Team Members

Meet Aromahead Institute's amazing team! We are excited to welcome you to Aromahead's online community and look forward to working with you. 


Note for mobile and tablet browser users: To see a team member's story, please click on their photo.
  • Andrea Butje
    Founder, Visionary, Lead Instructor

    I experienced the extraordinary work of essential oil distillers for the first time during a trip to the south of France in 1995. I fell in love with the way the distillers dedicated themselves to plants and the process of growing, harvesting and distilling. I immediately knew I wanted to work with small-scale, organic, artisan essential oil distillers, and help them develop wider international exposure.

    Since then, I have traveled the world developing relationships with distillers in England, France, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Morocco, Italy, Corsica, Canada, Seychelle Islands, South Africa, The United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Many of them feel like close friends or extended family.

    I taught my first Aromatherapy Certification Program in 1998, and I knew I was onto something! That was the beginning of Aromahead Institute. Working with online students and visiting distillers is a wonderful journey that allows me to share my love of plants and natural healing, while also supporting the growth of the Aromatherapy profession.

    Aromahead Institute has an incredible community of students, graduates, and staff. They give me such inspiration for the future of the Aromatherapy profession, and the future of plant medicine as an important aspect of natural healing. I invite you to join us and I look forward to working with you!

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  • Cindy Black
    Co-founder, Pillar, Anatomy Instructor

    All of my life I have been on a quest to understand my place in this vast universe of mysteries, miracles, suffering and thriving. I have been supported on my path by the practices of Massage Therapy and Chinese Medicine.

    I began studying Massage Therapy in 1990. In 1994 Andrea and I co-founded the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Ithaca, NY, where I taught anatomy, physiology and sports massage. I continued my studies in alternative medicine by completing a Master’s degree in Chinese Medicine in 2007. I have continued to study Maya Abdominal Massage, Chi Nei Tsang, Qi Gong, the I Ching, and Yoga.  I am the founder of the Big Tree School of Natural Healing.

    I teach the Anatomy and Physiology course at Aromahead and participate in the online forum.  I love being a part of Aromahead Institute!

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  • Mina Napolitano
    Beloved Director of Student Services

    I’ve always been interested in self-sufficiency and holistic healing. My introduction to essential oils occurred in the late 90s, when a wonderful friend gave me a box of oils accompanied by Robert Tisserand’s book, The Art of Aromatherapy.

    I used oils in homemade skin care products and around the house, but I also wanted comprehensive and in-depth education from a reputable school. I really wanted to understand how to use these mysterious and beautiful oils more effectively. 

    When I decided to dedicate one whole summer to intensive learning at Aromahead, taking every single class Andrea was offering, I got so much more than I could possibly have expected or imagined. Events unfolded as if I were living the words straight from Pablo Coelho’s book, The Alchemist: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

    So I feel incredibly privileged to be in this position of offering services to Aromahead’s students. It’s my wish to bring the best of my own experiences with Aromahead to the online environment—warmth, compassion, excellent education, fun, laughter, the sweeping beauty of the landscape, and the purple classroom that nourished my heart.

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  • Nicole Lauber
    Magnificent Project Manager

    I’ve been lucky enough to understand the importance of using natural products my entire life. My mother was always passionate about prevention when it came to colds and illness, and my older sister has worked at an organic grocery store for the past 10 years. Between the two of them, I learned why we should nourish and heal our bodies with healthy food and natural medicine.

    When I came across Aromahead Institute and their need for a marketing director, it was very serendipitous: I wasn’t even looking for a job! I knew I wanted to work for a company that upholds the values I respect.

    I help Andrea manage and organize all the Aromahead projects—including email campaigns, webinars, the Aromahead Blog, the Component Database, the Distiller Directory, social media, graphic design, and whatever else is needed to support Aromahead’s community.

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  • Denise Johnston
    Genius Manager of Online Communications

    Aromahead is family and family means everything to me (and so does chocolate!).  

    Just like the TV series Eight is Enough, I grew up in a family of eight.  Yep, you read that right!  A large family meant learning to be resourceful. My Mom was always making homemade and repurposing before recycling was cool - nothing got thrown out!  It has taken me many years to truly appreciate my Mom’s philosophies and to live by her example but I’m on my way to living with a more natural approach.  

