Environmental Leadership Chronicles

Environmental Leadership Chronicles is brought to you by the California Association of Environmental Professionals. We interview leaders in the environmental industry to share information about their career development beyond the technical work. This podcast is for anyone who is interested in any and all things within the environmental profession.

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Tuesday Sep 26, 2023

In this episode, co-hosts Corinne and Jessa feature Pedro Peterson, Ph.D. - who manages the Local Planning Section at the California Air Resources Board (known as CARB). CARB provides resources and guidance to local governments on how to align land use and mobility policies with the State’s climate, air quality, and equity commitments. He has previously led teams at CARB overseeing investments from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund on affordable housing and transportation. Before joining CARB, he was a Senior Planner with the City of San Francisco, and independent consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, and completed a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. 
Listen in as we learn about Pedro’s insights on leadership as an environmental professional and the path that led him to his current role with CARB.

Wednesday Aug 23, 2023

In this episode, we delve into the world of Generative AI with Gayani Weerasinghe, an intellectual property attorney and Hobson Lane, an AI developer, professor, and social impact entrepreneur.  
As generative AI continues to evolve and become more integrated into our lives, we wanted to launch a miniseries on the practical applications and limitations of AI to frame discussions on how we can use it within the environmental industry. We discuss the legal considerations of using this powerful tool, as well as the opportunities it presents – including greater accessibility. 
Disclaimer: the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed are the speaker’s own and do not represent the views, thoughts, and opinions of the California Association of Environmental Professionals. 

Tuesday Jul 11, 2023

In this episode. we feature an interview with our guest Dr. Cheryl Croshere. 
Join us as we dive into the world of sustainable transportation with Cheryl, an advocate, researcher, and consultant. With a diverse academic background spanning women's studies, transportation planning, and cultural anthropology, Cheryl brings a unique perspective to the table.  
Cheryl discusses her lifelong passion for sustainable transportation. Discover how she combines the power of data, storytelling, and genuine human connections to inspire individuals to envision a future with alternative modes of transportation. 
As the Executive Director of the non-profit Sacramento and 50 Corridor Transportation Management Associations (TMA), Cheryl's current focus is on creating a groundbreaking travel behavior change program. Tune in to hear her vision of helping 100,000 Sacramentans drive a little less and experience a whole lot more joy and well-being.
Thanks for listening, we hope you enjoy! 

Wednesday Jun 21, 2023

In this episode, I am joined by a guest co-host, Konnie Dobreva and we feature Jenny Delumo. 
Jenny is a Senior Planner and Transportation Review Team lead at the San Francisco Planning Department where she reviews complex transportation projects for environmental impacts and works on transportation policy. In addition to transportation and environmental planning, she has experience in sustainable development, redevelopment, and inter-agency collaboration. 
Jenny discusses the importance of finding a mentor, being a mentor, and being a champion for others' success. Join us as we learn about Jenny’s approach to leadership as an environmental professional. 

Friday Jun 02, 2023

In this episode, I am joined by a guest co-host, Corinne Lytle Bonine and we feature Kevin Cunningham. 
Kevin is an environmental practitioner with a strong background in managing the preparation of various CEQA compliant documents for public infrastructure and land development projects. He also has expertise in navigating the regulatory landscape through developing and overseeing the permitting process for projects involving jurisdictional waters.  Kevin is actively engaged in mitigation negotiation where he focuses his efforts on looking for opportunities to strike a balance between project goals and environmental preservation. 
Kevin holds the position of Environmental Project Manager at the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.  He and his team of Assistant and Associate Planners are responsible for providing comprehensive CEQA compliance and permitting services required to deliver stormwater infrastructure projects in accordance with legal requirements and environmental best practices to support implementation of the District’s Capital Improvement Plan. 
Listen in on our conversation with Kevin as he details his journey to where he is now and shares his thoughts on how to increase diversity within the environmental profession.
Thanks for listening, we hope you enjoy this episode! 

Thursday May 25, 2023

In this episode, I am again joined by co-host, Konnie Dobreva and we feature Audrey Zagazeta, President & CEO of Circlepoint. 
Audrey has decades of experience in environmental planning, working in both the public and private sectors. She has managed multi-disciplinary projects for local municipalities and private developers, providing innovative and sustainable solutions to a variety of environmental challenges. 
Under her leadership, Circlepoint has a renewed commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and within the communities they serve. She understands the importance of fostering an inclusive environment that embraces diverse perspectives and experiences, allowing for more comprehensive and impactful solutions.  
Join us as we learn about Audrey's journey to becoming a CEO and her approach to leadership.

