Aditi Varshenya is GAIA’s U.S. Zero Waste Coordinator. Originally from India, Aditi grew up in China and is now based in New York City. Her academic background centers environmental justice, and she is pursuing a Master of Urban Planning at New York University. Aditi was a community organizer prior to joining GAIA and is fiercely dedicated to building a world that values people and planet before profit. 

Agnes Mampusti is GAIA’s Global Digital Communications Associate based in the Philippines. Prior to moving back to Manila, she was a Publishing Manager for over thirteen business and lifestyle publications in Malaysia. Since then, Agnes has fallen in love with pursuing worthy advocacies through her work on communications and digital media for international organizations including the British Council. When not glued to social media for #trendingtopics, she can be found consuming media about (and by) empowered women.

Brieshen McKee is the Finance & Business Director for GAIA’s U.S. office.  She has a background in finance, administration and HR, and has worked with various Bay Area nonprofits in this capacity. Brieshen has an MBA with an emphasis in sustainable business.

Camila Aguilera is GAIA’s Latin America Program Advisor. Her interest in nature led her to hold a Diploma in Socio-Environmental Studies, which she hopes will become her subject of specialization. Previous to joining GAIA, she volunteered for different environmental initiatives, being the most significant a project she developed with local recyclers in the city of Concepción, Chile. Camila is also the co-founder of the local NGO Fundación El Árbol. In her spare time she enjoys riding her bike, hiking and reading.

Carissa Marnce is GAIA’s Africa Communications Coordinator. She has a background in Journalism, with a special focus on new media and has previously worked with local news media as a journalist. Carissa joined the GAIA team in April 2020 and is based in Durban, South Africa.

Caryl Pillora is the Plastics Campaign Associate for GAIA Asia Pacific. She has worked with various environmental and human rights groups, focusing on issues of climate change and extractives. Before her professional work in the development sector, she was a grassroots volunteer organizer for about five years in a humanitarian organization, and seven years in an environmental movement. She enjoys painting and hiking in her spare time.

Chris Flood is the Development and Resource Mobilization Manager for GAIA’s U.S. office. Chris joined the environmental justice movement over twenty years ago, when he worked with Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL) to combat one of the most egregious examples of environmental racism in the country. Since then, he has worked at a variety of nonprofits on issues ranging from education to the environment.

Christie Keith is GAIA’s International Coordinator and the Executive Director of our U.S. office. She joined GAIA in 2005, and has 25 years of experience with social movements and international non-profit organizations. She began her work in Guatemala as a popular educator, program coordinator, and strategic planning facilitator for groups in the women’s movement and Mayan-campesino organizing community, as well as in international human rights. For the last 15 years Christie has worked from the U.S. on international waste, public health, and environmental justice issues.

Claire Arkin is the Communications Coordinator at GAIA. She has previously worked as an organizer for the Colorado Democratic Party, the online farmers market Farmigo, and the New York City Department of Education. Claire became involved in the environmental justice movement through co-organizing the Food Justice Contingent of the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City. She is based out of our Berkeley, U.S.A. office.
Dan Abril is the Communications Associate for GAIA Asia Pacific. He carries almost 30 years of experience in communications work, from media publishing to marketing to web content writing, and as the Campaigns Coordinator of other non-government organisations. His traditional and modern approach to comms work is a solid support to GAIA AP campaigns.
Denise Patel is the U.S. Program Director and Regional Coordinator for the U.S./Canada Region at GAIA. She has previously worked on campaigns and policy development with labor, environmental, and environmental justice organizations on toxics and chemical safety, fossil fuel divestment, and climate change, with a focus on improving environmental and occupational health. Denise is based in New York City.
Desmond Alugnoa is GAIA’s Africa Member Support Program Coordinator. He has a background in Environmental Science and Climate Governance. Desmond has worked with Ghana’s national government, as well as the corporate sector both in Africa and in Europe, in diverse capacities involving waste management and sustainability. He is a climate activist, a strategic campaigner and has worked with the UN Major Groups for Children, YOUNGO and the Youth in Landscape. Desmond joined the GAIA team in April 2021 and is based in Accra, Ghana.

Doun Moon joined GAIA as a Policy Researcher in 2017. She has been engaged in policy advocacy activities for the last five years working for national and regional civil society platforms including Asia Development Alliance and Korea Zero Waste Movement Network. Doun is based in GAIA’s Berkeley office.