    Thanks to Andrea I am a budding Aromahead - an enthusiast!  I am experiencing a paradigm shift; advertisers are no longer influencing me telling me what a home needs to be clean and what makes skin pure and healthy. All the conventional chemical cleaners have been tossed in our home; we make our own green cleaning products and now we are all breathing more easily.  I cannot remember the last time I bought skin care products.  When I hear “Mom, can you make me some more face wash”, I quietly smile and think I must be doing something right. 

    I am thrilled to be part of Aromahead working with Andrea to help her manage social media communications.  I am loving interacting with people, sharing in all your wonderful experiences and the important topics that contribute to well-being and just life in general! My business experience lies in integrating applications with a great customer experience. I am excited to be expanding the reach of Aromahead Institute on social media platforms and helping with strategies to enhance your overall experience.  We work hard to share information to build long-term relationships with you.  

    I am living a dream being part of the Aromahead Team, having fun and they call this work!  How lucky is that.  I could not be doing this without the love and support of my husband and our two boys!  

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  • Shelia Murray
    Treasured Case Study Instructor

    I first met Andrea and Cindy when I enrolled in their massage school in Ithaca, New York in 2000. I had come from 15 years in the Western medicine world prior to starting my new journey into a more holistic approach to healing the body.  

    At massage school, I was first introduced to the mysterious world of plant medicine through essential oils. I remember sitting in that very first aromatherapy class and hearing Andrea say, "I very rarely get sick since I've started working with the essential oils."

    Something in that sentence resonated with my Western medical training . . . but it moved me even more by stirring a deep ancestral-knowing in my soul. From that day forward, I was hooked! I signed up for Aromahead's Aromatherapy Certification Program, and have taken EVERY class available since. I’ve also studied with Rhiannon Lewis and have completed an intensive herbal apprenticeship.

    I started teaching Aromahead's curriculum in 2007—first in massage schools, healing retreats, and workshops, and now at my own school, Essential Care Aromatics School of Essential Oils Studies (located in Wilmington, Delaware).  

    I look forward to the privilege of walking with you through your case studies at Aromahead.

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  • Ann Lohr
    Adored Case Study Instructor

    In a world that seems lifetimes ago, I went to Penn State and earned a BS in Microbiology. It met the needs of the 20 year old scientist in me. As a healthy, wholistic mom of four little ones I learned about tea tree and lavender oils. In 1994 I had just a little extra time on my hand and felt a strong  desire to go to massage therapy school where I was intrigued by a weekend of aromatherapy studies.

    For twenty years I have practiced massage therapy in both Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and also worked with Nature's Stones Inc, where we incorporated aromatherapy into the hot stone massage protocol. My dabbling in aromatherapy turned to a whole different level one day when I Googled "aromatherapy education" and found Aromahead Institute.  As I researched the site and the certification programs I knew this was the place I wanted to study. 

    I completed the Scholars Program including, ACP, AGP, teacher training, component blending and medicinal blending and experienced Andrea's incredible, generous teaching. At last, my worlds of science and healing arts collided. A few years ago I also completed a certificate in spiritual direction and so I feel qualified to claim my title as medicine woman and mystic…many lifetimes from my first job as lab tech in the neuroanatomy department!

    I have continued to enjoy Andrea's webinars, iPhone App, Facebook posts, and continued opportunities for learning and support. Aromahead provides a wealth of knowledge and I continue to share it in my Green Cleaning and Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils in-person classes. 

    I am thrilled to be part of  Aromahead's innovative online support team as a Case Studies Instructor. I have been cheering people on all my life whether it was my high school football team, my children, breastfeeding moms, massage clients, or friends.  I feel so blessed to support and encourage students from all over the country and world in their aromatherapy studies.

    Go team!

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  • Kuan Nee See
    Honored Case Study Instructor

    I have always thought my migraine were both beneficial and painful. Painful because it is what it is, and beneficial because it brought me to the sweet world of Aromatherapy! A few years after being introduced to my first bottle of good ol’ Lavender, I decided that I would like to learn more about essential oils, and just like that, I ended up with Aromahead.

    Aromahead is an eye opener to the beautiful world of essential oils, and I have learned so much more than what I first had in mind. In creating Aromahead, Andrea has made an amazing blend. She has managed to blend tremendous drops of warmth, all of her heart, and a lifetime of experiences into Aromahead. It didn’t take much for me to decide to do my teacher training with Andrea, and meeting both Cindy and Andrea will always be a major milestone in my life!

