Public Affairs Representative
Water Replenishment District (WRD)
Ally Hernandez is a devoted public servant, currently serving as a Public Affairs Representative for the Water Replenishment District (WRD). With experience in the U.S. Congress, California Senate, California Contract Cities Association (CCCA), and as Chair of the City of Norwalk Parks and Recreation Commission, her focus spans community engagement, constituent casework, and legislative affairs. Ally holds a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from California State University-Dominguez Hills and a Master’s of Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach. Beyond her official roles, she actively volunteers, providing community outreach and media management for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9148, serving veteran communities. Committed to enhancing southeast Los Angeles County, Ally leverages her skills to bring resources and opportunities. As part of CRLN, she eagerly seeks to connect with industry professionals, strengthen networks, and contribute to a more climate-resilient future for Los Angeles County.
Senior Advisor, Climate Adaptation & Resilience Planning
Southern California Edison
Anna is a Senior Advisor on the Climate Adaptation and Resilience Planning team at Southern California Edison. Anna’s team is responsible for setting and implementing SCE’s company strategy on planning for climate change. In this role, Anna leads projects focused on incorporating climate projections into company planning processes and investment proposals. She also works within electric industry forums to help set standards and develop best practices for adapting to climate change within the electric power sector. Anna is relatively new to Los Angeles and looks forward to meeting others working in climate resilience in LA. Her civic and extracurricular interests include public transit, exploring new neighborhoods, and street tacos, and she lives in Santa Monica with her husband and kitty-cat.
Senior Advisor, Public Affairs
Southern California Edison (SCE)
Anuj Desai is a senior advisor at Southern California Edison (SCE), where his current responsibilities include overseeing climate adaptation and resilience engagement with local and tribal governments and community-based organizations across SCE’s 55,000-square-mile service area. Anuj’s prior experience includes developing strategies for SCE’s customer-facing energy efficiency, solar, and storage programs; co-developing General Electric’s first green supply chain program; and a thirteen-year career as an executive editor and writer for a variety of publications. He holds a master of environmental management degree from Yale’s School of the Environment. Outside of work, Anuj loves to spend time reading fiction, listening to music, and hiking, while also volunteering to support regional climate resilience-focused organizations. At Coro, he is excited to learn from others, expand his network, and take steps toward catalyzing action regionally with similarly motivated peers.
Founder & Principal
Dr. Cassie Rauser is the founder and principal of MorphoStrategies, a climate and sustainability strategy consulting service committed to collaborative and community-inspired approaches to accelerate our response to the climate crisis and implement solutions centered on equity and justice. She has been an activist, researcher, and strategic innovator focused on climate and sustainability for over 25 years. For nearly a decade, she led UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, where she built a novel university program that harnessed expertise from across disciplines, created opportunities for partnerships across sectors, and collaboratively worked to transform LA County into the most sustainable mega-city by 2050. She was part of the team that developed the first LA County sustainability plan and was a convening lead author on LADWP’s LA100 equity strategies for delivering carbon-free energy in LA. Cassie hopes to build stronger relationships among her climate justice peers through her participation in Coro.
Chrissy Anecito is a policy strategist focused on engaging governmental entities, private corporations, and civil service organizations on sustainable and equitable solutions to challenges at the local, state, and federal levels. As an Associate with Cityfi, Chrissy is focused on climate adaptation and resilience, public-private coalition building, and improving programmatic efficiencies. Prior to joining Cityfi, Chrissy launched a pilot Climate Budget program for the City of Los Angeles, and operationalized and implemented multiple projects from Mayor Garcetti’s Justice Budget agenda. Chrissy has over seven years of experience in political strategy and electoral politics, working alongside the leadership of various political organizations and candidates. She holds a BA from UC Berkeley in Political Science, and a Master in Public Policy from UCLA.
