Leadership Team

Michael Green, MS, MPP
Michael Green is the Founder and CEO of CEH. He has pioneered the groundbreaking legal work that has won landmark victories to protect the public from hazardous consumer products and toxic emissions. Michael has worked in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management, and the U.S. EPA's Working Group on Environmental Equity. Michael designed a solid waste management plan for the Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsala, India, and cared for the sick at Mother Teresa's mission in Calcutta, India. He was awarded the California Wellness Foundation's annual Leadership Award, as well as the prestigious Compassion in Action Award which is presented jointly from the Dalai Lama Foundation and the Committee of 100 for Tibet each year. He has testified in front of Congress, serves on numerous boards of directors, and is frequently quoted in national and international media. His direct supervisors are Dylan Green (born in 2007) and Juliette Green (2008).
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Regina Jackson
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Before coming to CEH, Regina G. Jackson served as President and CEO of East Oakland Youth Development Center's (EOYDC), a national youth development model for over 25 years. Focused on character- based leadership, her platform of youth led initiatives have empowered thousands of young people to achieve lifelong academic and career success. A global thought leader for youth development, Ms. Jackson is often called upon as a subject matter expert to deliver workshops, presentations and papers, both domestically and internationally. At the behest of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Ms. Jackson recently led two delegations of student ambassadors to China in support of President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" and "100,000 Strong" Initiatives. In 2017, she was invited by NFL Super Bowl Champion, Marshawn Lynch to bring a smaller delegation of youth to a service mission to Haiti. In 2019, she led a Southwest Airline sponsored mission to Mexico City. Since the beginning of her tenure, EOYDC's staff, Board of Directors, community leaders and clergy have described Ms. Jackson's leadership as "a stabilizing force for EOYDC's curriculum and a positive anchor for the challenges of the twenty-first century". Her successful strategies have tremendously benefited urban, multicultural and even international youth. Ms. Jackson has been featured on ABC-TV World News Tonight, Good Morning America, Essence and Parenting Magazines.
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Lakeesha Gage
Director of Finance and Operations
Lakeesha has over 10 years of experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, including work at Sustainable Conservation, Back On Track, 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, Trust for Conservation Innovation, and Senior Helpers of the East Bay. A San Francisco native, she is exhilarated to be part of an organization that advocates for healthy communities.
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Emily DiFrisco
Senior Director of Communications
Emily DiFrisco is the Senior Director of Communications for CEH. She has sixteen years of experience in communications for nonprofit organizations, including the global alliance Plastic Pollution Coalition and Environmental Working Group (EWG). A passionate advocate for the health of people and the planet, she has led communications campaigns for state and federal legislation and has placed experts in The New York Times, FOX News, Al Jazeera, and NBC Nightly News, among others. She lives in Chicago, IL with her spouse and three children ages 10, 8, and 6.
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Jimena Díaz Leiva, PhD
Science Director
Dr. Jimena Díaz Leiva is an interdisciplinary environmental scientist whose professional interests lie at the nexus of environmental and social justice. Jimena has more than seven years of professional experience in the field of environmental science and most recently spent five years researching mercury pollution associated with small-scale gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon as part of her dissertation research at UC Berkeley. As a native of Peru, Jimena is deeply committed to advancing equity and social justice for marginalized communities both at home and abroad. In her off time, Jimena makes pottery and stays active by playing tennis, biking, and hiking.
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Tya Ward, MSW
Senior Director of Development
Tya Ward brings over 20 years’ non-profit experience—including 15+ years of resource development—to the role of Senior Director of Development for the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). Prior to joining CEH, Tya served as YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s Chief Philanthropy Officer, where she led a team to advance fundraising and communications. Tya promotes client-centered and anti-racist fundraising practices and is strongly committed to social and environmental justice, especially at the intersections of gender, race, and poverty. Tya earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Washington. Born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, she now resides in Petaluma, California, with her spouse and two dogs. She finds joy in traveling, food, and spending time in nature (camping, hiking, and all things water-related).
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Built Environment Program

Jose Aguayo
Senior Manager, Built Environment Program
Jose Aguayo is the Built Environment Senior Manager at the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) where he engages large institutions in purchasing healthier products for use in the built environment through research, advocacy, and education. He holds a bachelor degree in biology and a masters degree in global health, both from George Mason University. Jose has previously worked at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) where he provided technical assistance to environmental justice grassroots groups, as a contractor for the USEPA, providing research and data analysis work to the Safety and Sustainability Division, and as a research analyst at the Environmental Working Group researching toxic ingredients in food and personal care products. In his free time, Jose enjoys playing the beautiful game (soccer), supporting his favorite soccer team Manchester United, and playing the electric bass.
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Judy Levin, MSW
Senior Advisor, Built Environment Program
Judy Levin, MSW, has spent 14 years advancing CEH’s Procurement and Built Environment programs, collecting more than half a billion dollars of purchasing power for a healthier future. During her tenure she has educated thousands of purchasers big and small, from multinational corporations to private businesses, schools, and healthcare providers. Working in partnership with coalitions, she helped pass two bills to require labeling of flame retardants in children’s products and created countless tools for purchasers to shift the marketplace toward healthier products. Previous to CEH, she worked for 24 years as a social worker building her organizing and advocacy skills. She lives in the Bay Area, where she often can be found hiking with her family.
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Food Program

