Senior Green Building Coordinator, San Francisco Department of the Environment
Michelle works with bio-inspired innovators and early stage entrepreneurs through the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, Biomimicry Launchpad and Ray of Hope Prize programs at the Biomimicry Institute. Prior to joining the Institute, Michelle designed, marketed and led, expedition cruises to remote corners of the world as Director of Expedition Development for Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic. She has also worked as a naturalist guide in the temperate rainforests of Southeast Alaska and desert islands of the Gulf of California, Central America, and across the Indo-Pacific. Introducing people to the natural world, helping them understand the interconnectedness of living systems, and inspiring them to value a healthy planet has been her lifelong passion. Michelle and her husband sailed their 38 ft. sailboat from the Pacific Northwest to New Zealand via California, Mexico, French Polynesia and Tonga. Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, and a master’s degree in marine biology.
Laurel is the CEO of Global Footprint Network, leading overall operations and strategy. She is interested in applying meaningful metrics to promote positive change in the world. She is constantly searching for ways to increase the impact and relevance of Ecological Footprint research. Since joining Global Footprint Network, Laurel has worn various hats, but she has a particular passion for Global Footprint Network’s open data platform and sustainable development projects. Laurel also contributes to the production and improvement of the National Footprint Accounts. Before joining Global Footprint Network’s research team, Laurel worked in the Office of Strategic Information, Research & Planning, at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, DC, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. Her two years in the Ecuadorian Amazon were preceded by a brief career as an environmental analyst at AECOM, specializing in socioeconomic and environmental justice impacts. She holds a BA and MA in geography from San Diego State University, where her research focused on climate change vulnerability and agriculture. Laurel likes soccer, roof-top social gatherings, efficient meetings, and diving in head first.
Emi is a Construction Engineer and Regional Sustainability Manager in San Francisco, CA.
“My mindset totally changed with Turning Green – any my career path. I’m now the Regional Sustainability Manager for my construction company with other 9,000 employees and worldwide impact. Everyday I look forward to being able to imbue sustainability into one of the most conventional private sector industries in the world.”
One word to describe Turning Green? Empowering!
Justina is a private equity investor that believes in harnessing the power of capital – and applying the discipline and rigor of conventional investing – to create meaningful social and environmental impact. Justina joined Wetherby in 2015 where she leads the firm’s impact investing strategy as well as the integration of impact across Wetherby’s investment management, client service offering and experience, and operational functions. Prior to Wetherby, she was a Director and Senior Investment Analyst at Sonen Capital focused on global impact investment strategies in the private markets including private equity, private debt, and real assets investments. Previously, Justina helped manage the Rockefeller Foundation’s Program Related Investments portfolio comprised of domestic and international impact investments in private equity and private debt. She was also a core member of the Impact Investing team where she advanced and shaped the grantmaking initiative strategy focused on building the field of impact investing. In addition, she has held positions with Legacy Venture in Palo Alto, CA and Rwanda Ventures, a business incubator launching and operating sustainable agricultural companies in Kigali, Rwanda. Prior to her career in impact investing, Justina spent several years in investment banking with Citigroup and private equity with Vestar Capital Partners in New York and Paris.
Justina received a B.S. in Finance and International Business, summa cum laude, from New York University and an M.B.A. with certificates in Public and Global Management from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. In addition to her service as a Board Member and Finance Committee Chair of Turning Green, she is a Board and Investment Committee Member of ICA Fund Good Jobs, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) investing in high potential businesses to create economic freedom for those who need it most. Justina is also a member of the Board of Trustees and Investment Committee for the San Francisco Foundation, one of the country’s largest community foundations working to advance racial equity and economic inclusion for all in the Bay Area.
Nick is the Senior Program Manager at The Edible Schoolyard Project and a co-designer of Edible Education at Home. Nick is an educator, cook, curriculum writer, and trainer. For the past eight years he taught cooking to middle and high school youth at the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley, California. Nick sees cooking as a pathway to support youth to deepen their relationship with food and learn how food impacts their own health, the health of the planet, and the health and wellbeing of the people working in the food system. Nick is also the lead trainer for the Edible Schoolyard Project helping educators and school food professionals develop their own edible education programs.
Meryl is a Senior Associate Consultant at Bain & Company in San Francisco. During her time at Bain, she has worked across industries including Utilities, Retail and Private Equity. While she is currently a generalist in management consulting, she hopes to eventually specialize in sustainability and clean technology.
Prior to Bain, Meryl graduated from Duke University in 2018 with a degree in Public Policy and Economics and a certificate in Energy & Environment studies. Her studies focused on the intersection of government, business and new technologies, and some of her favorite classes included Engineering Sustainable Design and Climate Change Economics. In her free time, Meryl love rock climbing, backpacking and any adventure that gets her outdoors!
Brian O’Connor is a passionate bilingual social studies educator that currently works at Colegio Nueva Granada in Bogota, Colombia. As an anthropologist from the University of Iowa interested in ethnobotany and Latin American studies, Brian spent much time studying in Mexico and then Colombia. After a few years studying abroad, teaching, and social work he entered the MAT in social studies teaching at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR to pursue a life path for continual learning, hope, and change through working with youth. After three years teaching US and World History in Spanish in Woodburn, Oregon. Brian and wife Marta moved back to Colombia to return to this land of wonder and raise our son. Brian’s passions in teaching are integrating sustainability and social justice as he teaches AP Human Geography, World History, Seminar and Research. Over his 14 years here at CNG he has proudly witnessed many students go on to college with a genuine purpose to contribute to this world. Brian has written and taught various courses in sustainability, runs our Global Issues Network club, planted over 250 native trees on our campus, organized multiple projects of engaging the local biodiversity of our campus and city. Brian has lived in Colombia for over 18 years and enjoys exploring the many wild places this country and continent still hold, together with his wife and their two sons Alejandro and Benjamin.
