Meet Our Team

We don’t just talk about equity and inclusion, we practice it everyday. Meet our unique crew of changemakers who take on the hard work of building a fair and just future where our communities thrive.

Debra Gore-Mann

President & CEO
Debra Gore-Mann is the President & CEO of The Greenlining Institute. Debra has over 25+ years of leadership experience in nonprofit and private research universities and over ten years of private sector business development expertise having worked in investment banking, international infrastructure development and engineering. Debra identifies as bi-racial and was raised in an inter-racial family. She is a tireless advocate for ethical and responsible management of mission-driven organizations employing the highest commitment to excellence, performance and integrity. Debra received her B.S. in Management Sciences and MBA in finance from Stanford University. She serves on multiple nonprofit and foundation boards that work to serve communities whose works include criminal justice, nonviolence, youth educational opportunities, supporting young adults in sports and economic opportunity.

Alvaro S. Sanchez

Vice President of Policy

Alvaro S. Sanchez (he/him/his) is an urban planner with extensive experience crafting, implementing, and evaluating strategies that leverage private, public, and philanthropic investments to deliver benefits to priority communities. Alvaro is The Greenlining Institute’s Vice President of Policy. He leads a team that develops policies that create a future where communities of color can build wealth, live in healthy places filled with economic opportunity, and are ready to meet the challenges posed by climate change. Under his leadership, The Greenlining Institute has shaped over $5.2 billion in California Climate Investments targeted at priority communities, established the Transformative Climate Communities and Regional Climate Collaboratives state programs via legislation, and launched the Towards Equitable Electric Mobility Community of Practice, a multi-state effort to advance equitable electric mobility policies.

Prior to joining Greenlining, Alvaro led Green For All’s stormwater infrastructure strategy. As a member of the State and Local Initiatives team, he led the organization’s strategies for connecting impacted communities to economic opportunity related to national stormwater infrastructure investments. He wrote several reports detailing the untapped opportunity of using green infrastructure as a cost-effective stormwater management tool that creates job and business opportunities for underserved communities. Several leading water and stormwater utilities throughout the country have used the framework he presented to deliver triple-bottom-line benefits.

Alvaro has over a decade of experience working on economic development and land use issues throughout California and nationally. In 2011 he received a Master of Planning degree from the University of Southern California, where he focused on affordable housing and economic development. He is on the board of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the advisory board of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, LISC’s Emerging Leaders Council, and the advisory committee of The University of California Alianza Mexico’s “Latinos and Mexico: Culture and Identify” program. He was named one of Grist’s 50 Fixers in 2019. Alvaro, who believes you can never be too wonky, lives in North Oakland, grew up in Los Angeles, and was born in Mexico City.

Tel.:510.926.4018

Jane Duong

Vice President of Development & Communications

Jane Duong is the Development Director at The Greenlining Institute, where she leads a team responsible for engaging foundations, corporations, individuals and other supporters to raise resources for the organization and its mission. Jane brings 15 years of experience working with communities of color to advance economic opportunity. Previously, she worked at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD), a social justice organization improving the lives of low-income Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country through a coalition of grassroots organizations. She played many roles, including Director of Programs and Advocacy, where she developed the first national network of AAPI-serving housing counseling agencies in the country. She also supported the growth of asset-building and financial capability programs in the AAPI community and contributed to groundbreaking research on how AAPI communities access financial services and products. Most recently, she served as the Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships, leading efforts to centralize fundraising efforts and grow the organization’s influence.

Tel.:510.809.1819

Sutapa Balaji

Vice President of Finance and Operations

Sutapa Balaji (she/her/hers) comes to The Greenlining Institute with extensive experience supporting nonprofits in their Finance and Operations areas. She is committed to building and growing strong and sustainable nonprofit organizations. Starting in program management at a nonprofit over two decades ago, Sutapa has had stints in development prior to finding her place in the Finance and Operations space. Over the years she has also successfully led various organizations through their periods of leadership transition ensuring that staff were supported, and that the organizations stayed true to their mission, vision and values.

Sutapa moved to the US from India two decades ago. After receiving her MBA in India, she worked in both the corporate and social sector. After moving to the U.S., she has chosen to focus on the nonprofit sector. Her experiences in different social service organizations helped her find the resilience and adaptability that so many immigrants bring to enrich the social fabric of this country. She loves living in Oakland and enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and exploring the wonderful food scene in the Bay Area.  

Holden Weisman

Senior Director for Economic Equity

Holden Weisman (he/him/his) comes to The Greenlining Institute with a strong drive toward building a more equitable economy for all. Throughout his career he has been committed to empowering low-income communities and communities of color through policies that promote wealth generation and by working to remove systemic barriers that perpetuate the racial wealth divide, and he brings these experiences and skills to his role leading Greenlining’s Economic Equity team. Holden previously worked at Prosperity Now in Washington, D.C. where he led efforts to implement state and local policies focused on improving the wealth and prosperity of households of color across the country. He also previously represented the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance field as an advocate for tax policies and practices designed to strengthen the financial well-being of low- and moderate-income workers and families.

