EcoLogic’s team at an all-staff retreat in Guatemala in January 2016.
Barbara Vallarino, Executive Director
Amanda Foster, Program Officer for Institutional Development
Melissa Haley, Director of Finance and Administration
Riley Hunter, Communications Officer
David Kramer, Senior Manager for Impact, Learning, and Innovation
Chris Patterson, Director of Development and Communications
Alexa Piacenza, Program Officer for Individual Giving
Laura Powell, Finance Officer
Alba Torres, Program Officer for Institutional Development
Marco Acevedo, Program Officer for Mexico
Mario Ardany De León Benitéz, Program Officer for Guatemala
Carlos Duarte Euraque, Program Officer for Honduras
Zayda Cleopatra Méndez Parham De Miguel, Bi-National Project Coordinator
Sergio Fabricio Pérez Estacuy, Regional Financial Assistant
Jacobo Gramajo Escobar, Regional Finance Officer
Barbara serves as executive director of EcoLogic and reports directly to the board of directors. A member of the EcoLogic team since 2004, Barbara has played a variety of fundraising and program development roles, most recently serving as director of development, managing the organization’s fundraising efforts. Prior to joining EcoLogic, she completed the Hydropower Reform Fellowship at American Rivers in Seattle, Washington, which focused on promoting meaningful citizen participation in licensing nonfederal hydropower projects. Barbara has been passionately involved in tropical conservation work since her early teens, when she conducted water quality sampling and analysis as a volunteer research assistant for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), which was monitoring the Panama Canal watershed. She also wrote fundraising proposals for Panama’s National Association for the Conservation of Nature (ANCON). Barbara holds a Juris Doctor with a concentration in Environmental Law from the University of Washington and is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, as well as its Environmental and Land Use Law section. In addition she holds a BA cum laude in environmental earth science and anthropology from Dartmouth College. Barbara grew up in Panama City, Panama, and is fluent in Spanish and English and proficient in French.
Amanda works with the institutional development team to write funding proposals, letters of inquiry, and reports to institutional funders. She originally came to EcoLogic as in intern in January 2016, in hopes of helping to improve EcoLogic’s participatory methods in the field. Before coming to EcoLogic, she worked at Eckerd College supporting academic service-learning, and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in rural California with the Cesar Chavez Foundation supporting migrant farmworking families. Amanda has an MA in sustainable international development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis, and a BA in international relations from Eckerd College. She has lived in Argentina, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and is fluent in English and Spanish.
Melissa leads the finance and operations functions at EcoLogic, and is in charge of all budgeting activities and administrative systems. Prior to joining EcoLogic, Melissa worked as the chief financial officer and senior project manager at a foreign language translation company. She earned a double degree in international politics and economics and Russian language and literature from Middlebury College, and an MBA from Babson College’s Olin Graduate School of Business. She currently serves on an advisory committee for International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, providing advice on financial matters to the management and board of directors. Melissa is fluent in English and Russian and proficient in Spanish and French.
Riley directs EcoLogic’s communications. He has worked previously as a photojournalist, digital strategist, and communications officer for a community media organization in Mexico who partners with non-profits in the area to communicate, recognize, and preserve unique cultural and ecological diversity. While living in rural areas of Honduras and along Mexico’s Pacific coast for the better part of 4 years, he had the chance to engage with many communities across these landscapes and learn a lot about Mesoamerica—including the unique cultural heritage, values, and social relations of each community. Riley has an MA in communication for development (C4D) and a BA in Latin American studies from Ohio University. He speaks English and has high proficiency in Spanish. Aside from his passion for his work, he loves spending time with his dog Malia and eating tacos, both of which non-coincidentally are also from Mexico.
David’s central responsibilities include establishing and coordinating EcoLogic’s monitoring and evaluation systems, identifying pilot projects for select new activities and programs, connecting internal learning with the actualization of externally applied knowledge and practice, and coordinating EcoLogic’s participation in strategic partnerships and alliances. David is one of four members of EcoLogic’s leadership team. Prior to joining EcoLogic, David taught for Citizen Schools, developed curriculum guides for the film company Walden Media, and worked as a classroom and outdoor educator in Cali, Colombia. David earned an MA in public policy from the Kennedy School at Harvard University, a certificate in outdoor leadership from Greenfield Community College, and a BA in English from Dartmouth College. He is a Switzer Environmental Fellow and is also fluent in Spanish.
Chris leads EcoLogic’s fundraising and communications team and strategies. He is on his second stint with EcoLogic, having previously served as a program officer for institutional development for three years from 2010-2012. Chris has a wealth of experience in securing and maintaining support from institutional sources (foundations, corporations, and public agencies) as well as major donors in the international development space, having held posts at Oxfam America in addition to EcoLogic. He also has extensive experience as a community organizer, volunteer coordinator, and rock climbing instructor (does that count?). If there is one thing that Chris wants EcoLogic donors, volunteers, allies, and fans to know, it’s that your contributions to EcoLogic’s mission—be it in the form of donations, time, retweets, or likes—are SO, SO incredibly important and valued. We absolutely could not do our work without our supporters; thus, we hope you take just as much pride in it as we do.
