Abigail Alter is an associate with RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings program where she contributes to projects crafting regulatory solutions to building decarbonization. She has written and submitted comments on the regulatory implications of aligning utility gas transition planning with states’ climate policies in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Washington. Abigail also provides technical assistance to local nonprofits engaging in gas transition and regulatory issues across the country.
Adelita Serena is the founder of Calpulli Tlayolotl. She is an artist, activist, and community leader. Through her background and training in danza and native ceremonial work she has grown a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is widely known in the Native community in Woodland and Sacramento area and takes pride in leading this danza organization in a fight to restore heritage. Adelita believes that these traditions are the key to preserving culture and she founded Calpulli Tlayolotl 10 years ago in Woodland in order to spread this medicine.
Adelita Serena is a long-time Climate Action Organizer, a member of Yolo Climate Emergency Coalition, Woodland Sustainability Advisory Committee, and Maestra of traditional Aztec Dance group Calpulli Tlayolotl. She has lived in Woodland for nearly two decades but grew up in Salinas and Coachella as part of a farm-working family. Following in the footsteps of her father, who worked with Cesar Chavez, Adelita started organizing when she was in high school, rallying her peers to put on street performances about local issues. This experience was so powerful that it lead her to work with at-risk youth as well as Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence for many years. Adelita is passionate about using her ability to communicate with underserved communities to improve their conditions by providing resources and services. As the mother of two teenage boys, she has become increasingly concerned about the climate change impacts they are already experiencing, from extreme heat to wildfires. She is passionate about developing and centering the leadership of women from marginalized communities to achieve energy democracy and preserve a livable climate.
Amneh is an Atlanta native (currently based in DC) and the child of Lebanese and Palestinian immigrants. They joined the Sierra Club in 2020 after earning a J.D. from Emory University. Initially an attorney in the Mid-Atlantic region with the Environmental Law Program, Amneh is now the Deputy Director of the Building Electrification Campaign whose primary focus is on federal advocacy efforts to make homes, schools, and businesses safer, healthier, and greener. The cornerstone of this work has been leadership on a petition to EPA to have fossil fuel-fired appliances regulated under the Clean Air Act as a significant contributor to harmful air pollution. Prior to Sierra Club, Amneh started a Sunrise Movement Hub in Atlanta and proudly planted dozens of trees around the “City in a Forest” with Trees Atlanta.
Amy Cortese is a Director for New Buildings Institute. Amy has been involved in sustainable design consulting and implementation of energy efficiency market transformation approaches for over 20 years. Amy is responsible for managing implementation teams covering all aspects of NBI’s work. Her work has covered a broad range of technical topics, including lighting and daylighting, natural ventilation, advanced building controls, site design, stormwater management, water efficiency, sustainable materials and others. This work has included research projects ranging from a summary report of all net zero energy buildings and districts across North America, proof-of-concept studies for advanced lighting controls, technical analyses to assist portfolio owners in prioritizing energy efficiency improvements, and a cost analysis for net zero energy, water and Living Buildings.
Amy also has extensive experience with the USGBC’s LEED program and the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge and Net Zero Certification programs. Amy has served as Vice President of the Portland Planning Commission, the Green Building Certification Inc. Accreditation Committee and as a volunteer on more than a dozen Cycle Oregon rides. Amy is a LEED BD&C and holds degrees in engineering and law.
Andrew Sarpolis has been a community organizer with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign since 2013. In 2020, Andrew helped co-found Turn Oakland County Green, a coalition of volunteers and nonprofits fighting to get Oakland County to take strong, robust climate action. In 2022, Turn Oakland County Green organized the first-ever Oakland County Climate March, Rally, and Fair for Earth Day. The organization has also published the 2021 Climate, Jobs, and Justice Platform and helped push for funding to enable the development of an Oakland County climate action plan. Andrew was also a co-author on the first-ever climate and sustainability action plan for the City of Royal Oak, a municipality within Oakland County.
Andrew has bachelor-level degrees in political science (Grand Valley State University, USA) and international economic relations (Cracow University of Economics, PL). He also holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Birmingham (U.K.) and has earned a certificate in nonprofit leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Ardie is the Policy Analyst and Legislative Director with Emerald City Collaborative. She is a legal professional with a focus in policy research and analysis, and a graduate of Belmont University College of Law.
Billy serves as the Missouri Chapter’s Conservation Organizer based in the Kansas City area for Sierra Club. As staff lead in overseeing the Chapter’s Ready for 100 campaign in the Kansas City and northwest Missouri area, Billy provides organizational support to Chapter volunteers’ efforts to secure commitments by elected officials to transition to 100% renewable electricity.
Prior to joining the Missouri Chapter staff, Billy helped organize resistance to proposed fracked-gas pipelines with Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter and Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, and he has been involved in community advocacy since 2010. A native Midwesterner and avid outdoor person, Billy enjoys exploring state and national parks with his wife, Megan, further inspiring his commitment to the movement protecting them. He holds a B.A., cum laude, in Anthropology from the University of Iowa and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.
Christie is Senior Director and Lead Counsel for Environmental Defense Fund in Chicago, Illinois, focused on accelerating equitable regulatory solutions for communities that are disproportionately burdened by energy systems. She has deep expertise in energy and environmental regulation, including public utilities, clean energy policy, decarbonization, consumer advocacy, and grid modernization. In addition to litigation, Christie also serves as EDF’s representative in numerous energy and environmental stakeholder forums. She frequently writes and speaks on clean energy issues and was recognized by Midwest Energy News as a 2018 “40 Under 40.” Christie merges subject matter expertise, legal strategy, and strong relationships to be an effective advocate. In her spare time, Christie is committed to initiatives that promote Women in Energy and STEM fields.
Colette Yellow Robe
My distinct tribal, cultural and familial background influenced my career in collaborative programming in education. It provided me with the foundation and the start to a career devoted to community empowerment, Indigenous Education, program development and policy implementation. Presently, I am an Assistant Professor at the School of Education in Bishop’s University. I join the faculty and staff to further support and compliment their work with Indigenous Education and support the future Teachers and students.
I am an enrolled member of the N. Cheyenne Nation in the USA and had the pleasure of growing up on the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska. I am honored to live, work, serve, and do my best to live in right relationships with the Indigenous Communities & Nations in Quebec and Bishop’s University. I strive to honor our Tribal Nations/Indigenous Peoples ways of knowing as stewards to the land – past, present, and future. The concept of LAND is an interwoven into multiple parts of our daily existences. Here is to those powerful connections as we walk together in our various interdependent roles and inter-connected with the Land.