    I have since left my job in pharmaceuticals and set up www.havaroma.com, running Aromatherapy workshops and talks, and offering Aromatherapy consults here in Singapore. It is an honour for me to be able to join you in your journey into this world of Aromatherapy, and I look forward to working with you!

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  • Jennifer Rhind
    Cherished Case Study Instructor

    When I was studying Microbiology at Strathclyde University back in the 1970s, I was browsing in a health food store in Glasgow’s beautiful bohemian ‘West End’, when I came across a little display of small bottles that contained ‘essential oils’. Now, I was already familiar with attars, and had a life-long passion for fragrance, and I asked if I could smell one of them – it was geranium. I was captivated, hooked and intrigued. However, I had a degree to finish and then a PhD beckoned, so I had to focus on my career! My little bottle of geranium sat in a dark cupboard for a few years.

    I initially worked in research and development in the Food and Flavour industry, and although there were some high points, it did not fulfil me. However, I did find time to explore essential oils – a process which eventually became all-consuming! I did some courses, and left my job to work as an Aromatherapist. Passionate about Aromatherapy – where education was still in its early stages in the UK - in 1987, I developed an IFPA accredited diploma course. Eleven years later, I left my School to create the first degree level aromatherapy programme in the UK - and worked as a lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University for 14 years, before leaving to concentrate on writing and consultancy.

    To date I have written five books on essential oils with Singing Dragon publishers. I remain involved in essential oil and scent education, the natural world and wellbeing. I love animals, folklore, traditional healing practices, herbs and my garden. I live in a little town in Scotland called Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway with my husband Derek, and a Tibetan Terrier called Gertie.

    Andrea is a generous spirit and a true visionary, and has created the very best programme of study that I have come across – not only for its incredible content but also for how it is delivered, and the student support is second to none! When Andrea approached me to work with her and her team of Case Study Instructors I did not hesitate. I am so very fortunate to be part of such a wonderful community, and at last I really feel as though I have found my niche in life – connecting with all who have a love of essential oils and aromatherapy!

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  • Zandra Loggins
    Precious Case Study Instructor

    I am so amazed at the unfolding of life and its process of building on our experiences, ever nudging the arrival to that which makes our hearts shout 'Yes'! It was actually twenty years of physical pain that created within me the compassion and desire to help others and gave me the push to look for ways to do so.

    During that time, I experienced the pain/stress relieving benefits of reflexology and in 1998, began its study. It was there that I first became introduced to the wonders of aromatherapy, and in 2003, after having clumsily explored how to work with these amazing powerhouses, I began my first Aromatherapy study. Soon after I began teaching reflexology and discovered that I love teaching. I also love learning and besides furthering my reflexology knowledge by becoming nationally certified, I explored other healing modalities such as Reiki, Eden Energy Medicine and The Emotion Code. But I still ached to know more about aromatherapy.

    In 2013, I had the life-changing experience of finding Aromahead Institute where I found classes that were running over with not only the essentials of essential oils, but also with Andrea's kindness and joy! Her gracious way of sharing knowledge is a gift that has blessed the world and touched the hearts of many. I have completed Aromahead's ACP, AGP and Teacher Training Program, and now being able to serve other earnest learners as an Aromahead Institute case study instructor, makes my heart sing 'Yes'!

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  • Beth Hornak
    Divine Forum Director

    I am thrilled to be part of the Aromahead team, and I cannot think of a more fun, more aromatically enlightened team to work with.

    In 2002 my youngest daughter, Sara, was diagnosed with hypersensitive skin. I was told to keep her skin hydrated with a well known moisturizer that contained petrolatum and mineral oil. At that point, I knew little of natural skin care, but I knew enough to decide that those were two ingredients I did not want to use on a two-year-old child. Soon after, I bought beeswax, shea butter, and mango butter.

    As Sara's skin stayed healthy, I wanted to learn more. I decided to start my own company, Bella Avani, meaning “beautiful earth” in Italian and Sanskrit, to focus on botanical skin care using essential oils and herbs. 

    I found Andrea in 2010, and took several of her classes. I was so impressed with how she was able to translate her warm, engaging teaching style to the digital world. In concert with that coursework, I took the Art and Science of Herbalism with Rosemary Gladstar. I also had the opportunity to take a class with Rhiannon Lewis. 