Edel Garingan is the Resource Mobilization Associate for GAIA Asia Pacific. He has been working in the development sector for more than 10 years in the areas of program planning, monitoring and evaluation, research, training, and resource mobilization. He has worked at different nonprofits on the issues of biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, human rights, social enterprise, children and youth development and participatory community development processes. On the side, he is a visual artist and uses his craft to help advance his advocacy.

Felicia Dayrit is the Zero Waste Program Associate for GAIA Asia Pacific. Right after graduating AB Development Studies, she joined the Jesuit Volunteers and was deployed to Eastern Samar, Philippines for 10 months where she provided technical assistance in helping several farmers associations set up their cassava community enterprise. After her volunteer year, she joined GAIA in September 2018.

Felipe Torres is GAIA’s Plastic Advisor for Latin America and The Caribbean. Originally from Colombia, now is based in Brazil. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineer and is finishing a PhD in waste prevention. He has experience working and researching about inclusive waste management and upcycling practices. He likes to draw and to walk in the urban and natural landscapes.

Froilan Grate is GAIA’s Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator and Executive Director of GAIA Philippines. Froilan is a committed environmental justice campaigner who has assisted more than 20 cities/municipalities in the Philippines in developing and improving waste management programs and systems. He has extensive experience in module development and training and legislative work, providing support to legislators at the local government level, especially in areas of policy review.

Gemma Estrella  is GAIA’s Network Development Coordinator. Originally from Barcelona, she has been involved with Human Rights and grassroots organizations in Spain, Mexico, and the United States. In 2005 she moved to Mexico, where she lived seven years and worked as a Program Manager at Promedios de Comunicación Comunitaria. Prior to joining GAIA, Gemma worked at Centro Legal de la Raza, in Oakland, as the Donor Relations and Communications Coordinator, and has also continued working as a freelance video editor.

Jed Alegado is GAIA Asia Pacific’s Regional Communications Officer for the #breakfreefromplastic movement. Prior to joining GAIA, he has worked with several non-government organizations as a media and communications officer and project manager. He holds a masters degree in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies part of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague, Netherlands.

Jenny Tang is GAIA’s Program Operations & Grants Administrator. She has experience as a climate action educator and researcher and has organized with her friends to demand fossil fuel divestment, environmental justice, and just and lasting peace. She is on the secretariat of the New Jersey chapter of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.

Kenza Elazkem is GAIA’s North Africa Outreach Coordinator. She has a background in political science and sustainable economic development. She has worked in different fields such as election observation, international cooperation, capacity building for cooperatives and CSR. Kenza joined the GAIA team in April 2021 and is based in Marrakech, Morocco.

Magdalena Donoso is the Coordinator for GAIA Latin America and the Caribbean. She has worked in communications and networking with several Chilean NGOs and in Television Trust for the Environment (UK), supporting educational and activism programs in forestry and biodiversity for 15 years. For the last ten years she has worked on waste issues with cities in Latin America, particularly defending the rights of recyclers and promoting zero waste. She is based in Concepción, Chile.

Marisa Gonzales Nordstrom, Events Manager for the Urban Movement Innovation Fund (UMIF). Marisa supports GAIA’s work through organizing global conferences and supporting grantees of the UMI Fund. She brings her experience as a facilitator in the field of conflict transformation and equity, inclusion, and diversity. For the past 15 years, she has worked primarily as an environmental educator, youth empowerment mentor, and bilingual performer.

Miko Aliño is GAIA’s Asia Pacific Program Manager and is based in the Asia-Pacific office in Quezon City, Philippines. He has worked with various development and environmental organizations in the past 10 years, focusing on urban poor and climate change issues.

Miriam Azurin or Mayang is GAIA’s Asia Pacific Deputy Director. Before joining GAIA,  Mayang coordinated the policy and lobbying work of two global civil society platforms on accountable development finance to human rights and environmental instruments, the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness and the NGO Forum on ADB. She also steered Philippine coalitions and non-profits for policy advocacy and mainstreaming of integrated local solutions. For ten years, she has managed grants programs for civil society campaigning in the Philippines and regionally in Asia wherein she has administered full grants cycles, knowledge management, and communications work. Earlier in her career, she was a researcher for the progressive think tank, IBON Foundation. She holds a master’s degree in public management.

Monica Wilson is GAIA’s Policy and Research Coordinator and the Associate Director of our U.S. office. She has worked with GAIA since 2002, and served five years as GAIA’s International Co-Coordinator. Monica serves on the board of the Grassroots Recycling Network, was previously on the board of the Northern California Recycling Association, and is a master composter. In 2012 she was honored to be named by the California Resource Recovery Association as “Recycler of the Year” together with GAIA’s US & Canada Program, for achievement in the field. Monica is based in GAIA’s Berkeley, U.S. office.

