- We Share Solar
Laura E. Stachel, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Director, the co-founder of WE CARE Solar, is an obstetrician-gynecologist with fourteen years of clinical experience. She holds an M.D. from University of California, San Francisco and an M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health from University of California, Berkeley. Laura was the Associate Director of Emergency Obstetric Research in West Africa for the Bixby Center for Population Health and Sustainability. She was the P.I. on a MacArthur Foundation project on We Care Solar Suitcase usage in Nigeria and Uganda, and was co-investigator for a collaborative Population Council study that assessed the standard of maternity care in Nigerian state hospitals. Laura was a staff researcher at the Blum Center for Developing Economies at U.C. Berkeley. She serves on the Editorial Board for the Berkeley Wellness Letter and co-chairs a international working group on Energy and Health for the UN Foundation. Laura has won numerous awards including the 2015 UN DESA “Powering the Future We Want” Award, the UCSF Alumni Award, the C3E Leadership in Developing Countries Award, and the Top-Ten 2013 CNN Heroes award. E-mail: laura_ at _ wecaresolar.org.
Hal Aronson, Ph.D, Director of Technology and Education is the co-founder of WE CARE Solar. He is co-director of We Share Solar, the educational program that empowers youth to learn about solar energy and build Solar Suitcases for schools and orphanages. Hal has taught renewable energy in the Bay Area and around California for over 13 years. He co-created Solar Schoolhouse, bringing solar curriculum to schools throughout California, and also created California Youth Energy Services, a service learning program that now employs one hundred youth a year as energy-efficient retrofitters. Hal leads professional development workshops for educators, and developed training programs at Solar Richmond and Solar Energy International. Hal installed the first legal residential solar electric system in Santa Cruz County (in 1983). He obtained his Ph.D. in environmental sociology from UCSC; his dissertation focused on environmental justice. Email: hal_at_wecaresolar.org.
Robin Wolaner, Chief Operating Officer, is an executive with broad experience in startups and managing companies. Most recently, she was the CEO of Vittana, a nonprofit which pioneered higher education loans in the developing world, and she remains on Vittana’s board after the company’s partnerships were absorbed by Kiva. She is the author of Naked in the Boardroom: A CEO Bares Her Secrets So You Can Transform Your Career (Simon & Schuster 2005). In 1985, she founded Parenting magazine, the most successful magazine launch of the decade and later sold to Time Inc. Parenting’s founding is documented in one of the most popular case studies by Harvard Business School.
Her career encompasses publisher of Mother Jones Magazine; heading magazine development for Time Inc.; CEO of Sunset Publishing; executive vice president of CNET; founding TeeBeeDee, a social network for people over 40; and advising early-stage tech startups. She has been on the board of directors of Credo Mobile, the social-impact company formerly known as Working Assets, since 2000. Robin holds a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.
Sam Hartwell, part-time CFO. A long-time member of the social impact community, Sam has more than 25 years of financial and operations experience in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors – where he has managed turnarounds, reengineered business units, and built integrated corporate functions for two international nonprofits. He was selected as a San Francisco Bay Area CFO of the Year finalist for his work in Africa, where he lived with his family and was responsible for KickStart International’s finance, IT and impact monitoring. Most recently, Sam launched a financial services company called SoProCFO, providing CFO, Controller and accounting services to high-growth, high-impact social enterprises. Sam holds an MBA from Yale University in Finance and Operations and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.
Brent Moellenberg, Director of Engineering, is a mechanical engineer who especially enjoys working in the renewable energy field. He has over 15 years of engineering industry experience, in of range of disciplines including renewable energy, MRI hardware design, agriculture testing, and computer hardware/software engineering. Beginning in 2005, Brent devoted much of his spare time to Engineers Without Borders, with whom he travelled to help with sustainable power systems within the developing world. He has also created remote solar monitoring solutions, currently used in both commercial as well as developing world settings. Brent joined our team as lead engineer in 2010, when we traveled to Haiti on a Solar Suitcase program. Since that time, he has travelled to Nigeria, Liberia, Uganda and Ethiopia, installing Solar Suitcases, training technicians and conducting field research. Brent has been instrumental in improving the design, installation and monitoring of our robust, portable Solar Suitcases.
