Who We Are
Georgia Conservation Voters Team
Brionte has spent her career training activists, advancing equity and inclusion in the environmental movement, and organizing grassroots voters. She formerly served as the director of engagement at EcoDistricts, and before that, as the Georgia Sierra Club assistant director.
Brionte’s love of the Georgia environment grew from a striking moment in her childhood:
“When I was ten years old, my family and I got in our car and drove away from our military base in the hot, dry Mojave Desert to start a new life in Warner Robins Georgia. I will never forget waking up in the car after four long days of travel and being blown away by the view outside of my window of Georgia’s thick, green forests blanketing the landscape as far as the eye could see. Before that moment, I had only seen so many trees in textbooks. It was this experience that ignited a fire in me to love, explore and protect the environment.”
Good day! I’m Lauren DiCesare and I am the Administrative Assistant for GCV. My primary responsibilities include handling the daily in-house needs of the office, with a focus on finance, fundraising, and board management activities.
I am new to the Georgian scene- I grew up in Central Florida where I witnessed toxic algae blooms due to mismanagement of fresh water, I have experienced powerful hurricanes that have taken out my neighborhood’s energy for sometimes weeks at a time, and I remember being heartbroken learning about how frequent reckless boaters wounded our state’s manatees. It’s easy for me to find reason to be a conservation voter and I try to encourage others to find their reason.
In my free time, I am a proud Florida State alumni, a vegetarian with a large appetite for locally grown veggies, a pop-slinger with King of Pops, and trying to find ways to reduce my carbon footprint. In the meantime, please send her environmental memes, jokes, and articles!
I am inspired by GCV because the end goal is not only to elect environmental leaders into office, it’s to make tangible change. And to do that, we need leaders like YOU to take action where you can. Whether that’s incorporating more plant based meals into your life, taking MARTA more often, or calling your Senator to tell them your concerns. I encourage you to find your reason to create change for our environment!
Civic Engagement Organizer
Gayla is the Civic Engagement Organizer for Georgia Conservation Voters Education Fund and is involved in helping Georgians get counted for the 2020 census and inform voters about conservation efforts and goals.
Gayla is a queer and trans organizer that fights for equity and justice across race, class, sexual orientation, ability status, and gender. Gayla has organized trainings, workshops, and summits to address housing injustice, mass incarceration, gender equity, reproductive justice, and obstacles in urban education.
As a native to Atlanta, Gayla’s introduction to environmental justice was in noticing air pollution in predominantly Black areas. They graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in African American Studies and wants to use their understanding of social inequality to inform ways to achieve clean air, energy, and water for all.
Abraham Park is Georgia Conservation Voters’s Communications Coordinator. He received his B.A. from Wheaton College in 2013 and an M.A. from the University of Georgia in 2017.
Growing up, Abraham was always interested in helping preserve the natural lands and habitats. Memorable childhood experiences included visits to National Parks like Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite.
As a college student, Abraham worked as a camp counselor in northern Wisconsin and was privileged with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like seeing the Aurora Borealis and canoeing through the Boundary Waters. These experiences only reinforced his determination to help preserve and maintain America’s rugged wilderness for future generations to experience.
Abraham wants to use his professional experiences alongside his personal ones to help promote conservation and equity for all.
Clean Energy Organizing Fellow
Reva Kreeger is the Clean Energy For All Fellow with Georgia Conservation Voters Education Fund.
Originally from Mississippi, Reva is excited to return to the South and jump into the environmental justice movement in Georgia. She recently graduated from Guilford College, where she studied history and community studies, and developed a passion for the power and liberatory potential of the stories we tell about ourselves and our communities. Reva has been transformed with her work in grassroots, Southern organizing particularly with Beloved Community Center and Ignite NC.
She is excited to continue challenging the historic, white supremacist, and capitalist systems that permeate US society — particularly in regards to the environment — in this upcoming year.
In her free time, Reva loves to frolic in the woods, dance wildly, be surrounded by her friends, and get really sweaty.
Georgia Conservation Voters Board of Directors
Krista Brewer is a life-long resident of Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up as the daughter of an Emory University professor, and part of the progressive South. After getting a Masters in urban planning and working briefly in that field, she turned to a career in journalism and editing before “retiring” to raise her three children.
