BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ron Townley has over 20 years of varied management experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. His career focuses on planning and implementing “triple bottom line” results with distinguished success, including: strategic, comprehensive and integrated planning and development; building collaborative partnerships and teams at local, regional, state, and federal levels; raising, leveraging and managing millions in funds; facilitating and enhancing communications among diverse stakeholders; implementing policy; and optimizing the talents of diverse staff. Currently Ron is the Director of Clean Energy Economy Initiatives for AdvantageWest Economic Development Group. Past responsibilities included Director of Planning and Development for Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments – providing planning and development services for local governments, companies and non-profits in the areas of clean energy, land use, working lands, transportation, Brownfields, infrastructure, water quality and quantity, air quality, housing, materials management and more.
Jodi Lasseter brings her expertise in facilitation, training and participatory methods to her ongoing work in global and environmental justice movements. Originally from the mountains of North Carolina, Jodi has pursued her passion for cross-cultural dialogue and positive social transformation through extensive community-based work in East Africa, South America, Western Europe, Mexico and throughout the U.S. Through her company, Turning Tides Consulting, she provides comprehensive program management, organizational development and innovative curricula to movement-building organizations. Jodi has worked with the first Southeast Social Forum, the first U.S. Social Forum, Amazon Alliance, Engage Network. She currently serves on the board of Clean Water for NC and consults with local food and climate justice groups. Jodi was awarded a full fellowship by Clark University to complete her master’s degree in International Development and Social Change. She earned her undergraduate degrees in Women’s Studies and Anthropology at UNC Chapel Hill.
Maureen Drinkard, PhD, is a professor at Brevard College. She teaches Environmental Science, Sustainability, Entomology, and Ecology. She works hard to help her students find a deeply meaningful environmental perspective. She helps to facilitate relationships between colleges and the Permaculture School. Maureen is a tinkerer with a variety of interests including beekeeping, gardening, sustainable living, natural building, making lots of stuff, and kid wrangling.
Janell Kapoor is the founding director, designer and chief visionary of the Ashevillage Institute and Kleiwerks International. She is an avid mud mama, international instructor, community organizer, earthen building designer, and program strategist. Janell’s work helped to generate natural building movements with people from 52 countries. She led the first earthen building trainings in Thailand, Argentina and Turkey. Many of her students have established natural building and permaculture education centers, businesses and collectives, programs and projects, as well as regional legislation reform and documentary films. Janell’s story has been featured in numerous articles, radio shows, and in the documentary, First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture. Janell enjoys home in the oldest mountains on the planet. She lives at the Ashevillage Sanctuary, a one-acre eco-urban demonstration site that hosts the Ashevillage Institute’s programs, tours and guests from around the country who come to learn about sustainable living.
Penny Livingston-Stark comes to the Women of the Americas Sustainability Initiative Advisory Council as an internationally recognized and prominent permaculture teacher, designer and speaker. With 25 years of land management, regenerative design, permaculture development, and ecological construction, Penny specializes in site planning and the design of resource-rich landscapes that integrate rainwater collection, edible and medicinal planting, spring development, pond and water systems, habitat development and watershed restoration. Penny is the co-founder and director of the Regenerative Design Institute in California. She is a founding member of the Natural Building Colloquium–a national consortium of professional natural builders, creating innovations in straw bale, cob, timberframe, light clay, natural non-toxic interior finishes and other methods using natural and bio-regionally appropriate materials for construction. Penny co-created the Ecological Design Program and its curriculum at the San Francisco Institute of Architecture. She co-founded the West Marin Grower’s Group, Farmer’s Market and the Community Land Trust Association of Marin.
PennElys Droz comes comes to the Advisory Council of the Women of the Americas Sustainability Initiative based on her years of experience developing and leading natural building trainings, operating a straw bale construction business, and doing cross-cultural and community-led sustainable development work. She is the mother of three sons and the director of a Native-led and staffed sustainable community development organization, the Sustainable Nations Development Project. She founded Sustainable Nations in 2004 and, since then, has hosted trainings for Native peoples in renewable energy, natural building, and natural wastewater treatment, leading energy installations, the construction of water systems, composting toilets, strawbale homes, as well as a strawbale/adobe traditional medicine clinic. Her vision is the re-development of thriving, ecologically, culturally and economically sustainable Native Nations.
David McConville joins the WASI Advisory Board after years of working to identify approaches that help to create a world that works for 100% of humanity. David is President of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of solutions which radically advance human well-being and the health of our planet’s ecosystems. The Institute’s programs facilitate convergences across design, art, science, and technology to identify and cultivate transformative strategies based on a crucial synthesis of whole systems thinking, Nature’s fundamental principles, and an ethically driven worldview. David is co-founder of The Elumenati, a design and engineering firm that creates custom installations for clients from art festivals to space agencies. He is also serving as Creative Director of the Worldviews Network, a NOAA-funded collaboration of scientists, artists, and educators at science centers across the United States re-imagining the big picture of humanity’s home in the cosmos.
Sarah Brooks joins the WASI Advisory Council with delight. She brings with her over a decade of working in grassroots activism and natural building and an additional five years in organizational planning for sustainability. Her commitment is to the transformation of our relationship with Nature and each other to one in which all flourish and human needs are met within ecological constraints. Her experience includes teaching Yoga, slinging and teaching others to sling mud and straw (working with Kleiwerks, Cobworks, Sustainable Works and The North American School of Natural Building, as crew member and instructor) and working with leading corporations (including Rohm and Haas, Pratt & Whitney Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and others) to redefine commerce and organizational sustainability. Sarah currently holds the position of Principal Advisor & Team Lead, Advisory Services with The Natural Step Canada and is responsible for leading their business engagements and team development and learning. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve the sustainability transition.
Terry Phelan joins as a WASI Advisor. Not being one to take the road most traveled, Terry took the apprenticeship path to architecture. She in turn practices the passing of knowledge through experience and relationship. She is the founder of Living Shelter Design Architects, where she has been involved with hundreds of sustainable projects and mentoring others who have gone on to start their own natural design and build companies. Terry’s outreach includes hands-on straw bale workshop trainings and traditional story telling. In 2008, Terry recognized an urgent need for exponential change in the building industry, and started hosting The Living Shelter Cafe, now The Eco-Logical Home, an interview style radio talk show on sustainable design, building, and living options. She served on the regional board of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild from 2004 to 2009, finishing her term as Co-Chair. Terry’s published works have appeared in Mother Earth News, Natural Home, Conscious Choice, The Last Straw Journal, Green by Design, and The New Straw Bale House.
Esther Campos joins the WASI Advisory Board due to her life long example of demonstrating truth and compassion in all aspects of her life – as a mother, an activist, a caretaker of children, and more. She is a Board member of Be Present and; the Program Director for the Community Alliance Initiative; and Co-Founder & Board Member at the Universidad de la Sierra Madre in Mexico.