OUR PEOPLE

Staff

Amanda (Griffiths) Pontillo

Operations & Creative Director

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Amanda comes to Climate XChange from the Massachusetts State House, where she served as the Legislative and Communications Director and subsequently, as the Staff Director for the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. While at the State House, Amanda focused on energy and environmental policy, including renewable energy adoption, transportation sector emissions, climate resiliency and toxics. She graduated from Colgate University in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Biology and Geography, researching climatology and ecosystem ecology in the Adirondacks and Costa Rica. Amanda also studied graphic design at MassArt, expanding her skillset beyond science and policy. In her role at CXC, Amanda oversees the organization’s content creation and brand identity – designing graphics and report layouts, managing the website, and editing insights and research. She also oversees operations for CXC.

Greg Casto

Communications Associate

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Greg’s work on the communications team focuses on helping people understand the nuanced topic of climate policy. He graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo where he studied Geological Sciences and learned to appreciate the natural systems that govern our planet. Greg got started in climate communications in Texas, where he worked as an outdoor educator and taught science to fifth and sixth grade classes. As a natural optimist, he’s really excited about the opportunities that solutions to the climate crisis can have to improve society and the environment. In addition to studying rocks, Greg enjoys spending his free time climbing them.

Jonah Kurman-Faber

Research Director

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Jonah is a climate and energy policy expert with a focus on decarbonization pathways, green stimulus, state policy, carbon pricing, equity and environmental justice, and public health. He serves as technical resource for policymakers and leaders at the nexus of interdisciplinary economics and social movements.

Jonah has authored multiple state climate bills and regularly advises campaigns on legislative design and governance. As Research Director, he spearheads Climate XChange’s Build Back Better initiative, and has published research on the jobs, health, and climate potential from a green recovery in Washington State. Jonah also acts as CXC’s in-house expert on regional policy such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Western Climate Initiative (WCI), and Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI).

Jonah has previous experience with state and federal advocacy, political consulting, and municipal climate policy. He holds an M.A. and B.A. from Northeastern University, and is a strong believer in the power of collaborative, passionate, and creative people to achieve substantive change.

Kristen Soares

State Climate Policy Network Associate

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Kristen is a UCLA graduate with a degree in Environmental Science and Public Affairs. They come to CXC with a background in climate equity and environmental justice, including analyzing climate policy at the state and local level in California, advocating for environmental justice for students of color, shaping university-level environmental funding priorities, and fighting for increased equity, accessibility, and diversity in any space they’re in. When she’s not working, she’s singing with her a cappella group, painting with watercolors, or sitting in the sun with a good book and lots of green tea.

Paola Ferreira

Paola Ferreira Miani

Executive Director

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Paola Ferreira is an environmental policy and strategy expert with 22 years of international experience in biodiversity conservation, climate change, and energy. As a Biologist and Civil Engineer with degrees from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and an MSc from MIT, she has worked extensively in advising, leading, and implementing transformative environmental policy initiatives with positive outcomes and managing nonprofit organizations.

Paola joined  Climate XChange as Executive Director in March 2022. She will be leading the organization into its next chapter, building upon the recent growth of our State Climate Policy Network (SCPN) and deepening our impact on state-level climate action. She brings a wealth of experience in climate advocacy and nonprofit management. As Executive Director of Tropical Audubon Society, she spearheaded a strategic plan, led conservation efforts to protect important wildlife and bird habitat in Biscayne Bay, the Everglades, and  Miami-Dade County, and grew the organization’s grassroots advocacy efforts. 

She has also held senior policy roles spanning legislative, executive, and judicial environmental advocacy. Her past work includes the co-development of a Florida Energy Regulatory Assessment and leading the Climate and Conservation team at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Emirates Wildlife Society in the United Arab Emirates.

Paola’s vision for CXC includes passing impactful climate bills in key states, strengthening the SCPN, and building out the new State Climate Policy Dashboard to include policy analysis, benchmarking, and trends that will empower state and local decision-makers around the country to advance climate policies.

Ruby Wincele

Research Associate

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Ruby researches the economic, social, and environmental benefits of state climate policy and provides technical assistance to policymakers and advocates working to pass equitable climate policy in their states. She also tracks climate and adaptation policies across every state for the State Climate Policy Dashboard.

She has previous experience with state-level climate advocacy, economic research, and helped to create the “Today I Learned: Climate” podcast at the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative. Ruby has a B.S. in Economics and Mathematics from Northeastern University, with a focus on environmental policy and sustainable food systems. Outside of the office, Ruby can be found outdoors or watching baseball.

Wandra Ashley-Williams

Maryland Regional Director

Wandra Ashley-Williams is an accomplished senior management executive, community activist, and elected official with notable experience in diversified industries as well as public service. She holds key positions in the leadership of several community and civil rights organizations. Wandra serves on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) National Board of Directors; the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women (MLAW) Board of Directors; and the Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program (MEEHP) Advisory Workgroup. She is Vice President of the Maryland State Conference of NAACP and serves on the NAACP National Board Environmental and Climate Justice Program Committee.

A native of Alexandria, Louisiana, Wandra spent most of her adult like in Somerset, New Jersey where she was elected to the Franklin Township Council as Deputy Mayor (President of the Council). While in New Jersey she held several management positions with major corporations, including Merrill Lynch Corporate Real Estate Finance (Rent Controller) and Turner Construction Company (National Accounts Manager). Upon relocating to Maryland, Wandra accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Correction.  She also served as Executive Director of the St John Baptist Church Mentoring Program (Columbia, MD).  

