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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.

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

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.

Rebecca Rosado

She/her/hers

Member Capacity and Outreach Lead

Languages: English

Rebecca leads the resource and communication development that guides the membership experience at Front and Centered. She has a background in project management with a history of community engagement. In her role as Membership Lead, Rebecca coordinates member events, oversees the annual summit and implements programs to serve the members of Front and Centered and the communities they serve. She looks forward to finding new ways to bring the conversation of Just Transition to a neighborhood near you. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys traveling, camping and spending time with her family and two wonderful dogs.

Guillermo Rogel Jr.

He/him/his

Legislative and Government Relations Advocate

Languages: English, Spanish

Meet Guillermo, a dedicated member of the policy team at Front and Centered, working to advance the coalition’s legislative priorities. With a passion for education and advocacy, Guillermo has spent the past seven years collaborating with multiple statewide coalitions and organizations to lobby for causes rooted in social and racial justice. As the lobbyist representing Front and Centered, Guillermo plays a pivotal role in educating lawmakers in Olympia about the urgent need to address climate change and invest in the well-being of those most affected by its impacts. Outside of the legislative world, Guillermo finds joy in going to concerts, playing tennis, and rooting for the OL Reign, FC Ballard, and Manchester United.

James Lee

He/him/his

Communications Lead

Languages: English, Korean (conversational), Japanese (conversational)

James is a communications specialist and marine ecologist dedicated to supporting community priorities through storytelling that challenges dominant narratives and advances the perspectives of those on the frontlines of environmental change. He is a past communications fellow for Washington Sea Grant and past editor-in-chief of a graduate student publication on environmental science and policy. Prior to completing his master’s degree in marine and environmental affairs, he was a research technician in a wetland ecology lab and a community advocate in the San Francisco Bay Area, organizing around shoreline restoration, eviction defense, and public access to green spaces. He loves hiking, tidepooling, and being a cat dad.

Sierra Suafoa-McClain

They/them, she/her

Program Engagement Lead

Languages: English, minimal Spanish, some French

Sierra is from Tacoma, the City of Destiny and their beloved home! They recieved a Bachelors of Art in business management with minors of philosphy and entreprenuership from Seattle University; and a Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School. Sierra and their family draw roots from American Samoa which drives their passion to work with Pacific Island communities and other indigenous communities. Outside of FC, Sierra is learning Spanish (and brushing up on French), creating art, frequenting farmers markets, and exploring all the beauty that WA has to offer!

Maiko Patschke

She/her/hers

Policy Fellow

Languages: English

Maiko started as a Co-equitable Governance Intern while completing her Master of Public Administration degree. As an intern, she provided research assistance to Front and Centered staff and members of Washington’s Environmental Justice Council, focusing on best practices for implementing environmental justice policies in state agencies. She also evaluated agency progress on implementation of the HEAL Act, which eventually culminated in Front and Centered’s HEAL Progress Report. After graduating in June of 2023, she continues to work in an expanded role to support the organization’s HEAL Act portfolio.

Davin Diaz

He/him/his

Environmental Justice Program Manager

Languages: English

Davin works with a collaborative cross-sector programs team and our statewide membership to advance the development and implementation of Front and Centered’s agenda for climate and environmental justice. He brings transportation, land use, and environmental justice policy experience to the team. Davin also has experience working with arts and culture organizations and is interested in the intersection of art and social justice. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking with his family and working with artists in his community.

Nico Wedekind

He/him/his

Policy Counsel

Languages: English, Spanish

Nico joins Front and Centered as a public interest environmental attorney with a background in regulatory and legislative affairs. Following the completion of his law degree, he served as the inaugural Diehl Clinical Fellow for the University of Washington Regulatory Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, where he focused on providing legal assistance to historically underrepresented communities in Washington State. Now that he has joined the Front and Centered team, Nico looks forward to continuing to work on energy justice, environmental justice, and climate change mitigation. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, music, skiing, mountain biking, surfing, and generally exploring as much of the Pacific Northwest as he can.

