Meet the hospitality veterans, real estate development professionals and award-winning conservationists behind Playa Viva.

"As I looked through your site I felt that by participating in this community I would make a world contribution, a small world contribution and a personal contribution and have fun doing it."
Ruth Holman
Visited Feb. 2008

The Playa Viva project is headed by husband and wife team David Leventhal and Sandra Kahn, developers of Casa Viva Troncones, a popular B&B located 30 minutes north of Zihautanejo/Ixtapa. David and Sandra founded Rainforest2Reef, a US-based NGO partnering with Amigos de Calakmul in Mexico to preserve 350,000 acres of jaguar habitat in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Due to its success in acheiving it's goal of getting Amigos de Calakmul's trust funded, Rainforest2Reef was subsequently folded into EcoLogic Development Fund in 2011.
David Leventhal
David is currently Principal of Playa Viva LLC; prior to Playa Viva, David was co-founder of Dexterra, Inc. a successful venture-funded mobile enterprise software company. His extensive sales and marketing background with companies such as Buzzsaw.com, Autodesk, Home Box Office, and Whittle Communication provides a solid foundation to better understand the needs of Playa Viva customers. As co-founder of Rainforest2Reef, David established the organizational infrastructure and much of its innovative use of technology to acquire and manage its members.

Denise Ryan
Denise Ryan serves as our LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) Marketing Expert. Founder of Santa Cruz, California-based Blue Marble Marketing, Denise is widely recognised for her ability to successfully launch new ventures. Denise's expertise in marketing to the conscious-consumer allows her to quickly match the Playa Viva vision to urgent market needs and deliver effective market strategies.

Leigh Ellen Sontheimer
Leigh Ellen is currently Playa Viva's Director for Group Sales. She's also a yogini and a traveler, who shares Playa Viva's vision of regenerating human and natural communities in one integrated, mutually-nurturing and productive effort. She feels especially strongly about the power of travel to illuminate our interconnectedness. Earlier in her career, she managed a range of projects, partnerships and corporate events for the World Bank and International Youth Foundation. She’s excited and proud to be part of the Playa Viva team, and to create the ideal experience here for your group.

Sandra Kahn
Sandra was born and raised in Mexico City and graduated with honors from the Autonomous University of Mexico. She received her Masters Degree from the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She runs two orthodontic practices in the Bay Area and is mother to two young children. Today, Sandra is involved in the Rainforest2Reef partner, Women Planting Trees. Sandra's main interest is in community development in Mexico especially organic agriculture and reforestation work with women and children.

Dr. Gerardo Ceballos
Dr. Gerardo Ceballos is a biology professor with the National University of Mexico. Dr. Ceballos is responsible for overseeing the development and management of Playa Viva's private reserve and conservation efforts for the land's flora and fauna. He was recently awarded the prestigious Whitley Award for his excellence in the field of conservation.

Ayrie Cunliffe
Ayrie is an architect and engineer, with extensive design experience spanning a 30-year career. Ayrie specializes in integrated, organic design, incorporating natural materials and site context. Ayrie is the master designer for Playa Viva, leading the Regenerative Architecture team.

Michel Lewis
Michel Lewis is an architect based in Tepoztlan, Mexico, specializing in ecological design and building. For over 20 years, his firm has constructed hotels, schools, restaurants and private residences throughout Mexico, including David Leventhal and Sandra Kahn's Casa Viva Troncones.

Michael Ogden
Michael Ogden is the founding director and principal engineer for NSI, a firm that provides comprehensive engineering services in the area of low cost, energy efficient natural systems, using the natural ecologies of ponds, marshes, prairies, grasslands, woodlands and forests. Under Michael's direction, NSI has worked internationally on more than 500 projects and specializes in the implementation of natural treatment system designs using native plant species. Michael is co-author of the book "Constructed Wetlands in the Sustainable Landscape".

Bill Reed
Bill Reed, our advisor, is an internationally-recognized figure in the sustainable architecture movement. Bill is president of the Integrative Design Collaborative - a consulting organization working to integrate green building design practice with living systems. He is also a principal of Regenesis, a regenerative planning firm and an associate of the strategic environmental planning firm Natural Logic. His work centers on managing and creating the framework for the integrative, whole-systems design process; emphasizing building evolutionary capability in design, construction, and engagement with our environment.

Tim Murphy
Tim Murphy is a founding member of Regenesis, with over two decades of experience in whole-system site assessment and environmental planning. A pioneer in permaculture education and design, Tim specializes in integrated, regenerative design for largescale projects. Tim oversees Playa Viva's permaculture regeneration efforts.

Odin Ruz
Odin is an innovative permacultura designer with diverse
experience from teaching conservation to indigenous farmers in the
Sierra Madre Mountains to designing a composting system for all of
Mexico City. At Playa Viva he is working to regenerate the Nature
Preserve. Raised at Huehuecoyotl, Mexico's oldest ecovillage, he has deep roots in the country's environmental movement.


Regenerative Practices
Odin standing under a mango tree full of fruit.

Ecology in Harmony
Volunteers assist with waste management.

2015 Mexico Peace Index

Reposted from Borderland Beat from content developed and distributed by Vision of Humanity’s Mexico Peace Index.  Playa Viva is located in the State of Guerrero which is rated as the ... Read this full entry
Playa Viva, un hotel de exito sustentable
July, 2013 - Las Paginas Verdes / Noticias Verdes - Playa Viva, un hotel de éxito sustentablePlaya Viva, un hotel de éxito sustentable... Read this full entry
Playa Viva Press Kit: Click here to download PDF.
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