Sue Chiang, MPP, MPH
Director of the Food Program
Sue directs CEH’s Food Program, where she works with institutional purchasers from a wide range of sectors to harness their collective buying power to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals and expand the market for environmentally preferable products. Her current focus is on hormone disrupting chemicals in consumer products – particularly in food and food packaging. She has nearly 30 years of experience in the environmental health field through a variety of organizations including as a consultant to the San Francisco Foundation where she provided capacity building opportunities for their Environmental Health and Justice Initiative’s grantees; as Community Health Advocate at Greenaction, where she served as liaison to the national Health Care without Harm Campaign and played a leading role in linking community organizing efforts in Northern California against dangerous medical waste incineration practices to upstream pollution prevention strategies with hospitals; and as a Research Associate at the Environmental Defense Fund in their toxics program.
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Bela Garcia
Food Program Manager
Bela works with the Food Program team to support large institutions purchase healthier products in order to improve the quality of food and reduce toxic exposure. Bela comes to CEH with non-profit experience in the built environment assisting manufacturers in removing harmful chemicals from their products for use in indoor spaces. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Washington and is passionate about working towards solutions for environmental issues. In her free time, she can be found enjoying the outdoors, painting, or reading.
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​​Ben Schleifer
Food Program Coordinator
Ben comes to CEH with over six years of experience working as a science educator in public schools and four years of experience working on environmental transformation of schools’ cafeterias. He applies his neuroscience degrees to both understand how to motivate behavior change and also how toxic chemicals can hinder normal childhood development.
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Illegal Toxic Threats Program

Kaya Allan Sugerman
Director of Illegal Toxic Threats
Kaya works in partnership with CEH’s Illegal Toxic Threats research staff, Science Director, and outside legal counsel to require companies to remove toxic chemicals from consumer products, reduce toxic air emissions from California neighborhoods, and follow state and federal environmental toxics regulations. Kaya’s professional and academic background is in human rights advocacy and environmental and food justice, and she’s worked within sustainability and biodiversity law research centers at University of California Berkeley and University of Malaya, and environmental advocacy nonprofits in the U.S. and internationally.
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Emily Reder
Senior Manager
Emily manages the consumer product testing efforts for CEH’s litigation to rid the marketplace of toxic chemicals. She has a Bachelor of Science in Society & Environment from UC Berkeley with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Management. She is passionate about corporate accountability, safeguarding public health, and connecting with others. In her free time, you can find her flipping through a cookbook, listening to music, and planning her next road trip.
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Karina Gomez
Senior Manager of Community Engagement
Karina aspires to live in a world where all people can thrive and live their best lives. With a chemistry and public health background, she brings expertise working with an array of partners, including communities, non-profit and community-based organizations, coalitions, and elected officials. At CEH, she serves as the Community Engagement Manager for the Illegal Toxic Threats Program to work for and alongside community partners to remove or reduce exposure to toxic chemicals. In her free time, you can find her attempting to re-create some of her mom’s traditional Mexican dishes, relaxing at the beach, reading a book, or taking on a new hiking challenge.
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Caitlin Moher
Research Manager
Caitlin graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Economics and Policy. As a Research Assistant for CEH, she has contributed to holding companies accountable for practicing healthier, more sustainable, and more ethical practices. In her free time she enjoys hiking around the Bay Area and cooking new recipes.
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Martin Bañuelos
Research Coordinator
Martin graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies. While at Berkeley, he researched the impacts of the industrial food system on immigrant farmers and low-income communities of color in California. He is passionate about science and environmental justice and is excited to be able to use his two passions to better protect communities like his own from toxic chemicals.
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Rosie Kuo
Research Assistant
Rosie (she/her) received her Bachelor of Science in Society & Environment with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice from the University of California, Berkeley. She co-led the student group Herbicide Free Berkeley, holding community weeding days and focusing on groundskeeper support and student engagement, and has experience organizing with Pesticide Action Network on their No #ToxicAlliance campaign. Rosie is passionate about intersectional environmental justice, supporting BIPOC-owned bookstores, and enjoys dancing, writing poetry, and meeting neighborhood cats. She is excited to be joining the Illegal & Toxics Threats Team, where she hopes to continue to learn and do work that steps into solidarity with struggles against the colonial contexts and corporate interests that have shaped conventional agriculture and the labor practices, production and distribution of consumer goods.
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Julianna Ramirez, MA
Science Coordinator
Julianna Ramirez has a B.S. in cellular, molecular, and biomedical biology from Boise State University and a M.A. in marine science with an emphasis on aquatic health from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. Julianna has worked on several research projects, where her most recent work focused on the drivers of environmental injustice in the Elizabeth River watershed region of Virginia. Julianna’s personal and professional interests lie at the intersection of environmental health and environmental justice, though she is also passionate about youth development and student advocacy. In her free time, she enjoys reading philosophical fiction, dancing, and spending time outdoors.
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Community Partnership Program

