We work at the intersection of sustainability education, climate resilience, and environmental justice to elevate youth voices and advance student-led solutions to real-world challenges. We offer a range of curricula and programs designed to advance environmental literacy, sustainable schools, and equitable access to green career pathways.
Abby was honored to serve as a 2018 ee360 Fellow for the North American Association for Environmental Educators and is currently the Principal Investigator for the Building a Green Texas Project, funded through a NOAA Environmental Literacy Program grant. She also serves on the governance board of the SGSO Network.
In her role as EcoRise’s Deputy Director, Abby oversees program strategy, partnerships, and curriculum development, and co-leads the organization’s equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives. She is also responsible for leveraging and streamlining technology to efficiently scale EcoRise's innovative programs to educators and youth across the globe.
Amaryllis is passionate about serving humanity through volunteer work and board service. By learning, listening, advocating, and serving, Amaryllis is committed to collaboratively creating a more equitable and inclusive society for all. Having recently become a certified Master Gardener, she also enjoys spending her time working in the garden, volunteering for community events, and spending quality time with her partner Jeremy, her dog Ollie, and her many friends and family.
Anel received her bachelor of arts in history with a minor in child and adolescent development from California State University, Fullerton. She received her master of arts in curriculum and instruction from the University of the Pacific. She is also a certified CA Naturalist and yoga instructor (RYT200). In her current role as Online Education Manager, Anel is responsible for creating instructional materials that complement and extend existing curricula and programs. She is also responsible for managing the new Climate Education Teacher Courses that will support teachers to deepen their understanding of topics related to climate change and strengthen their confidence in addressing these topics in the classroom. Movement activities such as yoga, morning walks and birding, dancing, and participating in foot races bring her joy. She also loves deepening her creative outlets through cooking, painting, sketching, and writing.
Brittany has been an educator for nine years. She is a former middle- and high-school humanities teacher and consults on social studies education, building capacity in humanities educators to approach content through the lens of sustainability, project- and place-based learning, cultural responsiveness, and equity. She also works with Johns Hopkins University's Graduate School of Education, coaching master’s candidates on access and advocacy in the classroom, culturally responsive pedagogy, and dramatic academic growth. She has a master of arts in teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education.
He has built his career in the fields of environmental education, nonprofit advocacy, energy efficiency, and COVID-19 relief programs. Daniel has further refined his skills by earning certifications such as LEED Green Associate and Google Data Analytics. He strives to create impact with a team-oriented approach and by applying his data analysis knowledge. As the Gen:Thrive program manager, Daniel has the opportunity to improve the current state of environmental education landscape analysis. His responsibilities include generating project engagement, managing partner data, and using visualization tools to tell the story of Gen:Thrive.
As EcoRise Program Manager for Central Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Elizabeth provides support and training to K–12 teachers. Elizabeth holds a vision of equity and sustainability for all and believes that transformation begins in a moment of shared discovery. She is passionate about creating opportunities that spark transformation for teachers and students. Elizabeth holds a bachelor of arts in English and political science from Rice University and a master of arts in sustainable international development from Brandeis University.
Prior to the founding of EcoRise, Gina spent 10 years working with innovative educational programs serving youth in Brazil, India, Nepal, and Guatemala, as well as in Harlem, New York, and Taos, New Mexico. In 2004, Gina moved to Austin, Texas, and pioneered a robust summer and afterschool program at a Title I middle school. She also built and led a youth cultural exchange program to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and served as a facilitator and counselor at the Global Youth Peace Summit. While in graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, Gina studied sustainable development and social entrepreneurship and earned a certificate in nonprofit studies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Gina practices systems thinking and human-centered design, and recently completed the School for Systems Change program at the Forum for the Future. Gina serves on the SXSWedu Advisory Board and the Green Schools Conference and Expo Program Working Group and is a former co-chair of Austin ISD's Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee. Gina has presented extensively at local, regional, and national conferences and recently received the Women in Sustainability Leadership Award by Green Building and Design.