Krista has served on PTA boards, and the boards of trustees of her children’s schools. Her other philanthropic and volunteer involvement includes women’s empowerment, civic engagement, and voter mobilization. Krista was instrumental in founding ProGeorgia, the civic engagement state table in Georgia, the first in the Deep South and reviving Georgia Conservation Voters, where she serves as President of the Board.
Laura Turner Seydel
Laura is a director of and works with the Environmental Working Group to limit the toxic chemicals in food, air, water and consumer products. In 2004, she co-founded Mothers and Others for Clean Air and is currently the chair of the board; in 1994, she and her husband co-founded Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.
Laura serves on the boards of her family’s foundations: The Turner Foundation, Jane Smith Turner Foundation, the Turner Endangered Species Fund, and Ted’s Montana Grill. She is vice chair of the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and sits on the national boards of the League of Conservation Voters, Defenders of Wildlife, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Carter Center Board of Councilors; she also serves on the advisory board for the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Atlanta.
Laura is the recipient of numerous humanitarian and environmental awards, including the League of Conservation Voters Environmental Hero Award, the SCLC Drum Major for Justice Award, the Healthy Child Healthy World’s Mom on a Mission for Service Award, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta’s Legacy Award, the YWCA Academy of Women Achievement Award, the National Garden Clubs Award of Excellence, the Andrew Young Foundation Pass on Blessings Award, and is a Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Legacy of Leadership Honoree.
Marjorie Hall specializes in scientific research, historical environmental investigations, information retrieval, strategic knowledge management, and technical writing. She retrieves and compiles data, locates rare and hard-to-find maps and documents with relevant environmental information, conducts literature searches, locates public records and reviews and assembles regulatory information. She also designs and administers web-based document management and collaboration tools for NewFields and their clients. She has extensive experience as a technical writer and has written professionally for over ten years. Ms. Hall has an M.L.S. from the University of Illinois and a B.A. from Guilford College.
Oprah and Gayle. Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett. Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin. Beside every strong woman is an equally strong woman supporting her, and building with her. For former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and founder of Fair Fight Action, Stacey Abrams, Chelsey Hall is that woman.
Chelsey’s social media accounts are the visual representation of her motto, “Get it done.” You’ll find flicks of President Obama, Oprah, Former Secretary Hilary Clinton, Sen. Kamala Harris and a hilarious pic of Sen. Corey Booker photobombing. However, Chelsey’s work is about much more than rubbing shoulders with our country’s most recognizable leaders. This budding political powerhouse writes words that have impacted our nation, leads hundreds of volunteer organizers and does pro-bono consulting to help other women of color kick off campaigns around the country.
Chandra is a seasoned advocate, activist, and communications strategist. With over two decades of working in the trenches on conservation and environmental policy, she knows what makes decision-makers and activists tick. As a Riverkeeper in rural Georgia for nearly 10 years, she connected people and policy. In 2011, she began consulting for an array of conservationists, public interest law firms, and foundations. She helps her clients develop strategies to influence policy and shape public discourse. Chandra uses a mix of technological savvy, research skills, and good old-fashioned ground-truthing to develop and implement winning advocacy campaigns.
Megan and Alice Keyes founded One Hundred Miles in 2013. In an effort to elevate the Georgia coast as a recognized place of historical, cultural, and biological significance, Megan spends her time working in local Megan Desrosierscommunities and on regional collaboration projects. She serves on the leadership team of the Georgia Water Coalition. She is currently the chair of the Savannah River Clean Water Fund Advisory Board, and she serves on the Steering Committee for the Dogwood Alliance’s Wetland Forests initiative. Locally, she serves on the Spaceport Camden Environmental Subcommittee.
Before becoming the founding executive director of One Hundred Miles, Megan spent 10 years at the Coastal Conservation League (CCL) in South Carolina. She was instrumental in efforts to conserve land in the Ashley River Historic Corridor and on Johns Island. She also worked to establish the organization’s first climate and energy and agriculture program agendas.
Megan has worked through the years to help start-up organizations form and become sustainable coastal advocacy partners in Georgia and South Carolina. In addition to forming One Hundred Miles, she worked with a team to start South Carolina’s first local food hub and collaborated with a group of diverse leaders to initiate Charleston County’s Greenbelt Program. Megan has also served on the founding boards of the South Carolina Outdoor Education Program (SCOEP) and Charleston Moves, a bicycle/pedestrian advocacy organization.
