Michelle Thatcher – CEO
Michelle Thatcher recently accepted the position of CEO of U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce after serving for three years as National Director. Michelle co-founded the organization in 2008, when she saw the need and opportunity to create significant change, both social and environmental, in the business world.
Michelle graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications. Prior to her role as National Director, Michelle served as Executive Director of the Association of Florida Conservation Districts, a non-profit organization for the state’s 63 Soil and Water Districts, from 2006-2010. Earlier, she served as Executive Director of Seminole Soil and Water District for four years. She was President of the Friends of Natural Lands and Trails, President Elect of the Florida Conservation District Employee Association and served as a Board member of the Seminole County Natural Lands committee and the Florida League of Women Voters Global Climate Change Committee. In addition to several current board positions, Michelle also serves on the advisory board of the International Green Energy Council and the World Brand Congress.
Michelle is an internationally recognized expert on “Sustainable Businesses” and is a guest lecturer and speaker at conferences around the globe.
Irene M. Stillings – President
Irene’s responsibilities include formalizing the USGCC’s vision on energy initiatives, interfacing with key influencers, stakeholders and policymakers, as well as leading the business community toward full participation in the green revolution.
“Working with the USGCC is a continuation of my life long passion for protecting the environment,” said Stillings..”I have always believed that doing positive work in the community is good for business. I am pleased to join the team that works with small and large companies, helping them design more sustainable practices.
Irene has over 35 years of energy industry experience ranging from Vice President of Marketing at New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, Vice President of Business Development at ConneXt, Inc. (a software company that supplies the energy industry), as well as Director of Customer Care at Navigate Consulting, Inc. These experiences served her well as the former executive director of the non-profit California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), an organization devoted to creating a sustainable energy future. Through her leadership, the CCSE became a statewide resource in California for business, municipalities, and residents alike.
She has received numerous awards and accolades from sources such as the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the California State Senate and San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Stillings is currently a board member of the National Marketing Executives Conference, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), San Diego Regional Sustainable Partnership, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee, and represented CCSE on the Energy Working Group of SANDAG (City of San Diego Sustainable Energy Advisory Board).
Stillings received her bachelor’s degree, Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Rochester and has her master’s degree from Syracuse University.
Deborah A Schafer – Administrative Aide
Deborah has an extensive business and marketing background. For over 20 years, she worked with two major national outdoor sporting good companies helping to grow their business through sales, marketing and strategic planning. For the past 10 years, Deborah has been the co-owner of :Orlando Painting Company, a business dedicated to sustainability through sustainable painting practices. She is also an expert in organizing and directing green festivals, art shows and fundraising events.
Deborah was taught at an early age the importance of the balance of nature. Her grandfather and father where great outdoorsmen. They hunted, trapped and fished in rural New Hampshire, where not much has changed in over 100 years. She spent endless hours with them learning the invaluable lessons of preserving the environment for generations to come.
Deborah was an elected official on Seminole County Soil and Water Board for 5 years, and was appointed to the Seminole County Fl. Natural Lands and Parks Board. In addition, she served as Chuluota Community Association past president, the Rural Heritage Center President, and Eastern Lands Coalition past president. Her passions have led her to lobby on behalf of natural lands preservation, connective green space for wildlife corridors, water conservation, and the effects of urban sprawl, to local county commissioners, Florida House and Senate Representatives, and Washington D.C. legislators.
Crystal Salvi – Executive Assistant to the CEO
Crystal Salvi is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has achieved the rank of Sergeant ( E-5 ). During her tour of duty in Iraq she received numerous commendations for outstanding job performance culminating in being awarded the U.S. Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in a theatre of war. Crystal has been in the United States Army reserves since the year 2000 and still is currently serving. Throughout this time she has lived up and down the east coast, working in fast-paced energetic environments resulting in leadership positions and marketing to communities. As part of her outreach, she volunteered as a doula for the Children’s Home Society of Central Florida for two years. In doing so she assisted in over ten live births, using her own unique support system that mothers and fathers found special which made their experience memorable and joyful.
Crystal has recently decided to push all her efforts towards her passions which include the sustainable preparation for the future. With her degree from Rollins College in Environmental Studies her plan will be to educate the public about new sustainability ideas from around the world, the best practices to maintain goals gearing towards reusable energies, and creating awareness about what our communities can do to help.
Albert Trujillo – Technology and Visual Media Developer
Growing up in southern California, Albert Trujillo has always appreciated his surroundings through frequent camping trips to deserts, lakes, and mountains. It wasn’t until attending university that Albert truly developed a passion for the environment’s well being.
Albert is a student finishing up his Environmental Systems degree at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), with an emphasis in ecology, behavior, and evolution. One of his favorite courses has been “Conservation and the Human
Predicament,” a course focused on the detriment humans cause and the power we have to reverse it.
Interning also with the Green Restaurant Association, Albert has conducted on-site audits of local restaurants and food courts in an effort to help them become more sustainable. Additionally, Albert chaired the University Centers Advisory Board at UCSD, which allowed him to lead the process of selecting eco-conscious vendors to be housed in the University’s student union and work with a complex budget.
Albert is excited to be a part of the green revolution and looks forward to continuing his involvement with green policy, sustainability, and innovation. In his free time, Albert can be found distance running, finding new music, or reading.