Nautica Welch is the Bookkeeper & Office Administrator for the GAIA US office. His experience and passion with youth development cultivated a strong sense of humanitarianism, which laid the path to non-profit work that spearheads global change for the betterment of human life. Active outdoors and well traveled, Nautica has been a catalyst for love & peace since moving away from his parents San Diego home at 17. His ultimate dream is to build an education system that juxtaposes the current education programs available to the youth – developing the leaders of our future.

Neil Tangri is GAIA’s Science and Policy Director. A founding member of GAIA, Neil has worked on international environmental policy, climate and development finance, and provided technical support to GAIA members. Neil has a captain’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard and a PhD from Stanford University.

Niven Reddy is GAIA’s Africa Regional Coordinator. He has a background in social science and has worked in the environmental planning and education sector. He joined the environmental justice movement in 2016 with groundWork, where he focused on air quality monitoring, youth mobalisation and working with local waste picker groups. Niven  joined the GAIA team in January 2018 and is based in Durban, South Africa.

Patricia Parras is GAIA’s Network Development and Campaign Associate. As a graduate student currently pursuing international relations, her academic background has piqued her interest in international development. She has witnessed and been involved with affairs that have helped to shape international relations, including participation in the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation National Organizing Council, becoming head of delegation under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths Program (JENESYS), and working under United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Rhoda David is the Operations and Finance Coordinator for Asia-Pacific and handles administration and finance matters. She holds a degree in business administration with a major in accounting. She has over 30 years of experience in the fields of human resource, administration and finance, and has worked with various NGOs working on issues related to family development and youth organizing, urban poor housing and agriculture. Rhoda is based in GAIA’s office in Quezon City.

Sherma Benosa is the Knowledge Management Officer for GAIA Asia Pacific. Prior to joining GAIA in November 2016, she worked for Philippine based non-government organizations working on agriculture and health. She also worked as managing editor of a health magazine and has written feature stories on arts, culture, health, and business for various publications. A fictionist writing mostly in the vein of social realism, she uses storytelling to add her voice to the call for social justice and equity and to delve on issues that are often overlooked in discourses.

Shibu Nair is the GAIA India Coordinator. He has been active in movements and campaigns related to environment and toxics since 1991. He entered into the realm of environmental activism through organizing environmental education programs for schools in Kerala. He is one of the pioneers of zero waste movement in India, and led the zero waste campaigns and programs for Thanal — one of the oldest environmental organizations in South India. His expertise is in organics management, designing and developing zero waste systems at community level and strategizing zero waste programs and campaigns.

Sonia G. Astudillo is the Communications Officer for GAIA Asia Pacific. She has more than 15 years of experience working in media and communications for women’s magazines, a Philippine Senator and a Congressman, and three other NGOs: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia Pacific, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Asia, and The Way To Happiness – Philippines. She studied Journalism and has a master’s degree in public policy from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, Japan. She is also a certified raw vegan chef, detox coach, and yoga teacher. In her spare time, she does batik painting. 

Tok Oyewole is GAIA’s US and Canada Policy & Research Coordinator, coming in with over a decade of experience in climate advocacy, and master’s and doctorate degrees in Geography focusing on climate change mitigation in agricultural landscapes and environmental justice and liberatory education in school gardens. A former National Science Foundation fellow, Tok is passionate about science and education, and has experience shaping solid waste policies in New York City and state with communities living amidst environmental injustices. Tok has lived briefly in a few countries and has done sustainable development work in Nigeria and farming/teaching in Ecuador.

Yobel Novian Putra is the Climate and Clean Energy Campaign Associate for GAIA Asia Pacific. His interest in waste issues started from learning the history of a catastrophic landfill avalanche in his hometown, Bandung, Indonesia. Later on, his interest transformed into a passion for learning about zero waste. Before joining GAIA, Yobel worked for 2 years as Zero Waste Policy Advocacy staff at YPBB Bandung (a local NGO which implemented a Zero Waste Cities program since 2013). He was also involved in Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia works. Yobel graduated from Institut Teknologi Bandung with a degree in environmental engineering.

