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 a statewide ambassador board with a focus on outreach, education, and advocacy to engage the young professional leaders of today.


  • 2018 ELB Cohort

    ELB members are a team of ~21-35 year olds who share the mission and values of OEC, have a strong interest in environmental protection, 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, 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 our network and gain hands-on experience with a non-profit board’s work, including, organizational structure, fundraising, events, and programs.

Meet the Current ELB
  • Ana Ching: Ana Ching grew up in Hawaii and moved to Portland in 2018 to attend law school. She currently works as an attorney at a Portland law firm, where she practices environmental law and estate planning. Before embarking on her legal career, Ana taught English as a second language in Okinawa, Japan, and also managed a non-profit art and sustainability center in her home state of Hawaii.
  • Ariel Kane: Ariel is an urban and regional planner raised in Southern Oregon, now based in Portland. With several years of experience - working with local and regional governments on equitable economic development, community resilience, and urban and regional planning - they get excited about providing research and policy analysis on an array of projects touching on topics such as housing, equitable development, climate action, and more. After working as an educator and then with local governments such as Gold Beach and Tualatin, Ariel received their Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University in 2021 and joined ECONorthwest that same year. Ariel also holds a Graduate Certificate in Community and Economic Development, a B.A. in Linguistics, and B.S. in Communication Disorders and Sciences.
  • Becky Clow: Becky has worked in land conservation at the Pacific Northwest regional scale for the last two years. Over these last two years she has come to appreciate the uniqueness of Oregon and its environment and the importance of ensuring 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.
  • Eric George: Eric grew up biking along the Spring Water Corridor, swimming in the Willamette, and hiking trails on Mt. Hood. Aside from brief stints in Corvallis for school (Go Beavs!) and Seattle for work, he has always found his way back to the city that raised him. A self-described environmental steward, Eric has spent much of his life in nature recreating, studying, and restoring. He strives to transform the at times contentious relationship between the natural and built environments to a more symbiotic one. Eric is a Drinking Water Engineer that designs projects that convey water to his community in Portland. He has also lobbied in Salem and Washington, D.C. for more sustainable infrastructure funding, among other important policy issues. Along with his partner and highly energetic dog, Eric lives in NW Portland, although he’s likely to be found biking around the city or hiking or backpacking in the outskirts.
  • Jade Menchaca: 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 Recycling Program Coordinator for PCC and focuses on outreach, recycling education, and overall improvement of recycling habits on campus. 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, environmental education, and justice. She likes to spend her free time cooking, crafting, traveling, and trying new restaurants and breweries.
  • Jessie Kochaver: An Idaho native, Jessie moved to Oregon after getting her B.S. in Environmental Science from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. Throughout college, Jessie researched the impacts of the warming climate on the Great Salt Lake, and the ways that microorganisms are adapting to rising temperatures. After graduating however, she found that her passion lay in the community organizing side of things and is now focused on addressing the climate crisis through an intersectional sense and supporting community action and policies. Outside of work, you can find Jessie taking long walks through her neighborhood, trying new recipes, rock climbing, and fly fishing the PNW’s rivers and lakes.
  • Juliáe Riva: 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.
  • Matt Kirsch: Matt Kirsch is a project developer at Obsidian Renewables supporting solar and hydrogen project formation around the Pacific Northwest. Previously, he spent 7 years working on chemical process automation for clients across a variety of industries, including semiconductor, power & utilities, and automotive. He also served as Vice Chair of the Renewable Hydrogen Alliance's Washington Policy Subcommittee and is certified in energy procurement (CEP) by the Association of Energy Engineers. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Oregon State University.
  • Marlee Eckman: 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 Community Outreach Coordinator for Johnson Creek Watershed Council where they manage community science programs, volunteer stewardship events, and the council’s bilingual program. 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.
Being on the ELB


  • The ELB plans and executes two to three events and/or projects per year with a focus on outreach, education, and advocacy. These events are creative, fun, and advance the mission of OEC. Past events and projects have included:
  • ELB members attend monthly (virtual) board meetings from September to May 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 are generally during lunch or in the evening, depending on the ELB members’ availability.
  • ELB members get to attend at least one in-person meeting and training per year and are encouraged to meet in-person with other ELB members in their areas. These meetings allow for ELB members to bond as a team, network and brainstorm the future of environmental leadership and OEC progress. Expenses are covered by OEC. ELB members are encouraged to attend in person gatherings with other members in their region, serving as an ambassador for OEC.
  • Responsibilities of ELB members typically require an average of 5-10 hours per month.

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


  • ELB members are regularly informed by OEC staff about the programmatic work that is pushing our mission forward and look for ELB involvement. ELB members are also informed about high priority campaigns and invited to conversations about our most impactful programmatic work.
  • OEC staff supports ELB events by providing appropriate guidance, background materials, and attendance when possible.
  • OEC staff also provides ELB members with mentorship and guidance in the hopes of empowering the next generation of environmental leaders.


Emerging leaders 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 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 are ample opportunities for creative projects, lots of fun, and camaraderie. In addition, members 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 Emerging Leaders Board will serve a term of 18 months 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.