USGCC Global Program Team
As CEO, Michelle Thatcher utilizes her 20+ years of non-profit conservation leadership experience in building a comprehensive national advocacy, networking, and education platform for businesses around the nation. She served as National Director for three years before being selected to lead the organization in 2013. Prior to her role as National Director, Michelle served as Executive Director of the Association of Florida Conservation Districts, a non-profit organization for the state’s 63 Soil and Water Districts, from 2006-2010. Earlier, she served as Executive Director of Seminole Soil and Water District. In addition to several current board positions, Michelle also serves on the advisory board of the International Green Energy Council, Recycle Across America/Recycle Across the World, World CSR Congress, and Ideas for Us, a United Nations accredited Non-Profit Organization. Michelle is an internationally recognized expert on sustainable businesses and is a guest lecturer at conferences around the globe.
Kimberly White currently serves as the Global Program Director for the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce. She joined USGCC as a Research and Sustainability Associate. She was promoted to Project Manager and Coordinator and then to Director of the Global Green Consumers program. Kimberly has researched and written articles about consumerism, business sustainability, environmental awareness, and alternative energy; created presentations and webinars dealing with waste management and water conservation; created modules on energy efficiency and resource management for the USGCC SBA certification program; spearheaded a global summit featuring sustainability experts from around the world; and currently leads global program development and outreach. In addition to her role at USGCC, Kimberly is also the Editor-in-Chief for the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. She received her Climate Reality Leadership training alongside former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Kimberly was named Co-Chair of The Climate Reality Central Florida Chapter in 2017. She is an ambassador for The 5 Gyres Institute. Kimberly currently serves as a researcher at Lean & Green Supply Chain Management Lab at Karatay Üniversitesi in Konya, Turkey. Her research interests are business sustainability, climate change, global studies, and wildlife; she uses her interests to promote sustainability on a global scale.
Ome Laila Balkhi
Junior Project Development Manager
As a Junior Project Development Manager, Laila created and customized presentation material for USGCC Global Certifications on Climate Change and Solar Energy, and developed complementary usage guidelines for the research team to utilize. She is also currently spearheading research on Afghanistan’s capacity for sustainability in the long run, and through ongoing networking efforts, adds to the extensive USGCC global network by engaging with non-profit organizations and sustainable businesses. In addition, Laila is a Fox Alum Fellow through Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, providing a range of research, networking, teaching and technical support to Senior Fellow, Mary Summer’s academically based community service course, Politics of Food and Environment. In the past, she has worked on a number of research projects including her work with Dr. Blanca Himes researching correlations between asthma and climate variables. With her science-focused academic background, Laila is passionate towards exploring the nexus between science, economics and politics in implementing the triangular sustainability framework to organizations and businesses. She hopes to dedicate her career to sustainable international development and human rights advocacy with the ultimate goal of taking a leadership role in addressing global environmental and health issues.
Savannah Duffy currently serves as an International Legal Research Analyst where she researches and connects with sustainability organizations and their leaders around the world, furthering the USGCC’s Global Sustainability Series. She employs her research, writing, and communication skills acquired from previous leadership positions to create a database of sustainability organizations in countries like Ecuador and Peru. Savannah corresponds with world business and NGO leaders to foster USGCC’s international network. She also creates country-specific security and information toolkits for our international volunteers. Savannah is the executive of an online Cultural Diversity blog where she oversees information and photographs gathered from across the world. She has the position of directing the company to portray various cultural environments, simply with photographs and design. She uses her organizational skills to help the USGCC create toolkits on International NGO policies and regulations. Using comprehensive assessment abilities she has researched laws and foreign policy to create a draft for a USGCC code of conduct. Savannah is passionate about sustainability policy and procedures and will begin her career goals as an Environmental Law professional next fall as she enters Law School.
Colin Craddock currently serves as the European Sustainability Associate where he employs his previous research, communication, and writing skills to identify potential organizations, leaders, and businesses within Europe that could fulfill partnerships with USGCC. His experience living and studying abroad have also added value in his work. Colin has held various leadership positions including serving as a MSU campus tour guide and working for The Michigan Department of Natural Resources. During his time with the DNR, he was committed to protecting the environment for current and future generations. Colin is passionate about cultures, international relations, and topics that impact our world; climate change, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. During his time at USGCC, Colin plans to utilize his previous experiences to learn more about corporate sustainability and help him achieve his career goal of working on an international scale.
