USDN Board of Directors

Deborah Raphael, USDN Board President

Debbie Raphael is the Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment where she leads and implements the City’s bold climate action initiatives. Prior to this, Debbie was the Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. Named one of the world’s 100 most influential leaders in climate policy, Debbie is a sought-after spokeswoman on local and national environmental issues. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s Degree in Physiological Plant Ecology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Upon entering college, Debbie switched her major to botany after she fainted watching stitches being removed while in her “Hospital Occupations” class.


Barbara Buffaloe, USDN Board Secretary

Barbara Buffaloe is the Sustainability Manager for the City of Columbia, Missouri, where she is responsible for integrating short and long term sustainable comprehensive action plans, resource conservation, and related sustainability programs and operations to advance a more sustainable, vital and well-planned future for the city. She has been active in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Missouri Heartland Chapter and several local organizations. Barbara earned her Bachelor’s degree and MS in Environment & Behavior from the University of Missouri Department of Architectural Studies. Barbara is a big fan of breakfast tacos and always
makes a point to find some when travelling for work or pleasure. 


Zachary Baumer, USDN Board Treasurer

Zach Baumer leads the City of Austin’s climate protection efforts, providing strategic direction to meet the goals of municipal carbon neutrality by 2020 and net-zero community-wide emissions by 2050. Zach served as a Sustainability and Environmental Consultant, collaborating with major private corporations and public entities. He earned an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco and holds undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from Purdue University. Zach loves sports, watching football and basketball, playing competitive tennis, and coaching his daughters’ softball and soccer teams.


Alvaro Sanchez, USDN Board Member

Alvaro S. Sanchez is The Greenlining Institute’s Director of Environmental Equity, where he leads a team that develops policies to improve public health, catalyze economic opportunity, and enrich environmental quality for low-income communities and communities of color by leveraging public resources that address pollution, fight climate change, and helps vulnerable communities adapt to a changing environment. Prior to joining Greenlining, Alvaro led Green For All’s stormwater infrastructure strategy. In 2011, he received a Master of Planning degree from the University of Southern California, where he focused on affordable housing and economic development. Alvaro is a lifelong public transit rider who took his first solo bus ride in Mexico City at the age of 8.


Jenita McGowan, USDN Board Member

Jenita McGowan is the Sustainability Manager for Eaton Corporation, a power management company with a vision to improve the quality of life and the environment. Previously, she led sustainability efforts at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and served as Chief of Sustainability for the City of Cleveland. Jenita serves on the boards of the Cleveland 2030 District and the Ohio Trust for Public Land. She has undergraduate degrees in journalism and the performing arts and a masters in nonprofit management. Jenita is an avid backyard vegetable gardener: The most interesting produce she has ever grown was heirloom vine peach, otherwise known as the vegetable peach which was very popular in Victorian times for making sweet pickles, pies, and preserves.


Jesse King, USDN Board Member

Jesse King is the founder and managing director of Fulcrum Advisors LLC, a firm that provides consulting services in the arenas of leadership, organizational development, and philanthropy. Some non-profit sector clients include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Children's Defense Fund, The Black Community Crusade for Children, and the Center for Creative Leadership. Jesse served as the Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for the Daniels Fund and as a project manager for the Rockefeller Foundation. Jesse’s board service included the REI CO-OP, Inc., Net2Phone Inc., The Chinook Fund, The Denver Community Foundation, and Funders for LGBTQ Issues.