Susan Wright is a Sustainability Program Manager at the County of San Mateo in California where she leads climate protection initiatives and optimizes energy efficiency and water conservation programs for the Office of Sustainability. Susan hosts a monthly working group to help city sustainability coordinators collaborate to develop, implement, and track climate action plans. She also partners with regional stakeholders to scale up and accelerate electrification efforts for existing single-family homes.
Previously as Program Manager at Ecology Action, a nonprofit organization in Santa Cruz, she launched the award-winning WaterLink program to provide door-to-door, direct installation of water-saving equipment to residents and businesses during the severe California drought. WaterLink served socially vulnerable communities in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Alameda counties.
Earlier in her career, Susan was Editorial Director of Sunset Magazine’s Custom Publishing division, where she led teams to create magazines for corporate clients such as Safeway, Acura, and Procter & Gamble.
As a result of working in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors for nearly 30 years, she recognizes the need for all three to work together to scale up impact. She believes that by working together across sectors -- public agencies, community-based organizations, small businesses and large corporations -- and including voices that have typically been underrepresented, we can co-create innovative solutions to the complex challenges we face.
Susan has a Master’s in Public Administration from Presidio Graduate School and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Principia College.
Leslie Alden, Co-Founder, Chief Instigator, Executive Director
Leslie Alden has worked at the nexus of public policy, community engagement, and communication for over 35 years and, believing that we can't adapt our way out of the climate crisis, has focused on climate solutions for the last fifteen years. Her career spans both the public and private sectors, as well as non-profits, and she sees cross-collaboration as the most meaningful approach to identifying and implementing solutions that have real results for individuals, communities, and business.
Having served as a district aide and community representative for thirteen+ years at the County of Marin, she was fortunate to be a part of breakthrough initiatives on climate action. The "David vs. Goliath" effort that's had the most impact is MCE Clean Energy, California's first Community Choice Energy program and the first in the nation focused on 100% renewable energy. Since its modest launch in 2010, there are now 24 local energy programs throughout the state that serve over 11 million customers, and California’s renewable energy market has been transformed. She toured Germany as a guest of the Green Party to see first-hand that country's commitment to a renewable energy transition, and has spoken in the US and Canada on community-based climate action. The 2015 “Here-Now-Us" Project - a partnership between Climate Access, Autodesk, Dr. Susanne Moser, and funded by FEMA - tested a Virtual Reality tool that engaged the community and fostered understanding of the local impacts of sea level rise.
More recently, she was instrumental in conceiving of and launching DRAWDOWN: Marin, a county-wide campaign to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by engaging every aspect of the community: citizen groups, businesses, and government. And that led to the regional approach of DRAWDOWN Bay Area.
A former art director and writer at ad agencies in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Leslie brings a multi-disciplinary approach that combines communications, strategic planning, project management, public policy, and a commitment to outreach and education - all essential to move from “talk” to “action.” Borrowing from Dr. King, she recognizes the "fierce urgency of now": the need to implement climate solutions at speed and scale to protect future generations and all life on the planet.
Born and raised in San Francisco, she attended Art Center College of Design, is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in Education and Public Policy, and is currently enrolled at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
If ever time was of the essence,
it is now.
If ever a region could meet the challenge,
it is the Bay Area.