Christina Briegleb, MPH, Director of Programs, has 10 years of experience developing and evaluating large global health projects, conducting mixed-methods research, and managing diverse teams. Prior to joining We Care Solar, Christina worked with a handful of universities and non-profit organizations managing health programs and research in Australia, Ghana, Kenya, Myanmar, and Tanzania. Most recently she worked with UCSF in Global Health. She holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of New South Wales. Christina travelled to Ethiopia in 2014 to launch our Solar Suitcase program with Hamlin College of Midwives.
Kim Munn, Program Coordinator, We Care Solar, has been involved in international development for over ten years and holds a Bachelors Degree in International Affairs and a Masters Degree in Global Finance and Economic Integration. She has worked with Village Enterprise, Kiva, Vittana, and many other non-profits to reduce poverty in Asia, South America, and Africa. Kim loves to travel and has lived, worked, and/or traveled to over fifty countries. She is looking forward to helping We Care Solar scale their programs and increase their impact in the coming years.
Rex Lu, Engineer, began his solar career in 2007, designing residential grid-tied systems. During that time he also volunteered with Engineers without Borders and saw not only the positive impact that off-grid solar power systems could provide to communities in the developing world, but also the need for solar professionals knowledgeable of and experienced with battery-based solar systems. With this in mind, he became an applications engineer at OutBack Power, which allowed him to design, troubleshoot and provide training for off-grid systems. During that time he worked on projects in the Caribbean, Tanzania, Nigeria, and several countries in southern Africa. Rex has as BS in mechanical engineering from University of California, Berkeley and obtained his NABCEP certification in 2013.
Kevin Schoeler, Donor Development and Communications, is a former consumer technology executive with more than 15 years of philanthropic and non-profit experience as a donor, board member and development professional. During AOL’s era of historic growth, he served in multiple business development, general management and partner relations roles and was its Director of E-Mail. He was DirecTV’s Vice President, E-Commerce, led the company’s expansion into online and direct sales, and served as an advisor to senior management. Following AOL, he became actively involved as a donor to numerous global, domestic and local nonprofits. He served on the Board of Directors of the Cambodian Children’s Fund for seven years and was its Director of Donor Development prior to establishing a consultancy that provides advisory services for non-profit organizations and philanthropists. Kevin holds a B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Maryland and an MBA from George Washington University.
Gigi Goldman, MBA. Co-Director and Co-Founder, We Share Solar. After a decade of working in marketing and general management for classic consumer goods at General Mills, Inc and Minnetonka Corp on cereal brands and fragrance products, Gigi Goldman launched her own SBA-backed consumer products company, Gianna International Inc., focused on international trading and sourcing custom designed products directly from producers in Asia, and Central and South America. Embracing the concept of social business, Gianna International, Inc. now supplies products made by indigenous South American tribes to FEED, an organization which sells products that “help feed the world” through the World Food Program. In addition to serving on the We Care Solar board, Gigi is on the board on the McCarter Theatre Center. She resides in Princeton with her husband, Jim Goldman, former CEO of Godiva and two children. Gigi has a BA in English Literature from Carleton College and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management. Gigi brought We Share Solar Suitcases to the Kibera slums in Kenya in 2014.
Wendy Cross, We Share Solar Program Manager, has worked in international development and non-profit management for over a decade, with a special affinity for Africa and education programs. She recently served as the Director of Programs and Operations for Teach With Africa and as Co-Producer of EdTech Summit Africa. Wendy began her international work while living in rural South Africa developing and managing sustainable development projects with grassroots organizations and also worked as a Grant Writer for The Global Fund for Children. Wendy received a Masters in Sustainable Development with a concentration in Community Development Management from SIT Graduate Institute and holds a Bachelors degree in Film and Television Production from Chapman University.
