Leadership Academy 13th Cohort Participants

Elizabeth Bayne

Elizabeth Bayne

Elizabeth Bayne is an award-winning producer, director and public health communications strategist. She majored in Ecology and Evolution in college, eventually earning her MPH in Environmental Health from Yale University and MFA in film from the Art Center College of Design. Before film school, Elizabeth worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an ASPH Environmental Health Fellow and assisted on national public service campaigns through the Office of Indoor Air. Elizabeth has produced over 250 online videos, five public service campaigns, and several short documentaries for or about various nonprofit and educational institutions. Elizabeth is committed to using film to promote health and social issues in underserved populations.


Monica Curiel

Monica Curiel

Monica Curiel is proudly from Pomona. She grew up biking, hiking and camping with her family before moving to the SF East Bay to complete her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies with a minor in Geography. Her career has been dedicated to the intersection of human and environmental health. Her passions include outdoor education, community gardens, toxics, sustainable agriculture, access to open space, and alternative and active transportation. Currently, she works for Nature For All coalition member-organization, BikeSGV. Along with being outdoors, she also works as a freelance Spanish interpreter and translator since completing a certificate in Legal Interpretation and Translation. She is often seen accompanied by her best friend, Joy, who hikes and bikes with her on four feet. She will also be training this spring to participate in a Climate Ride from Fortuna to San Francisco to raise awareness and funds that will combat climate change.


Reina Duran

Reina Duran

Reina Adelina Duran grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. During her years in Santa Barbara for her undergraduate studies, she became enamored with the wonderful terrain of the region. She spent most of her free time hiking the Santa Ynez Mountains and biking the glorious coastal pathways. With an immense passion for both the environment and organic food production, she volunteered at a permaculture farm within the region and became dedicated to creating a livelihood that honored the Earth and Her inhabitants, alike. In April of 2017, Reina attended an Organic Farming Apprenticeship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, through the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Foods Systems. She is truly grateful to have moved back to the San Gabriel Valley and is dedicated to advocating, collaborating, and honoring in the name of Nature for All to further enrich our diverse communities of peoples and places.


Tiffany Kinh Lam

Tiffany Kinh Lam

Tiffany Kinh Lam was born and raised in Los Angeles, specifically the inner city neighborhood of Boyle Heights. She currently works in the nonprofit field, and her sustained ambitions include engaging with her community through writing and organizing. She attributes growing up in a diverse metropolitan area as a first generation Chinese-American as the reason why she is passionate about fighting socioeconomic injustices especially food deserts and gentrification. She previously gained experience in organizing and campaign work through Food & Water Watch, Fund for the Public Interest, and community organizing in Boyle Heights against food deserts and displacement. Tiffany attended Wellesley College near Boston, Massachusetts where she majored in Political Science and Comparative Literature.


Jenny Lopez

Jenny Lopez

A native of Oaxaca, Mexico, Jenny attributes her relationship and commitment to Mother Nature to her youth in Riverside, California. Jenny was exposed to the outdoors through camping and athletic programs, such as the Inland Empire Leadership Program and the National Youth Sports Program. These outdoor experiences became the lifeline for meeting supportive mentors who inspired her to pursue higher education and ingrained in her a devotion to public service and civic engagement. Jenny has a B.A in Psychology & Social Behavior from UC Irvine, where she also minored in Urban & Regional Planning. Currently, Jenny lives in Los Angeles and supports pregnant women and young children as a clinical therapist for the Partnerships for Families program as part of the Child and Family Development Center at Providence St. John’s Health Center. She believes that by bridging mental health services and the outdoors, children and families can then experience holistic healing.


Omar Madrid

Omar Madrid

Omar Madrid grew up in Inglewood and was always aware that inner-city communities in Los Angeles lack access to open green spaces for leisure activities. As an adult, he now realizes how vital recreation was for his development. He developed his community organizing and civic engagement experiences while employed in mental health and conservation organizations. He believes environmental preservation is not only an environmental issue but a health issue as well. As a former social worker, he experienced firsthand how inner-city communities are plagued with mental health challenges. His passion for social and environmental justice drew him to work for an environmental conservation agency where he provided counseling for youth.


