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 Pacheco, Member Services Coordinator
Berenice Pacheco joined USDN in February 2020. Previously to joining the Operations Team as our Member Services Coordinator, she served as the Executive Assistant to our interim Executive Director. In her current role, she supports USDN and our Fiscally Sponsored Projects in efforts to recruit, onboard, and effectively support our growing membership. Berenice's philosophy focuses on helping others find solutions and providing excellent service.
Prior to USDN, she spent nearly a decade working as an Executive Assistant in the healthcare industry and holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences from the University of Utah and currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at Baylor University. Currently living in Dallas, Texas, she enjoys traveling with her three children and husband, going to concerts, and volunteering as a medical translator at Parkland Hospital.
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 Director
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 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.
Ebony Loadholt, Events Manager
In her career as an Event Planner, Ebony has planned and executed 750+ events throughout her 16-year career as an Event Planner. Motivated by creating community and bringing talented minds together, she seeks out-of-the-box solutions for visionaries in higher education, corporate, tech, and non-profit sectors. Ebony turns visions into reality by infusing fresh, creative energy into event project planning, streamlining highly detailed logistics, and managing complex budgets to create impactful, mission-driven events. Ebony enjoys spending time with her family, Soduko puzzles, listening to music and traveling. Previously, Ebony worked as an Event Planner for the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ebony is located in North Carolina.
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.
Jamal Brown, Finance Director
As USDN's Finance Director, Jamal oversees the budget and finances of the organization, creates and facilitates understanding of financial reports, oversees treasury management activities, manages financial reporting for grants, and works collaboratively to develop plans for the long term-financial goals of the organization. This role is also instrumental in helping us live into our values of information transparency, collaborating with intention, and centering equity in our operational and business processes. Prior to joining USDN, Jamal held roles leading Finance, Operations, and Administration in the fields of Education, Banking, and Community Development. Most recently as the Director of Finance and Human Resources for Torsh, Inc. Throughout his career, Jamal has been drawn to work where he can use his talent and expertise to support under served communities. In his free time, Jamal enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids, watching and playing sports, listening to live music, and volunteering on nonprofit boards.
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.
Natalie Bridger, Business Analyst
Natalie Bridger joined USDN in September 2019. In her role, Natalie analyzes processes to help identify and respond to changes that should be made to meet business goals and ensure the organization is aligned with it's values. 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 degree and resides in Carmel, IN.
Neche' Nelson, Executive Office Manager & Corporate Secretary
Neche' Nelson joined USDN in the role of Executive Office Manager and Corporate Secretary. In this role, Neche' supports the Executive Office, Board of Directors, and Leadership team by coordinating key governance and compliance components, and manage the Executive Office by providing support in scheduling, communications, expense reporting and relationship management. Prior to joining USDN, Neche' served as a Senior Executive Assistant to two national mental health organizations working simultaneously with the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors and the National Association for Rural Mental Health in Washington D.C. A native Washingtonian, she grew up in Northern Virginia and attended Radford University and George Mason University.
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.
Shauna Sylvester, Executive Director
Shauna leads USDN in our mission to create equitable, resilient, and sustainable communities by advancing the field of local government sustainability and equipping practitioners to be catalysts of transformative change. She works with our board, staff, members and partners to ensure USDN is always evolving and honing our strategy, working collaboratively across sectors, and advancing the leadership of US and Canadian cities in serving their residents and communities.
Shauna has more than 30 years of executive and convening experience in the non-profit, business, government and philanthropic sectors with a focus on sustainability, climate, equity and community collaboration. As Executive Director of the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue she supported a team of climate solutions and urban leaders, distinguished indigenous planners and facilitators, racial equity and justice researchers and practitioners, and democratic development experts. Shauna has created and served as the founding Executive Director of five initiatives including the SFU Public Square, Carbon Talks, Renewable Cities and IMPACS - the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society. She has published widely and has a passion for working with diverse communities to create and implement innovative solutions to complex challenges. Shauna raised her family in Vancouver, Canada and now lives in Point Roberts, WA.
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.