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EarthLab Advisory Council

The Advisory Council is a body of volunteers from diverse professions and backgrounds that provides unique perspectives to help inform EarthLab programming. The Council works to connect decision makers outside of academia to UW resources. Advisory Council members advise the Executive Director in efforts to build and shape the new organization, introduce EarthLab to potential partners and collaborators, and raise awareness and financial support for EarthLab.

EarthLab Advisory Council

Troy Alstead

Troy founded Ocean5, an innovative social gathering destination, developed with the core purpose of creating unforgettable shared experiences for their guests and team, and driving awareness and inspiring action to improve the health of our oceans and seas in March 2016. Prior, Troy spent 24 years with Starbucks Corporation. He served in the following roles at Starbucks: Chief Operating Officer, Group President of Global Business Services, Chief Administrative Officer Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Senior Vice President of Global Finance, Senior Vice President of Finance and Global Business Operations and Senior Vice President of International Finance and Business Development. He was one of the original members of the Starbucks International team and was responsible for financial leadership as well as strategic planning and business development for the fast-growing international business. He served in a number of other senior positions with Starbucks prior to 2004. Before Starbucks, Troy served domestic and international finance, accounting and auditing positions with NCR Corporation and Egghead Software. He has been a Director of Topgolf International, Inc. since March 29, 2017. He has been an Independent Director of Harley-Davidson, Inc. since February 23, 2017. He has been a Director of Levi Strauss & Co. since April 18, 2012.

Troy graduated from the University of Washington in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, concentrating in Finance.

Eric Artz

Eric Artz is the CEO for REI. When he’s not at the co-op he can most often be found with his family pounding the trails of the Cascade Mountain range. Eric joined REI in 2012 as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to REI, he worked as CFO at Urban Outfitters, and at VF Corporation in a variety of finance and operational roles. He holds a BS in Accounting from Albright College (1989). He is currently serving as Vice Chairman of the Board for the Outdoor Industry Association, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.


Chip Giller

Chip Giller is an American journalist and environmentalist. He is best known as the founder of Grist, an online environmental news organization which he founded in 1999. Grist, from their website, uses “unexpected and irreverent approaches in its reporting to raise awareness of environmental issues and to infuse humor into a movement known for taking itself too seriously.” It was among the first publications to draw connections between the environment and such areas as food, economics, and health. Its work has included political coverage, including exclusive interviews with all of the candidates in the 2008 presidential election; a seven-week series on poverty and the environment; and influential climate and energy reporting. Giller has won numerous awards for his media innovations and environmental work, including receiving a prestigious Heinz Award and being named a “Hero of the Environment” by TIME Magazine. Giller was a reporter with High Country News and an editor at Greenwire before founding Grist. He is a native of Massachusetts and obtained his honors degree in environmental studies from Brown University.

In 2017, Grist hired a new CEO, Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, with Chip staying on in a role where he will focus on new initiatives and launch a new platform to elevate and connect rising green innovators and influencers — the activists, artists, technologists, policymakers, and storytellers charting a way forward.

Chloe Harford

Chloe Harford is a senior strategy, product and business executive with almost 20 years of experience scaling high-growth companies across the globe. She has led companies through all stages of growth from pre-launch startup through IPO to over $2B revenue.

Most recently Chloe served as Vice President of Product at OfferUp, the largest mobile marketplace for local buyers and sellers in the US, responsible for product, artificial intelligence and revenue. Chloe previously served in multiple senior executive roles at Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z, ZG), a portfolio of the world’s largest real estate brands. Chloe joined Zillow as founding team member and became one of

the company’s first executives. She was responsible for building and leading core teams including product management and business analytics, defining and managing key business areas including mortgage and rentals, and leading growth and acquisition strategy.

Earlier in her career, Chloe worked in strategic roles at eLong in China, and the Boston Consulting Group and Expedia in Europe. Chloe’s tech career is underpinned by a solid foundation of science and technology developed as a PhD volcanologist and founding member of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, where she developed new technologies to monitor an active volcano and manage the risk to the nearby population.

