Vice President, Board of Directors
For the past thirty years, Susan has been working with grassroots and community-based nonprofit organizations – ranging from a student housing cooperative and a local YMCA to an urban conservation corps and wildlife rehabilitation center. During this time, Susan has been responsible for program and administrative management, fundraising and event planning.
In 1997, Susan joined Earth Island as Development Associate to both Earth Island Institute and its many sponsored projects. In 1999, Susan shifted into the Project Support Director position, where she coordinated all Earth Island project support functions, and in 2017 Susan became Earth Island’s Director of Operations. Susan serves on the Steering Committee for the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors and is an advisor to Global Greengrants Fund. Susan has a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies from University of California at Berkeley and a Psychology Master’s degree in Organization Development from Sonoma State University.
John serves as Earth Island’s Executive Director Emeritus, working half time after more than 30 years full time sharing ED responsibilities with Dave Phillips.
He is engaged in creative conversation with the committed individuals whom Earth Island serves under EII’s Theory of Change. John believes that committed individuals are key to confronting the multiple environmental crises before us — whether as project directors, as emerging youth leaders, or as active members in their own communities. Earth Island uses unique organizational resources to help empower everyone to take their own next steps toward a world that we all can share.
At home, John enjoys city life with his wife Carole Roberts. He engages in creative reuse wherever he can and is an enthusiastic gardener, with ongoing attempts to produce tomatoes and blueberries. He tries to keep alive his remnant skills at basketball and tennis, but not competitively.
John also serves on the David Brower Center board of directors and is actively involved with the rebuilding of Antioch College.
Biologist David Phillips serves as Executive Director of the Earth Island Institute, an international nonprofit conservation organization founded by David R. Brower and headquartered in Berkeley, California. From 1978-1984, David was director of Wildlife Conservation for Friends of the Earth. In 1982, he co-founded Earth Island Institute, serving as co-executive director and specializing in international marine wildlife conservation. He directs Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project.
David has been a non-governmental representative to numerous international marine conventions, including the International Whaling Commission, and has testified before the U.S. Congress on marine mammal protection, endangered species conservation, and the impacts of trade on the environment. His direction of Earth Island Institute was acknowledged by the United Nations Environment Programme, which granted David its Leadership Award in honor of his efforts to protect dolphins from indiscriminate fishing techniques. Earth Island Institute’s success in negotiating an agreement with the world’s largest tuna companies to adopt fully dolphin-safe policies was recognized by Time magazine as one of the most significant environmental victories of the decade.
In 1994, David founded the Free Willy–Keiko Foundation, successfully overseeing a five-nation, $10 million international campaign accomplishing historic rescue, rehabilitation, and release of a captive orca whale to its native habitat in Iceland.
In 1995, David was awarded the Joseph Wood Krutch Medal by the Humane Society of the United States for his efforts on behalf of marine mammals.
David has been involved in the development and implementation of numerous pieces of legislation pertaining to marine conservation. These include the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act of 1990, the International Dolphin Conservation Act of 1992, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Mike has been with Earth Island since October 2013. Prior to that his professional experience includes similar positions with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Rockwood Leadership Institute, and Youth ALIVE!
He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of San Francisco. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife and their two teenage sons.
Rachel Strominger joined Earth Island as a project support program advisor after completing a graduate certificate in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. She brings a commitment to environmental justice through a systems perspective, with special interests in equity, community control, and public health as they pertain to environmental issues and their solutions.
Prior to joining Earth Island, Rachel worked for the Karuna Foundation in Portland, managing operations and overseeing grant projects that included climate mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development programs in Bhutan. She also previously worked in holistic health, studying and practicing Thai Bodywork, a branch of Traditional Thai Buddhist Medicine, in private practice.
Dixie is a human resources support associate at Earth Island Institute. She has worked in a variety of administrative roles and has more than three years of experience working in HR support. Prior to joining Earth Island Institute, she was responsible for work involving benefits administration, onboarding, new-hire orientations, and workplace safety.
