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.
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.
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.
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.
Janice Chasten, Executive Assistant
Janice Chasten is the executive assistant to the president at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she provides high-level, comprehensive administrative support.
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 traveling with her daughter.
Gilbert Ching, Director of Finance and Administration
Gilbert Ching is the director of finance and administration at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where he oversees the organization’s finances and administrative activities. He brings more than 20 years of experience in both private and public accounting to this role. Before joining Sequoia, Gilbert was the CFO of a nonprofit social-impact asset manager. He also previously provided financial and business advisory services to a wide range of clients worldwide.
Gilbert received his undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of California, Riverside and is currently an inactive Certified Public Accountant in California. He is tri-lingual and bi-cultural, having spent time in Asia. When he’s not busy working with numbers, Gilbert enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids.
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.
Ipek Ergin, Research Officer
Ipek Ergin is a research officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, where she supports the Evidence and Learning team.
Before joining Sequoia, Ipek worked for the UN Migration Agency as a data analyst in their regional office for the Middle East and North Africa in Cairo, Egypt. She supported their Research Unit as well as their Emergency Response Operations. Prior to that, she worked as a statistician/economist at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s HQ in their Division of Statistics, analyzing agricultural and climate data as well as developing methodologies to monitor Sustainable Development Goals.
Ipek earned her master’s degree in international development from the London School of Economics, and a second master’s in economics from Georgetown University. Her undergraduate degree is in economics, from the University of Nottingham. She is a national of Turkey, and in her free time she enjoys drawing, painting, yoga and running. She ran her first and last half-marathon this October, not without injuring her knees!
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.
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.
Danielle Kehoe, Program Admimistrative 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.
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.
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.
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
Sean de Montfort is the program manager for climate finance at Sequoia Climate Foundation.
He joins Sequoia from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority where he was a Technical Specialist in their Environmental, Social and Governance Division. Most recently he has been leading work to create a framework for the development and disclosure of net-zero transition plans by corporates and financial firms in the UK. Prior to that, Sean worked as a Senior Policy Advisor to Mark Carney at the COP26 Private Finance Hub in the UK Treasury and at the World Bank Group in Washington DC.
Outside of work, Sean loves cooking, yoga, board games and watching non-league soccer.
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.
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.
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 Strategic Communications 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.”
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.
Xinyi Zeng, Program Officer
Xinyi Zeng is a program officer at Sequoia Climate Foundation, supporting grantmaking efforts to drive climate action.
Before joining Sequoia, Xinyi worked as a science communications and outreach specialist at NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory, where she managed the science communications program for the lab and produced communications materials for new science initiatives, research publications, and field campaigns. Over the years she has also worked with a grassroots non-profit in China, MyH2O Water Information Network, to provide clean water solutions for communities in rural China.
Xinyi has a master’s degree in geology and an MBA from Boston College, and she graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, summa cum laude. She enjoys musicals, reading, cooking, and traveling in her free time.
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.