Emily Shepard

The Graphic Distillery
Emily is the founder of The Graphic Distillery. She partners with change consultants, strategists, and innovators, creating clear, colorful visuals to help people get ideas out of their heads and onto a shared “platform”. This accelerates the ability of groups to understand complex concepts, see new connections between ideas, and make better decisions. Her work allows clients to become fully engaged and energized when working together on critical issues.

Joyce Lopes

Vice President for Administration & Finance / CFO
Sonoma State University
Joyce Lopes joined Sonoma State University as the Vice President of Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer in August 2017. Ms. Lopes comes to SSU from Humboldt State University where she was the Vice President of Administrative Affairs. Along with being a certified public accountant, Ms. Lopes holds a Master's in Business Administration and a certificate from the Chief Business Officer Leadership Institute sponsored by the California Association of School Business Officers.
She is also a trained consultant in interest-based negotiations. Ms. Lopes earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business at the University of Maryland in Europe where she took advantage of the location to study art history in Prague, world economics in Den Haag, music appreciation in Salzburg, and world literature in Egypt. Ms. Lopes has 35 years of finance experience in the education industry that includes public and private universities in the U.S. and overseas, as well as a research university, a community college and a K-12 district. Her results-oriented leadership style is focused on trust, collaboration and accountability. Her management experience includes widely disparate departments from accounting to human resources to information technology to facilities and maintenance. She is a self-motivated and creative leader with experience developing sustainable budgets in growing and declining enrollment environments.

Dr. Sabine Blankenship

Head of Scientific Affairs
German Consulate General in San Francisco
Sabine Blankenship is responsible for scientific affairs at the German Consulate General in San Francisco since April 2016. Before that she served as Science Liaison Officer at the Consulate, fostering scientific collaboration and exchange between the U.S.’s Pacific Northwest and Germany.
Much of her work so far has focused on topics such as entrepreneurship and innovation, education, energy and the life sciences. Before joining the consulate in 2011, she held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF. She holds an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, a tourism degree from Australia, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Ruhr University Bochum in Germany. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabineblankenship/

Gregory Roberts

Chair, Professor of Ceramics
Art & Art History
In 1992, Gregory Roberts was the first artist to utilize honeycomb ceramics to create art, bringing a completely unique material to the clay and glass world, which was first shown at Dorothy Weiss Gallery in San Francisco. He went on to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts at Mills College and was offered a San Francisco Art Dealers Association Introductions Exhibition at Dorothy Weiss for his MFA thesis exhibition titled Working Late.
He has been an artist-in-residence at the Oregon School of Arts and Crafts, Portland and had his first solo exhibition, Small Business at Butters Gallery in Portland, OR in 1995. He has been on the faculty of the Department of Art at Sonoma State University for 15 years where he has served as the head of the arts department. “My work in solo and group exhibitions seeks to marry ancient ceramic traditions with contemporary technological advances”.

Justine Law

Assistant Professor of Ecology and Environmental Studies
Hutchins School of Liberal Studies
Dr. Law is a human-environment geographer, and her research focuses on the ecological management practices of rural communities that live in and around North American forests. Her other research and teaching interests include: political ecology, climate change, conservation, novel ecology, and science studies.

