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For Immediate Release: April 4, 2024

Contact: Daniel Herrera,

Green Leadership Trust Announces 2024 Cecil Corbin-Mark Vanguard Fellows

Washington, DC — The Green Leadership Trust (GLT), a cross-sector network of Black, Indigenous and people of color who serve as board members for environmental organizations and foundations, proudly announces its 2024 Cecil Corbin-Mark Vanguard Fellows. 

Established in 2021 in honor of the late GLT member and environmental justice giant Cecil Corbin-Mark, the Cecil Corbin-Mark Vanguard Fellowship is a peer-to-peer learning program that is an immersive introduction to the challenges and opportunities of board service. Topics that will be covered during the fellowship include: myths and realities of board service, centering equity on boards, addressing conflict, maintaining work life balance, assessing board culture, and understanding fiduciary responsibilities.

“We are thrilled to announce our third annual cohort of CCM Vanguard Fellows,” stated GLT Executive Director Emira Woods. “This year’s class upholds the tradition of brilliance, tenacity, and boldness of the powerhouse community of CCM Vanguard Fellows.  We are excited to see all the knowledge sharing in action throughout the six months of Fellowship sessions this year. We are grateful to be able to build on the successes of previous cohorts as we continue honoring the memory of our dear Cecil Corbin-Mark and his legacy of environmental justice.”

Fellows will be paired with veteran board members, many of whom are trailblazers within the environmental justice space, to enhance their experience by leveraging their expertise. Upon graduation of the fellowship, fellows will join a cadre of Vanguard alumni, be able to apply a new set of critical governance skills to the boards they sit on and strengthen GLT’s collective work to strengthen the power of the environmental movement nationally. 

This year’s ten CCM Vanguard Fellows include:

Irene Burga is the Climate and Clean Air Program Director for GreenLatinos where she works to amplify Latinx priorities around reducing air and climate pollution at the national level. She has held roles at NRDC and EDF, where she worked on coalition building around advocacy to reduce impacts from oil and gas production, and most recently served as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Air Quality Advisor, where she wrote and implemented LA’s Climate Action Plan (LA’s Green New Deal), focusing on clean ports, air quality monitoring, just transition, and oil drilling abandonment programs. Irene serves on the board of Partnership Project. 

Jeffrey Caesar is a DMV native with West Indian roots, of Guyana and St. Vincent & the Grenadines; home to some of the world’s most threatened and delicate ocean and rainforest ecosystems. A recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Gilman Award, Mr. Caesar has worked extensively internationally and domestically on every level from grassroots organizing and media work in Washington, D.C., Kathmandu, Cairo, and South Africa. He has also worked in public policy both at the United States Senate and United Nations. Jeffrey serves on the board of Creshendo. 

Kimberly Gerbert is a climate and clean energy advocate  based in Washington, DC. She currently works at the Partnership Project as a Campaign Manager with Methane Partners Campaign, mobilizing diverse stakeholders to secure strong, federal methane regulations throughout the U.S., and serves as the Co-Chair of the Fundraising Committee on the Eco.Logic Board of Directors. Kimberly is a Florida-native, previously working in Tallahassee as Deputy Director of Chapter Development with ReThink Energy Florida where she managed state-wide coalitions like Florida Climate Voices and Floridians Against Fracking. 

Jairo A. Gomez is currently a Senior Program and Evaluation Coordinator for the Bolder Advocacy program at Alliance for Justice. Jairo graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Social Sciences with an Emphasis in Psychology. Before joining the Bolder Advocacy team, he worked in the food insecurity space as a Program and Development Coordinator with St. Francis Center. Jairo has lived in Los Angeles his whole life. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, biking, and learning to salsa dance. He serves on the board of Youth on Root. 

Jothsna Harris is the founder of Change Narrative, which exists to build capacity in the climate justice movement through the power of our stories. Through a coaching practice, Jothsna works with front-line activists, legislators, artists, organizations, and community groups to craft climate narratives to advocate for solutions. Jothsna led the creative process and co-edited the 2020 book, Eyewitness: Minnesota Voices on Climate Change, is the Producer of the 2022 MN Fringe Festival ‘Venue Pick’ show Changing the Narrative: Climate Stories for Justice, and the recipient of the 2023 Creative Climate Communications Award from the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership. She serves on the board of The Great Northern.

Arielle V. King is an educator and strategist at the nexus of environmental justice, climate optimism, and media. She is committed to making environmentalism inclusive and irresistible for all through her background in civil rights law, environmental racism analysis, and community engagement. She is on the Board of Directors for Our Climate and Positive Tracks, the Advisory Board for the Chesapeake Legal Alliance, and is a proud member of  EcoTok Collective and the Green Leadership Trust.

Dennis Mabasa is the Parks Conservancy’s Vice President for Community and Youth Programs. In this role, they lead efforts to identify and break down barriers to park access by those historically excluded or marginalized; engage individuals, youth, families, and community organizations in unique place-based educational, recreational, and service-based experiences; and lift their voices in the planning and design of park spaces and programming. Dennis serves on the boards of the Friends of LA River State Park and Los Angeles River State Park Partners.

Eboni Preston is a management professional with a background in non-profit administration, program operations, partnerships, advocacy, and workforce development. She has spent the last decade working with public land management agencies on youth programs, DEI programming and facilitation, community engagement, recruitment, inclusive hiring practices, and volunteer engagement. She currently serves as the Southeast Regional Director and National Park Service Diversity Lead for the National Parks Conservation Association, a nonprofit committed to protecting and preserving our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for present and future generations. Eboni serves on the board of the Georgia Conservation Voters Education Fund. 

Dr. Frances Roberts-Gregory is a feminist political ecologist and environmental anthropologist, researching the role of U.S. Afro-diasporic communities and women of color in UNFCCC climate negotiations and feminist climate policy. She currently serves as a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the Salata Institute for Climate & Sustainability. Frances also serves on the boards of the Hive Fund for Climate & Gender Justice, HBCU Green Fund, and Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal. 

Melanie Santiago-Mosier is an attorney whose work focuses on the field of energy equity and justice, building on a career that has centered on clean energy policy and regulation. She serves on a number of volunteer boards and advisory committees, including the board of directors for the Institute for Conservation Leadership and as secretary of the board of directors of the Climate Access Fund. In her day job, she serves as the Global Equitable Energy Transition Advisor for The Nature Conservancy, where she is working hard to help embed principles of equity and justice in the organization’s work. 

Mentors for this year’s cohort include: Allison Chin (Board President, Sierra Club), Pallavi Phartiyal (Board Chair, American Rivers and Oil Change International), Ayako Nagano (Clean Water Action), Brian Gomez, (previously at SustainUs), Charles Orgbon III (Captain Planet Foundation), Paco Ollervides (Ohio Environmental Council), and Taylor Jang (Bay Area Ridge Trail Council).


About the Green Leadership Trust

Launched in 2013, the Green Leadership Trust works to build an environmental and conservation movement that wins. We are unique in a number of ways because we are the first cross-organizational effort focused on building power and diversity in any advocacy sector. We are guided first and foremost by our responsibility as fiduciaries of the organizations we represent. For more information, visit