Isabel Carrera Zamanillo

She/her/ella

Community Education Coordinator

Languages: English, Spanish

Isabel is a Mexican biologist supporting community education efforts at Front and Centered. She has supported various climate justice projects in Mexico and the United States, incorporating ethnobiology and community-based participatory research methods. Isabel has also collaborated with a wide range of organizations in the design and management of STEM outreach programs and independent social justice projects, incorporating community and culturally responsive models. After completing her environmental science doctoral degree, Isabel worked on institutional change within higher education institutions through diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. In her free time, she loves cooking, listening to music, and playing board games.

Pamela Tagata

She/her/hers

Administrative Specialist

Languages: English

Pamela provides administrative operational support and assistance with Front and Centered’s capacity building projects. She has a background in business operations with experience in optimizing processes and overseeing day-to-day operations for small businesses and nonprofits. In her free time, she enjoys exploring neighborhoods and visiting local cafes and shops.

Jamie Hearn

She/her/hers

Climate and Community Planning Lead

Languages: English

Jamie’s focus areas are transportation, land use, community resilience, and other planning work related to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve climate resilience. She has a background in environmental science and the intersections of environmental policy with tribal, land use, and administrative law. Her past experience includes working with frontline communities on developing climate justice advocacy campaigns and policies related to toxics remediation, flooding resilience, and air quality.

Salomon Gonzalez

He/him/el

Administrative Specialist

Languages: English, Spanish

Isabel is a Mexican biologist supporting community education efforts at Front and Centered. She has supported various climate justice projects in Mexico and the United States, incorporating ethnobiology and community-based participatory research methods. Isabel has also collaborated with a wide range of organizations in the design and management of STEM outreach programs and independent social justice projects, incorporating community and culturally responsive models. After completing her environmental science doctoral degree, Isabel worked on institutional change within higher education institutions through diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. In her free time, she loves cooking, listening to music, and playing board games.

Cameron Steinback

He/him/his

Climate Justice Program Manager

Languages: English, Spanish

Cameron is a Mexican biologist supporting community education efforts at Front and Centered. She has supported various climate justice projects in Mexico and the United States, incorporating ethnobiology and community-based participatory research methods. Isabel has also collaborated with a wide range of organizations in the design and management of STEM outreach programs and independent social justice projects, incorporating community and culturally responsive models. After completing her environmental science doctoral degree, Isabel worked on institutional change within higher education institutions through diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. In her free time, she loves cooking, listening to music, and playing board games.

CORE CONSULTANTS

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”

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.

Richard Stolz

He/him/his

Senior Strategic Advisor, Organizing and Innovation

Languages: English

Rich joins the Front and Centered team, having been one of the founding members of the coalition and recently serving a nine-year term as the Executive Director of One America. He brings deep expertise in statewide and national organizing and community innovation. Rich is deeply influenced by the civil rights movement and liberation theology. His work has focused on the intersection of policy, politics, and organizing across a broad spectrum of issues impacting low-income communities and communities of color, including jobs and income support policy, immigration policy, infrastructure investment, and environmental justice.

Charlie McAteer

He/him/his

Communications Strategist

Languages: English

Charlie started as a Co-equitable Governance Intern while completing her Master of Public Administration degree. As an intern, she provided research assistance to Front and Centered staff and members of Washington’s Environmental Justice Council, focusing on best practices for implementing environmental justice policies in state agencies. She also evaluated agency progress on implementation of the HEAL Act, which eventually culminated in Front and Centered’s HEAL Progress Report. After graduating in June of 2023, she continues to work in an expanded role to support the organization’s HEAL Act portfolio.

Johnny Buck

He/him/his

Position

Languages: English

Johnny started as a Co-equitable Governance Intern while completing her Master of Public Administration degree. As an intern, she provided research assistance to Front and Centered staff and members of Washington’s Environmental Justice Council, focusing on best practices for implementing environmental justice policies in state agencies. She also evaluated agency progress on implementation of the HEAL Act, which eventually culminated in Front and Centered’s HEAL Progress Report. After graduating in June of 2023, she continues to work in an expanded role to support the organization’s HEAL Act portfolio.