Zero Waste Europe team members

Ana Oliveira is the Communications Coordinator for Zero Waste Europe, and the Rethink Plastic alliance. Her previous work experiences include EU institutions, NGOs, and private sector communication companies, where she was responsible for strategic communications, business development, and project communications. Environmental topics have been a constant throughout her career, be it through the link between health and environment, sustainability in the building sector, and the promotion of eco-innovative business practices. Ana holds a BA in Communications Sciences from the University of Porto and a MA in European Studies from KU Leuven. She speaks Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, and Italian.

Alexandra Clipa is the Admin Assistant for Zero Waste Europe. Alexandra has a background in International Relations and European Studies and a Master in Political Science from Université libre de Bruxelles. She has always been interested in topics such as sustainability, economics and development studies. She has previously worked for a company specialized in the production of organic, fair trade and sustainable ingredients from the Amazon Rainforest, and through this activity she has become more aware of the importance of climate protection and the necessity to adopt a much healthier and eco-friendly lifestyle.

Berta Corredor is the Press Officer of Zero Waste Europe. With a background in Journalism, and extensive experience in developing international press campaigns and working in different media, Berta thrives in multicultural contexts where she can raise awareness of environmental projects.Berta holds a BA in Journalism and a MA in International Relations from Complutense University. In addition to her native Spanish, she speaks English, French, some Italian, and a little bit of Russian.

Delphine Lévi Alvarès is the European Coordinator of Break Free From Plastic. Delphine joined Zero Waste Europe in April 2016 and took on the role of European Coordinator for the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement. Before joining ZWE, Delphine spent two years as Senior Advocacy Officer at Zero Waste France, promoting zero waste strategies and achievements in the French political arena and participating in the improvement of French waste policy. She started her career at Cniid in 2010 as a Campaigner on Incineration and Landfill, and played a key role in the transition of Cniid to Zero Waste France in early 2014. Delphine holds a a masters degree in European Policy and Sustainable Development engineering.

Dorota Napierska is Policy Officer on Toxic-Free Consumption & Production for Zero Waste Europe. Dorota works on toxic-free consumption and production to ensure safe and sustainable solutions. That means work on the presence of hazardous chemicals in products and packaging, promotion of non-toxic alternatives, and how this all impacts human health, the environment, and the achievement of a truly circular economy. Her advocacy work focuses on the revision of the EU food contact materials legislation.

Esra Tat is the Associate Director of Zero Waste Europe. Esra leads on the strategic development of Zero Waste Europe as a network and organisation, and manages the implementation of the vision with the team and member organisations. She coordinates the development of European campaigns in partnership with Zero Waste Europe’s members across the continent, and acts as the European Regional Coordinator towards GAIA International to further promote zero waste models worldwide.

Heli Pärna is the Finance & Admin Officer of Zero Waste Europe. Heli has a background in translation and literature and she has previously worked in the European Commission as Assistant in the Interpretation Directorate and Project Coordinator in the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Unit (DG ECHO). She first learned about Zero Waste Europe whilst volunteering for the Estonian NGO Let’s Do It. She loves nature and animals and has always been very vocal about environmental issues and animal rights. She is very happy to be joining the ZWE team, because working in the environmental field has been a goal for her for some time now. Apart from nature and animals, Heli loves theatre and literature. She is part of the Brussels English language theatre group and a member of ImproBrussels.

Iveta Cadrova is the Membership Coordination Officer of Zero Waste Europe. Iveta has an educational background in languages and project management. She has previously worked as event manager in the private sector. She has now decided to leave that sector and use her energy and skills for a cause that she is passionate about: fighting against plastic pollution and protecting the environment. Iveta’s main strengths are her organisational skills and a positive attitude. She speaks English, French and Slovak.

Jack McQuibban is the Cities Program Coordinator of Zero Waste Europe. Jack has an educational background in international relations having studied at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. For the past 5 years, he has worked for two different NGOs within the international development and sustainability sectors, helping to build movements and communities for change. He has led successful campaigns at the local level within the UK as well as at the global level at institutions such as the United Nations. Jack will be leading our work with municipalities, helping to connect members from across Europe to build and contribute towards the transition of cities towards zero waste strategies.

Janek Vähk  is the Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator of Zero Waste Europe.  As Development and Policy Coordinator, he manages the relationship with Zero Waste Europe’s funders and leads on climate and energy policy advocacy work towards EU institutions. Previously, he worked for the Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) in Brussels where he coordinated fundraising efforts on behalf of FoEE and its 6 programmes. Prior to the FoEE, Janek worked for the Justice and Environment (J&E) where he provided leadership for the development of strategic partnerships. He holds an Msc in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Central European University and Postgraduate degree in Charity Marketing from Cass Business School.