Born in New Jersey and raised outside of Chicago, Holden is very happy to soak up the sunnier weather of California and join his family, who all previously relocated to the West Coast. Holden holds a Master of Public Affairs degree and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Molly Tafoya

Director of Communications

Molly Tafoya is the Director of Communications at The Greenlining Institute, where she leads the communications team responsible for the organization’s strategic communications as well as earned and digital media strategies. Molly brings 13 years of experience executing comprehensive public education campaigns, including policymaker and legislator engagement strategies to advance equity and justice for all. Her most recent roles have included Director of Nonprofit Partnerships with Open to All, where she directed a coalition of more than 200 intersection national and state advocacy organizations in advance of the vision that when a business opens its doors to the public, it should be open to all. She also served as the Director of Community Engagement with the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) maximizing the organization’s work advancing equality for LGBTQ people focusing on state-level engagement, coalition building, and advocacy. She has also served as Senior Field Representative with Asm. Rob Bonta, Director of Public Affairs with Early Edge California, and Director of Communications with One Iowa.

From her work advancing LGBTQ equality, to lobbying for increased investments in early childhood education, Molly’s lifelong work for social justice and equity is grounded in her deep commitment to intersectional community engagement and a strong love of strategic communications. She is the Board Chair for the City of Oakland Head Start program, a Head Coach with the Oakland Girls Softball League, and a volunteer with Brown Girl Surf. Raised in Hawai’`i, she misses it every day as she now lives in Oakland with her 2-year-old and spouse. She holds a BA from Georgetown University.

Aminah Luqman

Program Manager, Capacity Building

As Capacity Building Program Manager, Aminah Luqman leads the capacity building work in Oakland and supports local stakeholders to advance community-driven, equitable climate solutions. Prior to joining The Greenlining Institute, Aminah worked at Shared Value Media as the Community Partnership Manager for the California COVID-19 Workplace Outreach Project. As the Community Partnership Manager, she worked with community-based organizations in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles regions to reach workers who were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic about their rights in the workplace. She was also the Census 2020 Program Manager at United Way Bay Area, where she worked in coalition with 100+ community-based organizations to make the 2020 census more accessible and culturally relevant for “hard-to-count” communities in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Marin counties. Prior to moving back to Oakland to work at United Way Bay Area, Aminah lived and worked in Colombia for two years as a Fulbright grantee. Aminah was born and raised in Oakland and in her free time she loves to play sports, dance hip-hop and salsa, read, and spend time by bodies of water.

 

Ashley Gerrity

 Transportation Policy Fellow

Ashley Gerrity (she/her) is the Transportation Policy Fellow. Prior to joining Greenlining, Ashley graduated from the Coro Fellowship Program in Public Affairs where she had the opportunity to work with the City and County of San Francisco, which solidified Ashley’s commitment to advocating for equitable climate policies. Her passion for equity began even earlier both in her role in working with City of Berkeley Vice-Mayor Lori Droste, where she researched affordable housing and public safety, and as a member of the University of California Marching Band’s 2020 Executive Committee. In this position, Ashley collaborated with disabled band members to develop the organization’s first disability accommodations program. Immediately following graduation, Ashley worked at a wage justice organization and collaborated with restaurant owners across the country to build a more equitable future for the restaurant industry.

Ashley received her undergraduate degrees in Geography and Society & Environment from UC Berkeley, where she focused on environmental justice and public policy. A ceramics artist, Ashley has a passion for making functional pottery and hopes to open a small business which will allow her to share her love of ceramics with her community. She also loves exploring Bay Area trails with her dog, Shiloh, and climbing with friends at local rock climbing gyms.

 

 

 

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Ashley Myrriah

Associate Director of Brand Strategy and Marketing

Ashley Myrriah works to build up The Greenlining Institute’s robust digital communications and social media operation. Ashley got her start in advocacy fundraising on behalf of the Democratic National Committee while at Grassroots Campaigns during the 2008 general election and continued grow her campaign skill sets at GMMB. Prior to joining the Greenlining team in December 2018, Ashley worked in public affairs and strategic communications at several major political organizations in Washington state and D.C.

Ashley Myrriah earned a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Government & Politics from The University of Maryland, College Park.

Tel.:510.926.4026

Brittany Yann

Events & Donor Engagement Coordinator

Brittany Yann (she/her/hers) is the Events & Donor Engagement Coordinator at The Greenlining Institute, where she works to amplify the organization’s racial equity and policy work through impactful events. Brittany previously worked at KQED public radio, where she managed gift processing, drafting and mailing acknowledgments, and challenge grant administration for the Development department. Brittany is committed to advancing inclusive and equitable policies in communities of color. She envisions a future where health, economic, and environmental equity are accessible to all. 

Brittany was born and raised in the Bay Area and Boise, Idaho. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, as well as certificates in Public Relations and Nonprofit Management at Boise State University. In her downtime, you can find her perusing the farmers market, exploring Bay Area eateries, and spoiling her senior cat.