Environmental Justice Deputy
County of Los Angeles Supervisor Holly Mitchell (Supervisorial District 2)
Francisco Lopez currently serves as the Deputy of Environmental Justice for Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. In this role, Francisco contributes to the development of policies aimed at bolstering climate resilience, ensuring food security, and expanding access to green open spaces. Having grown up in Watts, Francisco has experienced first-hand the disproportionate effects of climate change. Francisco is looking forward to fostering the knowledge from his experiences and building on the progress made to address the injustices that impact our communities. In his free time, Francisco enjoys hiking around Greater Los Angeles and going on road trips to visit National Parks.
Senior Director of Policy & Research
Gabriele is the Senior Director of Policy & Research at the Television Academy. In her role, she explores how the Academy can meaningfully engage and impact timely topics. Throughout her career, Gabriele has served as an advisor to Fortune 500 companies, domestic and international government agencies, and numerous humanitarian organizations. She was appointed to FEMA’s National Advisory Council from 2016 to 2019. She holds an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California (USC). Gabriele was recently awarded USC’s Price Pioneer designation, one of only ninety awardees in the history of the Price School of Public Policy, for her bridge-building work between entertainment, media, and the public sector.
Environmental Engagement Program Director
The Bay Foundation
Georgia Tunioli (she/her) is the Environmental Engagement Program Director for The Bay Foundation, a nonprofit working to restore and enhance Santa Monica Bay and its Watershed. Georgia’s work advances initiatives and partnerships that reduce waste, foster stewardship, and further The Bay Foundation’s mission. She has over a decade of interdisciplinary experience in environmental advocacy, communications, and education, and she is energized by action that brings harmony to places and people. Georgia holds bachelor’s degrees in environmental science and international relations from the University of Redlands. What excites her most about Coro is collaborating and learning in a community around reimagining and stewarding Los Angeles.
Senior Energy Policy Analyst
BayWa r.e. Americas
Giovanni is a Senior Energy Policy Analyst at BayWa r.e., a clean energy development company. In his current capacity, he is responsible for monitoring, reviewing, and digesting the clean energy policy and governmental landscape in the United States, and supporting the development of the company’s policy and government affairs strategies. Additionally, he engages and develops relationships with political stakeholders and governmental entities at the state and federal levels to advocate for clean energy policies. He is involved in numerous clean energy advocacy organizations across the country (e.g. American Clean Power, Solar Energy Industries Association, etc.) and the OC Public Affairs Association. Giovanni is looking forward to meeting other Coro participants to build support towards passing clean energy/climate policies in California and across LA cities.
Resources Legacy Fund
Janine Knapp is a Program Manager at Resources Legacy Fund. She develops and manages projects for philanthropic programs that address climate change by advancing equitable policies and funding and supporting inclusive and effective constituencies. Before joining Resources Legacy Fund, Janine was the Program Associate for the California Climate Program at The Nature Conservancy and previously served as their Operations Program Coordinator. She also worked as a Congressional Intern for Representative Sam Farr and holds a BA in Political Science and English Literature from UC Santa Cruz. As a CRLN cohort member, she hopes to gain valuable leadership skills, build strong relationships with other cohort members, and develop innovative solutions for climate and community resilience in Los Angeles.
Principal Civil Engineer, Water Division
Burbank Water and Power
Jared Lee is a Principal Civil Engineer at the City of Burbank, Water and Power (BWP). He manages BWP Water Division’s recycled water system, plan review process, development review process, innovative technology evaluation program, cross connection control program, water service planning, and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) upgrade program. Jared is a registered California Civil Engineer. In his spare time, he enjoys climbing, cycling, backpacking, and spending time with his family and two dogs Luigi and Daisy. Jared is always looking to understand issues from differing perspectives and better inform, engage, and leverage stakeholders from diverse backgrounds.
Jason (he/him) is a Transportation Planner at VICUS, where he manages transportation projects related to first/last mile planning, equity, and transit-oriented communities in Los Angeles. He is committed to making cities regenerative places where all people can thrive and live with dignity and autonomy. With a background in transportation, climate resilience, and UX design, he is passionate about community-led urban development; decolonized planning approaches; and racial, design, and climate justice. He is currently a Local Pathways Fellow for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth). In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis and basketball, singing, and bringing his dog to LA’s many parks and street food spots. Through the Coro Climate Resilience Leadership Network, he aims to gain a comprehensive understanding of the city’s challenges and an interdisciplinary skillset that will help him implement climate resilience projects in Los Angeles and beyond. He is also excited to collaborate with a vibrant cohort of people who reflect the diversity of the city and who are passionate about climate resilience.