Berenice Martinez

Berenice Martinez

Berenice Martinez currently resides in Pomona, CA. She works for Day One, a public health nonprofit organization where she is the Health Policy Liaison. She has volunteered with local organizations including Project Sister, Bright Prospect, and Sacred Heart Church. She loves to write and is currently writing a book called The Four Destructions.


Remi Mateo

Remi Mateo

Remi, who was born and raised in the Echo Park/Rampart neighborhood of Los Angeles, knew he was serious about hiking and the outdoors when he started spending much of his paycheck at REI. He has explored Guatemala and visited the Mayan pyramids and plans on visiting ancient pyramids and monuments all over the world. In the past, Remi was a casual hiker who would visit local trails a handful of times per year. Things changed for him in 2015, however, when he joined the 52 Hike Challenge, a movement that pushed him to explore his vast city more broadly and consistently for 52 consecutive weeks. Remi graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Sociology. He is currently a graduate student at Presidio Graduate School and expects to receive a Master of Public Administration in Sustainable Management in 2018.


Rhonda Moller Mulherin

Rhonda Moller Mulherin

Rhonda Moller Mulherin grew up in Whittier, CA. She attended Boston University, including a semester in Italy studying language and art at the University of Padua. She earned a B.A. in political science. Rhonda worked for a major publishing house in New York City, then returned to Southern California and worked for a local independent press. She left publishing to pursue graduate work in Urban Analysis at Cal State University, Los Angeles, and she has worked for the State for nine years. Rhonda has been a volunteer docent with Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR) for one year. She represents FoLAR at environmental fairs and community events with the goal of bringing the people to the river, and the river to the people. She is looking forward to advocating for more public green space in Los Angeles County, especially in her home turf on the east side. Rhonda loves to spend her time traveling, reading, practicing Pilates, and attending live music events from Santa Barbara to San Diego. She is, above all, the proud mother of a 13-year old budding artist and environmentalist.


Audrey Murray

Audrey Murray

Audrey Murray has lived in the City of Chino Hills all her life. She is currently a junior at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona studying anthropology and believes her anthropology background will lend her a unique perspective to the work she will be doing with this leadership academy. She enjoys reading, camping with family, and visiting new places with friends. She identifies as Catholic and was very involved with volunteer work with her church. She is excited to meet new people and learn new information that can really help her make an impact on the local environment as a member of this academy.


Melanie Nhan

Melanie Nhan

Melanie Nhan grew up and currently resides in El Monte, CA. Her passion is in Debate, including teaching novices in the art of the trade. She is currently a senior at Arroyo High School where she is involved in student council, National Honor Society, and varying service clubs. She is a volunteer with Amigos de los Rios for their Emerald Necklace project.


Kimberly Orbe

Kimberly Orbe

Kimberly Orbe was born and raised as an only child in South Los Angeles. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Recreation Tourist Management. She works in the nonprofit sector and enjoys working to meet the needs of underserved communities. She is passionate about her work with K-8th grade students and takes pride in offering students tools and resources to help them become active leaders in their communities. Some of her hobbies include running, camping, backpacking, reading and eating!


Mary Pickert

Mary Pickert

Mary has a background of working in many facets on the entertainment business. Although her career has been focused in entertainment, her passion has been appreciating the great outdoor spaces we have in Southern California. Over the last 15 years, she has hiked with many sections of the Angeles Chapter Sierra Club and became a Sierra Club leader in 2016 and was involved in introducing LA area youth to the transformative power of nature. At Tree People, she educated youth, aided in reforestation efforts and removal of non-native species, and helped a competitive analysis of organizations in Southern California who are focusing efforts on water conversation. Mary also completed coursework in landscape architecture at UCLA. Mary is hoping to marry her passion of the outdoors with her understanding of storytelling and emotionally connecting people, helping to make a great impact in advocacy and conservation efforts in the Southern California area.