Dr. Florence Anoruo is an Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, a UNCF/Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Mentor, and Faculty Residency Program fellow. She became acquainted with Dogwood Alliance through her volunteer work with Wood Pellets NC (Southern Forests Conservation Coalition). She is known for her exemplary teaching, research, mentoring, and leadership in many university capacity building initiatives, especially in the areas of plant and environmental sciences, sustainability, wellness and nutrition. She received the National Society of Leadership and Success Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring award in 2015 and 2016.
Jacob Blass is the president and co-principal of Ethical Advocate, a leading edge ethics and compliance company, founded in 2004. Initially a psychologist, he subsequently led four healthcare organizations for 23 years; companies he led were consistently recognized for their excellence. Jacob specializes in strategy development, management, and executive mentoring. He has worked nationally and internationally with organizations and governments, facilitating processes he developed on the integration of deeply embedded ethical cultures, values, purpose, and goals. Thousands of people have attended his seminars. Jacob has served on numerous boards, including an international hunger-relief organization, a national think-tank devoted to end of life care, and a planning committee for the city of Boulder, CO.
Dr. Thomas RaShad Easley
RaShad is the former Director of Community for Diversity at NC State School of Natural Resources and is now the Assistant Dean of Diversity at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He brings a quantitative and qualitative understanding of diversity to Dogwood’s Board. He’s a forester, a professor, and a hip hop artist. He is skilled at spontaneous performance, talent development, and is great with people and working on teams. Being a diversity professional, he is adept at communicating cross-culturally and advocating for marginalized populations.
Sami is a writer and the Creative Director at The Change Creation, a brand creation agency that works with entities who make the world better, fairer, or truer. His clients include Larry’s Beans, Burt’s Bees, Canaan Fair Trade, and Jada Pinkett Smith/Overbrook Entertainment. His core skills lie in practical, strategic communication – and specifically in helping organizations identify the point where their identity, values, and culture align with the interests, values, and passions of their audiences. Having worked on the Dogwood on several projects and over many years, Sami helps ensure that the theoretical work of defining the brand translates into effective communication on the ground.
A graduate of Presbyterian College with a Bachelor of Science, Morgan first got involved with Dogwood in 2016 when she worked as the Community Organizer in Laurens County, SC, joining the movement to stop the construction of an Enviva wood pellet facility. Now Morgan is an Environmental Monitor Technician in Columbia, SC. From the time she hunted and fished with her father when she was a young girl, Morgan has always loved the outdoors. Now she likes to spend her time hiking and camping with friends.
Joe has been in the natural resource management business for over 30 years. He has worked in both public and private sectors and is currently providing consultation services for several “green industry” organizations through his company, EcoGrounds Management Systems. For 18 years, Joe was a Facilities Management Director at Duke University’s 900 acre campus, which included the management of its grounds and sanitation program, recycling program, fleet operations, stone quarry production, as well as buildings and grounds at the school’s Marine Laboratory facility located in Beaufort, North Carolina. Joe has a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University.
Judy is the Executive Director at the Durham Center for Senior Life in Durham, NC. She’s a community builder and a nonprofit executive, who loves to rouse, rally, and connect people for good. She creates connections within the Durham area and the LGBTQ community. She likes raising money, fostering a movement, having a good time in the process. She also plays well in the proverbial sandbox and in the forest.
Elise has spent the last decade working on environmental & progressive issues. She is currently the social media specialist for National Nurses United, the largest union of registered nurses, based in San Francisco. Elise also served as a digital campaigner at Rainforest Action Network and as the frontline campaign specialist at Greenpeace USA. A native of western North Carolina, Elise grew up with a love of Southern forests that led her to begin her environmental career as an intern for Dogwood Alliance in 2006. Elise loves quilting, playing pinball, and caring for her cat, Mildred.
Abi is a conservationist and environmental advocate who worked in the Eastern US and Latin America to establish and manage nature reserves, fight climate change, support healthy communities, and raise awareness about assaults on the environment. She founded an ecotourism business, consulting on projects and programs throughout the world and offering ecotours to sites in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. She serves on the Boards of American Rivers and As You Sow. She is active in funder networks addressing climate change and environmental protection. Abi is also a climate activist and proponent of racial justice, helping to overcome bias within environmental organizations. Abi loves bicycling, hiking, paddling, and pickleball!
Loretta A. Slater
Loretta is the Executive Director of The Whitney M. Slater Foundation, which she and her mother founded in 2012 in memory of her daughter. Inspired by Whitney’s dream of providing better educational opportunities for African American women especially around health, the foundation educates frontline communities and communities of color on environmental health issues, supports early detection of cancer, and encourages second medical opinions. Loretta also works closely with Reverend Leo Woodberry on multiple initiatives, is an active member of Southeast Climate & Energy Network, and was a key organizer of the Justice First Tour, a solidarity movement for justice issues that convened in more than 27 cities and 12 states throughout the Southeast US.
Reverend Leo Woodberry
Reverend Leo has a long history as an activist and community organizer. He is the Executive Director of New Alpha Development Corporation and serves as the pastor of Kingdom Living Temple in Florence, South Carolina. Throughout his work, Reverend Leo has exhibited remarkable leadership in combating racism and promoting justice. In addition, he works to advance the understanding of environmental racism and climate justice.
Lynne works at the intersection of the environment, environmental health, environmental justice, community resilience and equity within the context of climate change. She holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University and worked for over 25 years in the engineering consulting industry. She currently works with environmentally-focused nonprofits, small businesses and faith-based institutions providing program and fund development assistance. She lives in Georgia where she enjoys learning about permaculture, growing food in a community garden, and African dance.