Sigrid Wright has 25 years of experience in non-profit environmental management and has served as CEC’s CEO since 2015. For climate related issues, she is a co-founder and steering committee member of the Central Coast Climate Justice Network, and a co-founder of the Central Coast Climate Collaborative. For energy related issues, she is co-author and/or editor of more than a dozen CEC policy documents, including The Santa Barbara County Regional Energy Blueprint. For food system issues, she is on the executive team and advisory board of the countywide Food Action Network. For more than 15 years she led the annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival production team.
Sigrid holds a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Oregon and an M.A. in Communications Design from the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts at the University of Baltimore. Prior to coming to CEC, she worked for several organizations in Washington, D.C., including the Alliance to Save Energy and the National Wildlife Federation. She is an alum of the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Katherine Harvey Fellows program and the Courage to Lead program for non-profit leaders, and sits on the board of Leading From Within and the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Collaboration for Social Impact. She received the 2015 Women of Achievement Award from the Association of Women in Communications, Santa Barbara. She is an avid reader and enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors.
Julia Blanton joined CEC’s staff in April 2018 to support food systems work as the Santa Barbara County Food Rescue Coordinator. After earning a B.S. in Nutrition from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she worked as a Diet Specialist in the Nutrition Department at Cottage Hospital. With a deep love of traveling and the outdoors, she has a passion for programs that lead to healthy people and a healthy planet.
Michael Chiacos joined CEC in 2007 and directs our energy, transportation, and climate programs. He has led dozens of CEC’s programs, from forming the regional electric vehicle readiness group to working on state policy issues at the Public Utilities Commission. He is the principal author of CEC’s Transportation Energy Plan, a comprehensive look at the various technologies, strategies, policies, modes and other options for reducing fossil fuel use in the transportation sector.
Michael holds a BA with honors in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. He has recently served on the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District Community Advisory Committee, sat on the Measure A Citizens Oversight Committee (overseeing $1.5 billion in transportation spending), was president of the board of directors of the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, and served as the Transportation Chair of the Los Padres chapter of the Sierra Club.
Alhan is leading outreach and engagement with frontline communities in the North County region of Santa Barbara for Conectados 2050/Connected 2050, a project CEC is helping implement for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. A Santa Maria native, Alhan spent the last 8 years in Montana, where he earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Montana in Missoula. He values solidarity and actively works in the areas of racial, economic, and environmental justice. Happy to be back home, he is excited to help CEC and his community connect to form strong bonds and collaborations.
Melissa Gomez Fontaine
Melissa joined CEC in 2021 as Campaign and Development Associate. Prior to CEC, Melissa was the Marketing Manager at the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens, co-founder of Goodland Kitchen (community kitchen and cafe in Goleta), Food Literacy Manager at the Orfalea Foundation, Director of Community Impact with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, and Food Security Coordinator at UC Santa Barbara.
Melisa earned her BA in Natural Sciences from New College of Florida, and her Masters of Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara.
Melissa was born in Colombia, raised in Miami, and lives with her family on the sunset side of Goleta, California.
Cameron Gray joined CEC in 2015 and is a member of the Climate and Transportation team. He works to increase access to cleaner plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) and new clean mobility solutions, such as bikeshare programs and electric vanpool services. Cameron also provides policy guidance and facilitates community engagement for local government planning related to transportation, climate resilience, and community development. He is one of CEC’s representatives for the Central Coast Climate Justice Network, which unifies social justice and environmental organizations committed to a transformative climate movement that advances social, economic, and environmental justice in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. He has also facilitated the development of several other networks and groups, including Electric Drive 805, SBCAG’s Climate Resilience Team, and the Ventura County EV Ready Communities coalition. Cameron strongly believes that the best solutions for bold climate action are unlocked with robust collaboration that is rooted in community.
Cameron received a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2013. He also holds a dual Bachelor of the Arts in Psychology and Philosophy from UCSB. Cameron is a 2017 Alumni of Leading from Within’s Emerging Leaders Program (Cohort V).
Jennifer joined CEC in late 2018 as an energy assistant. Her focus is creating an Electric Vehicle Blueprint for Ventura County. Before joining CEC, she interned with Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) working on environmental justice issues in Ventura County. This was part of their work with the Clean Energy 805 Coalition. Jennifer has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Lisa Javellana Hill
Lisa Hill is Principal / Creative Director at PHAROS Creative LLC, a boutique branding & communications firm that has spent the past 20 years helping small businesses and nonprofits tell their stories. PHAROS partners long-term with clients across the globe, sometimes working on-site, and sometimes from afar. Lisa has a BA in Studio Art & Art History from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. She has worked with the Community Environmental Council and the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival since 2014 on the Marketing and Production teams.
Iris Kelly joined CEC in January 2017 as an Earth Day Festival Exhibitor Coordinator intern before joining the staff in May 2017. A Santa Barbara native, she grew up passionate about environmental protection and society’s responsibility for creating sustainable solutions. Iris received a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability from Arizona State University.
Kathi King is the Director of Outreach and Education at CEC and plays a key role in organizing CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival. Kathi manages CEC’s Ditch Plastic program including the successful Rethink the Drink bottled water reduction program in area schools. She is on the board of the Montecito Association and is on the Santa Barbara School District’s Sustainability Sub-Committee.
Kathi has a B.S. degree in Telecommunications and Film from San Diego State University and worked in the television industry in Los Angeles for several years. She was an Associate Producer of the still-popular sitcom “Full House.” Kathi and her husband Jeff moved to Santa Barbara in 1998. Their two children attended Santa Barbara public schools for grades K-12 and Kathi served on several PTA boards and committees between 1998 and 2015. She did post-graduate work in Environmental Studies at Santa Barbara City College, where a class project led to Santa Barbara’s single use plastic bag ban. Learn more about Kathi.