Today, Govnor is a skilled software engineer, bridging his building background with his coding skills. He brings his expertise to EcoRise as a technology specialist, handling technology-related issues for EcoRise and within the Gen:Thrive platform. With a basketball by his side, Govnor continues to explore, create, and shoot for success.
Jon is passionate about building and sustaining an inclusive community and striving for equity in his work, both internally and externally. He is grateful to work alongside an incredible team that continues to bring new insights, ideas, and energy to inform and evolve the organization's trajectory and his own leadership practices. Jon earned his executive master in nonprofit leadership at the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Jon is also a graduate of Swarthmore College with a degree in political science and a minor in environmental studies. In his spare time, Jon enjoys cooking, backyard gardening, and cycling.
Kizzy is a devoted community member who is passionate about serving youth in finding their unique purpose and potential, creating accessible education, prioritizing justice, racial equity and community upliftment, and fostering local intergenerational leadership and helping people maintain their personal well-being. Kizzy believes that collaboration and a healing-centered approach are key to community engagement and transformation.
Kristi has more than 17 years of education experience. She is a former public school science teacher and instructional leader. She has written science curricula and has expertise in integrating technology and outdoor learning into curricular materials. Kristi's experience as an educational leader also includes serving as a Content Seminar Leader for Texas Teaching Fellows, an instructional coach for the New Teacher Project and the University of Texas UTeach program, as well as the Director of National Board Certification for Teach for America in Texas. Kristi is a National Board Certified Teacher with a master’s degree in educational leadership. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening with her kids in her NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat, camping, and hiking.
Laura joined EcoRise in 2015 to support with curriculum writing and design. She transitioned into managing communications and created the foundation for the strang, multi-faceted communications program that the organization depends on for national recognition today. Laura enjoys creating and elevating the stories of educators, youth, and community organizations across the U.S. who are working to build a more climate resilient future for us all. She continues to grow her skills by exploring new mediums to use as communications tools, such as photography, website design, digital art, embroidery, and painting.
Shanika holds a B.A. in African American Studies with a Pre-Med Emphasis from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A.T in middle school mathematics from Relay Graduate School of Education. Her next educational goal will be to obtain her Post-Baccalaureate Certification in the Health Professionals Program from U.C. Berkeley. In her current role at EcoRise, Shanika serves as Program Manager for the Gulf Coast Region, providing support and training to K–12 educators in the coast regions of Texas and Louisiana. Her vision is to increase equity in the STEM field and provide educators and students with an accessible curriculum to move beyond the given content of a course and make it more applicable to students’ everyday lives. She is passionate about inclusive, hands-on instruction and applying scientific knowledge to improve the quality of life for those she serves and their communities. In her free time, Shanika enjoys CrossFit, gardening, reading, and nature walks.
In their role with EcoRise, T provides professional development on the EcoRise curriculum as well as training and support to educators in the western U.S. In their free time, T tends to their plants and animals, creates and sells stickers, and cooks delicious meals.
In her current role, Zakhia provides professional development to K–12 teachers participating in the Sustainable Intelligence Program in the New York, New Jersey, and Boston areas and provides support in applying for student-driven Eco-Audit Grants. Zakhia likes to spend her spare time enjoying the beach and giving back to her hometown community of Wyandanch, Long Island.
Our Board of Directors
Amy Atchley is professional leader in social impact possessing a diverse and unique skill set that draws from over 20 years of experience working for Fortune 500 companies and distinguished non-profit organizations serving vulnerable communities. An expert in strategic planning for program development, Amy has been recognized nationally and internationally for her innovative initiatives and social entrepreneurship. She is frequently asked to present best practices for projects that facilitate the intersection of environmentalism and social justice; as well as marketing and outreach for diverse and inclusive audiences. Amy has a long history of community engagement serving those in need through her work with the non-profit sector with agencies like Meals on Wheels Central Texas and the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. Her role at Austin Energy is rooted in building frameworks of equity through transportation electrification access by collaborations with community stakeholders and historically underserved communities. She brings an experienced perspective and passion to her work by designing human centered programs that ensure people are not left behind as emerging technologies become mainstream. The core of Amy’s work is to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion through the launch of new market offerings that provide a meaningful impact with the benefits of transportation electrification programs.
