Who We Are

We are a team of policymakers, scientists, advocates, and others concerned about the fate of our planet, the people living on it, and the generations to come.

Armine Avetisyan, Grants Officer

Armine Avetisyan is a grants officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports the full lifecycle of grants and helps refine grantmaking processes.

She previously served as a grants and compliance specialist at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, supporting both domestic and international grantmaking programs, and as a program associate at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She started her career in philanthropy at a small, newly established family foundation in Armenia back in 2007.

Armine holds M.A.s in international relations from the College of Europe in Belgium and Yerevan State University in Armenia. She is fluent in Armenian and Russian.


Rishabh Bansal, Program Officer

Rishabh Bansal is a Program Officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he works on developing grantmaking strategies to accelerate India’s energy transition and climate action.

Before joining Sequoia, Rishabh was a Climate Cors Fellow at the Environmental Defense Fund, where he devised strategic pathways for SunPower Corporation to decarbonize its freight supply chain. He has also worked for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Technical Support Unit for the Indian government.

Rishabh is pursuing a Master of Public Affairs in climate policy and finance from SIPA, Columbia University, and holds a Bachelor of Technology from IIT Kanpur in India. He enjoys sketching and having deep conversations about physics and the meaning of life.

Nicholas Bianco, Program Director

Nicholas Bianco is a program director with the Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he oversees Sequoia’s investments in the United States.

Before joining Sequoia, Nicholas was deputy director for the World Resources Institute’s United States country office, where he helped oversee the U.S. climate team and helped coordinate domestic efforts across the climate, energy, food, forests, water, and sustainable cities programs. He has held a variety of other roles at the World Resources Institute, overseen analytic research conducted in support of the Environmental Defense Fund’s U.S. climate and air regulatory team, and helped design and implement climate change and air quality programs for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Nicholas holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from Brown University, and a B.S. in biochemistry from Muhlenberg College.

Jesse Bragg, Program Director

Jesse Bragg is a program director at the Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he leads the organization’s work on strategic communications and engagement.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Jesse was the media director at Corporate Accountability, a corporate watchdog and human rights organization, where he oversaw media communications across five areas—climate, food, tobacco, water, and democracy. Jesse has also worked in various communications, director, and political roles for state elected officials, a governor, and U.S. Representatives and Senators across the northeastern United States, including as executive director of a state political party.

Jesse has a degree in Economics from the University of Vermont. When he’s not communicating about the climate crisis, Jesse enjoys cycling and hiking with his family and honing his skills as an amateur carpenter.

Carlo De La Cruz, Program Officer

Carlo De La Cruz is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he supports grantmaking to decarbonize the global economy and build broad support for the climate movement.

Before joining Sequoia, Carlo helped lead Sierra Club’s clean energy and clean transportation work in California as deputy regional director, working with frontline and impacted communities. He has also worked statewide on sustainable economic development policy and transit-oriented housing at the Milken Institute’s California Center and for the Association of Bay Area Governments.

A double graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Carlo received his M.A. in City Planning and B.A. in Asian American studies and history of art. Carlo has lived the last 16 years in California as a car-free resident, exploring cities and new neighborhoods on bike and trying out local transit options wherever he goes.

Hailee Donoghue, Program Officer

Hailee Donoghue is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports grantmaking in the climate finance portfolio, working to accelerate decarbonization through a sustainable global financial system.

Hailee brings a diverse range of experiences spanning both the public and private sectors. She successfully managed projects in the global health field and contributed to marketing efforts in the renewable energy industry. She also brings a wealth of experience in the grantmaking process with NGOs, as well as deep understanding of Multilateral Development Banks. Her expertise lies in implementing mechanisms to attract private capital to climate solutions in emerging markets and developing economies. 

Hailee holds a master’s in international business from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies from UC Berkeley. On the weekends, you’ll find Hailee getting up early for donuts and coffee on her way to a new hiking trail or hitting the dance floor at her favorite live music venues.

Jolie Emenike, Executive Assistant

Jolie Emenike is the executive assistant to the director of evidence and learning and director of finance and administration at Sequoia Climate Foundation.