Chloe holds an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, a PhD in Volcanology from Bristol University, and an MBA from INSEAD. Chloe serves on the board of JetClosing, and has served on the board of REI and The Mountaineers.

Gretchen Hund

Gretchen most recently served as the director for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Center for Global Security (PNNL). Her work with PNNL focused on identifying emerging issues that may have national security implications. Gretchen has convened experts to identify and investigate emerging threats that are not in the mainstream of current debate but believed to have grave consequence. Her role is to help translate technical detail into digestible information that decision makers can use in setting policy. Examples include understanding the threats and challenges found in the intersection of climate change and national security and how integrated climate models can be better tailored to help inform decisions on infrastructure resilience.

Gretchen was with Battelle (which operates PNNL) and PNNL since 1990. Previously, from 1985-1990, she was a senior analyst at the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, specializing in environmental issues including radioactive waste management and wastes in the marine environment. Gretchen has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology from Middlebury College and a Master of Science degree in Political Science with a concentration in science, technology, and public policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Gretchen is the immediate past chair of IslandWood’s board. Additionally, she served for six years as adjunct professor at UW, teaching a capstone course for students in the Environmental Management Certificate program. She helped the UW win a Luce Foundation grant which transformed her class into year-long projects. She is an emeritus board member of the Pacific Science Center.

Ken Jennings
K2J Environmental LLC

Dr. Ken Jennings is an adjunct professor of Environmental Management at the University of Maryland University Center with over 30 years of experience in government (the U.S. EPA Headquarters); industry (Amoco, Shell and Microsoft Corporations) and consulting. Ken is managing director of K2J Environmental LLC, which is a consulting firm he founded in 2010, specializing in environmental management, sustainability and energy, with a focus on the US, Africa and the Caribbean. His areas of expertise include compliance, sustainability, energy and climate change. He has consulted many governments on environmental matters including Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Guyana and Haiti. He wrote a policy brief for the Global Environment Facility (UNEP) on Sustainable Urbanization and accompanied the GEF CEO and delegation to the EcoCity World Summit in Nantes 2013.

Prior to his current roles, Ken worked at Microsoft (2005-10) as an Environmental Compliance Manager and Engineer.  Dr. Jennings earned a B.S. in geology and geophysics from Yale University, a Master’s in Geology from the University of California Santa Barbara, and a Doctorate in environmental science and engineering from UCLA.

Savitha Reddy Pathi
Climate Solutions

Savitha is responsible for organizational effectiveness and also oversees the organization’s development, cultivation and fundraising efforts, managing the team that raises funds from individuals, foundations and corporate supporters. Savitha helped form Climate Solutions Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Group and is a graduate of the Center for Diversity & the Environment’s Environment 2042 Leadership Program. She continues her activism through her volunteer service on the Board of Trustees for the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, on the inaugural Advisory Council of the University of Washington’s EarthLab and on the Steering Committee for the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict. Her Board service ended in 2017 for Mize Family Foundation, whose grantmaking focuses on climate justice. In 2018 she served on the fundraising team for the Yes on 1631 campaign, helping raise over $15M to take on Big Oil.

Prior to joining Climate Solutions, Savitha worked at Seattle Foundation where she served as philanthropic advisor to over 100 donor advised funds and the Environmental grant making lead; the Collins Group (now Campbell & Company) providing fundraising counsel for feasibility studies and capital campaigns; and at the Women’s Funding Alliance in a fundraising and grantmaking role. In Washington DC, Savitha worked for the US EPA and Environmental Media Services (now Resource Media).

Savitha received a BA with Honors in Government and Environmental Studies from Bowdoin College. During her tenure at Climate Solutions, Savitha has been recognized with the 40 Under 40 award from the Puget Sound Business Journal and the Eco Women Making a Difference award from Women of Color Empowered & The Northwest Asian Weekly, and was awarded a Brainerd Foundation Fellowship to Social Venture Partners. She has lived in Seattle since 2000, and is a proud auntie.