Amy’s community leadership roles include Board of Directors at EcoRise and the Austin Forum on Technology and Society and she is also a working Austin-based singer/songwriter.
Esther Nai is a seasoned corporate social responsibility professional who has spent eight years working in the intersection between the corporate and nonprofit sectors in various markets across Asia and the United States. At Salesforce, she oversees corporate citizenship programs across the East Coast hubs, focusing on building employee engagement initiatives and growing strategic community engagement programs in the areas of education and workforce development, with an eye towards scalable and sustainable impact. She is a strong believer in empowering future generations through sustainability-centered education and is excited in supporting EcoRise's mission-driven work.
Isabel Anaya is entering her 23rd year as an educator with Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas. In her years with NISD, she was a 3rd and 5th grade teacher, led several after-school clubs, and integrated EcoRise curriculum and resources into her classroom. This year she has the honor to be part of the district's Curriculum and Instruction Team as the Elementary Science Instructional Support Teacher. Isabel is dedicated to making a difference in the environment and helping others understand the impact they can make. She also serves on the board for Keep San Antonio Beautiful and works with her team to empower the citizens of San Antonio to take responsibility for improving our communies' environments.
Jean Tien is an Executive Director at Mizuho Americas, a corporate and investment bank. With over 15 years of experience in non-financial risk management, Jean is responsible for managing enterprise-wide risks at the firm. She is also a member of Mizuho's Sustainability Council, which is responsible for establishing, overseeing and operationalizing the sustainability strategy in U.S. Jean's commitment to sustainability also stems from her children, who continue to inspire her own environmental ethic. She believes we need strong, empowered voices to speak up and stand up for Mother Earth in order to provide an enriched life for her children.
In addition to her corporate experience, Jean is also an intuitive and the founder of the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Method™, which she created to support other executive women uplevel their success without the hustle and grind of the 9–5.
Josh Wiener is MetLife’s Assistant Vice President, Global Sustainability as well as the company’s environmental sustainability subject matter expert. He is tasked with leading the development and implementation of MetLife’s environmental sustainability strategies, associated programs and goals. Josh’s responsibilities cover a broad range of areas including corporate real estate, procurement, employee engagement, carbon footprint management, and climate change reporting. Outside of his role at MetLife, Josh serves on the Board of RideWise, a sustainable transportation organization in New Jersey; is an active volunteer on his city’s green team; and is the co-founder of the New York Area Sustainability Group (NYASG). Josh is a LEED AP O+M and earned his degree at Rutgers University where he studied Environmental Policy and Political Science. Having grown up in a family of educators and marrying a special education teacher, Josh is very excited to help EcoRise advance the intersection of sustainability and education.
Juan comes from a background in education and 7 years of commercial litigation experience in Massachusetts state and federal courts. Juan presently serves as corporate counsel at the tech company HubSpot, Inc. He is passionate about education, social justice, and sustainability. Juan drives an electric car and has solar panels on the roof of his house.
Keith is the Chief Financial Officer at EverWest, where he oversees the accounting, finance, human resources, and corporate services functions, and serves as the Executive Sponsor of their Women’s Employee Resource Group. Prior to joining EverWest, he led the accounting team at a publicly traded healthcare company and worked as an auditor at EY and a regional accounting firm. Keith is passionate about education and the environment. He was recognized as an EY Top Tier Instructor and served as the Board President at Theatre of Youth, a non-profit organization focused on educating children through live theatre programs. Keith was also a volunteer instructor at Colorado Mountain Club, a non-profit organization that provides educational programs focused on safe and sustainable practices for enjoying the outdoors. Keith is excited to be part of the EcoRise team and contribute to advancing its mission.
With over 20 years of directing high-profile projects as a licensed architect, Kelley Tapia is known for delivering imaginative and intuitive design solutions to her clients. Her leadership perspective and management approach is rooted in empathy and understanding, informed by extensive experience working on both sides of the built environment design process — as an owner and a design services leader.
