Leadership Team

Nicole Kemeny is a climate activist and mom and serves on the leadership group of 350 Silicon Valley, which includes her role as liason to 350 Bay Area. She co-chairs 350 Silicon Valley’s Partnership Development team  and is a co-founder of the SVClimate Action Alliance. Prior to joining 350 Silicon Valley, Nicole held an internship with the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter’s Global Warming program.

Nicole was a housing activist in Chicago working on local and national programs and policy. She received her M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. Nicole and her husband David and family reside in Menlo Park.

Suds Jain is on the board of Acterra and is active with Citizen's Climate Lobby which advocates for a Carbon Tax with 100% revenue recycling (dividends to consumers).  He designed integrated circuits for 25 years and in 2008, Suds decided that the impending climate crisis was far more important than designing the next switch chip for computer networking so he “retired” from Broadcom Corporation to become a "professional climate volunteer". Suds has performed free home energy audits for 3 years with Acterra's Green at Home program.  He has also installed solar panels on low income housing with Grid Alternatives. For 5 years he taught a "Climate Change Science" class to middle school students at Discovery Charter School. He is a planning commissioner for the city of Santa Clara. Suds holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from MIT.

Debbie Mytels has been a “climate activist” for over a decade – and before that she worked on other environmental issues such as food, recycling, and wetlands preservation. She has worked at Acterra since 2005 where she initiated Acterra’s Green@Home program, an energy efficiency program that served over 3,500 Silicon Valley residents. Debbie founded Acterra’s “Be the Change” environmental leadership program that trained over 150 emerging leaders over six years. She also served for six years as executive director of the Peninsula Conservation Center, one of the forebears of today’s Acterra.

An active community volunteer as well, Debbie co-founded Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action (PICA), a group of a dozen local faith congregations that share best practices to protect the climate and work on joint educational programs and legislative issues.  She is also a member of the Steering Committee of Transition Palo Alto, part of the world wide network of communities that aim to build resilience in the face of climate change.

In earlier positions, Debbie served five years as outreach director at the Foundation for Global Community and filled leadership positions at the Silicon ValleyToxics Coalition, Canopy: Trees for Palo Alto, the San Francisquito Creek Watershed Council, and Leadership Midpeninsula. Debbie earned a B.A. with honors in Social Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and studied in the journalism M.A. program at Stanford. She’s a 40+ year resident of Palo Alto where she lives with her husband Thomas Atwood.

Mari Pearman is a community and employee engagement consultant who enjoys working with cross-sector teams. As a professional facilitator, she enables stakeholders to work together effectively and to engage whole systems in participatory planning processes.   She believes collaborative practices are vital in helping people understand and address the complex systemic challenges posed by climate change.

Mari is the Director of Sustainovation, a non-profit project that hosts the event "In-depth Dialogues" with business leaders to highlight innovations in sustainable design and business practices, and the Palo Alto Green Drinks networking event. She is a current member of Transition Palo Alto, Bay Area Society for Organizational Learning, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Mari has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Judy Plaska is a member of the Board of Directors of the Peninsula Democratic Coalition, where she organized a PDC sponsored Climate Change event in March 2016.

She served on the boards of Outreach Inc. and the VTA’s Citizen Advisory and Paratransit Committees in Santa Clara County.

After graduating from George Washington University, where she also served as an intern for Robert Kennedy, Judy served in the Peace Corps in Brazil. Judy worked for several years in Michigan and California (including San Mateo County) as a planner for transportation, health and other programs for the elderly and disadvantaged. When she and her husband moved to Mountain View in 1979, Judy transitioned into the private sector working in Silicon Valley in hi tech and software companies for the next 20 years.

Chris Lepe is the Silicon Valley Senior Community Planner for TransForm, a nonprofit organization working to promote walkable communities with excellent transportation choices to connect people of all incomes to opportunity, keep California affordable and help solve our climate crisis. Transform and Chris’ local office is in San Jose.

Chris is also the co-chair of the Traffic Safe Communities Network (TSCN) Steering Committee, a member of the Grand Boulevard Initiative (GBI) Community Leader Roundtable, and a Board Member of Human Agenda and the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters.

Chris has taught courses in the Environmental Studies, Health Science, and Intercultural Studies Departments at De Anza College and San Jose State University (SJSU). He received his BA in Environmental Studies with a minor in Latin American/Latino Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his Masters in Urban Planning at San Jose State University.

Pat Nicholson is a group leader of the San Mateo County Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby.  Professionally, Pat has 20+ years of experience managing fund raising campaigns as founder and principal consultant of her own company “Patricia Nicholson Fundraising Consulting” and in key fundraising and development roles for the Fort Mason Center, Planned Parenthood, Foothill College, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Cal Academy of Sciences.

Pat was Associate Dean of External Relations at the Stanford University School of Education for 7+ years where she managed all fundraising and alumni affairs activities. She was a faculty member and instructor for 6 years at the University of San Francisco's College of Professional Studies where she taught "Fund Raising for Non profit Organizations."

Stew Plock is a climate activist in the leadership group of 350 Silicon Valley, where he co-chairs the organization’s Partnership Development team and also serves on the organization’s Fossil Fuel Resistance team.  He was very active locally in the nation-wide program to halt the Keystone XL pipeline. Stew is one of the founders in early 2016 of the Silicon Valley Climate Action Alliance.  He has been a volunteer environmental educator for 15 years at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills and has served on that organization’s board of directors and on 3 additional local non-profits as well.  

Stew was a High Tech Market Development and Strategic Partnering manager for 15 years  for Sun Microsystems and Tandem/H-P.  Prior to his market development career, Stew  received a BS in Industrial Management from Penn State, served as a U.S. Navy Supply Corps Officer,  and earned an MBA from the Wharton School.  His 15 year IT career included senior consulting, management and directorship positions with KPMG, SmithKline, H-P, and Genentech. He’s a 40-year resident of the Silicon Valley and resides in Palo Alto with his wife Kathy.

Sandra Slater is the Northern California Director for the Cool City Challenge, a behavior change initiative to lower carbon, build resiliency and social capital.  She also co-founded Palo Alto Forward, an all-volunteer effort to inform better housing and transit options for the region. Sandra was the founder of Sandra Slater Environments, a design consulting firm specializing in green building techniques, with projects featured in numerous publications and on national TV and radio.

Sandra was a consultant to the Golden Gate National Recreational Parks Conservancy, and to Zeta Communities, a net zero energy, LEED platinum start-up. Prior to her work in green design, she was VP of Production/Sales at Lifetime Television, and Sr. VP in charge of sales, marketing, and program development with Grey Healthcare.

Sandra began her career at the United Nations Environment Programme, and in 1979 worked with Norman Lear to help establish People for the American Way.  Sandra lives in Palo Alto.

Barbara Weinstein believes that forging connections among people is essential to addressing the profound challenges we face. As a member of the Transition Palo Alto steering committee, Barbara hosts the monthly Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope series and other events, and manages communications for the group. She has also been a volunteer with the Sierra Club and other environmental and cultural organizations.  

Professionally, Barbara works as a technical communications consultant for various high-tech companies. She has a PhD in economics from the University of Michigan. Barbara lives with her husband in Los Altos, and loves that her grown children also live in the area.