USDN Staff

For more information about the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) or for questions about how you can join the network, please visit our Join page. Want to join our team? Check out our current employment opportunities

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Allison Adcox, People Operations Director

Allison is responsible for growing and building USDN’s People Operations workstreams. This includes managing our benefits plans, hiring and onboarding processes, personnel needs and building organizational culture and a healthy and thriving workplace.

Prior to joining USDN, Allison spent a decade leading a wide range of HR, operational, and programmatic work for a fellow network - the Nonprofit Association of Oregon. Allison has also served in People and Culture roles with Northwest Housing Alternatives and the Coalition for a Livable Future. Allison lives in Portland, OR. 

Amber Weaver, Capacity Building Director

Amber Weaver joined USDN in April 2022. In this role, Amber will be responsible for leading USDN’s capacity building programs, which are designed to provide learning opportunities to members to build their competencies in foundational skills and applied practices. Some exciting work moving forward this year in this team is the launch of a new foundational training program (i.e., soon-to-be renamed Equity Foundations 2.0!) that will be available to all USDN members.

Prior to USDN, Amber worked for the City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability as Chief Sustainability Officer. She holds an Environmental Economics and Management degree from the University of Georgia. Amber and her family reside in the beautiful Blueridge Mountains of Asheville, NC.

Berenice Lopez, Executive Assistant 

Berenice Lopez joined USDN in February of 2020. In her current role, she provides administrative support for the USDN Staff and is often the primary contact for our members. Berenice's philosophy centers around what role she can play in helping others find solutions and providing excellence in service. Prior to USDN, she spent many years working as an Executive Assistant in the healthcare industry and holds a Bachelor's in Health Science from the University of Utah. She currently resides in Dallas, Texas. 

Billy Schweig, Information Systems & Technology Director

Billy works to grow USDN's digital and operational maturity, ensuring that systems and processes serve our organizational values and strategic priorities. His work in USDN’s technology ecosystem supports both internal and external stakeholders. His role also involves technical and operational planning and helps build capacity for individual users and teams. Prior to joining USDN in 2021, he delivered technology implementation, change management, and strategy services for mid-market to enterprise nonprofits. Billy also spent time leading operations for a statewide CDFI, forging community partnerships for a local foundation, and managing development and evaluation activities for a green jobs training nonprofit. Billy is a Salesforce certified Administrator and Nonprofit Cloud Consultant and received his M.P.A. from Western Carolina University. He lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

Brianne Fisher, Applied Practices Manager

Brianne is responsible for the design and delivery of programming that focuses on developing the capacity of local government practitioners to apply USDN’s foundational practices within their sustainability work, particularly around the High Impact Practices pathways. This position collaborates with USDN staff, members and partners to design and deliver programming that meets member needs in alignment with USDN’s adopted program goals and strategies. 
Prior to joining USDN, Brianne served as the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Richmond, VA Office of Sustainability and also worked for USDN from 2014-2015. 

Camilla Gardner, Program Coordinator, Direct Support & Innovation

Camilla Gardner leads USDN’s innovation work on circular economy and climate funding and finance while also supporting new and improved climate and hazard planning. Camilla has three years of experience in climate resilience finance and circular economy work and has led projects with Climate Resilience Consulting, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and the US Climate Alliance. Camilla is an avid mogul skier and is a certified yoga instructor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Environmental Chemistry from Colorado College.

Celía Burke, Equity Practice Manager

Celía Burke joined USDN in October 2019. As the Equity Practice Manager, she plays a lead role in the design and delivery of programming that focuses on developing the foundational practices that members need in order to take a people-centered, equity-focused approach in their work. Prior to USDN, Celía was a Planner I for Peoria County, her first role after receiving a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Celía began writing about sustainability and environmental justice while pursuing her B.A. in Political Science at Howard University. Since then, her writing and overall professional experience has grown to include diversity and inclusion in the private sector and various areas within the realm of social equity. Celía resides in New Orleans, LA.

