Our Team

The PIVOTPoint Team is made up of powerful, compassionate humans. We all have top level wilderness safety & group facilitation experience. Learn more about the backbone of our work.  

Matt Nannis

Matt Nannis

Founder

I moved to Asheville, NC in 2013. After about 12 hours, I wanted to leave. This was not how I pictured experiencing mountain town life. This was not the way I figured a new town, fresh start reset looked – moving into a halfway house straight out of treatment wasn’t part of the plan. I couldn’t see it then. It took a while. But slowly, things shifted. I went with it. I met genuine people, hopeful people. Most of the shift came with time outside – outside of comfort, outside of my room, outside of my head. And the people around me seemed to be shifting, too. I decided that I’d invest in myself and in something that would eventually become PIVOTPoint WNC. I continue to be impressed. I keep finding inspiration. I want to bring Mary Oliver’s Instructions for Living a Life to others: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

Talks, Reflections, and Conversations:

Tai Kulenic

Tai Kulenic

Program Director

Tai Kulenic, MPS, LCMHC, ATR. Tai has been a licensed psychotherapist and Registered Art Therapist for 20 years. Her work has included spending 2 summers in Africa doing art therapy with ex-child soldiers, as well as working in Sri Lanka doing crisis intervention work immediately after the deadly 2004 Tsunami. She believes that you cannot find the answers to life outside of yourself. She is passionate about creating spaces that encourages others to brave their truth and be the alchemist of their own story. Tai is currently training to be an Ordained Animal/Eco-spirituality Chaplain and believes that when we look at nature, it also looks at us, and she wants to cultivate that relationship in others. When she isn’t working, you will find her either hiking in the woods with her two English bulldogs, getting lost in the creative process, or exploring backroads.

Mo Fitzgerald

Mo Fitzgerald

Program Manager

Mo (she/her) is an energetic, grounding, and charismatic individual! She believes that connecting in a wilderness based setting can truly open up one’s sense of values, self worth, and own self identity. Mo’s leadership style is more nurturing based – believing that in order to create healing and fun there needs to be a sense of attunement, consistency, and security. She believes when these values are met that we are able to explore oneself while stretching out of our comfort zone. Mo received a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with a minor in Outdoor Leadership at Western Illinois University in 2017. After graduating, she volunteered as a Peace Corps Volunteer and spent two years in Senegal, West Africa. When she returned home, she began developing her passion for mental health by being a Wilderness Therapy Guide. Since working in wilderness therapy, Mo has devoted her work to being as growth mindset as possible. She is investing her time in creating new ideas, connecting with individuals, and opening her heart to her own personal growth. In her free time, Mo enjoys singing, cooking, doing yoga, running, and hiking with her dog!

Dave Shelton

Dave Shelton

Lead Facilitator

My name is Dave and I would like to introduce myself and let you know what has drawn me to this line of work. Working at a Summer camp was what first let me realize how much I appreciate the healing aspect of nature. I found that, for me, the best way to help people grow is to surround them with balanced and organic stimulus while introducing new concepts. After undergrad, I began working in the field, starting with a wilderness therapy program, then progressing to a therapeutic boarding school for adolescent males. It was at this point in my journey that I decided to continue my education, choosing to focus on clinical mental health counseling. Working at PIVOTPoint has allowed me to grow in a tremendous way while also allowing me a space to use the skills I have developed over the years I have worked in the field. My guarantee to anyone who is in a shared space with me is that I will provide a safe space to talk about who we are, who we want to be, and what we want to leave behind.

Rebecca Branistareaunu

Rebecca Branistareanu

Support Facilitator

Rebecca is passionate about supporting others in their search for meaning and connection to life. Through her own personal mental health and spiritual work, she has come to appreciate the importance of balancing self-improvement and self-acceptance and hopes to serve others in discovering their own self-trust. Rebecca holds a Master’s degree in occupational therapy and is midway through completing a master’s in social work which she hopes to apply in clinical practice in the near future. Rebecca has a multicultural background and strongly believes that diversity and inclusion are some of life’s greatest gifts. She enjoys reading, rollerblading, writing, dancing, and playing outside in nature, and is grateful to have the opportunity to serve the community through PIVOTPoint WNC.   

Rebecca Branistareaunu

Mackenzie Strong

Support Facilitator

Mackenzie (she/her) is an Atlanta native with a down-to-earth, nurturing, and creative spirit. She is passionate about embracing individuals wholeheartedly and uplifting them on their journey of healing and self-discovery. Her own mental health journey has given her a sincere approach of compassion for those she works with. During her teenage years, she attended various treatment centers, where seeds were sown. These seeds flourished when she was ready and willing to embark on her healing journey, realizing that the foundation of healing lies within and thrives when met with compassionate care. In 2022, Mackenzie received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies at Kennesaw State University where she interned at substance abuse and behavioral programs and shortly after graduating became a field instructor for a wilderness therapy program. Mackenzie believes in and holds deep appreciation for the unconditional healing space and power of nature and the treasures offered to all who seek and participate in the experience. Outside of work, Mackenzie enjoys hiking with her dog, traveling, doing yoga, rock climbing, creating art, and dancing to live music.