Chief Inspiration Officer | Executive Director (Japan | USA)
Melanie's life long quest to co-create a more sustainable future started in China in 1994. Soon after, through experiences with indigenous social entrepreneurs across Sub-saharan Africa came a passion to defend human dignity, and shift the global development paradigm towards whole system, locally determined solutions,
In 2001 Melanie co-founded Empowerment Works and practiced its 7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS) approach in social enterprise BioNova Health and the Coalition for a Sustainable Africa, co-founded in LA. In 2008 she convened The Global Summit in San Fransisco and has led it every two years since into a 8 day innovation marathon (last in Amman '18 Jordan, and next in Tokyo following the 2020 Olympics). Now, to support year round policy action research and optimize synergies across the movement for a living planet, she is building 1PIE.org.
Degrees: BA in International Relations & Diplomacy from Schiller International, Madrid, Spain; Masters in Public Administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) Graduate School of International Policy Studies. Languages: French, Spanish (fluent); Italian, Portuguese; a little Arabic, learning Japanese. Loves: Curiosity, a sense of humor, Yoga, Tango, and all animals, especially her Jordanian cat, Katia. Melanie@empowermentworks.org } LinkedIn...
US Board of Directors
Dana Arak-Eng, Board Member Chair, Legal & Artists In Action Lead Dana is a passionate Human Rights activist, mother of two, and corporate attorney formerly with Live Nation, and now at Roku.
Jay Markert ("Jay Ma"), Board Member Fiscal Sponsorship Co-Chair | Founder & CEO at Living Earth Technologies
Earning his first Permaculture Design Certificate in 2001, Jay started his degree program in performing Arts Production Management at Naropa University, received a B.S. through New College of California in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community in 2005. He is a two-time graduate of Regenerative Design & Nature Awareness training through the Regenerative Design Institute.
Olessia Tchikounova, Board Member Chair, Governance & Global Partnerships Lead
Extensive experience in managing geographically and functionally diverse teams with measurable results makes her value structure and accountability.
Olesia cares about trust and reputation to the extent that was nicknamed company's conscience once. Her favorite HR policy is to be fair. Marketing is her favorite game.. She is also a homemaking freak - on her 5th new house construction project and on 4th remodeling project, and making it her business to share the knowledge. Olesia@empowermentworks.org| LinkedIn…
Dr. Steven L. Siegel, Board Member Global Strategy Chair & Climate Research Lead
With a track record that includes growing a company from $1 million to $800 million in three years, and serving as first chair for over one hundred mergers and acquisitions of public and privately held domestic and international companies, Steven provides Empowerment WORKS with the kind of innovative thinking that has justified publication.
From 25+ year international career (10+ years as an investment banker and another 15+ years at the C level), Steven brings a valuable list of contacts for strategic partnerships with companies and governments around the globe. His goal is always to help the company be more efficient, cost conscious and revenue focused, providing advice on the financial implications of business activities, credibility by producing timely and accurate analysis of budgets, recommendations to strategically enhance financial performance, operations and global business development opportunities for top line growth. Steven@empowermentworks.org | LinkedIn…
Jan Knippers Black Community Development & Global Affairs
Professor Black is a specialist in international and grassroots development, international and comparative politics, and US foreign policy. Professor Black has been leading the Middlebury Institute's human rights programs for more than a decade. Professor Black received her PhD from the School of International Service at American University. Professor Black was elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2014 to the national board of directors of Amnesty InternationalUSA.
Professor Black is the author of several books that examine global human rights. She is also a member of the Advisory Boards of International Political Science Association's Committee on Civil-Military Affairs; the PHD Fellowship Program of the US Inter-American Foundation; the Global Studies Program of California State University, San Jose. Wikipedia...
Diyana Dobberteen Co-founder & Development Adviser Diyana Dobberteen has helped build EW from the ground up, since 2001. She informs our development strategies and brings three decades of nonprofit management and fundraising experience to our team.
Applying her first MA in Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara, Diyana lectured on women in development, community psychology and culture change. She went on to successfully launch multi-agency collaborative programs addressing teen pregnancy in the United States. Working to reduce teen and unintended pregnancies, she worked with United Boys & Girls Clubs. Planned Parenthood, Girls Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Fatherhood Coalition on a Community Challenge Grant (1997-2011). Inspired by Laura Huxley (wife of Aldous Huxley) and her Teens and Toddlers youth development program for at-risk youth, Diyana worked with EW to secure a grant for Teens and Toddlers and expanded the program to Santa Barbara, CA.
Diyana earned a second M.A. in Organization Development (Fielding Graduate University, 2018), and in the process, she added 'issue framing within social movements' to her base of knowledge. Having recently moved from EW's home town of Santa Barbara to San Fransisco, California, Diyana was hired to an institutional giving role with the organization, Hamilton Families. In this capacity she is working to raise funds to prevent and reduce family homelessness. LinkedIn...
LeRoy West Regenerative Technology Adviser
LerRoy has had successful careers in construction, aviation, computers and software development. He currently manages New West Homes, a leading modular home designer and builder in Northern Los Angeles, and Butterfly Power, an innovative solar and wind energy company providing mobile systems for events, disaster relief and community development. He has also been a leader of the Red Lightning Theme Camp at Burning Man and is involved with Black Rock Labs plans to convert Burning Man to renewable energy. LeRoy has lived in Switzerland, Nigeria, and Peru and speaks Spanish. He has traveled to 41 countries and worked extensively in Europe, Asia, and South America. LeRoy’s mission is to accelerate the development of regenerative communities and contribute to building the more beautiful world we know in our hearts is possible. LinkedIn...
Linlin Wills PR & Community Events Adviser
Linlin is passionate about effecting changes especially to preserve the environment and the vanishing tribal cultures of distinctive lifestyles, art and traditions around the world. In her PR work, Linlin has worked with high-tech industries such as ESPN Star, MTV Asia, Nokia, the Singapore Navy, and Visa to launch online and on mobile viral marketing campaigns and brand engagement parties when she co-founded Sky Intermedia digital agency. Prior, she held executive positions in Arthur Andersen and ADC Telecom.
She received an executive MBA from INSEAD, an MS in MIS from the University of Arizona, and a BA from the University of Science & Technology of China. LinkedIn...
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