CELF’s Board of Directors’ expertise spans environmental and social sciences, education, marketing, finance, law and publishing. We strive to work together as systems thinkers to bring to education the kind of professional development and support necessary for creating critical thinkers and leaders for a sustainable future.
Tara Stafford Ocansey, Executive Director
Tara joined CELF in January 2022 after a decade with the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where she facilitated teams across the globe to identify, advocate for, and implement strategic approaches for creating a more sustainable future through increased access to lifelong learning opportunities for all. Tara has led global education programs across the lifelong learning spectrum, collaborating with diverse stakeholders from government, non-profit, corporate, academic, and grassroots sectors.
Maureen Brady Atinsky, President
Founder and Former Director, Prodigy Recruiting, a legal search firm in NYC. Maureen is currently on the PA Board at The Hewitt School and is a sustaining member of The Junior League of the City of New York. Past positions include President and Board Member of the PS 6 PTA; Junior League Management Council and Board of Directors, Member of NY Foundling Public Relations Committee; Former Director of Recruiting- Hudson Highland Group and Trial Coordinator with Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom. Maureen resides in Manhattan with her husband and three daughters.
Evan Matzen, Vice President
Evan Matzen is the Director of Sustainable Finance at PNC, where he is responsible for working externally and internally to support the transition to an inclusive, low-carbon economy. Prior to this role he led the creation of retail and commercial financial products and services at BBVA that supported their €100 billion Climate Action and Inclusive Growth ambitions, and led the Corporate Citizenship division at BBVA USA that included the bank’s community giving, employee giving and employee volunteerism programs, the BBVA Foundation and Charity and the Community Advisory Board, as well as BBVA’s social impact programs including the Center for Financial Education, Momentum, and Diversity & Inclusion programs.
Jessica Mendelowitz, Secretary
Managing Director, Purpose at Ketchum, with focus on development of data-driven communications plans to create measurable results in the areas of sustainability, CSR and social impact. Former: Communications Director, Environmental Defense Fund.
Bill Davis, Treasurer
Founder and Managing Director, Stance Capital. Former: Co-Founder and Managing Director, Empirical Asset Management, Portfolio Manager on EAM Sustainable Equity; Founder and CEO of Ze-gen, CEO or founder of numerous companies including: Database Marketing Corporation, Holland Mark, and Cambridge Brand Analytics. Board Member, HoneyDrop Beverages and Mafic, S.A.. Founding Member, President’s Council of Ceres and Advisory Board Chair of Seven Hills Global Outreach. Mr. Davis has taught Environmental Entrepreneurship at Columbia University Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, and guest lectured at Harvard College, Harvard Business School, MIT, MIT/Sloan, and Boston University.
Samarth is a data and strategy professional with experience in media, tech and politics. Until recently, he helped manage the digital transition of the New York Times newsroom. Mr. Bhaskar was born in New Delhi, India and raised in Normal, IL.
Maureen Burgess is the Assistant Head of School for Learning and Innovation at The Hewitt School, a K-12 independent girls’ school in New York City. In her current role, Maureen is charged with leading a K-12 team of educators in designing a program that embodies Hewitt’s new mission: “The Hewitt School inspires girls and young women to be game changers and ethical leaders who forge an equitable, sustainable, and joyous future.” Hewitt’s partnership with CELF significantly informed the strategic visioning process that led the school to include sustainability in its new mission. Prior to her current role, Maureen has served in independent schools as a K-12 English department chair, an upper school division head, a middle school division head, and K-12 dean of teaching and learning. Maureen earned her Ph.D. in English at Ohio State University and is a faculty associate at Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking. She works closely with the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, studying in both the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Boundless Leadership programs.
Nick Gutfreund, Chair Emeritus
Principal, Long Run Media, LLC; A media producer with wide ranging experience in video, film, music and new media. A business and creative leader in the evolution of audio and video digital media, he focuses on clearly conveying corporate and non-profit objectives. Independently, he is working to support the completion of Separating the Strains a documentary about two sisters with epilepsy and the truths of cannabis prohibition and a full-length documentary film titled Local Action, which tracks groundbreaking grassroots efforts being undertaken in Westchester County, New York to ensure a sustainable future.
Managing Director, Korea Center for International Finance, NY; Member, International Finance/Foreign Exchange Committee of International Finance Council of Korea; Previously Chief Investment Research Consultant for Bosera Asset Management in equity research; J.P. Morgan Investment Management.
Alex T. Krueger
President and Chief Executive Officer, First Reserve. Member of the Private Equity Funds’ Investment Committee, which is responsible for the supervision of First Reserve’s investment program and strategy. Member of the Board of Overseers for the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania; Advisory Board Member, BlackRock Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Funds; Advisory Board Member, Blue Bear Capital. Former: Energy Group of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.
Founder and President, Acorn International, LLC, a global social and environmental consultancy. Former board member of ROCO, an Emmy-nominated chamber orchestra. Distinguished Lecturer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers and guest lecturer at University of Houston on vulnerable community engagement, human rights, and societal/non-technical risk. Former Director at Arthur D Little in Houston, Texas and Cambridge, MA.
Michelle Boquiren Urben
Co-founder and CEO of Lexington Global Distribution Partners with expertise in raising assets for companies throughout the world. Past positions include CEO at Amundi Distributors in NY, Sales Director at Investec (now Ninety One) in New York and London, VP at Merrill Lynch Global Private Client in New York, and Relationship Manager at PCI Bank (now BDO) in Manila. She is a graduate of De La Salle University in the Philippines, graduated with distinction from the Asian Institute of Management in Manila, and an alumnus of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina. Michelle founded W17 (Women in Support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals) and signed the CEO statement of support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Director in KPMG’s Consulting practice specializing in data solutions and services for financial services companies. His industry experience focuses in supporting data executives and engineering leaders with designing and implementing data management programs to deliver business value to internal and external customers. Additionally, he leads KPMG’s data solutions supporting the governance of data for ESG reporting and commitment disclosures.
Professional Advisory Board
As industry experts, CELF’s Advisory Board informs our approach to our multi- and interdisciplinary programs by providing the most current thinking and resources from across the often interrelated fields of public policy, business and finance, education, engineering, law, marketing, real estate, science, technology and urban planning.
Phil Abelson*, JD
White & Case, LLP
Former CELF COO
Dr. Cynthia Coburn
Daniel Cott, Managing Director
Wells Fargo Capital Finance
Karina Funk, CFA
Jon Jacobs, JD*
Jacobs Law Firm PLLC
Riva Krut, PhD
Vice President and Chief Sustainable Development Officer, Linde, PLC
Melanie Lester*, LCSW
Clare McMillan, MEd
Independent Curriculum Consultant
Beth Sauerhaft, PhD*
VP for Programs at American Farmland Trust
*Board Member Emeritus