Emerging Leaders Board


The Emerging Leaders Board (ELB) exists with the goal of empowering and engaging the next generation of environmental leaders in Oregon. This is an ambassador board opportunity with a focus on outreach, education, and advocacy to engage the young professional leaders of today. The ELB builds community, has fun, is creative and makes an impact for members, OEC, and all of Oregon.


  • ELB members are a team of ~21-35 year olds who are change makers, creators, good communicators, and are community-spirited. ELBers share the mission and values of OEC, have a strong interest in environmental protection and community benefit, and are ready to take the next step in their professional leadership.
  • We have experience or feel passionately about environmental progress (water, climate, toxics, transportation, etc.), advocacy/organizing, policy and law, media and public relations, political strategy, the natural sciences, public health, community organizing and outreach, financial management and investment, fundraising, social justice, sustainable business, organizational development and management, or education.
  • We like to work collaboratively with others to plan and execute creative events and projects, showing respect for differing viewpoints and life experiences.
  • We have an interest in serving on a non-profit board in the future and want to build ournetwork and gain hands-on experience with a non-profit board’s work, including, organizational structure, fundraising, events, and programs.

Meet the Current ELB
  • Alexa Diaz (she/her): Alexa serves as a Senior Policy Manager at Forth. In this role, she works with equity and environmental organizations to advance equitable electric mobility strategies. Prior to joining Forth, Alexa was a Transportation Specialist at the City of San Jose where she managed an autonomous vehicle community engagement project. Alexa was born and raised in Riverside, California and is now happy to call Portland, Oregon her home. Alexa has a Masters of Public Policy from Oregon State University and a Bachelor of Art in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In her free time, you can find Alexa playing intramural kickball, traveling, and checking out new wineries.
  • Ara Vickers (she/her): Ara is a Project Manager and Sustainability Specialist at Oregon’s Green Business program, EcoBiz. She is committed to addressing environmental issues at their roots and thereby benefiting local ecosystems, optimizing business efficiency, and fostering healthy communities. She has previously implemented a wastewater system at R3, an animal rehabilitation facility to stop harmful chemical pollution, she led 103 ranches to become carbon-neutral with New Seasons Market, and collaborated with the Buffalo Nations Grassland Alliance (BNGA) and the World Wildlife Fund to identify barriers for Native ranchers in accessing farming payment programs and present policy changes to the 117th Session of Congress. She has also been actively involved in driving community action across the Pacific Northwest through her development of the Youth Team with Citizens Climate Lobby and has contributed to environmental policy analysis during her internship with Congressman DeFazio.

    Ara earned her Bachelor of Political Science from Lewis and Clark College. Beyond her professional endeavors, she finds joy in pursuits such as painting, fostering animals, mountain climbing, experimenting with bioplastics, dancing, and practicing nonviolent communication.

  • Becky Clow (she/her): Becky has worked in land conservation at the Pacific Northwest regional scale for the last three years. Over these last three years she has come to appreciate the uniqueness of Oregon and its environment and the importance of ensuing the environment continues to be clean and healthy for all people. Becky has experience working with various conservation non-profits, local governments, and research organizations conducting field work in ecological restoration and ecological data collection as well as conservation and ecological planning on big and small projects in various regions of the country. Becky has a Masters in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB and a Bachelors in Environmental Biology from Beloit College. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, backpacking, and cooking.
  • Eliza Amstutz (she/her): Eliza Amstutz was born and raised in Yosemite National Park, California, but has lived, worked, and studied in Senegal, Nepal, Switzerland, Colorado and Oregon. She earned her B.A. in 2020 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a M.S. in Geography from Oregon State University. As a graduate student, she researched the ever-emerging drivers of post-wildfire drinking water contamination and simultaneously earned a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Science (GIS). At CAPA Strategies, Eliza brings her experience in bridging communities and geospatial data science through participatory heat mapping campaigns. She strongly believes in the power of science and its important contributions to society. However, without thoughtful implementation of “science” it is impossible to connect communities to crucial analytics. It is within this gap, between data science and implementation, that Eliza strives to work.
  • Jade Menchaca (she/her): Jade was born and raised in Beaverton, spent their undergrad years at the University of Oregon focusing on environmental and food studies, and has lived in Portland ever since. Currently, she is the Sustainability Coordinator for Portland Community College and focuses on outreach and education and institutionalizing sustainability. She has many years of experience coordinating programs and events for higher education students to enhance their sustainability, involvement on campus, and knowledge of environmental justice. She is passionate about community involvement, social inclusion, and environmental justice. She likes to spend her free time cooking, crafting, traveling, and trying new restaurants and bars.
  • Juan Pedro Moreno Olmeda (he/him): Juan Pedro Moreno Olmeda is a proud Mexican-American born and raised on the land of the Kalapuya, Hillsboro oregon. Like many Oregonians, Juan Pedro appreciates the beauty of nature and chooses to embrace it without the need for an umbrella. Whenever the weather cooperates, he indulges in camping and hiking adventures throughout the Pacific Northwest with his family and friends. Over the past few years, Juan Pedro has actively participated in various leadership development programs, which not only reignited his passions and interests but also instilled in him a desire to learn more about his own ancestry and culture within his community.