My research projects focus on Indigenous education, social justice in education and Indigenous Futurism. I have worked for many years in higher education in various student services and teaching capacities. My PhD is from the Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education Department in the College of Education & Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Throughout my career, I have worked to promote community action and find respectful solutions through scholarly research and programming.
My experiences enable me with key insight to advance concrete changes to community empowerment, co-create a new future in teacher education, program development, policy implementation and fundraising.
Dawn Demps is a Flint, MI native that has been involved with community advocacy and organizing since 12 years old. She utilizes her own lived experiences to connect with students and parents to promote tools for self-advocacy, structural reforms and strives to champion the concerns of these populations.
Dawn founded and directed a youth initiative called Eyes on the Prize (EOTP) that used the fine arts to reach out to resource-denied young people in urban communities to help them reach their full potential academically, emotionally, and creatively. Over 10 years, EOTP served over 2500 at-promise youth. 8 years after dropping out of high school, Dawn entered a community college and went on to complete her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan-Flint as a double major in Africana Studies and Social Sciences. While working towards her degree, Dawn noted the profound effect higher education was having on her life and knew others from her community also needed this access. She was the creator and director of the Office of Youth, Education and Community Projects for the Urban League of Flint which served nearly 400 youth and families every year through afterschool and summer programs, parent workshops and community advocacy trainings. She later became the Executive Director of the Urban Center for Post-Secondary Access and Success (UPASS) which helped students successfully navigate high school and tackle postsecondary challenges and opportunities. Through her long history of community work, Dawn has had the privilege of working with nationally renowned scholars and innovators such as: Educational sociologist, Dr. Pedro Noguera, environmental justice crusader, Majora Carter, Dr. Tyrone Howard, UCLA educator and author and non-violence advocate and Hip-Hop legend KRS-One.
She holds an MA in Social Justice Studies from Marygrove College in Detroit, MI and is currently a PhD candidate at Arizona State University in Education Policy and Evaluation. She is currently conducting a critical ethnographic oral history study of a grassroots community advocacy group comprised of Black natural and othermothers whom are galvanizing to challenge and dismantle the educational policies and practices that exclude Black children from educational spaces
Dawn has been awarded the 2020/21 American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship and Arizona State University Dissertation Completion Fellowship. A sample of her other recognitions include the 2019 University Council for Education Administration (UCEA) Putting Research Into Action Award, 2019 Hilliard Sizemore Research Fellow, UCEA Barbara Jackson Scholar and Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Honorable Mention. She additionally serves as a member of the Arizona Department of Education’s African American Advisory Council and is the proud mother of 3 children: Journi, Jayanti and Zora- ages 17, 15 and 8 respectively.
I am a multimedia storyteller who uses photography, graphic design, and urban luxury to connect brands and audiences to the cultural value of the product or service they’re experiencing. Things like iconography, symbolism, and “vibes” are what keep me inspired to relate our shared values across platforms. My personal aesthetic is a blended romanticism of French-influence on the Midwest and its’ real life impact at the intersections of race, class, and wealth. My first experiences with leveraging these social components to design satisfying creative experiences began with my aggressive pursuit of the music industry at the major and independent level. My professional experience has now grown to include managing brand direction for nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and various fine and performing artists.
My latest role as Creative Manager for Detroit Dream Investment Solutions is my first since forming Saint De’Angelus, the creative brand under which I provide a variety of services including consulting, strategy building, and project management for organizations who are looking to use the power of imagination to enhance their market reputation. I’m excited to design imaginative, empowering, next level campaigns with DDIS that are aimed at capturing those whose interest in real estate development range from novice to expert, while promoting the community values in which I believe most: practical application of history, creativity, and spirituality for the improvement of all.
Elisheva T. Johnson
As Director of Emergent Justice, I strive to be a beacon of light in our community and seek solutions rather than excuses. It is my calling to develop affirming, warm, brave and radical spaces for people when they are stuck in cold, un-brave circumstances. I acknowledge experience of erasure, naming systemic oppression whose origins are found in racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, disability and all other forms of injustice.
Eric Fowler is in Fresh Energy’s buildings department and brings his expertise to focus on policies supporting building electrification and market transformation, as well as improvements to energy efficiency that facilitate fuel switching. Eric joined Fresh Energy in 2021 and played a key role in growing the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition, housed at Fresh Energy. Before joining the buildings department, Eric also supported Fresh Energy’s Public Affairs Team and had a leadership role in advancing a new building electrification bill at the Minnesota Legislature in 2022.
Before Fresh Energy, Eric worked at the Chicago Jobs Council for 6 years managing external communications, and leading advocacy to reduce transportation barriers to employment. Founding and convening the Transit Table coalition, Eric advocated for public transit on behalf of community-based organizations and helped pass legislation ending driver’s license suspension as a collection tool for ticket debts in Illinois. Eric has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Gustavus Adolphus College. Outside of Fresh Energy, Eric enjoys baking, voiceover work, audio editing, and downhill skiing. He and his spouse have one dog, three cats, and way too many pictures of all of them.
Gary serves his community as a Detroit Firefighter. That experience and exposure led to local and national recognition for his leadership in addressing environmental health disparities and environmental justice within neglected communities. As a Culture of Health Leader, with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, he collaborates with residents to advance health and equity. Gary is currently Director of Community and Economic Development at Joy Southfield CDC. He recently partnered with the Association of Black Psychologist, Inc. to assess the mental health needs within the African American community regarding the effects of the pandemic.
Gibran Washington is the manager of Eco-D. He holds a Masters of Science in Geology from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Wayne State University. His research experience focused on geochemistry, mineral resource exploration, GIS and data analysis has taken him throughout North America from northern Ontario to Nevada. His previous roles include serving as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow with Detroit Public Schools in STEM education, team leader for the Student Conservation Association, and Youth Energy Squad coordinator. His interests include innovative technologies, renewable energy, and developing interdisciplinary strategies for energy democracy.
Gloria Lowe is the founder and executive director of We Want Green, Too! She is an Interior Construction Designer with over 18 years of Construction Management experience and training throughout Detroit. Ms. Lowe’s knowledge and skill sets the foundation of WWGT to assist Veterans with intellectual disabilities and help them transform their lives and communities, one soul, one house at a time, moving from energy poverty to energy democracy.
Gregory founded Area Consortium of Educational Services for our Youth (DBA: ACES 4 Youth), whose mission is to design and implement solutions that work to eradicate systemic racism, and white supremacy to address the root causes of inequality identified under the environmental and social determinants of health.
Gregory has served as a co-chair of the United Way Chapter of Alton, and on the Mayor’s Alton Caring Corps Committee to bridge ethnic gaps. In 2012, he joined the NAACP and has served as the NAACP Illinois State Conference Veteran Affairs State Chair, and now serves as the Illinois Carbondale NAACP Branch’s Environmental Climate Justice Chair
During President Obama’s Administration, he had the honorable opportunity of being invited to the White House twice to attend meetings on implementing President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.