Megan is a graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Since finishing her degrees, Megan has attended multiple training programs in business development, non-profit leadership, and public speaking. Specifically, she has completed professional development programs at the Harvard Business School, Institute for Conservation Leadership, and the Buckley School for Public Speaking, as well as many other esteemed programs. Megan lives in Old Town Brunswick with her husband, Michael, and two sons, Luca and Kellen.
Jillian Murphy is the Senior Program Officer at the Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund. She also serves as an advisor to the Democracy Alliance, where she manages the Climate Equity Action Fund.
Since joining the fund in 2016, she has led the Fund’s work with its state partners across the country, grown resources and expanded its state strategies. Prior to joining the Fund, she served as the Associate Director of Climate Communications at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where she directed CAP Action’s political and electoral engagement on climate change and environmental issues in the 2016 election.
She has also worked in communications and campaign roles with national environmental campaigns like the Climate Action Campaign. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Miami University in Oxford, OH, with degrees in botany, environmental science, and Latin American studies.
A native of Atlanta, GA, she lives in Maryland with her husband, two rescue dogs, and cat.
Bummi Niyonu Anderson is a writer and author. She has written six books, including I Like it When: A Collection of Love Poems, You are a Masterpiece: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You, and Gumbo Soul: Book of Poetry.”
She co-founded Renaissance Connection, Inc. with her twin sister, Femi. Renaissance Connection is committed to educating others on the connection between art and life by sponsoring other artists/authors, art exhibitions, and teaching on fine art and writing. Femi passed away in March of 2020.
For more than thirty years, she has shared her poetry on college campuses, at churches, at cultural centers, and in poetry magazines and anthologies. An avid sports fan, Bummi has also written for Laker Nation, a fan blog for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bummi has a Master’s degree in English & Creative Writing. A graduate of Albany State University, she currently teaches English at her alma mater. She resides in Albany, Georgia.
Michelle Sanchez currently serves as the Latinx Director for the Democratic Party of Georgia. She began her career as a paralegal, worked in public relations, before moving into roles focused on organizing for progressive issues. Prior to her role with the Democratic Party, she served as the District Operations Director for the Progressive Turnout Project. She also served in two roles with the New Georgia Project, first as the Latinx and Faith Organizer, and then as the Quality Control Manager. Michelle is well versed in voting rights and democracy issues having served as a Board Member on the Hall County Board of Elections.
She received a Certificate of Leadership Mastery from the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, and early on in her career was certified as a Supervisor of Asbestos Removal by Occupational Safety and Environmental Education, Inc.
Michelle is active within the Democratic Party, and previously served as the Executive Vice President of the Young Democrats of Georgia. In 2016 she ran for the Georgia House of Representatives to represent Hall County.
Mr. Raymond Partolan is an Immigration Paralegal at Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC working primarily on complex family-based immigration cases and all forms of removal defense. Before joining Kuck | Baxter Immigration, LLC, Raymond spent several years as the Program Associate at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, a nonprofit law and advocacy center for Asian Americans across the Southeast. There, he was a BIA Accredited Representative and prepared family immigration petitions for the most underserved populations. His work there was also instrumental in helping to triple Asian American voter turnout in Georgia from 2012 to 2016. His team led the charge to register over 11,000 new voters, engage with thousands of historically underrepresented community members, and defeat anti-immigrant legislation at the Georgia State Capitol.
For almost a decade, Raymond has been a fearless advocate for immigrant and refugee communities. He is a DACA recipient who was brought to the United States from the Philippines at the age of one, and grew up in Macon, Georgia. At the age of ten, his family lost their immigration status and became undocumented. Thankfully, in 2012, Raymond became a beneficiary of the Obama-era DACA program, which allowed him to regain a semblance of normalcy in his life, allowing him to legally work and drive. In 2013, he was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the University System of Georgia challenging its decision to bar DACA recipients from receiving in-state tuition at Georgia schools.
He received a certificate from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. for his coursework on immigration law and graduated summa cum laude from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Raymond is trilingual in English, Spanish, and Tagalog. Apart from his work at Kuck | Baxter Immigration, LLC, he sits on the Executive Committee of the Board of Advisors of Freedom University, the Endorsements Committee of the Asian American Advocacy Fund, and is an independent consultant for nonprofit organizations, political campaigns, and other entities. He is the former Curriculum Chair for the Atlanta Chapter of New Leaders Council and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Filipino-American Association of Greater Atlanta,. In 2019, Raymond was awarded three Grammy Awards for his work on American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, a large-ensemble jazz album that shared the stories of dreamers across the country through music.
