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The Executive Director
When Todd Paglia joined ForestEthics in 1999, he saw that major corporations in the office supply industry and the catalog industry were purchasing and selling millions of tons of paper—with no accountability for the environmental devastation that was feeding their demand. Now, as executive director of ForestEthics, Mr. Paglia can be credited with transforming the paper policies of multi-billion-dollar Fortune 500 companies, including Staples, Office Depot, Williams-Sonoma, Dell, Victoria’s Secret, and many more.
In terms of forest protection, the results have been inspiring. Under Mr. Paglia’s leadership, ForestEthics has saved more than seven million acres of Endangered Forests. Recycled pulp mills are operating at record-high capacity—and independent analysis has attributed the change directly to demand from companies that ForestEthics has transformed.
Mr. Paglia has also presided over an unprecedented period of growth for ForestEthics, from 15 staff members and an annual budget of one million to a staff of over 30 and a budget of $2.6 million in just two years. The network of people engaged with ForestEthics’ campaigns continues to grow exponentially as more activists and corporations recognize the power of its unique philosophy: individual people can be mobilized to create positive environmental change — and so can corporations.
In the last year, Mr. Paglia’s work at ForestEthics has been recognized with his selection to the annual “Hot 20 Under 40” list published by 7x7 Magazine, San Francisco’s glamour and culture publication. Mr. Paglia was the only environmental leader selected, as the article noted, because “few activists have succeeded in the practical business of hitting earth abusers where it really hurts—their wallets." Mr. Paglia has challenged some of the largest companies in the world to protect forests on the Today Show, NPR’s Marketplace as well as being quoted in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Business Week, and many other publications.
Before joining ForestEthics in 1999, Mr. Paglia was an attorney for Ralph Nader focusing on consumer protection issues such as environmental purchasing by governmental agencies to spur alternative markets, enforcement of antitrust laws, corporate welfare issues and corporate accountability.
Mr. Paglia received his Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University, SUNY, his J.D. from the New England School of Law, and his LL.M. from George Washington University, National Law Center, in Environmental Law and Policy. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Shannon and two young sons, Nico and Luca.
Check out our Board of Directors >>
The Senior Management Team
Kristi Chester Vance
Kristi is a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program. Kristi has been working for social and environmental justice for 15 years through harnessing the power of art, design, media and advertising. She is a co-founder of Half-Full, (www.half-full.org), a design studio devoted to creating a louder, more powerful voice for environmental and social justice advocates, as well as MOMS, (www.safemilk.org,) a non-profit aimed at protecting children’s health of our babies by eliminating the growing threat of toxic chemicals and industrial pollutants. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in journalism and advertising at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kristi founded a bi-lingual newspaper, Sin Barreras, for Latino youth, and was a co-creator of a campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity. During a two-year post-graduate design and advertising program, she worked with Creating Pride, a nonprofit that creates stronger learning environments by helping teachers to make the arts a regular part of every child's learning. Kristi lives in San Francisco with her husband and two young daughters.
Chief Operating Officer
Matt joined the ForestEthics staff in June of 2008 with more than twelve years of development and nonprofit management experience. Most recently, Matt held the position of Managing Director for Frameline Inc., an LGBT film and media organization and producers of the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. Prior to that, Matt held leadership positions in development and membership for the Stern Grove Festival Association, Stanford University Alumni Association and the National Writers Union. As Chief Operating Officer, Matt oversees ForestEthics’ Development, Finance and Operations/Human Resources departments.
Conservation Director, ForestEthics Solutions
Pierre joined ForestEthics in June 2010 after more than a decade of experience working in the conservation field. From his younger days spent in remote locations throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario fighting forest fires to graduate studies examining salmon as indicators of ecosystem integrity, Pierre has deepened his connection with and understanding of the natural world.
Before joining ForestEthics, Pierre has served on or led numerous multidisciplinary conservation projects across the Pacific Northwest in both Canada and the US. These projects have had great results: ultimately, the protection of millions of acres of lands and waters in these jurisdictions. Pierre has also led or co-authored numerous conservation reports and has served on several scientific panels including the Coast Information Team, Biodiversity BC, conservation biology working groups and conservation joint ventures. Pierre previously held fellowships with the Sustainable Development Research Institute, University of British Columbia and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (where he still serves as a member of the Commission on Ecosystem Management and the World Commission on Protected Areas). Pierre lives in Victoria, British Columbia with his partner and kids. When he is not working at ForestEthics, he enjoys family trips, mountain biking and camping.
Director of US Campaigns
Building on 18 years of experience as a successful trial lawyer, Aaron launched his second career as an environmental campaign organizer in 1999. After completing the Green Corps Field Organizing Program in June 2000, Aaron joined ForestEthics and began working on the coalition campaign that led to protection for more than five million acres of temperate rainforest in coastal British Columbia. Aaron also founded, designed and led the ForestEthics Chile Native Forest Campaign that protected more than a million acres of forests in Chile. For his work in Chile, Aaron has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Chilean publications such as El Mercurio's Revista del Campo and Que Pasa and international publications such as Americas, the magazine for the Organization of American States (OAS). To deepen his capacity for understanding, presenting and responding to scientific and technical claims that are often at the heart of environmental campaigns, Aaron completed a masters of science degree in scientific and technical communication at Oregon State University in December 2003.