Gregory currently serves as a Leadership Team Member, of the Illinois Downstate Caucus which is a member of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC) where he serves on the Steering Committee. In the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, he participated in various working groups and was very instrumental in advocating for the signing of CEJA-the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritizker signed CEJA into law on September 15, 2021. The following week the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition received an Affordable Energy Award from the United Nation. Presently, he is a member of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition and serves as co-chairs of the Governance Committee.
When human beings experience environmental trauma, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel. My great passion is to bring healing to underserved communities. My goal is to help communities, which includes children, adults, families and targeted industries find healthy perceptions of themselves. Striving to strengthen environmental solutions so they know themselves as safe, healthy, complete and peaceful.
I know that one single approach does not work for everyone. I have been trained in Motivational Interviewing, Emotional Intelligence, Human Centered Thinking, GCDF Certification, Environmental Justice Fellowship, and Extensive Job Coach/Counseling at Urban League Twin Cities.
My educational background includes a B.S. degree in criminal justice from Morningside University, Attended North Carolina A & T for graduate studies with a major in Secondary Education.
In addition to celebrating 28 years of marriage, my wife, and I have four beautiful children. Written a book for the Minnesota Historical Society entitled the “History of the Ebony Fashion Fair” hosted by Phi Beta Sigma, Fraternity, Inc.
Huda is an ecologist, environmental educator, and the founder and director of Wisconsin Green Muslims, a grassroots environmental justice group formed in 2005 connecting faith, environmental justice, sustainability, and healing through education and service. Huda’s higher education degrees are in Conservation Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Science/Environmental Education from the University of Georgia.
Huda received recognitions from the 2015 White House Champions of Change for Faith Climate Justice Leaders by President Obama, the 2016 Sierra Club Great Waters group Environmental Hero of the Year, the 2017 Environment America’s Voices for 100 percent Renewable Energy, the 2018 Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education Eco-Justice Award, and the RE-AMP Network Superstar award, the 2021 Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award, the 2022 American Climate Leadership Award Finalist, and the 2022 Environmental Justice Award by Midwest Environmental Advocates.
For over two decades, Huda advocates for environmental justice, initiating Muslim and interfaith programs on energy democracy and water equity. Huda is a Program Manager at Milwaukee Environmental Consortium and the Coordinator of Wisconsin Faith Communities for Equitable Solar that connects with over 8,000 people from 19 different faith traditions, spiritualities and various backgrounds. She recently co-chaired the 2021-2022 US Climate Action Network 100% Equitable Renewable Energy Action Team.
Huda is a board member of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. She is a founding member of the Interfaith Earth Network of Southeastern Wisconsin, Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light, Wisconsin Creation Care Ambassadors, and the Islamic Society of North America Green Initiative Team.
Ian D. Tran
Ian D. Tran connects and empowers people, organizations, and communities by facilitating data, relationships, and participatory storytelling to advance greater purpose across sectors with systemic solutions deeply rooted in culture.
He’s performed as a storyteller-musician professionally and internationally with numerous ensembles and as a soloist, and also worked to guide the formation of many purpose-driven enterprises and coalitions as a cofounder or consultant to address and resolve community violence, equitable community and workforce development in Detroit, environmental and food justice, while seeking to educate, facilitate stories, data, and deepen connections for healing throughout his endeavors with a decolonial lens and praxis centered in care.
Jacob joined the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition as a Co-Director in the fall of 2021 after 8 years working as a commercial building energy efficiency program implementer. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Iowa. Jacob serves as the Vice-Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Iowa Market Leadership Advisory Board and has previously been a member of the City of Des Moines Energy Benchmarking Task Force and the Iowa Association for Energy Efficiency’s planning committee. Jacob resides in Des Moines, Iowa with his wife and two children. In his spare time he enjoys reading, pretending he knows how to garden, and getting out for long walks with the family dogs.
Jamal is the Director of Policy Partnerships and Equitable Electrification for Rewiring America. Previously, he led the energy and climate initiatives at Green & Healthy Homes Initiative and worked with states and localities across the country to advance electrification, healthy housing, and energy efficiency programs and policies. He has multiple publications outlining pathways to promoting equity by retrofitting our existing housing stock to be healthy, energy-efficient, all-electric, and affordable. He is a Young, Gifted, & Green 40 under 40 award recipient for his leadership in Environmental Justice.
Jamal has an MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a certificate from the Fall 2021 DC Cohort of the Clean Energy Leadership Institute.
Jamez Staples founded Renewable Energy Partners after seeing how solar energy was being built in other parts of the country and after Minnesota passed its Solar Jobs Act in 2013. He has lived in North Minneapolis most of his life and graduated from North High School where REP has installed a 365-kilowatt community solar garden. He has seen and experienced injustices in economic opportunity and environmental health in Minnesota but was also inspired by former Obama Administration Green Jobs Czar Van Jones’ idea of addressing climate change and poverty at the same time.
The 2013 legislative Solar Jobs Act mandate set a goal that 1.5% of energy in Minnesota must come from solar and established the community solar garden program. The emerging sector of clean energy was already growing, and Jamez saw it as accelerating the solar market in Minnesota—and as an excellent opportunity to bring his experience back home and start creating good-paying jobs for his neighbors in Minneapolis.
Since then, REP has been developing solar projects while also acquiring the property and raising funds for the Regional Apprenticeship Training Center (RATC) in North Minneapolis. RATC will assure that students and young adults can explore career opportunities in clean energy and get the skills they need for emerging energy-related careers. RATC has had the support of the Metropolitan Council’s Livable Communities program, Hennepin County, and the City of Minneapolis, as well as other community partners.
In 2019, REP won a contract with the City of Minneapolis to develop the solar garden at North High School with subscriptions reserved for low-income households. It is the first large-scale project to demonstrate solar garden benefits for low-income ratepayers in the state. Last year, REP entered into a formal partnership agreement with the University of Minnesota to create a more vibrant STEM learning environment in North Minneapolis and develop curriculum and training programs for emerging energy careers.
Jamie Simmons is a macro social worker and organizer who has worked within reentry job retention and succession planning, social justice advocacy and education dialogues, and helped establish the UM Social Work-Engage program. Jamie has spent the majority of her career helping people, organizations, and higher education institutions center equity and authentic engagement. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University School of Social Science and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
Jasmine Graham is the Senior New York Policy and Campaign Manager at the Building Decarbonization Coalition. Prior to joining the BDC, Jasmine served as the Energy Justice Policy Manager at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, where they were responsible for strengthening and advancing the organization’s energy policy to ensure a just and equitable clean energy transition in New York. Before that, Jasmine managed New York State’s first and largest Community Choice Aggregation at Sustainable Westchester. Jasmine is currently appointed to New York City’s Climate Mobilization Advisory Board, which presents implementation recommendations for NYC’s landmark building decarbonization legislation, Local Law 97.