    In January 2023, Juan Pedro embarked on his journey as a community organizer for Unite Oregon in Washington County. Alongside his colleagues, he dedicates his efforts to supporting programs that foster leadership development and enhance local civic engagement, such as the Tualatin Valley Highway Transit Project, The Beaverton Organizing & Leadership Development (BOLD) program, and more. In 2024, Unite Oregon is hoping to start a county-wide Tenants Union in order to support and protect the rights of tenants in Washington County.

    Juan Pedro is excited to be able to continue growing & working alongside the community, as well as investing time into taking care of our home (Earth) and ourselves. He is also excited to be able to continue the Equitable Development Strategy work and to find ways to be able to implement the priority action items into the development of our future infrastructure. Most importantly, he is the most excited about the opportunity with the Emerging Leaders Board, allowing him to interact with more passionate leaders across the state, learning about their dreams and their visions for initiating positive changes in our communities.
  • Juliáe Riva (she/her): Juliáe Riva is a staff product specialist on the transportation electrification team at Portland General Electric. As part of her role, she manages PGE’s transportation-related grant programs including the Drive Change Fund and Electric School Bus Fund, and she leads outreach and engagement with underserved communities. Juliáe was born and raised in Beaverton, Oregon, and went to the University of Oregon where she double majored and double minored in planning, social sciences, and sustainable business subjects. She was an OEC Emerging Leaders intern for summers 2020 and 2021. Juliáe is passionate about making a positive difference, especially in the fight against climate change using an equity-based lens. She is committed to changing her lifestyle and taking on various projects to create a lasting impact for the environment. She currently lives in NE Portland.
  • Keely Nguyễn (she/her): Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Keely is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees. She is passionate about storytelling and advocacy. Keely has interned at the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective, a grassroots organization led by undocumented youth in Southern California, and Start: Empowerment, an environmental justice organization in New York City. In these roles, she focused on social media campaigns to mobilize communities across diverse issues. Additionally, she gained field experience as an ecological restoration intern at Inter-Fluve in Hood River, Oregon, working on natural landscapes. Keely earned a B.A. in Public Health and Policy from Pitzer College in Claremont, California. Currently, she serves as the Communications Manager at Partnership for Safety and Justice.
  • Madeleine Gefke (she/her): Madeleine recently moved to Portland as of December 2023 with dreams of exploring the Pacific Northwest and delving into the conservation sphere here. She currently works as a Nature Educator with Portland Parks and Recreation’s Environmental Education Program where she’s learning so much about the city’s numerous parks and natural areas as well as the region’s flora, fauna, geology, history, and communities. Madeleine studied Biology and Environmental Studies at Oberlin College and most recently lived in a small town called Kotagiri in Tamil Nadu, India, working with a holistic conservation organization called Keystone Foundation on wildlife surveys, indigenous education research, and climate change oral histories. She is passionate about supporting communities in conservation, connecting climate change initiatives around the world, and encouraging diversity and accessibility in outdoor recreation. In her fun time, Madeleine loves adventuring outdoors, growing and cooking food, dancing and singing, traveling to new places, learning new languages, and sharing life with friends and family.
  • Marlee Eckman (they/them): Marlee graduated from Pacific University with a degree in biology and environmental science in 2019. At Pacific they spent their time advocating for climate action and finding joy in community work. Since then, they have been exploring what the world of natural resources, environmental education, and community engagement has to offer. Marlee has previously served as an AmeriCorps member for the City of Gresham putting together community science and environmental education programs and worked as an Environmental Education Director at Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District. Now they work as the Volunteer Program Manager for Johnson Creek Watershed Council where they manage volunteer stewardship events, community partnerships, and supervise the Council's AmeriCorps member. As an advocate for environmental and social justice Marlee believes in building equitable futures through collaboration with the community. In their free time they enjoy getting outside any way they can, playing sports, hanging out with their cats and eating good food with friends.
  • Michel Lenihan (she/they): Michel is a proud Two Spirit Citizen of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribes of Indians, embarked on their journey with a deep-rooted connection to their ancestral lands.