    In addition to my position managing Aromahead's online Forum, I run my business, provide consultations, have two super-amazing daughters—Emma (14) and Sara (12)—and have a husband, Joe, who is an awesome cheerleader. I’m also a competitive triathlete, and love to swim, bike, and run. 

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  • Michelle Gilbert
    Awesome Forum Instructor

    My passion for aromatherapy began in the late 1990s. I was working at a stressful job in health care, longing for a life with greater balance, wholeness, sustainability, and self-sufficiency. On a whim, I purchased an aromatherapy blend to help me stay calm. Aromatherapy proved to be a balm for my soul and, little did I know at the time, a catalyst for positive change.

    I began making my own skin care and household products using essential oils, and was soon hooked on creating natural soap. As job stress led to health challenges, aromatherapy became my greatest ally. I wanted to know more...why essential oils helped, how to use them safely, and how to share this knowledge. 

    Although I completed other aromatherapy programs, it wasn't until I discovered Andrea and Aromahead in 2012 that things really clicked. The combination of personal attention, clear and comprehensive information, and ample hands-on projects gave me the confidence and skills I needed. My Aromahead experience lit a fire in me, and I went on to take nearly every class. Andrea's warmth, humor, caring, and expertise continue to inspire me and inform the way I bring aromatherapy into the world. 

    It's a joy to be part of the Aromahead team, and I absolutely adore my work answering student questions on the forum. I am honored to support you on your aromatic journey.

    I still make aromatherapy soap, and I have owned a soap company for 10 years. I teach aromatherapy workshops and classes, and I provide aromatherapy consultations along with meditation instruction and subtle energy practices to help others find the healing I craved all those years ago. Life is good! 

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  • Leslie Hendrick
    Content Editor Extraordinaire

    Working with Aromahead allows me to combine two of my favorite things: essential oils and writing!

    I started writing and editing professionally in 2010, and started working with Andrea online in 2012. It was almost a year before we met in person, and it was like magic. It felt like coming home to an old friend. I help her create and edit content for Aromahead’s blog, emails, classes, and more.

    The Aromahead team is one of the most creative, loving, and fun teams I’ve ever been privileged to be part of. I’m always amazed by the levels of productivity, the high quality of work, the breadth of the Institute, and by the very real personal presence that Andrea and Cindy bring to the whole thing. They are such an inspiration—and true friends!

    Andrea has taught me so much more than aromatherapy—just working with her and being exposed to her kindness, grace and confidence has taught me so much about running a business, communicating with people, and building a presence for myself online and in the world.

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  • Chelsea Fallon
    Superb Graphic Designer

    I've always been a believer in the power of nature, as well as holistic, natural, and organic methods of growing and healing. I am an animal lover, passionate traveler, environmentalist, and artist. It's always been my dream to incorporate graphic design with a topic I love, and to assist a cause I believe in.

    Essential oils entered my life very recently, when I was at a local market and purchased a roll-on for headaches, attempting to avoid medication. I could not believe how quickly my pain was gone. Shortly after this discovery, I came across Aromahead seeking a designer. I could not have asked to work with a more positive, kind, knowledgeable, professional group of people and I'm incredibly honored to represent Aromahead in their visual appearance in a way that can help others health, lives, and careers. 

    I am excited about my work with Aromahead and all the ways I can make things pretty.

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  • Keith Morgan
    Distinguished Webmaster

    I'll admit it . . . I like 1's and 0's! I love turning logic and data into websites that look and work great.

    For over seven years, I have been part of the Aromahead website team, and I watched the site get better with each passing week. I like to think that I’ve gotten a little better along the way, too! We’ve added two children to our family and have learned lots of amazing ways to integrate aromatherapy into our daily lives.

    I’m well versed in too many programming languages to count and can confuse you with any number of tech acronyms; however, I’m most proud of the fact that I can explain those same concepts in language that anyone can understand. We spend a lot of time at Aromahead discussing complex ideas in simple terms, so we don't forget that what really matters is how the site works for you when you use it daily.

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  • Dereck Curry
    Technology Wizard

    I’ve been an information technology and engineering professional for the past 20 years. Although I specialize in operations within remote teams and virtual organizations, I will always have a place in my heart for computer programming, and I will only take on coding projects for organizations that offer remarkable and beneficial services to their clients.

    Therefore, I'm excited to work with Aromahead Institute as a software developer, working to constantly improve the already impressive online education experience they offer their students.

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