Joan Marc Simon  is the Executive Director of Zero Waste Europe.  Based in Brussels, he has been a leading voice for Zero Waste in Europe since 2007 and he is a regular keynote speaker in many industry and NGO meetings in Brussels but also at local level as well as internationally. He is member of the Steering Committee of the Break Free from Plastics movement. Among many other publications he has authored the Zero Waste Masterplan for cities as well as the book “Zero Waste – How to reactivate the economy without trashing the planet”. With a background in Economics, he has more than 10 years of experience working with governmental and non-governmental organisations in the field of good governance, new economics, social justice, and environment.

Justine Maillot is the Consumption & Production Campaigner and Policy Coordinator of Rethink Plastic Alliance.  She has a background in International, European and environmental law, and worked at the EU Unit of Greenpeace for four years on EU ocean and fisheries policy before joining ZWE. After an eighteen month break travelling and getting involved in different small local projects, she joined Surfrider Foundation Europe, where she mainly worked on plastic pollution and contributed to the work of the Rethink Plastic alliance. Besides the work on plastics for the Rethink Plastic Alliance she joins our team on Consumption and Production where she will be leading our work on food contact materials, particularly the health impacts from single use packaging.

Kaisa Karjalainen is the Zero Waste Academy Coordinator for Zero Waste Europe. She has an educational background in environmental engineering and she’s about to graduate with an MBA focusing on leadership and service design. Previously, she worked as a consultant for companies, organisations and events on how to establish environmental management systems, she conducted sustainability training, life cycle assessments, and she designed waste management plans. She spent the last years working for a reuse centre and environment school designing services related to sustainability education in order to keep discarded materials in use for longer.

Larissa Copello is the Consumption and Production Campaigner. Larissa has a background in Law and she worked as a Legal Consultant on environment, health, and safety policies. She is passionate about environmental protection and sustainable development practices. She is a zero waster at heart, and enjoys running campaigns and empowering people towards sustainable consumption patterns. She also likes cooking and preparing her zero waste cosmetics and products, while fostering her creativity!.

Mariel Vilella is the Director of Global Strategy of Zero Waste Europe.  Mariel is currently driving the global work of Zero Waste Europe as Director of Global Strategy, building bridges and identifying opportunities for collaboration across borders to promote zero waste policies and practices with members worldwide. Prior to this role, between 2014-2019 she was the Managing Director of Zero Waste Europe, during its foundation and early development. Before 2014 she was the lead climate policy campaigner for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). Today she continues to guide GAIA’s work on zero waste project guidelines for major sources of climate finance, and international energy policy with impacts on the waste sector. She has extensive experience in research, publication development and project management.

Nathan Dufour is the Consumption and Production Coordinator for Zero Waste Europe. Nathan has an educational background in political sciences and EU studies and holds a Master in EU International Relations and Diplomacy from the College of Europe in Bruges. Nathan has nine years of experience spread between the European and African continents, working for public, private and international institutions. Based in Cape-Town (South Africa), between 2016 and 2018, he also contributed to the research, business development, and advocacy work of the African Climate Finance Hub.


Niamh Cullen is the Communication Officer of Zero Waste Europe and the Communications Coordinator of the Rethink Plastic alliance. She has a background in communications and campaigning, and holds a Masters in Journalism. She spent two years as a graduate journalist in her home country of Ireland before arriving in Brussels four years ago, working mostly in EU institutional and NGO settings – primarily in communicating education, culture, youth and LGBTI policies. She’s held a lifelong passion for social justice, conversation, community, and writing.


Pierre Condamine is the Waste Policy Officer for Zero Waste Europe. Pierre has an educational background in political science and a Master in Sustainable Development, Pierre decided to dedicate his professional life to protect the environment. As he grew up near the Atlantic coast he has a special connection to nature and thus will seize every opportunity to support the ecological transition. He is then determined to make change towards a Zero Waste society happen at the European level, along with promoting citizen’s empowerment at a local level.

Theresa Bonnici is the Communications Officer for Zero Waste Europe. She plays a crucial role in the implementation of communication activities, with a special focus on those related to our Cities & Communities and Membership programmes.
She has a background in journalism and experience in communications within the non-profit sector in Malta, and has been involved in a number of voluntary projects. She has a passion for promoting the protection of our planet and all its inhabitants.
Theresa holds a Bachelor in Communications and an MSc in Digital Marketing. Besides English and her native Maltese, she is currently taking up French.