We are a dedicated community of leaders, working together to ensure a sustainable future for all.
Judi Shils | Executive Director + Founder
Judi has spent the last 28 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.
Sue Waiss | Program Administrator
Sue has worked with Turning Green for 10 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.
Hannah Watts | Chief of Staff
Hannah Watts is the Chief of Staff for Turning Green, where she oversees student leadership, manages operations, and offers programmatic support. Her interests include environmental education, regenerative agriculture, and the intersection between social and environmental justice. She also serves on Women’s Voices for the Earth's Detox the Box Advisory Committee, advocating for womxn’s health and the elimination of toxic chemicals from intimate care and menstrual products.
Hannah holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting & Agriculture and Natural Resource Ethics and Policy from the University of Florida. Outside of Turning Green, Hannah enjoys exploring the Bay Area, eating plant-based foods, and taking care of her houseplants.
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.
Sunny Bitner | Summer Fellow
Lewis & Clark Law School
Sunny is a recent graduate from the University of Kansas with a BA in Environmental Studies and minor in Geology and will begin her legal education at Lewis & Clark Law School in Fall 2020. Sunny became involved with Turning Green through Project Green Challenge, where she was a Project Green Challenge 2018 Finalist and a 2019 Ambassador. Because of her work with Turning Green, she is working toward a career in environmental law and public service. Sunny enjoys public speaking, politics, hiking, and the great outdoors.
Madison Alcalay | Summer Intern
Senior, University of California, Berkeley
Madison is a rising senior at University of California, Berkeley studying Molecular Environmental Biology and Marine Science. She has always been passionate about the environment from growing up going on nature walks and visiting beaches along the California Coast. After learning about the impacts of plastic pollution on marine organisms and the environment, Madison has found ways to advocate for using more sustainable materials through education and hands-on science experiments in elementary schools. She is hoping to work at an environmental nonprofit focusing on improving sustainability and conservation efforts through education. On her campus, she works at the Lawrence Hall of Science teaching children science concepts through hands-on learning with sustainable crafts. In her free time she enjoys going on hikes, playing water polo, and exploring nature with friends.
Zoe Cowan | Summer Intern
Sophomore, Scripps College
Zoe is a sophomore at Scripps College in Claremont, California. She was raised surrounded by nature in Marin County, which has played a pivotal role in forming her passion for studying and conserving the environment. This passion has grown throughout her life, leading to volunteer work at Slide Ranch and Turning Green, as well as participating in the 2017 Project Green Challenge. When she is home, you can find her exploring the local trails on foot or mountain bike, baking, or working in the garden. She implements sustainability into her lifestyle by working to be zero waste and by supporting ethical and environmentally-friendly companies. At school, Zoe studies Environmental Analysis and Media, and is involved in the Sustainability Club which works to bring sustainable change to the Scripps campus.
Devin Ferri | Summer Intern
Junior, Colgate University
Devin is a junior at the Colgate University, majoring in Peace and Conflict Studies with minors in Biology and Geography. Her appreciation of her environment was fostered by growing up in rural Idaho with an abundance home grown produce and plenty of time spent outside with the horses. Devin is hoping to work in either an environmental or public health nonprofit focused on improving community health and wellbeing through environmental action and sustainable choices. On her campus, when the snow finally melts away, she loves working in the community garden and at the local farmers market as a way to promote nutritious and sustainable food choices. Cooking and amateur yoga takes up most of her free time, but the day is never complete without watching some YouTube videos.
Savina Johal | Summer Intern
Junior, University of California, Santa Barbara
Savina is a third year student at the University of California, Santa Barbara majoring in Environmental Studies. She grew up surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the San Francisco Bay Area, but really discovered her true passion for protecting the environment when she first took an environmental studies course in college. In the future, Savina wants to work for an environmental nonprofit that focuses on environmental justice and giving a voice to underserved communities that are usually more affected by environmental issues. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts, and watching sports.