Christopher Evans

Christopher Leith Evans was born in 1954 in Bremerton, Washington. His grade school years were spent in Brightwaters, on Long Island, in the suburbs of New York City. As a child and teenager Chris often visited the city’s great museums, giving him a deep appreciation of art history. In 1972, at age seventeen, he moved with his family to Santa Monica, California. In the autumn of 1973 Christopher began attending the University of California, Los Angeles. The UCLA Art department of the 1970s was a crossroads of Post-Modern “pluralism” and celebrated artists such as William Brice, James Valerio, James Doolin, Tom Wudl, and David Hockney were among the faculty that Evans studied with. Christopher was one of a handful of young painters interested in exploring a more naturalistic approach to representation than Pop-Art and Photo-Realism afforded, and in using long disregarded techniques of traditional oil painting. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1980.
Returning to his New York roots during the 80s and 90s Evans painted a number of rooftop vistas of Manhattan and its iconic architecture. The most famous, begun as a series of photographs in 1995 and completed in 2002, is New York Full Circle, a 360˚ panoramic view of the city as once seen from the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center painted on a 24 inch sphere. New York Times art critic Roberta Smith called the piece “exhilarating” and compared its meticulous detail to the work of Renaissance master Jan Van Eyck. In 1996 Evans launched a special collaborative project of large canvases called Supply Chain Portraits. These multi-picture global view “landscapes” explore the economic, environmental, and spiritual connections that link western consumers of gasoline, lumber, and artist’s oil paint to unseen people around the world. The series is designed to raise awareness as well as funding for international humanitarian causes. In recent years the rolling hills, oak trees, reflecting waters, and expansive skies of Northern California’s Russian River valley have been inspiration for Christopher Evans’ landscape paintings. Nature, in its pure, elemental form, seen in rocks, water, branches, leaves, sky and clouds, is the heart and soul of his work. During 2016 Evans was artist-in residence at the 3,200 acre Pepperwood Preserve in the hills above Santa Rosa. As a painter Christopher Leith Evans has had a multi-faceted career that has brought to him a wide range of experiences, awards and honors including travel assignments with National Geographic, working with film directors George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese, an Oscar nomination for Special Visual Effects, grants from the Ford Foundation and the Pollock Krasner Foundation, and an Honorary Doctorate from the Academy of Art in San Francisco.

Dr. Lisa Vollendorf

Provost, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chief Academic Officer
Academic Affairs
Dr. Lisa Vollendorf is Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at Sonoma State University. A passionate educator who believes in the value of education as a public good, Dr. Vollendorf is proud to provide academic leadership to a university that serves nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. A Spanish professor by training, she is a strong proponent of inclusive excellence, collaboration, and innovative teaching and learning. Dr. Vollendorf has more than 22 years of experience in public higher education as a teacher, researcher, and academic leader. You can follow her on Twitter @lisavol.

Sonoma State Children’s School

Early Education Program serving SSU student, staff and faculty families
Sonoma State University Associated Students
The Associated Students Children’s School: Schooling for Sustainability for ages 1-5. The philosophy of education at the Children’s School is based on child development research, which finds that children form most of their attitudes about self and learning during the first five years of life. Our goal is for children to develop ecological literacy, an understanding that all living things are interrelated and interdependent. From the age of one year, children develop the dispositions of respect, responsibility and resourcefulness. We call our curriculum for the whole school “A Living Systems Curriculum”: We plant seeds and grow food. We harvest food. We let some plants go to seed and plant the seeds. We feed plants that feed us. We learn about plants and season’s cycles. We recycle our waste through composting and vermiculture. We hope to instill in children a lifelong passion for taking care of ourselves and our earth.

William Silver

Professor of Leadership & Strategy
Dr. William Silver is a Professor of Leadership and Strategy at Sonoma State University. From 2008-2017 he served as the Dean of the School of Business and Economics and the Wine Business Institute. Dr. Silver is the co-author of the book, Way of Zing – A Guide to Aligning Work and Life, written with Mark Gregory Nelson. The Way of Zing is a story about living a life of purpose and relevance, where what the world needs from you is in congruence with who you are.
Nelson and Silver share some simple yet profound practices to leading a work/life full of prosperity, discovery, connection and meaning, the quadruple bottom line of human vitality. Before joining SSU, Bill Silver was Chief Operating Officer and Senior Associate Dean at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. During his tenure at the University of Denver’s business school, Dr. Silver directed executive and corporate education programs for more than 75 client organizations including First Data Corporation, Newmont Mining, Coors Brewing, Kaiser Permanente, Hewlett Packard, Time Warner Telecom, and Lockheed Martin. Combining his interests in behavioral, cognitive, and leadership sciences, Silver incorporates experiential and expeditionary learning into his programs, using activities such as sailing, rock climbing, rafting, martial arts, international travel, and service learning to teach people business acumen, leadership intelligence and the ability to deliver results. He has written extensively for professional journals about leadership effectiveness and business performance. Silver majored in organizational psychology at the University of Michigan, where he received a B.A. with Distinction and High Honors. He began developing his philosophy of leadership while earning his Ph.D. in Business Administration at the University of Washington. Bill Silver is an avid martial artist, an enthusiastic explorer of wineries, and a determined trail runner. He lives in Santa Rosa with his wife Adrienne, a pediatrician for Kaiser Permanente, and their three children: Benji, Zachary, and Ari. They spend all of their spare time hiking, skiing, biking, kayaking and enjoying Sonoma County’s bounty of food, music, art, and beautiful parks and trails.