Brooklyn Montgomery

Systems Change Policy Fellow

Brooklyn Montgomery (she/her/hers) is the Systems Change Policy Fellow at the Greenlining Institute. Her own experiences with poverty and homelessness growing up led to her exploration of the ways policy creates and reinforces systemic disadvantage, and she ultimately hopes to address the compounding relationship between race and economic class through a systemic lens. A recent graduate of Claremont McKenna College, on campus she was most proud to serve as an Anti-Racism research fellow, Co-Head of a student activism and mutual aid organization, as well as intern with multiple organizations including the California Democratic Party and Global Citizen.

Brooklyn is from Tucson, Arizona. She enjoys reading, boxing, watching films, and hiking in her free time.

Caroline Siegel Singh (she/her/hers)

Program Manager for Tech Equity

Caroline Siegel Singh is the Program Manager for Tech Equity at The Greenlining Institute, where she oversees a policy portfolio consisting of Broadband and AI. 

Caroline is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy where her coursework and research focused on the intersections of public policy, innovation, and emerging technologies. Prior to joining the Greenlining Institute, she worked as a Policy Fellow for the California Big City Mayors coalition, and as a Summer Fellow on the Cabinet team for California Governor Gavin Newsom. As an undergraduate student, Caroline also served as the elected President of the University of California Student Association where she was able to shape policies in California related to reproductive justice for college students, student basic needs, and college affordability.  

Born and raised in Southeast San Diego, Caroline cares deeply about the development of economic and social policies that alleviate poverty and inequality. She has a BA in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. She is also a previous gubernatorial appointee to the California Student Aid Commission, and an alum of the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Daniel Guzmán

Leadership Academy Associate Director

Daniel leads the Leadership Academy, a program investing in the next generation of leaders who will shape public policy for a more just future. Daniel’s background includes 10+ years of experience in educational leadership roles, in addition to leading grassroots mobilization efforts in the Southside of Chicago and Aurora, Colorado. His motivation in his work is to honor his past, present, and future. 

Most recently, Daniel was the Program Manager for Latino Student Achievement within Oakland Unified School District’s Office of Equity. He is excited to bring his positive energy, strategic planning, and visionary leadership to the great work already happening within Greenlining. 

Daniel is passionate about jiu jit su, spending time with his family in Morelia, Michoacan, and continuous learning. He appreciates exploring new places, building community, and prioritizing his mental wealth. 

He is currently a board member at the San Jose State University Latino Alumni network — his alma mater,. Additionally, Daniel holds a master’s degree in Social Justice from Loyola University in Chicago.

Danielle Bell

Senior Program Manager for Media Relations

Danielle Bell (she/her/they) is the Senior Program Manager for Media Relations at the Greenlining Institute, where she amplifies Greenlining’s racial equity and policy work, and increases the visibility of our impact through a robust earned media strategy. Prior to joining Greenlining, Danielle was a strategic communications consultant to some of the most influential companies around the world as they navigated high-stakes crises, transitions, and corporate issues. She graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in English.

Danielle is also an Urban Farmer with Indigenous Permaculture, a grassroots organization that works with communities most severely impacted by food insecurity due to historic and ongoing systemic inequity. As an Urban Farmer, Danielle works with community members to build sustainable community-based food systems that provide culturally relevant, organic food to those in need. Danielle is a Jewish settler living on Ohlone land. She is passionate about land stewardship, facilitating access to free food, and creating a world where underserved communities are empowered to thrive. In her free time, you can find Danielle identifying native plants, binge-listening to an audio book, or writing poems in her Notes app.

Derya Arac

Associate Director, Development

Derya Arac (she/her) is the Associate Director of Development at The Greenlining Institute where she manages cultivation and stewardship of institutional funders. She has a decade of experience in development, communications, and process improvement with the aim of advancing nonprofit missions. Derya previously served as Associate Director, Development Operations at KQED, where she oversaw day-to-day financial functions, operations and systems for major gifts, foundations, and planned giving. Prior to KQED, she managed development and social media efforts as Director of Development and Outreach at Children Now, a research, policy, and advocacy organization focused on improving child well-being.

Derya has also worked in communities across the Bay Area as an afterschool teacher, literacy and writing instructor, and refugee mentor. She has an M.A. in Political Science from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in Political Science from California State University, East Bay. Derya was born in Vancouver, B.C. to Turkish and Chinese parents, and has lived in Oakland for over a decade.

Elise Lozano (she/her/hers)

Program Manager of Development

Elise Lozano is the Program Manager of Development at The Greenlining Institute. She works towards the Greenlining Institute’s mission by supporting current funder relationships, narrative building, and cultivating new funding opportunities. Elise previously worked as a Development Coordinator at Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa, Inc. where she oversaw direct mail campaigns, gift processing, grant stewardship, and donor cultivation. Elise also has previous experience with nonprofit program coordination in her work with YMCA of the East Bay’s Youth & Government Program.

Originally from Fresno, Elise moved to the Bay Area to attend Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in English. She now calls the Bay Area home and enjoys nature walks, exploring new restaurants, listening to true-crime podcasts, and spending time with her two pet snakes.