Phil Rigdon
Superintendent of Natural Resources, Yakama Nation

Phil Rigdon is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation and grew up on the Yakama Reservation in southcentral Washington state. Phil has been the Superintendent of Yakama Nation’s Natural Resources Department since May 2005 and has worked for the Tribe since June 1989. He represents the Yakama Nation on the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan Executive Committee, Yakima River Basin Watershed Enhancement Project Workgroup & Conservation Advisory Group, the Washington State’s Columbia River Policy Advisory Group, Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, and the Hanford Natural Resource Trustee Council. Phil also served as President of the Intertribal Timber Council for five years. Phil obtained a BS in Forest Management from the University of Washington and a Masters of Forestry from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.


Christopher Stolte
Tableau Software

Christopher Stolte is a co-founder and board member of Tableau, a Seattle-based analytics and visualization company, and he served as its original Chief Development Officer from inception until August 2016. It was his work as a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford University Computer Science department that formed the basis of the patented technology behind Tableau. His research at Stanford and subsequent work at Tableau have been focused on developing easy to use tools that empower everyone to analyze and understand data. Prior to founding Tableau, he was the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of BeeLine Systems, a digital mapping startup. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University and a B.S. from Simon Fraser University. Chris and his wife Heidi have founded the Stolte Family Foundation. The foundation gives grants to a variety of non-profits working on environmental and educational issues in the Pacific Northwest.

Jamie Stroble
The Nature Conservancy

Jamie is a newly created changemaker role within the Washington State Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, charged with developing a new climate program and shift the way work is done to center racial equity, climate action, and community resilience. Previously, she worked the King County’s Climate Action Team as the lead on climate change-related community engagement and partnership efforts, climate justice and community resiliency, and the integration of equity and social justice into our regional climate action work.  Her role built alliances with public, private, and civic sector partners to develop community-driven climate solutions, and shape decision-making in ways that advance equity. Prior to her transition into local government, Jamie worked for a non-profit in the Chinatown/International District, engaging and empowering Asian Pacific Islander (API) youth and elders around environmental justice and community development issues.  She has also worked in leadership and curriculum development with youth & young professionals, student support services at the University of Washington, with northwest treaty tribes around air quality impacts on environmental health, and traditional foods access.

She has been active in environmental justice and equitable development, and brings a strong knowledge of environmental health, air quality, sustainability issues and social justice, and background in culturally-relevant community outreach and engagement, particularly with youth and limited English speaking populations.  She serves on the boards of the non-profits Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation (ACLF) and APICAT for Healthy Communities, on the Climate Justice Committee of Got Green, as a former Community Partner Steering Committee member of the City of Seattle’s Environment & Equity Initiative, and as co-chair of the Housing & Neighborhoods committee of the Seattle Planning Commission.

Originally from Hawai’i, Jamie is a 2010 University of Washington (and College of the Environment) graduate. At UW, she obtained double degrees in Environmental Studies and International Studies (with a focus on community development), and minored in Geography, Diversity Studies, and Environmental Science & Resource Management.

Diani Taylor
Taylor Shellfish Farms

Diani Taylor is a 5th generation shellfish farmer from Washington State and works as General Counsel at Taylor Shellfish Farms, her family business. Diani grew up on the Puget Sound and spent her formative years, fishing, farming, and exploring the Northwest. She is passionate about water quality, sustainable food production, and conservation issues and is committed to working on the challenges facing our environment. In 2016, Diani worked for the White House Council on Environmental Quality as the National Ocean Council Law Clerk. After receiving her law degree, she worked for Plauche & Carr, an environmental and law use firm, before returning to work for her family. Diani received her BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and her law degree from Seattle University.

Sally Jewell
Chair, EarthLab Advisory Council

As a business executive and public servant serving as U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Obama, Sally Jewell focused her career on supporting a robust economy coupled with long-term sustainability of our natural world and its diverse people.