Cynthia McCoy, GISP, Federal Engagement Director

Cynthia McCoy joined USDN in 2022 as the Federal Engagement Director. In this role, she provides training and technical assistance to increase USDN members’ understanding of and ability to access federal funding programs that support local sustainability. Additionally, she engages with various federal agencies and the US Congress to inform future policy and program design that advances equitable, ambitious climate and sustainability action. Cynthia has largely worked for local and federal government agencies on climate change adaptation and pre-disaster mitigation planning and projects, analyzing and mapping risk to various natural hazard events, and managing grant and technical assistance programs that increase local hazard resilience. Cynthia received a Master's in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. She’s from Cincinnati, OH, and now resides in Seattle, WA.

Dina Abdulhadi, Communications Coordinator

Dina supports the Communications and Mobilization team, leads our newsletter, social media and website updates, and helps teams capture member stories and learning. She has worked as a science communications specialist for the US Environmental Protection Agency and as a policy associate for the Institute for Policy Integrity. Prior to USDN, she ran scholarship programs on climate, grief and politics for the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Dina holds a Bachelor of Science in Ecology from the University of Georgia. She currently resides in New York City, New York.

Drew Woodward, Development Director

Drew joined USDN and SSDN as Development Director in April 2022. In this role, Drew is responsible for building relationships with key supporters, supporting the long-term sustainability of each organization, and identifying opportunities for new partnerships to advance USDN's and SSDN's missions.  Prior to joining USDN, Drew worked at SPUR, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association as the organization's Foundations and Grants Manager. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia where he worked on a community health project and received his MPA from University of Colorado, Denver with a concentration in environmental policy, management, and law. He resides in Oakland, CA.

Jalissa Fletcher, Direct Support & Innovation Program Manager

Jalissa joins the Direct Support & Innovation (DSI) Team as the Program Manager where she supports Resilience Hubs, innovation, and centering equity in all climate and sustainability work. Jalissa’s background is grassroots organizing; prior to joining the USDN team, she worked as the Program Operation Coordinator at Women’s March where she trained, coached, and mentored women across the country to form local organizing groups to work towards a feminist economy. She previously held the position of co-director of Feminist Leaders for Reproductive Justice, is a board member of the Sankofa African Heritage Awareness Inc and the Vice President of her local NAACP chapter, a board member of Wyoming Independent Citizen Coalition, a former campaign strategist for Wyoming Campaign to End the Death Penalty, and a grant consultant for Social Justice Fund Northwest. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jon Crowe, Director of Strategic Development

Jon Crowe serves as USDN’s Director of Strategic Development, overseeing major fundraising activities and supporting the strategic evolution of the organization in pursuit of its mission. He joined USDN in 2019 as Program Director for Renewable Energy and was previously a Principal at the Cadmus Group where he led the firm’s Sustainable Communities and Organizational Strategy Practice. Jon earned an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University in 2010 and previously held energy- and climate-focused positions with the City of Medford, MA and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. He lives in Somerville, MA with his partner and two cats and can be found year-round exploring the most obscure trails of the New Hampshire White Mountains.

Julia Trezona Peek, Director of Communications & Mobilization

Julia helps USDN and members connect with their stakeholders and inspire action. She provides workshops, training, resources and coaching to members trying to better connect with their constituents. She also leads communications for USDN as an organization. In addition, Julia oversees USDN's federal engagement work with the goal of improving federal programs for communities to advance equitable climate action, and supporting members in navigating the federal funding landscape and applying for grants. Previously, she was an Account Director at Fenton where she specialized in running campaigns that integrate press, digital media, advertising, messaging, events and organizing to reach her clients' goals. Julia has largely worked for coalitions, nonprofits and foundations on climate change, energy, land and water issues. Her MSc focused on conflict resolution and the environment. She hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has made stops in Washington D.C. and New York City before now calling Seattle home.

Kristin Baja, Director, Direct Support & Innovation

Kristin Baja (“Baja”) is USDN’s Director of Direct Support & Innovation. Baja is responsible for identifying, leading, and supporting innovative projects and trainings that actively transform local government processes and lead to proactive respect-based change. She actively works to identify and compost archaic and discriminatory practices and to provide pathways for change rooted in courage, equity, and justice. Baja works across scales and actively helps facilitate deeper connectivity and collaboration between local government practitioners and their stakeholders while helping to shift to more transformational systems-level change. Prior to USDN, Baja served as the Climate and Resilience Planner with the City of Baltimore where she led the city's climate and equity work. She holds a Masters of Urban Planning and a Masters of Science from the University of Michigan and is actively working in a Masters in Biomimicry from Arizona State University. She is an EPIC-N board member and serves on several local and international advisory committees. In 2016, she was recognized by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change for her work on climate and equity.

