We help inspire a new generation of leaders to design a sustainable future for all. Our school-based programs empower youth to tackle real-world challenges in their schools and communities by teaching sustainability, design innovation, and social entrepreneurship.
In her current position as Deputy Director, Abby oversees the implementation of a wide variety of leading-edge educational resources including sustainability and design curriculum, a workforce development program focused on green building education, teacher professional development, and a K-12 grant program that brings students' green innovations to life. Abby also leads EcoRise's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiatives and is responsible for leveraging and streamlining technology to efficiently scale EcoRise's innovative programs to thousands of educators across the globe. In 2018 Abby was selected as an ee360 Fellow for the North American Association for Environmental Educators. In her free time, she enjoys tending her vegetable garden and backyard chickens, swimming in Barton Springs, hiking, camping, and traveling the world to visit friends and family.
Amaryllis received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas State University in 2012. She began her career at Birds, a locally owned and operated barbershop, then transitioned quickly into a fast-paced position at Whole Foods Market. The experience provided her the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge regarding efficient and effective operations—something she has grown quite passionate about.
Brittany is a graduate of Texas State University with a BA in Mass Communication and a graduate of Relay Graduate School of Education with an MA in Teaching. She has taught middle and high school humanities in large charter networks, tiny start-ups, and schools dedicated entirely to sustainability. Most recently, she served as one of 7 founding members of Rooted School in New Orleans. Brittany's efforts helped earn Rooted School the 2018 LAPCS Innovative Education Award and become New Orleans' highest performing new start-up school in the city's history. Joining EcoRise, Brittany is excited to bring her passion for sustainability and social justice education to a new generation of green leaders.
In her current role at EcoRise, Celine is supporting Gen:Thrive’s mission to utilize GIS mapping and data visualization to build coalitions at the local, state and national level and identify strategies for effectively serving marginalized communities. In her spare time, Celine enjoys film photography, gardening, and DIY projects.
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 BA in English and Political Science from Rice University and an MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University.
Leading up to 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 One 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 she recently completed the School of System Change program at the Forum for the Future. She currently serves on the SXSW Edu Advisory Board and is a former co-chair of Austin ISD's Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee. Gina has presented extensively at local, regional, and national conferences on the topics of green schools, design thinking, and sustainability education.
professional development for teachers; as well as instructed CTLE certified courses for teachers who wish to
integrate GIS into their lessons and assisted with curriculum development.
In her spare time, Helen serves on the board of the Buffalo Women of Environmental Learning and Leadership (BWELL); a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage women to explore the natural
environment, promote sustainability, and develop leadership skills through environmental stewardship
and community engagement. Joining EcoRise, she is excited to bring GIS education to the classroom and have the opportunity to educate and inspire the next generation of leaders.
other publishers, corporations, and nonprofits. Throughout her career, Jenji has helped develop a number of influential and award-winning instructional materials, including environmental science field guides and virtual laboratories, critical thinking and habits of mind skill development resources, and online curricula for K–12 Science and Literature and college-level World History, Humanities, Web Design, Management, and Criminal Justice Ethics programs.
Jenji holds bachelor’s degrees in English and Philosophy from Southern Methodist University, a Master of Education in Educational Technology degree and E-Learning Certification from the University of Texas, and the LEED Green Associate credential. Since joining EcoRise in 2014, Jenji has overseen the development of curricular projects on sustainability, entrepreneurship, green building, biomimicry, design thinking, electric vehicle technology, water footprints, and environmental justice. Jenji is also using her attention to detail and writing aptitude to assist with other vital EcoRise needs, including program evaluation, reporting, and institutional giving. In her spare time, Jenji enjoys
gardening, writing, yoga, and spending time with her family and two border collies.
Jon has seven years of prior experience in education reform, focused on closing the achievement gap and increasing experiential learning opportunities for all students. As the founding Dean of Students at Codman Academy Charter Public School, Jon co-designed a tutoring program that increased student growth percentiles on state assessments, resulting in Codman posting the highest combined median student growth profile of any district in the state. In 2010, Jon became an independent project management consultant working with a range of educators and private and public sector leaders in support of innovative school design projects. In 2011, he helped successfully launch two schools, one of which was the first public dual-language high school in Boston. In 2012, he moved to Austin, Texas, and joined Idea Public Schools as a founding member of their Campus Leadership Team. At Idea, Jon helped ensure a successful launch for one of the first in-district charters in Austin, resulting in strong academic and operational performance.
Jon recently completed his Executive Masters in Nonprofit Leadership at the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Jon graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Studies. In his spare time, Jon enjoys cooking, backyard gardening, and exploring Austin by bike.
