Betsy Ericksen, Massachusetts Community Organizer
Michele Gielis, Digital Organizer
Michele graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a dual degree in communications and anthropology, followed by a career supporting audio-visual teams at Lotus Development Corporation, Harvard Law School, and the Museum of Science. Since childhood, Michele has been a part-time activist for the environment and human rights. Recently, she decided that working to grow the movement to address climate change needed full-time attention and changed her trajectory to focus completely on what she sees as the most crucial cause of our time. Known as “Mish” by the Mothers Out Front community, she likes to learn how people make meaning.
Janet Groat, Massachusetts Organizing Manager
Janet Groat joined Mothers Out Front in April 2017 as the Massachusetts Organizing Manager. Janet brings a rich history as an organizer, strategist, and trainer to her new position, with a particular interest in team building and fostering successful structures for shared leadership. As Regional Manager for Moms Demand Gun Sense in America, she coached five state-based chapters, cultivated leaders, worked with teams to activate and track voters and met the challenges head on. Janet has a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. With the knowledge that many of the solutions to climate change, as well as the political will, will come from those most affected, Janet is excited to work on the strategic effort to elevate their voices.
Etel Haxhiaj, Massachusetts Community Organizer
Etel was born and raised in Albania until the age of 17. She left Albania due to civil unrest and immigrated to Athens, Greece where she lived with her parents and 85-year-old grandmother for two years. In 1999, Etel immigrated to the United States with her parents through the Green Card lottery and became an American citizen in 2005. She has a B.A. in International Development and Social Change and M.A in Community Development and Planning from Clark University. She lives in Worcester with her parents and the two loves of her life, her sons Luke and Danny. She has been a community activist and organizer in Worcester in areas of gender and racial justice and has served on three City of Worcester Boards and Commissions, as well as on the Board of the YWCA. She is passionate about racial justice, community building, seeing others grow as leaders, and organizing. Her work has spanned from working for the Attorney General’s Office as a mediator, running peer mediation programs in urban schools, mentoring and coaching first-generation college-bound youth, and working with families in public housing and homeless shelters. Her inspiration for the community work she does comes from growing up hearing stories of her grandfather who was a war hero and a humble man who fought for freedom and justice. Besides her beautiful sons being her biggest joy, she enjoys spending alone time in the woods, reading, journaling, meditating, taking salsa lessons, learning new languages, and cooking Albanian food for her friends.
Linda Hutchins-Knowles, Expansion Organizer
Linda is passionate about engaging mothers in the climate movement, asking "Who has a greater stake in ensuring a livable climate than parents?” Linda first got involved with Mothers Out Front as a member leader co-founding the San Jose team, then guiding their successful campaign to pass Community Choice Energy in the nation’s tenth largest city. Since 2013, she's volunteered with several climate action groups, including Citizens Climate Lobby, 350.org, Moms Clean Air Force, and Friends Committee on National Legislation. Linda brings with her an extensive background in Nonviolent Communication and educational therapy, coaching students with learning differences to achieve their full potential. Fluent in Spanish, she and her husband have traveled extensively in Latin America and also Kenya. Besides being the mother of a spirited teen and preteen, one of her proudest accomplishments is having completed a 110-mile “century” bike ride with Team in Training in the Yosemite foothills.
Neely Kelley, New York State Senior Organizer
Neely’s first active involvement with the climate movement was to lead the fossil fuel divestment campaign of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. She has a B.S. in Animal and Poultry Sciences, and a B.A. in French Languages and Literature from Virginia Tech as well as an M.S. in Animal and Avian Sciences from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Rochester. Neely has committed to full time organizing because of the urgency of the climate crisis. For two years, she volunteered with the Peace Corps in Gabon, Central Africa, but now lives in Rochester, NY with her husband Doug and their two daughters.
Katie Main, Development Coordinator (Yellow Springs, Ohio)
Katie is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a B.A in English Literature. Before joining Mothers Out Front she spent her time freelance writing and homeschooling her two children. Katie has a passion for environmental advocacy which began in elementary school when she watched a video about the importance of recycling. She has continued that passion, working to reduce her carbon footprint while educating others in her community on the importance to do so, as well. Katie lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. They love to travel across the United States, exploring National Parks along the way. Their goal is to visit all 58 National Parks, to experience the true beauty and vastness of this country and to learn how to protect it for future generations.
Lisa Marshall, New York State and Expansion Community Organizer
Before working with Mothers Out Front, Lisa was dedicated to empowering mothers in childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting, homemaking and homeschooling while also raising and homeschooling her own three children. She has also worked as a middle school science teacher and a fiber arts teacher in a variety of educational settings. Lisa holds an M.S. in earth science from Dartmouth College and a B.A. in geology from Claremont McKenna College. In her free time she enjoys reading, knitting, quilting, doll-making, felting, yoga and walking her dogs. She and her family live in the town of Horseheads in New York's Southern Tier.