Jolie skillfully manages administrative and operational duties while assisting with planning staff retreats and events at Sequoia. She is a hands-on administrative professional with a track record of strong performance in high-volume, high-pressure environments. She has an extensive office and project management background. With a wide range of professional experiences before her time at Sequoia, Jolie led the management of several specialty care practices for UCLA Health. She is an enthusiastic and collaborative leader that brings a remarkable ability to apply system-level thinking to day-to-day operational challenges.

Outside the office, Jolie enjoys many outdoor activities such as camping, swimming, and hiking. In addition, she enjoys traveling, entertaining friends and family, and spending quality time with her son.

Alina Eprimian, Director of Communications

Alina Eprimian is the director of communications at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she leads the organization’s strategic communications goals.

Prior to Sequoia, she was the communications director at Sunnova, a publicly-traded solar company, where she developed the company’s inaugural communications strategy and strengthened its brand awareness. Her career in sustainability started almost 10 years ago at the International Renewable Energy Agency, where she initiated human impact storytelling by documenting the ripple effects of renewable energy in countries on the frontlines of climate change, expanded global media relations, and managed onsite communications at UN climate conferences. She also led communications at an international non-profit that supports diverse clean energy entrepreneurs and worked as a roaming field producer in hotspots like Ukraine.

Alina comes from an international background and attributes her passion for communications and storytelling to growing up all over the world.

Gauri Gadgil, Chief of Staff

Gauri Gadgil is the Chief of Staff at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she provides direct assistance to the president on Sequoia’s grantmaking to decarbonize the global economy and build broad support for the climate movement.

Before joining Sequoia, Gauri worked at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and at the World Bank with local and municipal governments to develop and finance green, climate resilient infrastructure. She has also worked on economic development programs abroad, through the United Nations Office for Project Services in Myanmar, and domestically, with resettled refugee populations through the International Rescue Committee. She has always retained a people-centered focus in her work on climate change.

Gauri holds an M.A. in energy, resources and environment from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A in international Relations and french from Wellesley College.

Jonathan Gaventa, Program Manager

Jonathan Gaventa is a program manager at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he focuses on the transition of the oil and gas sector.

He joins Sequoia after three years in Maputo, Mozambique, where he worked as a freelance consultant, supporting strategy development on energy from NGOs and foundations. Previously, he was a director for European climate and energy policy at climate think tank E3G in London and Brussels, covering areas ranging from net zero targets to the expansion of electricity grids.

Louise Glew, Chief Evidence and Learning Officer

Louise Glew is the chief evidence and learning officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she leads efforts to inform Sequoia’s strategy, and impact through a blend of systems thinking, Bayesian approaches to causal inference, and quantitative modeling.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Louise was the global lead scientist for conservation evidence at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where she led an interdisciplinary team focused on the generation, synthesis, and use of evidence in decision-making. She also convened the Alliance for Conservation Evidence and Sustainability (a cross-sector collaboration focused on the use of evidence in decision-making) and was the founding chair of the Impact Evaluation Working Group of the Society for Conservation Biology.

Louise holds a doctorate in environmental science from the University of Southampton and has published research on the impacts of biodiversity conservation interventions in leading scientific journals, including Nature and Science.

Sara Gray, Office Manager

Sara Gray is the office manager at Sequoia Climate Foundation. Prior to Sequoia, Sara managed a private dental practice in Irvine, CA.

Sara grew up in Southern California and loves working close to home and near family. In her free time, she enjoys attending concerts, cheering on the Los Angeles Dodgers and practicing yoga.

Jessica Halverson, Director of Grantmaking Operations

Jessica Halverson is the director of grantmaking operations at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she leads the development of grants management processes and systems, and partners across the organization to build effective grantmaking practices.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Jess was a grants officer in environment at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, working across the grantmaking portfolio on the foundation’s strategies in climate change and conservation. She also led Hewlett’s efforts to build more financially resilient nonprofit organizations across the social sector. Previously, Jess was a senior manager at Ceres, a nonprofit organization focused on the business case for sustainability.

Jess holds an MBA with concentrations in nonprofit management and strategy & innovation from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, and a BA in sociology from Grinnell College. Outside of work, Jess loves to be outdoors—walking the beach, running in the park, or hiking a good trail.

Kylie Healy, Program Administrative Assistant

Kylie Healy is a program administrative assistant at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she provides administrative and project management support to drive the execution of strategies aligned with the organizational mission and vision.