As her community involvement has expanded, so has her recognition as a community activist. She served on the Clean Energy Jobs Initiative Board of Directors where she advocated for the passage of the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act that will transform the way electricity is used in the state by increases the renewable electricity standard to 50% by 2030. She has been an active member of the Maryland Health Care for All! Coalitions, which advocates for the passage of legislation that will ensure all Marylanders have access to quality and affordable health care and prescription drugs.

For her many contributions, Wandra has received numerous community awards, honors and citations, including the Courageous Leadership Award presented at the 2019 Annual MLK Awards Banquet; the 2017 Dr. William Montague Cobb State Advocacy Award for special achievement in Social Justice, Health Justice, Health Education/Promotion, Fundraising and Research.  She has also been honored with the New Jersey and Maryland State Conference NAACP President’s Award; Johnson & Johnson Community Service Award; and the American Heart Association Affiliate Volunteer of the Year. Wandra continues her mission to positively impact society and address the needs of those who are often marginalized.

Board Information

CathyCarruthers

Cathy Carruthers

Chair

Cathy Carruthers is a retired Natural Resource Economist. She has taught economics and econometrics at the University of Washington, Western Washington University, and New Mexico State University. She worked for the State of Washington for 21 years, and most recently for 6 years at Tacoma Power. Her areas include econometrics, cost-benefit analysis, electricity price forecasting, and evaluation of conservation and energy resources for integrated resource planning.

Kalman Gacs website

Kalman Gacs

Secretary

Kalman Gacs is the Project Manager and Creative Director at Viv Web Solutions, a CABA member business. Kalman started making digital graphics with great gusto in 2000 as an “activist artist,” designing illustrations and graphics to help build the climate movement. Since then, Kalman has had the opportunity to make graphics for many small businesses and non-profits as well as a number of Fortune 500 companies. With an eye for detail honed from rigorous training in fine arts at Boston University, Kalman takes on each design challenge with a full array of creative catalysts — research, brainstorming, and sketching.

Laura Teicher

Laura is Executive Director at FORGE, a 501(c)3 nonprofit helping startups navigate the journey from physical prototype through commercialization and impact at scale. FORGE’s Manufacturing Initiative connects innovators and makers, providing critical support to and connections for startups to regional supply chain. FORGE is the sister organization of Greentown Labs – the largest climatetech incubator in North America.

Laura’s background includes years of leadership in innovation and impact-oriented organizations, and in addition to serving on the Board of Directors for ClimateXChange, she currently serves on advisory boards for Net Impact Boston, WBUR, and SXSW Pitch. Laura holds an M.B.A from Boston University and prior to graduate school, worked for the Massachusetts Senate for three years.

In her free time Laura enjoys spending time outside with her dog Finn.

peter

Peter S. Kirby

Peter is a former strategy consultant and executive who, inspired by his young children, left IBM to invest time and assets to combat the climate crisis. Peter’s consulting and business career spanned the US, Europe, and Japan, where he was the first non-Japanese to lead an IBM Japan business unit. He managed IBM Global Business Services Japan, responsible for several billion $ annual revenue and nearly 10,000 employees. Peter now invests in alternative energy and is a Board Member of Plaxall Inc., a New York manufacturing and real estate company. He has a BA from Harvard and an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School, and speaks and reads Japanese.

Peter, his wife Kyoko and their five children returned to Cambridge in 2010, where he led IBM’s US Financial Services Strategy Consulting team.

Quinton Zondervan

Treasurer

Quinton is a Cambridge City Councillor and justice advocate. As an entrepreneur, Quinton has helped start and lead several companies and organizations, including CABA. Quinton currently advices renewable energy startup Gridline AI, reproductive health startup Nivi, and artificial intelligence startup Jaxon. Quinton also serves as the founding CTO of eCareVault, a secure cloud based platform for healthcare coordination and information sharing. Previously, Quinton served as a Principal Software Architect at BigR.io, a big data software consulting company, and was the founding CEO of Excelimmune, a biopharmaceutical company that cloned human antibodies against infectious disease targets. Quinton also served as the CTO of software startup Clickmarks, developing innovative web and mobile software applications. Quinton began his career as a software engineer at IBM where he co-invented the SyncML data synchronization standard. In addition to confounding CABA, he revitalized and served for 6 years as president of Green Cambridge, a local community non-profit organization working on sustainability initiatives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Quinton holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and two bachelor’s degrees in the fields of mathematics and computer science from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Advisory Board Information

Arjun Patney

Vice President, Global Markets ǀ Natural Capital Partners

Ethan Ravage

Partner ǀ Allotrope Partners

Frank Pao

Advisor ǀ Aesthetic Green Power Corp. CEHMS Industrial Advisory Board with Pao Lab of Columbia Engineering

Founder & Owner ǀ Sustainable Product Development Lab

Jeff Nesbit

Jeff Nesbit

Executive Director ǀ Climate Nexus

jessica-langerman

Jessica Langerman

Founder ǀ Climate XChange

Julie Barry

Partner ǀ Prince Lobel Tye LLP

Justin Kang

Vice President, Economic Growth ǀ Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Katie MacDonald

Director of Strategic Partnerships ǀ Greentown Labs

Michael Green

Sarah Gerrard

Sara Garrard

Pastor ǀ Old West Church

Susan Lee

Senior Economic Advisor ǀ Foundation for Climate Restoration

Susanna Badgley Place

Susanna Place

President of Board ǀ Safe Passage, Camino Seguro

Zaurie Zimmerman

CEO ǀ Zaurie Zimmerman Associates, Inc.