Daniel Kim currently serves as Asian Communications Strategist. He researches sustainable practices in different Asian countries, including Japan and South Korea, assists in setting up a global social media campaign, identifies top sustainable businesses, and writes articles on the international sustainable business climate. He has worked on many different projects for marketing research at his university and workplace. During his time with 24 Guesthouse Corporation in Seoul, South Korea, Daniel donated his marketing communications skills to help develop different social media campaigns and commercial films, in order to promote the local tourism as well as to build positive brand images for the city and also the company. Daniel is enthusiastic about pursuing his career in the industries of account planning and marketing research. He plans to use the skills he obtains from USGCC to help him achieve his future goals as a strategic communications specialist in an international organization.
Nicole Timofeevski currently serves as an Eastern Europe Diplomacy and Sustainability Analyst where she utilizes her writing and communication skills to research sustainable practices in Eastern Europe and create country profiles and establish connections with potential partners for the USGCC Global Sustainability and Diplomatic Expedition. Nicole has gained a variety of skills through her previous leadership involvements, such as her work as a Workshops Intern for the Student Immigration Relief Clinic in Berkeley where she provided pro bono legal assistance for immigration documentation for Spanish-speaking clients and organized a “Know Your Rights” Workshop for the community as well as through her role as Marketing Director for the EU Student Ambassadors Program in Berkeley where she organized an Undergraduate Research Conference on the European Single Market. She is also currently serving as a Student Diplomat to the Middle East (where she is researching regional peace feasibility) for the Olive Tree Initiative where she seeks to promote dialogue and engage in conflict analysis. Nicole hopes to continue developing her professional skills while engaging with the global community through her involvement with USGCC as she continues to pursue her passions for global sustainable development and international conflict resolution.
Phanuel Gbeddy currently serves as an International Sustainability Associate at U.S Green Chamber of Commerce. At this position, Phanuel’s primary role involves researching current innovative trends in international sustainability practices to identifying potential strategic partners for USGCC whilst creating added values in green business ventures for existing partners. He brings on board his exceptional research, writing and project management skills gathered over 4 years working at Sahara Natural Resources Ltd. He has a master’s degree in Environmental Geology at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a post master’s degree in International Environmental Management at Mines ParisTech, France. Phanuel has undertaken several research projects with multinational industry experts on a number of sustainability topics. At a two-week workshop at INSA-Lyon, France, Phanuel researched on a comparison between recycling and Waste to Energy of Plastics to ascertain the more efficient of the two waste management approaches. He acted as the water resources management expert for research on the Environmental and Social impact of construction of large dams, using Ilisu Dam in Turkey as a case study. He participated in the 2018 Athens Week program organized by a network of European higher educational institutions with the theme “Agro Ecology, Feeding 8 billion people.” Phanuel is currently working with a team to create a start-up for the provision of services for solar power self-consumption communities in France. He is very passionate about building a sustainable business environment which minimizes waste whilst improving on the efficient use of energy and resources. Phanuel hopes to argument his research skills at USGCC while identifying creative avenues in corporate sustainability for USGCC current and future clients.
Lauren currently serves as a Global Sustainability and Peacebuilding Research Associate where she employs her previous research, writing and communication skills to focus on sustainability, conservation, and diplomacy in Latin America. She is currently researching sustainability in El Salvador as well as global peacebuilding tactics. Lauren has had the opportunity to participate in extensive research on Brazil and has done a commodity chain analysis of oil and energy in Brazil. Lauren is passionate about climate security, geopolitics, international relations and sustainability. She plans to use the skills she gains from USGCC to help her achieve her future goals of promoting and advocating a sustainable environment for all nations.
Jake currently serves as a Global Affairs and Sustainability Analyst. In this position, he utilizes his research experience to identify businesses and nonprofits engaged with environmental sustainability, as well as local and national Chambers of Commerce, and to help establish partnerships with these organizations. He is also responsible for analyzing political institutions within these countries. His current position has him focusing on South and Central America and Germany. In the past, Jake has volunteered for local political campaigns and has participated extensively in the two annual Model United Nations conferences held by the University of Virginia’s International Relations Organization, in which he has run several committees, requiring him to coordinate groups of up to twenty people. He is passionate about sustainability, especially with regards to developing nations, and intends to use his experience with USGCC as a starting point for his graduate program beginning in the Fall.
