Staff

Wendy Philleo, Executive Director
Wendy has been affiliated with New Dream for the last 10 years as a board member and donor. She brings 20 years' experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic fields in the areas of environment and natural resource management, community development, women's empowerment, advocacy, and civic engagement. Prior to joining New Dream, Wendy ran a philanthropy and nonprofit consulting business. She also worked as a program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, focusing on protecting freshwater, public lands, and wilderness in the west. Prior to that, she served as a program officer at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation where she designed and ran a $25 million, five-year cross-cutting initiative on population, health, and environment. Before working in philanthropy, Wendy was a program officer at the World Wildlife Fund working on the adoption of a priority-setting strategy for global biodiversity conservation (Global 200) and on developing an ecoregional approach to conservation. She has also worked for WorldWIDE Network (Women in Development and Environment) and for the United Nations Environment Programme. She received her B.A. from the University of Colorado and her M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Wendy also serves on the board of the Local Food Hub which works to improve small farm viability and increase community access to local food. 

Wendy enjoys being outdoors, hiking, mountain biking, camping, and running. She also enjoys squash, art (painting and drawing), and spending time with her family. Wendy lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, two children, and their dog and two cats.

Anna Awimbo, Director of Collaborative Communities Program
Anna is an expert on issues related to the impact of technological and cultural changes on the economy, society, and the environment. She has more than 20 years of experience identifying and developing effective alternative systems to address poverty, unemployment, and climate change. She has also been a long time advocate for sustainable food production. During her career she has worked for, among other organizations, RESULTS Educational Fund, the Foundation on Economic Trends, WorldWIDE Network (Women in Development and Environment), the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Much of her work has involved designing, spearheading, and managing national and global campaigns aimed at developing strong networks and building sustainable economies. Anna is also co-editor of the book New Pathways out of Poverty that explores strategies to bring clean energy solutions and actionable information to the poor. In her free time, Anna enjoys volunteering at her children’s school in Maryland where she has led the effort to launch a green neighborhood initiative and build an outdoor classroom and garden.

Sarah Baird, Director of Outreach and Communications
Sarah is a long-time communications strategist who has served as Deputy Chief-of-Staff for the Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky and Press Secretary to the Governor of Kentucky, where she also created the first-ever New Media Director position, in addition to advising elected officials and candidates nationwide through her consulting firm, Bread and Circuses Media. As a fellow in the Propeller New Venture Accelerator, Sarah founded the non-profit Takeashine, a crowdfunding platform for low-income students, while running advocacy and communications for charter schools statewide as Communications Director for the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools. Named one of The Gambit's 40 under 40 in 2011, her work has appeared in local and national publications, including GQ, Huffington Post, and Matchbook Magazine, in addition to her role as a columnist/contributor to Serious Eats. She serves on the board of the United Negro College Fund Young Leaders Council and Andrew H. Wilson Charter School.

Alissa Barron-Menza, Senior Advisor
Alissa is a trainer and specialist in network and organizational development with 15 years’ experience in the local economies, social enterprise, and environmental management fields. In addition to her work with New Dream, she consults with organizations at the intersection of independent business and economic inclusion and has assisted over 300 businesses and organizations with planning, program development, communications, and public education. She served for four years as managing director and membership director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), North America’s fastest growing business alliance of values aligned entrepreneurs, business networks, and local economy funders. Previously, she conducted research and training in local economic development strategies and co-authored the book Community Food Enterprise. She served as global steering committee chair of the International Year of the Reef 2008, a conservation campaign involving more than 50 nations, and developed and directed three national training and technical assistance programs at BALLE, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Dickinson College. Alissa holds degrees from Brown University in Environmental Studies and Development Studies, and loves exploring DC’s indie business scene, sampling local foods, kayaking, and spending time with her husband, friends, and family.

Guinevere Higgins, Director of Development
Guinevere joined New Dream in March 2012 as Director of Development. Prior to her work with New Dream, she was Program Officer at the WestWind Foundation, a small, family foundation with program areas in Environment and Reproductive Health & Rights. She has also taught ecology and food studies at a Quaker high school, provided research analysis for Environmental Health News, and managed a small organic farm. In addition to her position with New Dream, she is an organic and edible gardening consultant and helped found Charlottesville, Virginia’s thriving school garden program, City Schoolyard Garden. Guinevere holds a Bachelor’s degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Wellesley College and lives in Charlottesville, VA with her husband and two dogs.

