We are a dedicated community of leaders, working together to ensure a sustainable future for all.

Judi Shils

Judi Shils | Executive Director + Founder

Judi has spent the last 24 years of her life spearheading grassroots community projects. The dearth of answers around Marin County’s high cancer rates led Judi to found the nonprofit Search for the Cause, now Turning Green, a global student-led movement advocating for healthy food, safer products, and ethical businesses. She is also the force behind The Conscious Kitchen, a paradigm shifting model for school food service, transitioning school meals from pre-packaged, processed, heat-and-serve to chef-prepared, scratch cooked local, organic food, cooked in on-site zero waste kitchens. Believing that access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege, she began this work on a campus where 95% of children live below the poverty line, qualifying for free-and-reduced government-subsidized school meals. 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 exhibition, Celebrate Arts. Judi has been a consultant with the California Coastal Commission around public education for the past two decades.

Debbie Friedman | Program Director, Conscious Kitchen

Debbie is an attorney who practiced business law in San Francisco for 5 years. Since leaving the practice of law to pursue environmental work, Debbie has served in a variety of advocacy, communications and leadership positions including as producer for EcoTalk Radio which aired nationally on Air America Radio, and as a communications consultant for innovative nonprofits and businesses. Debbie has also co-founded and led two environmental health nonprofits. In her role at Moms Advocating Sustainability, Debbie led policy initiatives and organized coalitions, with an emphasis on shifting agricultural policies towards ecologically-oriented practices, to reduce the amounts of pesticides sprayed by state and local agencies. Debbie also was lead organizer and negotiator with County Government Officials in a 2009 successful campaign to revise Marin County’s regulations to substantially reduce the use of pesticides on County property. Prior to joining The Conscious Kitchen team as Program Director, she was 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.

Debbie Friedman
Sue Waiss

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.

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.

Megan Fuerst

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.

Stacy Malkan

Hannah Watts


Hannah is a third year student at the University of Florida, studying Accounting and Agriculture and Natural Resource Ethics and Policy. She became involved with Turning Green in 2016 after becoming a Project Green Challenge Finalist and interned with Turning Green in Summer 2017. She credits her passion for sustainability to Project Green Challenge, and loves working with Turning Green because she strongly believes in their mission to advocate for environmentally and socially responsible choices through students. Outside of Turning Green, Hannah serves as the Fair Trade University Coordinator through Fair Trade Campaigns to bring awareness for fair trade products on her campus. She enjoys yoga, nature walks with her dogs, and visiting California.

Cami Provencher

VP of Programs and Logistics

Cami Provencher is a sophomore at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois. She will be transferring next year to a 4 year university to major in Environmental Science. Cami participated in Project Green Challenge 2017 and was selected as a Finalist. She is one of the leaders of her school's Sustainability Union, the Vice President of the Natural Sciences Club, and an Alliance of the Great Lakes Ambassador. After college, she would like to work for a nonprofit and carry out her passion for sustainability.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Erin Cady

VP of Communications

Erin Cady is a junior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying Natural Resources and Environmental Science. Erin joined the Turning Green community after participating in and being chosen as a Finalist for Project Green Challenge 2016. Through PGC and Turning Green, Erin has developed an immense passion for environmental education and teaching her peers about how environmental issues affect minority groups and underprivileged communities. Erin hopes to bring her love of writing and public speaking to a career in environmental education and activism.

Lauren Kim

Co-VP of PGC

Lauren is a sophomore at Yale University majoring in Environmental Studies and Ethnicity, Race, & Migration. She is passionate about amplifying the voices of people of color and other traditionally underrepresented groups in environmentalism. Lauren and her teammate, Jinno, were the PGC 2017 Champions. In the future, she wants to work in creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable food system. She is a proud member of the Student-Farmworker Alliance and works for the Yale Sustainable Food Program, Yale Office of Sustainability, and City of New Haven.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Jinno Vicencio

Co-VP of PGC

Jinno Vicencio is a sophomore at Orange Coast College, pursuing a degree in Agriculture. Alongside his teammate, Lauren Kim, he was awarded Project Green Challenge 2017 Champion. Jinno is passionate about the environment and making strides to reduce our waste, support local businesses, and shifting consumer habits to a more conscious one. Jinno wants to show people that sustainability is for everyone, whether they are a person of color, low-income, or LGBT+. The fight to preserve our environment has a place for anyone and everyone!

