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Steering Committee Profiles

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Stuart Cohen, TransForm
Stuart Cohen is the co-founder and Executive Director of TransForm, ClimatePlan’s fiscal sponsor. TransForm advocates for world-class transit and walkable communities in the Bay Area and California. TransForm’s campaigns have brought together diverse coalitions and raised over $6 billion for sustainable and socially just transportation. In addition to helping initiate the Bay Area’s Regional Smart Growth Strategy, Stuart helped conceive and launch the Great Communities Collaborative to engage Bay Area communities in planning for sustainable, equitable development near transit. Previously, Stuart worked with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability as a researcher on the climate impacts of alternative transportation policies and fuels, and at NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group) as a toxics campaign coordinator and Statewide Canvass Director. Stuart received a Master’s Degree in Public Policy (MPP) from the Goldman School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley.

Amanda Eaken, Natural Resources Defense Council
Amanda Eaken is Deputy Director of Sustainable Communities with NRDC. Her primary focus is reducing transportation-sector greenhouse-gas emissions through improved land use and transportation planning and policy. She was actively involved in the passage of SB 375, which will provide transportation funding and regulatory incentives for regions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through improved long-term growth plans. She represented the environmental community on the Regional Targets Advisory Committee, which was charged with advising the California Air Resources Board on SB 375 implementation. Prior to joining NRDC, Amanda managed the construction of affordable housing projects with a non-profit developer in San Francisco. Amanda received her Master’s degree in Transportation and Land Use Planning from U.C. Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and her B.A. in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology from Dartmouth College.

Chione L. Flegal, PolicyLink
Chione Flegal, Director of PolicyLink, works to ensure that infrastructure policy promotes social, economic, and environmental equity. She leads PolicyLink efforts to address infrastructure disparities in low-income unincorporated communities in California’s San Joaquin Valley and to promote equitable solutions to climate change. Prior to joining PolicyLink, Chione managed Latino Issues Forum’s Sustainable Development program and directed the organization’s environmental health and justice work. Chione advises the California Air Resources Board on the implementation of climate policy by serving on the AB 32 Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. She holds a Master’s in City Planning and a B.S. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley.

Veronica Garibay, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
Veronica Garibay is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of LCJA.  She immigrated from Michoacan, Mexico at a young age, along with her parents and four siblings, to the City of Parlier in Fresno County. Veronica grew up in this small farmworker town and graduated from Parlier Unified District Schools. As a first-generation student, Veronica attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology and Law and Society. Upon graduation, Veronica joined the California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.’s Community Equity Initiative as the program’s first Community Worker. Veronica holds a Master’s of Public Administration from Fresno State.

Jeremy Madsen, Greenbelt Alliance
Jeremy Madsen is the Executive Director of Greenbelt Alliance, which advocates for policies to protect the Bay Area’s open spaces and promote the creation of vibrant urban places. Jeremy came to Greenbelt Alliance from The San Francisco Foundation, where he helped to launch the Great Communities Collaborative and supported social equity, affordable housing, and smart growth efforts around the Bay Area. From 2001 to 2005, Jeremy was Greenbelt Alliance’s Field Director, leading the organization’s policy campaigns and supervising the work of all its field offices. Previously, Jeremy served as Field Director for Washington state’s Transportation Choices Coalition, coordinated fair trade campaigns for the Washington DC-based Citizens Trade Campaign, and ran get-out-the-vote efforts for candidate and ballot measure campaigns. Jeremy holds a B.A. from George Washington University and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon.

Liz O’Donoghue, The Nature Conservancy
As Director of Infrastructure and Land Use, Liz O’Donoghue oversees The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter’s policy agenda on infrastructure development and land use, mitigation, transportation policy, and integration with natural resource protection. Liz currently serves on the California Public Infrastructure Advisory Commission and on the Executive Committee of the Bay Area Open Space Council. From 2006 to 2009, Liz served as TNC’s Director of External Affairs, where she led engagement with government and stakeholders at the federal, state, county, and local levels, on public policy, public funding, legislation, bonds, and constituency building. From 1999 to 2006, Liz worked at the western regional headquarters of Amtrak, first as Director of Communications, Government, and Public Affairs, then as Director of Strategic Planning, where she was responsible for developing and implementing Amtrak’s strategy on passenger rail corridors in the West. Previously, she served for seven years as legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, specializing in transportation and natural resource policy. Before that, she worked at a public policy firm in Princeton, New Jersey, consulting with major corporate clients on environmental, health care, and transportation issues. She holds a B.A. in Government from Oberlin College.