Emi Wang

Associate Director, Capacity Building

Emi holds a deep commitment to supporting communities of color to access the resources and skills needed to achieve self-determination. Our neighborhoods have been shaped by racist and exclusionary public policies, and we must double down on community ownership over the solutions. At Greenlining, Emi leads our capacity-building and locally-based work, helping to build the capacity of under-resourced communities to gain equitable opportunity to achieve our own transformations. Prior to joining Greenlining, Emi supported grassroots community improvement initiatives in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods across New York City.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Emi has mad love for the 718. She is happiest in sunshine, cities, mountains and the ocean. Emi graduated from Vassar College in 2011 with a B.A. in History, focusing on modern American social and political history, and a minor in Japanese.

Tel.:510.926.4025

Erica Plasencia

Program Manager for Economic Equity

Erica Plasencia (she/her/ella) is a first-generation daughter of Mexican immigrants. She grew up in a small rural town in Northern California, where she experienced the clear impacts of limited access to resources and education, and its implications on social and economic mobility for communities of color. As the Program Manager for Economic Equity at Greenlining, Erica leads bank accountability efforts at the federal level using the Community Reinvestment Act, an anti-redlining law that obligates banks to serve the needs of low and moderate-income communities and reinvest in these communities in order to combat the racial wealth gap and segregation.

Prior to joining The Greenlining Institute, she worked at California Community Builders where she helped address economic and racial justice issues through community education efforts on redlining and policy advocacy focused on access to homeownership for people of color. In addition to her non profit work, Erica has worked in various higher education settings helping address the Latinx educational pipeline by assisting students with college readiness skills, retention programs, and implementing culturally relevant curriculums.

Erica enjoys going home to her mom’s home cooked meals, dancing, playing volleyball, and going on hikes with her fiance.

Fatima Abdul-Khabir

Program Manager of Energy Equity

Fatima Abdul-Khabir (she/her/hers) is the Program Manager of Energy Equity at the Greenlining Institute. Growing up in a small Southern California desert town, Fatima has witnessed firsthand the environmental impacts that low-income communities and communities of color face: drought, extreme heat events, and poor air quality. She’s also seen the transformative effect of community water-saving efforts and how one house installing solar panels can start a chain reaction around the neighborhood. Fatima believes in achieving a just transition to clean energy by spotlighting communities of color and their needs in the decarbonization movement. She works in the Climate Equity team to further equitable energy policies and programs in California and beyond. In her previous role as a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Fatima supported state and federal programs with energy-efficient product procurement and renewable energy acquisition initiatives. Fatima was also a part of the sustainability team at San Mateo Community College District, and led development of the District’s Decarbonization Strategy.

Fatima graduated from Cornell University in 2018 with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Creative Writing. She is also an accredited LEED Green Associate who enjoys reading fantasy books, baking sweets and experimenting with espresso.

Hana Creger

Senior Program Manager, Climate Equity

As Environmental Equity Program Manager, Hana contributes to the development and implementation of policies leading to clean transportation and mobility investments in California that result in positive health, environmental, and economic outcomes. Her work is focused on the intersection of transportation, climate change, and economic opportunities for low-income communities of color. Prior to Greenlining, Hana implemented innovative campaigns for Alameda County’s Clean Commute Program, to promote long-term sustainable behavior changes. Hana has also worked as a community organizer, advocating for climate change action and public transit policies in San Diego.

Tel.:510.809.1810

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Irma Hurtado

Senior Coordinator, Finance

As the Operations Coordinator at The Greenlining Institute, Irma is responsible for overseeing the organization’s accounts payable and accounts receivable as well as offering support to the Development team on grant and data processing. Previously, Irma worked at Briones International, LLC as a bookkeeper, where she provided bookkeeping services to various nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area.

While volunteering at Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Irma became passionate for human rights and social justice as well as the work of the nonprofit sector. This is what drew Irma to The Greenlining Institute.

Irma holds a B.A in Political Science from Cal State East Bay. She grew up in the Bay Area, where she currently lives with her husband. During her free time Irma enjoys dancing, hiking and spending time with her family.

Tel.:510.926.4014

Isa Gaillard

Transformative Communities Program Manager

Isa Gaillard is an urban planner and environmental justice advocate who is passionate about creating a future in which all communities have access to clean, healthy, and affordable transportation options. As a Program Manager at the Greenlining Institute, he helps facilitate and lead the Towards Equitable Electric Mobility (TEEM) Community of Practice. He also works to grow Greenlining’s capacity-building efforts so that the organization can scale its racial and environmental equity approaches. Isa holds a Master’s degree in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelors in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.

In his off time, Isa enjoys playing basketball, soccer, and learning Spanish

Katherine Cabrera

Program Manager, Capacity Building

As Capacity Building Program Manager, Katherine Cabrera supports local stakeholders in Los Angeles to advance community-driven, equitable climate solutions. Katherine’s passion for social change stems from her lived experience growing up in the city of Ontario in the Inland Empire. As a youth activist, she actively organized against the policing of her immigrant community and witnessed how the logistics economy impacted her hometown as it expanded in the region. This led her to combine her passion for immigrant rights with environmental justice and advocate for increased resources to grassroots-based organizations. Katherine holds a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Analysis from Pitzer College and is also a Fulbright recipient.  During her free time, she enjoys trail running and summiting Southern California’s peaks.