Christine Dobbin

Co-VP of Multimedia Arts

Christine Dobbin is originally from El Paso, Texas and currently attends Rice University as a senior in the Natural Sciences department. In the fall, she will be pursuing an MD/MPH at UT Southwestern, centered on social and environmental justice within healthcare. Christine was awarded 3rd Place in Project Green Challenge 2017 with her team, Team Rice University. She is active in ecological medicine research, musical performance, and community activism.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Julia Murphy

Co-VP of Multimedia Arts

Julia is a chemistry graduate student at the University of Chicago. She grew up in New Mexico and has lived all over the United States, which gave her an opportunity to explore the unique natural beauty of many different regions. Her love of being outdoors spawned her environmental passions, namely sustainable agriculture, water conservation, and clean energy. She was introduced to Turning Green through participating in Project Green Challenge in 2017, where she was selected as a finalist with her teammate, Jon. When not busy with her research or participating in environmental advocacy, Julia enjoys running, ballet, and dabbling in painting every now and then.

Isaac Aguilar

Student Advisory Board Member

Isaac Aguilar is a senior at Escondido Adventist Academy, a religiously affiliated private institution located in Southern California. Isaac had the privilege to attend the 2017 Project Green Challenge Finals where his passion for sustainability was catalyzed. After the Finals, Isaac was inspired to study environmental science in university, where he will continue to be an activist for sustainability. Currently, Isaac is the National Honor Society President. He enjoys participating in varsity sports, choir, and theater. Isaac is honored to work with Turning Green to help others discover an appreciation for nature and work towards a sustainable planet.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Elspeth Collard

Student Advisory Board Member

Elspeth Collard is a junior at T.C. Williams High School and a member of its STEM Academy. She is a member of the Math, Science, German, and English Honor Societies and the community service organization, Key Club. She is also on the board of Watershed Warriors, a 501(c)3 non-profit that teaches elementary students about the environment through hands-on lessons. She is a rower on the T.C. Williams Crew team. For fun, she is a member of TC's Book Club and is an avid reader outside of school. She participated in PGC 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed the experience as it changed the way she saw the world. She is passionate about sustainability and providing a greener future for the next generation.

Catalina Lane

Student Advisory Board Member

Catalina is a senior at Tamalpais High School in Marin County, California. She was a Project Green Challenge 2017 Finalist and has since been working with her community to become more eco-conscious. She is the secretary for her school’s Ocean Conservation Club and is interning at her local Audubon Center. In her spare time she plays softball, hikes, and does ceramics. In the coming year, Catalina will be going to college where she hopes to major in Environmental Studies.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Ella Fesler

Student Advisory Board Member

Ella is a junior attending TC Williams High School in Virginia. She participated in Project Green Challenge 2017, and was selected as a finalist alongside her teammate, Bridget. Project Green Challenge enabled her to understand the changes she needed to make in her life in order to live consciously, and taught her the importance of encouraging others to live sustainably as well. Through working with Turning Green, she hopes to continue to encourage sustainable living for herself and people in the greater community. When she is not studying, Ella spends her free time singing, swimming, baking, and writing.

Lauren Orosz

Student Advisory Board Member

Lauren is from south Florida and currently attending Clemson University, studying Biological Sciences and Business Administration. In high school, Lauren was introduced to some of the dangers to our planet and the effects that are taking place. She became passionate about veganism and the avoidance of animal agriculture, for both health, environmental, and ethical reasons. This past year, Lauren discovered PGC and was privileged to be selected as a PGC 2017 Finalist. After PGC Finals, she began to spread conscious living through community and college campus through several educational events. In addition to her environmental passions, Lauren enjoys studying medicine, exploring nature, playing with her pets at home, and visiting the beach.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Jonathan Raybin

Student Advisory Board Member

Jon is a Chemistry graduate student at the University of Chicago, where he studies polymer physics. He grew up in Kent, Ohio and loves running, reading, and pottery almost as much as chemistry. He discovered a passion for environmentalism and nature through frequent hikes with his father. In a team along with Julia Murphy, Jon was a finalist in PGC 2017.