Jose Orozco Pelico
Community Engagement Manager
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
Jose is the Community Engagement Manager at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). He specializes in Partner Engagement and Community Pilot Strategies, contributing to the development and execution of innovative transportation and clean energy pilots that drive sustainable solutions. As a Community Engagement Manager, he oversees engagement strategies for pilots, pilot execution, managing community partner relationships, and supporting community engagement projects and initiatives. Jose has served on various boards in his community, including the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council (BHNC) as Board President and Board Member of East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC). In addition to his community work, he enjoys being active through running and hiking and is committed to supporting initiatives that promote equity and justice in underrepresented communities. Participation in Coro is driven by a desire to enhance his leadership skills, broaden his understanding of community dynamics, and refine his ability to navigate complex partnerships.
Tataviam Land Conservancy
Julia Lindner is the Programs Manager at the Tataviam Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization operating under the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. In her role as Programs Manager, Julia oversees and implements projects such as land back efforts, educational programs, Tribal community engagement events, and climate resilience initiatives. With a background in environmental science and conservation biology, Julia is passionate about urban ecosystems and regenerating positive connections between communities and the land. Currently, she’s working on a project to start up a Tribal tree nursery and plant native trees in residential homes throughout the San Fernando Valley.
Julia’s other interests include playing soccer, roller skating, and trying out as many LA restaurants as possible. She hopes that Coro will be a chance for her to meet others in her field, embrace her agency to make an impact, and become more inspired and rejuvenated in her work.
Project Specialist, Urban Tree Initiative
USC Dornsife’s Public Exchange
Katie Vega is a Project Specialist for the Urban Trees Initiative at USC Dornsife’s Public Exchange. She is supporting the expansion of USC Trees which seeks to improve urban forestry planning and equitable distribution of canopy throughout Los Angeles. She collaborates with university, nonprofit, municipal, and community partners to collectively build a model for urban climate mitigation and adaptation. As a public health practitioner, Katie enjoys leading community-based projects and programs that support community health and wellbeing through built environment interventions and inclusive community engagement processes. Katie can be found spending time with her family and friends outdoors, eating delicious foods, and attending spooky events. She advocates for the protection and expansion of green spaces and active transportation in LA. Katie hopes to dive deeper into the complex climate resilience work happening in LA and to build inspiring visions and impactful projects with her fellow Coro colleagues.
Coordinator, Climate Planning and Resilience
Lia Cohen is the Coordinator, of Climate Planning and Resilience at Climate Resolve, where she supports projects that advance climate resilience and environmental justice in Los Angeles and across the state. Lia is currently leading implementation efforts for the Baldwin Hills Community Resilience and Access Plan, the Sustainable Transportation Equity Project grant in the city of Commerce, and the South LA Eco-Lab Transformative Climate Communities grant. Before joining Climate Resolve, Lia held various roles in field organizing, social impact, and legal advocacy.
Lia graduated from UCLA in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies and minors in Public Affairs and Environmental Systems and Society. Outside of work, Lia loves making music, playing basketball, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her friends and very large family. An LA native, she looks forward to fostering local climate solutions and deepening her leadership skills as part of Coro’s Climate Resilience Leadership Network cohort.
Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
Mariana serves as the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and oversees the Partnerships Division. She is responsible for advancing projects and policies in water conservation, facility and equipment electrification, sustainable land management, biodiversity, and related areas within the City’s parks. She is also managing partnership agreements and donations that directly benefit park users. She volunteers with her children’s local sports, theater, and martial arts activities. She looks forward to collaborating with CRLN participants to implement local sustainability projects.