Lynne Lyle

Lecturer and Master Teacher, Early Childhood Education Curriculum especially Exploring the Natural World with Children
Early Childhood Studies and Sonoma State University Children's School
I have been in early childhood education since 1980. I have a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and found that I did not want to be inside a classroom most of the day. I believe children learn the "three r's" outdoors as well as indoors. Luckily, I was able to teach in Early Education Programs for children 2 to 5 years of age and be outside for most of the day. Since 2006, I have worked at Sonoma State University Children's School helping to create rich and opportunity filled outdoor environments for children to explore and grow. I have taught adults since 1989 at Santa Rosa Junior College and at Sonoma State Univeristy focusing on curriculum development. I am passionate about gardening and botanical art.

Theo Bridant

Technical Director, Tech 3
A&H/School of performing Arts
Theo Bridant has worked at Sonoma State University since August of 2007 as the Technical Director for the School of Performing Arts. His duties include overseeing the construction and realization of stage scenery, properties, lighting, video, and sound designs for the departments of Theater Arts and Dance, and Musical Theater; Theo is often invited to perform the duties of Lighting Designer and Sound Designer for many of these productions as well. Theo is joined in the Scene Shop by John Connole and Russell Wigglesworth, and he often works on productions concurrent with Martha Clarke, the Costume Director for the School of Performing Arts. The best part of Theo's job is that he gets to work closely with the advanced technical theater students each semester, which gives him the opportunity to share his knowledge and experience with them.

David Guhin

Assistant City Manager and Director of Planning and Economic Development
City of Santa Rosa
Mr. Guhin has over 15 years of experience in the public sector, and is currently the Assistant City Manager and Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Santa Rosa. In addition to the Assistant City Manager duties, Mr. Guhin’s responsibilities include the City’s Planning, Building, Engineering and Economic Development functions.
Mr. Guhin has established ongoing process improvement implementations to expedite and enhance the development process, guided the development of the City’s Housing Action Plan, lead the development of the City’s comprehensive cannabis policy and tax initiatives, oversaw the Roseland Annexation process, and is developing an aggressive downtown housing initiative to encourage multi-family housing in the downtown core to support transit oriented development and the health and economic vitality of our downtown. Mr. Guhin holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and is currently in a Master’s Degree program at Sonoma State and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of California.

Tennis Wick




Permit Sonoma
Tennis Wick has served as Permit Sonoma Director since November 2013. The agency balances environmental protection and sustainable development of Sonoma County’s natural resources through the agency’s planning, engineering, building, well and septic, code enforcement and customer service sections. Before joining the County of Sonoma, Wick worked as a principal at Berg Holdings responsible for government affairs, site acquisition, design and entitlement.
Previously, Tennis practiced as a partner at the engineering and planning consulting firm CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group, Inc. He began his career with the County of Marin where he led current planning as Development Chief. Wick is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (10447) and the American Planning Association. Tennis Wick holds a Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a Public Service Emphasis from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A long-time Petaluma resident, Tennis Wick has been civically active twice serving as a City Planning Commissioner and as Board President of the Friends of the Petaluma River, Petaluma Peoples Service Center and the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce. Wick is also a member of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and the Sonoma County Alliance. Tennis is part owner of Hen House Brewing Co. He and his wife Holly have four grown daughters and are active in endurance sports, cooking and gardening.