Cvetanka Rizvanovic

Student Advisory Board Member

Cvetanka is a sophomore at Highland High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has participated in Project Green Challenge for 2 years, and is excited to be working with Turning Green because the team shares her love for protecting the planet. She has always loved being in the outdoors with my family hiking, or just going on walks to the farmers market. Cvetanka is very passionate about art, archery, and the environment. In her spare time, she loves painting, or arching with my friends, as well as gardening. She has enjoyed going to environmental protests with my community, and has involved herself in other ways to stand up for the earth, like Project Green Challenge.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Melanie Staszewski

Student Advisory Board Member

Melanie Staszewski is a senior at Poolesville High School, where she is a part of the Global Ecology Program. She is excited to begin yet another journey with Turning Green after participating in PGC three years in a row and loving every minute. As a blossoming environmentalist and self-declared tree hugger, Melanie can usually be found getting involved in her program's outdoor field studies, volunteering somewhere outside, or working on her transition from a conventional to a conscious lifestyle.

Tamsin Stringer

Student Advisory Board Member

Tamsin Stringer a senior at Bloomington High School South. She was Project Green Challenge Champion 2016, and worked as the Communication Co-Chair on Turning Green Student Advisory Board in 2017. She is president of her school’s environmental club SAGE (Students Advocating For a Greener Environment), service chair of National Honors Society, and a co-founder of Green Sprouts, a program aimed at spreading environmental awareness to children in elementary schools in her district. Her passions include environmental advocacy, art, and music.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Johannes Tre Maquiling

Student Advisory Board Member

Johannes is a student at the Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus. He became involved in Turning Green in the later part of 2017 when he qualified as a Project Green Challenge Finalist. Turning Green made him realize that there is much to be done to help the environment and society. Currently, he is pushing for waste reduction and management, especially in his country, the Philippines, and is now volunteering as a 5 Gyres Ambassador. For fun, Johannes plays video games, watches animé and reads novels.

Sophie Van Zee

Student Advisory Board Member

Sophie is a junior at Johnston High School in Iowa. She spends her days playing the trumpet in school bands, joking around with her friends, and fighting for environmental justice. Currently, she is a co-head of the Environmental Science Club at her school and has been working to raise awareness about the issues in her hometown. She plans on majoring in Environmental Science in college. She was a Finalist for Project Green Challenge in 2017 and is now involved with Turning Green to fight for environmental justice.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Bridget Williams

Student Advisory Board Member

Bridget Williams is a Junior at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA. She was a Project Green Challenge (PGC) 2017 Finalist, and is now serving on Turning Green’s PGC and Conscious College Road Tour Student Advisory Board Committees. Bridget was a founding member of the Watershed Warriors Initiative, a school club and now non-profit that educates elementary school students on environmental issues. She is involved in many activities at her school, including the Superintendent’s Student Leadership Committee, the varsity field hockey team, and the National English Honor Society (NEHS).

Benjamin Wong

Student Advisory Board Member

Benjamin is a senior at Jericho High School in Jericho, New York. He is looking to study natural sciences in college, perhaps environmental biology in order to expand his interests in the science behind environmentalism. In addition to being a Project Green Challenge 2017 Finalist, Ben is also the co-founder and social media manager of a high-school student-led environmental group, AQUASORB, whose goal is to fight water pollution and to educate others about sustainability. In his free time, Ben enjoys creating videos, hiking with his family, and helping others realize the benefits of a conscious lifestyle over a conventional one.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Ilana Zeitzer

Student Advisory Board Member

Ilana is a junior at Dickinson College, double majoring in Biology and Art. Ilana was the 2nd Place Winner for Project Green Challenge 2017. On campus, she is active in her school's environmental activism club, Hillel, the Equestrian team and works at her school's organic farm. She plans to obtain a doctorate in botany after graduating at Dickinson. She is extremely passionate about natural environments and wildlife.

Heidi Locke Simon

Heidi Locke Simon | Board Chair

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.