Online Communications Coordinator
Claire joined ForestEthics in 2011, bringing experience in website management and online communications from her Jill-of-all-trades role as US Campaigner and Advisory Board member with the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. Claire graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, with a B.A. in Cultural Studies and Foreign Languages. At age 16, on a backpacking trip through the Teton and Washakie Wilderness in Wyoying, she fell in love with the forest and the magic it holds.
Dan joined ForestEthics in May 2008 with over 5 years of operations experience. As the former Director of Operations for a Bay Area test-prep company, he managed two full-time employees, over 100 part-time employees, and managed the courses that brought in over $4,000,000 in revenue annually. He is a graduate of UC-San Diego with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and is currently pursuing his MBA at San Francisco State University to be completed in Sept. 2009. He enjoys playing backgammon, competing in triathlons and various outdoor activities.
Karen Tam Wu
Senior Conservation Campaigner, ForestEthics Advocacy
Karen brings several years of experience working in different areas of
Forest Stewardship Council certification to ForestEthics. She was
Operations Officer at FSC International in Oaxaca, Mexico for two years,
working largely in accreditation. As an independent consultant for five
years, she conducted both FSC-accreditation and certification audits
worldwide, worked in Fiji developing an environmental management system
for a Fijian forest company interested in certifying its operations, and
developed policies and procedures for a group certification initiative
on Vancouver Island. Through this work, she has seen sustainable
forestry being practiced around the world. Karen is a Registered
Professional Forester in British Columbia. When not working, she loves
to be outdoors, backcountry skiing, whitewater kayaking, or rock
climbing. She also likes to feed her creative side, through pottery or
BC Forest Campaigner
Marlene has been active in campaigns for the protection of Canada’s old growth forests since 1993, most notably in BC’s coastal temperate rainforests of Clayoquot Sound and the ancient pines of northern Ontario. Marlene has a MSc in environmental planning from UBC, with a focus on biodiversity conservation in a changing climate. Her previous education and experience includes a degree in nursing and 13 years as an RN, environmental health diploma from McMaster, and more recently, forests-climate contract work with Sierra Club of BC, an internship with the Forest & Lands campaign at DSF, and sub-contract work with BC Climate Change Branch. New to Forest Ethics, she plans to direct her passion for forested ecosystems and knowledge of climate change adaptation to ensure protection of old growth habitat of the inland temperate rainforest region for the endangered mountain caribou. Marlene plans to assist in the development of more effective endangered species and ecosystem legislation, and to work toward the development of climate-friendly forest policy and associated conservation of forested ecosystems. She enjoys hiking, camping, music, gardening, and spending time with her family and friends in Vancouver.
Senior Energy Campaigner, ForestEthics Advocacy
Nikki works out of Smithers, BC. Her current focus is in stopping the Enbridge tar sands pipelines, creating permanent solutions to Shell’s drilling of coal-bed methane in the Sacred Headwaters, and promoting green energy solutions provincially. For several years Nikki worked with One Sky on policy and practical programs in Canada, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Peru. She began to focus on energy issues after coordinating Canadian NGOs around the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. She has advocated for renewable solutions at the United Nations, Canadian, provincial and local levels, and has practical experience installing solar panels. Nikki sits on several Boards including the Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance, the Wetzinkwa Community Forest and the Smithers Sustainable Advisory Committee. Her passion is creating social and environmental change at multiple levels. She lives with her Argentine partner and daughter Lucia.
Paras has worked as an accountant for more than 20 years. Furthermore, he has worked with community forestry projects, natural forest conservation and social forestry issues at the grassroots level for more than 10 years in Nepal. He was working with API Wellness Center in San Francisco before joining ForestEthics and is happy to be back to work for a mission that he loves.
Senior Development Officer
Stephen joined the ForestEthics staff in January 2009 with more than 7 years of development and nonprofit management experience. Most recently as the Interim Development Director for Frameline Inc., he oversaw all foundation, corporate and individual giving programs. Stephen also has an extensive background in social justice work and a passion for the environment, saving our forests and fighting climate change. He holds a B.A in Latin American Studies and Literature from New College of Florida, the honors college of the Florida university system. As Senior Development Officer, Stephen plays a leadership role within the development department and manages institutional fundraising activities.
Director of BC Forest Campaigns, ForestEthics Solutions
Valerie Langer has been engaged in forest conservation campaigns for over eighteen years. She joined ForestEthics Great Bear Rainforest campaign in 2006. As the Forest Campaign director for the Friends of Clayoquot Sound (1988-2003) she pioneered the market campaign strategy of influencing logging companies by engaging their commercial customer base abroad. She was one of the founders of the coalition project that evolved into ForestEthics and was on the founding committee of Markets Initative. She initiated Second Harvest Paper Project in 2004 to accelerate commercialization of pulp and paper made with agricultural fibers.
As a freelance writer she has written feature articles and reports on the topics of forestry and First Nations for the national newspaper The Globe and Mail, for Paper Europe and for national environmental organizations. She has worked professionally and voluntarily teaching adult literacy. She holds a degree in Semiotics from the University of Toronto.