Tom Jacobson

Center for Sustainable Communities
Tom Jacobson is a graduate of the University of California Hastings College of Law and received a Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley. He is Professor of Geography, Environment, and Planning and Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities at Sonoma State University.
Among his publications, he wrote the chapters on “Growth Management” and “Aesthetic Regulation and Design Review” in California Land Use Practice (California Continuing Education of the Bar), co-authored Exactions and Impact Fees in California (Solano Press Books), and was principal author of Healthy by Design: A Public Health and Land Use Planning Workbook (Sonoma County Department of Health Services). He is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a member and past president of the California Planning Roundtable.

Dustin DeMatteo

Programs Coordinator & Director
Daily Acts & Farmster
Dustin DeMatteo is a Programs Coordinator who works with students, residents, and sustainability experts to uncover needs to kick-start community and culture transformation in Sonoma County. Dustin believes that your daily acts to grow food, save water, conserve energy, reduce waste or build community generates local resilience and beneficial connections in your community. He has worked at Daily Acts for two years and converted thousands of square feet of lawn into drought-tolerant and edible landscapes, as well as, installed greywater and rainwater systems throughout the region.
Dustin graduated with distinction from Sonoma State in Energy Management & Design within the Environmental Studies & Planning Dept. in May of 2015. He also serves in a number of other roles including the Director of Farmster and a Board of Trustee member for the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District.

Keenan Foster

Keenan Foster

Keenan Foster


Principal Environmental Specialist- Urban Stream Management
Sonoma County Water Agency
Keenan M. Foster Principal Environmental Specialist (Botanist-Ecologist) Experience Mr. Foster has more than 20 years experience providing technical expertise as a biologist and environmental scientist managing construction and remedial natural resource projects. He has worked in the environmental section of the Sonoma County Water Agency as a Senior Environmental Specialist since 2000 and been in a management position (Principal Environmental Specialist) since 2013.
Before that, Mr. Foster worked as a consultant and as a nurseryman at a California retail nursery. As a result, Mr. Foster is familiar with the flora of the major plant community types in California as well as horticultural species. Mr. Foster is experienced in conducting floral inventories and special-status plant surveys, wetland delineations, developing habitat restoration and mitigation plans, performing horticultural suitability analyses, characterizing and mapping plant communities, and coordinating with resource agencies. He has developed and implemented revegetation, erosion control, and land management methods and plans for upland, riparian, and wetland communities in the Western States. He is well versed in various techniques for ecological data collection and statistical analysis in accordance with protocols established by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Native Plant Society. He is familiar with information management and map generation using Global Positioning Survey (GPS) equipment in conjunction with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Mr. Foster has permitted projects subject to regulation under Section 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act, Section 1602 of the Fish and Game Code, state (CESA) and federal Endangered Species Act (FESA) and prepared environmental documents pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Below is a brief work history that identifies role and significant accomplishments attained under each position that are representative of Mr. Foster’s work. Detailed project and program descriptions can be supplied on request. Certified California Nurseryman and Assistant Manager- Egger Nurseries (1987-1993) • Ordered bedding and nursery stock, managed staff, sales Staff-Project-Senior Environmental Specialist- Harding Lawson Associates (1993-2000) • Prepared environmental documents under CEQA and NEPA • Permitted projects under CWA, FESA, Fish and Game Code, Porter Cologne Act, Coastal Zone, BCDC, • Conducted wetland delineations, identified/negotiated mitigation requirements, oversaw implementation, advised program alignments, conducted project and program level floral and special-status species surveys, • Lead staff member on biological baseline and follow-up monitoring studies at unexploded ordnance sites, Presidio of Monterey Annex (Fort Ord), Monterey County, California • Lead staff member on biological clearance and preparation of mitigation plans in advance of remedial actions, various sites, Presidio of Monterey Annex, Monterey County, California • Conducted post-fire erosion control measures Inland Range Sites 10 and 19, Fort Ord, Monterey County, California • Species surveys and advised techniques for State Route 28, drainage and erosion control design, Lake Tahoe Basin, Nevada • Prepared endangered species management plan, Presidio of Monterey and Presidio of Monterey Annex, Monterey County, California Senior Environmental Specialist –Principal Environmental Specialist-Sonoma County Water Agency (2000-present) • Providing broad support for the Russian River Section 7 Consultation under FESA for Agency and USACE operations including water supply, flood control, dam operation, flow management, and recreation, • Salmonid Recovery Coordinator, providing assistance to NMFS and CDFW to facilitate data collection, standardization, and analysis; development of federal and state recovery plans, furthering implementation of local and regional early recovery actions, and initiating broad regional support for salmon recovery, • Technical assistance and management for multi-discipline state and federal grants • Providing technical support for various infrastructure projects including developing and implementing science based study plans, conducting floral surveys, special-status plant surveys, wetland assessment/delineations and support for emergency response, • Member of the Ludwigia Task Force • Environmental Permit Manager for Stream Maintenance, providing technical environmental support for the Agency's Stream Maintenance Program, overseeing staff, permitting, vegetation, sediment and facility maintenance, developing site specific planting programs, developing strategic bioengineering solutions to reduce the frequency of maintenance, working with non-profits, federal, state, county, and city government to coordinate large scale riparian restoration programs. • Feasibility of credit trading or nutrient offset methodology for work in the Laguna De Santa Rosa related to sediment and flood channel management, • Conducted algae monitoring with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board on the Russian River to identify species present, their ecology, and evaluate effect of flow on abundance and bio-stimulatory responses. Education M.A., Biology, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, 1992 B.A., Botany, with Chemistry minor, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, 1988 Memberships California Native Plant Society California Certified Nursery Professional, CCN Pro# 2946