Wen Lee, Director of Online Media and Engagement
Wen lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is passionate about raising awareness of the environmental and social impacts of our lifestyle choices. She has spent over seven years in the education field, teaching students from ages 5 to 25. She loves using the web as a tool to reach out to people and engage them to take action. She is also an independent filmmaker and has produced numerous web videos about sustainability and conscious consumerism. In addition to working with New Dream, she is a Presenter with the Alliance for Climate Education. Wen holds a B.A. in Biology from Occidental College and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon. Wen loves being outdoors, eating vegan food, playing music, and trying something new at least once a week.

Lisa Mastny, Senior Editor and Director of Publications
Lisa comes to New Dream with nearly 20 years' experience in the environmental and sustainability fields. She worked for six years as a researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, where she focused on issues of green purchasing and consumerism, sustainable tourism, and environmental governance, and was co-director of the report State of the World 2004: The Consumer Society. Lisa has served as senior editor at Worldwatch since 2005, providing editing support for World Watch magazine, the Worldwatch report series, as well as occasional reports for the U.N. Environment Programme, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, REN21, and other international organizations. Lisa also provides editing support to the consumer rights group Food & Water Watch and has worked briefly at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and with Greenways/Zelene Stezky, a group seeking to promote cultural preservation and sustainable tourism in the Czech Republic. She received her B.A. in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University, her M.A. in International Relations from Yale University, and her M.E.M. in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys spending time outside and serves on the board of the Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado in Durango, Colorado, where she lives with her husband and young daughter.

Edna Rienzi, Program Coordinator, Beyond Consumerism Program
Edna is passionate about focusing on “more of what matters” in her life, which is what led her to initially volunteer with New Dream in 2012. Prior to New Dream, she was a lawyer and, then, a full-time mom. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University in politics, with certificates in Latin American Studies and Political Theory. She has her master’s in political science from Yale University, and a law degree from Harvard University, where she also served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. In her precious free time, she loves reading everything from Harry Potter to positive psychology studies to poetry, listening to Mumford and Sons, volunteering in her town, and cooking adventurous dishes that her kids often refuse to eat.

Casey Williams, Development Associate and Office Administrator
An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the positive, Casey has dedicated her career to building the capacity of communities to preserve the natural world. Having spent the last 15 years developing workshops related to environmental monitoring, natural resource management and land revitalization, Casey is skilled in using community engagement and collaborative decision-making to develop strategies to address environmental issues. Prior to joining New Dream, Casey managed the Virginia Natural Resource Leadership Institute for UVA’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation. She has helped to figure out creative ways to reuse old industrial properties across the country, developed conservation strategies for a 2300-acre farm in Albemarle County, Virginia, and conducted wetland and stream restoration programs for Audubon International and the Izaak Walton League. She enjoys pointing out and identifying all kinds of stream critters for her fascinated twin daughters and husband during family hikes along the Blue Ridge mountains. Casey is a “double Hoo,” holding a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia.

Eleanor Cleverly, Arts & Culture Fellow
Eleanor most recently served as a Director in the interactive division of global media agency MEC. Prior to her work in advertising, she was Assistant Director of the Harmony Institute, a think tank based in New York City. There she oversaw media impact research for partners such as Free Press, the Ford Foundation, and MTV, and in 2009, she authored FTW! Net Neutrality For The Win: How Entertainment and the Science of Influence Can Save Your Internet.

Eleanor holds a Master’s in Media Studies from the New School University and is currently Arts Communications Specialist at SustainArts, a project out of Harvard's Kennedy School of Public Policy.

Sarah Parkinson, Graphic Design Intern
Sarah spent much of her childhood wandering the New Hampshire woods and playing with art supplies in her basement. From those indoor and outdoor explorations grew two of her primary passions, environmental work and design. Sarah graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009 with a BA in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Studio Art. As part of her degree, she spent time in southern Africa studying ecology and conservation and also lived on a research sailboat in the Caribbean to study marine science. After graduating, Sarah moved to a remote atoll in the Marshall Islands to teach high school English. She has also spent time conducting ecology research, teaching wilderness science, and working at a biotech company. Sarah currently lives in Vermont and works as the Communications Manager at the Donella Meadows Institute. She loves pursuing design projects, spending time outside, letterpress printing, gardening, and experimenting with new recipes.