Tuesday May 23, 2023

In this episode, we feature Michael Brandman, former President & CEO of Michael Brandman Associates. Michael is a pioneer in the environmental industry; in 1974, Michael was one of the original founders of the Association of Environmental Professionals and served as the California AEP State President in 1983. His journey closely aligned with the environmental movement, witnessing the establishment of crucial policies such as CEQA, NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act.
In 1982, Michael started Michael Brandman Associates, a consulting firm that provided expertise in environmental compliance at the local, state, and federal level. Over the course of 30 years in business, they successfully completed over 8,000 projects and employed a team of 65 individuals. In 2012, Michael Brandman Associates was acquired by First Carbon Solutions, cementing their impact in the industry. 
During this conversation, Michael shares his insights on the opportunities AEP provides for leadership, training, and mentorship, as well as the driving force behind the establishment of AEP's Code of Ethics. While he has retired, Michael remains engaged with AEP, continuing to contribute his wisdom and expertise to the field he helped shape. 
It was a true pleasure to speak with Michael, we hope you enjoy this episode! 

Thursday May 18, 2023

In this episode, we feature Julie Regan, Executive Director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA). We recorded this episode onsite at the 2023 AEP State Conference, just a few minutes after Julie stepped off the stage from giving her keynote address. 
Julie is a seasoned leader in communications, government affairs, and environmental conservation, with decades of experience in both the public and private sectors. In 2022, she was appointed Executive Director of TRPA - the first environmental interstate compact agency of its kind in the United States. TRPA is charged with protecting the breathtaking Lake Tahoe – the second deepest lake in the United States and the ancestral home of the native Washoe people.  
Julie has been instrumental in finding a balance between environmental preservation and sustaining a thriving $5-billion dollar tourist-based economy at Lake Tahoe. 
Julie earned her master's degree in journalism from Temple University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in environmental science at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she is focusing her research around the intersection of science and public policy.  
She is also a past Co-Chair of the nationally-focused Network for Landscape Conservation and has contributed to the global discussion on over-tourism through her writings on destination stewardship. 
We had a great time speaking with Julie to learn about her experience and leadership principles. Thanks for listening, and we hope you enjoy this episode! 

Tuesday May 09, 2023

In this episode, we hear from attendees at the 2023 AEP Conference: Mountain Vibes & Lake Blues in Lake Tahoe.
We've compiled a series of short clips from a variety of conference-goers sharing their experience. Over the course of the conference, we had the opportunity to speak with a variety of attendees, including environmental scientists, policy experts, planners, and many others. Each person had their own unique perspective and experiences to share, shedding light on the pressing issues, innovative approaches, and inspiring stories from the world of environmental professionals.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy these firsthand accounts of the AEP conference. And who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to attend the next one yourself!

Tuesday Apr 25, 2023

Corinne Lytle Bonine and Konnie Dobreva join the podcast to discuss the launch of the new AEP Mentorship Program.
The AEP Mentorship Program offers an opportunity to be both mentee and mentor at the same time and has been designed to provide maximum flexibility and opportunities for our members. The AEP Mentorship Program consists of both programmed and at-will opportunities. The at-will option will allow mentors to search our member database for potential mentors who have designated themselves to be interested in mentoring. The programmed option will guide either 1-1 Mentor/Mentee pairs or peer groups on a 9-session curriculum together. AEP knows that business is better with diverse teams and strongly believes that mentoring can be too.
Learn more here: https://www.califaep.org/mentorship_program.php

Monday Apr 17, 2023

In this episode, we feature Mikey Knab, Director of Policy at Climate Action Campaign. Mikey is a values-driven professional with over 15 years of leadership level experience in both non-profit organizations and for-profit companies.
He’s skilled at building teams, program and operation management, policy advocacy, strategic communication, and fundraising. He started working as a dishwasher when he was 15 years old. He worked his way up through all positions in restaurants, eventually working as Director of Operations for the Meza Family Restaurant Group, which he helped expand from one small unit in the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego to three units. Under Mikey's leadership, these units became certified Surfrider Ocean Friendly Restaurants, California State Senate Small Business of the Year award recipients, plastic-free and zero-waste champions, and San Diego Workforce Partnership Employer of the Year winners.
Mikey believes in an equitable and just world where all can thrive, and that is not possible without bold action to address the climate crisis as you’ll hear from him in this episode.

Wednesday Apr 12, 2023

In this episode, Corinne Lytle Bonine joins as a guest co-host and we feature Julie Johnstone, Associate Director of Design with Great Ecology. Julie is an accomplished landscape designer with 10 years of experience with a dual Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from Cornell University. Julie’s project experience includes master plans, feasibility studies, K-12/Higher Ed campuses and site design, park and trail planning/design, and commercial campus landscapes. Her current focus is on developing landscape designs and master plans which simultaneously address diverse community needs while promoting ecological balance and restoration. She has designed and implemented public participation strategies for comprehensive plans, waterfront master plans, and recreation feasibility studies. Julie uses her background in psychology, planning, and landscape design to promote cohesive and collaborative teams. While the practical elements of design and planning are at the forefront of her mind, Julie has a keen eye for design and enjoys conceptual design iterations – which she discusses in this episode.

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