Reverend Vernon K. Walker, Program Manager; [email protected]
Rev. Vernon K. Walker is originally born and raised in Philadelphia. Rev. Walker attended Penn State University for college where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Organizational Leadership and a minor in Psychology in 2012. After graduating from Penn State University, Rev. Walker attended Boston University's School of Theology and earned a Master Degree in Theological Studies (M.T.S) in 2016 with a focus on community engagement.
Rev. Walker is also academically trained in MSW macro social work practices as he took a plethora of courses at Boston University's School of Social Work. Rev. Walker is a Senior Fellow at the Environmental Leadership Program and Senior Fellow at Tufts University Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life through the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. Rev. Walker will be a Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Boston campus Center for Collaborative Leadership starting in September 2021.
Throughout his time in Boston, Rev. Walker has appeared in several different newspapers such as: Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Bay State Banner, Commonwealth Magazine, and other newspapers for his work related to social justice. Rev. Walker has also made TV appearances on Fox 25, New England Cable News, Boston Neighborhood Network, CBS Boston, and NBC 10 Boston. Rev. Walker has also lectured about his social justice work at various universities and colleges across the United States.
Margaret Thurston, Coordinator for Climate Resilience Hubs; [email protected]
Margaret Thurston was born in Boston, but lived for most of her life in Rochester, New York. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2018, with a B.A. in Development and Sustainability and minors in Spanish and Anthropology. While in college, she co-led a divestment initiative called Fossil Free Rochester, got involved in several social justice efforts, and learned about deforestation during a semester in Bolivia. She also completed an internship with the Center for Social Ecology and Public Policy, which helped her see how addressing social well-being is essential for environmental work.
Since graduating, Margaret has been involved in a variety of community and environmental initiatives. She also loves to sing, dance, read, and run. Margaret is excited to get more involved in community organizing with CREW, and deepen her understanding of climate change, social change, and resilience.
Isabella Luca, Special Projects Fellow; [email protected]
Isabella Luca, or Izzy, was born and raised South of Boston in Canton, MA, where she resides when she is not up in Durham, NH at school. She is very excited to continue her work here at CREW!
She is currently a Sophomore at the University of New Hampshire and is working towards a double major in Community and Environmental Planning and Sociology as well as a minor in Environmental Conservation and Sustainability. While still figuring out extracurricular interests, she has most recently joined her school’s Sociology and Planning Clubs. She hopes to pursue her love of music and theatre further once able to rejoin her college. Among these interests, she also loves to sing, read, watch movies, learn more about Boston, and attempt to play guitar well.
Ethan McDonough, Special Project Coordinator; [email protected]
Ethan is a second year dean's list student at the University of New Hampshire dual majoring in Political Science and Sustainability. As a nontraditional student, Ethan balances work and education. Outside of academics he likes to backpack internationally and gain new experiences and connections. As an intern at CREW, Communities Responding to Extreme Weather, Ethan is excited about becoming an agent of change while also growing his professional skill set. During the Semester in the City, he sought to expand his network of change makers and professionals, Hone and improve organizational and public speaking tools, and gain experience in a professional setting. Ethan will help CREW coordinator various projects.
Layla Sastry, Tisch Summer Fellow; [email protected]
Layla Sastry is a rising junior at Tufts University where she majors in Environmental Studies and Anthropology. She is from Cape Cod, MA, and developed an interest in climate resilience and extreme weather while witnessing the increased severity of storms and coastal flooding in her hometown.
Layla is very excited and grateful to be a fellow at CREW this summer! She looks forward to gaining experience working at a nonprofit and is especially interested in exploring the many intersections between social justice and climate justice. She hopes to help continue CREW’s mission of creating climate resilience by placing power in the hands of the community and collaborating with local residents. Outside of work and school, Layla enjoys dancing ballet and surfing.
Board of Directors
Craig is the co-founder of the Better Future Project, which Communities Responding to Extreme Weather is a program under. He holds a B.A. in International Relations and Global Affairs from Eckerd College, a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, and a certificate in Non-profit Management and Leadership from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. His work has been covered extensively in the media, including in the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, MSNBC, the Boston Globe, and others. Craig received a Kaufman Fellowship from Harvard Law School to jumpstart his public service career, and has won awards from the National Lawyer’s Guild, the Sierra Club, and others.
Brad Johnson is the Executive Director of Climate Hawks Vote Civic Action. In recent years, he was the campaign manager of Forecast the Facts, where he launched the Don’t Fund Evil and Climate Silence campaigns, which convinced dozens of companies to stop funding the Heartland Institute and compelled the 2012 presidential candidates to engage on climate, respectively. Mr. Johnson previously served as the editor of ThinkProgress Green. He has a master’s degree in geosciences from MIT and majored in physics and mathematics at Amherst College.