Suzi Grady

Petaluma Bounty
Suzi Grady is the Program Director of Petaluma Bounty. Previously the Bounty Farm Manager, she has 13 years of experience in building community around food access, gardening and food system collaboration.
is fluent in Spanish, trained as a farmer at UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden Apprenticeship Program, a certified permaculturalist, graduate of the GCETP Program from the Garden for the Environment and taught organic gardening, household composting and nutrition at a school garden program in San Francisco for two years. Suzi graduated from the University of Michigan with a dual degree in Political Science and Spanish Literature where she also studied in Santiago, Chile. She is a 2014 Fellow of the Leadership Institute of Ecology and Economy, a member of the CHIPA Wellness Committee, Sonoma County Food System Alliance Coordinating Committee and Policy Committee Co-Chair, a founding member of the Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition and 2017 fellow of Coaction Institute. In 2016, Suzi was recognized by Assemblymember Marc Levine for her exemplary community work and in 2017 was awarded CAFF's Food Advocate of the Year.

Renee Senander

Manager for Workers' Compensation, ADA and Leave Administration
Human Resources - Payroll & Benefits
As chair of the Employee Wellness Committee, Renee Senander pulls together resources across campus and the community to bring a range of wellness activities to campus for employees. From partnering with Redwood Credit Union on financial wellness, to Kaiser Permanente on flu shots and educational classes, there is opportunity available to employees to improve upon all areas of wellness in their life.