Chris has an MA in international development and social change from Clark University and a BA in international studies from Texas A&M University. He has lived short-term in Spain, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. Chris says he is “fluent enough” in Spanish, which means that native Spanish speakers tell him he’s fluent, but knowing he makes little mistakes all the time, he doesn’t believe them. He’s two continents short of visiting them all (can you guess which ones?).
Alexa is responsible for stewardship of EcoLogic’s individual donors. She is a graduate of Suffolk University, where she earned her BSBA in Global Business and Marketing. Before joining EcoLogic, she worked in the marketing department of the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk for three years. She also interned at the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment. Alexa is intermediate (but improving!) in Spanish and speaks some Italian.
As the finance officer, Laura provides support to the director of finance and administration by assisting with finances, budgeting, and reporting. Prior to joining EcoLogic, Laura interned at the Boston Living Center, a community and resource organization for people living with HIV/AIDS, and also at the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, an independent state agency dedicated to the advancement of women in the Commonwealth. For the Boston Living Center, she often created and translated documents in English and Spanish, and at both organizations she provided logistical and fundraising support, undertook special-events planning, and developed and wrote publicity materials. Laura earned a BA in Spanish at Wellesley College, has lived in Argentina, and is fluent in English and Spanish.
Alba works with the institutional development team to craft proposals and reports for institutional funders. Her background is uniquely suited to EcoLogic’s team, as she has previous experience not only in institutional development, but also in the on-the-ground EcoLogic does. She has served as a refugee resettlement social worker for the International Rescue Committee in Dallas, where she established a refugee agriculture program to provide food security and economic empowerment to refugee farmers with agrarian backgrounds, and as the development coordinator for Texans Care for Children in Austin. In addition, Alba was a community health volunteer for the Peace Corps in Paraguay, where she not only taught classes and wrote grants to improve local conditions, but also built cleaner building stoves, established community gardens, and organized a reforestation project with local youth. Alba has an MA in public administration with a focus on nonprofit management from the University of Texas at Dallas, and a BA in journalism from the University of North Texas. She has lived in Peru and Paraguay, is fluent in English and Spanish, and speaks basic Quechua and Guarani.
Marco works on EcoLogic’s projects in Mexico. He has direct experience preparing, implementing, and monitoring and evaluating environmental conservation and rural development projects in Mexico, including some financed by United Nations Development Program’s Global Environmental Facility and the Inter-American Development Bank. He most recently worked at the “Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda” —an alliance of civil society organizations that contribute to sustainable management of the Sierra Gorda Reserve—where he was in charge of overseeing the implementation of eight projects. Marco holds a master’s degree in rural development from the “Colegio de Estudios Posgrados” in Mexico. He speaks fluent Spanish and is proficient in English.
Mario is an agronomist by training, and specializes in environmental and conservation agriculture. He has more than 16 years of experience working with nonprofits and government organizations. His work has focused on agricultural resilience in vulnerable areas of Guatemala, development of forestry projects, community agroforestry, environmental education, fuel-efficient stoves, and public health programs and education. He lives in Totonicapán, Guatemala.
Carlos works with EcoLogic’s local partners in Honduras. Born in Olanchito, Honduras, Carlos has worked on a variety of conservation projects in Honduras focusing on rural development and watershed protection. From 2006 to 2010 Carlos worked in various managerial and technical capacities for the AGROVALLE Company before beginning to work with our local partner the Municipalities of the Central Atlantida Department (MAMUCA) in 2011. Alongside MAMUCA, Carlos conducted a baseline survey to identify potential sources of income as well as to develop a way to protect watersheds around the Pico Bonito National Park. A trained agronomist, Carlos has a strong background in agro-ecological farming practices, watershed management, and rural development; he is also fluent in Spanish.
Cleopatra works with communities on both sides of the Sarstún River in Belize and Guatemala to coordinate our bi-national project, Cross Border Alliance for Healthy Fisheries. She works with rural fisherfolk of Amatique Bay, located in the lower Sarstoon (Sarstun) River Basin, and the adjacent coastal-marine area on the border between Belize and Guatemala. Cleopatra was born in Livingston, Guatemala and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources from Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon, USA. She is a certified diver and has served as a cultural agent for the BALABALA Foundation, where she supported a number of Guatemalan communities in human rights. She has also accompanied communities living in Livingston, Guatemala with participatory project development and administration. Cleopatra has worked as a coordinator at the Tri-National Alliance for the Gulf of Honduras (TRIGOH) and as an environmental educator in the coastal and marine unit at the Foundation for Eco-Development and Conservation (FUNDAECO) in Guatemala.
Fabricio provides accounting support in EcoLogic’s regional office in Guatemala. He is a certified accountant and has studied business administration at the Universidad Rafael Landivar in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. He has professional experience managing finances for other nonprofit organizations, including Curamericas Guatemala, and is also trained in nonprofit business development.
Jacobo coordinates finances, budgeting, and reporting for EcoLogic’s regional office in Guatemala.
Our field technicians are members of our partner organizations who contract with EcoLogic and help us work on our projects together. Meet EcoLogic’s team of field technicians > >