Nelly Junesand | Summer Intern
Senior, Bates College
Nelly is a rising senior at Bates College, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Politics. Her interest for sustainability was sparked in early high school after taking an environmental science class with an inspiring and encouraging teacher. She became involved with Turning Green as a Summer 2019 Intern and joins the team again in 2020. On her campus, she is involved with several sustainability projects that aims to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and has started a Citizens' Climate Lobby chapter that works to lobby for climate policies at the state and national level. After graduating college, Nelly wants to work with an environmental justice nonprofit. In her free time, Nelly loves skiing, traveling, eating delicious foods, and listening to podcasts!
SungAh Kim | Summer Intern
Junior, Indiana University
SungAh is a student at Indiana University, double majoring in Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Journalism. SungAh first became involved with Turning Green as a participant and finalist of Project Green Challenge in 2016. During her junior year of high school, SungAh founded a school-wide environmental project, Project Green Bathrooms, that received grant-funding internationally and locally. As a university student, she is an active member of several environmental groups on campus, organizing and participating in several activism projects. SungAh is also known for her freelance work as a photographer and photojournalist. Many of her works can be seen being published and displayed by several local businesses and individuals. In her free time, SungAh loves to go hiking with her dog, listening to podcasts, reading books, and collecting houseplants.
Varsha Madapoosi | Summer Intern
Sophomore, University of California, Berkeley
Varsha is an incoming sophomore at University of California, Berkeley, studying Data Science and Society and Environment. She has a variety of experiences in environmental sustainability, from implementing a tri-bin waste system at her high school, energy benchmarking city buildings, and planning an environmental justice-oriented conference for students of color. In the future, Varsha hopes to promote sustainability and mitigate climate change through objective data analysis and collection methods, through a lens of environmental justice. In her free time, she enjoys biking, watching movies, and playing cards.
Emily McCabe | Summer Intern
Sophomore, University of California, Berkeley
Emily is a second year student at the University of California, Berkeley, studying Environmental Economics and Policy. She grew up in rural northern California, where she fostered a love for the environment through playing outdoors and enjoying the area's many public parks. After graduating, Emily hopes to study environmental law and work for the Environmental Protection Agency. On the Berkeley campus, Emily works with the Housing and Dining Sustainability Association to advocate for food policy across campus as well as educate students about their waste habits. In her free time, Emily enjoys meeting new people, walking her dog, practicing yoga, and reading magazines.
Emeline Myung | Summer Intern
Senior, Los Osos High School
Emeline is an incoming senior at Los Osos High School in sunny SoCal. She is a lover of all sciences, and most importantly, a lover of the planet and all the systems and organisms that thrive because of it, and on it. While she has always loved Mother Earth, she never fully realized the human-induced damage inflicted upon it until she revisited her motherland, Indonesia. Upon seeing the massive scale of plastic pollution and the degradation of her treasured childhood beaches and marine ecosystems, she embarked on a journey of climate action, leading her to Project Green Challenge 2019 where she was selected as a finalist. Merging her love of photography and writing, she hopes to continue to spread awareness and encourage conscious change in her community and in youth across the world.
Cvetanka Rizvanovic | Summer Intern
Freshman, University of Utah
Cvetanka is an incoming freshman at the University of Utah, studying Education and Administration. Her passion for sustainability has been an integral part of her character ever since she was young and she has continued to manifest her values through living a conscious lifestyle. She became involved with Turning Green as a Project Green Challenge 2019 Finalist and member of the Student Advisory Board. Cvetanka wants to pursue a career as an educator and administrator after earning her Master of Education. This upcoming fall, Cvetanka plans on continuing her involvement with environmentally conscious initiatives and organizations on campus. She also enjoys hiking with her family and visiting local national parks.
Renée Serota | Summer Intern
Junior, University of California, Berkeley
Renée is a third year student at the University of California, Berkeley, studying Environmental Economics and Policy and Global Studies. Her passion for the environment began as a kid on Girl Scout camping trips, and it has grown into a dedication to finding climate change solutions and educating people about actions they can take to promote sustainability. In the past, she has worked on renewable energy and fossil fuel emissions research, as well as research on conservation policies in public lands across the country. Renée plans on working in environmental policy development and education, helping to create and publicize new initiatives for sustainability on a regional level. On her campus, she works for the Goldman School of Public Policy, implementing public policy education for international officials. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time outdoors with her friends and family.
