The Power Behind SCEN
Executive Director (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Alexander is the Executive Director of the Southeast Climate & Energy Network (SCEN), where he leads and manages a network of 78 organizations across 11 Southeastern states. Alexander was most recently Associate Campus Director of Ana G. Mendez University System - South Florida Campus, where he helped manage the entire Campus operation, including academic and student affairs, and community outreach. Previously, he was Foundations Director at the Democracia USA project of the National Council of La Raza, where he was charged with managing its institutional donor portfolio, while also supporting major individual donor fundraising. Alexander has worked in Hispanics in Philanthropy, where he was responsible for leading program design, fundraising, and project management for capacity building, educational, and economic development projects in varied regions in the U.S. and in Latin America. Alexander also worked as a consultant in the Argentine Consulate General in Miami supporting international trade negotiations. In his varied roles and as a consultant, Alexander has managed and built multiple stakeholder networks, also raising millions for multiple initiatives and causes through donor cultivation and grant-writing activities. He is a college professor and seasoned presenter at conferences and training workshops on topics such as leadership, fundraising, organizational development, and network management.
Programs Director (Washington, NC)
Raised on the Pamlico River in Washington, N.C., Amy has spent her career in public service for environmental protection. She earned a B.S. in biology and M.A. in environmental science education at East Carolina University and spent three summers researching sharks in the Bahamas in association with researchers from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. She served as an outreach specialist for the Center of Applied Aquatic Ecology before joining the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2004. Over the next decade, Amy rose in the ranks to become the regional office supervisor for DEQ’s Washington region. in 2013, Amy joined Appalachian Voices, a non-profit based in Boone, NC that promotes diverse local economies and thriving communities and defends the land, air, and water of our region from the worst environmental threats. She is a project partner on The Lilies Project, a project to use art and creative placemaking to increase awareness of the impacts of coal ash and to aid in uplifting the communities who bear the toxic burden of our electricity's hidden cost. Amy joys spending time outdoors with her two children, hiking, boating, camping and playing music together. Amy served as the co-chair for the Environmental Justice Working Group from 2016 to 2017.
Membership & Operations Manager (Coral Springs, FL.)
Sara is an international business professional with experience in business strategy, logistics, and marketing. Sara worked with BMA, a German company specializing in engineering for the sugar industry. Her roles included: market intelligence and account management for 10+ Latin American countries. She worked with the German American Business Chamber of Miami on Marketing activities and the development of strategies to increase the organization’s public awareness. By the end of 2018, Sara decided to focus her career on developing environmental solutions to incentivize a more responsible use of resources. In April 2019, Sara, alongside her husband Juan, created Ciclica LLC, an ongoing project that seeks to decrease the amount of plastic packaging in the CPG industry. Recently, Sara joined SCEN to collaborate in membership, operations, and fundraising, among other fields. Outside of her professional life, she is an animal lover and has recently rescued a beautiful puppy named Milano, an Australian Shepherd mix.
Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Manager (Greenville, SC)
Rev. Dallas Conyers works as a Body Restoration Specialist: teaching yoga, foods for healing, and spiritual reestablishment to help people become ABLE to live out their creation purpose.She is a certified Sustainable Agriculturalist, Beekeeper, and Greenhouse Husbandman. She uses her micro-farm to practice and educate others on: eco-system restoration, soil regeneration, no-till square foot farming, and pollinator cultivation; for our world and for our survival. Dallas delightedly sits under the leadership of Rev. Dr. M. Keith McDaniel as an associate at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.
Programs & Communications Coordinator (Greenville, SC)
Sophia is a sustainability scientist whose passion lies in communications and marketing.
She graduated from Furman University with a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability Science and a passion for grassroots movements. Over the summer of 2018, Sophia conducted research for her senior thesis in Costa Rica, which focused on the challenges of scaling up grassroots conservation programs and mapping partnerships in the area.
Since graduating in 2019, she interned for Miliken & Company, a diversified industrial manufacturer. Her roles included: data visualization, an overhaul of the recycling program at headquarters, and the creation of sustainability PowerPoints. Most recently, she worked with a non-profit located in Greenville, SC on marketing and research projects. Recently, Sophia joined SCEN as a fellow to assist with communications and the new asset mapping project.
Programs and Policy Coordinator (Birmingham, AL)
Abigail Franks graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a B.A in Political Science and Peace, Justice, and Ecology and was a 2019 Rhodes Finalist for the University of Oxford. She is especially passionate about transforming the South into a sustainable and resilient region through advocating for and, eventually, crafting climate mitigation and adaptation policies. Abigail’s interests include nonviolent social movements, environmental policy, community-based leadership, clean energy, and grassroots climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. Previously, she has worked for the nonprofits People’s Justice Council and Black Warrior Riverkeeper, and in college she founded and led the organization WEARE (We Envision Alabamian Renewable Energy). In her free time, Abigail enjoys listening to podcasts, exercising (whether it be dancing, yoga, or running), and cuddling with her dog: Ginny.
JEDI Engagement Intern (Miami, FL)
Jesus Pimentel is an early-career professional located in the Miami metropolitan area. Current, as well as prior experience, includes hosting workshops, assisting in the development of partnerships, agricultural applications, and executing sustainable activities under non-profit environmental organizations. Jesus also participates in freelance work for the city of South Miami as a Liaison for Green Task Force meetings.