Kathryn Alcantar, MPA/MPH
Director of Community Partnerships
Kathryn leads CEH’s policy team, providing strategic direction and building partnerships with cross-sector allies to advance policy work at the state and federal level. She also serves on the Executive Committee, Network Council, and as co-lead of the Policy and Legal Hub of the Cancer Free Economy Network. Previously, Kathryn served as CEH’s California Policy Director as well as Director of Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE) Coalition where she helped to build strong alliances with environmental justice, environmental health, labor, and worker advocates, health professionals, and sustainable business allies to advance right to know policies on flame retardants in furniture, chemicals in cleaning, salon and beauty products, as well as helped to defend Proposition 65. Kathryn has spent her 20+ year career in the field of environmental health and justice while working at multiple organizations including the California Department of Public Health, Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Latino Issues Forum, Greenlining Institute and the U.S. EPA, Region 9.
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Laura Szabados
Director of Institutional Giving
Laura directs CEH's institutional giving program and brings nearly a decade of fundraising experience to the team. Laura earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Away from the office, she can be found tending her backyard garden and enjoying the beautiful Bay Area.
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Zach Fernandez, MPH
Senior Manager, Donor & Corporate Relations
Zach manages CEH’s individual donor program and brings over a decade of experience working with nonprofits in the Bay Area, California, and Bolivia. A passionate advocate for public health, he has participated in a number of coalitions and campaigns in California relating to tobacco control, food justice, and other issues. When he’s not at work, he enjoys preparing delicious, plant-based food.
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Gabriel Cardenas
Institutional Giving Coordinator
Gabriel recently graduated with a degree in political science with a focus on economics from Ball State University. Gabriel was a grant writing intern at the YWCA of Central Indiana. He also served as an outreach coordinator where he led a team coordinating new voter registrations in the local Spanish-speaking community. He was recently elected the Chair of Elections for the Indiana Latino Democratic Caucus where he is tasked with tracking and monitoring all Latino candidates in the state of Indiana. On his free time, Gabriel enjoys backpacking in the Smokey Mountains and playing many sports. He also has a passion for the conservation of alpine ecosystems. This passion has lead him to join the environmental movement, and plans to contribute to the movement through his work at CEH.
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Julia Hendrickson
Donor Relations Coordinator
Julia previously worked in event planning for a nonprofit organization and is eager to continue diving deeper into the nonprofit world. She received her bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University where she studied psychology, women’s studies, and sociology. Her family is originally from New York, but she was raised in the Bay Area and currently resides in Alameda, California. In her free time Julia enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, yoga, and painting.
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Matt Nevins
Digital Communications Lead
Matt has worked with the Center for Environmental Health since 2010. He has managed numerous projects that resulted in hundreds of companies selling consumer products – from handbags to jewelry, and from shampoos to snack foods, all of which used to contain illegal toxic chemicals – to reformulate their products across the marketplace to remove carcinogens such as lead and cadmium. Matt manages CEH’s social media platforms and digital engagement strategies, and produces and edits many of the videos you can see on CEH’s YouTube Channel. Matt is a graduate of the Film Studies program at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!), and enjoys keeping in touch with the campus community by bringing student assistants from the university’s work-study program to CEH.
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Sophie Carnevale
Digital Coordinator
Sophie helps to manage the website, make graphics, and write content for social media and the CEH website. She received her undergraduate degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Journalism and Public Relations. After graduating she worked in the nonprofit sector as an AmeriCorps fellow and is thrilled to be back at an organization that shares her passion for social and environmental justice. In her free time, you’re sure to find Sophie on a bike ride with friends, reading in a local park, or video chatting with her niece and nephew.
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Kolby Cherry
Executive Assistant to the CEO
Kolby received her undergraduate degree from Pace University in Economics with a minor in Criminal Justice. Upon her graduation, she decided to stay in New York where she traveled. Some of her favorite places she visited were Amsterdam and Paris. She decided to move back to the Bay Area where she pursued a graduate program for premed at CSUEB. During the pandemic she realized she was no longer passionate about the medical field but wanted to be a part of an organization where environmental health was at the forefront. In Kolby’s free time, she is an avid swimmer and loves listening to old school music like Hall & Oates, Anita Baker, and Sade.
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Tony Martin
Staff Accountant
Anthony (Tony) has over 30 years of experience working in the fields of Accounting, Certified Payroll Reporting & Compliance, Employee Benefits Administration, and 401(k)/Pension Administration. As a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, he has worked at several large Bay Area companies and City/County/State Agencies. Over the last 10 years, Tony has worked for Non-Profit organizations such as Charter Schools, Community Broadcast Radio Stations, and Community Outreach/Service Groups. His Accounting background includes Billing/Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Month End Reconciliations, and Monthly/Quarterly Reporting. Tony has been committed to Social Justice and Community Organizing for most of his adult life and has participated in various projects over the years. When he is not eagerly pouring over accounting reports, Tony enjoys Photography, Poetry, Music and Documentaries.
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