    At the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI), Michel served as a Climate Fellow and Communications Coordinator, leveraging their skills to lift up the work of Tribes and Native organizations. Currently, they serve as the Communications Specialist for the Northwest Native Chamber, contributing to an entrepreneur-centric approach to equitable and justice-centered community economic development.

    Beyond their professional commitments, Michel stands as a tireless advocate for Native, BIPOC, and queer communities, fervently advocating for equity and empowerment. Their dedication extends to the realm of ecological stewardship, where they tirelessly work to advance Tribal and Native Traditional Ecological Knowledge for climate resilience. Through their unwavering commitment to sustainability, Michel endeavors to cultivate a two-eyed seeing approach toward environmental stewardship, guided by the wisdom of their ancestors and the knowledge of modern science.
  • Modi Raduma (she/her): Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Modi attended Reed College, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Chemistry. She continued her studies at Portland State University, obtaining a Master's degree in Environmental Science & Management. With more than five years of experience as a laboratory research scientist and environmental consultant, Modi has honed her skills in data analysis, quality assurance, and collaboration. She has a passion for addressing environmental challenges and actively engages in community advocacy.
  • Ray Clark (he/him): Ray was born and raised in Portland and graduated from the University of Oregon in 2020 with a degree in Sociology and Business Operations. His interest in sustainability and the environment stemmed from several different classes he took in college: Sociology of Climate Change, Life Cycle Assessment, and Marketing & Sustainability. Since then, he’s worked for the business & industry team for Prosper Portland, the technology team for The Contingent, and has started his own consultancy around digital marketing and operations. Ray is passionate about bringing awareness to things that are often overlooked and curious about how organizational/operational development intersects with environmental stewardship. He recently applied to the Sustainable Business Practices MBA at the University of Oregon for Fall of 2024. He enjoys being outside, disc golfing, camping, backpacking, and trying new things.
Serving on the ELB


  • The ELB will plan and execute two to three events and/or projects per cohort with a focus on outreach, education, and advocacy. These events are creative and fun and advance the mission of OEC. Past events and projects have included:
  • ELB members will attend monthly board meetings to plan and execute the ELB projects and events, learn from OEC staff about our high priority programmatic work that is pushing our mission forward, and network with OEC staff, partners, and other ELB members. The meetings will generally be during lunch or in the evening, depending on the ELB members’ availability.  
  • Participation in the ELB typically requires an average of 5-10 hours per month.

OEC's Emerging Leaders Board Get Dirty for Clean Air 2016


  • OEC staff will regularly share insights and updates about the programmatic work that is pushing our mission forward and look for ELB involvement. ELB members will learn about high priority campaigns and be invited to conversations about our most impactful programmatic work.
  • OEC staff will support ELB events by providing appropriate guidance, background materials, and attendance when possible.
  • OEC staff and board members will provide ELB members with mentorship and guidance. We like going to coffee, talking at events, and hosting social hours to get to know each other.
  • ELB members are invited to attend quarterly OEC board meetings and other OEC events.
HOW ELB MEMBERS BENEFIT Emerging leaders will get to know OEC staff, our mission and program areas (climate, water, toxic-free environments and transportation), and how we do our work. ELB members will also gain networks with their fellow ELB members, OEC board members, and OEC partners. Mainly, participating in the ELB is a chance to expand leadership skills, work alongside fellow advocates and professionals, and have fun while doing it! There will be ample opportunities for creative projects, lots of fun and camaraderie. In addition, members will gain:
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Professional and skill development
  • Networking, both internally and externally
  • Relationship building skills
  • Event planning experience
  • Project management experience
  • Tickets to OEC events


A member of the board will serve from February 2024 to July 2025 and can be eligible for renewal.  New board members are selected through an interview process with a panel of OEC staff and ELB members. OEC staff retains discretion for recruitment and selection based on its judgment of OEC’s needs.

Applications have closed for the 2024-2025 cohort


Save the date: February 24th, 2024