Before joining Sequoia, Kylie spent 10 years working with various non-profits supporting executives and teams by utilizing administrative skills, leveraging organizational proficiency, and anticipating needs. She is recognized as a detail-oriented team player who excels in managing multiple projects, streamlining efficiency, and providing exceptional communication skills.

Kylie is a graduate of Biola University with a degree in communication studies. Outside the office, you will find Kylie spending quality time with her husband, son, and golden doodle and enjoying the beach in San Clemente, California.

Lynn Huynh, IT Lead

Lynn Huynh is the information technology lead at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where they oversee technology strategy and operations.

Before joining Sequoia, Lynn was an IT specialist at both Disney Streaming and Hulu. Lynn is an empathy-driven IT technician who believes that the intersection of technology and business strongly impacts culture, efficiency, and strong collaborative communication. Lynn aspires to be a bridge between new technological processes and end users, helping to promote creative ways to showcase their expertise.

In their free time, they enjoy playing video games, spending time with loved ones, and attempting to cook.

James Jenkin, Chief Operating Officer

James Jenkin is the chief operating officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he manages the daily operations of the organization, working closely with the President, directors, and all staff to support day-to-day activities.

Before joining Sequoia, James served on the leadership team of the Clinton Foundation as the CEO (and former COO) of the Foundation’s leading international economic development programs, later spun out into the award winning NGO, Acceso.

James began his career as an international attorney before applying his skills toward building businesses that play critical roles in creating market leading positions for the Fortune 500 logistics company TNT Express (now Fedex). Additionally, he managed TNT’s multibillion dollar mergers and acquisition pipeline, globally. A firm believer in using business for social change James developed TNT’s inaugural corporate social responsibility programs across three continents, helping cement TNT as a Dow Jones Sustainability leader; co-founded the North Star Alliance, a social enterprise providing health care to long-distance truck drivers in Africa; and served as the executive director of the beloved New York cultural organization, Printed Matter.

A builder to his core, James’ personal passion is restoring architecturally significant homes. James holds a combined bachelor of law and public administration with honors from the University of Tasmania.

Brian Kagawa, Accountant

Brian Kagawa is an accountant at Sequoia Climate Foundation. Prior to Sequoia, Brian spent five years as an Investment Accountant at Kairos Investment Management, a private equity firm with a focus on real estate. He was responsible for overseeing the day to day activities in all accounting aspects for various Investment Funds, properties, and corporate accounts. Prior to Kairos, Brian held various accounting positions at Keystone Pacific Property Management, an HOA management company with clients all over Southern California.

In his free time, Brian enjoys playing golf, running, and trying new local restaurants with his wife.

Jennifer Katell, Grants Officer

Jennifer Katell is a grants officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports a portfolio of grants and helps design grantmaking processes and systems that lead to greater efficiency and impact.

Jennifer has worked in grants management roles at The California Endowment, The Eisner Foundation and The SCAN Foundation, where she developed expertise in designing equitable grantmaking practices, implementing operational efficiencies, and streamlining processes to enhance overall organizational effectiveness. Jennifer’s diverse experience included positions at the Consulate General of the Netherlands, LA’s BEST After School Enrichment Program, Hammer Museum, and International Center for Photography. In addition, she founded and managed two alternative exhibition spaces for Los Angeles-based artists and a business dedicated to creating artist-designed products.

Jennifer earned her master’s degree in art history and an MBA from the University of Southern California. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys dinner parties, singing in a choir, and outdoors adventures with her husband and dog.

Danielle Kehoe, Program Administrative Assistant

Danielle Kehoe is a program administrative assistant at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she provides overall administrative support to help drive efficiency for the India team and their work as it relates to strategies, events, projects, travel, and program coordination.

Before joining Sequoia, Danielle worked at Green Street, where she provided high-level administrative support, implemented administrative processes and systems, navigated various projects, and executed goals, all while supporting the executive team. Before her more recent position, Danielle developed her skills while spending 15+ years working at one of the leading Hispanic marketing agencies in the U.S. She is recognized for her human-centered spirit in collaboration, excelling at prioritizing while maintaining strong attention to detail, simultaneously spearheading projects and events, and her professional and thoughtful communication.

In her spare time, Danielle enjoys cooking, spending time with family and her two Bernedoodles.

