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Allison Adcox - People Operations Director
Allison is responsible for growing and stewarding all aspects of USDN’s People Operations workstreams. As a SHRM-SCP Senior Certified Professional, Allison is an HR generalist with capacities that cover a wide breadth of HR functions. She oversees and implements on payroll and benefit administration, employee engagement activities, and helps us to meet our compliance mandates as a virtual multi-state employer. She leads our recruiting, hiring, and on boarding processes, organizes and leads internal learning programs, supports the development of supervision and performance management practices, and stewards efforts to continue to build a healthy and thriving workplace.
Allison developed her nonprofit management, operational, and HR skill sets over a 20-year career serving a variety of network and member-based nonprofit organizations. She has a Bachelors Degree in Community Development from Portland State University and is passionate about HR innovation and people-centered leadership. Allison lives in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and outside of work, she loves to spend as much time as possible adventuring, birding, making music, and laughing with her husband, son, and dog Beemo.
Amber Weaver - Director of Capacity Building
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 approach centers around assisting others in discovering solutions and delivering exceptional service.
Prior to USDN, she spent nearly a decade working in the healthcare sector and holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences from the University of Utah. Currently living in Dallas, Texas, she enjoys traveling with her three children and husband, attending concerts, spending time in nature, and volunteering as a medical translator.
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
Bryan Parsons - Data, Research & Evaluation Manager
In this role, Bryan helps to shape USDN’s research strategy, develop high quality, impactful research, translate data into engaging communications to advance USDN Field Intelligence. He also stewards impact data for grant and member reporting, and supports the ongoing development of the field of urban sustainability.
Bryan is a social scientist with experience in quantitative and qualitative policy research, as well as collaborating with teams to produce data-driven insights. His aim is to equip decision makers with tools to address complex problems and create more equitable, inclusive, and resilient communities. Bryan joined USDN after serving as an Associate Professor, a Senior Political Analyst, and most recently as the Director of the Center for Policy, Ethics, and Law. Bryan holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of South Carolina, and brings to our network a depth of subject matter expertise in Public Policy, Policy Network Theory, and State and Local Government. Bryan resides in Salem, Virgina where he enjoys traveling with his family, reading science fiction, and volunteering in his community.
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 her Master's in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. She’s from Cincinnati, OH, and now resides in Philadelphia, PA.
Dina Abdulhadi - Communications Manager
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.
Jamal Brown - Director of Finance, People & Culture
As USDN's Director of Finance, People and Culture, 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, works collaboratively to develop plans for the long term-financial and cultural 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.
Javonne Paul - Finance & Grants Manager
As USDN's Finance and Grants Manager, Javonne manages the finances of the organization, manages financial reporting for grants, creates financial reports, and assists in treasury management activities.
Prior to joining USDN, Javonne worked as the Grants Manager for STEM NOLA where she was responsible for grant reporting in conjunction with establishing and maintaining fiscal compliance for government and private funders. Javonne is experienced in developing and implementing systems for better financial accountability. Javonne has over 15 years of nonprofit accounting experience and brings with her a vast knowledge in accounts payables, accounts receivable, budget, and grant management. The heart of Javonne’s work is in her love for collaboration, and using her financial acumen to be of service in ways that have a positive impact on our communities. Javonne is based out of New Orleans in the Central Time Zone and when she is not working Javonne loves hanging out with family and friends.
Jennifer Mahar - Special Projects Manager
In this role, Jennifer is responsible for the design, management, and implementation of USDN programs and special projects to help local government practitioners become more effective change agents who transform practice and generate equitable and impactful outcomes in the movement toward an equitable, resilient, and sustainable world. This position helps to develop, track, monitor and advance special projects, and project portfolios to ensure USDN is meeting emergent opportunities in the field.
Prior to joining USDN, Jennifer served as the Senior Director of Community Programs & Partnerships with the Fairmount Park Conservancy where she worked with many city agencies on sustainable initiatives, both in Philadelphia and as a part of a national learning network. Outside of work, Jennifer loves to travel the world, hike with her dog Daisy, row on the Schuylkill River and cook overly ambitious meals.
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.
Baja - Director, Direct Support & Innovation
Ki 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 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.
Latasha Bell - Capacity Building Program Coordinator
Latasha is responsible for engaging with staff, members, and partners to help design, manage, and deliver virtual meetings, learning group calls, trainings and workshops as well as ongoing capacity-building programming. Latasha brings to the USDN team a passion for project planning and community engagement.
Prior to joining USDN, Latasha worked in nonprofit organizations focused on mental health and youth development. Most recently serving as a program manager at Greening Youth Foundations where she applied her project management expertise to support internship programming, organizing multiple projects and programs that provided training and mentorship to recent graduates seeking opportunities in the field of sustainability. Latasha holds a Masters degree in Social Science and Sociology from Georgia Southern University. Outside of work, Latasha enjoys working out, shopping, and spending time with family.
McKenzie Jones - Resilience Hub Director
McKenzie Jones is USDN's Resilience Hub Director. In this role, McKenzie provides vision and leadership to USDN’s Resilience Hub programs and is responsible for continuing to build out Resilience Hubs in the US and Canada and support the evolution of the program. McKenzie supports members in planning, design, development and implementation of Resilience Hubs. This includes the development and support of USDN’s Resilience Hubs community of practice for community-based organizations, local government practitioners and partners. As the Resilience Hub Director, McKenzie participates in and contributes to the overall health of the organization and works with staff to integrate resilience into the design and delivery of membership offerings, progress reports and website content is current and reflects the evolution of programming and learning.
McKenzie has spent over a decade working with local and tribal governments to amplify just solutions to the climate crisis and grow community resilience. Before joining USDN, she worked for the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, supporting a national peer-learning network of Indigenous climate professionals. McKenzie served as the first Sustainability Manager for the City of Sedona and Sustainability Specialist for the City of Flagstaff. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Law from Lafayette College and a Master of Arts in Sustainable Communities from Northern Arizona University.
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.
Laurene Hamilton - Interim Executive Director
Laurene provides vision and leadership to a team focused on building a thriving network that relies on USDN for connection, inspiration, and best practices. Laurene's work helps to broaden and strengthen USDN’s membership base, build connectivity and community among members, ensure that our programs continue to serve member needs, and helps to us to center equity, diversity, and inclusion principles in the member experience. Prior to joining USDN in this capacity, Lauren served as Interim CEO / VP of Programs and for Greening Youth Foundation and has over 20 years of leadership and experience in environmental education and resource management in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. Laurene has a Masters Degree in Environmental Leadership and Education from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Science and Business from Tennessee State University. Laurene volunteers her time to several boards such as the Co-Lead for the American the Beautiful for All – Urban Parks and Greenspace Committee, Georgia Audubon, USDA Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the US Green Building Council Market Leadership Advisory Board. She is also a certified LEED AP and a Master Gardener.
In her free time, Laurene promotes respect for both the natural and built environments and the importance of integrating all aspects of sustainability within our system. Laurene’s personal volunteer efforts also center on advocating green and healthy initiatives in the primary education system; thereby instilling these values into the next generation.
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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