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Coordination Team

Aurora Martin

She/her/hers

Co-Executive Director, Capacity Building

Languages: English, Tagalog

Aurora shares the leadership of Front and Centered, with a focus on supporting the team’s capacity building and community engagement efforts. She has been involved in social justice work as a nonprofit lawyer, community organization leader, and creative producer. Aurora brings an eclectic spirit to the Front and Centered team, and looks forward to advancing equity, environmental, and climate justice with our community coalition.

Deric Gruen

He/him/anything

Co-Executive Director, Programs and Policy

Languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, and enough Arabic to impress his auntie

Deric shares the leadership of Front and Centered, with a focus on programs and policy. Deric has created and led diverse initiatives for climate/environmental justice and community economic development, from idea through fruition, for community-based organizations, in education, and government. A graduate of Garfield High school and the UW School of Public Policy, Deric is from a family full of social workers, has a new baby, and is the descendant of refugees from Germany and Lebanon — where he started his work in environmental justice.

Ruby Love

She/her/hers

Organization Strategist

Languages: English

Ruby Love is a transformational business leader. She is an entrepreneur and strategist known for advocating for socially responsible business and community organizations. Her career has afforded relationships that have brought millions of much needed philanthropic support to the arts, education, STEM, social services, and advancing philanthropy. From an early age growing up with parents who led civil rights in her community, she honed her skills as an activist, organizer and leader for racial justice. She enjoys advising emerging entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders to unlock the keys to building a better world with racial equity and social justice always front and center. Her love of artists in live performance, jazz, a great book, golf and her active family fill her days.

“Encouraging generosity everyday”

Esther Min

She/her/hers

Director of Environmental Health Research Partnerships

Languages: English, Korean

Esther serves as the Environmental Health Lead, supporting evidenced based and data driven work across Front and Centered programs. She brings experience developing environmental justice maps and supporting community-driven research with communities, for communities. In her free time, Esther enjoys traveling, cooking, and fishing with her family.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

Sharon Chen

She/her/hers

Resource Manager

Languages: English, Mandarin Chinese (conversational)

Sharon Chen is a results-oriented executive board member and non-profit sector strategist committed to transforming our democratic systems and policies to center the voices of highly impacted communities. She has expertise in organizational development, policy, campaign development and equity strategies, and is a tested programs and teams leader trained in the tech sector.

Melina Rivera

She/her/hers

Operations Director

Languages: English, Spanish

Melina oversees Front and Centered administrative and operations functions while providing project support. Melina comes to Front and Centered with operations experience in non-profit community health where she pursued her commitment to addressing health disparities, especially among some of our most vulnerable communities. As a resident of the Duwamish Valley in Seattle, she is excited to continue her work to engage frontline communities in addressing environmental injustice.

Mariel Thuraisingham

She/her/hers

Clean Energy Policy Lead

Languages: English, French, Spanish

Mariel is an environmental law and policy specialist leading Front and Centered’s commitment to advancing the clean energy interests of frontline communities in Washington that are historically disproportionately harmed by climate change. After completing her law degree she worked on justice sector strengthening and rule of law in Central America, Central and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and West Africa, where she observed the important interplay of communities, institutions and infrastructure in supporting resilient and equitable socioeconomic systems. Through coalition-building, outreach and advocacy, Mariel works at the intersection between progressive policies and their translation into an effective and enforceable legal and regulatory framework for environmental justice, climate change mitigation, and sustainable living. She enjoys gardening.

Aiko Schaefer

She/her/hers

Senior Advisor

Languages: English

Aiko provides guidance on policy and political strategy, as well as fund development. She has over 25 years of experience working on public policy issues and campaigns around the US on poverty, inequality, consumer protection and conservation, as well as running state and federal partisan campaigns. Aiko is the founding director of Front & Centered, a position she held for 5 years, during which she served as the Co-Chair of the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy which developed and led the groundbreaking 2018 climate justice ballot measure. Prior to her work on climate and environmental policy, Aiko was on the faculty at the University of Washington.

Isabel Carrera Zamanillo

She/her/hers

Co-conspirator/Researcher

Languages: English, Spanish

Born in Mexico, Isabel has a professional background in biological and environmental sciences. Isabel comes to Front & Centered with experience fostering equity and inclusion in academia and higher education institutions with roles in non-profit, STEM education, and community-based growth. Isabel is fully committed to the community-driven solutions to environmental and climate injustices.

Paulo Nunes-Ueno

He/him/his

Transportation and Landuse Policy Lead

Languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, and a little bit of Japanese

Paulo is an expert in sustainable transportation. He has worked with cities, transit agencies and campuses across the country to create healthy communities through safe and effective mobility strategies.

Guillermo Rogel Jr.

He/him/his

Legislative Advocate

Languages: English and Spanish

Guillermo works with the policy team to advance the legislative priorities of Front and Centered. Guillermo has worked with students over the last six years to make public college more affordable, accessible, and diverses and is excited to jump into the climate justice movement. As the lobbyist for Front and Centered, Guillermo is responsible for educating lawmakers in Olympia urgency of tackling climate change and investing in the needs of those most impacted by our changing climate. In his free time Guillermo enjoys discovering new music, playing online video games, and playing tennis.