Dixie earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and the Urban Environment from San Francisco State University. She is delighted to join Earth Island because the organization combines her interests in HR and environmental awareness.
Sharon has extensive experience working in the areas of communications strategy, content development, and media relations. She graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of New Hampshire. She began her career as a publicist in the books program at the Sierra Club and went on to manage the publishing program at Tompkins Conservation, raising awareness on topics such as industrial agriculture, confined animal feeding operations, public lands policy, and land conservation. She has also served as a publicist for the Yosemite Conservancy and as communications manager for Tandem Stills + Motion’s nature and environmental film and photo projects.
Kelsey, a Massachusetts native, has spent more than a decade as a facilitator and project manager throughout the Americas. Focusing her work on empowering youth to become environmental leaders in their communities, Kelsey is a firm believer in the power of grassroots environmental action. She received her BA in International Security and Conflict Resolution with an Environment Security emphasis from San Diego State University.
Kelsey served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Environment Program in Panama. She worked with local stakeholders implementing projects to address pressing environmental challenges in rural communities. Following two years of service in her community, she extended a third year as the National Volunteer Manager where she developed initiatives for collaboration among government agencies and communities throughout Panama. She continued working in Latin America with the organization, Courts for Kids, promoting increased cultural competencies through student exchange and community service based learning. Prior to joining Earth Island, Kelsey facilitated outdoor education programs and eco-action projects with East Bay public high school students. When she is not working, Kelsey can be found exploring the green spaces of Northern California or biking Oakland.
Mara joined Earth Island with over twenty years of experience in designing, implementing, and managing programs focused on environmental conservation, animal welfare, community development, youth development and international education.
Mara has served in program management positions with Dig In consulting, Foundations of Success, the Goldman Environmental Prize and Urban Strategies Council. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental anthropology from St. Lawrence University, and a master’s degree in international education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
Mara’s international experience includes directing study abroad programs in El Salvador, Cuba, Spain and Ecuador, and traveling throughout South America and the Eastern Mediterranean as a journalist for GlobaLearn, a nonprofit educational website. Mara also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica, working on environmental education in rural schools and helping farmers and ranchers to form a community-based organization to protect a local watershed.
Mara has a rich volunteer life as a district leader advocacy volunteer with The Humane Society of the United States, animal care technician with Paw Fund, and a member of Berkeley’s Animal Care Commission. Mara resides in Berkeley with her three dogs, two cats, young son and husband.
Terry has over fifteen years of experience designing and implementing urban and social policy programs focused on community development, environmental conservation and global health initiatives.
Before joining Earth Island, he worked for TransForm, an NGO with a powerful voice for world-class transit and walkable communities in northern California, where he managed the Safe Routes to Schools program. In 2014, he founded Disarm Now, a 501(c)(3) organization that promoted gun buybacks in the U.S., and launched the YMCA San Miguel de Allende initiative to bring a YMCA branch to his hometown in Mexico.
Prior to his graduate studies, Terry served as a representative for leading U.S. Congressman George Miller managing Department of State, immigration and international casework assignments. In the early 2000s, he collaborated with Jorge Castañeda Gutman’s independent presidential campaign in Mexico as a national campaign manager.
Terry is originally from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He has resided in Berkeley for over two decades where he currently lives with his wife and daughter. He received a Master of International Affairs Degree from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from U.C. Berkeley.
Susannah Lee graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Environmental Biology and a minor in Geospatial Information Science and Technology. Before joining Earth Island, she spent time in Iceland working on a project exploring the potential of hydropower and geothermal renewable energy production for a small town near Reykjavík.
As a student, Susannah conducted a research project investigating the potential for bioremediation of a wetland site contaminated by hydrocarbon pollution. She also contributed to a study of urban agro-biodiversity in East Bay community gardens and the connection between food security and food traditions in the surrounding areas. She hopes to continue developing her passion for environmental justice by becoming more involved in the local issues facing her community.
Zoe Loftus-Farren reports on all things environment, including the intersection between the environment and equity. In addition to the Journal, her work has appeared in a variety of other publications,including Civil Eats, Salon.com, Alternet, and Truthout. Zoe also holds a law degree from Berkeley Law, where she studied environmental law and policy, and an undergraduate degree from UCLA.
