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.
John “The Baker” Beal
John grew up in rural New England, wandering the woods, climbing trees, tracking animals and spying on copperheads sunning on rocks. In his first activist experiences with the Civil Rights and Peace movements, he saw the destructive forces of poverty and racism while learning there is tremendous power in joining together to take action. People are not powerless to affect major change. He later discovered Dogwood Alliance hosting a booth at a music festival in Atlanta. For several years, John has organized events supporting the work of Dogwood. This is his second term on the board, and John is excited to be working with the “brilliant staff and dynamic board.”
Sierra is a recent graduate of UNCW with a BS in Environmental Sciences. During her time at UNCW, she volunteered and interned with various environmental nonprofits in Wilmington to learn how to communicate conservation goals. Since graduation, she has worked for progressive political campaigns in preparation for the midterm elections with nonprofits like Aim Higher Now and the NC Sierra Club. Recruiting volunteers and coordinating Get Out the Vote efforts has been challenging and rewarding for Sierra. Her career goal is to be a community organizer at a nonprofit with a focus on environmental advocacy.
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.
Brandy has spent her life in the forests, rivers and lakes of the Southeast and works every day to protect them. She founded Shades of Green Permaculture Design, Inc. in 2004, teaching whole-systems perspectives, empowering individuals, businesses and communities with practical tools to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Brandy completed her Master’s Degree in Contemplative Education from Naropa University and reconnects folks to the beauty around them, encouraging them to engage with the world in a healing and responsible way. In her “spare” time, she serves on the Pine Lake City Council. She lives in Pine Lake with her husband, Aaron, their daughter, Zepyhr, and their rambunctious pup, Peanut Butter.
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.
Olufemi is originally from Charlotte, NC but has called Asheville, NC her home for almost 20 years. She’s a mother, daughter, and avid community organizer, currently working with the Sierra Club as a National Lead Organizer for the Ready for 100 Campaign. Olufemi is also one of the founders of the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council, Ujamaa Freedom Market,Hillcrest Unity Garden, and Gardens United. She is a Fellow Member of the North Carolina Food Justice Fellowship (for People of Color). Her personal experiences with environmental and structural racism have called her to use her voice in movements that are working to dismantle inequities and oppression.
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.
Ulla is a career non-profit professional and passionate environmentalist with expertise on clean air, climate, energy issues and campaigns. She currently serves as Clean Air Campaign Manager for National Parks Conservation Association. Previously, Ulla worked for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy overseeing southeast regional utility campaigns to clean up and shut down coal-fired power plants. Ulla holds a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and lives in Asheville, NC.
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.
Jason is a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity where he works in the Southeast region protecting endangered species and public lands. He grew up along Florida’s Treasure Coast and earned his bachelor’s degree from Emory and his law degree from Tulane. Before joining the Center he was Executive Director of the Everglades Law Center, where he worked to advance the restoration of America’s Everglades. He writes and speaks on a wide-range of wildlife, public lands, and wetland protection issues. A past co-chair of the Everglades Coalition, Jason is passionate about working to protect the South’s natural wonders.
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.
Neill has an MBA from Western Carolina University with an independent study in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in Business. He is an Investment Advisor and Partner at Earth Equity Advisors, a socially and environmentally responsible investment and financial planning firm in Asheville, NC. Neill spends his free time with his wife and son (and their border collie) in Pisgah National Forest or on the Blue Ridge Parkway on a hike or a picnic, picking blueberries, catching salamanders, and just breathing clean air!
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.