Leslie Aguayo

Climate Equity Program Manager

Leslie Aguayo (she/her/hers) is an urban planner and advocate with experience and interest in poverty alleviation, asset building, affordable housing, equitable transportation, and climate change policy for increased upward mobility in urban, suburban, and rural spaces. As a Climate Equity Program Manager at The Greenlining Institute Leslie works to further equitable electric vehicle policy and investments. She leads Greenlining’s transportation electrification equity work, advocating to increase racial equity in transportation planning and investments, implementing the Charge Ahead California Initiative–a law that works to make electric vehicles accessible to low- and moderate-income Californians — and advocating for equitable EV charging infrastructure investments at the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, and the California Air Resources Board.  She has also worked for the San Francisco Department of Public Works, the Center for Responsible Lending, and at TransForm.  Leslie was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.

Leslie graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Master of City Planning and holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology and Urban Studies from the University of California, Irvine.  

Tel.:510.926.4006

Lolly Lim

Program Manager of Climate Investment Research

Lolly Lim (she/they) is the Program Manager of Climate Investment Research at The Greenlining Institute. She researches the impact of legislative initiatives that promote equitable climate investments and is currently focusing on a review of the California Climate Investments initiative. Much of Lolly’s previous work has been rooted in understanding the impacts of climate change on under-resourced populations and communities, and helping to identify strategies in the realm of project-level interventions, planning, and policy change. She has worked at the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation where she managed research on the impacts of extreme heat on vulnerable populations and identified regulatory gaps to address extreme heat in California. She has supported the development of climate change adaptation plans at the local and regional scales in Los Angeles. She also has experience evaluating energy efficiency and renewable energy programs across North America to assess program reach and efficacy. 

Lolly is based in Tongva / Gabrielino / Kizh land (Los Angeles). Outside of work at Greenlining, she enjoys learning and writing about Korean environmental history, mythology, and folktales; providing translation and interpretation support to Korean communities in Los Angeles; and spending time outside. Lolly holds a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA and an Sc.B. in Geology-Biology from Brown University.

Marcus Cordero (he/him/his)

Program Manager of Human Resources and Payroll

Marcus Cordero is the Human Resources and Payroll Manager at The Greenlining Institute where he provides seamless and comprehensive administrative support to his colleagues. 

Marcus’ career path has led him to work for local CBOs including La Clínica de la Raza, Oakland Museum of California, and most recently with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Over the course of his career, he has seen how supporting his colleagues is supporting the mission.

Marcus came to the Bay Area to attend UC Berkeley where was exposed to community health services organizations while working part-time with LifeLong Medical Care. Marcus earned the Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional certificate (SHRM-CP).

He grew up in southeast Los Angeles, in the City of South Gate. He enjoys traveling to LA to visit his family and longtime friends. He enjoys hiking and exploring the local outdoors. Marcus is always ready to experiment with new camping recipes. Campfire tater-tot waffles, anyone?

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Mariah Gonzalez

Associate Director of Events and Donor Engagement 

Mariah Gonzalez (she/her/hers) leads efforts to invite new supporters into The Greenlining Institute’s work and host impactful events that expand conversations on racial equity. Prior to joining the Greenlining team, her family’s experience with the prison industrial complex led her to the Insight Garden Program, an in-prison and reentry support program, where she helped to start up operations and communications as the organization transitioned from volunteer-run to a 501c3. Before IGP, she kick started her career in events at La Cocina, a food business incubator in San Francisco, helping to pull off a massive street food festival with over 60,000 attendees to bolster La Cocina’s women of color owned businesses. Mariah received her Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, where she studied Conservation & Resource Studies with a concentration in Ethnic Studies.

Mariah grew up in a politically active, biracial family and nowadays spends her free time hiking, cooking, and admiring other people’s dogs.

Marwa Abubakr

Economic Equity Fellow

Marwa (she/her/hers) is a Policy Fellow with the Economic Equity Team. She is an Afghan American born and raised in the Bay Area. Being the product of refugees and navigating life in a diaspora community the politics of poverty and discrimination have always been prevalent in her life. She takes pride in being a first-generation college student, having studied Political Science at Berkeley City College and UC Berkeley.

Through academics she has learned about the systems and policies that create inequities. Through her time working in local non-profits and data analytics, she has learned how elites exploit these systems to perpetuate disparities. The goal for her now is to take what she has learned from her professional and academic experience and work toward combating economic inequities. Marwa’s interests lie in the intersection of politics, finance, and community service, and she strives toward a world of equitable economic opportunity.

In her spare time, Marwa loves meandering through the aisles of Berkeley Bowl, taking sunset bike rides, and discovering new restaurants around the Bay Area.