Sumona grew up in metro-Detroit, where she spent as much time as possible outside - hiking, camping, biking, running, and swimming. Her desire to pursue a career in environmental protection stems directly from these experiences, as well as her travels abroad to visit family, where she was exposed to different attitudes and approaches to environmental issues. Sumona holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, obtained a B.S. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, and served as an Environment Sector Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. Prior to joining Earth Island Institute, Sumona spent seven years enforcing federal environmental laws as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Alfonso Martinez-Torres moved to the SF East Bay from “La Gran Tenochtitlan” (Mexico City). He graduated from the Accounting and Business Administration Department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and holds a Licentiate in Accounting degree (Licenciado en Contaduria).
For several years, he worked for different for-profit businesses until he found his calling at EcoVillage Farm, one of Earth Island Institute’s projects. Passionate about people and nature, supporting environmental and grass roots projects was a perfect fit.
Alfonso’s move to the US was a big challenge - he had to learn the language and get accustomed to cultural differences - but his passion for what he does made everything worth it.
He worked 9 years for EcoVillage, where he wore many hats ranging from office manager to CSA/Farm stand coordinator. In 2016, he became the Accounting/HR Associate at Earth Island Network Services. Currently he is in charge of all accounts receivable, workplace giving and supports HR with new hires, employee documentation and state tax accounts management.
Alfonso is thrilled to be able to support Earth Island initiatives and the incredible groundbreaking activist projects working to protect Mother Earth and all the species that live on her.
He loves skiing and camping, and tries to bring the whole family to the outdoors as much as possible.
Maureen Nandini Mitra has more than two decades of experience as an international journalist. In addition to her work at the Journal, she occasionally writes for other magazines and online publications in the US and India, and co-hosts Terra Verde, an environmental issues talk show on KPFA public radio. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Public Press, Grist, Truthout, The New Internationalist, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, The Caravan and Down to Earth.
Over the past five years, Kimberly has worked with local Bay Area non-profits, with a focus on education and literacy, animal welfare, and youth development. In her role at Earth Island, Kimberly works with and supports donors, manages memberships and subscriptions, maintains the database, and helps oversee key office functions. She is honored to have been appointed Deputy Suite Warden and will wear her orange vest with pride during fire drills and other emergency evacuation procedures.
Kimberly graduated Magna Cum Laude and with program distinction from the Richard Stockton College of NJ with a BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology.
Mona Shomali has been working at the intersection of environmental policy and social justice for over 20 years. She has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters in Global Affairs from New York University. As an adjunct faculty member, she taught international environmental policy and environmental justice courses at The New School, Pace University and New York University. She has also taught an ecology course at the New York Botanical Garden.
In addition to her academic work, Mona has been a case researcher for the case Sarayaku vs. Ecuador in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, she has been a policy analyst for an NGO that lobbied the United Nations on behalf of small island states who face sea level rise, and she has also served as an assistant contributor for a World Bank Report on Climate change and water distribution in Africa. When it comes to environmental and social justice youth leadership, Mona believes it is vital to include, understand and represent voices from all different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
Michelle joined Earth Island as the HR Manager in 2012. She has 15+ years of human resources and management experience that spans start-ups and established organizations.
She has extensive hands-on experience leading HR initiatives including policy design, compensation, performance management, recruiting, compliance reporting,HRIS implementations, HR workflow development, training and development, and benefits administration.
Michelle earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Development, option Adult Development and Gerontology from California State University, East Bay and holds a certificate in Human Resources Management from San Francisco State University.
Allison Torres is an Accounting Associate who believes in the skillful use of technology to help expand administrative capacity. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Allison has a passion for supporting environmental change makers and grassroots activists. She has ten years of non-profit experience and has worked with Sacred Land Film Project and Women’s Earth Alliance, projects of Earth Island. Allison’s experience also includes working with Institute for Environmental Entrepreneurship, SAGE Sustainable Agriculture Education, and Green Planet Films.
