We are a dedicated community of leaders, working together to ensure a sustainable future for all.
Judi Shils | Executive Director + Founder
Judi Shils has spent the last 14 years of her life spearheading grassroots community projects. The dearth of answers around Marin County’s high cancer rates led Shils to found the non-profit Search for the Cause, now Turning Green, a global student-led movement around education and advocacy that mobilizes and inspires students to transition from conventional to conscious living. Recently, she was the force behind The Conscious Kitchen, launching a new pilot program in a public elementary school to serve fresh, local, organic, seasonal, non-GMO, scratch-cooked breakfast and lunch to students and faculty on a campus where 95% of kids are on free-and-reduced programs. Moving to the Bay Area in 1989 and becoming a mother to daughter Erin changed the course of Judi’s life. Prior to this, she was an Emmy Award-winning television producer for 25 years with ABC Sports, FOX and Oxygen, founded The Diary Project forum for youth at the onset of the internet, and ran a successful student art show, Celebrate Arts. Judi also consults for the California Coastal Commission around public education.
Ashley Ugarte | Program Coordinator
Ashley graduated from Rice University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences. Growing up, her multiple passions for medicine, food and nutrition, environmental science, and writing inspired her to pursue a calling that fused them all together. As an undergrad, Ashley joined the Turning Green “tribe” as an intern following their 2nd annual Conscious College Road Tour. She went on to work as a fellow and serve two terms as the president of their Student Advisory Board. Her work with TG mobilized her to lead various initiatives at Rice, where she co-founded and presided over the Rice Environmental Society, a group that fosters collaboration among various eco organizations, and the Environmental Health Collaborative, a group that unites pre-med students and health professionals to inform communities around environmental impacts on wellness. Upon graduating Rice, Ashley accepted the prestigious R25E Summer Research Experience Competitive Award from the National Cancer Institute and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to work as a summer fellow in their Integrative Medicine Program. Upon completing her fellowship, Ashley accepted a gap-year position as the research coordinator for the Environmental Health Service at Baylor College of Medicine. Ashley is thrilled to be working full-time for Turning Green and The Conscious Kitchen as the program coordinator, where she plans to merge her skills in medical research, her passion to inform and activate youth, and her mission to shift the paradigm in our global food system.
Sue Waiss | Program Administrator
Sue has worked with Turning Green for 7 years and has helped bring all of our key programs to life. She is passionate about sustainability, education, and bringing our programs to students across the country and around the world. Prior to TG, Sue worked as a Project Manager and Studio Manager in the graphic design industry and co-founded two video production companies.
Debbie Friedman | Director of Education & Strategy, Conscious Kitchen
Debbie is an attorney who practiced business law in San Francisco for 5 years. Subsequently, Debbie worked as a producer for EcoTalk Radio which aired nationally on Air America Radio. Following her role at EcoTalk, Debbie worked as a communications consultant for GreenWave Strategies where she developed strategic partnerships and led eco-events for clients such as Fairmont Hotels. In 2008, Debbie Co-Founded Moms Advocating Sustainability (MOMAS), a grassroots environmental health non-profit whose mission is to reduce the amount of environmental toxins children are exposed to in their homes, schools and play areas. As co-founder of MOMAS, Debbie has helped to organize and lead coalitions, with a focus on stopping the state of California from spraying pesticides on communities, including schools and homes, and on farms, including organic farms. Debbie also was lead organizer and negotiator with County Government Officials in a 2009 successful campaign to revise Marin County’s regulations so as to substantially reduce the use of pesticides on County property. Debbie represented MOMAS on the Working Group for Californians for GE Food Labeling Coalition, including testifying in the California Senate. Debbie is also a co-founder and served as Executive Director of GMOScience, a science-based educational and information platform that addresses the costs, risks and benefits of genetically engineered food. Debbie was selected in 2011 as a “Marin Hero for Children,” by Marin Advocates for Children. She received a BA with highest honors at UCSB and JD at Hastings College of the Law.
Kavya Velagapudi | Development Consultant
Kavya is a non-profit and development consultant who helps agencies achieve their fundraising goals. She is a creative, results-driven non-profit professional with six years of diverse experience generating revenue and resources for non-profits. With a Masters in Social Welfare and a concentration in Non-Profit Administration & Policy Advocacy, Kavya has a unique blend of development, management, and clinical skills. Before becoming an independent consultant and joining the Turning Green team, she was the Development Director of International Museum of Women, now part of Global Fund for Women, in San Francisco. Prior to joining the Museum, Kavya was the Western Region Director of Starlight Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles, where she oversaw all development, communications and program services in Starlight’s Western Region. Kavya has raised funds for various nonprofits through grants, special events, corporations, memberships, annual appeals, crowd-funding, e-appeals, silent auctions, and major gifts.
