Welcome to our gang.

We’re a group of educators, philosophers, entrepreneurs, writers, producers, artists, architects, designers, civil servants, politicians, policymakers, human rights activists, clergy, ecologists, business people, lawyers, engineers, gardeners, nuns and sisters, and even gangsters. Pando builds connections and seeks diversity across all manner of human experience, including gender, identity and orientation, race, ethnicity, age, urban/rural, politics, income, immigration, and wisdom tradition. Offer your talents! Go here.

Admin and program leads

Eugene Shirley is Pando’s Founding President/CEO. Eugene began focusing on social impact projects in college and graduate school during which time he did landmark work on human rights under Soviet oppression. He produced award-winning documentary films for 25 years, shifted to the tech startup world for a decade, then pulled the team together to launch Pando in 2014. A long-time Angelino with Oklahoma roots, for two years he was a Jennings Randolph Fellow at US Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C. LinkedIn

Alexi Caracotsios is Producer of Magenta House and associate program manager and developer for Pando’s program suite. He adds experience in event organization and education. LinkedIn

Lyn Goldfarb is Creative Producer of Pando Days. An Academy Award nominee in documentary filmmaking with two Emmys, Lyn’s extensive credits include a major film on LA’s Mayor Tom Bradley. She is deeply engaged with Los Angeles cultural and justice communities. Website LinkedIn

Kavyaa Rizal is Development Manager of Pando’s Community Project Accelerator Campus (position pending). She recently completed her MS in Urban Planning with an analytics and sustainability emphasis and was awarded the American Planning Association’s Outstanding Student of the Year. Raised in Nepal, previous business experience includes a key development role with Utopia Kathmandu, a venture studio supporting entrepreneurs in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. LinkedIn

Heidrun Mumper-Drumm is Chair of LA’s CSO Taskforce. She is a CSO and Professor at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. LinkedIn

Betsy Hunter handles administration, events, and partnership development.  She brings her experience in special events, public relations and organization. LinkedIn

Angie Strecker is Bookkeeper. Her boutique business serves a range of for-profit and non-profit operations. She is based in Los Angeles.

Consulting team

John Bielenberg is Creative Director. He has been described as a “designer, entrepreneur and imaginative advocate for a better world.”John has won more than 250 design awards in his career, including the 2013 AIGA Gold Medal for leadership in the design for good movement. Twitter | LinkedIn

Rich Binell is Senior Writer. He is legendary in the copy writing field, including brand strategy and corporate storytelling. He helps companies understand and explain why they matter. Linkedin

Michael Braley is Design Director.  Creative Director of Braley Design, Michael’s brand, print, book and package design has been recognized with hundreds of professional honors and is in permanent collections of major museums. Website | LinkedIn

Doug Chang is Consulting Producer. An Emmy Award winning producer/director for the longtime PBS cultural flagship series “Live from Lincoln Center,” he was head of programming for LA’s PBS affiliate KCET and later programming director with an emphasis on culture and the arts for PBS at the national level. LinkedIn

Kate Davis is Design Director. Creative Director/Account Director for Braley Design, Kate is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She joined Braley Design in 2014. LinkedIn

Robyn Eason is Strategic Sustainability Advisor with extensive experience in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. She partners with climate-forward organizations committed to furthering action, impact, solidarity, belonging, and reciprocity. LinkedIn

Christine Johnson is Chief Education Advisor. She is Chancellor Emeritus of the Community Colleges of Spokane, Washington. Prior to joining CCS in 2010, Christine’s career included more than 30 years of teaching, administration, leadership and policy development. In 2022 she was CEO of the year for the State of Washington.

Richard Livingston is Chief Technology Advisor. Richard holds a PhD in philosophy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate University, and is Executive Director for the Cobb Institute, based in Claremont, CA. LinkedIn

Tucker Nichols is Artist-in-Residence. Tucker’s most recent solo shows have been held at the ZieherSmith Gallery in New York, Gallery 16 in San Francisco, and the Kunstpanorama in Luzern, Switzerland. Website  LinkedIn

Marc O’Brien is Design Strategist. Marc produces and leads creative workshops that focus on creating positive change while tackling some of today’s gnarly social challenges. He is the co-founder of Climate Designers. LinkedIn

Myra Shirley is Social Media Head. She has a background in business and describes herself as a tree-hugger from way back. She was longtime Treasurer of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club. LinkedIn

Andy Shrader is Strategic Advisor. He is a consultant in sustainability with deep experience at the intersection of environmental sustainability and government policy. LinkedIn

Mark VanderSchaaf is a Regional Sustainability Planner. He has served as the regional planning director for the Metropolitan Council of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area, and as the national chair of the Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division of the American Planning Association. He is author of the important new CSO Taskforce book publication, “Sustainability Planning in Metropolitan Los Angeles.” LinkedIn

Advisors and Directors

Education Advisors include Christine Johnson (see “consultants,” above) and Marcela Oliva (see “directors,” below) and:

Lourdes Arguelles is Professor Emerita of Education at Claremont Graduate University and a Lopon (Senior Dharma Teacher) at Drikung Kyobpa Choling, Escondido, California. LinkedIn

Jane Close Conoley is President of California State University, Long Beach and is current chair of the Los Angeles consortium of CSU bodies.

Matthew Manos is Director of Challenge-Based Learning at the USC Iovine and Young Academy and Associate Professor of Practice, Design Strategy; he is founder of the LA-based design firm verynice and chair of the Mayor’s Creative Advisory Board. LinkedIn

Stephanie Landregan is Director of the Landscape Architecture Program and the Horticulture Program at UCLA Extension, for which she manages some 60 adjunct instructors.