Judith Ford

Judith Ford, PhD

Judith Ford, PhD

Sonoma State University/School of Business and Economics and Sustainable North Bay
http://sustainablessu.sonoma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Judith Ford
Dr. Judith Ford defended her PhD dissertation: 'Climate Change as Metaphor and Catalyst', a transdisciplinary case study of climate change, which illustrated how the dominant worldview shapes our understanding and attempts to solve the wicked problem of our age. Her research concluded that solutions to climate change lie not within the same narrow worldview from which it emerged but from an older, yet perhaps most universal, worldview, which sees humankind as an inextricable component of an enigmatic natural world where communities are defined by naturally-occurring bio-regions entwining food, economy, health, and society.
centuries of marginalization, her research concluded that this alternative worldview survives and thrives because it answers humankind’s universal quests for meaning, purpose, community, and visceral contact with nature. Firmly re-situating westerners within the natural world provides both the keys to solving climate change and addressing a myriad of related social and environmental issues. The key to this building sustainable and resilient communities based on the strength and unique characteristics of the bio-regions they inhabit. Her research has been well-received by a diversity of audiences, such as Slow Food USA, the Bayview Salon, California Department of Water Resources, Marin County Climate Action Planners, the National Park Service, Sonoma State University and the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative in the US, as well as radio and print media outlets in the Netherlands. After thirteen years in Paris and Amsterdam, and prior expat experiences in Malaysia and Australia, Judith recently returned to her native California, where she relishes the natural beauty, community scale, and local food so revered in Marin County. At a global scale, she is a policy advisor and strategist with the Leading for Well Being Consortium (L4WB) of academic, business, and policy leaders leading innovation within the world’s major institutions and businesses to shift the narrative and practices towards a sustainable society, which works for all of its members. At a local scale, her work with local youth and faith organizations entwines social justice and food literacy to address the growing homelessness and hunger found side by side the waste of abundance in her community. https://www.linkedin.com/in/judith-ford/  

Oren Wool

Executive Direstor
Sustainable North Bay
As a community organizer Oren connects talent, resources, and capital for a sustainable future. He promotes ideas, policies, companies and products that prosper from sustainable value cycles and support equitable communities. As a contractor Oren implements web technology solutions to improve organizational communication and support brand messaging. Recent clients include organizations focused on food safety, organic agriculture, herbal supplements, fair trade, biodiversity and healthy lifestyles. Oren is a certified LEED® Green Associate and serves on the US Green Building Council - Redwood Empire Chapter Leadership Board as the Vice-Chair.

Isabel Lopez

Executive Director
Raizes Collective
Isabel Lopez is the Executive Director Raizes Collective. Isabel Lopez is a mother, advocate, activist, Executive Director, neighbor, daughter, and first-generation woman of color born in Morelos, Mexico. Her parents migrated to Sonoma County to support the family doing field work picking grapes. So at 7 years old, Isabel and her 6 siblings, live with their parents in a one bedroom home. She did not speak English and life was very different from the conditions she experienced in Mexico. She noticed the inequities and unfairness in the Immigration system when she became a citizen in 1994; was fortunate to benefit from the Amnesty Program that gave her citizenship just 6 months after her father became a US citizen under this program.
Then she questions why those under the age of 18 could become citizens, while those 18 and over could not. Even though her family was not able to share a college experience with her, she was the first and only member of her family to obtain a 4-year degree. She attributes this to many mentors, the support of her family, programs, and community. She is especially grateful to the formerly funded Upward Bound Program that exposed her to numerous educational, art and cultural opportunities. She marveled at how such crucial and beneficial programs could be slashed over time. Isabel is keenly aware of how current youth are struggling without such opportunities; given the current education, cultural and political and economic climate, the youth have an additional barrier of having to work to help support their families. “It is s important for me to be able to hold this kind of artistic and transformative programming…it is a way for me to contribute to the positive…creating pathways for these children in a way that is culturally relevant to them, with for and by people who look like them and share their experiences”. Isabel is most profoundly affected by her relationship with her daughter, and her daughter’s relationship with the world. She is 10 years old, bright, inquisitive, insightful and aware. She participates in creative writing, poetry festivals, and other cultural activities with individuals who look like her. She is courageous and confident, characteristics that make her mother beam with joy and pride. Because of the people, communities and opportunities she has been exposed to, she speaks up, shares her writing at school, teals and adult and discusses freely with her mom when she sees something that is “not right”. Isabel and her daughter talk a great deal about the world we live in. Isabel wants other children and people of color to experience the confidence and pride she works to instill her daughter. Even the events hosted by Raizes Collective do not have babysitting services but instead have programing that includes children and youth, “ because they have so much to say!”, exclaims Isabel. Isabel is the founder and Executive Director of Raizes Collective. Raizes Collective was established in June 2015 after returning to Santa Rosa after graduating from Sacramento State. During her time away she was introduced to organizations that had developed interesting models for affecting social change through the arts and cultural programming. She also experienced a more distanced, yet clearer, perspective on the current reality of living in Santa Rosa as a person of color. She was awakened to the variety of inequities that existed in multiple communities in Santa Rosa – health, education, economics, access to culture, and more. After spending several years re-learning her hometown, and logging many commuter miles to neighboring cities to access the kind of community activism she was craving in Santa Rosa, she determined that the time was right to develop Santa Rosa’s own community organization, following the effective models of those experienced in action elsewhere. Being a graduate from the ArtQuest program in Santa Rosa High School, she was well aware of the impact that the arts can have in addressing many of the issues she was exploring. She also recognized that art, culture and environmental programming are a very effective tool for activism. As a result, she established a nonprofit organization, the Raizes Collective to empower and mobilize community through the arts, culture and environmental education. Raizes has had a remarkable level of success for its young life. A slate of over 90 art and cultural workshops and events have been produced, including our annual Noche de Cultura or Cultural Night fundraising event, weekly bilingual yoga sessions, Parking Lot Poetry spoken word sessions, and Write the Power creative writing workshops which are based on the concept of “La Cultura Cura” or cultural-based healing; a method for healing and healthy development which is inextricably linked to restoring one's true cultural identity as the foundation of well-being for individuals, families and communities. Other Non-profit organizations are approaching Raizes to partner on new projects such as Sonoma County’s first Youth Environmental Artivist Summit organized in collaboration with Stewards of the Redwoods and Coast in August 2016. The Sonoma County Library continues to contract the collective to organize art and cultural workshops in 2018. Taking advantage of this great momentum, while transitioning from a volunteer-run organization to a nonprofit with its first paid staff, is the most immediate challenge facing the organization.