 

Maurissa Brown (she/her/hers),

Transportation Equity Program Manager

As the Transportation Equity Program Manager, Maurissa Brown advocates for clean, safe, and affordable mobility options that benefit low-income communities of color. Maurissa works to ensure state zero-emission vehicle transportation policy, planning and investments build healthy, climate-resilient communities. 

Maurissa previously worked as a Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Clean Energy Diversity Fellow during which she developed a background in building science and innovation, energy codes and policy, and zero-emission technologies. Maurissa built a relationship with the Coalition of Communities of Color and joined the Building Community, Shifting Power Collective in Portland, Oregon as a researcher and organizer. She held healing space for communities of color to determine their own climate justice needs for local policy, which led to the Collective’s development of the HEART Standards–equitable and healthy building performance standards–for communities who live in existing rental housing in Multnomah County. 

Maurissa was born and raised on Tongva land (South Central Los Angeles). As a South Central native, Maurissa personally understands the socio-economic impacts of redlining and intentional neighborhood disinvestment. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology, Behavior, & Evolution from the University of California, Los Angeles. Maurissa is an artistic and scientific mind and enjoys melding the intersections between ecology and environmental justice through painting and writing. She believes storytelling through art is essential to changing the narrative of our cultural relationship to nature and one another.

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Mercedes Gibson

Senior Program Manager, Small Business Strategy

Mercedes Gibson is an Economic Equity Strategist at the Greenlining Institute, where she partners with the Business Team inside City of Oakland’s Economic & Workforce Development Department to better support small businesses of color, as outlined in Oakland’s 2018 -2020 Economic Development Strategy.

As an East Oakland native, Mercedes is familiar with barriers to wealth for black and brown families living in parts of Oakland that have been historically underdeveloped, ignored and redlined. Since 14, she has advocated for the needs of communities often not invited to sit at the table: poor folks, people of color, queer people and women. She has also worked at various nonprofits that serve these communities: Hack the Hood, LYRIC and Young Women United For Oakland. As a San Francisco State University alum and a certified life coach in positive psychology her passions are communication, strategy and performing on stage. In her downtime she tries to be in a lake or river as much as possible, stargaze around a fire, and read graphic novels.

Tel.:510.238.7090

Melanie Morelos

California Strategy Senior Program Manager

Melanie Morelos (she/they) is the California Strategy Senior Program Manager at The Greenlining Institute, where she advances the organization’s legislative priorities and develops strategies to achieve them. Melanie brings more than 5 years of experience serving the California State Legislature, where she crafted policies aimed at increasing affordable housing production, expanding employment leave for women and LGBTQ+ communities, and reducing gun violence in high risk neighborhoods. Her most recent role was Legislative Director to Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, where together they started a working conversation about how social housing could be achieved in California, negotiated high stakes legislative priorities like workplace vaccine mandates, and advanced the Assemblywoman into her highest role as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development.

Melanie is a daughter of farmer workers, and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities. She believes housing is a human right, and that equity should be accessible to low-income families, women and people of color. When Melanie isn’t working, she enjoys rock climbing, socializing with friends, playing fetch with her dog, Grace, and planning her next trip out of the country.

Monica Palmeira

Climate Finance Strategist 

Monica Palmeira (she/her/hers) was raised in Eastern North Carolina as a first-generation American in a Portuguese family. Her professional background includes ethnographic research, affordable housing advocacy, climate policy, and community engagement. Prior to joining Greenlining, Monica most recently held positions at the California Public Utilities Commission leading environmental justice initiatives, as well as at the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research – Strategic Growth Council where she spearheaded various outreach and technical assistance programs to support communities in accessing climate-related funding programs. 

She received a B.A. in International Studies and Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. In her free time, Monica loves spending time with her young son, visiting family back in Portugal, and rediscovering her home state.

Morokot Uy (she/her/hers)

Capacity Building Program Manager

Morokot joins The Greenlining Institute as Capacity Building Program Manager supporting her hometown of Stockton. Prior to joining Greenlining, Morokot engaged in environmental, climate, and capacity building work to support the efforts of Rise Stockton, an environmental justice coalition striving to make collective impact and center community priorities in climate solutions. Most recently, she was an Executive Fellow placed at the California Strategic Growth Council where she supported the development of their capacity building and community resilience programs. Morokot is excited to focus her work back in Stockton and tie together her experience of working in the community with her new knowledge of policy and program practices.

Morokot graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. in International Relations. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, finding new food spots to try, and picking up random hobbies.

Nicole Wong

Climate Resilience Program Manager

Nicole (she/her/hers) is passionate about advancing racial and economic justice through policy advocacy that centers the needs and voices of low-income communities of color. As Climate Resilience Program Manager, she works closely with community-based organizations across California to advance more equitable state climate resilience initiatives. Before coming to The Greenlining Institute, Nicole conducted research and led state level advocacy to promote increased access to clean transportation as a Campaign Manager at the national policy advocacy nonprofit Green For All. She also previously worked as a Community Advocate on the Voting Rights team at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus where she managed one of California’s largest poll monitoring programs and spearheaded community engagement and policy implementation to increase access to the vote for low-income, immigrant, and limited English speaking communities.