During her tenure as Interior Secretary, Jewell was recognized for taking the long-view, using a science-based, landscape-level, collaborative approach to natural resources management.  She and her capable team were deeply engaged in rebuilding a trusting, nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous communities in the U.S.  They championed the importance of science and sharing data to better understand our Earth’s systems; supported development of commercial-scale renewable energy on public lands and waters; encouraged investments for more sustainable use of water in the West; and worked with Congress, President Obama and his team on long-term conservation of our nation’s most vulnerable and irreplaceable natural, cultural and historic treasures.

Throughout her career, Jewell has been committed to connecting people to nature, particularly youth.  At Interior, she and her team championed efforts to create a continuum of engagement that encouraged tens of millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work on public lands.

Prior to serving on President Obama’s cabinet, Jewell was President and CEO of REI, a $2.6 billion retailer dedicated to facilitating outdoor adventures.  She previously served 19 years in commercial banking across a wide-range of industries, and began her career as an engineer in the energy sector.   Throughout her adult life, she has been active in governance and board leadership for corporations and non-profit organizations, including serving as a Regent of the University of Washington where she was a Distinguished Fellow in the College of the Environment.

Ben Packard
EarthLab at the University of Washington

Ben serves as the Harriet Bullitt Endowed Executive Director of EarthLab.  As the inaugural Executive Director, Ben is responsible for working strategically within and beyond the University to promote new learning and action to address environmental challenges by building relationships between the University and public, private and nonprofit sectors. These relationships will enable EarthLab to bring the exceptional research and science at the University to bear on a range of environmental matters.

Before coming to EarthLab, Ben served as the Global Managing Director of Corporate Engagement at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) from 2014 to 2017.  In this senior management role, Ben was accountable for TNC’s overall corporate engagement strategy in service of the mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.  Ben led a team that managed strategic relationships with leading companies to incorporate the value of nature into the core of business plans and decision-making. While at TNC, Ben was also Chair of TNC’s Business Council and on the Board of Directors for The Sustainability Consortium.

From 1998 to 2013 Ben worked at Starbucks Coffee Company, serving as Vice President of Global Responsibility from 2008 to 2013.  He was part of the original team at Starbucks that established the world-class sustainability strategy for the company. As VP, Ben helped develop and then oversaw Starbucks business approach to ethical sourcing and environmental stewardship.  Ben represented the company in global forums on sustainability and managed key NGO, academic and industry relationships in support of Starbucks responsible business programs.  In this role, he was also accountable for the development and content in the company’s annual Global Responsibility Report.

Ben graduated from Kenyon College with a BA in History (1989) and holds a Masters of Business Administration and Certificate in Environmental Management from the University of Washington Foster School of Business (1998).

Ben currently serves on the IslandWood Board of Directors, the Sustainability Advisory Board for Procter & Gamble, on the Board of Directors of Cascadia Consulting and as an Advisor to the Net Impact Chapter at the University of Washington.

Maya Tolstoy
Maggie Walker Dean of the University of Washington College of the Environment

Maya Tolstoy is a marine geophysicist specializing in seafloor earthquakes and volcanoes and the Maggie Walker Dean of the University of Washington College of the Environment. Over her more than 30-year career as a researcher, professor and administrator, Tolstoy has dedicated herself to furthering our understanding of the fundamental processes of our planet and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in academia. Before joining the UW, Tolstoy was a professor at Columbia University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and previously served as the interim executive vice president and dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia.

Tolstoy has led 18 research expeditions at sea as chief or co-chief scientist and has 66 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including 10 in the journals Science or Nature. She also has led or co-led over $22 million worth of federally funded research. The recipient of the Wings Worldquest Sea Award honoring women in exploration, Tolstoy also was a finalist for NASA’s 2009 Astronaut selection. She recently completed a six-year term on the National Academy Committee on Solid Earth Geophysics and was honored by the American Geophysical Union as the Birch Lecturer in 2016.

Born in New York and raised in Scotland, Tolstoy earned her bachelor’s degree in geophysics from the University of Edinburgh and her doctorate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. Tolstoy’s interest in marine seismology was ignited during an undergraduate internship, which included the opportunity to sail on a research vessel, an experience that propelled her career as a scientist, teacher and academic leader.