Jason Cole is the executive director of the Detroit-based Michigan Minority Contractors Association (MMCA). Some of the most important work Cole does is working on loan applications, and he helps MMCA members secure funding, bonding, and insurance. At a local level though, Cole believes the biggest focus should be on adult education programs and focusing on what works.
Jesse James Deer in Water
A Citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, residing on the original lands of the Anishinabek 3 Fires Confederacy of the Ojibwe, Bodewadomi and Odawa peoples in what is now known as North Redford. Jesse is a community organizer with CRAFT, Citizens’ Resistance At Fermi Two, a father of three and named friends and family to many. I come from a small Cherokee/Keetoowah community in Oklahoma and it and my travels through life have had a heavy influence moving forward. Wado.
Joe Dammel directs Fresh Energy’s buildings department, which encompasses work on building energy performance, building electrification, and gas system decarbonization. When Joe Dammel came to Fresh Energy, he broke new ground with gas decarbonization work and he is now taking the lead on our growing healthy buildings strategy, utilizing his background in utility business models, gas infrastructure, performance metrics, and more to lead the buildings department.
Joe joined Fresh Energy in July 2021 and brings a wealth of experience to Fresh Energy. He draws from his experiences as a staff attorney at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, where he supported the agency’s air and climate work. Before that, Joe served as an assistant attorney general at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, where he advocated on behalf of residential and small business consumers before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering from Michigan Technological University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School, and a Master of Science in science, technology, and environmental policy from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Joe currently serves as Secretary on the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy section and as Chair of the 2022 Environmental Institute. In his personal time, Joe enjoys photography, kettlebells, and cooking.
Jolika Dumas is the current President of the National Association of Black Women in Construction (NABWIC) and also serves on the NABWIC National Board. Jolika Dumas also served on the board of the Greater Detroit Realtist Association (GDRA). The owner, Jolika Dumas has over 30 Years of experience in the construction industry from working with her family business Dumas Concepts In Building, Inc. Her goal is to one day serve with the National Association of Minority Contractors to follow her dad’s footsteps who is a current Hall of Famer for the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC).
Juan Jhong Chung
Juan (he/they) is a queer immigrant, born in Peru, of Indigenous Chanka and Cantonese Chinese ancestry. He is passionate about creating ecological futures that center the lived experiences and knowledge of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color as well as other disadvantaged groups. Juan holds dual masters degrees from the School of Environment and Sustainability and the Urban and Regional Planning Program at the University of Michigan. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Boston University. Juan brings to MEJC a diverse skill set including policy analysis, activism and advocacy, community planning, and expertise in science & technology. He lives in Detroit, where he organizes for systems change through radical solidarity.
Dr. Junius Pressey
Apostle Dr. Junius Batten Pressey, Jr., (D.Min, D.Div, D.HL.) is an ordained minister through the National Association of Christian Ministers, Victory New Testament Fellowship International, World Christianship Ministries, and Abundant Love Ministries. He is a Bible teacher, evangelist, missionary, educator, and media minister. Dr. Pressey holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Lake Charles Bible College, a Doctor of Divinity, World Christian Ministries, a Doctor of Humane Letters, Kingdom of Heaven University, a Bachelor of Science in Business, Indiana University, and a graduate of the Prophetic Voice Institute of Gospel Truth Ministries with Diplomas in Ministry, Discipleship and Deaconate, and an Associate’s Degree from Word To The World Bible College.
Dr. Pressey is a member of the United States Chaplains Association. He is the former Dean of the Abundant Love Bible College, which was established in 2001, with an affiliation with Word to The World Bible College. He is the Founder of Bread From Heaven Ministries International, an internet ministry reaching leaders around the world in fellowship, encouragement, and sharing the Message of the Kingdom and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dr. Pressey is a native of Hampton, Va. and has been married to Elaine Faye (Jenkins) Pressey of Fort Wayne, Indiana for Forty-Eight years.
Dr. Pressey is a veteran of the United States Air Force (Korea & Vietnam) and the Family Life Coordinator/Trainer for Indiana Healthy Marriage and Family Coalition, Fort Wayne region, 5 years. In addition, Dr. Pressey has traveled to several countries (Brazil, China, and Africa), is Affiliated with New Life In Christ Leadership Ministries, Overseer, Bishop Dr. G. Vincent Dudley, Sr. Ph.D. Life Member, since 1984 and Former president of the Fort Wayne National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,10 years and Board member of Fort Wayne Urban League, 5 years. Currently Dr. Pressey is an Independent Consultant for Fresh Energy and the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition, and a board member of Changemakers Community, Inc. of Fort Wayne, Indiana. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NCV) “You should teach people whom you can trust the things you and many others have heard me say. Then they will be able to teach others.”
Justin Schott serves as Project Manager of the Energy Equity Project. Prior to coming to EEP, Schott was Executive Director of EcoWorks, a Detroit non-profit, from 2015-2020. He is an avid social entrepreneur and a recognized sustainability leader in Detroit. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Schott designed and managed the launch and operations of numerous community programs, including the Youth Energy Squad (founder), which grew from a summer pilot employing four students in 2009 to a city‐wide partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District. Schott has also worked closely on the creation of utility programs, including the Home Energy Consultation Program, which provided in‐home energy efficient installations and education to 10,500 households in its first 7 months. Schott has chaired the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm and is a member of steering committees of the Detroit Environmental Agenda; Housing, Health and Heatwaves project; and Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition. Most recently, he is project manager of the Detroit Climate Strategy and architect of Net Zero For All, Starting Today (F.A.S.T.), an initiative to eliminate climate pollution in SE MI while keeping equity and justice front and center.
Kaela Wabanimkee-Harris is an Anishinaabe from Northern Michigan. Kaela graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI where she obtained a master’s degree in social Work. She was in the Innovation in the Community, Policy, and Leadership (ICPL) program. Her areas of focus were community development/organizing, leadership, and policy. Ms. Harris is a trainer, facilitator, and speaker addressing various health and social advocacy issues in Indian Country on a micro, mezzo, and macro level. She is a strong advocate for Native wellness initiatives in tribal communities. Ms. Harris plans to engage in the community by creating empowerment programs for Native American and other minority women as well as youth. She also plans to practice policy advocacy on a local and national level. She has a passion for educating and empowering people and is grateful to be able to assist and support Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
Kaela enjoys drumming and singing in her language, Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe). She enjoys experiencing traditional ceremonies, attending Pow Wows, beading, sewing, and spending time with her family and friends. Kaela is the proud mother of 2 daughters, Kateri and Kalyse. Her lifelong goal is to teach her daughters the beauty of connecting the present world with the past, and to live a well-rounded healthy life with the knowledge of our ancestral ways.
