Desa Van Laarhoven
Executive Director & Co-Founder
After years of helping to create RTB on a part-time level, Desa followed her bliss and joined RTB full-time on January 1, 2015. Prior to that, she served as the executive director of the Marion Institute, a local non-profit organization, for eight years. Desa’s work at the Marion Institute involved overseeing approximately 20 projects and programs worldwide, all root-cause solutions based, with a focus on sustainability and social justice. It was an incredible experience and she gleaned so many skills, ideas and loved ones along the way.
Desa went to Stonehill College, where she received a BS in Biology, with a minor in Environmental Studies. After college and before her work at the Marion Institute, Desa spent time volunteering for the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC*), where she was awarded The Total Commitment award from the southeast campus, and the California Conservation Corps, where she lived and worked deep in the forest for many months! Desa firmly believes in the work she does, and her passion was recognized in 2009 when she was awarded Massachusetts “SouthCoast Woman of the Year“, alongside the late Senator Edward Kennedy who was awarded “SouthCoast Man of the Year”. She is a 2010 graduate of the Leadership SouthCoast program, whose mission is to engage, educate, and empower diverse individuals to become active community leaders.
When Desa is not tending to her RTB “mother hen duties”, she can be found mothering her curious, flower-loving and insightful 4-year old daughter. Desa feels so blessed that she is able to live and work in such a supportive community, one that brings the phrase “It takes a village” to light on a daily basis, and she wishes everyone could be as fortunate