Kelley’s intention to design healthy spaces for future generations led her to EcoRise, first as a volunteer, and now as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, has continued to inspire her to help create positive global change through mentorship and education. She is both a LEED and WELL accredited professional, driving future design solutions with sustainability and well-being in mind. These passions have led her to launch her own consulting collaborative - Samskara Studio; bringing sustainability + well-being solutions to life into the built environment.
Mohan Gunturu is a seasoned software leader who has spent two decades working on various technologies across multiple industries. At the JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking line of business, he is responsible for leading enterprise architecture, promoting best practices and standards for software development, and defining strategic state views for the application portfolio. He is also very passionate about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. He holds a diploma from UC Berkeley in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and an MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas. He also holds a master’s degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Madras.
Mohan is also an entrepreneur and an investor; he successfully built a field service management software company. He is very passionate about the environment, social and governance, and sustainability, which connected him to EcoRise.
Rebeckah Piotrowski is Director of Corporate and Foundation Partnerships at The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN), an international nonprofit that works towards a hunger-free future in more than 40 countries by sustaining, uniting, and strengthening food banks. Rebeckah most recently served as the Director of Institutional Partnerships at City Harvest in New York. With more than 14 years of experience in international development and nonprofit management, Rebeckah worked in leadership positions at Action Against Hunger (ACF) since 2011 before assuming her role as Director of Programs in 2014, coordinating ACF’s humanitarian operations in Cambodia, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Uganda. Previously, Rebeckah worked with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for five years in roles based abroad and at their NYC Headquarters. She holds a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from Seton Hall University and an Executive Master of Public Administration for Public Service Leaders from New York University.
Rodrigo is a sustainability strategist working at the intersection of climate resilience, inclusive planning, and social equity. As a managing consultant, Rodrigo leads cross-functional teams supporting governments, utilities, and corporations in the development of ambitious sustainability plans. Over the past several years, Rodrigo has advised Fortune 500 companies and city governments in the fastest-growing U.S. metro areas to embed equity and resilience principles in climate policies, plans, and investments.
A proud native of the Rio Grande Valley (Brownsville, TX), Rodrigo’s upbringing shaped his commitment to tackling environmental and climate injustices through his professional and volunteer work. His main objective is to bring in people historically excluded from decision-making to shape the plans and policies that affect their communities. Rodrigo also serves on the Board of Directors of Texas Campaign for the Environment and is a member of the Steering Committee for the City of Austin’s Climate Equity Plan. Rodrigo lives in East Austin, is a reluctant marathon runner, and is always happy to exchange notes on Austin’s best taquerias.
Valerie brings over 20 years of experience working in and with public schools, with a particular interest in bringing together communities and schools to find solutions for local issues. As part of the Client Team at TNTP, a non-profit education organization that partners with school systems to achieve their goals for students, Valerie supports districts and charter networks across the country with a focus on academic strategy and teacher development. Prior to TNTP, Valerie taught and coached middle school science in Los Angeles and Texas and worked as a Research Associate for the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition in Washington DC.
Our Advisory Council
Founder and CEO
A|B Growth Marketing
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Brad Klein, Ph.D. (he/him)
SMU Human Rights Program
Science Curriculum Supervisor
Austin Independent School District
People Operations and Technical Sourcing
Chief Financial Officer
Architectural Brand Experience Designer
Director, Corporate Social Responsibility
Public Information Specialist Senior
City of Austin Watershed Protection Department
Chief Executive Officer
Founder, Sustainable Investments Director
Beyond Profits, LLC
Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Austin
Director of Engineering
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Director, Austin Technology Incubator
The University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Olivia M. Aguilar (she/her)
Miller Worley Center for the Environment
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Mount Holyoke College
Klante & Associates, LLC
Senior Director of Integrated Marketing
Senior Vice President of Global Services
Structure Tone, LLC
Environmental, Social, and Governance Lead
Founder and Chief Innovation Officer
Big Blue Fish
Head of Customer Experience Design