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Say Yang (Ntxhais Yaj), Senior Program Advisor

Say Yang has a background in community outreach and administrative coordination related to community and economic development. Prior to her current role, she was the 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, Federal Policy Director

Ansha Zaman is the Federal Policy Director 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 with non-profit management in Asheville NC. Most of her career has been focused on protecting her greatest love: nature. She was on staff at two regional environmental conservation organizations, as Associate Director with Dogwood Alliance for 17 years and then as Accounting Manager with the Western North Carolina AIDS Project. She holds a certificate in Executive Nonprofit Leadership from Duke University. Her great passion is traveling the world and when home, hiking and riding her motorcycle on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

E-mail Helen.

Anahi Naranjo, Communications Manager

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.

Marinella Taoushiani, Development Director

Marinella was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is an immigrant to the United States. Fighting for justice and equity are ideals that were introduced to Marinella at a young age due to her parents who were allies of the anti-apartheid movement. Marinella has always had a passion for people and their rights. She earned a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management, with a concentration in Critical Global Issues from Brandeis University and has since worked with an array of grassroots, national, and international organizations that focus on issues revolved around human rights, refugee rights, and environmental justice. Marinella specializes in fundraising, business development and strategic partnerships. Marinella has published work on the Global Refugee crisis and in her spare time has served in an advisory role to institutions like the Georgia State Prevention and Research Center Advisory Council and the Clarkston Early Learning Network’s Advisory Board.

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Sofia Sainz, Equitable and Just National Climate Forum Coordinator

Sofia Sainz is a nonprofit professional committed to the intersection of environmental protection and social justice. She has over five years of experience working in nonprofit administration focused on conservation, in addition to nearly three years of program management experience in the for-profit world. Some of her specialities include global and national programmatic support, grant management, fundraising, and marketing. In her spare time, she serves as an Outings Leader for Latino Outdoors, a national organization focused on connecting the Latinx community to nature and outdoor experiences. Sofia earned an M.A. in Environmental Stewardship through the Advanced Inquiry Program at Miami University, Ohio and a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Sociology from Binghamton University. Outside of work and volunteering she can be found hiking with her pandemic pup, trying out new recipes, propagating her many plant children, and spending time with family and friends.

E-mail Sofia.

Natalya Arevalo, Local Programs Coordinator

Natalya (she/her/ella) consistently works to support, guide, and expand opportunities for low-income and BIPOC communities to access and engage with information, education, networks, and resources. Motivated by the institutional barriers that she experienced, Natalya became passionate about accessible community education and capacity-building.

Natalya has work experience in government, non-profits, and higher education. She currently serves as an Ignite Afterschool Board Member working to unite Minnesota’s afterschool community through partnership, education, and advocacy. Prior to her role as the Local Program Coordinator with CEED, she was the Coordinator for a culturally specific, college access and mentorship program: Youth in Action (YA!) at CLUES. In efforts to engage her students to connect more deeply with themes and discussions, she redesigned the program’s curriculum to follow our ever-changing socio-political contexts.

Natalya holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Political Science from Augsburg University and is a certified ELL teacher– hoping to one day live in Ecuador and teach. In her free time, Natalya enjoys creating colorful beaded jewelry, decorating her home with unique second-hand finds, making tea, and spending quality time with her friends, family, and cats.

E-mail Natalya.