Nicole grew up in San Francisco and currently lives in Oakland. She loves to hike, write, and connect with others through food and song.

Rami Ibrahim

Program Coordinator, Economic Equity

Rami Ibrahim (he/him) is the Programs Coordinator for the Economic Equity team, supporting The Greenlining Institute’s vision of economic investment among communities of color and holding financial institutions accountable. As a second-generation Palestinian American, Rami is passionate about ending U.S. destabilization of our homelands and centering refugee and immigrant communities in policies surrounding economic, climate, housing, and health justice. Prior to joining Greenlining, he conducted research pertaining to refugee resettlement and engaged San Diego refugee and immigrant communities in State, County, and City redistricting processes.

Rami was born and raised in San Diego, California and received a B.A. in Political Science from UC San Diego. His dream is to continue fighting in coalition with Palestinian youth and elders and marginalized communities throughout the world for our collective liberation.

Rawan Elhalaby

Associate Director of Economic Equity

Rawan Elhalaby is the Associate Director of Economic Equity at the Greenlining Institute where she oversees bank accountability efforts using the Community Reinvestment Act. As the daughter of working class refugees, Rawan is all too familiar with the obstacles to achieving self-sufficiency in the United States for low-income and immigrant families. As such, she has spent her career addressing these obstacles at Greenlining and one-on-one with recently arrived refugees from Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Afghanistan (among others) to San Diego at the International Rescue Committee. She has also worked as a policy consultant to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the County of San Diego, the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and the Dellums Institute for Social Justice. Rawan holds a degree in Political Science from San Diego State University and a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.

Tel.: 510.926.4012

Rida Fatima 

Senior Program Coordinator for Casa Joaquin Murrieta

Rida Fatima (she/her/ella) is committed to equity and justice for communities of color. As Senior Program Coordinator for Casa Joaquin Murrieta, she is committed to developing the leadership and professional skills of first generation UC Berkeley students. She has previously spearheaded leadership programming for cohorts of undergraduate students with the Office of Mayor Michael Tubbs and the Reinvent Stockton Foundation.

She holds a Master’s degree in Gender Studies and Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from University of the Pacific, where she was nominated for the 2020 Women of Distinction award. Rida has worked on transformative initiatives in workforce development in the Central Valley, she has collaborated on intersectional film projects with Migration Collective in London, and conducted auto-ethnographic research on the India-Pakistan partition of 1947. 

Rida is a creative writer, global thinker, and community based advocate who is passionate about defending our rights in order to live meaningful lives.

Román Partida-López

Legal Counsel, Transportation Equity

As Legal Counsel with the Environmental Equity team, Román works to ensure that lower-income communities of color have a seat at the table in order to drive climate investments to help improve air quality and economic opportunities within their communities. He believes that communities and their members must be prioritized, engaged and heard. Román grew up near San Diego in National City, two blocks away from the freeway and across the street from a car body shop that regularly violated city codes by sanding, chroming and painting vehicles out in the open. His exposure to these toxic chemicals and pollution inspired him to work on addressing environmental concerns in his community.

Tel.:619.279.4766

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Rosa María Martinez

Operations Manager

Rosa María Martinez is The Greenlining Institute’s Operations Manager, overseeing the management of our office and building. Previously, she worked with the Health Equity Team managing Greenlining’s Diversity in the Health Workforce initiative, looking at current representation of people of color at all levels within the health field. She also worked on ensuring that information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was reaching limited-English communities throughout California, conducting presentations across the state. Rosa María co-authored an issue brief designed to help ethnic small businesses understand key elements of the ACA affecting them.

Rosa María served on the Advisory Council to the San Francisco Mexican Consulate (2012-2014) and was the secretary for the Council’s Committee on Health and Sports. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.

Originally from Zacatecas, México, Rosa grew up the Bay Area where she currently lives with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she loves to go horseback riding.

Tel.:510.926.4015

Sara Olsen

Climate Equity Policy Fellow

Sara Noelani Olsen (she/her) is a policy fellow with the Greenlining Institute’s Climate Equity Team. Sara is deeply committed to contributing to the collective construction of a future premised on racial equity, environmental justice, and accessible opportunity for all. Raised on Ramaytush Ohlone Land (Pacifica), with roots in the Hawaiian Islands, Sara is motivated by both the Bay Area’s historic progressivism and traditional Hawaiian values. Sara has experience working within various community organizations, the California State Legislature, and most recently, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. She sees community-driven policy work as an effective means of catalyzing progress.

In 2022, Sara graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Societal & Environmental Studies and a minor in Public Policy. Sara is a sunshine-enthusiast, who loves spending time with friends and family, recharging in nature, and doing just about anything in the water.