Kaela began her healing journey many years ago. She has been practicing and honoring Anishinaabe ways of being by learning her language, attending ceremonies, learning about and using traditional herbal medicines, and many other things. She is a birth worker/doula who supports birthing people in all phases whether it be loss, pregnancy release or bringing baby earth side. She began to study the practice of Reiki on her healing journey. Kaela is certified as a Reiki I practitioner. Kaela is a TASK Lead/TTA Coordinator at SAMHSA Tribal TTA Center, Cultural Support Specialist, and Birth Worker.
Kalvin DaRonne Harvell, Ph.D., Ed.S.
Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell is the oldest son of Lillian and Calvin Harvell. Dr. Kalvin DaRonne Harvell was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. Dr. Harvell earned a B.S. in sociology from Grand Valley State University, an M.A. in sociology from Ohio University, an Ed.S. in educational leadership (Specialist) from Oakland University, and a Ph.D. in global leadership from the Indiana Institute of Technology.
Dr. Harvell is a professor of sociology at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. He has taught an array of courses, including but not limited to, Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Society, Independent Studies, and Leadership in Diverse Communities and Organizations. Furthermore, Dr. Harvell taught in a learning community designed for under-represented males. In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Harvell and his esteemed colleagues coordinate the Black Male and Quintessential, Unique, Essence of Ebony, Necessary, Sisters (QUEENS) Focus Group, an academic and social support network designed to address equity on the campus of Henry Ford College.
Dr. Harvell is a member of the Diversity Scholars Network at the National Center for Institutional Diversity (University of Michigan). The past president of the Michigan Sociological Association, Harvell was awarded the Milton Olsen Award for distinguished service to sociology in Michigan. Harvell is also the founder and chair of the Black Male Retention and Success Conference and the Excellence of the Black Woman Conference (Henry Ford College). Additionally, he is the chief intellectual officer (CIO) at Harvell & Associates, an educational consulting firm involved in the production of asset-focused, culturally responsive educational programming. Dr. Harvell provides keynote presentations, professional development workshops, day seminars, and more regarding diverse topics grounded in his formal academic expertise. Dr. Harvell enhances his unorthodox, yet accessible lecturing techniques by masterfully transporting the audience into intellectual spaces allowing for honest, critical dialogues and queries. Dr. Harvell adeptly tailors his presentations to address the diverse experiences of any group. Regardless of the group, Dr. Harvell’s goal is to build community! Of all his accomplishments and letters, the letters he is most proud and passionate about are – D A D D Y!
Kendrick is the Assistant Director of Energy Conservation at Community Action. He oversee’s day-to-day operations and implementation of MN Department of Commerce’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for Ramsey, Washington, and Anoka Counties.
He graduated from St. Olaf College with a dual degree in Environmental Studies and Biology and is interested in renewable energy, green building & design, and waste minimization.
Kristal Hansley is the founder of WeSolar, and is an entrepreneur and advocate for the use of solar power to help hard-working families reduce monthly expenses.
Kristal is from Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Howard University with her B.A. in Political Science and Sociology. As an Undergrad, Kristal was awarded several fellowships within federal and local governments as well as national lobbying groups within the health care sector. Her growing expertise in community development, environmental health, and social stratification brought her to Capitol Hill. She first made her mark when she was honored as the 2010 Howard University Legislative Fellow, which led to her tenure in the U.S. Senate on the staff of Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In addition to serving as Program Manager for the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative, she was Majority Leader Reid’s liaison to local, state, and federal officials, and national organizations. Later, Kristal continued her work empowering constituents with legislative support favorable to average citizens by heading up Community Affairs policy in the office of Congresswoman Elanor Norton.
During this time, the State of Maryland and others passed laws designed to increase the use of solar power while deregulating the market to give consumers more choices to meet their energy needs. Seeing the role that solar could play in reducing the cost of electricity for households, Kristal decided to get involved in the new but quickly growing business of sourcing energy from community solar providers as an alternative to the big utilities.
Kristal’s experience gained on Capitol Hill was a perfect fit for her role as Director of Government and Community Relations for Neighborhood Sun, a regional start-up solar company in Maryland. Working with solar energy developers and community leaders, she helped thousands of low-to-moderate-income families save on their utility bills.
Kristal decided to leverage her knowledge in this emerging industry and launch WeSolar. Today, Kristal is the nation’s first African American female CEO in the community solar industry. Under her leadership We Solar is growing quickly providing community solar to corporate clients as well as residential households across the country.
Kristal serves on the Steering Committee for the non-profit Baltimore People Climate Movement, Board of Directors for American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Woman Invested to Save the Earth Leader(WISE), African Diaspora Network’s “Accelerating Black Leadership and Entrepreneurship”(ABLE) Fellow. A long-time supporter of the arts, Kristal studied music from a young age, becoming a classically trained concert pianist and a mezzo-soprano opera singer.
Laprisha sets the strategic direction, and establishes and maintains strategic partnerships for DWEJ. She is responsible for disrupting and dismantling the status quo that leads to Detroiters bearing the undue burden of environmental hazards that ultimately impact their quality of life. She has over 15 years of experience as an MPH, MSW (Public Health Social Worker). She works to co-develop, implement and evaluate efforts focused on strategies to eliminate environmental health disparities in Detroit.
LaTisha Harris a Fresno native, knows firsthand the effects that the environment can has on our health. As a mother to three beautiful, intelligent and gifted and children, two of which are plagued with asthma. Living in a community that has been rated with some of the worst air quality and highest poverty rates in the nation, LaTisha has been very active in her community, trying to facilitate positive change.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Social Work, LaTisha was employed by Service Employees International Union, Local 521, where she gained valuable tools, partnerships and resources to fight for working-class families. After that, she began working for the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Climate Protection- advocating for change for the residents in the City of Fresno. LaTisha is committed to “finding the need and meeting it; finding the hurt and healing it.”
As National Housing Trust’s Director of Sustainability Policy, Leslie works to advance clean energy and climate policies that allow all Americans to equitably benefit from healthy, resilient and sustainable homes. Leslie has worked to scale energy efficiency and healthy home upgrades in low-income housing for 14 years. Most recently she was ICF’s program manager for the Better Buildings Challenge affordable multifamily housing sector, supporting HUD and the Department of Energy. She provided technical assistance and training to 90+ affordable housing organizations, helping them benchmark the energy consumption data of their portfolios and plan portfolio-wide energy efficiency strategies. Prior to this Leslie was with the Building Performance Institute and the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative.