Molly Naughton, We Share Solar Program Coordinator, is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. She found her footing in the Bay Area’s film scene as a production coordinator at George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic and across the bay at Pixar Animation Studios. These past several years, she has been spending time in one of her favorite places, amidst hordes of kids. As a member of the Palo Alto Unified School District, Molly has been teaching the students the finer points of playground diplomacy. With all the additional practice, she has perfected the art of playing well with others.
Jacinta Bouwkamp, Administrative Assistant, is a creative and organizational whiz who has always worked in support of organizations geared toward improving the lives of others. Her work with various women and children’s health organizations has prepared her well for her position at We Care Solar. Her education spans both European and U.S. institutions and she’s a proud alumna of Silicon Valley design firm, IDEO. Email: jacinta_at_wecaresolar_dot_org.
Victoria Harris, M.B.A., Accounting Manager, having worked in finance for over 10 years in the arts, technology, healthcare, and advertising sectors, enjoys streamlining accounting processes that accelerate growth. She holds an M.B.A. in International Accounting and a B.A. in Art History from Mills College, and was a recipient of the Mary Laughlin Beardmore Award and the Herringer Prize for Excellence in Art Achievement. Additionally, she was presented with the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Graduate Award for leadership and community involvement. Through joining We Care Solar, Victoria is excited to align her passion for social impact to her daily work.
Carolyn Uno (Tigris), Staff Accountant, came to We Care Solar after building the nonprofit accounting systems at Girls Leadership. Before that, she enjoyed a long career in publishing, working primarily as a production editor and copyeditor but also in marketing and public relations for companies such as John Wiley & Sons, Jossey-Bass, Sybex, Kaiser Permanente, University of California Press, and WestSide Books. When she’s not tending books of some sort, Tigris explores inner and outer worlds through dance. She teaches Core Connexion Transformational Arts, a dance meditation practice, and has performed dances and music of the Middle East, Central Asia, Bali, and European classical traditions. Some of her favored indulgences involve Arabic language, books, eclectic spiritual practices, long conversations, meandering streams and crashing waves, improvisation, soundscapes, collage, graphic design, writing, hiking, and chocolate.
Merritt Gates, Lead Trainer, is based in Uganda. She has more than ten years of international travel and life experience. Merritt holds a B.A. in International Affairs with a focus on development from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She studied solar design and installation at Solar Energy International (SEI) in Colorado. Merritt assisted with the Spanish translation of an online photovoltaic course while interning with SEI. As a Solar Ambassador for We Care Solar, Merrit has worked in East Africa for three years, conducting trainings and field research for many of our programs.
Board of Directors
Laura Stachel M.D., M.P.H. See bio above.
Gigi Dekko Goldman, M.B.A. See bio above.
David Bank, M.S., Board Chair, is founder and CEO of Impact IQ, Inc., a media venture serving impact investors with incisive editorial and actionable data. Through ImpactIQ.org and ImpactSpace.org, the open impact data initiative, Impact IQ is narrating the historic shift in capital toward a sustainable and inclusive 21st century economy. Previously, as vice president of Encore.org (formerly Civic Ventures), David led the campaign to establish encore careers as a new category of work capturing boomers’ passion for social purpose. As a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, David covered the Internet, software and Microsoft and launched the paper’s philanthropy beat. His book, Breaking Windows, was named one of the “Best Business Books of 2001” by the Harvard Business Review and Amazon.com. David holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. He was a 1996 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
Karina Garbesi, PhD, Vice Chair, is Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at California State University, East Bay. She is back teaching after taking a leave from CSU to work full-time at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on projects related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. With an interdisciplinary background in physics, environmental engineering, energy, economics, and policy, and a passion for social justice, Karina takes a broad approach to environmental problem solving. She earned a B.A. in physics from University of California, Berkeley (with high honors), and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the same institution. She was a 1992 Switzer Fellow and a 2000 Leadership Grant recipient.