Al Baylacq | Board Member

Partner, Good Earth Natural Foods

Al has co-led the growth of Good Earth Natural Foods since 1999. Since the early 1970’s, Good Earth’s mission has been to bring organic food into grocery stores in a consistent way, while supporting innovative and ethical organic growers and ranchers. Al’s dream was to be part of a marketplace that reflected the community it served. At the time he joined Good Earth, it was his intention that Good Earth would play a role as a “community hub,” while influencing and educating people and businesses far beyond its local community. Al is proud to have initiated an organic school lunch program through Good Earth in 2003. Good Earth’s school lunch program began with 4 schools, and currently is in 17 Marin County schools. Al and Good Earth’s support has been instrumental in the founding and growth of The Conscious Kitchen program.

David Bennett
Justina Lai

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.

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.

James Schurz
Stacy Malkan

Stacy Malkan

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.

Jeremiah McElwee

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.

Jeremiah McElwee
Erin Schrode

Erin Schrode 

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.

Chelsea Carey

Evelyn Barash | Summer Intern

Senior, Lawrence University

Evelyn, a rising senior at Lawrence University, is interested in holistic wellness + healing. She loves cooking fresh, vibrant meals with her friends and family and working in her school’s garden. Past experience includes interning with Centro Community Partners in Oakland, CA, and creating and leading a Spanish book club + girls group for bilingual middle school girls. Evelyn is excited to be working on projects promoting food equality and sustainability with the team!

Kelly Bieraugel | Summer Intern

Graduate, Gonzaga University

Kelly is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University, where she majored in Biology and minored in Psychology. Kelly was born in Bremerton, Washington, but has lived in California, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Italy through her childhood. Throughout college, Kelly was a part of Gonzaga University’s Soccer Team, The Environmental Organization, and Campus Kitchen. Kelly recently moved to Portland, where she hopes to gain more experience in the Public Health sector, specifically controversies surrounding the food system as it impacts the nation’s most vulnerable. She is a lover of local foods, yoga, camping, trail running, and seeking new adventures. She is excited to be working with Turning Green this summer to help engage other to lead a more sustainable and environmentally conscious lifestyle.  

Savanah Van Citters
Bailey Delacruz

Johanna Hayes | Summer Intern

Junior, Bates College

Johanna is a rising Junior at Bates College. She is an Environmental Studies and Dance double major, with concentrations in Global Environmental Politics and the Human Body. When she entered college she decided to go into Environmental Studies, as she felt and still feels that the work of environmentalism is what the world truly needs. The health of our planet determines the health of humans everywhere. She is dedicated to finding and promoting the moments when environmentalism also becomes an act of humanitarianism and when humans are forced to remember just how apart of nature we are. When she is not studying she is partaking in gardening, environmental protests, methods of alternative health, hiking, writing, yoga, and of course dancing.

Hannah Watts | Summer Intern

Sophomore, University of Florida

Hannah is a 2nd year Accounting major at the University of Florida.  I was a Project Green Challenge 2016 Finalist and I am now the Co-Chair for the Fundraising Committee for Turning Green’s Student Advisory Board.  On my campus, I am an Office Assistant at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and I am involved with Vegan Eating for Gators.  After graduation, I plan on working in accounting or finance for a sustainable business.

Jenny Fang
Missy Martin

Jamie Wertz | Summer Intern

Sophomore, University of Virginia

Jamie is from Falls Church, Virginia, and enjoys spending time outside, teaching yoga, exploring farmer's markets, and rock climbing. She is pursuing a degree in Global Studies: Environment and Sustainability with a minor in entrepreneurship. After graduating, she hopes to find a career helping an environmentally conscious company achieve its goals and to continue informing others on how to develop sustainable habits. She is excited to be working with Turning Green because the team shares her love of the earth and she is glad to be helping them improve the quality of our planet.

Erika Wilson | Summer Intern

Sophomore, Cal Poly

Erika is a second year Environmental Engineering major at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.  I am from a small town in central Massachusetts where I grew up in the woods. I have always loved the outdoors, nature, and adventure sports and in high school, I started to channel this into a passion for sustainability. I heard about Project Green Challenge four years ago when a student at my high school participated and made it to the finals. I was immensely inspired and knew I wanted to be a part of PGC one day. The knowledge, empowerment, friendships, growth, and connections that have come out of participating in Project Green Challenge have been numerous and wonderful. It inspired me to apply for a position as PGC Co-Chair and continue impacting and influencing others through this amazing program.

Missy Martin