Amit Khare, Program Manager

Amit Khare is a program manager at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he develops grant-making strategies to accelerate the energy transition and climate action in India.

Amit has spent more than 15 years working on global clean energy and climate-change mitigation, including with government agencies, private-sector companies, and nonprofits. Most recently, he was part of the ICF’s energy efficiency analytics team supporting North American utilities. Amit also managed multilateral and bilateral funded energy efficiency programs in South Asia and Africa.

Amit has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from India and a graduate degree in environmental systems from Humboldt State University in California.

Jemma Mae De Leon, Program Manager

Jemma Mae De Leon is a program manager at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she helps develop and drive programmatic, grantmaking, and communications initiatives and goals to support the overall strategy of climate mitigation.

Before joining Sequoia, Jemma Mae was the communications strategist at Climate Access – Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. She oversaw the communications strategy and implementation across North America, Asia, and the Pacific. Her previous work in policy communications ranged from targeted political engagement alongside leading EU businesses to strategizing conservation policy priorities for US aquariums.

Jemma Mae has a master’s degree in environment and development from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of California, San Diego. Outside work, you can find her swing dancing, navigating crossword puzzles, and cheering on Arsenal F.C.

Wenying Liao, Research Officer

Wenying Liao is a research officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, supporting the Foundation by providing actionable insights to help shape a sustainable future and mitigate climate change.

Wenying comes to Sequoia as a quantitative environmental scientist who leverages data science, mathematical theory, and policy analysis to help enact solutions for climate change mitigation. With a broad interest in sustainability, Wenying has extensive experience in sustainable agriculture and forest restoration. Wenying also develops models rooted in first principles to predict ecosystem function and socio-economic dynamics.

Wenying holds a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University. Outside of work, Wenying is an avid climber and enthusiastic cook who loves trying recipes from different cultures. She also enjoys traveling and learning languages.

Laura Lin, Controller

Laura Lin is the controller at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she oversees the accounting process, including accounts payable, general journals, cash management, annual audit and 990 filings. Laura is an alumna of UCSB, and an active CPA with over 15 years of public and private accounting experience in industries ranging from public accounting, non-profit, manufacturing, retail, education, and automotive industries.

Laura enjoys reading, cooking, yoga, card/board games, Disneyland, Marvel movies, and traveling with her husband and their two boys. And for what it’s worth, she is a Virgo and her favorite color is purple!

Sze Ping Lo, Program Director

Sze Ping Lo is a program director at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he leads the organization’s grantmaking portfolios for China and Southeast Asia.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Sze Ping was CEO of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in China, and served in top leadership and governance roles in Greenpeace, Friends of Nature, Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology (SEE), China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN), and Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA). He has founded two NGOs, Forward Works and Greenovation Hub, and has received numerous recognitions for his achievements, including being named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012.

He holds an EMBA from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and is a political scientist and anthropologist by training. Apart from being a diligent reader and eclectic music lover, he is also an internationalist foodie.

Jess McDonald, Program Officer

Jess McDonald is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports grantmaking to decarbonize the global economy and drive climate action.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Jess was an associate with Propel Clean Energy Partners, where she managed the Clean Power Hub, an initiative supporting power sector transformation in Southeast Asia. Jess also worked as a senior manager for international programs at the Edison Electric Institute, and as a fellow in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy, where she supported initiatives to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies.

Jess holds a master’s degree in environmental management with a focus on energy, and a certificate in sustainable systems analysis from Duke University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Outside of work, Jess enjoys spending time outdoors exploring new trails and practicing Ashtanga yoga.

Hannah McKinnon, Program Director

Hannah McKinnon is a program director at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she leads the Foundation’s work on oil and gas along with other portfolios.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Hannah was the founding director of the Energy Transitions and Futures program at Oil Change International, where she also played a central role in founding the Global Gas and Oil Network. Hannah has also worked in national and international climate policy, politics, and advocacy in North America and Europe, as well as climate adaptation and risk management in Central America.

Hannah holds an MSc from the London School of Economics, and political science and an honors degree in biochemistry from Mount Allison University. She also studied at Lester B. Pearson United World College.