Kim Knuppel, Volunteer
Kim is a library assistant and accounting student from Wisconsin. She enjoys reading nonfiction books on almost any subject, volunteering, and living a simple and frugal life.

 





Libby Dickerson, Volunteer Regional Coordinator for Virginia
Libby Dickerson is a full time adventurer, community activist, and mother of two boys and an amazing step-daughter. Inspired by Wendell Berry's directive to, "Belong to your place by your own knowledge… Of what it is that no other place is, and by… Your caring for it as you care for no other place," she writes about people power and place at her website, libbydickerson.com. She has a Bachelor's degree from Duke University and a Master's degree from the same Hollins University writing program that graduated two Pulitzer Prize winners. In her spare time Libby studies Traditional Chinese Medicine with the goal of becoming a registered herbalist and starting a free herbal clinic in her hometown of Bassett, Virginia.

Lauren Drakopoulos, Volunteer Regional Coordinator for Florida
Lauren is a passionate environmental and social justice advocate. Her dedication to educating people about alternative consumption practices coupled with her personal commitment to growing strong local food systems brought her to New Dream. Lauren holds both a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Her graduate research examined the role of place and community in shaping sustainable lifestyles and voluntary simplicity practices. She has also explored these topics through her fieldwork on ecovillages. In addition to her work as a fisheries biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Lauren sits on the board of directors with Transition Sarasota and volunteers as a programming coordinator with Slow Food Greater Sarasota. Lauren has previously served as a Program Coordinator with Historic Green in New Orleans, Louisiana. Heralding from the sunny, white sand beaches of the greater Tampa Bay region, Lauren is a Florida nature enthusiast and deems herself an “honorary” Florida native. On any given afternoon you might find her hiking with her dog, fishing the grass flats, sailing, kayaking, crocheting an upcycled rug, or experimenting with fresh fermentation.

Bill Fisher, Volunteer Regional Coordinator for Illinois
Bill owns an interior decorating business in Elmhurst, Illinois. He and his family have spent years reforming their suburban lifestyle to make it simpler and more earth-friendly. They sold their gas mower and use a rotary one; line dry clothes; grow their own food; eat vegetarian; have two compost bins; use rain barrels; ride bikes for transportation; and buy used, renewable, local, and American-made products whenever possible. In addition, Bill has worked to form a community in his own neighborhood by helping elderly neighbors; being active in his kids’ schools; and volunteering at his local food pantry, recycling events, and many local fundraisers.

Jenn Knepper, Volunteer Regional Coordinator for Pennsylvania
Jenn has been involved for several years with the alternative gift fair, Gifts that Give Hope,   started in Lancaster, PA in 2008. She now works to encourage people all over the United   States to host their own alternative gift fairs and rethink holiday giving. Jenn has also been   selling Bead for Life jewelry since 2007. The income generated from the jewelry – made from   recycled magazines by women in Uganda – allows the women to purchase their own homes,   medical care, food, education and go on to receive business & vocational training to break the   cycle of extreme poverty. She is active in the Lancaster Anti-Trafficking Network (LATN), that   brings together domestic & international anti-trafficking organizations to focus on education,   awareness, advocacy and ACTION against modern day slavery. Jenn is a registered nurse in   the medical intensive care unit at Hershey Medical Center, and an adjunct instructor of Health  Policy & Community Health at Eastern Mennonite University. She is married with 2 young boys.


Mary Murphy, Volunteer Regional Coordinator for Maryland
Mary has more than 15 years' experience in education as a high school history teacher in Maryland and she currently works for a nonprofit that offers services to maintain senior independence. She holds an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Maryland and is a graduate of Impact Silver Spring’s leadership training program. She co-chaired Silver Spring, Maryland’s first open-space conference on “Building a Diverse Community” and joined other community members in the revitalization efforts of downtown Silver Spring. She recently served on the Silver Spring Citizens’ Advisory Board and helped organize a tasting event to support local, small restaurants. In her free time, Mary enjoys being with family, hiking, biking, ping pong, and yoga.

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