Andi Davis | Conscious Kitchen Fellow
Andi, a native of California's Central Valley, was raised in a region surrounded by industrial producing fields of carrots, grapes, and almonds. She attended UC Berkeley to pursue a degree in geography, equipping her with skills to critically examine the many paradoxes of our current food system. Motivated by geographical tensions of her "agricultural" hometown, she moved back to Bakersfield to work at the Edible Schoolyard Kern County program-- to directly provide fresh food education to the children of this community of farmers. After two years teaching in the kitchen classroom, she sought out an internship with Jamie Oliver's Food Foundation in London, UK to continue learning about food issues and victories through the lens of school lunch services. Her belief that culinary and garden education is essential for children and adults in today's broken food system has lead her to provide graphic design services to show success stories of the Edible Schoolyard Kern County, as well as, volunteering as a class assistant with 18 Reasons community cooking center in San Francisco. Andi is excited and empowered to contribute to The Conscious Kitchen organization through a Graduate Fellowship this summer. Providing insight to special projects and assisting with further development of this successful program is a great next venture in progressing towards a more equitable food system, as seen in the FLOSN school lunch room.
Megan Fuerst | President, Student Advisory Board
Megan is working towards a degree in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability with a specialization in Policy Analysis. Megan joined TG’s student advisory board after completing the 3rd annual Project Green Challenge, where she won runner-up. She is most passionate about the industrial hemp movement, and hopes to use her degree to help re-legalize industrial hemp in America. Megan founded and is now president of the first official turning green chapter club, Project Green OSU.
Chelsea Carey | Summer Intern
Senior, Gonzaga University
Chelsea is a rising senior and will be graduating with a degree in Operations & Supply Chain Management and International Business as well as a minor in Spanish. After graduation, Chelsea hopes to pursue a career in sustainable apparel and production manufacturing. Chelsea was born and raised in Orange County, California, and enjoys spending her time outdoors on the beach or snowboarding in the mountains. While at school, when she’s not studying she is an active member of Alpha Kappa Psi, a co-ed professional business fraternity, and the Gonzaga Environmental Organization.
Savanah Van Citters | Summer Intern
Sophomore, Gonzaga University
Savanah is a student at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. She plans on majoring in biology and minoring in sustainable business. At school she is part of the women’s soccer team, serves as treasurer of Gonzaga Environmental Organization, and part of the Food Service Working Group and Gonzaga Ethical Organization. She is passionate about learning about new ways to become more sustainable and teaching others sustainable practices that will not only help people today, but help the generations in the future. She chose to join Turning Green because she was inspired by the passion that they have for the earth and believes they have done a good job of reaching out to the nation’s youth. She hopes to help them continue to reach out and inform as many people as possible.
Bailey Delacruz | Summer Intern
Junior, The Ohio State University
Bailey is currently pursuing a degree at Ohio State University in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability with a specialization in International Development and a minor in City and Regional Planning. She began getting involved with Turning Green by competing in the 2016 Project Green Challenge and by becoming a member of OSU's Turning Green chapter. She is impassioned by injustices in our current food system and hopes to one day work internationally to help create a system that is not only environmentally sustainable, but socially just as well. In her spare time Bailey enjoys hiking,camping,backpacking, and cooking dinner with friends.
Jenny Fang | Summer Intern
Sophomore, Claremont McKenna College
Jenny is a rising sophomore at Claremont McKenna College and is pursuing a degree in Economics and Engineering. Turning Green’s endless supply of inspiration and empowerment drew her into interning with Turning Green. The environment in the Turning Green community is a place where she plans to further explore and deepen her love for environmental sustainability and translate her ideas of engaging others in leading more eco-conscious lifestyles into reality.
Emily Green | Summer Intern
Junior, The George Washington University
Emily is a rising junior at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, but is originally from Mystic, CT. She is majoring in International Affairs with a minor in Sustainability. Emily is passionate about hemp, conscious cosmetics, local food, and mindfulness. She loves yoga, dancing, bike riding, cooking food from her local farmer’s market, and exploring. After college, Emily hopes to volunteer with the Peace Corps. Her goal in life is to make humanitarian aid more sustainable and respectful towards the earth and other cultures. Emily is very excited to be interning with Turning Green and working with inspiring people that share her love for the earth.
