Nicole Capretz, Founder and Executive Director
Nicole Capretz is an environmental attorney with 20 years of experience as an energy, equity, and climate policy advisor for local governments and the nonprofit sector. Nicole was the primary author of the City of San Diego’s groundbreaking, legally binding 100% clean energy Climate Action Plan adopted in late 2015. Nicole has since played a pivotal role in helping other cities in the region adopt similar 100% clean energy climate plans, and is a prominent advocate for Community Choice Energy in Southern California.
Nicole was appointed to the California Strategic Growth Council, effective August 22, 2018. She was named a New York Times Top 10 Californian of 2016. She is a board member of Trees 100. Ms. Capretz received a Bachelor of Arts in in Law and Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Arts in Environmental Law, and a Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School. She currently resides in City Heights.
Previously, Nicole served as the Associate Director for Green Energy/Green Jobs at Environmental Health Coalition, an environmental justice organization in National City. She has also worked as an environmental and energy policy advisor for the San Diego City Council. Nicole’s duties as Founder and Executive Director of CAC include overall strategic and operational responsibility for the organization’s staff, programs, expansion and execution of its mission.
Nicole’s pioneering work on climate policy has earned her numerous accolades:
- “Special Recognition Award for Climate Advocacy” by Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (2018)
- Sullivan Solar Power - Solar Advocate of the Year (2017)
- New York Times Top 10 Californians of the Year (2016)
- “Voice of the Year” - Voice of San Diego (2016)
- “Voice of the Year” - Voice of San Diego (2015)
- “Best People of San Diego” - San Diego CityBeat (2016)
- “Bike Advocate of the Year” - San Diego County Bike Coalition (2016)
- “Leadership Award” - San Diego County Democratic Party (2016)
- Finalist for San Diego Magazine’s 2016 San Diego Woman of the Year (2016)
- Finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s 2016 “Women Who Mean Business” Awards (2016)
- Newsmaker of the Year - East County Magazine (2015)
- Sierra Club San Diego “FEAT Award” (2015)
- First San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action “Making a Difference Award (2015)
Ariana Criste, Communications Manager
Ariana graduated with from UC San Diego with a BA in Political Science and Minor in International Migration Studies. While at UCSD, she was involved in Associated Students, wrote for a student-led international affairs journal, and completed a year in the AmeriCorps JusticeCorps program.
Since graduating, she has volunteered with organizations working in the issue areas she is passionate about— civil rights, educational equity, women and children's issues, and climate action. Ariana currently serves on the Steering Committee for Leaders 2020 and is a Fellow with Women Give San Diego. She is an alumnus of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute, 2019 cohort.
She worked as a paralegal before pivoting into nonprofit development and communications, where she managed the grant process for several youth development organizations. She also assisted in community outreach, public relations, and special events. As the Communications Manager at CAC, Ariana is excited to galvanize San Diegans to take action against climate change through stories of collective impact, hope, and change.
Evlyn Andrade-Heymsfield, Director of Development
Evlyn@climateactioncampaign.org - @evlynandrade
Evlyn graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Chicano Studies and not only brings fundraising, organizing and advocacy experience but also years of m
Evlyn chaired the Staff Advisory Council representing all of the school's staff members. Her work led to increased transparency and accountability of the Dean’s executive suite, improved school-wide communication, 360-degree evaluations of senior management, and improved overall satisfaction for staff. She also served on the Dean's Advisory Council and advised the Dean on budget, staffing, and resource allocation best practices. Her work was recognized with the Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Award and the Sally Bellows Community-Building Award.
Evlyn has also volunteered with many organizations supporting low-income families on topics ranging from college admissions to substance abuse and addiction. She has volunteered with the Teach in Prison Program helping inmates attain their GED and now volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused or neglected children. Most recently Evlyn was a candidate for Santee City Council and has been a passionate proponent of social, economic, and environmental justice since running for office. She was recently elected to be Delegate for the California Democratic Party and has been a vocal advocate of Community Choice Energy and the San Diego Green New Deal.
Galena Robertson, Operations Manager
Galena has been involved in the fight against climate change for over ten years. She graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology, and earned her M.A. in Biology from Miami University and the San Diego Zoo Global, with a focus on using community-based conservation to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts. She brings to CAC years of experience in administration, including human resources, budgeting, and program management.
Prior to her time at CAC, Galena worked for non-profit organizations dedicated to delivering environmental science curriculum to youth in Southern California, empowering the next generation of environmental stewards. As a San Diego native, she feels especially privileged to support climate action in her home community.
Maleeka Marsden, Climate Justice Advocate and Organizer
Maleeka is passionate about amplifying the voices of those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and believes the democratization of power is the key to achieving that end.