Ana Fung serves as a Global Economics and Policy Associate at USGCC. She will be utilizing her academic research and communication skills to identify and analyze global sustainability practices and economic policies to enrich the organization’s network. Ana has participated in several environmental restoration projects in which she and her fellow colleagues identified local invasive plant species and volunteered for small organizations to find solutions in removing them and to encourage the growth of native species. Ana is also involved in her community in San Diego, as she had previously interned for a local city council candidate’s campaign, where she frequently contacted voters to educate them about her candidate’s platforms and networked with other politicians and educators in the city. Moreover, she has earned her communication skills from working at the student affairs office at her college, where she actively answered students’ questions regarding academics and administrative procedures and helped coordinate professional events within her college. She pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Economics and Policy and a minor in Conservation and Resource Studies. Ana has a passion for sustainable consumerism and business practices. Therefore, at USGCC, she hopes to learn about methods that would encourage social behaviors that are environmentally responsible.
Frances Bingham currently serves the USGCC as an International Sustainability Associate. As a Society & Environment Major at UC Berkeley, Frances is able to apply her previous knowledge on sustainable practices, environmental law, and environmental policy to this position. At the Chamber, Frances will increase her understanding of how best practices and sustainability influence economic, political, and social aspects of international society through applying her previous experience in research, writing, and analysis. At Berkeley, Frances was able to learn basic communication and research analysis skills through becoming involved in CALPIRG, a local student-run non-profit that fights for social and environmental awareness education. This was done through growing grassroots support and enhancing outreach efforts to policymakers, community members, and lobbyists. In 2015, Frances and her team were able to push SB350, a local Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Bill, through legislation. Since then, Frances has been dedicated her studies and internship opportunities to researching and understanding how policy and corporate action influence environmental regulation. Frances is passionate about environmental sustainability and is certain that corporate innovation will become the future of sustainable progress across the globe. This is why Frances has jumped at the opportunity to contribute and learn from the USGCC’s corporate sustainability efforts—as this economic and environmental knowledge will be crucial for her to grow as an environmentalist.
Finnegan Kallmyer currently serves as the International Energy and Policy Associate. While at USGCC he uses his research and writing skills to find businesses, chamber of commerce, and sustainable organizations in various countries around the world, for USGCC’s media series. His past experiences have provided him with various skills related to research, communication, writing, NGO’s, policy, and analytical work. Previously Finnegan has worked with The GREEN Program to grow their hiring network, apply for grants, and implement their business development strategy, Finnegan is passionate about green building policy and sustainable architecture. He plans to use the skills he gains from USGCC to attend graduate school in London, England. Finnegan is dedicated to a career of furthering sustainability and teaching future generations the importance of our environment. In working with USGCC hopes to learn more about international climate policies and what businesses are doing to transition into sustainable businesses.
Haliny Lone currently serves as a Sustainability Research Associate Intern for USGCC where she employs her research and language skills to conduct research in areas of sustainable business practices, business policies and regulations, as well as business law in countries in South America and the Caribbean. Haliny has held different leadership and volunteer positions in projects such as serving as a peer-mentor at Rollins College for a class on Environmental Activism and interning at the Turtle Conservation and Education Center in Indonesia. Haliny has also done immersion trips throughout the state of Florida where she learned about and helped fight against some pressing environmental-social issues of the state, such as removing invasive plant species, ameliorating the pollution of soils, and advocating for sustainable business practices for immigrant farm workers. Haliny is particularly passionate about combating the pollution of our oceans and forests. During her time at USGCC, she hopes to gain a well-rounded and practical understanding of what business sustainability entails in an ever-more globalized world and also hopes to serve as an advocate for sustainability in Latin and Caribbean nations.
Payton Thatcher currently serves as aGlobal Economic Sustainability Analyst where he employs research skills to learn more about the sustainable business practices of other countries, specifically Canada, with a focus on economic sustainability, while also reaching out to the prominent figureheads of sustainability efforts in these countries to connect them to USGCC. Payton has held various leadership positions including serving as the head of Cal Poly’s Engineers Without Borders – Economic Sustainability Task Force where he currently explores ways to cut costs to the club through sustainability as well as ways to better inform project teams on how to have a more sustainable mindset when approaching design and implementation of projects. Payton is passionate about economic and environmental sustainability, specifically fishery and ocean management, and the role that corporate sustainability plays into it. During his time at USGCC, he hopes to improve his research skills while gaining a better understanding of how sustainability practices in the United States influences sustainability practices in other countries and how other countries can influence our own methods.
As an International Sustainability Research Associate for the USGCC, Savannah utilizes her diverse background in public policy and urban planning to analyze sustainable business practices abroad, with a specialization in South and Central America. She has worked on various projects over the years related to sustainable development, green urbanism, and public participation in politics. Currently, she serves in the community development department of Talent, Oregon, learning the ins and outs of land use planning procedures. She is also teaming up with Rogue Climate, a southern Oregon nonprofit, to gain experience in leadership and campaign organization while working on environmental justice issues. In her spare time, you can find Savannah out of cell service in the mountains, grooving in the middle of a dance floor, or enjoying a delicious Oregon-brewed craft beer. She holds a deep interest in cross-cultural understanding and second language acquisition, a result of her university studies in German language and culture and the times she spent studying and traveling abroad. Ultimately, Savannah plans to use the skills she gains from researching for the USGCC to continue transforming the way that humans throughout the world interact with their built and natural environments.