Colette Pichon Battle
Colette Pichon Battle recently assumed the role of Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (Atlanta and New York City) with a mission to build a people-centered human rights movement in the US. She aims to connect the grassroots human rights movement to the climate movement in the United States through initiatives focused on Economic Justice, Energy Democracy and Ecological Equity. In her previous role as Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, Ms. Pichon Battle worked on issues of global migration, community economic development, climate justice and equitable disaster recovery. She has prioritized working with local communities, national funders, and elected officials around equity in the post-Katrina/post- BP disaster Gulf Coast. Ms. Pichon Battle was a lead coordinator for Gulf South Rising 2015, a regional initiative around climate justice and just transition in the South, and in 2016 she was named a White House Champion of Change for Climate Equity for her work with frontline communities in the US South.
Chester Osborne works in the field of Transportation Operations & Emergency Management, where he works to reduce environmental impacts through improved planning and operations. He is also a U.S. Army Veteran; he first became involved in the field of emergency management while on deployment to Central America, where he found that lack of recovery and resiliency capacity from natural disasters in many cases posed greater threats to nations than terrorism. Mr. Osborne holds a Masters of Public Administration, a certificate of Enterprise Management from the Joint Special Operations University and has studied at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center. He is also an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Bronze Star Medal.
Joyce Gallagher Sullivan
Joyce Gallagher Sullivan is Assistant Vice President for Development Communications at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her team handles marketing communications for the Division of Development and the Jimmy Fund, supporting all of the fundraising initiatives of the Institute. She has more than three decades of experience in communications and public affairs, including a ten-year stint at the American Cancer Society, where she served as Vice President for Communications for the New England region. Additional experience includes work at the American Red Cross - Disaster Services, where she served as Director of Institutional Giving, and Colette Phillips Communications, where she was Executive VP. She also operated her own consultancy, Gallagher Sullivan Communications, for five years. She started her career at WBZ-TV in Boston, where she won two New England EMMY Awards for public service advertising. She is a graduate of Boston College, and resides in Milton, MA.
Johnny V. Boykins
Johnny V. Boykins is a Project Development Manager and Protocol Officer with a private security consulting and staffing corporation based in Tampa Bay, Florida. Mr. Boykins received his master's degree in Diplomacy and Security Studies & Graduate Certificate in Teaching & Learning from Norwich University and his bachelor's degree in Political Science and Communications from Eckerd College. He is also a United States Coast Guard veteran, husband, bow tie aficionado, contributing writer, and amateur chef.
Rachel Jacobson is a cross-sector collaborator with ten years of experience in the climate adaptation, resilience, and environmental fields. As Senior Program Manager at the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP), she leads the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of the organization’s projects and partnerships including the Resilience Dialogues, the ASAP Mentorship Program, ASAP’s education initiatives, and ASAP’s activities with regional adaptation fora across the country. Previously, Rachel was a contractor and a Fellow at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where she implemented two strategic initiatives: Resilience AmeriCorps and The Department of Commerce Natural Capital Business Roundtables. Rachel received her B.A., M.P.P, and M.S. degrees from the University of Michigan, and holds a Certificate in Environmental Law and Regulation from the University of Washington. Rachel lives in Cambridge, MA but is a Michigander by birth and believes the Fresh Coast is the best coast.
Kannan Thiruvengadam is the director of Eastie Farm, an urban farm in East Boston focused on community resiliency, and of JP Green School, a sustainability education program at JP Green House, a passive solar and energy-positive house in Jamaica Plain. He also hosts "What's up Eastie?", a radio show about local issues in a larger context, at Zumix, a youth organization in East Boston. Kannan is also a Climate Ready Boston Leader. He has a technology background, has studied climate science, permaculture, and community engagement, and is passionate about regenerative and sustainable practices in agriculture and urban design. Kannan lives with his partner Rudi in historic Belmont Square in East Boston overlooking the harbor and the beautiful Boston skyline.
Donnel Baird is the founder of BlocPower, an early stage clean tech startup based in New York City. BlocPower develops portfolios of clean energy retrofit opportunities in underserved communities, and connects those opportunities to investors seeking social, environmental, and financial returns. BlocPower creates jobs for qualified local low-income workers, energy savings for community institutions, reduces carbon emissions, and provides returns to investors. Mr. Baird also serves on the board of the Sierra Club Foundation. He previously spent four years as a political and community organizer and two years managing a national initiative to leverage American Reinvestment and Recovery Act energy efficiency investments in underserved communities. He is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia Business School.
Dan Wieland is an active EMS and Emergency Management professional with over 10 years of experience. He currently splits his time between the Holliston Fire Department and Cataldo Ambulance Service, and is working toward his National Registry Paramedic certification. Prior to this position, he worked for 5 years for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay Chapter where he led Massachusetts care planning and later headed recurrent disaster response operations for the Metro Boston Area. While at the Red Cross, he was deployed on multiple national relief operations, including the 2007 San Diego wildfires as well as hurricanes Gustav and Ike. He has also worked as the Assistant Emergency Manager for Boston University. In this role, he provided enterprise-wide emergency planning for the University and developed emergency response procedures for the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories. Mr. Wieland holds a Master's of Science in Healthcare Emergency Management from the Boston University School of Medicine.
CREW is currently being incubated by the Better Future Project, a federally recognized 501(c)(3).