Josie Sparks | Summer Intern
Senior, Bloomington High School South
Josie is a senior at Bloomington High School South who plans to study Environmental Science and Nonprofit Management in college. She grew up in southern Indiana going to sailing camp and Environmental Explorers camp which fostered her love for the environment. She became involved with Turning Green through Project Green Challenge in 2019, where she became a finalist and was awarded co-third place. As a result of Project Green Challenge, Josie founded a nonprofit, Yellowwood Youth, which works to provide guidance, opportunities, and inspiration to youth in Indiana regarding their role in solving environmental issues and the climate crisis. She is involved with Students Advocating for a Greener Environment at school and is part of the Youth Climate Accord in Indiana. She has played viola for 7 years, enjoys writing of all kinds, and enjoys teaching those younger than herself.
Eleanor Stanford | Summer Intern
Junior, Williamette University
Eleanor is studying Civic Communication and Media Studies as well as Environmental Science and is going into her third year at Willamette University. She is passionate about taking personal responsibility to have a more sustainable lifestyle as well as community work and policy change to make sustainability a priority that is accessible to everyone. At school, she has worked as an Outdoor Program Leader, taking groups of students to experience the natural beauty of Oregon. She is also interested in design, and recently worked on a design project aiming to bring a culture of sustainability and environmental consciousness to student life by creating a resource for students to learn to cook sustainable, inexpensive, and healthy meals. Eleanor would like to have a job working with others to advocate for policy change and to problem solve around obstacles in sustainable lifestyles. For fun, Eleanor loves to hike, draw, and listen to music and podcasts.
Genevieve Stiers | Summer Intern
Senior, University of California, Santa Barbara
Genevieve is entering her fourth year at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is pursuing a degree in Global and International Studies and a minor in Spanish. After graduating next June, she hopes to pursue a career in non-profit work, focusing on educating Latin American peoples about climate change and environmental crises. Her passion for the environment has been evident since age seven, when she began selling hot chocolate at her siblings’ sports games and eventually fundraised enough to preserve two acres of Amazon Rainforest. Genevieve maintains a plant-based and low waste lifestyle, and she always tries to find ways to decrease her environmental impact. In her free time, Genevieve enjoys doing yoga, cooking vegan meals, baking sourdough, and hiking with her rescue pup Luna.
Olivia Thomas | Summer Intern
Graduate, Whitman College
Aurora Yuan | Summer Intern
Senior, Princeton High School
Dahlia Zail | Summer Intern
Junior, Pitzer College
Ilana Zeitzer | Student Leader
Masters Student, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Katie Taylor | Board Chair
Katie completed her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology, with a focus how mental health is impacted by our environment on both a macro and micro level. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she spent three years working with college students helping them develop their career paths and self-identity, as well as creating space for them to work through a myriad of life experiences that were impacting their overall functioning. Much of her initial work with clients focused on education about lifestyle choices (food accessibility, sleep patterns, media diet and daily routines) that were impacting their mental and physical health. In addition to working with clients in individual and group therapy, she also developed programs and seminars focused on educating students about how they could develop a low-cost health and wellness routine that supported their mental health and academic career. Prior to graduate school, Katie worked for non-profit and for-profit organizations to help implement marketing and advertising campaigns and develop communication strategies aimed at spreading awareness about a variety of products, services and diseases. Since moving to the Bay Area from the Midwest with her four children and 3 rescue dogs, Katie has immersed herself in learning how to create a more environmentally sustainable home for her family. She is passionate about teaching her children to understand where their food comes from, how to cook and prepare nutritionally-dense, organic meals and use mindfulness techniques to resolve challenges. Katie has also planned several fundraising events over the past few years to support various organizations and their missions. Katie is passionate about continuing to work in the field of psychology and educating people about how our lifestyle choices and wellness routines impacts our mental and physical health.
Heidi Locke Simon | Chair Emeritus
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.
