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Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Executive Director

Dr. Cecilia Martinez is the co-founder and Executive Director at the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED). Dr. Martinez previously held positions as Associate Research Professor in the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment at the University of Delaware, Associate Professor at Metropolitan State University and Research Director at the American Indian Policy Center. She has led a variety of projects to address sustainable development at the local and international levels. Her research is focused on the development of energy and environmental strategies that promote equitable and sustainable policies. Dr. Martinez has also worked with a range of organizations from local grassroots groups to international organizations engaging in the promotion of sound environmental policy and environmental justice. She served on the Climate Action Planning Steering Committee for the City of Minneapolis and has been appointed to several national advisory boards. She is also on the leadership team for the national EJ and Science Initiative and is leading the effort on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on environmental harms. Most recently she co-authored a chapter on environmental justice and climate resiliency with Dr. Nicky Sheats. She is working on a manuscript on environmental justice and climate change and among her other publications is the co-edited volume Environmental Justice: Discourses in International Political Economy which includes some of her work on North American Indigenous peoples and the challenge of forging a common agenda of indigenous rights, justice, and sustainability. She received her B.A. from Stanford University and her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.

CV: (view pdf)
Say Yang (Ntxhais Yaj), Program Coordinator

Say Yang has a background in community outreach and administrative coordination related to community and economic development that contributes to her role as Program Coordinator at CEED. She has worked with residents, neighborhood organizations, and government agencies supporting community development and civic participation in the Twin Cities. Her professional experiences include serving the Hennepin County Community Works programs and she was a past community advisory board member of KFAI, an independent radio station in Minneapolis. Say studied Community Development at Minneapolis Community & Technical College and a current student at Metropolitan State University in the Individualized Degree Program focusing on Urban Studies. She is devoted to addressing barriers, making connections, and inspiring change.

E-mail Say.

Ansha Zaman, Policy Coordinator

Ansha Zaman is the Policy Coordinator for Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED). She works on developing training and resource hubs for communities and community organizers to help them stay informed about their energy systems and advance their fight for more equitable policy frameworks. Her research work at CEED includes building community energy models that center the decision-making agency of the most energy burdened communities. Ansha has an MS in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan and a BS in Environmental Engineering from Smith College. In her free time, she likes to read, write, swim, listen to podcasts, and practice baking.

E-mail Ansha.

Helen Powell-Busch, Operations Director

Helen Powell-Busch is the Operations Director for CEED. She manages the Finances and Human Resources for the organization. She has 20+ years of experience managing operations support for non-profits in Asheville NC. Most of her career has been focused on her greatest love, nature. She worked with two regional environmental conservation organizations, Dogwood Alliance and Wild South. Most recently, she was with the Western North Carolina AIDS Project, whose mission also had a very special personal meaning to her.  One of her priorities for growth and learning in recent years has been racial inequities. She has applied this new knowledge in both her personal and professional life.  Her great passion for her free time is exploring the landscape and of the world with her husband, who is in the airline industry for just that reason. 

E-mail Helen.


Anahi Naranjo, Equitable and Just Climate Forum Coordinator

Anahi Naranjo is an environmental justice advocate and oral historian from Quito, Ecuador. Uprooted from Ecuador to New York City in 2002, she began to see the social and environmental inequalities her communities faced, prompting her to pursue a career in environmental advocacy. Anahi is interested in exploring how narratives can empower communities to become agents of change and highlight their connection to the natural world. She has experience working with environmental and community organizations in the fields of outdoor inclusion, community empowerment, and communications, and she’s a Latino Outdoors volunteer leader. Anahi holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Middlebury College and is an Oral History Master of Arts candidate at Columbia University. Her thesis the Pachamama Oral History Project aims to document the impacts of climate change on the physical and cultural landscapes of Andean communities.

E-mail Anahi.