Nelson Lomeli

Program Specialist
Sonoma Clean Power
As Program Specialist, Nelson supports the Sonoma Clean Power program team with design, management, and implementation of customer-facing programs. Nelson has worked on the Drive EverGreen program iterations, SCP’s solar programs, and the demand-response/management program, GridSavvy. Nelson previously worked with the Sonoma County Water Agency’s Energy Resources Group working on outreach and communication efforts for the early stages of Sonoma Clean Power’s development. Nelson holds a B.A. degree in Environmental Studies & Planning with an emphasis in Energy Management & Design from Sonoma State University, and is fluent in Spanish.

Dr. Karen O’Brien

Dr. Karen O'Brien University of Oslo

Dr. Karen O’Brien
University of Oslo


Professor of Sociology and Human Geography
University of Oslo
Karen O’Brien is a professor in the Department of sociology and human geography at the University of Oslo, Norway. She works on issues related to global environmental change, globalization, vulnerability, climate change adaptation, and human security. She is particularly interested in how societies both create and respond to change.
Her research explores the ways that processes such as climate change, biodiversity loss and other large-scale environmental transformations interact with other global processes to exacerbate inequity, increase vulnerability and undermine sustainability. Moreover, she is interested in how integral theory and integral approaches can contribute to a better understanding of both the problems and solutions linked to climate change. Karen O’Brien leads the PLAN project on Responding to Climate Change: The Potentials of and Limits to Adaptation in Norway, and was also a Lead Author on the adaptation chapter for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. Her interests in the project include the use of an integral approach for the investigation and implementation of socio-technical transitions, as well as the role of culture, values and worldviews for the ways in which such transitions are understood and carried out.  

Sarah Hadler

League Cycling Instructor and Safe Routes to School Program Manager
Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition
Interested in bike commuting or just riding your bike more often? Attend our Bike Commuting Workshop with expert League of American Bicycling Certified Instructor Sarah Hadler from the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. Sarah is an avid bike commuter and educator who has ridden her bike up and down the coast of California, through Mexico, and all around the streets of Sonoma County. She is a wealth of information about everything bike-related - come to the class to learn and be inspired!