Alan Saldich, M.B.A., Treasurer, has held a variety of leadership roles in marketing, finance, and operations at eight startup companies over the last 22 years, and is currently V.P. of Marketing at Cloudera. Prior to that he was vice president of product marketing at Riverbed Technology, a 1,400-employee public company that develops high performance IT infrastructure solutions based in San Francisco. He ran product marketing at Riverbed from 2002 when he was the first employee hired by the two founders, until late 2009. By then, it was a global public company generating about $400 million in annual revenues. Alan holds a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Spencer W. Weisbroth, Esq. is an attorney in San Francisco. Through his firm, Weisbroth Law, Spencer advises a variety of entrepreneurs, businesses, and non-profits. His practice is focused on complex business transactions and business formation and structural planning. He has a diverse background in the law, business, media and the arts. He is credited on numerous award-winning public radio documentaries, and has won a Peabody Award for his legal services. In the past, Spencer was Business Affairs Director for the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet, and was a founding member and Director for Starter Fluid, a $32M venture capital fund, and was an attorney in the Business Affairs office of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Spencer holds a J.D. degree from the University of Maryland School of Law, and a B.A., with dual majors of Political Science and Journalism, from the State University of New York.
Kristi Raube, PhD., MPH, is on the faculty of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. She is the Associate Director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact, whose mission is to inspire and empower members of the Berkeley-Haas community to develop innovative solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges. In addition, she is the Executive Director of the International Business Development Program, a global management consulting program at Berkeley-Haas. She is also the Executive Director of the Graduate Program in Health Management at UC Berkeley.
Dr. Raube has worked to increase health management capacity through executive education and program development in the US and aroudn the world, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Her research focuses on the delivery and financing of health services and she has evaluated a large number of health programs, including ones focused on physician payment, quality of care, access to care, infant mortality and community based health care. Dr. Raube received her doctorate in public policy from the Pardee RAND Graduate School of Policy Studies, her MPH from UCLA, and her BA in Biology from U Colorado.
Maame Afon Yelbert-Obeng, M.A. Born and raised in Ghana, Maame is a consultant on international development, gender and leadership. She has worked as a Program Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) at the Global Fund for Women, and is Board Member and co-chair of the Bay Area Regional Advisory Committee for African Women’s Development Fund, USA (AWDF-USA). Maame is actively involved with the Global Women’s Leadership Network as a graduate, and coordinates the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa program. She was the Africa Program Director for Women’s Earth Alliance, a program of Earth Island Institute. In addition to being a committed advocate and passionate leader, Maame is a dynamic singer and recording artist. She just released her second album, called Ekome. Maame holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights, Gender and International Policy Studies from Monterey Institute of International studies.
Nina Richardson is a proven executive with 30 years of experience in engineering, manufacturing, sales, supply chain management and global operations. She has held executive positions in a diverse group of industry sectors including consumer electronics, technology, energy, lighting, automotive and manufacturing. Most recently, she served as Chief Operating Officer for GoPro – delivering outstanding operational results and helping take the company public in 2014. As an executive, engineer, manager and consultant she has helped a diverse group of companies including Flextronics, Tesla, Metcal, ELI and Hughes Aircraft. She serves as managing director of Three Rivers Energy, a company she co-founded in 2004. Ms. Richardson mentors women leaders through Women Unlimited, and previously served on the Board of Directors of Family Supportive Housing in San Jose, California.
