Who We Are

We are led by a global team of policymakers, scientists, program managers and others concerned about the fate of our planet.

Nicholas Bianco, Program Director

Nicholas Bianco is a program director with the Sequoia Climate Fund, 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.

Steven Borden-Weill, Director of IT
Steven is the IT director for Sequoia Climate Fund, overseeing all technology strategy and operations. Steven has built IT teams for large technology companies and, most recently, the quantitative investment firm D.E. Shaw. 
 
He is new to Southern California after relocating from New York City. He believes technology is at its best when it becomes an invisible extension of self-expression, rather than simply another tool to leverage. When he’s not busy bridging the gap between people and their tech, he runs an online record store and cooks increasingly elaborate meals for his friends.  
Jesse Bragg, Program Director

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

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.

Ann Canela, Chief Operating Officer

Ann Canela is the chief operating officer at Sequoia Climate Fund, where she is the senior executive responsible for operational efficiency, ensuring that all parts of the organization are well managed, staffed, and aligned.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Ann was chief operating officer and managing director at Mountain Philanthropies, which seeks progress on a host of equity, social justice, and sustainability issues. She has also served as vice president at Philanthropy University, leading the organization’s external relations, and as vice president and director of marketing and communications at Global Impact. For many years, Ann owned and operated a boutique public relations agency in Chicago focused on creating partnerships with major retail brands and major metropolitan communities.

She has a B.A. from Hunter College, a C.E. in nonprofit management from Boston University, and an MBA, Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship from The PowerMBA. Ann is currently on multiple boards that focus on international development, women’s rights, and civic participation.  

Allison Catalano, Evaluation and Learning Manager

Allison is the evaluation and learning manager at Sequoia, leading the implementation of credible, mixed-methods evaluations to support adaptive action. Drawing on systems thinking concepts, she develops evidence-informed theories of change and action by staff and grantees, and designs and facilitates organizational learning across program teams.

Allison was previously a logistics officer in the U.S. Navy, where she most recently served as the lead planner for the Defense Support of Civil Authorities, collaborating with civilian federal, state, and local agencies to coordinate Department of the Navy assets in times of natural or man-made disasters. She also served in the Department of State as the community liaison officer for the U.S. Ambassador in Ankara, Turkey, and was a management consultant for Bain & Company in London.

She joined Sequoia Climate Fund after completing a PhD in organizational learning in environmental conservation organizations in the Life Sciences Department at Imperial College London. She also holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a B.A. in environmental geology from Bryn Mawr College. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, running, traveling, and spending time with her patient spouse and energetic teenagers.

Janice Chasten, Executive Assistant

Janice Chasten is executive assistant at Sequoia Climate Fund, where she provides high-level, comprehensive administrative support to the chief operating officer (COO) and director of evidence and learning.

Janice comes to Sequoia with more than 20 years of experience as an executive assistant, including at the leading insurance company Chubb, the publishing company Dow Jones, and the travel company Synergi Global Travel management. Throughout her career, her key responsibilities have encompassed project management, team leadership, event planning, and customer service. Highlights include organizing a global conference involving teams from 48 countries held in Cape Town, South Africa, and being an active member of the National Association for Executive Women.  

Janice holds certifications in employee recruitment, business succession planning, and generation gaps, and is a New York State Notary Public. She earned a degree in business administration and management from Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, New York. She is a native of Brooklyn and enjoys reading, yoga, dancing, and travel with her daughter.

Carlo De La Cruz, Program Officer

Carlo De La Cruz is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Fund, 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 Master 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.

Gauri Gadgil, Program Associate

Gauri Gadgil is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Fund, where she supports grantmaking to decarbonize the global economy and build broad support for the climate movement.

Before joining Sequoia, Gauri served at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and at the World Bank, working 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, and she retains 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.

Louise Glew, Director of Evidence and Learning

Louise Glew is the director of evidence and learning at Sequoia Climate Fund, 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.

 

Jessica Halverson, Director of Grantmaking Operations

Jessica Halverson is the director of grantmaking operations at Sequoia Climate Fund, 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.

Shayna Heller, Office Administrator

Shayna Heller is the office administrator at Sequoia Climate Fund, where she coordinates office activities and operations for Sequoia, serving as the chief contact for any facility issues, overseeing general office-related vendor management and communications, and ensuring that all office-related policies are executed to their fullest. She previously served as executive assistant to Sequoia’s president.

Prior to joining Sequoia, Shayna was the senior executive assistant to the president and CEO at Mobilitie, and an executive assistant at Neuberger Berman/Lehman Brothers. She has over 13 years of experience as an executive assistant, office manager, and HR liaison.

Shayna holds a Human Resources Management Certificate from Cornell, and a B.A. in Japanese and literature with an International Business Certificate from the University of Iowa. She speaks German and Japanese, and loves travel, sports (especially the Hawkeyes!), and spending time with her husband and son.

Sze Ping Lo, Program Director

Sze Ping Lo is a program director at Sequoia Climate Fund, 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 Fund, 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 Fund, where she leads the fund’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.

Daniel Noll, Program Manager

Daniel Noll is a program manager at Sequoia Climate Fund, 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.

 

Seema Paul, Program Director

Seema Paul is a program director at Sequoia Climate Fund, 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.

Ranping Song, Program Manager

Ranping Song is a program manager at Sequoia Climate Fund, 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.

Christie Ulman, President

Christie Ulman is the president of Sequoia Climate Fund, where she oversees the fund’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 fund, 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.

 

Yiting Wang, Program Manager

Yiting Wang is a program manager for the China and Asia team at Sequoia Climate Fund. 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.