Environmental Policy Intern (Flagler Beach, FL)
Isabella Herrera (she/her) achieved her Bachelor's degree from Florida International University (F.I.U.) in Sustainability and the Environment with a focus in marine biology and biodiversity conservation and management. Isabella was born and raised in the state of Florida and has seen firsthand the negative impacts that climate change has on the sunshine state. Having worked as an ocean rescue lifeguard for over six years, she saw how rising sea levels and hurricanes of increasing severity were directly impacting the community and the coastal marine ecosystems in her hometown of Flagler Beach. Although she was originally drawn towards work in marine science, in addition to ecosystem-based solutions to climate change, Isabella found a passion in environmental justice and policy, as well as community led solutions to effectively combating this global crisis. Isabella enjoys spending time with her family and her dogs, visiting the Florida springs, and creating art. She has recently joined SCEN as an Environmental Policy Intern.
Alexander is a cybersecurity consultant with more than 19 years of experience in the IT industry, managing the entire life cycle of projects and leading teams. During his career, Alexander worked in different industries and government customers, developing and implementing many IT and security solutions.
He considers himself a self-taught entrepreneur whose passion is solving problems.
Our working group co-chairs and collaborators
Co-chair FRESH Working Group
Dr. Jairo Garcia is an expert in sustainable urban development, carbon mitigation, and climate resiliency. Dr. Garcia's main area of research is focused on elements of spatial data analysis for ecological assessments and to identify climate vulnerabilities and risk analysis.
As the former Director of Climate Policies and Renewables with the City of Atlanta, Dr. Garcia developed the first Climate Action Plan and led a coalition of stakeholders to craft the application for Rockefeller’s 100 Resilient Cities program, which the City of Atlanta was awarded in 2016. Dr. Garcia holds an engineering degree, an MSc in Management of Information Technologies from Syracuse University, an MSc in Sustainability Management from Columbia University, and a Doctoral degree in Educational Technology and Sustainability from Pepperdine University. He has held research and academic positions with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, UCLA, and presently teaches classes at Georgia Tech in Sustainable Urban Development, the Sustainable Cities Studio, and Introduction to Land Use Planning.
Co-chair Faith Working Group
Nakisa has built a local to national track record as a community organizer, with years of experience in corporate, community and service-based roles. These roles include Sol Nation Founder, where she advocates for real SOLutions on behalf of the communities she serves; Girls Who Code as a former Regional Partnership Coordinator, where she closes gender and diversity gaps in technology; and as Think 100% Organizer for Hip Hop Caucus where she highlights solutions to climate change and environmental injustices, to help make Think 100% The Coolest place in the climate movement.
Co-chair Environmental Justice Working Group
Michael is a graduate of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (Bachelors Degree), The Ohio State University (MPA-Urban Policy and Land Use Management) and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina. A trained apiarist certified in Sustainable Agriculture and Permaculture, Michael serves on the Boards of Directors for the South Carolina Food Policy Council and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, respectively. As a recognized environmental justice advocate, Michael champions sustainable approaches in community resiliency through energy policy reforms, community development implementation of efficient energy alternatives in low income communities, affordable housing innovation and transformative healthy lifestyle practices. As a former elected county official (4 terms), Michael is a voting member of the DNC Council on the Environment and Climate Crisis. Michael’s passion about helping to “heal the land” propelled him to start in 2019 a regenerative urban farm, Roots of Life.
Co-chair FRESH Working Group
Throughout his life, Ayo has lived and worked in impacted frontline communities in North Carolina and Ohio, using his skills in nonprofit management, organizational management and development, and community organizing to support and empower people. affected through the arts, climate / environmental justice, and group health / fitness. In 2013, he traveled to Liberia, where he analyzed and provided recommendations for a project to digitize national land records managed by the World Bank-funded Liberia Center for National Territorial Documents and Records. He holds a BA in Communication, Electronic Media / Broadcasting from Appalachian State University and an MA in Public Administration, cum laude from NC Central University. He is a member of the Haw River Assembly and NC WARN Board of Directors, has taught Zumba classes in North Carolina and Texas along with climate justice work with his brother Omari as Twin ZIN. He likes to offer cultural work through Just Jammers, NCCJC's own drum group.
Co-chair Faith Working Group
Mel Caraway is a retired United Methodist pastor living in McKinney, Texas. He is the Past President of the Board of Directors of Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power and Light. He is certified as an Emergency Responder by the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and has responded to multiple disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement, the Coordinator of the North Texas Conference Green Team, and is commissioned by the General Board of Global Ministries as an EarthKeeper. He is frequently called on to testify before legislative hearings and the EPA on matters related to Creation Justice and the intersection of the climate crisis and faith.
Co-chair Environmental Justice Working Group
Bevelyn Afor Ukah works as a consultant to train youth and adults in building skills that encourage equity, organizational efficiency, cultural connection, and collaboration. Bevelyn received her Bachelors in International Studies, Sociology and Anthropology from Guilford College where she was a Bonner Scholar and Multicultural Leadership Scholar. She completed her Masters in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management (with a concentration on facilitation and social justice). Bevelyn is the founding consultant of AFI Oak Consulting, co-founding consultant of the Auralite Collective and the co-founder of Mekafi, a social enterprise that supports Black farmers through moringa oleifera.
She coordinates the Food Youth Initiative Program (FYI), a program of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), which engages youth that lead food justice work across North Carolina. She serves on the Transplanting Traditions Community Farm Board, the National Rooted in Community Board and the NC Climate Justice Collective.