Committed to building a better Rome – a welcoming and prosperous city that is reaching for the 22nd Century – Wendy Davis was elected to Ward 2 of the Rome City Commission in November of 2013 and re-elected in 2017. Her primary goal is to involve more people in the process of everyday governing, using today’s technology to share information and gather citizen input. Recent innovations such as the live streaming of commission meetings, the “MyRome” smart phone app and updated version of the city/county website are positive steps to reach this goal.
In 2018 Wendy was appointed the chair of the Community Development Committee, added to the Solid Waste and Public Works, Traffic and Transit Committees and returned to the Water and Sewer Committee. She is in her fifth year as the city representative to the board of the Floyd County Health Department. Wendy joins Commissioner Collins on the International Committee, and she proudly led a delegation of students to Rome’s sister-city of Kumamoto City, Japan in the summer of 2015. In addition, she has been a leader in planning and hosting student visits to Rome from Japan in 2014 and 2017. In 2017 Wendy was chair of the Alcohol Control Commission and led community discussion about changes to Rome’s alcohol ordinances.
In 2016 Wendy was appointed to serve on the Joint Development Oversight Committee and the Clean Community Board. Previously, Wendy served two years as chair the Water & Sewer Committee and member of the General Administration Committee. Determined to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided by the Georgia Municipal Association and from interaction with city leaders from across the state, Wendy has already earned the “Certificate of Recognition” and the “Certificate of Achievement” for more than 72 hours of training in a wide variety of topics from economic development to citizen engagement to neighborhood revitalization.
She was appointed in 2015 to the Transportation Policy Committee and as the city representative to the Sara Hightower Regional Library board, serving on both for two years. During her first year on the City Commission, she was a member of the Alcohol Control Commission and Public Safety Committee.
A 1987 graduate of Berry College, Wendy has spent more than 25 years fostering civic engagement as a political strategist. Since 2010 she has produced telephone town hall events for VocalFi, helping clients across North America have interactive conversations with thousands of people simultaneously.
In addition, Wendy has been an active participant in a broad range of local community activities, including the successful effort to bring minor league baseball to Rome. She lives off Cedar Avenue in east Rome with her chihuahua, Beau.
GCV Education Fund Board of Directors
Jason Rooks is a Georgia native with more than a decade of experience lobbying the Georgia General Assembly and consulting on political campaigns in Georgia. He served as Director of Government Affairs for GaSEIA from 2012-2018. Mr. Rooks also directed Taxpayers for Energy Efficiency, a successful statewide ballot initiative campaign in 2010. As a well-respected voice on renewable energy and energy efficiency, he has helped create numerous clean energy incentives through legislation and regulatory actions at the Georgia PSC. From 2002 to 2008, he served as Executive Director of Georgia Conservation Voters. Prior to that, founded a start-up company in Silicon Valley, and he started his professional career as a practicing attorney in Gainesville, Georgia. Mr. Rooks received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a law degree from the University of Georgia. Mr. Rooks and his wife, Amy, have two children and live in an Earthcraft house with a 4 kW solar system on the roof.
Chandra Farley is an activist at heart and credits her parents with instilling a sense of duty to always do what she can to advance justice and fairness. With a strong connection to our land and natural resources, Chandra developed a passion for elevating the connection between environmental stewardship, strong communities and our daily lives. Following eight years in the design and construction industry, Chandra joined Southface Energy Institute in 2009. At Southface, she led energy and water efficiency initiatives in partnership with local and national nonprofits. The program goal was to improve the environmental and financial sustainability of their facilities so that more of their dollars could be directed to programs and services instead of utility and maintenance costs. Over 200 nonprofits have saved over eight million dollars that has been redirected to their mission instead of energy bills.
Driven by a desire to work directly with the people that buildings shelter and serve, Chandra joined the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) in January 2018 as the Just Energy Director. In this role, Chandra develops local and regional strategies to advance energy equity through coalition building, leadership development and community engagement around the equity impacts of the sourcing and commodification of power generation in the American South. Understanding these impacts is critical for systematically disenfranchised populations such as black, indigenous and people of color communities with limited incomes. While unfamiliar to many residents, equity-centered energy and utility policies significantly enhance household economic stability and improve the overall quality of air, water and other natural resources that affect our health and well-being.