Sneha Ayyagari

Clean Energy Initiative Program Manager

As the Clean Energy Initiative Program Manager, Sneha Ayyagari (she/her/hers) utilizes her background in engineering, policy analysis, and capacity building to help advocate for more climate resilient and equitable policies, organizations, and technologies. Most recently, Sneha was a Senior Associate at Rocky Mountain Institute where she supported government agencies and advocates in creating equitable energy efficiency and housing policies. She has previously held fellowships at the Tomkat Center for Sustainable Energy in California, Green Empowerment in Nicaragua, and the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York. She earned a B.S. and an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University.She enjoys making and listening to music, learning from her loving family’s history and culture, and spending time at local animal shelters, libraries, and community gardens.

Sona Mohnot

Associate Director, Climate Resilience

Sona comes to us from New Orleans, and recently moved to the Bay Area to work on environmental equity issues. She became interested in environmental equity after witnessing the disproportionate environmental burdens that communities of color face in New Orleans, especially after Hurricane Katrina and the B.P. oil spill. Sona interned at several environmental nonprofits throughout law school and realized that she wanted to pursue a career in public interest environmental law. As Environmental Equity Manager, she looks forward to advocating for environmental equity and learning how to effectively empower communities of color.

Tel.: 510.926.4004

Vinhcent Le

Senior Legal Counsel of Tech Equity

As Legal Counsel with the Greenlining Institute’s Economic Equity team, Vinhcent leads Greenlining’s work to close the digital divide, protect consumer privacy, ensure algorithms are fair and that technology builds economic opportunity for communities of color. In this role, Vinhcent helps develop and implement policies to increase broadband affordability and digital inclusion as well as bring transparency and accountability to automated decision systems. Vinhcent also serves on several regulatory boards including the California Privacy Protection Agency.

Vinhcent received his J.D. from the University of California, Irvine School of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to Greenlining, Vinhcent advocated for clients as a law clerk at the Public Defender’s Office, the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals and the Small Business Administration.

Tel.:510.809.1813

Vivian Breckenridge

Program Manager of Systems Change

Vivian Breckenridge (she/her/hers) is the Program Manager of Systems Change at The Greenlining Institute where she works on building out the Greenlined Economy Framework and translating Greenlining’s vision of a just and sustainable economy into policy. She sees her life’s work as helping to build a future where every community is healthy, peaceful, just, and green – and overflowing with opportunity and joy.

Vivian came to Greenlining with 12 years of diverse experience supporting and uplifting the work of justice-focused community organizations, researching and advocating for equity-centered policy, and educating and mentoring children and youth. Her work and research have ranged from environmental and climate justice and deforestation, to race-based health inequities and indigenous land rights, and more. Vivian holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California (fight on!) and a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of the Environment, where she advocated for diversity, equity, and inclusion and studied environmental justice. She is currently a UC Davis Environmental Justice Fellow.

Vivian is a Californian through and through, and spends her downtime reading fantasy novels, playing outdoors, and surfing with Brown Girls Surf. 

Wendy Lam (she/her/hers)

Program Manager of Digital Strategy

Wendy Lam is the Program Manager of Digital Strategy and manages the development of the organization’s marketing strategy, social media channels, and website in a way that aligns with our mission. She has a background in helping local non-profits advance their advocacy goals and mission by leveraging her digital marketing, social media analytics, and app development skillset to help reach their target audiences.

Born and raised in Oakland, California to immigrant parents from Cambodia, her formative experiences inspires her to work to improve her community in any way she can. Previously, Wendy worked at the Center for Transformative Action where she organized a conference on the changing landscape of work. At Mills College Upward Bound, she assisted low-income and first-generation college-bound students develop the skills needed for a college education.

Wendy received her BA from Mills College in Communication with a concentration in Business. In her spare time she enjoys running, inventing new kinds of sandwiches, and watching classic movies from the 90s.

Yesenia Perez (she/her/hers)

Program Manager of Climate Equity

Yesenia Perez is the Program Manager of Climate Equity where she leads the development and implementation of California’s climate resilience and clean mobility policies to ensure that they effectively address the needs of communities of color. Yesenia holds a deep commitment to advancing equitable, community-driven climate solutions led by local stakeholders that are historically excluded from public decision-making processes. Prior to joining Greenlining, Yesenia worked as a strategic consultant for public sector clients and supported projects that centered equitable and participatory community planning practices. Yesenia has also worked as an environmental educator for K-12 students. 

Yesenia graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.S. in Society and Environment, focusing on environmental justice and policy and holds minors in both Public Health and Public Policy. In her downtime, Yesenia enjoys practicing yoga, dancing and spending time in the Bay Area sunshine.

Zhanae Briggs

Communications Coordinator

Zhanae Briggs (she/her/hers) is the Communications Coordinator at The Greenlining Institute, where she supports the Communications and Policy teams in amplifying the work of the organization through publications and media. She is passionate about uplifting the voices and lived experiences of marginalized folx and bringing people together. 

Zhanae was born and raised in various cities across California where she has had the opportunity to live and work in a multitude of spaces. She earned a B.A. in Communication Studies at Sacramento State University, as well as an M.A. in Communication with an emphasis on intersectionality and organizational functions from San Diego State University. Prior to joining Greenlining, she worked in higher education where she taught and advocated for nontraditional students, and conducted research on the experiences of women of color in academia and the workplace.