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MEET THE MINDS

Dr. Bruce Damer

Co-Founder & President
Bruce Damer, PhD, is Canadian-American multidisciplinary scientist, designer, and author. Working as an Astrobiologist, Dr. Damer collaborates with colleagues developing and testing a new scenario for the origin of life on Earth and where it might arise in the universe. As a designer he has provided innovative spacecraft architectures to NASA and others which could provide a viable path for the expansion of life and civilization beyond the Earth. Dr. Damer has recently gone on public record that he has used a combination of mindfulness practices and psychedelics to achieve some of his key scientific and technical breakthroughs. His passion in co-founding MINDS is that many others with special capacities in these realms should have access to mentorship, scientifically validated protocols, and pathways to transform their own novel discoveries into solutions to bring about a brilliant future for Humanity.
 
Together with his role at MINDS, he serves as Chief Scientist at the BIOTA Institute and Research Associate at the UC Santa Cruz Department of Biomolecular Engineering. He is an author of a number of seminal academic articles and a frequent speaker on topics in science, space, and the philosophical and spiritual implications of the discovery of our deepest origins.

Ford Smith

Co-Founder & Secretary

Ford Smith is an investor and serial entrepreneur born in Midland and based in Austin. He spent his early investor years in LA focused on the emerging psychedelic and cannabis markets. One of Ford’s earliest entrepreneurial efforts was as an early investor and partner to Eaze, now the U.S.’s largest cannabis delivery platform and Harborside, California’s largest vertical cannabis company.

Ford was inspired by his personal mental health journey to invest in and accelerate businesses that facilitate healing for the individual. He’s found that when the individual addresses the underlying causes of mental health disorders, something that can be achieved through psychedelic therapy, fitness, meditation and removing toxins from your diet and environment, they become better stewards of themselves, their neighbors, and their planet.

Sylvia Rzepniewski

Co-Founder & Treasurer

Sylvia Rzepniewski is an experienced non profit chair, event producer and relationship manager supporting special projects across the Ultranative portfolio companies. Sylvia advocates for local and state legislative reform to mitigate the housing affordability crisis and legalize research and access for breakthrough mental health therapies. Prior to joining Ultranative, Sylvia managed and grew $2.2B in existing business at S&P Global (Market Intelligence) earning her 1x President’s Circle for revenue growth and retention (2020) and 3x Bronze ACE award for her initiatives within the company aimed at utilizing company time and expertise to create a positive impact in the community (2016-2019).

Sylvia has produced fundraising, community engagement and public education events for Texans for Reasonable Solutions, MAPS, Chicago HOPES for Kids and REVIVE Collective.

Sylvia is on the Advocacy Board for Habitat for Humanity Greater Austin and holds a BA in Organizational Sciences from The George Washington University.

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