Michelle Moersfelder, General Counsel

Michelle Moersfelder is general counsel at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she helps navigate legal and organizational matters and serves as a trusted advisor to leadership and staff.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Michelle served as legal counsel to philanthropies in the US for nearly 10 years, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her experiences include helping to navigate a complex international reorganization, transforming global grantmaking processes, and working closely with teams from all over the world on their grantmaking programs and in-country operations.

Michelle holds a JD from the George Washington University Law School and an LL.M. in taxation from the New York University School of Law.

Yasmine Moezinia, Program Director

Yasmine Moezinia is the program director of Climate Finance at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she leads the Foundation’s climate finance portfolio and its work to accelerate decarbonization through a sustainable global financial sector.

Before joining Sequoia, Yasmine served for over ten years in various government roles in the UK, including leading the UK COP Presidency’s efforts as the Head of the COP26, Private Finance Team in HM Treasury, and previously as Principal Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Prior to joining the government, Yasmine worked in investment banking in London. She holds a B.A. in history from Yale University.

Sean De Montfort, Program Manager
Dhaval Negandhi, Program Manager

Dhaval Negandhi is a program manager at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he works on developing and driving programmatic and grantmaking initiatives to address climate change. His focus is on food and land systems in India.

Dhaval has dedicated his career to addressing critical issues such as climate change and biodiversity. His work experience spans across various sectors, allowing him to bridge the gap between theory and real-world application. Prior to joining Sequoia, Dhaval made contributions as an Associate Director (Climate) at Forum for the Future, an international non-profit focused on driving system transformation. This role and other prior roles equipped him with a deep understanding of global climate issues and the ability to develop and implement impactful strategies.

Dhaval holds a master’s degree in environmental science, policy, and management from the Central European University, an MBA in forest management from the Indian Institute of Forest Management, and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Sardar Patel University. Dhaval is also a dedicated mindfulness practitioner, an nature lover, and an avid explorer of both inner and outer landscapes.

Daniel Noll, Program Manager

Daniel Noll is a program manager at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he supports grantmaking to transform power and energy systems throughout major economies.

Previously, Daniel has worked in advocacy, academia, government, and the private sector to accelerate national and global energy transitions. From 2017 to 2020, he was the director for international programs at the Edison Electric Institute, prior to which he was a senior fellow in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy.

Daniel holds a master’s degree in energy and earth resources, a master’s degree in global policy studies, and a bachelor’s degree in government from The University of Texas at Austin.

Joe Noonan, Director of People and Culture

Joe Noonan is the director of people and culture at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he supports the personal and professional growth of each team member as they collectively work to help prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Joe served in multiple human resources leadership roles at Stanford University in Stanford, California, and worked for various healthcare organizations. He also volunteers his time and energy towards various boards and associations to support the advancement and evolution of the human resources profession.

Joe holds a master of health care administration from California State University, East Bay, and a bachelor of economics from Santa Clara University. He also holds a professional in human resources – California (PHRca) certification from HRCI, and a project management professional (PMP) certification from PMI. When he is not working, Joe enjoys spending quality time with his wife and daughter, as well as being physically active at the gym, beach, or any other beautiful outdoor space across Orange County.

Seema Paul, Program Director

Seema Paul is a program director at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she leads grantmaking portfolio for India.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Seema successfully led the launch of two environmental start-ups in India—Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and, more recently, The Nature Conservancy. She has also worked in two philanthropic start-ups focused on climate change—Ted Turner’s United Nations Foundation and Climateworks Foundation—as well as for international organizations such as UNAIDS. She is Rockefeller Foundation’s Lead International Fellow and an Alfred Friendly Press Fellow.

Seema completed the International Executive Program at INSEAD and holds one master’s degree in public policy from University of Maryland and another in English literature from University of Delhi. She has published widely in global and Indian media including Time magazine, The Dallas Morning News, and The Times of India as well as in peer reviewed and other professional journals.

Anaísa Pinto, Program Officer

Anaísa Pinto is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports the Europe, Brazil and International Diplomacy teams to help develop and drive programmatic and grantmaking strategies

Before joining Sequoia, Anaísa spent three years as a project manager at the Climate Group leading policy work on transport decarbonisation with governments and businesses. Before that, she spent time as a project officer at CDP, a charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies and subnational governments to manage their environmental impact.