As a Climate Justice Advocate and Organizer, Maleeka advocates for policies that help San Diego become a more bike-able, walkable, transit-friendly city that meets its 100% renewable energy target by 2035, while also mobilizing community support and engagement.
Prior to CAC, Maleeka helped organize grassroots campaigns, tutored refugees at the California Conservation Corps, and taught English at a public high school in Surat Thani, Thailand. All of this work has been driven by and reinforced Maleeka's core value of social equity.
Maleeka spends her free time surfing, painting, camping with her husband, and searching out the best Thai food in town.
Maleeka has a B.A. in studio art with a minor in Spanish from Colorado College.
José Trinidad Castañeda III, Climate Justice Advocate and Organizer
José Trinidad Castañeda III is a community leader and lifelong climate organizer. As a resident who grew up with asthma and bronchitis, José advocated for air quality sensors in Orange County to benefit freeway communities impacted by respiratory diseases. José serves on the South Coast Air Quality Management District Youth Leaders Council, and is a former member of the Fullerton Parks and Recreation Commission. José has received awards for his public service and environmental leadership from Fullerton City Council, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, and Senator Josh Newman.
Before his work with Climate Action Campaign, José worked for non-profit organizations in Los Angeles, where he engaged with Spanish-speaking communities to promote Census outreach, civic engagement, and policies such as the Los Angeles County Sustainability Master Plan and Los Angeles County Safe, Clean Water Measure W.
José Trinidad Castañeda earned his Associate’s degrees in Anthropology and Biology from Fullerton College, and Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from California State University, Los Angeles with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. He is a 2019 Fellow of the New Leaders Council Los Angeles Institute.
José created after-school aquaponics & food justice programs for middle and elementary school students, as well as foster youth. When he isn’t empowering youth, you can find José tending to his native permaculture garden or volunteering in his community.
Matthew Vasilakis, Climate Justice Advocate and Organizer
Matthew Vasilakis is a proven advocate and leader, bringing a broad range of experience including work with various state, local and national non-profits and educational institutions, businesses and corporations, and elected officials. He is dedicated to ensuring all communities are uplifted by meaningful policies that address our climate crisis, such as Community Choice Energy, sustainable infill development, and multi-modal transportation.
The son of Greek and Mexican immigrants who steadfastly encouraged education, Matthew earned both his B.A. and M.A. degrees in history at San Diego State University. His B.A. focused on LGBTQ Studies, while his M.A. focused on San Diego economic and development history. Teaching and education are important to him, and post-graduation, Matthew continues to use knowledge-based strategies to help foster a more just and knowledgeable society as an adjunct history professor at San Diego City College.
Matthew currently sits on the boards of Lambda Archives – San Diego’s LGBTQ historical society, and the YIMBY Democrats of San Diego County – a progressive, pro-housing Democratic club. Matthew is also an alumnus of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute, 2018 cohort, and the San Diego and Imperial County Community College Association, 2014 cohort.
Sophie Wolfram, Director of Programs
Sophie@climateactioncampaign.org - @SCWolfram
As Director of Programs for Climate Action Campaign, Sophie tracks, analyzes, comments on, and organizes allies around policies related to our five fights. She also shares Climate Action Campaign’s vision with San Diego organizations and businesses and expands our network of allies to include a diverse cross-section of leaders across the region.
Sophie’s experience fighting for environmental protection spans nine years and includes outreach, policy research, writing, and organizing in roles including Director of an Office of Sustainability student liaison program at Yale, Research Fellow at the Sustainable Endowments Institute, and Intern at Californians for Pesticide Reform and Missoula’s Community Food and Agriculture Coalition. Before returning to school in 2015, Sophie taught middle school math in the Mississippi Delta through Teach For America and at a charter school in Brooklyn, New York.
Sophie earned an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana in May 2017. Her thesis research addressed environmental justice in Southeast San Francisco and the Imperial Valley. She earned her B.A. in History from Yale University in 2010.
Taylor Vierra, Event Coordinator & Development Assistant
Taylor graduated from San Diego State University in 2015 with a BA in Communication and a minor in Sociology. After graduating, Taylor worked as an Environmental Educator with I Love A Clean San Diego, where she educated various groups of students and community members throughout the county regarding ways to reduce environmental impact. Taylor's presentations taught thousands of San Diegans how to reduce their waste and live a zero-waste lifestyle. Taylor also worked as an educator at Sweetwater Union High School District.
In addition to her experience in education, Taylor has successfully executed a number of events as a Weddings and Events Planner at Hannah Smith Events. As a lifelong San Diego resident, she is excited to combine her experience in event planning and education with her passion for sustainability to make an impact in her hometown and advocate for environmental justice on behalf of underrepresented communities.