Dr. Dianne Rush Woods, Ph.D.

University Diversity Officer
California State University East Bay
Dr. Rush Woods has the distinction of being appointed as the first Diversity Officer for California State University, East Bay, as of July 1, 2013. In her role as Diversity Officer, Dr. Woods coordinates efforts to foster and support diversity, equity and inclusion as core values throughout all aspects of the University community.
work emphasizes diversity-oriented programs and initiatives including implementation of the University Diversity Plan to ensure that actions are taken to fulfill its commitments. She previously served as the Chief of Staff to Dr. Leroy Morishita, President of Cal State East Bay. Joining the faculty initially as a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Dr. Woods was appointed as a tenure-track faculty member in 2001. A founding member of the Department of Social Work, Dr. Woods served as its chair from 2007-2010. As a professor and active scholar in Social Work, Dr. Woods is recognized regionally and nationally for her work in the areas of race, gender and equity issues in the academy; photo-voice, community empowerment; and the overlap between domestic violence and animal abuse. In addition, Dr. Woods has served as the principal or co-principal investigator on a series of Title IV Education Department grants and California Social Work Educational Consortium II Mental Health Department grants. Dr. Woods has participated extensively in faculty governance during her tenure, most notably serving as the Senate’s Vice Chair in 2009, and Senate Chair from 2010-2012. She also served as the University's representative to the Statewide Academic Senate Fall 2010-Spring 2012. Dr. Woods, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley; M.S.W. from the University of California, Los Angeles; M.P.H. from the University of California, Berkeley; and Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley.

Eric Berlow

Ecologist and Data Scientist
Vibrant Data Labs
Dr. Eric Berlow is an ecologist, network scientist, and data scientist who specializes in not specializing. He was the Co-Founder and President of Vibrant Data, which was acquired by Rakuten, Inc. Eric is internationally recognized for his research on ecological complexity – with articles in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that have received ISI’s Most Highly Cited Papers awards. His talks on TED.com on finding hidden patterns in complex data have together received over 2 million views. Prior to Vibrant Data, Eric was the founding director of the University of California’s first science institute inside Yosemite National Park, which focused on guiding data-driven decisions for protecting natural ecosystems. Eric has received a TED Senior Fellowship, an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and GE’s “Architects of Innovation” award. He was named one of the Top 100 Creatives by Origin Magazine. Dr. Berlow holds a B.A. in Biology from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Oregon State University. https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-berlow-9865194/

Jillian Buckholz

Director of Sustainability
Cal State East Bay
Jillian Buckholz is the first Director of Sustainability at the California State University, East Bay campus where she is responsible for managing campus sustainability efforts including an annual greenhouse gas inventory; 5-year climate action plan; comprehensive campus sustainability assessment and plan; project-based student internship program; campus sustainability committee and associated task forces; and educational programming.
Prior to coming to The Bay, Jillian was the Senior Programs Coordinator at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). She was the first sustainability coordinator in the California State University (CSU) system at CSU, Chico. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geography from Ohio University and a master’s degree in Geography and Planning from CSU, Chico.

Merith Weisman

Academic Programs, CCE, Social Media Coordinator
Sonoma State University Center for Community Engagement
Since 2007, Merith Weisman has served as the coordinator of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at Sonoma State University (SSU). She works with faculty and community organizations to help them develop collaborative partnerships to construct and strengthen service-learning courses, community-based participatory research and other engaged pedagogies for the common good, particularly around areas of diversity and sustainability. Previously, Merith was the coordinator of the Feinstein Center for Service Learning at the University of Rhode Island and developed an understanding of community organizations as Program Director of the Volunteer Center of Rhode Island. She has also served as a consultant to Latino community organizations in Providence to assist them with connecting with the mainstream community. Merith’s academic background is in applied cultural anthropology so she has traveled extensively and now lives on a boat in the San Francisco Bay.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This