Mikala Rahn is CEO and Founder of Public Works (PW) and Chief of Research, Evaluation, & Strategy for Homeboy Industries. She has extensive experience in the areas of school improvement, curriculum and assessment, teacher professional development and support; juvenile justice, intervention and prevention programs; and workforce development.  

Tom Welch is a K-12 education consultant and speaker on education.

Innovation Advisors include John Bielenberg and Rich Binell (see above) and:

Dana Dakin is founder of Womens Trust, Ghana, following a 35-year career in the financial services industry. 

Mark Eckhardt is CEO of COMMON, a global community spanning 21 countries and 27 industries. LinkedIn

Ruey-Lung Hsiao is a computer scientist and entrepreneur with expertise in molecular biology, statistics, and finance. LinkedIn

Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and founding director of the School’s Norman Lear Center. LinkedIn

Emmanuel “Cris” Liban is Chief Sustainability Officer for LA Metro. LinkedIn

Kecia Washington is Director of Innovation at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. LinkedIn

Sustainability Advisors include Robyn Eason, Andy Shrader, and Mark VanderSchaaf (see “consultants,” above) and:

Bonny Bentzin is Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer at UCLA. LinkedIn

Helen M. Cox is Sustainability Division Manager, City of Thousand Oaks. LinkedIn

Wes Jackson is founding President (ret) of The Land Institute.

Rita Kampalath is Chief Sustainability Officer of Los Angeles County.

Nurit Katz is Chief Sustainability Officer of UCLA. `

Pablo La Roche is Professor of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona and Sustainable Design Leader at CallisonRTKL. LinkedIn

Luis Navarro is Associate with Langan Engineering and Environmental Services. LinkedIn

John Onderdonk is Assistant Vice President for Facilities Operations and Services, Caltech. LinkedIn

Chris Rhie is an author of the OurCounty LA sustainability plan and founding principal at Rhie Planning. LinkedIn

Paul Rogers is an ecologist, Director of the Western Aspen Alliance, and chief scientist for Pando, the tree.

Community Advisors include:

Rev. Dr.  Ambrose Carroll, Sr. is the founder and visionary for Green The Church. LinkedIn

Ignacio Castuera is a long-time movement leader and United Methodist minister in the southern California area. LinkedIn

Erin George is Principal, Plante Moran Realpoint.

Karenna Gore is an attorney, author, and Director, Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary. She is a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia Law School and Union Theological Seminary.

Jerry Gumbleton is Principal, Plante Moran Realpoint.

Joseph C. Hough, Jr. is former Interim President of Claremont Graduate University and former President of the Union Theological Seminary.

Col. Bob Ireland is a retired USAF Chief Flight Surgeon, psychiatrist, and retired United Methodist minister.

Cecil L. Murray is the John R. Tansey Chair of Christian Ethics in the School of Religion at the University of Southern California and Chair, USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement.

Board of Directors

John B. Cobb, Jr. is Chair of the Board and Pando’s co-founder. John is a renowned philosophical theologian and leading authority on the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, John is the author of some 70 books. He is a pioneer at the intersection of philosophy, ethics, and the environment and first to address this intersection in a single-author book. amacad.org

Rev. Ed Bacon is Vice Chair of the Board. For more than 20 years, Ed served as Rector of one of the largest and most socially active progressive churches in the country, All Saints, Pasadena. A national media figure, he was the first faith leader to regularly and systematically call attention to the Pando one-tree-forest as a contemporary symbol appropriate to all traditions of faith. LinkedIn

John Bielenberg (see “consultants,” above).

Paul Koretz is former Los Angeles City Councilmember (5th District). He has long been at the forefront of environmental and social justice issues in Los Angeles and helped open Pando’s 2015 inaugural conference. LinkedIn

Marcela Oliva is Professor of Architecture at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. She was awarded Educator of the Year in 2022 by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) – Los Angeles. LinkedIn.

Rebecca Schmitt is an executive and entrepreneur with deep experience in commercial online businesses, from early stage startups to the Fortune 50. She has a track record of heading up successful launches, audience growth, and brand building. In 2015, she was named one of Folio Magazine’s Top Women in Media, Corporate Visionary category. LinkedIn

Eugene Shirley (see “admin and program,” above).

Elizabeth Thompson is a pioneer in the New York and San Francisco art and culture scenes for almost two decades. She served as Executive Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute where she conceived and produced the $100k Fuller Prize for synergetic solutions to global problems for ten years.

Pando Partners

Program Partners and Collaborators include the Chief Sustainability Officer for Los Angeles County, Learning Works Charter School, Homeboy Industries, and Sisters of Social Service.

Partnering offices of elected officials include: Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Supervisor of the 3rd District Lindsey Horvath; Los Angeles County Supervisor of the 2nd District Holly Mitchell, and Los Angeles City Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky (5th District).

Partnering agencies include: Metropolitan Water District, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Partnering NGOs and businesses include: Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fund at East Bay Community Foundation, Clean Power Alliance, Calpine Energy Solutions, The Happold Foundation, Plante Moran, Alexandria Technology, Floe Financial Partners, and numerous community partners based in the Southland.

Partnering schools include the more than 25 Southland colleges and universities that have enrolled in Pando Days and the more than 20 Southland middle schools that have enrolled in Magenta House.

“Pando means I belong to you, you belong to me,
we belong to each other.”
―Maria Shriver