Missy Martin | Summer Intern
Junior, Belmont University
Missy is pursuing a double major in Environmental Science and Social Entrepreneurship with a minor and concentration in Public Relations and Contemporary Social Issues, respectively. Missy expresses her passion for environmental and food justice through her involvement in Enactus, a social entrepreneurship organization, where she is the project manager of Cultivate, the student-run garden that exists to provide the Belmont and Nashville community with sustainable agricultural options while encouraging individuals to take an active role in their food choices. Through Cultivate, she has partnered with a new, local organization, Cul2vate, founded by Joey Lankford to eradicate food deserts and employ refugees and previously incarcerated individuals. In Missy's free time, she enjoys volunteering. She has participated in creek cleanups, Nashville's Weed Wrangle, and helping fundraise for Nature Votes. Missy has also volunteered at The Cookery, a restaurant that employs homeless individuals and teaches them culinary skills, and for Salud!, the cooking school affiliated with Whole Foods. Her motto is to laugh abundantly, love greatly and serve humbly. Living by that phrase brings her wonderful, often unexpected, joys.
Clint McHenry | Summer Intern
Senior, West Virginia University
Clint was born and raised in West Virginia. He is a senior in landscape architecture at West Virginia University. In school he focuses on natural ecology, climate change, stream restoration, and sustainable design. After attending a talk by Judi Shils, Turning Green’s Director, he joined efforts with a passion to expand the Conscious Kitchen. Bringing healthy school lunches to his home state is a priority to positively impact many West Virginians like himself. Through his internship Clint hopes to enhance his skills and learn more about how to raise awareness. In his free time he enjoys cooking, outdoor activities, and photography. Clint is also an intern for DDC Engineers, is the community outreach officer for WVU Student Society of Landscape Architecture, and is an athlete on the WVU Boxing Team. Later, he aspires to start his own landscape architecture firm that promotes many of the same things that Turning Green believes in.
David Bennett | Board Chair
Founding Partner, Hannover Advisors
David has been working across multiple sectors to support environmental innovation for over 15 years. As an independent consultant, David advises clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies on topics including clean energy, green building technologies and broader corporate sustainability strategy. Prior to launching a consulting practice, David was a Business & Society Program Fellow at the Aspen Institute and worked at Google as the company’s Real Estate Green Team Operations & Innovations Lead where he was responsible for bringing green building practices and next generation technologies into a portfolio that spans more than 40 countries around the globe. Previously, David partnered with NOAA to develop web-based information tools to support the agency’s recovery planning efforts for Northern California’s threatened and endangered salmon species. Additionally, David has worked on sustainability initiatives with Environmental Defense Fund, The Smithsonian Institute, USDA, USGS and the School for Field Studies in Puerto San Carlos, Mexico. David holds a B.S. in Geographic Information Sciences from James Madison University, an M.A. in International Development & Social Change from Clark University and an MBA in Sustainable Business Management from Presidio Graduate School. David is a LEED AP O+M and holds an Energy Innovation & Emerging Technologies Certificate from Stanford University.
Caitlin Bristol | Board Member
Global Manager, Green, eBay Inc.
A creative strategist focused on the design and development of more sustainable forms of commerce, Caitlin believes you can have your organic cake and eat it too. As eBay Inc.’s Global Manager of Green, she helps to catalyze, incubate and bring to scale new programs and initiatives that enable both business and social value. A couple of the more well-known programs she has helped to develop include partnerships with Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative and the PGA Trade-In Network. Before joining eBay, she led content and creative for San Francisco-based green media company ecofabulous.com, where she worked on strategic programs and media campaigns with companies such as Intel, Safeway, Method, Levi’s, and Electrolux. When she’s not working towards the seamless integration of sustainability into our everyday lives, Caitlin can be found exploring the San Francisco Bay Area on two wheels.
Maria Caroline | Board Member
Development Director, Youth Outside
For over 12 years, Maria Catoline has raised capital and developed support networks for non-profit organizations, with a focus on human rights, climate change and environmental education. Maria is currently the Development Director at Youth Outside in Oakland, CA. Youth Outside funds projects that increase access to outdoor education for underrepresented youth, and works to build the capacity of emerging professionals in environmental education and outdoor programming, in order to make the field more equitable and culturally relevant. Previously, as the Development Director at the Alliance for Climate Education, Maria grew the team and infrastructure to raise over $5M to advance ACE’s programs for climate literacy and youth advocacy for climate solutions. Maria has also worked with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the Gorilla Organization, the Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Women's Institute for Leadership Development for Human Rights. She is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Romania. Maria has a B.A. in International Relations from Boston University and an M.A. in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy, Brandeis University. She lives in San Francisco with her partner and their very tubby English lab.