Shamus Roller, Housing California
Shamus Roller is Executive Director of Housing California. He has an extensive background in coalition building, community outreach, fundraising, and leadership. Before joining Housing California in 2011, Shamus served as the Executive Director of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, where he spearheaded major policy initiatives (including campaigns for mixed-income housing and transit-oriented development); developed and nurtured relationships with community leaders as well as national, regional, and local government officials; and tripled the organization’s revenue. Prior to that, Shamus worked as an attorney at Justice First LLP, a private law firm practicing in areas of employment discrimination, civil rights, and criminal appeals. Shamus has served on the boards of the Environmental Council of Sacramento, the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, the Regional Advisory Committee for the U.C. Davis Center for Regional Change, and the Interagency Council of the Ending Chronic Homelessness Initiative. Shamus received his B.A. in History at Reed College, and J.D. from the University of California, Hastings.

Monika Shankar, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles
Monika Shankar is PSR-LA’s Health & Environment Associate, directing programs focusing on healthy land use by mobilizing health professionals, advocates, and community groups in policy advocacy. She is deeply committed and engaged in the social and environmental justice movements, as well as improving the conditions of low-income communities and communities of color. Prior to joining PSR-LA, Monika worked with a team of community planners and environmental justice activists at the Ironbound Community Corporation, to resolve issues including air pollution from incinerators and a local port, diesel exhaust from trucks, land pollution from over 50 contaminated industrial sites, and the remediation of one of the dirtiest rivers in the U.S., the Passaic River. Monika holds a B.A. in Spanish and Philosophy from Loyola Marymount University, and a M.A. in International Urban Development from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy (The New School).

Sam Tepperman-Gelfant, Public Advocates
Sam is a Senior Staff Attorney at Public Advocates, which he first joined as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in 2007. There, he has advocated for equitable development, community benefits and affordable housing throughout the Bay Area, and has led statewide policy conversations. He leads Public Advocates’ work with the Community Coalition for a Sustainable Concord to bring affordable housing, quality jobs, accessible parks, and healthy neighborhoods to the redevelopment of the massive Concord Naval Weapons Station. Sam also works to promote investment without displacement in low-income, urban neighborhoods in Oakland, Richmond and other Bay Area cities. Additionally, he advocates for climate justice and equitable regional land use and housing policies, leading the “Investment Without Displacement” win network in our 6 Big Wins for Social Equity campaign. At the local level, he has increased housing opportunities for low-income people and people of color through policy advocacy and supporting breakthrough litigation such as Urban Habitat v. City of Pleasanton and Williams v. City of Antioch. Before joining Public Advocates, Sam clerked for the Hon. John P. Fullam of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and in the Staff Attorney’s Office of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Gloria Ohland, Move LA
As Policy and Communications Director at Move LA, Gloria Ohland works on expanding and maintaining the coalition of diverse interests that supports building out a robust public transportation system in Los Angeles County and advocates for financing strategies to accelerate construction. Gloria seeks new revenue streams to help ensure that neighborhoods near transit provide homes that transit riders can afford, with opportunities to walk and bike to transit, as well as local destinations. She worked on the victorious campaign to adopt a $534 billion RTP/SCS in Southern California that directs half the plan’s funding to transit, triples funding for active transportation, and significantly boosts the percentage of housing and jobs near transit. Previously a journalist, Gloria joined the nonprofit world to work on transit and transit-oriented development at the national and local levels. She was a founding member of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development while serving as a Vice President at the national nonprofit Reconnecting America, which was funded by Congress to promote best practices; she worked on the H+T (housing and transportation) affordability index now used by HUD to prioritize projects for funding, and on the Location Efficient Mortgage before that; and has authored many publications on transit, transit-oriented development, and sustainability.

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