Lauren Bradley, Chief Financial Officer

Lauren Bradley joined USDN in the Chief Financial Officer role after working with the organization as a contractor to support its transition to an independent 501c3 organization. In her role, Lauren supports USDN’s operations including accounting, human resources, and other backbone organizational support. Lauren worked in local government for more than ten years in positions including CFO and Assistant City Manager in Asheville, NC. Lauren subsequently worked in the private sector with a focus in legal services and then in consulting with a focus on building the operational capacity of networks and membership organizations. Lauren has a Master of Business Administration degree and resides in Asheville, NC.

Natalie Bridger, Governance & Administration Manager

Natalie Bridger supports USDN’s governing bodies (the Board of Directors, the Planning & Advisory Committee), the coordination of our annual planning cycle (program planning to budget adoption), and designing and implementation of administrative process improvements and projects. Prior to USDN, Natalie was the Senior Director of Solution Center for Project Lead The Way, where she managed the daily operations of the customer service team and helped to continuously build and improve systems, processes, and the customer experience. She has a Master of Business Operational Excellence from The Ohio State. Natalie resides in Carmel, IN with her family.

Natalie Narotzky, Foundational Practices Director

Natalie Narotzky has worked with USDN since April 2013 and was promoted to Foundational Practices Director in 2022. In 9 years with USDN she has done it all from developing new programs and managing in-person and virtual programming to overseeing internal communications and data analysis. In her current role, she directs programmatic work around the foundational practices aspects of USDN's capacity building programs. She focuses on developing ways for members to learn with one another and expert partners to develop key skills and analyses to be change agents. She received an M.S. in Climate Science and Policy from the Bard Center for Environmental Policy and a B.A. in Environmental and Urban Studies from Bard College in 2012. She has worked with Hudsonia Ltd., the Worldwatch Institute, Inform, and KM Networks. Natalie lives in Berkshire County MA and is the founding chair of her town’s first sustainability committee.

Rachael Schaffner, Operations Director

Rachael leads USDN’s Operations team. Our Ops team is collectively responsible for creating, maintaining, and evolving our systems, processes, and workplace culture to facilitate a high-performing and equity-centered work environment. The Ops team manages Finance and Accounting, People Operations and Culture, Legal needs, Technology and Systems, and Field Intelligence for USDN and our fiscally sponsored projects. Prior to USDN, Rachael worked across a variety of sectors including local government, climate tech, supply-chain sustainability, and higher-ed. She received her M.A. from the University of Arkansas, studying storytelling and rhetorical strategy for climate communications. Rachael spends winters in Northwest Arkansas and summers living in a van. 

 Vanessa King, Regional Network Director

As the Regional Network Director, Vanessa King designs and implements processes supporting USDN’s Partner Networks program. Vanessa manages both virtual convenings of Partner Network staff and members, and supports individual Partner Networks in their regular meetings, sharing resources from USDN, and connecting Partner Network members with USDN. Vanessa collaborates with USDN staff, members, and partners on lessons learned from the Partner Networks across the organization, and leads strategy thinking around the evolution of the program.
Prior to joining USDN in this capacity, Vanessa served as the Network Manager for the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network. Outside of work, Vanessa takes every opportunity to be outside. Most weekends you can find her in her garden or stained glass studio, but when she turns on her “out of office message” it's likely she is in a different country or camping in one of the hard-to-find places of Southern Appalachia.

WendyKay Gewiss, Event Director

As USDN's Event Director, WendyKay works with the USDN team, host city partners and members to coordinate annual meetings and training workshops focused on sharing best practices to create equitable, prosperous and healthy communities across North America. Prior to joining the USDN team, she was the National Adaptation Forum Program Coordinator for EcoAdapt and helped develop and facilitate the Forums in 2013, 2015 and 2017. WendyKay's background also includes being the Development Director for the Oregon Natural Desert Association where her passion for the outdoors was well-matched with her relationship-building and donor management skills. She came from nearly two decades steeped in corporate sales before making the jump to serve the non-profit community. She lives in Nevada's High Desert.

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