Maggie Heiser joined the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition in the Summer of 2022. She manages the Communications needs of the ever-growing Coalition, supports meetings and operations, and provides resources and outreach tools to members of the MWBDC.
Previously, Maggie has worked as the Communications Associate at the Ohio Environmental Council, where she served on the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee, facilitated the Emerging Leaders young professionals program, and co-lead the yearly internship cohort. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication and Cinema from Denison University. While pursuing her undergraduate degrees, Maggie lived at the Denison Homestead, an intentional living-learning community that centered sustainability and communal leadership practices. In her free time, Maggie enjoys running, supporting her local movie theater, and cooking for friends and neighbors.
Mandy is a Program Manager with Emerald Cities Collaborative. In this role she refines, manages, and expands programs and initiatives from Emerald Cities Collaborative and with their partners with a focus on creating community wealth and wellbeing for Black and Brown communities by leveraging investments in sustainable building and other infrastructure projects. She has a demonstrated history of working in sustainability and civil rights organizations. Prior to this work she was the Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector Program Manager with NAACP.
Archbishop Marcia Dinkins
Consecrated on October 11, 2020, Bishop Marcia L. Dinkins serves as founding prelate and CEO of Forever Changed Ministries, a nondenominational ministry without walls that seeks to break the sacred/secular divide between church and community. Archbishop Marcia is also the founder of Black Women Rising. BWR centers the voices of Black women on Healing for Change through a social justice lens using Teaching and Training that leads to Transformation. Bishop Marcia also serves as part-time Executive Director for Ohio Interfaith Power and Light where she works with diverse Clergy on a faith-based response to climate and environmental justice.
A native of Detroit, Bishop Marcia owned and operated a medical and substance abuse facility serving unserved and underserved communities. To address issues within the Foster Care System, she provided wrap-around, family preservation and reunification services to keep children from being placed in the foster care system and to reunite children in foster care with their families. Bishop Marcia was sworn in and appointed by the Wayne County Third Circuit Judicial Court as Court Appointed Special Advocate to represent the best interest of children in the child welfare system and has worked 23 years in the field of law specializing in family law, tort law and medical malpractice.
In 2013, Bishop Marcia moved to Toledo, Ohio where she served as the Executive Director for Toledoans United for Social Action organizing clergy for a faith-based response on issues of racial and economic injustice, education and housing discrimination, environmental and climate impacts, jobs, and criminal justice reform. In 2016 Bishop Marcia led the “Free Bresha” national campaign with groups across the United States and Canada fighting for rehabilitation over incarceration for Bresha Meadows and juvenile offenders.
Bishop Marcia is currently a PH. D candidate at the Union College & University in Cincinnati, Ohio concentrating on Public Policy and Social Change with specializations in MLK and Women & Gender Studies. She is known nationally for her work organizing clergy to engage on issues of healthcare, the social safety net, environmental and climate justice, racial, economic and gender justice and civic engagement.
Bishop Marcia has facilitated multiple panels, discussions and trainings focused on social change. She has a podcast called Real Sisters REEL Talk. She is the host and founder of There is a Word a livestream show and blogs on issues that impacts black women. Bishop Marcia has been appointed to the Minority Health Advisory Council and serves on the Midwest BDC governance committee and QAP committee.
Bishop Marcia’s commitment to God and determination to lift the least of these to a more equitable existence and her desire to meet people where they are in both her preaching, and teaching keeps Bishop Marcia continuously serving from a place of humility and love for radical change.
As Fresh Energy’s director of beneficial electrification, Margaret leads Fresh Energy’s strategic imperative to decarbonize fossil fuel-dependent sectors of Minnesota’s economy and advances policy aimed at enhancing carbon sequestration potential across the state. Margaret joined Fresh Energy’s staff in 2018. She previously worked as a senior policy associate at the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Boston University. Margaret’s multidisciplinary background in climate science and energy policy – including work with the Environmental Protection Agency, Conservation Law Foundation, Barr Foundation, and Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) – informs her approach to developing efficient, cost-effective, and inclusive decarbonization strategies. Margaret holds a PhD in Geography from Boston University, a MS in Organismal Biology and Ecology from the University of Montana, and a BA in Biology from Reed College. Her doctoral research explored the environmental and political impacts of continued investment in and consumption of natural gas fuels. Margaret is a member of the Minneapolis Energy Vision Advisory Committee. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors as well as spending time with her wife and dog.
Mark Kresowik supports the success of the members of ACEEE’s policy team and our partners shaping decisions at the local, state, utility, and federal levels across every part of the economy as we accelerate ambition for improving energy efficiency and centering those most historically overburdened and underserved in our communities. Mark joined ACEEE in 2022.
Prior to joining ACEEE, Mark managed federal and international policy for RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings Program and led clean energy campaigns with the Sierra Club for nearly 15 years. Mark has previously served as an interim executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light and on the boards of RENEW Northeast, the Sustainable FERC Project, the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.
Mark graduated with honors from the University of Iowa, where he designed an interdepartmental studies major in sustainable systems, was elected student government president, and helped start The 10,000 Hours Show. Mark has trained with The Management Center, Rockwood Leadership Institute, Race Forward, the Midwest Academy, LifeLabs Learning, McKinsey & Company, Reos Partners, and the National Regulatory Research Institute.
Marnese Jackson (she/her/hers) is an Environmental and Climate Justice activist, advocate, trainer and educator from Pontiac, Michigan where she is a mother of two children London and Dawson. Marnese is the Co-Director of the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition where they inspire and educate Midwesterners to end new installations of fossil fuel equipment in residential and commercial buildings by 2030, and to achieve zero emissions from these builidngs by 2050, with intentional consistent integration of equity and labor justice across all facets of our work. focus on eliminating Marnese was previously the Mothers Out Front in December 2018 as the Frontline Organizing Program Manager where she focused on building the base of Mothers in Frontline Environmental Justice communities. She is the former Midwest and Great Plain States Regional Organizer for the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. She was the Weatherization Coordinator for Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency and Energy Outreach Specialist for the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office. Marnese holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary in Public Relations, Communications, Journalism and African American Studies from Eastern Michigan University in 2006 and Master of Arts Degree from Marygrove College in Social Justice specializing in Environmental, Economic and Racial Justice in 2016, Marnese is a board member of the US Climate Action Network and East Michigan Environmental Action Council, the Environmental and Climate Justice chairperson of the NAACP Northern Oakland County Branch and her state and local Social Action Chairperson for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Marnese is a 2020 Michigan Clean Energy Leaders Cohort member and 2020. Marnese is a 350.org BIPOC Cohort member. Marnese is an appointed member of The State of Michigan Council on Climate Solutions
McKenna Dunbar acts as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Virginia Chapter and leads a team focused on building and home electrification developments through Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. Most of their work focuses on reducing dependence on fossil fuels in order to move the electric sector to clean energy. Dunbar is the Founder and President of Ecological Justice Initiative – an environmental advocacy non-profit organization focused on youth focused environmental research and engagement. Concerned Citizens of Charles City County, Bridging the Gap in Virginia, The North Face, Greening Youth Foundation, The Climate Reality Project, Stop the Abuse of Virginia Energy Coalition, DivestMVP, NASA SERVIR, and Mother’s Out Front are some of the organizations they have worked with in the past. Dunbar is passionate about energy policy, environmental law, and has a background in environmental justice, clean energy finance, and solar research. Dunbar enjoys hiking, listening to German rap, volunteering at her university’s Greenhouse, and listening to podcasts about sustainability and energy markets.