Sharyn Main has 35 years of experience in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Sharyn returned to CEC in 2020 to continue working on critical issues related to climate change and community resilience. She served as Senior Director of Community Investments at the Santa Barbara Foundation for nearly a decade where she developed countywide initiatives to advance regional strategies for land conservation, protection of ecosystems, and support of agriculture and food systems. Over the course of her career, she has helped develop and manage a range of community collaborations including the Santa Barbara County Conservation Blueprint and Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan.
She previously served as the Assistant Director of Pollution Prevention Programs at CEC in the 1990s where she also co-founded and led the South Coast Watershed Alliance and re-launched the Earth Day celebration. Sharyn is a fourth-generation Santa Barbara County resident and has been actively involved in the arts and environmental protection throughout her life.
Gina Nisbet has 25 years of local experience in Business Accounting & Finance, nine of which were running her own business. She proudly provides accurate, detailed accounting services, and loves the fast-paced, dynamic nature of CEC, where she is surrounded by people who are passionate about making a difference. A UCSB alum, she fell in love with this area and built her life here. Happily married for 20 years with three children, she enjoys spending free time outdoors with her two Bernese Mountain dogs and watching her youngest play baseball.
April’s work with the Community Environmental Council is focused on transitioning the tri-county region to renewable energy sources and reduced energy consumption. She leads CEC’s Solarize program, which facilitates residential and nonprofit solar and battery adoption. She also serves on the Santa Barbara County Climate Collaborative steering committee. April holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Management with a specialization in Economics and Politics of the Environment from the Bren School at University of California, Santa Barbara. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from UC Santa Cruz. April has a background in environmental education and volunteer management, and is a board member of the Wilderness Youth Project.
Ana is leading outreach and engagement with frontline communities in the South County region of Santa Barbara for Conectados 2050/Connected 2050, a project CEC is helping implement for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. Ana was raised in Santa Barbara’s Eastside neighborhood, where she experienced many traffic dangers as a pedestrian, including when she walked her three kids to school every day. She is committed to facilitating truly sustainable solutions to climate change that are developed hand-in-hand with our region’s most impacted frontline communities.
Allegra Roth has a background in environmental and water policy and a passion for food system work. Before joining CEC, she worked for the California State Assembly, both as a District Representative in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, and as a Legislative Aide in the State Capitol. Working for state legislators allowed Allegra to develop specialized skills in policy analysis and development, group facilitation, and multi-stakeholder outreach. Allegra graduated from the University of California at Davis with a B.S. in Community and Regional Development. She enjoys working as a Food and Climate Program Senior Associate at CEC, addressing barriers to a sustainable food system and identifying regenerative solutions.
Becca Summers is a Santa Barbara local who began her development career in 1993 while teaching high school in New Hampshire. What started as a means to improve education and programming within her small school of 300 students quickly developed into a passion to improve the quality of education across the state. She would go on to put her development talents to use for at-risk youth programs, where she accumulated multiple awards. Returning to Santa Barbara, she led development efforts at the Museum of Natural History and at Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. Becca holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Science from Bennington College and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Goddard College.
Nicole Wald is a freelance writer and educator in Santa Barbara, CA with a passion for helping the planet. She supports CEC in developing content for social media, PR, marketing, and the annual Earth Day Festival. Part of this work includes gathering stories of people along the Central Coast who consciously take steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
Sue moved to Santa Barbara in 1989 and, up until joining CEC in November 2019, spent her career as an environmental consultant, as well as a planner with the County of Santa Barbara’s Department of Planning and Development, Division of Energy, Minerals and Compliance. The vast majority of her work in these roles focused on the management and administration of projects requiring environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Sue holds a B.A. and M.A. in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the City University of New York, respectively. She is excited to help CEC maximize the benefits that stem from its programs and campaigns.
Michael, who holds a Business Economics degree from UCSB, a CPA certification, and an MBA from UC Irvine, is not your typical non-profit CFO. While he has more than 30 years of professional experience in Finance, Marketing and Operations, he only joined the non-profit world in the past decade. This began when he had an opportunity to become CFO of the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, a role he greatly enjoyed.
After a short foray back into business to start a technology company, he decided to return to the nonprofit sector. Noticing that small- to medium-sized nonprofits only need a part-time CFO, he decided to become a “shared CFO.” Michael now concurrently serves multiple nonprofits, applying best practices learned at big for profit companies, re-engineereing accounting processes, and implementing new financial systems.
Katya Baty has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Professional Writing with a focus on Civic Engagement from UCSB. Her emphasis was environmental communications and sustainable development. She hopes to pursue a career where she can use writing and communication to inspire action on environmental issues and catalyze change. At CEC, Katya is assisting with the organization’s marketing and communications efforts.
Tess is our Communications and Virtual Earth Day Festival intern this spring. She is a senior Economics and Business major at Westmont College. Tess became passionate about sustainability and climate change action while working for W.W.O.O.F(World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in Italy. She has used that passion in the past while working as an intern for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. At the foundation she researched sustainable energy solutions for small communities in India. Tess enjoys art, traveling and the outdoors.
My name is Lea Toubian, and I’m currently a fourth-year student at UC Santa Barbara, originally from West Los Angeles. I’m studying political science and environmental studies, with minors in Professional Editing and French Translation. I’m so excited to play even a small part in CEC’s environmental leadership in the Santa Barbara region.