Michael Robinson – Business Development
Upon graduating from Loyola University, Maryland, Michael spent a year living Bangkok Thailand. While traveling extensively throughout Southeast Asia and China Michael was inspired to join the renewable energy industry. Returning to states, Michael joined OPEL Solar, a small Connecticut start up focused on developing high concentration photovoltaic modules and a line of single axis trackers. Over the four years working with OPEL Solar as Marketing Coordinator, Michael took on additional responsibilities from onsite construction oversight to developing client relationships. In 2012 Michael moved to California to join the University of San Diego International Masters program to study new venture management and finance. While taking classes Michael completed several consulting projects for various solar companies in southern California.
Orinna Weaver – Communications Manager
Orinna is the Communications Manager at the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce. She manages the design, production, and distribution of our weekly national newsletter. Orinna also helps coordinate USGCC events and contributes content for our blog and social media outlets.
Orinna graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a double major in Political Science and Communications. Throughout her studies she took numerous
courses on the environment, and climate change specifically. Although she has always had a passion for the environment, it was in Seattle that she discovered she wanted to work toward raising awareness for sustainability on campus and in the community. She hopes to do the same here in San Diego, and is thrilled to be able to do so with the Green Chamber.
Growing up in the Northwest Orinna loves doing anything in the outdoors. In her spare
time she can be found rock climbing hiking, or going to the beach.
Kayla Williams – Social Media Specialist
Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Kayla Williams is a Political Science major at the University of Central Florida. She has a passion for helping others and caring for the environment. Her involvement with the organization, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, has motivated her understanding of public involvement in a green society. In March 2013, Kayla had received the Chapter Service Award in Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, which is an award that is given to a brother and/or alumni that exemplifies the spirit of community service. In addition, she’s been involved in various organizations on campus such as: Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) at UCF, National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) at UCF, and UCF Late Knights and College Democrats at UCF.
Kayla plans on going to graduate school for Urban & Regional Planning becoming an urban planner in a developing area. She plans on using her skills that she has gained at the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce to ensure that the city is utilizing sustainability tools. In her spare time she enjoys longboarding, screenwriting, volunteering and enhancing her knowledge on economic development.
Venetta McKay – Project Support Advisor
Venetta McKay is actively licensed as an independent insurance agent in the state of Florida. Her 2-15 license allows her to be a sales consultant of Fixed and Variable Annuities and all forms of Life, Health and Accident insurance, including Medicare Supplement. She started a residential and commercial cleaning business in 2007, as owner and operator of Brown’s Uptown Cleaning Service.
Venetta volunteers at various agricultural events like the Annual Winter Park Harvest Festival and the Winter Garden’s Annual Harvest Festival. As a student attending Rollins College, Venetta is pursuing a degree majoring in Environmental Studies, minoring in Business. This program is providing a blueprint for her to be able to contribute to our environmental sustainability in the business world along with enhancing her career.
Meghan Taylor – Non-Profit Specialist
Meghan Taylor is taking environmental awareness to the next level. Meghan Taylor grew up on the beaches of Daytona. Her time there as a child gave her the opportunity to notice the unfortunate changes along the Florida coastlines and the effects it has had on the wildlife. As an adult she has taken action. She has been educating students at the Marine Discovery Center on the conservation of coastal ecosystems. She has taken the time to teach these students about the diverse life the ocean supports, how they can help to support it and to help it thrive. Meghan has also gained first hand experience at the Dolphin Research Center where she learned all aspects of animal care for rescued dolphins and sea lions. She studied their anatomy and physiology as well as the cognitive abilities of these animals. Through out the years Meghan has learned the responsibilities of wildlife conservation and has dedicated herself to those tasks. With her degree in Environmental Studies her goal is to work for non-profit organizations and to focus on animal conservation.
Itza Beltran – Green Technology and Innovation Research Analyst
Itza Beltran was born in the big city of Bucaramanga, Colombia. She is passionate about the creation and implementation of new “Green” technologies. She has extensive experience in customer service and international relations which allows her to share ideas and gain cultural knowledge. She has traveled to Chile and Colombia on several occasions. Throughout her travels she has learned about the different environments and its connections with “Green” engineering. She is currently attending Valencia College and plans to continue her education at the University of Central Florida. She is a dedicated student with a focus on Mechanical engineering. She is interested in the design of buildings and new technologies that focus on promoting sustainability and clean energy for the world. With her degree in Engineering from UCF her focus will be to design new cutting edge technologies to help promote the preservation of the planet.
Cristina Glynn – Graphic Designer
As a Graphic Designer at the US Green Chamber of Commerce, Cristina Glynn hopes to combine her knowledge of design and her respect for the environment to create visual works that will reach a broad audience. Cristina is currently a Graphic Design major at the University of Central Florida. Growing up near the beaches on the west coast of Florida, she developed an appreciation for nature and the environment early on, and has continued to take measures to help protect it.
Cristina has volunteered with organizations that have helped retired racing greyhounds find new homes, as well as beach cleanups in her hometown of Ft. Myers, Florida. Cristina is involved in several organizations around UCF, including: the Graphic Design Student Association, Masters of Web at UCF, and German Club.
In her free time, Cristina can be found biking, swimming, reading and practicing German.
Originally from West Palm Beach Florida, Lauren attends the University of Central Florida, where she is working on her B.A in Environmental Science with a focus in Environmental law. Working in customer service and as an office assistant, Lauren’s self-motivated and energetic personality, intuitive communication skills, and creative intellect have enabled her to be very successful. She facilitated change as a leader and motivator, while learning essential skills for the workplace that can help in any field.
While pursuing her degree, Lauren is a member of numerous clubs including, being the President of Omega Phi Alpha’s Alpha pledge class, the John T. Washington Honor Society, Volunteer UCF, intramural sports and more. She hopes to take the skills she learn here, at the U.S green Chamber of Commerce, and use them in her future career in environmental policy.