Anaísa has a bachelor’s in international relations and modern languages from the Univerisity of Essex and a master’s in environment, politics and development from SOAS – University of London, both in the UK. Outside of work, Anaísa loves exploring new places and outdoor activities, trying new cuisines, and playing board games on a rainy day. She is a national from Portugal and thrives in the sunshine and proximity to the ocean.

Richard Santos, IT Manager

Richard Santos is an IT manager at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he manages technology strategy and operations.

Richard brings over 25 years of IT expertise, making technology work not only for the organization, but also to the individual end user. He has architected, implemented, and supported IT infrastructure for corporate needs, as well as for clients’ e-commerce infrastructures. In 2020, he transitioned to a Senior IT Auditor position, where he was responsible for the firm’s largest client engagement for SOX compliance and Cybersecurity risk assessment.

Richard was raised in Southern California and has a degree from California State University Dominguez Hills in Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Information System. Richard also loves the outdoors! In his free time, he enjoys taking the path less traveled to camp with family and friends. As much as he loves “keeping the lights on” professionally, he also appreciates the opportunity to unplug and recharge out in nature.”

Amanda Schockling, Program Officer

Amanda Schockling is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports the Oil & Gas and India teams to help develop and drive programmatic and grantmaking strategies.

Prior to Sequoia, Amanda worked as a civil and technical services engineer for four years at the Madison Water Utility and Epic Systems in Wisconsin. Most recently, she spent a year and a half as a climate policy analyst and project manager at Climate & Company, a sustainable finance think tank in Germany.

Amanda has a bachelor’s in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame in the U.S. and a master’s in environmental studies and sustainability science from Lund University in Sweden. In her free time, she likes to be outdoors in the snow, sun, and rain – fully embracing the Swedish saying, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Reina Solis, Paralegal

Reina Solis is a paralegal at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she helps the organization scale and manage risk.

With over 20 years’ experience, Reina has developed and evolved her trademarks, patents, copyrights, contract negotiation and project management skills while working across global law firms, multiple privately held companies, and Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, she worked in the fashion industry to diversify her experience in brand protection, contract negotiation, and management as the director of legal operations and senior paralegal.

Reina has a bachelor of arts from Cal State Fullerton in political science with a minor in criminal justice, and a paralegal certificate from the University of California, Irvine. Reina loves to plan family trips with her husband and young children, and always explores the landscapes and restaurants across Los Angeles and Orange County. 

Ranping Song, Program Manager

Ranping Song is a program manager at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he supports the development and implementation of grantmaking strategies and manages project portfolios for China, South East Asian countries, and beyond.

Before joining Sequoia, Ranping served as the developing country climate action manager for the World Resources Institute, where he coordinated teams across various country offices and the climate, energy, finance, governance, and business programs to accelerate climate action. He also led the World Resources Institute’s Climate and Energy Program in China, specializing in greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting and reporting as well as policy impact assessment. He has also worked for the Climate Group, United Nations Development Group, and Greenpeace.

Ranping holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Laws from Lanzhou University. In his spare time, Ranping enjoys watching musicals and dramas, and is an enthusiastic but awkward skier.

Yinong Sun, Program Officer

Yinong Sun is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports and develops grantmaking strategies to mitigate climate change for the China and Southeast Asia portfolios.

Before joining Sequoia, Yinong worked as a researcher and a technical lead at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for more than six years, where she conducted rigorous modeling-based research to provide policy analysis and engineering solutions to facilitate a low-carbon energy system transition. Her research topics included transmission planning, renewable energy integration, climate-energy-nexus, electrification and wholesale electricity market design.

Yinong holds a doctorate in power system modeling from the Johns Hopkins University, a master’s degree from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a bachelor’s degree in physics and art history from Peking University. She enjoys skiing, cooking, and playing piano in her free time.

Marcus Thomson, Modeling and Analysis Manager

Marcus Thomson is the modeling and analysis manager at Sequoia Climate Foundation. With his colleagues in Sequoia’s Evidence and Learning directorate, he helps to speed-up and scale-up decarbonization outcomes from our grant-making.