Josh is President of Earth Island’s Board of Directors. He began his association with Earth Island as lead trial lawyer in the two decade tuna/dolphin lawsuits, which ended the practice of setting tuna nets on dolphins in the United States. He was also lead counsel in the San Onofre nuclear plant discharge case, the sea turtle/shrimp trawler cases, and the navy sonar/whale litigation. More recently he helped establish Earth Island Advocates to further expand Earth Island’s courtroom presence.
In his other career, Josh was a litigation partner in several San Francisco based law firms, specializing in antitrust, and was Visa’s General Counsel during its evolution from a group of bank associations to a leading global public company.
Vice President, Board of Directors
Ken Brower is the oldest child of the pioneering environmentalist David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth, the League of Conservation Voters, and Earth Island Institute. A writer specializing in natural history and environmental issues, Ken is the author of many books, among them The Starship and the Canoe, A Song for Satawal, Wake of the Whale, Realms of the Sea, and Freeing Keiko. He writes for Atlantic, Audubon, National Geographic, Sierra, Smithsonian, and other magazines. His work has taken him to all the continents. He lives in Berkeley, California.
Ken Alex is the director of Project Climate at UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and Environment, focusing on the most promising climate solutions and moving them more quickly to policy and scale. From 2011 to 2018, Ken was a Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the Chair of the Strategic Growth Council, focusing on climate, energy, environment, and land use issues. Before joining the Governor’s Office, Ken was the Senior Assistant Attorney General heading the environment section of the California Attorney General’s Office, and the co-head of the Office’s global warming unit. From 2000 to 2006, Ken led the California Attorney General’s energy task force, investigating price and supply issues related to California’s energy crisis. Ken is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a B.A. in political theory from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Dr. Barbara Brower received her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley. The daughter of Anne and David Brower, she serves on Earth Island Institute’s Board of Directors. She is a Professor of Geography for Portland State University, where she has been a part of the Department of Geography for 23 years. Her research interests include cultural ecology, mountain geography, and wildland resource conservation and policy in Nepal and the western United States. Dr. Brower’s current work, The Urban Coyote Project, seeks to encourage young learners while making sense of the urban coyotes in Portland, Oregon.
By day, Jessian co-creates laws and contracts at San Francisco Department of Environment for less-toxic, green products. Jessian also makes kits for Green Cities California to help anyone create policies and programs. By night, Jessian shares fun and draconian tips and policies for an equitable, happy, healthy and green world. And Jessian leads behavior change, negotiation and public speaking workshops.
In 2001, Jessian recognized that few colleges had permanently funded campus greening student groups. So Jessian co-led efforts to start an organization that resulted in University of California Santa Cruz students voting for administrators to reduce climate change. Jessian also co-started UCSC’s student-led annual green strategic planning summit which was attended by 55 students, faculty and administrators. As a result of this work, Jessian was awarded the Brower Youth Award in 2002.
Jessian currently serves on the Board of Advisors of California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC), a project of the Earth Island Institute. In 2018, Jessian created an in-depth brand guide for CSSC print and web visuals, content and storytelling, and redesigned and created new content strategy for the website, social media and email newsletters.
John de Graaf is a documentary filmmaker, author and activist in Seattle. He has made more than a dozen national PBS documentaries, including FOR EARTH’S SAKE, a 1990 documentary of David Brower. He is the recipient of more than a hundred regional, national and international awards for filmmaking, including The John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award, named for him and presented annually at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, California. He is the author of three books, including the international best-seller AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC. He is the co-founder of three organizations—Take Back Your Time, the Happiness Alliance and And Beauty for All. His love for the environment stems from the backpacking trips to Yosemite his father took him on as a child. He has taught at the Evergreen State College and the Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts, and is a frequent speaker on college campuses. He has been a consultant to the happiness programs of the governments of Bhutan and the United Arab Emirates.
Will Green is a conservationist and photographer and lives in San Francisco, CA.
Francisco Martinez has over a decade of experience helping high-net-worth individuals, families, foundations, and nonprofit organizations strategically structure their giving and maximize their impact.