Architect, Senior Associate and Regional Design Technology Lead
Michael is a licensed architect with 15 years of experience. He has spent the majority of his career in Los Angeles with previous experience in Seattle and Ohio. He has worked on projects all across the world with a focus on Higher Education, Transportation, High Rise, Mixed-use, Civic, Institutional, and Office. He has worked on all phases of projects from concept through construction administration. He is a passionate cross-disciplinary thinker and has taken on a leadership role on projects as a Design Leader, Design Technologist, Project Manager, and Project Architect. Notable completed projects include the LAX Central Terminal Area where Michael was instrumental in the design, fabrication, and construction of the iconic Y roadside light poles. Since joining Gensler, Michael has worked on the Cyprus Antiquities Museum; and Cate School Student Commons and taken a leadership role in designing, managing, and coordinating the Sawtelle Office Building in West LA.
Michael is currently a Design Technology Leader for the Southwest Region and is a member of the LA Design Technology Studio. He developed a passion for computational-driven design while previously working at Gehry Technologies developing software plugins and geometric optimization routines to direct and facilitate communication between the design and delivery teams during design and construction administration. Presently, Michael is consulting with design teams to drive the adoption of computational thinking and data-driven processes on projects to help our design teams realize net zero embodied and operational carbon emissions on projects.
Michael received his Master’s degree from UCLA and Bachelor’s Degree from Miami University. In addition to his M. Arch degree, Michael also has a minor in structural engineering and has completed certificate programs in real estate development participating in the NAIOP design competition for two consecutive years while at UCLA.
Arlington Garden in Pasadena
Michelle Matthews is the Executive Director of Arlington Garden in Pasadena. She was born in Iran to a Chinese/Vietnamese mother and a Black/Caucasian father. Her family was among the last ones to be airlifted from Iran during the Islamic Revolution in February of 1979. Her father, once a minister from North Carolina, was a retired technical writer who wrote manuals for the B2 Bomber and Apache helicopter and taught her how to use Ventura Publisher when she was eleven. She grew up in Hawthorne, California. Traveling back and forth between her home and her high school in West Los Angeles, Michelle noticed how the quality of the landscape impacts the quality of life. Michelle enjoys spending time with her family and friends and taking photographs. By participating in CRLN, she hopes to gain momentum in her vision for “gardens of diversity everywhere.”
Manager of Sustainability and Natural Resources
San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments
Nicholas Ryu is the Sustainability and Natural Resources Manager for the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, where he oversees energy, water, food recovery, coyote management, and wildfire management programs that serve 2 million people in 31 cities across the San Gabriel Valley. A sustainability and public sector professional, he has also worked for the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of City Services as an Infrastructure Policy and Services Manager, for the Department of Energy, and for the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. He holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary. He hopes to use the CRLN Fellowship to network with other professionals and enhance his knowledge related to sustainability best practices and organizations that will help him lead a public agency on environmental sustainability.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Nicole Fernandes is a Policy Analyst at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a federal agency that provides science, service, and stewardship to build a Climate Ready Nation. At NOAA, Nicole develops coastal and ocean science and management policy and communications products that advance climate resilience. Nicole also served as a policy analyst within the White House Office of Management and Budget for five years, taught high school science for three years, and was an education coordinator at the National Wildlife Federation and the urban forestry manager at the Urban Corps of San Diego, a youth conservation corps. Nicole is a certified mindfulness instructor through UCLA’s Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Behavior and leads weekly meditations and regular mindfulness trainings at NOAA. She also serves as a professional coach to federal employees and teaches mindfulness and science as a volunteer at her children’s school. Through the Climate Resilience Leadership Network, Nicole is eager to connect with new friends and leverage our collective resources to advance climate literacy, justice, and resilience in Los Angeles. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Science in Entomology from the University of California, Riverside; a Master of Science in Environmental Science and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan; and a Master of Education from the University of Maryland.
Regulatory and Public Affairs Manager
Crescenta Valley Water District
Patrick manages the regulatory and public affairs functions at his hometown water district. He has over a decade of experience in climate and government technology, including helping launch a unique California water data analytics NGO, raising the initial investment, building a data science team from the ground up, and laying the foundation for an $880k organization. His data work has been featured in the Annals of Applied Statistics, the number one journal for the field, as well as numerous industry outlets including Harper’s magazine and KNX news radio. Outside of work, Patrick enjoys reading widely, outdoor adventures, and spending time with his wife and one-year-old daughter. He is excited to engage in the Coro climate leadership program to help ensure a bright future for her generation.