Caroleigh is the Nonprofit Outreach Manager at Klean Kanteen based in Chico, Ca. where she manages their 1% For the Planet giving program. In her role, Caroleigh oversees financial and product contributions to nonprofit organizations globally. She also facilitates conversations between sales, product, marketing teams at Klean and their nonprofit partners in order to create new ways to get their partner stories in front of the Klean community, raising dollars and awareness for plastic pollution, land and water conservation, safe consumer products and getting families outdoors.
Her work in the outdoor industry has inspired her to explore our national parks and wild spaces and she is currently an ambassador for both The 5 Gyres Institute and The Conservation Alliance as well as a member of the Board of Advisors to Bodhi Surf and Yoga in Costa Rica and founding member of the Power of 100 Women in Chico, Ca.
Caroleigh is a California State University Chico graduate who earned a BA in Psychology and her K-8 multi subject teaching credential. She lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband Brian. She has 4 adult children and 1 handsome grandson!
Meredith is a marketing and communications consultant working with nonprofits and mission-driven businesses. Prior to becoming a consultant, Meredith worked for EO Products and helped grow their two natural personal care product lines including the Everyone for Every Body brand, which is a Turning Green partner. Prior to her time at EO she did communications for higher education institutions and PR. Meredith is an advocate for a conscious and healthy lifestyle. She has been a Project Green Challenge mentor for numerous years and loves helping students bring their projects and goals to life.
Wendy spent a career designing, implementing, and evaluating Energy Efficiency programs across the United States as well as working on numerous International Energy projects. She is enthusiastically applying herself to local food system projects in her quest to work on local, sustainable, climate positive initiates. She is currently immersing herself in collective impact work happening across Marin county. She worked on the Drawdown Marin Local Food and Food Waste team which identified local initiative to help our communities reduce CO2 emissions and sequester carbon. She brings her love of numbers and the stories they can tell along with data analysis, program planning, and collaboration skills to support various projects. Wendy has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and is rapidly learning more about the food system through local courses, connecting with community initiatives, and growing food at both a community and personal garden. Wendy and her family are often out hiking in the hills of Marin, bike riding, or rowing on the San Francisco Bay. She is an avid baker and chocolatier and enjoys turning home grown produce into special meals for the family.
Sarah is a mission-driven strategist, advisor, and problem solver who has worked with entrepreneurs from around the world, governments, and nonprofit organizations to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges. Sarah has an MPH in Humanitarian Health, loves learning from others and is excited to support this project however she can.
Danny is the Sales Manager for Patagonia’s food division, Patagonia Provisions. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Danny spent four seasons as a fly-fishing guide in western Alaska where he both shared the wonder of the Bristol Bay region with clients and furthered his appreciation for that ecosystem. He entered the organic food space working in sales for beverage company Purity.Organic, traveling to many US cities and learning about the natural food retail environment.
Danny is inspired by the many hardworking people involved in improving food systems and is passionate about contributing to the efforts that benefit people and the planet.
Now living in Sausalito, Ca, Danny enjoys cooking, getting outside, and exploring life with his wife a one-year-old son. He holds a BA from Western Washington University.
Madeleine Welsch (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based illustrator, art director, and animator. Her experience with Turning Green fostered her passion for visual communication. Madeleine has been an artist-in-residence at The Center at Eagle Hill in Hardwick, Massachusetts, The Sitka Fellows Program in Sitka, Alaska, and the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California. Finding her freelance practice at the intersection of audio storytelling and education, Madeleine has worked with clients like Spotify, Anchor, MNDFL, Pinna, and Resy. Currently, Madeleine can be found at Flocabulary in Brooklyn, NY, where she illustrates and directs educational hip-hop videos aimed to engage and inspire K-12 students in the classroom. In her free time, you can find her hiking, camping, or baking a seasonal fruit pie.
Nolan Zail is a founding principal of Impact Urban, a housing innovation company with a core focus on reducing climate change, enhancing resource preservation and promoting equity through the built environment.
Nolan contributes over 30 years of experience in real estate development including design and construction, developing and re-developing residential, commercial, historic and mixed-use projects.
Nolan’s mixed-use and residential development experience includes founding principal of Transform Urban (CA), Senior Vice President of Development with Carmel Partners (CA) and development manager with Santa Clara Development Co. (CA). In addition, Nolan has commercial development experience with Cushman & Wakefield (NY) and non-profit housing redevelopment experience with Common Ground Community (NY). Prior to real estate, Mr. Zail has worked for award winning architectural firms on residential and commercial projects.
Nolan was the Project Executive with Carmel Partners for UC Davis West Village, a 130-acre planned net zero energy mixed-use development that received the Urban Land Institute Global Award of Excellence.
Nolan received a Master of Science (Real Estate) from New York University; a Graduate Diploma in Applied Science (Horticulture) from the University of Melbourne; and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Notable Projects include UC Davis West Village, Davis, CA; Grand Central Terminal Redevelopment, New York; Prince George Affordable Housing Redevelopment, NY and ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia.