Trainer profiles

Heather Ailes is a middle school teacher with Albuquerque Public Schools and a founding member of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) ABQ. As a local organizer for anti-racism, she believes strongly in the responsibility of white people to dismantle white supremacy in our institutions and communities.

Karen Bentrup has been a public health and AIDS educator for 20 years, a yoga and dance instructor for 30 years, and a regenerative agriculture educator for 15 years. She has decades of experience teaching using interactive, hands-on learning. Karen has worked in social justice movements since she was a child in the 1970s, starting with early pro-Environmental Protection Agency and recycling campaigns, women’s choice, the Equal Rights Amendment, international healthcare, People LIving with AIDS and LGBTQ rights, and the intersections of food production, environmental care, carbon sequestration, and climate change.

Judy Calman moved to New Mexico towards the end of 2001, inspired by a life-long fascination with the West. After completing degrees in Biology and Philosophy and working on several political campaigns, she realized her true passion to be environmental policy. She completed her law degree at the University of New Mexico, as well as a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy at the Vermont Law School. She has worked at the City of Albuquerque as an Energy and Wildlife Consultant, at WildEarth Guardians on endangered species litigation, and at an environmental law firm in Atlanta opposing new coal plants. Since 2010, she has been helping the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance ensure that federal agencies are complying with environmental laws, working to propose more federal lands for administrative protections, and appealing agency actions that are particularly damaging to public lands

Asha Canalos is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, community organizer, and climate justice advocate. Her work is focused on anti-colonization, social justice, hybrid communities, and the borders of natural and urban worlds. In 2011, Canalos began working as a community organizer when a fracked gas compressor station was proposed near her farm in Minisink, New York; she served as a press coordinator and delegate to meetings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She moved to Albuquerque in 2015 where she continues to create interdisciplinary social history-based work, and to help collaboratively develop art, writing, and public outreach interventions for communities facing takeovers by the oil and gas industry. As a socially-engaged artist, Canalos has been a visiting artist at Pace University, New York University, and the Bronx Museum. She is currently an artist-in-residence at Santa Fe Art Institute and co-editor of New Mexico Story Power.

Madeleine Carey is the WildEarth Guardians’ Greater Gila Guardian. Born and raised in Albuquerque, Madeleine spent her childhood exploring the Rio Grande and its bosque on foot and on horseback. In May 2014, she graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Biology and Urban Studies. During college, Madeleine spent her summers working for the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program, researching American Pika in the Valles Caldera National Preserve, and working with NM State Forestry to create a post-wildfire assistance guide. An avid runner and pie baker, Madeleine is always looking for ways to combine adventures with brunch.

Alicia Sofia Chavez is a Xicana from Pecos, New Mexico. Her life’s work has been dedicated to educating and empowering marginalized youth to build and reach their goals. As Young Women United’s youth and community organizer she organizes with young people to get them the knowledge, resources, and tools to make the changes they want to see in their communities. Through Young Women United’s sister circles, she builds trust and relationships with our communities. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Community and Regional Planning at University of New Mexico.

Sue Coates, a PhD candidate in Organizational Learning in the Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences Program at University of New Mexico, worked in contract management for 35 years in both public and private sectors, and owned a small business for 15 years. She is a frequent speaker and trainer.

Pat Davis is an Albuquerque City Councilor and Executive Director of Progress Now NM.  At PNNM, Davis has led dozens of campaigns for progressive causes including Constitutional amendments to improve indigent defense for the accused, marijuana decriminalization and ongoing work to challenge right-wing misinformation in New Mexico media.  In 2015, he joined Albuquerque’s City Council where he co-sponsored legislation to create the city’s first solar/renewable energy standard, police oversight reforms and new property crime and firearms crime investigation tools.

Mark Diaz Truman is a community organizer, social entrepreneur, and native Burqueño who specializes in narrative-based organizing. Mark lives and works in Albuquerque, returning in 2014 after training with Marshall Ganz–a key organizer for the United Farmworkers in the 1960s–at the Harvard Kennedy School. Mark is currently the co-chair for the Training and Leadership Committee of the New Mexico Progressive Coalition and regularly advises a diverse set of local organizers from SWOP, Retake Our Democracy, and more.

Sandy Duckert, an educator with her doctorate in educational leadership, is a volunteer with RESULTS working to end domestic and global poverty. She has taught advocacy skills to both low income and privileged individuals, lobbied members of Congress both locally and in Washington, D.C., and helped start two RESULTS groups in New Mexico. She is currently volunteering with Indivisible groups and others in the Albuquerque area offering advocacy training skills for speaking, writing, and meeting with legislators and policy makers.

Camilla C. Feibelman has served as Director of the Rio Grande Chapter of Sierra Club since May 2013.  Since joining the Sierra Club in 2000, she has held positions including: Field Organizer in Puerto Rico (where she helped protect the Northeast Ecological Corridor, nesting ground for the endangered Leatherback turtle, as a nature reserve), Deputy Press Secretary for Diversity Programs (providing environmental justice communities with media support and creating a Spanish-language environmental column syndicated throughout the country), and National Director of the Sierra Club’s Sierra Student Coalition. Camilla was a Fulbright Scholar in 1998, studying the impact of urbanization on the fishery in the Peruvian Amazon and a Morris K. Udall Scholar in 1997.  She received a B.A. in Environmental Biology from Columbia University and an M.P. in Urban Planning from the University of Puerto Rico. She was recently nominated by President Obama to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Morris K and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.

Hazel James currently works for San Juan Collaborative for Health Equity, as a Coordinator. She is a community advocate in addressing issues of social, environmental, health justice, racial healing, and working with youth leadership activities, with the foundation of Diné Centered-Indigenous base-perspectives. Recently in a community health effort working with Navajo Communities effected by Oil and Gas development in Northwestern New Mexico. Her prior experiences in community organizing lead to the establishment of Diné Bidziil Coalition (Strength of the People), a grassroots group, that successfully ban uranium mining on Navajo Nation.

Jordan O. James, an enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, is a Native American social scientist and educator. He is an instructor at the University of New Mexico’s School of Architecture and Planning, a graduate research assistant and is pursuing his PhD which focuses on culturally sustaining adult education pedagogies. Previously, Jordan worked for the New Mexico State Government where he taught various courses for state and federal employees. He is founder of the Indigenous Training Collaborative.

Avery Kalapa has been teaching yoga since 2003, and has yoga several certifications, including in trauma-informed yoga. Avery also has been involved in various types of activism and queer community organizing. She is always seeking ways to integrate her love for the immense subject of yoga with her passion for social justice.

Lissa Knudsen is chair of the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task force and has successfully advocated for multiple state-level bills over the past 10 years. She is also a PhD student in Communication at University of New Mexico and has taught public speaking at Central New Mexico Community College for the past several  years.

Jaycee Lewis, a certified trainer for the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, has taught the Trans 101 training 100+ times, is a Safe Zone trainer for UNM’s LGBTQ Resource Center, and teaches sexual violence prevention to middle schoolers in Santa Fe.

Sierra Logan is a facilitator with the outreach/education working group of Northern New Mexico SURJ. She is working to be of greater service to those engaged in ongoing struggles for the health, safety, and autonomy of their communities.

Sarah Malone is a weaver of tales for young and old alike and a bilingual teller whose repertoire includes world tales, from the Hispanic Southwest to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and beyond. She has shared her stories in libraries, schools, museums, community centers, conferences, on safari in Africa, and at the United Nations. She is currently president of Storytellers of New Mexico.

Lucy Moore is one of the country’s leading mediators dealing with public policy and natural resource issues. For the past 25 years she has worked regionally and nationally on conflicts that involve a wide variety of complex issues, including water rights, endangered species protection, forest planning, hazardous waste disposal, and more. Having lived in Navajo Country for 7 years and then in New Mexico for the last 40 years she has a depth of experience working cross-culturally and offers training in cross-cultural alliance building with colleagues Roberto Chene and Nadine Tafoya. Lucy believes deeply in the right of all citizens to participate fully in decision-making that affects them and strives to help those in conflict build productive relationships. She is the author of “Into the Canyon: Seven Years in Navajo Country,” and “Common Ground on Hostile Turf: Stories from an Environmental Mediator.”

Laura Ramnarace has provided training on conflict related topics and conflict intervention services to a wide variety of groups, including schools, businesses, non-profit organizations, and through the court system. She has also has provided decision making and strategic planning facilitation for ad hoc community groups, non-profit organizations, and agencies such as Nonviolent Action New Mexico. She is author of the assessment and planning workbook for non-profit and community organizations titled “Organizational Cultural Competency.” Her book, Getting Along: The Wild, Wacky World of Human Relationships, is being published by the American University of Sovereign Nations in 2017.

Ivy Rizzo founded her advocacy group, New Mexico Food Allergy Support, out of feeling alone and overwhelmed by a medical disability diagnosis. She now has over a hundred New Mexican families co-creating her support group and while she still feels overwhelmed she rarely feels alone in her advocacy work.

Maya Rommwatt is an experienced environmental organizer who works for wildlife conservation by day and climate justice mobilization by night. She spends far too much of her time in the world of Google docs and social media, and she loves to help other activists become more fluent in that world in order to become more efficient in their work and more effective at communicating within their networks. She represents New Mexico Story Power.

Mark Rudd is a long-time organizer and teacher in Albuquerque.  He has worked in the anti-Vietnam war movement, anti-nuclear movement, Native American solidarity movement, peace movement, Central American solidarity movement, union movement, environmental justice movement, and for progressive Democratic candidates. Currently he’s a member of the Sierra Club’s Bosque Action Team and the leadership team of the New Mexico Progressive Coalition. His main interest is in training young organizers.

Makenzie Sanchez is a senior at Sandia High School and represents Sierra Student Coalition. She has been working with Albuquerque’s urban wildlife refuge, Valle de Oro, for the past three years and helping run student organizations at school and her own projects advocating for equity of environmental education in public schools. Makenzie has created a team of like-minded students to make real changes throughout Albuquerque, including launching a Sandia High School Earth Day Festival, an event in its second year that is now open to all public schools for participation and attendance.

Maurreen Skowran worked as a journalist for more than 15 years. Her experience focused on copy editing but also included reporting and other duties. She worked at newspapers ranging from the weekly Apache Junction Independent to the Albuquerque Journal and The (Raleigh) News & Observer, one of the nation’s top newspapers. Skowran served on the board of the American Copy Editors Society and taught editing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She represents Albuquerque Indivisible.

Robert Tohe, a Senior Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club’s Dirty Fuels Campaign in New Mexico, Robert works with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities affected by oil and gas extraction and uranium mining legacy issues and in stopping new threats from renewed mining. It’s rewarding and important work because it helps support Indigenous communities defend important cultural landscapes. Whether it’s special places like Mount Taylor in Northwest New Mexico or Greater Chaco Canyon Area, they deserve protection for future generations to enjoy. In 2012 the Obama Administration in its final environmental impact statement proposed a 20-year “mineral withdrawal” across the 1 million-acre area, banning new claims and blocking new uranium mining on existing, unproven claims. We saw the success of our organizing work, which resulted in the Navajo Nation government passing a permanent uranium mining ban, contributing to the federal Grand Canyon mineral withdrawal.

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Trainer profiles