about us

Gary Mahler and Karen Pery created the Into the Fire to help people live life differently.


033-Surf retreat-large-160Karen Pery, Co-Founder of the Into the Fire Surf Retreat and CEO of Karen Pery Coaching + Consulting.

Karen has more than 15 years of executive management experience in the nonprofit sector, ranging from colleges and universities to nationally recognized social service agencies. The common thread she brings to her work is a passion for engaging everyone as leaders to look at challenges critically and creatively to generate more powerful and meaningful outcomes. She identifies individual and organizational strengths, and provides keen insights to develop, grow and sustain a collaborative leadership culture. Her focus is centered on building capacity and expanding individual and team strengths to cause greater impact.

Karen offers an experiential and embodied approach to coaching and leadership, using unconventional teaching tools including surfing, ballroom dancing, horsemanship and pottery to help her global clientele create innovative solutions and develop heightened awareness towards their personal and professional growth.

Karen is a CTI Leadership Graduate and Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and holds an ACC Credential with the International Coach Federation. In addition, she earned a Master’s degree in Counseling from Loyola Marymount University and a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA where she was an Alumni Scholar. She is Past President of the International Coach Federation in Los Angeles.

Karen and her husband split their time between Los Angeles and Santa Ynez, California with their two children, two rescued dogs a small flock of chickens and a herd of rescued horses.


Gary and Koani

Gary Mahler, Co-Founder of the Into the Fire Surf Retreat and Founder of be|come alive ™

Gary is a beach boy that was born a thousand miles too far from a beach.  He spends his days finding the perfect wave, chilling in Daikanyama, Tokyo, and savoring shave ice on the North Shore of Oahu. His background is in business administration, having completed a five year degree with honors. His thesis was based on his company, Mahler Industries — one of the most respected CNC manufacturing facilities in British Columbia, Canada.

Gary found his dissatisfaction growing and his life becoming mired in stress, tension and unhappiness. He transitioned from creating and running a successful manufacturing business for more than 20 years, to designing and creating two beautiful design homes, to living and working in Paris, Tokyo and traveling the globe like a love-sick jet-setter. His focus shifted from linear thinking to having fun while getting amazing things done. From this inspiration, Gary helps people create an impact in their lives as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. His zeal is now centered on helping other executives re-find their passion and to become great leaders. He has since sold his company and is using his vast experience running a successful business to create a Leadership and Mentorship program for business owners to be|come Alive.

Gary and his family split their time between Vancouver, Tokyo, L.A. and Hawaii.  Learn more about Gary.