Advisory Board Members
Kandeh Yumkella, Ph.D., Former Undersecretary-General of the United Nations, U.N. Special Representative to Sustainable Energy for All, Former Chair of UN-Energy, and Director-General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization
John Danner, J.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., Senior Fellow, Lester Center of Entrepreneurship, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
Kathryn Johnson, Past CEO, Health Forum
Kristina Johnson, Ph.D., CEO, Enduring Energy, Former Undersecretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy
Dan Kammen, Ph.D., Director of Renewable Alternative Energy Laboratory, Professor of Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley
David Levine, Ph.D., Professor of Business, Haas Business School, University of California, Berkeley
Malcolm Potts, MB, BChir, PhD, FRCOG, Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability, University of California, Berkeley
Matt Rinaldi, COO, Weiss Asset Management, Boston, MA
Stasia Obremskey, Finance Advisor, has over twenty-five years of experience providing financial and strategic consulting services to organizations in the U.S. and Asia. She served for two years as interim CFO for Posit Science Corporation, a company developing brain training software clinically proven to improve cognitive performance. Stasia lived in Asia for a total of seven years, working in both the public and private health care sectors in nine countries. Her public health care worked focused on policy and economic implications of the AIDS epidemic in Asia. In the private sector, she worked with U.S. companies to explore healthcare service opportunities in Asia including hemodialysis, home health care, emergency medical care, diagnostic laboratory services, and other hospital-related services. In addition to her consulting work, she has extensive experience as a member of several non-profit boards where she has held a number of leadership positions. Ms. Obremskey holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business.
Patrick Maguire, Systems Engineer, is a structural engineer with nearly five years’ experience living and working in developing countries. His first trip to Africa lasted 27 months as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, where he taught physics, managed construction projects and set up a tiny solar electric system to power his laptop. Patrick then joined Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) as a technical logistics manager in South Sudan, where he supervised new construction, maintenance, water treatment, and power supply for nine months before joining an outbreak response team tasked with traveling to remote areas to evaluate and treat epidemics. Patrick moved to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, where he lived for over a year setting up tent-camp clinics, managing the construction of a new maternity hospital, and later constructing and supporting cholera treatment centers. Patrick now works as a designer of rooftop solar electric systems in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ali Nazar serves as the Information Architect for We Care Solar. In this role, Ali uses his startup and technology experience to create and optimize systems that allow We Care Solar to better organize and scale our operations. Ali has over 15 years of experience in helping high growth organizations succeed via process and technology excellence. Currently, he serves as the Vice President of Technology for Wiel Brien LLC, a private equity firm based in Oakland that is revitalizing communities hardest hit by the economic downturn. Ali’s career has also seen him co-found a successful software-as-a-service company, be a programmer and product manager at an explosive growth network service provider, and help start an adventure and internet training camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for underprivileged children. Ali’s passion to combat maternal mortality springs from his wife and his roots in Central and South Asia, and the strong belief that the best way to help that part of the world is to nurture and educate its women.
Carol Weis, Lead Instructor, has led PV installations and trainings in Sierra Leone and manages our Solar Ambassador Program for We Care Solar. Carol has been a PV-trainer with Solar Energy International since 1998. She writes and updates Solar Energy International’s PV and Advanced PV curriculum and instructs in both the hands-on and online workshops. Carol also organizes SEI renewable energy trainings for other institutions and organizations. Through her work in the industry, Carol has traveled internationally to Nicaragua, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Mexico. Carol is the co-founder of SEI’s Solar Sisters group, a discussion forum for women working in, or aspiring to be part of, the renewable energy industry, and leads our We Care Solar Women Ambassadors Program. Carol is a licensed electrician. Her credentials also include: NABCEP Certified PV Installer Cert #: 093006-33, and ISPQ Master PV Trainer Cert #: US-0016.
Laura Walters has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science with a focus on renewable energy and climate change from Dickinson College, PA. She got involved with renewable energy when she arranged for a solar electric system to be donated to her high school. Since then she has taught hundreds of people about the benefits of renewable energy, successfully elevated sustainably to be a defining characteristic of Dickinson College’s Strategic Plan, and has helped create solar electric installation and maintenance educational materials that are used around the world. Currently, she does curriculum development and graphic design for Solar Energy International’s renowned solar electric curriculum and textbook. She is helping We Care Solar to design curriculum and training manuals for our Solar Suitcases.