Michael Noble is a 30-year energy leader, well-known for shaping and driving the major public policy innovations that are speeding Minnesota and the Midwest’s transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. As Executive Director of Fresh Energy, Michael builds and catalyzes partnerships to secure new policies and harness market forces to achieve visionary change. At this moment, with electricity becoming cleaner and transportation now the top source of carbon pollution, Michael is charting a path toward a brighter future where our cars, buses, and more of our economy runs on wind and solar power. Committed to building the clean energy community in the Midwest, Michael was a founding board member of Wind on the Wires, Climate Generation: a Will Steger Legacy, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Conservation Minnesota, and the Conservation Minnesota Voter Center, and was a founding member of RE-AMP. He is a graduate of Carleton College with a Bachelor of Arts in History.
Michael Imhotep is the founder of The African History Network and host of “The African History Network Show” on 910 AM The Superstation WFDF Detroit. He is a historian, radio show host, researcher, lecturer and writer. He is a weekly panelist on the ‘Roland Martin Unfiltered Daily Digital Show’ on Fridays, providing Political and Historical Analysis.
He is the former host of the nationally syndicated radio show, “The Michael Imhotep Show” on The Empowerment Radio Network. He is a National Speaker and is featured in numerous documentaries. He has guest hosted national radio shows including “The Warren Ballentine Show” and “The Roland Martin Show” and has been a guest on ‘The Tammi Mac Late Show’ on the Fox Soul TV Streaming Network.
Michael Imhotep is a lifelong Detroiter and a graduate of the historic Cass Technical High School. He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration with a major in Marketing from Wayne State University. It was at Wayne State in the early 1990’s that he started studying African History, Culture, Spirituality, Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship. He has been studying history for 30 years. The seeds for The African History Network were laid at this time.
He has over 25 years of Sales, Marketing and Management experience and has managed a business consulting and training company for 7 years. He has taught Entrepreneurship for 9 years and has taught at a Community College as well as for Non-Profit Organizations. Using his entrepreneurial skills, he created The African History Network in 2009 as a way to empower, inspire and educate African-Americans and people of African descent around the world.
Michaela Stith (she/her) is a Black, mixed-race Alaskan raised in Anchorage. She is the author of Welp: Climate Change and Arctic Identities, a travel memoir exploring environmental justice in the Arctic. She previously worked as a Program Assistant at Polar Institute, Wilson Center, where she organized the Arctic in 25 Years Youth Symposium and managed the publication Polar Perspectives. Prior, she worked in Tromsø, Norway as a Hart Leadership Fellow and later as an Associate at the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat. As a first generation college student, Stith graduated with distinction from Duke University in environmental science and policy.
Naomi is dedicated to self-sustaining Black communities everywhere. Her strategy begins with her aim to reinvent her childhood “sustainable-square-mile” here in the Age of Climate Crisis. She is the founder/President of Blacks In Green (BIG™), an urban theorist, attorney, activist, and proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers. Her heritage forms the foundation for BIG’s course in Grannynomics™, The 8 Principles Green-Village-Building™ and The Sustainable Square Mile™ which Naomi authored and teaches nationally in community lectures and workshops and at universities. Naomi serves as a bridge and catalyst among communities and their stakeholders in the design and development of green, self-sustaining, mixed-income, walkable-villages within black neighborhoods – so that every household can ultimately walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-learn, walk-to-play – and neighbor dollars can circulate locally to help limit greenhouse gasses associated with transportation and manufacturing pollution. She conveys the risks of global warming; the health/wealth opportunities of the new green economy; the power of neighbors to lead in their city’s enviro-economic policy and practice; and the primacy of land ownership.
Rachel unearths the stories from the frontlines of the climate fight. An experienced researcher and professor, Rachel merges her background in community based participatory research with her commitment to equity and social justice to tell the hard stories that hold us accountable.
Born in Denver, CO and raised in Flint, MI, Rafael is a political and community organizer with 13+ years of experience. After going to MSU and moving back home to Flint, he took a stab at the life of a volunteer campaigner for a local Mayoral race that carried a message of human dignity that he believed in. Hundreds of knocked doors and dozens of volunteer hours later, he decided to go down the path of a community organizer with ACORN in Flint. Taking the lead from the action of fellow community members, dozens of families were able to prevent predatory lenders from taking their homes during a housing crisis. And armed with clipboards and voter registration forms, members helped elect President Barack Obama in 2008. Following a historic election, Rafael chose to dive back into political organizing, working on Congressional, state legislative, and gubernatorial races while maintaining a passionate focus on issues that impact people economically and socially. Along the way, Rafael also worked to support after school programs in Wayne County and advocated for expanding civil rights protections to the LGBTQ community. With his role in Soulardarity as Program Director, Rafael is focused on advocating for environmental justice and to help achieve true energy democracy. He is now living in southwest Detroit, near Clark Park with his partner, two cats and one dog.
Robin Lisowski is Director of Service Solutions, where she leads planning efforts related to emerging services, including beneficial electrification. Robin has worked with energy utilities for 15 years and in the energy efficiency industry since 2008. She has a passion for interdisciplinary approaches to energy management and sustainability and the nonprofit’s leadership role in this space. Robin has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Spanish from Augsburg College and a Master of Arts Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Russell Rabb is a Los Angeles based comedian, actor, keynote speaker, event host, and US Marine Corps veteran. For over two decades he has entertained audiences on television, radio, stage and film. Most recently appearing on the game show, You Bet Your Life with Jay Leno. Russell is also the creator of Dynamic Speakers, a new program designed to help eliminate the fear and anxiety of presenting in front of large groups of people, while building the confidence needed to become an effective & engaging public speaker.