Aimee Maruyama, Director of Development (Yellow Springs, OH)
Aimee is a seasoned fundraiser and organizer who believes firmly in the power of connecting donors to the causes they care about. Inspired by an article about the Amazon she read as a teen, Aimee developed a deep passion for environmental advocacy. This resolve stuck with her through graduate school, leading her to get her BS in Environmental Science from Antioch College and a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University. Aimee lives in Ohio with her husband, son, and daughter.
Kim Miller, Virginia Community Organizer
Born and raised in Hampton Roads, Kim has a strong connection to the beauty, culture and heartbeat of Southern Virginia. She is passionate about empowering people and bringing them together in purpose through organizing volunteer opportunities and hosting special events. Kim was the Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator at First Landing State Park and oversaw the commemorative production of the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of America’s first English colony as well as many special events and volunteer projects that helped encourage stewardship and enjoyment at Virginia State Parks. She has four beautiful daughters, a grandpuppy and is an active member of her church. Kim is an unapologetic lover of family, fun and hats. Kim currently lives in Virginia Beach.
Max Parish, Database Administrator
Max has had the opportunity to manage data for campaigns large and small in Greater Boston. Having previously worn the hats of organizer and data entry manager, he believes strongly in supporting the work of volunteers by making their experiences collecting and storing their data as easy as possible. Max is a volunteer with Mothers Out Front in Waltham, MA, and has seen firsthand how the message of local mothers who are passionate for climate justice has deeply resonated with the city and its elected officials. He graduated from Brandeis University with B.A.’s in Economics and Politics. In his free time, Max asks women (often mothers!) to run for local political office and supports them on their campaigns.
Bimina Ranjit, Communications Associate
Bimina comes to Mothers out front with a background in storytelling. In the past six years, Bimina has produced documentary films, original stories and short videos on the immigrant population in New York covering education, immigration, culture and social issues. She graduated from Columbia Graduate school for journalism in May 2017 with focus on video and audio production. She is inspired by Mothers Out front's mission to empower individuals and their community to educate and take actions against climate change. Bimina grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal and moved to the United States in 2006 as a teenager to pursue higher education. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and loves to travel, cook and watch horror films, in her free time.
Anne Roach, Communications Manager
Anne has spent over ten years in communications in political campaigns and governmental organizations such as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Through her work, she has seen first hand how even the smallest action can have enormous impact on a community. Anne was drawn to Mothers Out Front’s emphasis on empowering individuals to create change within their own communities to address the crisis of climate change. Anne graduated Boston College with a B.A. in Communications. A Boston resident, she enjoys walks along the Harbor, public libraries and movies with wisecracking sidekicks.
Beth Roach, Richmond Community Organizer (VA)
Beth grew up being immersed in brackish James River waters surrounding rural Surry County. During her childhood, there was a decade long fishing ban due to a toxic chemical containment. This experience showed Beth how negligent human choices can devastate local environments. Fascinated by the intersection of community, environment, and public memory, Beth earned her degree in History from James Madison University. She spent 7 years leading programs that shared stories of communities and environments statewide for Virginia State Parks. As grants manager for the James River Association, Beth raised over $4 million for the James River, which has resiliently rebounded since her childhood. An enrolled member and Tribal Councilwoman for the Nottoway Indian Tribe of VA, Beth actively leads environmental and storytelling programs, and she was recently elected Vice-Chair for the Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice. When she’s not fighting to protect the communities and environments that she loves - Beth can be found cooking tamales, collecting wampum (purple and white clam shells), and surfing waves in the Outer Banks!
Vanessa Rule, Co-Founder and Director of Expansion and Learning
Vanessa began working to address the climate crisis in the fall of 2006 as the lead organizer for Somerville Climate Action and as a board member of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. She focused on helping residents, businesses, and municipalities reduce their carbon emissions through conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of renewables. Witnessing the relative lack of climate action at the state and federal levels, she co-founded Better Future Project, where she established 350 Massachusetts, then co-founded Mothers Out Front. Vanessa seeks to empower people—to give them the tools they need to build a movement powerful enough to re-align our political and economic decisions with the scientific and moral imperative to act on climate. She holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and an M.S. from Antioch University New England. She splits her time between Somerville, Massachusetts and Strafford, Vermont where she lives with her two children, Isabelle and Cedric.
Electa Sevier, Executive Director
Electa Sevier comes to Mothers Out Front with deep experience in non-profit management and a passion for community organizing. She is the co-founder of Case Associates, a consulting group that provides management assistance to nonprofit organizations, and has worked with numerous non-profits across many issues to develop strategic plans, manage critical projects and provide interim leadership. As a community organizer, she worked to create the City’s first official dog park, founded Neighborhood Parents for the Hurley School, and participated in numerous political campaigns and on community boards. Her concern about climate has always run deep, but has become more intense as her children have grown aware of the issue. Electa graduated from Harvard College and the Yale School of Management. She lives in Boston with her husband Jos Nicholas, their children Price and Nanneke, and too many pets.