Chuck Dietrich | Board Member
Corporate Vice President, OPG Mobile Data Applications and Growth
Chuck works for Rajesh Jha and leads the Mobile Data Labs team in San Francisco. The team builds and grows innovative, mobile-centric applications that help people to use their ambient data combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and delightful experiences to automate their valuable administrative tasks. Chuck also works on OPG and corporate strategy around the areas AI, engagement and growth. Chuck enjoys the challenges of matching user needs with product strategy and goto market models.
Chuck has over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience and was most recently the cofounder and CEO of Mobile Data Labs, acquired by Microsoft December, 2015. Mobile Data Labs is the creator of MileIQ, the top grossing finance app across both Google and Apple’s apps stores. Chuck's entrepreneurial past also includes building a retail products company, followed by joining Salesforce.com in its inception and staying for 9 years. In the role of General Manager and Vice President, Chuck built and ran many of Saleforce.com’s channel and partner programs, including system Integrators, marketing partners, product partnerships, and Latin American distribution. Chuck also built and led the company’s mobile strategy and business unit. After Salesforce.com, Chuck was the CEO of SlideRocket, which grew quickly and was acquired by VMware in 2011.
Chuck earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the University of Utah.
Chuck has been guest lecturer at Harvard, MIT and Northwestern and presents at many technology conferences. He has served on boards of numerous early to mid-stage companies and is involved with the Pledge 1% nonprofit initiative.
Chuck grew up in New Mexico and lives in Northern California with his wife and two children. Chuck is an avid adventurer and lover of the outdoors. In his younger days he spent a lot of time ski mountaineering in the Andes, Alps and Himalaya. When not working, he and his family can be found traveling, skiing, climbing, biking and kite surfing.
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.
Sean Martin | Board Member
President | CEO, Martin Consulting Group
Neka Pasquale | Board Member
Founder, Urban Remedy
Neka is a licensed Acupuncturist, Author and the Founder of Urban Remedy. She created Urban Remedy as a natural evolution of her passion for health and healing and living a lifestyle with “food is healing” as her mantra. Growing up in the farm-to-table culture of Northern California, Neka was inspired by people who care about what they eat and who strive to eat for health as well as pleasure. In her private practice of over a decade, Neka combined acupuncture and Chinese medicine with cutting-edge nutrition and lifestyle modifications to heal, balance and create optimal health. Neka started leading wellness retreats with her patients and over and over again they described experiencing life-changing results after just a few days. Inspired by these transformations, Neka knew she had found her calling and in 2009, Urban Remedy was born.
Lily Riesenfeld | Board Member
Co-Founder, The Pad Studios and Founder, Kinship
Lily has been in the wellness industry for 15 years and has founded several boutique wellness studios, the most successful being The Pad Studios. She recently launched a new project “Kinship”, where she consults for wellness start ups and produces experiences through strategic partnerships and connecting people and healers together. Having grown up in Berkeley, California she is an advocate for concious living free of toxins and leading a natural lifestyle. Lily is an outdoor enthusiast and is passionate about supporting local agriculture at the Marin Farmer’s Market, where you can often find her with her husband and two young children. Lily holds a degree in Nutrition and Psychology from Pepperdine University, and also studied holisitc nutrition at Bauman College. Lily was magnetically drawn to the mission of the Conscious Kitchen finding it a truly revolutionary concept holding the answer to solving the problem with “big food”. By connecting and nourishing our children properly we will together melt away so much of what is wrong with our culture and society.
Eve Wirth | Board Member
Eve is a Development and Events Manager with broad experience including donor relations and development, the development of communication and fundraising strategies, managing all printed materials from concept through design and print, event planning and execution. Her parents were avid, serious gardeners and from a young age learned the importance of eating fresh, organic, and seasonal. She is passionate about the work of Turning Green because she believes it is more important than ever to “raise awareness about conscious living” and influence the current and next generations. In recent years, she focused her energy on serving in her community and the schools that her children have attended. For the last 5 years she has served on the Tamalpais High School (THS)-Parent/Teacher/Student Association and the Tam High Foundation (THF).
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.