding designs for folks in the wellness space.

Nicolina is a graduate of the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine in Asheville, NC. She is currently working on projects to make holistic wellness & herbal medicine accessible and culturally relevant to BIPOC folks in the Asheville community as well as launching her own herbal medicine line.

Michele Marlow
Webinar Assistant

Michele is a clinical herbalist based in Oklahoma and also has two bachelor’s degrees in public health, and in Complementary and Alternative Health.  In addition to being the AHG’s webinar coordinator, Michele works for various other herbal schools, helping them with technical support, creating classroom content, and building/managing their online classrooms.  Michele also teaches herbalism classes and volunteers for various special needs support groups and charities in her community.  Her favorite hobbies include collecting herb books for her bookshelves, collecting bookshelves for her herb books, collecting mason jars for her herbs, and collecting plants for her garden.  She can be reached at webinars@americanherbalistsguild.com.

Shabina Lafleur-Gangji
JAHG Editor

Shabina is a mixed Indian, Persian and French herbalist who has been involved in healing justice work and movements for liberation for the last decade. She works to support people in reclaiming their traditional knowledge through their connection with ancestral plants and has used herbal medicine as a way to fundraise for BIPOC-led movements for freedom.

She is a graduate of the Living Earth School of Herbalism and the School of Ayurveda and Panchakarma in Kerala. She has studied alongside herbalists such as Dr. Nadine Ijaz, Janette Cormier and Scott Reid. She is currently in her final year at Humber College’s Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner Program. Shabina hopes to continue the important work of accurately applying energetic qualities to invasive herbs growing on Turtle Island, reclaiming traditional Ayurvedic acupuncture and, of course, fighting for total liberation.

Davie Roberts
Office Assistant

Davie Roberts was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. He realized at a young age that he had a connection with nature and the healing that is intrinsic to it. As a mixologist for most of his life he has learned many beneficial pairings of spirits and herbs that entice and awaken the body. Davie has been mixing drinks and serving vegan comfort food at Rosetta's Kitchen since 2010 and loves keeping the people in his community with full bellies and healthy minds. David lives in West Asheville with his husband Brandon, dogs Allister and Olive, and feline friend Herman.

Peachtree Boucaud
JAHG Assistant Editor

Andrea Boucaud, known to many as "PEACHTREE," is an advocate for and supporter within the grassroots organizing and community development spaces. She is also a well-known cannabis advocate in Toronto. She is the creator of "Cloud and Roots with the Ganja Diplomats," a podcast created to inspire and share the stories of the Black communities' success and challenges within the legalization space in Canada and the diaspora.  She has worked within the community development and arts spaces for over 15 years in many roles, including small business creation, advocacy, and social justice, all-while maintaining her passion for fashion.  Peachtree advocates for all things "GREEN," focusing on urban agriculture, community gardens, farmers markets, and all ways food intersects with equity and representation.

She is a mother, daughter, social justice advocate, an ancient soul, and an African woman in the diaspora, re-learning how to grow good food every day.

Peachtree works to support many organizing spaces both locally and internationally. These include The Black Creek Food Justice Network, Black Creek Community Farm, Toronto Food Policy Council, Flemingdon Community Health Centre, and Frontline Books (Chicago, Trinidad). She is the current secretary and acting Omega stool of the Agriculture Committee for The Association of Rastafari Creatives.

Peachtree is a grower of all things with a seed and a creator of plant-based herbal wellness medicines.

Heather Wood Buzzard, MA
Content Editor and Symposium Academic Assistant

Heather Wood Buzzard, MA, is a writer, wildcrafter, and herbalist. Heather completed her three-year clinical herbalist training at the Appalachian Center for Natural Health with renowned fifth-generation herbalist Phyllis Light while concurrently earning her MA in Writing and Narrative Medicine from Lenoir-Rhyne University. As a health writer and consultant, Heather produces content for herbal entities and has been a regular staff contributor to publications including Paleo Magazine, Aromaculture, HerbMentor, and Herbaria. She is currently at work on a book of vignettes about wildcrafting medicinal plants as well as a guidebook for natural health practitioners titled Narrative Herbal Medicine. Her focus within the rising fields of integrative medicine and creative writing spotlights the efficacy of narrative healthcare, traditional herbalism, and expressive therapy.