He currently serves as Director of Philanthropic Advising at BNP Paribas/Bank of the West. In this role, Francisco is responsible for structuring and maintaining the operational framework for the Bank’s wide range of philanthropic offerings. He also designs customized strategies and identifies innovative vehicles that bring clients’ philanthropic vision to life.
His previous roles have included strategy, operations, relationship management, business development, compliance, and fiscal sponsorship at philanthropic consulting firms — most recently at Amplifier Strategies. He has also served as Associate Director of Managed Organizations at Arabella Advisors, and Philanthropic Advisor at Tides.
Francisco grew up in San Salvador, El Salvador, and has a dual Bachelor degree in economics and East Asian studies from Harvard University. He is fluent in Spanish and Japanese, as well as English. He is a trained vocalist and in his spare time he enjoys singing, as well as spending time outdoors with family and friends.
Deborah A. Sivas has been practicing environmental law for nearly three decades and is the Luke W. Cole Professor of Environmental Law and Director of the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic at Stanford Law School. She holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Stanford Law School, with Distinction (1987), a Master of Science in Ecology from the University of California at Davis (1984), and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Philosophy from Occidental College, Magna Cum Laude (1982). Before returning to Stanford to start the Environmental Law Clinic in 1997, Deborah served as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Judith Keep in the Southern District of California, practiced as an environmental attorney in the San Francisco office of Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe and in the Seattle office of Earthjustice, served as the founding legal director of The Lands Council, and started a small non-profit law practice in San Francisco.
Deborah has written about and practiced extensively under the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the National Forest Management Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Conservation and Liability Act, and various California state law analogues. With her clinic students, she currently conducts primary research and represents non-governmental organizations in administrative proceedings and litigation in the areas of coastal and marine resource protection, climate change policy, freshwater and terrestrial habitat conservation, and public land management.
Some of Deborah’s recent publications include California Water Governance for the 21stf Century, Stanford Law School Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program (Mar. 2017), An Environmental Call to Action, 3 Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 14 (Feb. 2017), and California Coastal Democracy at Forty: Time for a Tune-up, 36 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 109 (Jan. 2016). She also contributes regularly op-ed pieces for Axios and other publications: https://law.stanford.edu/directory/deborah-a-sivas/
Deborah was recognized as a California Lawyer Magazine Attorney of the Year in 2008 for her work successfully challenging the Bush administration’s gas mileage standards for SUVs and light trucks. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Turtle Island Restoration Network, the Otter Project, and Earth Island Institute, and sits on the advisory board of the Climate Law Institute.
Ariela St. Pierre currently serves as the Senior Vice President, Deputy Corporate Secretary and Governance Counsel for Bank of the West, part of BNP Paribas S.A. She is responsible for advising the Board of Directors and executive management on corporate governance matters, and manages the Bank’s Office of the Corporate Secretary. From 2010 to 2015 she was the Senior Vice President, Chief Governance Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Visa Inc., having previously served as Associate General Counsel, Governance and Assistant Corporate Secretary of the company since 2005.
Ariela has significant experience handling a broad variety of complex corporate governance matters, including in the areas of board composition and structure, board and CEO succession, executive compensation, shareholder engagement, and legal and regulatory compliance. She also has expertise in the design and implementation of global policies and controls, Human Resources, and commercial law. Her work has been recognized by Corporate Secretary magazine, which named her team “Corporate Governance Team of the Year (Large Cap)” in 2011.
Before joining Visa in 2005, Ariela was a litigator for over eight years, representing companies and NGOs in commercial, antitrust and environmental litigation and appeals. This included the successful, multi-year litigation with Josh Floum on behalf of Earth Island Institute against the Department of Commerce and National Marine Fisheries Service (Brower v. Daley), regarding their failure to follow laws to protect dolphins. She also sought to protect endangered sea turtles harmed during shrimp harvesting, on behalf of the Turtle Island Restoration Network, ASPCA, the Humane Society and Sierra Club (Turtle Island Restoration Network v. Evans).