Kizzy has been an avid member of the nonprofit world since she finished college. She is also a founding member of the Amala Foundation and was its first Youth Program Director. In this position, she created and directed a groundbreaking program, the Global Youth Peace Summit, which unites immigrant, refugee, international, and local teenagers for a week dedicated to personal growth, cultural exchange,
leadership development, and community building. She held this position for five years before she helped launch EcoRise.
Kristi is a National Board Certified Teacher with a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. As the Program Director for EcoRise, Kristi continues to make curricula and resources easily accessible to educators in the state of Texas. She also leads the EcoRise PBL Academy, where she supports teachers, campuses, and districts in implementing authentic, engaging real-world learning through the lens of sustainability. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening with her kids in her NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat, camping, and hiking.
During undergrad, Laura co-founded a student TV station at St. Edward's, fostering a supportive community where students from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of interests could work together and tell their stories, fictional and non-fictional, through a tangible medium.
Laura is now telling EcoRise's story through the lenses of educators and students across the U.S. She is enthusiastic about continuing to elevate the EcoRise brand through design and storytelling and about growing her collection of personal talents through her work with EcoRise students, teachers, and partners.
Sharon holds a Bachelors of Arts from Beloit College where she majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Education and Youth studies. Sharon is currently working with EcoRise as their Education Specialist, her main role is working with the Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council for Climate as a facilitator and curriculum creator.
Sharon enjoys being outdoors, attending concerts, creating trip itineraries in her spare time, discovering new music, and spending time with her family and friends.
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 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, LI.
Our Board of Directors
Abi is an expert performance marketer specializing in customer acquisition with proven results both in generating demand and capturing it. Using both digital and traditional channels to drive results and establish high-performance go-to-market mechanisms in the process, Abi is used to working with companies who are looking for high-growth. On a personal level, Abi is passionate about environmental causes, sustainable living, and empowering younger generations. Having spent time volunteering with leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica to teaching English in India, Abi is now excited to be part of the EcoRise mission.
Amath Gomis is a sustainability leader that brings a diverse skill set to solve many of the environmental, social, and governance issues leading companies in commercial real estate, telecommunications, and information technology face. He’s a Director of ESG in the Americas at CBRE. Amath’s hobbies include collecting art, home renovation, gardening, and collecting orchids. He has an ESG podcast called ESG Matters, where he interviews ESG leaders and professionals about the Sustainability, their programs, and the struggles we face implementing ESG activities. Amath has a M.R.P. from Cornell University, and a B.A. from George Mason University.
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.
With a well-cultured background in architecture, interior design, and brand strategy, Gerardo creates seamless user experiences and unified brand expressions. Gerardo works with some of Austin’s largest developers on the front lines of creating the vision for how the urban, cultural, and architectural landscape is transforming in Austin. As a result of his dedication to impacting lives through design and creative thinking, Gerardo was named the 2018 Associate Member of the year by the AIA Austin and is a finalist in the 2020 Austin Under 40 Awards in the category of Architecture, Construction, and Engineering.
Gerardo is the founding Chairman of the ACE Mentor Program of Austin, a non-profit program dedicated to educating high school students about careers in architecture and design. In addition, he serves on the Business Advisory Council for the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. He also serves as the Chair for the AIA Austin’s Exhibit Committee and as a member of the steering committee for Gensler’s Community Impact Program.
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 Accounting Officer at EverWest, where he leads a team of accounting and finance professionals and serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee. Prior to joining EverWest he led the accounting team at a publicly traded health care 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.
Before founding Grotte, Miche worked for Morgan Stanley as a Financial Advisor and M&A strategist for small and mid-sized companies. Coming from a legal background, he is able to transfer his analytical skills and attention to details to help clients plan for what is often their-once-in-a-lifetime transactions. Miche’s mission is to help clients accomplish their goals by using advanced M&A and capital acquisition tools and techniques leveraging his broad network and experience. His relentless focus on clients’ success is demonstrated through three core principles: extensive capability, disciplined approach, and proactive services.
Miche holds a Juris Doctorate degree, with a concentration in Business and Financial Services, from Suffolk University Law School and a BA in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Florida Atlantic University. He has completed courseworks in Mathematics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
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
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Science Curriculum Supervisor
Austin Independent School District
People Operations and Technical Sourcing
Chief Financial Officer
Director, Corporate Social Responsibility
Green Strategy Solutions
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
Klante & Associates, LLC
Glimmer of Hope Foundation
Senior Director of Integrated Marketing
Senior Vice President of Global Services
Structure Tone, LLC
Founder and Chief Innovation Officer
Big Blue Fish
Chief Executive Officer
Head of Customer Experience Design