Justina Lai | Treasurer, Finance Chair
Director of Impact Investing, Wetherby Asset Management
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 Asset management in 2015 where she leads the firm’s impact investment strategy. Prior to Wetherby, she was a Director and Senior Investment Analyst focused on private markets strategies at Sonen Capital, an impact investment management firm. 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 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, she was an Associate in the New York and Paris offices of Vestar Capital Partners, where she diligenced and executed growth equity and leveraged buyout transactions across the US and Europe. Justina began her career in the sponsor coverage group within Citigroup’s Investment Banking Division in New York. Justina received a BS in Finance and International Business, summa cum laude, from New York University and an MBA with certificates in Public and Global Management from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Justina is proficient in Cantonese Chinese and Spanish and has lived and worked in Hong Kong, France, the UK and Rwanda.
Heidi Locke Simon | Board Member
Former Partner, Bain & Company
Heidi recently retired as a Partner of Bain & Company, a global strategy consulting firm where she worked for 20 years. She was a leader of the firm’s performance improvement capability area and managed Bain’s marketing and client development efforts on the West Coast. Prior to joining Bain in 1993, Heidi worked in investment banking for Goldman, Sachs & Company and spent time in brand management with Colgate-Palmolive Company. Heidi earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Politics and Economics with highest honors from Middlebury College, including course work at the University of Paris. Heidi began volunteering for Turning Green with its first Search for the Cause campaign a decade ago. She has served in numerous roles, including Board Chair for several years.
James Schurz | Legal Advisor
Attorney, Morrison and Foerster
Mr. Schurz’s practice encompasses all manner of commercial transactions and intellectual property matters, including actions for breach of contract and business torts, including unfair competition, fraud, trade libel, products liability, and joint venture/distributor termination. Mr. Schurz has broad experience representing energy companies, resource companies, electronics manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies. He has appeared extensively in courts throughout Northern California, and, in particular, San Francisco Superior Court, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California, and the California Courts of Appeal. He is an adjunct professor of law at the University of California, San Francisco, Hastings College of the Law (1998 to present) is the co-author of “How to Choose a Forum that is Right for You” (International Commercial Litigation 2002) and “Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Mechanisms in International Environmental Conventions and Multilateral Trade Agreements,” (United Nations Environmental Programme 1995) and a series of articles for California Law Business, California Real Property Journal, and International Commercial Litigation.
Co Founder + Co Director, US Right to Know
For over a decade, Stacy has led campaigns to shift the market to safer products, healthy food and clean production. She is a co-founder and co-director of US Right to Know, a nonprofit organization that investigates and reports on what the food industry doesn’t want us to know about our food. Stacy is author of the award-winning book, “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry” (New Society 2007) and she co-founded the national Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in 2002. For eight years, Stacy was the communications director for Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition working to transform the health care industry so it is no longer a source of harm. Prior to her work as an environmental health activist, Stacy was a reporter and newspaper publisher. Follow her on Twitter @StacyMalkan and @SafeCosmetics.
Vice President of Purchasing and Merchandising, Thrive Market
A 23 year veteran of the Natural Products industry, Jeremiah has been on all sides of the business and supply chain, literally from seed to shelf. Currently the Vice President of Purchasing and Merchandising for Thrive Market, Jeremiah served for 7 years as the Executive Global Coordinator for the Beauty, Apparel & Wellness categories at Whole Foods Market. During his tenure at WFM, he pioneered multiple, industry changing, quality standard initiatives including natural beauty standards (Aka WFM’s Premium Body Care standard), organic labeling requirements for personal care, and the largest ever sustainable packaging guidelines for a major retailer later adopted by WalMart. Jeremiah is also a passionate advocate for and creator of Fair Trade standards that changed the natural products landscape. When not working as an eco-superhero, he can be found in the Texas Hill Country practicing hot vinyasa yoga, spending time with his daughters, or checking the surf report and planning his next escape to the coast.
Co-founder, Turning Green
Erin Schrode is a young ecoRenaissance woman. As the “face of the new green generation,” the co-founder / spokeswoman of TG promotes global sustainability, youth leadership, environmental education, and conscious lifestyle choices. After working in disaster response in Haiti, she founded and launched The Schoolbag, a youth education project to provide materials for students, as well as initiate active citizenry and environmental stewardship.