Environmental Protection Specialist
United States Environmental Protection Authority, Office of Community Revitalization
Pauline Louie is the US EPA Environmental Protection Specialist in the Office of Community Revitalization within the Office of Policy. Pauline oversees climate resiliency and environmental justice projects. She works in both DC and LA – home of her beloved LA River, husband, son, and dog. She is excited to join a team of other leaders passionate about seeing Southern Californian communities not only survive but thrive in a changing climate.
Sarah Smyth is a Cities Consultant at Buro Happold, an engineering and advisory firm. She collaborates with public sector clients to address the challenges of climate change. Engaged throughout the climate action planning process, she maps climate risks, assesses physical and social vulnerabilities, conducts qualitative research, and develops strategies for implementation. Sarah is driven by work that advances climate and environmental justice, particularly for marginalized communities. Her portfolio includes local projects like the West Hollywood Climate Action Plan and LA County Climate Vulnerability Assessment, as well as work in cities such as Tucson, AZ, Washington, DC, and New York, NY.
She holds a master’s in urban planning from Harvard and a bachelor’s in political science from UCLA. Sarah previously completed the Coro Fellow Program in Public Affairs (FPPA) in San Francisco. Through CLRN, she seeks to connect with local climate leaders and deepen her understanding of climate resilience implementation.
Outreach Associate, External Affairs
The Nature Conservancy
As External Affairs Outreach Associate at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Sarai advances TNC’s policy priorities through legislative outreach and partnership-building. She leads community engagement for TNC’s multi-benefit Bowtie Wetland Demonstration Project along the Los Angeles River. Previously, Sarai built strong partnerships with grassroots organizations, Indigenous communities, and non-profit organizations in Oaxaca, Mexico to advance environmental and social justice goals. Sarai strives to integrate the needs and priorities of communities, community-based organizations, environmental justice organizations, and Indigenous leaders who are the experts of their communities, to achieve equitable and durable outcomes.
Sarai is excited to engage with Coro cohort members who approach climate resilience work outside and inside the conservation sector. She wants to explore opportunities to break down the silos that are holding back the Greater Los Angeles area from realizing greater climate change action on a scale that is community-centered and intersectional.
Senior Budget Analyst
US Department of the Interior – Office of the Secretary
Thomas Liu is a senior budget professional in the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, one of 50 individuals on the team managing the Interior’s $19 billion annual budget. Previously, he was the acting Regional Director and the Deputy Regional Director for the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Pacific Region, which manages energy resources offshore the West Coast and Hawaii. Thomas has a variety of experience in the government and private sector. In government, he served as Chief of Concessions for Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, as a Presidential Management Fellow at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and as a program examiner at the White House Office of Management & Budget. In the private sector, he was an investment banking analyst with Merrill Lynch; a product manager for Zurich Insurance; and an investment analyst for a Hong Kong-based hedge fund. He earned a BS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford and an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. He also completed Coro’s Lead LA 2 Program and the Senior Executive Fellows certificate program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Thomson Dryjanski is a Senior Associate at Estolano Advisors. As an urban planner and facilitator, his work focuses on equitable public investments that support climate-vulnerable communities. He strives to strengthen social infrastructure via improved policy for parks and open space, public transit services, and other sustainability-related topics. Select clients include the LA County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Chief Sustainability Office, LA Metro, Communities for a Better Environment, LA for Resilient and Healthy Homes Coalition, and others. He has played key leadership roles in LA County DPR’s Five-Year Strategic Plan, the Sepulveda Basin Vision Plan, the PNA+ Implementation Plan, LA Metro’s Public Safety Advisory Committee, and many other planning efforts. Prior to joining Estolano Advisors, he worked as an urban designer improving multi-modal safety and public outreach processes. In this role, he was awarded the 2020 Public Outreach Excellence Award from the APA California chapter for authoring the SCAG Regional Climate Adaptation Framework’s stakeholder engagement toolkit and communications guide.