An avid volunteer with a passion for industry excellence and community building, Chandra has served as president of the Green Meetings Industry Council – Atlanta Chapter, Regional Representative – North America for Open Architecture Collaborative and on the leadership team for Atlanta-based TEDx events. Chandra attended the University of Kentucky before moving to Atlanta and earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Interior Design from The Art Institute of Atlanta. She earned the LEED Green Associate credential and is a graduate of the EPA’s Environmental Justice Academy, United Way VIP Program, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Economic Development Program and serves on the Board of Directors for Community Movement Builders, EarthShare of Georgia and Alabama Interfaith Power & Light
She has worked as an ornithologist in Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Italy, and San Clemente Island (San Diego). Before becoming Altamaha Riverkeeper, her last decade was spent on St. Catherines Island working primarily with shorebirds.
Jen says, “For many years, even working on the front-lines of conservation, I felt I wasn’t working at a big-picture level and I wanted to accomplish more. Now, protecting the largest watershed in Georgia, working in advocacy from Atlanta and Athens, through middle Georgia and to our unique Golden Isles, I go home satisfied and exhausted.”
Policy and Legislation changes often have the most reaching impact, and Jen believes it is an honor to serve on the GCVEF and support the Executive Director, Brionté, in her execution of our mission.
Patrick grew up in an area of natural beauty in the mountains of West Virginia, but in a coal-mining region hosting industry with a voracious appetite for anything but profit, and at any cost to people, much less the sustainability of our natural resources. A formative experience to watch the destruction of the very place many people come for homes, respite, outdoor adventure, and sport. This experience drove Patrick to become a clean energy entrepreneur who enjoys laboring in renewable and efficient energy practices, the internet of things, and electric vehicles.
From democratizing data to democratizing energy, his career has included serving as a Science teacher and US Park Ranger with decades of progressive sales and alliance management experience at leading high-tech companies like EDS, Lotus, IBM, Siebel, salesforce.com, Open Text, AT&T Mobility and ChargePoint helping customers harness the business value of the IT investments used to run their organizations. Patrick has run for U.S. and State positions for a decade to represent those without a voice, such as the environment. He received a DoE Environmental Leadership Award for improving Smart Grid using wireless technology. He’s trained in NABCEP Solar PV and Solar Thermal, and EV Science. Certified in Government Contracting, Six Sigma, LEED AP, Energy Efficiency Management, and is a Lighting Efficiency Professional.
He teaches youth in Science, Sustainability, and ESL. As an Eagle Scout and Woodbadge BSA Scoutmaster for 20 years, he’s shepherded 80 young men through their Eagle leadership projects and participates in many area food banks, Citizenship workshops, and Environmental groups. He also serves on the Boards of several renewable energy startups, Co-Chairs the 159 Georgia Together Board aimed at bringing good ideas and policy to all the corners of Georgia, and is a graduate of the We Own It Fellowship – advocating for the member-owners of the 41 electric coops across the State to improve energy portfolios, reward good leadership, and transition energy efficiency practices.
He earned B.S. degrees in both Biology and Psychology from the University of Mary Washington, holds a Computer Science degree, completed Entrepreneurial Studies at Georgia Tech, completed the Kennedy School of Leadership, and earned an MBA in Sustainability from Green Mountain College in Vermont. He’s currently the VP of Sales and Alliances at CloudBank, consulting with organizations around the world on renewable energy and EV infrastructure. He’s also Executive Director of non-profit ApplesEEd Energy Transition, providing advisory services to organizations interested in increasing inclusive investment towards a clean energy economy with the velocity to transform lives thru more affordable housing, better healthcare outcomes, improved living conditions, lowered noxious emissions, energy independence, self-reliance, local workforce growth, and lower energy burdens.
James Reilly is currently an Analyst at CleanCapital. Prior to his current role, he served as an Analyst at Peachtree Equity Partners, Massey Quick & Co., LLC, Lamar Advertising. James served as Call Time Manager for the 2014 Michelle Nunn campaign for the U.S. Senate. James earned degrees from Emory University, and a degree in Carbon Finance from the University of Edinburgh Business School.