Sam Grant has been organizing around the intersection of economic, cultural and environmental justice since working on his college campus for divestment from South Africa and working for passage of legislation ensuring that both workers and communities have the right to know about toxic chemicals in their workplaces and communities.
For the past three decades he has blended teaching at Metropolitan State University and other higher education institutions; on-the-ground organizing projects focused on justice and well-being; and consulting to individuals, organizations and communities leading work on the issues identified above.
Sam led the Environmental Sustainability Program as HECUA from 2015 until late 2019. He also served as founding president of the Sierra Leone Foundation for New Democracy, which is promoting eco-village development in West Africa as a response to climate change in highly impacted regions and began work on a Ph.D. in transformative studies, focused on climate justice and the African Diaspora.
As the workforce program manager, Sarah oversees planning, strategy implementation, and project management for the workforce development program.
Prior to CEE, Sarah worked as a program coordinator for the Training and Education Center at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota serving individuals and families in income qualifying programs. Her previous experience includes workforce development, employment coaching, and teaching in adult education. During her time in adult education she completed a cohort program through Hamline University collaborating with Adult Education professionals across the state to design high-quality courses and training programs for adult learning centers. She holds a B.A. in ESL education, Spanish, and reconciliation studies. Sarah completed a credential program to become a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) in 2019 and holds a Project Management (CPPM) certification from the University of St. Thomas.
Sarah serves as a board member with a Hmong-majority congregation on the Eastside of St. Paul. She is a member of the Minnesota Social Service Association (MSSA), Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN), and a Toastmaster’s club member where she gets to practice her public speaking skills and try out all her best jokes.
Sheila is a native of Fort Wayne and very active in her community serving as the 1st District County Councilwoman, Vice. Chair of the Allen County Democratic Party, and is also the Past President of the local NAACP currently serving as the Treasurer. Sheila is a active member of the Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector just to name one.
Sheila is currently employed with the Fort Wayne Urban League as a Facilitator of Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition representing the Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana located in 46803.
Sheila is known as a community organizer and an environmentalist, working to educate the public on the “belief gap” or “behavior gap” as a “Knowledge gap” around environmental issues.
Sheila is a long-time member of the Pilgrim Baptist Church (50 years) currently under the leadership of Raymond C. Dix Jr. where she has served as Program Director, Our Healing Kitchen, PBC Victory Garden, PBC Summer Feeding Program , Leadership Team, Scholarship Committee, Library Committee, VBS Committee, and Youth Advisor Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE Fort Wayne) and the PBC Green Team.
Sheila has received many awards at the Local, Regional and National level and is card carrying member of to many organization to list.
Sheila has served on many Boards and Planning committees over the years, most recent American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, Visit Fort Wayne, City of Fort Wayne Domestic Violence and American Red Cross of NEI. Sheila is the daughter of the late Joe Curry and Dorlean Curry (88 years young). She is the youngest surviving of six children. She has one heir Georance of Marietta, GA.
Shimekia Nichols was born and raised in the 48217. She is Soulardarity’s leading organizer for the Work For Me, DTE! campaign — developing community leadership and representing the campaign in the media. She has spoken out on DTE’s practices on Channel 7, on the front page of the Detroit Free Press, and at Michigan Radio, outside of a public hearing on DTE’s 15-year energy plan. She is dedicated to growing Black leadership in environmental justice work and ensuring that the pursuit of clean energy is just, equitable, and democratic.
Shimekia is the mother of two awesome sons and is an empathetic community activist and comrade to other activists in intersecting liberation movements.
Now, in her role as Executive Director, Shimekia has trained and supported dozens of community members engaging in energy-focused activism and contributed greatly to gathering the 3000 public comments our campaign submitted on DTE’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan.
Tamara Toles O’Laughlin
Tamara Toles O’Laughlin is from Brooklyn, New York. She attended the Vermont Law School for her graduate studies, where she graduated with a Juris Doctor and a Masters Degree in Environmental Law and Policy.
In 2014, Toles was appointed to the Executive Board of EcoWomen, during her six year tenure she held several positions, including vice president of professional development, where she produced the organization’s signature salon and monthly educational forum EcoHour. She has also served on the board of the Maryland Climate Coalition and Women’s Voices for the Earth.
Tamara co-founded the Healthy Green Maryland Amendment Initiative to define healthy communities and provide multi-generational protections to defend against disproportionate climate impacts in the Maryland constitution. She also created the Baltimore City Climate Resolution, which passed in the City Council unanimously in response to the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords.
In 2019, Toles O’Laughlin joined 350.org as the North America Director making her the first African-American woman to hold this position in an environment or climate organization. A signature of Toles O’Laughlin’s work is the identification of systemic challenges and development of resources to rebuild with vulnerable populations.
In 2021, Toles O’Laughlin joined the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) as its CEO and President. In 2018 she was awarded the Vermont Law School Social Justice Scholars Alumni Award.
Toles O’Laughlin has written for Rolling Stone, The Nation, Yes! magazine, and Grist. She is a contributor to Politico‘s Long Game Forum on issues of environment, equity, energy access and climate justice.
Tanya is Director, Policy and Partnerships with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), Center for Partnerships and Innovation that identifies emerging energy challenges and connects state utility commissions with expertise and strategies to navigate complex decision-making. Tanya is responsible for projects involving transmission policy, distributed energy resources, energy justice, and supporting coordination and collaboration among state decision makers on electricity policy.
Tanya has a law degree from Michigan State University College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Oakland University. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, co-founder and facilitator for Advancing White Anti-Racist Education and is training to become a certified meditation teacher.
Todd Nedwick is the National Housing Trust’s Senior Director of Sustainability Policy. Todd leads NHT’s engagement with public and private stakeholders to advance the use of housing and energy resources for affordable housing. He currently directs NHT’s involvement in Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA). EEFA builds power to ensure that all renters live in homes that are affordable and healthy by uniting people from diverse sectors and backgrounds to collectively make multifamily affordable homes energy and water efficient. EEFA seeded and supports coalitions in 12 states that include a variety of housing, health, energy efficiency, environmental, and community advocacy organizations that have not typically worked together in the past. Together, our coalition partners work to ensure that utility, state, local, and federal entities provide equitable investment to improve the efficiency of affordable multifamily homes and advance proven best practices in efficiency program design and implementation to help meet the needs of affordable housing building owners and residents.
Isaiah Zeek Williams
Zeek is the founder and CEO of New Era Detroit, a chapter of New Era Community Connection. NECC is designed exclusively to connect and develop urban communities worldwide through our original mudroots concept, direct outreach and hands-on community programming to assist in creating an environment of self-sufficiency throughout often forgotten communities.