Before joining Sequoia, Marcus did postdoctoral research at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and UC Santa Barbara, and worked as a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria. At IIASA, he joined FABLE, an international consortium of scientists develop practical, scientifically sound pathways to transform agriculture, forestry and land-use to meet global climate emissions targets in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Marcus earned his PhD in geography from UCLA, and his MSc and BSc degrees in physics from Queen’s University and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (now SNOLAB) in Canada. His research has been published in prominent journals, such as Nature.

Valeri Tunnell, Executive Assistant

Valeri Tunnell is an executive assistant at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she serves as the first point of contact for high-level issues needing executive attention.

Valeri has over 25 years of experience as an executive assistant where she continuously leveraged her interpersonal communication skills to build lasting relationships across organizational lines. She has worked in various industries and sectors throughout her career including non-profit, where she was an integral part of forming the first-ever faith-based mentoring program for Big Brother Big Sister in Orange County, California. She is part of several executive assistant leadership groups and is constantly perfecting her skills with educational seminars. She has advanced her career over the years and received several awards by taking on projects within an organization to increase productivity and streamline efficiencies.

Valeri has a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of California at Irvine, and her MBA from Pepperdine University in organizational change management. During her free time, she loves to workout, travel, and spend quality time with family and friends.

Christie Ulman, President

Christie Ulman is the president of Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she oversees the foundation’s efforts to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, guides its investments in rapid decarbonization, and leads its strategy of impact-driven philanthropy.

Prior to joining the foundation, Christie served as the climate director at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) in London, and also worked on climate issues at the highest levels of the U.S. government—including at the Department of Energy, the Treasury Department, and the White House. She has also lived in Spain and Thailand, where she worked in public health and education, assisting with disaster relief from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

Christie holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and a BSc from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated with honors.

Lalli Venkatakrishnan, Program Officer

Lalli Venkatakrishnan is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports grantmaking to decarbonize the global economy and drive climate action in the U.S. and beyond.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Lalli worked on international law and policy in the areas of climate, clean energy and wildlife conservation. She also previously worked at the Center for Biological Diversity as a staff attorney and California policy advocate, and was a legal fellow for NRDC’s Clean Energy and International Programs.

Lalli holds a JD from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and bachelor’s degrees in environmental studies and South & Southeast Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Yiting Wang, Program Manager

Yiting Wang is a program manager for the China and Asia team at Sequoia Climate Foundation. She develops grant-making strategies to accelerate energy transition and climate action in China and the developing world, and she manages grantee portfolios.

Yiting previously worked for the Sunrise Project, where she developed and coordinated strategies to decarbonize China’s global power-sector investments. She also developed multi-stakeholder policy, financial, and market-based initiatives to green China’s overseas investment and trade across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) offices in Beijing and Washington, DC. She has published on clean energy access and the role of carbon finance based on her fieldwork in India and East Africa. Over the years, she has also partnered with a wide range of leading and grassroots environmental organizations around the world to explore local solutions for equitable and sustainable development, and to campaign for greater ambition at international climate and environmental governance negotiations.

Yiting earned a master’s degree in environmental science from the Yale School of the Environment and a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, summa cum laude. She is an enthusiastic cook who knows no boundaries.

Lizhen Zhang, Program Administrative Assistant

Lizhen Zhang is a program administrative assistant at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she helps drive efficiency of the China and Southeast Asia portfolios, strategies, events, projects and program coordination.

Before joining Sequoia, Lizhen worked for the Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era organization, where she coordinated projects and case studies from countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America. She also worked in the climate sustainability sector for several years, focusing on issues related to climate change, clean energy, sustainable forestry and ocean conservation. Additionally, she led impactful public activities in campaigns aimed at improving China’s air quality. Lizhen has experience as a journalist and has also founded a photo gallery.

In her free time, Lizhen is an enthusiastic practitioner of permaculture, gardening, and composting. Her passions include nature and art, and she loves hiking, camping, and visiting places with diverse cultures.

Rachel Zimmerman, Program Officer

Rachel Zimmerman is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports grantmaking to decarbonize the United States and the global economy.

Rachel previously served as the Public Policy Fellow at Vulcan LLC, where she crafted strategies for new philanthropic investments and partnerships across the climate change, ocean health, biodiversity, and tech for good portfolios. Rachel also worked on climate policy at New America in the Resource Security Program, where she examined the link between natural resources, climate change, and human security.

Rachel holds a M.A. in law and diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a B.A. in international relations from Pomona College.