Kizzy Charles-Guzman
Chief Executive Officer
Kizzy Charles-Guzman is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Environmental Health. Her team protects people from toxic chemicals by working with communities, consumers, workers, government, and the private sector to demand and support business practices that are safe for public health and the environment. Kizzy has dedicated over 18 years of her career to deliver policy work at the intersection of environmental sustainability, public health, and racial equity on behalf of New Yorkers. She led the development of the country’s first strategy to address the public health impacts of rising temperatures and heat waves. She also spearheaded several initiatives aimed at ensuring that NYC residents are ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the effects of climate change, making the city more resilient. Kizzy has advised three New York City Mayors in her career; successfully securing over $4 billion dollars in investments to uplift historically underserved and marginalized neighborhoods. She received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Quality Award and a Champion of Change Award from the U.S. White House under President Obama, in recognition of her policy achievements, her contributions to society, her focus on justice, and her dedication to her community. She is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Tom Fox
Senior Legislative Counsel
Tom is CEH’s Senior Legislative Counsel located in Washington, DC, where he works at the intersection of science, law, policy, and justice to defend and strengthen our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, including laws governing toxic chemicals, hazardous waste, and the cleanup of contaminated sites. Tom has decades of experience as an environmental attorney and advocate protecting human health and the environment. He began his career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the General Counsel, where he advised USDA agencies on environmental compliance and worked to clean up contaminated sites, including abandoned hardrock mines on National Forest System lands. From 2008 to 2017, Tom served California Senator Barbara Boxer as Senior Democratic Counsel on the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, where he worked to pass environmental laws and prevent rollbacks of important health protections. Tom received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Utah and his law degree from The American University, Washington College of Law. Tom lives in the DC suburbs and in his free time enjoys outdoor recreation, including hiking, skiing, fishing, and softball.
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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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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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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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Rosie Kuo
Research Assistant
Rosie (she/they) 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Nikki Santiago
HR & Operations Manager
Nikki is an HR professional with experience in the non-profit sector. She champions diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and the uinque role HR has to steward an inclusive culture. Nikki was born and raised in the Bay Area and enjoys everything it has to offer. Having received her Bachelor's in Plant Sciences from UC Santa Cruz, she is passionate about environmental justice.
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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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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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Mihir Vohra, PhD
Science Lead
Dr. Mihir Vohra is a scientist and community organizer dedicated to creating a world where all people can lead safe, healthy lives. He wants to advance environmental justice by redressing past harm to marginalized communities and creating structures that prevent harm to these communities in the future. He was previously a Science and Technical Associate at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) where he helped grassroots community organizations use health and scientific information in their advocacy campaigns to end their exposures to toxic chemicals. Mihir received his PhD from UC San Francisco and lives in Oakland with his husband and dog.
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Tya Ward
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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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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