Katie Cohen currently serves as the Content Management Associate, where she employs her research, writing, and marketing skills to develop creative articles that connect consumers and businesses interested in sustainability and promote USGCC as a leading organization in green business. Katie has assisted with and managed various social and environmental justice projects through several positions with nonprofit organizations. As a current leading member of the Marketing Committee of the United Nations Association of Berkeley, Katie creates and manages all official website content as well as assists in implementing strategic marketing and fundraising plans to exceed goals and boost presence and impact online. Through her position as a Racial Justice Ambassador for the Berkeley/Oakland YWCA, Katie advocated for racial justice within the community through research, collaboration with local organizations, and contact with government officials regarding important legislation. Katie has also aided forest conservation efforts on the island of Nosy Komba, Madagascar, with the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute, where her enthusiasm for environmental conservation and wildlife protection grew exponentially. Katie is passionate about environmental conservation, sustainability, social justice, and the intersection of public policy and business between them. She plans to use her time at USGCC to deepen her knowledge of sustainable business and social outreach to prepare her for a career focused on positive social and environmental impact through business, public policy, and marketing.
Susanna Cain serves as the Scandinavian Sustainability Analyst where she researches business etiquette and practices internationally. During her time at USGCC, she uses her analytic skills to investigate government, corporate, university, and non-profit factors in international green business. Susanna also utilizes her skills in research, writing, and communication developed through her past work experience. She has held leadership roles during her time in the Dominican Republic as a volunteer English teacher for Outreach 360 and researcher for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. During her time at MDARD, Susanna researched improvements in the state department’s recruitment process and hiring practices. She is passionate about creating a sustainable world starting with a sustainable economy and hopes to use her skills developed through USGCC to begin a career in international sustainability.
Darren works as an International Sustainability Research Associate with USGCC utilizing his writing and analytical skills to research sustainable business practices in South and Central America. Darren developed his interest in global affairs through involvement with various non-profits and clubs, most recently as the appointed Chief of Staff, External for UCBMUN XCIII—UC Berkeley’s annual, college-level Model UN conference. Darren has honed his writing and communication skills through various creative writing outlets such as poetry, spoken word, and a novel currently in the works. He plans to use his time at USGCC to learn more about environmental and business sustainability and to explore possible avenues whereby he can give back to the world.
Thu Duong currently holds the position of East Asia Business and Policy Analyst at the US Green Chamber of Commerce, where she utilizes her research and writing ability to assist in expanding the organization globally by facilitating critical international connections through detailed legal, cultural and social research. Through this position, alongside her independent summer research on nuclear security in the Korean Peninsula as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, Thu hopes to further enhance her oral communication, writing, organizational and research ability. Thu also serves as a Student Manager and Caller at the University of San Diego Telefunding Center, where she is responsible for the training and supervision of student workers in alumni outreach and fundraising toward student initiatives and scholarships for the university. She was able to successfully showcase her customer focus, persistence, and data entry and communication skills as a successful ambassador and caller by raising over $16,000 within the 2016-2017 fiscal year. Thu has developed an affinity for the region of East Asia through her travels, a passion for corporate social responsibility, as well as international business and governmental policy, which are all integral in orienting the focus of her role at the USGCC and informing her future career path.
Hamilton Whyte currently serves as an International Affairs Analyst for the USGCC. He is focuses specifically on sustainability efforts being made in the African nations, and aims to become an expert on the political, social, economic, and ecological issues in Africa. During his time at USGCC, Hamilton aims to become adept in African sustainability and to gain experience, exposure, and connections through the large network that the USGCC provides globally.
Tamara Fou currently serves as an International Sustainability Research Associate where she applies her previous experiences with research, writing, and knowledge on sustainability issues to understand international sustainability issues and practices, and establish connections with individuals committed to sustainability. Tamara has researched on various aspects of sustainability such as urban agriculture and green technology at the NYC Parks Department. During her time there, she was able to assist the agency with researching skills to identify green technology that could be used for NYC Parks facilities, and educate third parties on the benefits of green roofs. Tamara is passionate about community development and environmental sustainability. She hopes to apply the research she does at US Green Chamber of Commerce to better understand planning strategies for developing communities.