Executive Team and Senior Management
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Mathis is co-creator of the Ecological Footprint and CEO of Global Footprint Network. He completed a Ph.D. in community and regional planning with Professor William Rees at the University of British Columbia, where his doctoral dissertation developed the Ecological Footprint concept. Mathis also earned a mechanical engineering degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
Mathis has worked on sustainability with governments, corporations and international NGOs on six continents and has lectured at more than a hundred universities. He previously served as director of the Sustainability Program at Redefining Progress in Oakland, California, and ran the Centro de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad at Anáhuac University in Xalapa, Mexico. Mathis has authored and contributed to more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, numerous articles, reports and various books on sustainability that focus on embracing resource limits and developing metrics for sustainability, including Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth; Sharing Nature’s Interest; Der Ecological Footprint, and WWF International’s Living Planet Report.
Mathis’ awards include the 2015 IAIA Global Environment Award, being a 2014 ISSP Sustainability Hall of Fame Inductee, the 2013 Prix Nature Swisscanto, 2012 Blue Planet Prize, 2012 Binding Prize for Nature Conservation, the 2012Kenneth E. Boulding Memorial Award of the International Society for Ecological Economics, the 2011 Zayed International Prize for the Environment (jointly awarded with UNEP), an honorary doctorate from the University of Berne in 2007, a 2007 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, 2006 WWF Award for Conservation Merit and 2005 Herman Daly Award of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics. He was also selected as number 19 on the en(rich) list identifying the 100 top inspirational individuals whose contributions enrich paths to sustainable futures (www.enrichlist.org). John Elkington identified Mathis among the “Zeronaut 50” Roll of Honor, i.e., leading pioneers who are driving the world’s most significant problems to zero. From 2011 to 2015, Mathis was also the Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of 1956 Visiting Professor at Cornell University.
Founder and Director of Finance for Change
Susan Burns is co-founder and Director of Finance for Change at Global Footprint Network. Over the last decade, while serving as CEO, Susan has built Global Footprint Network into one of the leading and most respected scientific organizations in the world addressing global ecological limits. She now leads the Finance for Change Initiative, advising governments and financial institutions on incorporating ecological risk into financial risk analysis and government policy.
Prior to launching Global Footprint Network, Susan founded the pioneering sustainability consulting firm Natural Strategies, advising such companies as Mitsubishi Electric, Genencor, and Lowes. She has over 18 years of experience working with more than 50 corporations and other organizations on a variety of sustainability-related issues from forest policy to business strategy. Susan led the development of the screening methodology for Portfolio 21, the US’s first mutual fund dedicated to environmental sustainability. She has spoken widely on the subject of sustainability, human development, and corporate responsibility, having delivered keynote and other lectures at over 100 national and international events.
In 2007 Susan, along with Mathis Wackernagel, won the Skoll Award on Social Entrepreneurship. She was selected as honorable mention on the en(rich) list identifying the top inspirational individuals whose contributions enrich paths to sustainable futures (www.enrichlist.org). John Elkington identified Susan in 2012 among the “Zeronaut 50” Roll of Honor, i.e., leading pioneers who are driving the world’s most significant problems to zero. Both Susan Burns and Mathis Wackernagel are 2014 ISSP Sustainability Hall of Fame Inductees. Susan holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering.
Chief Operating Officer
Sandra leads the Administration, HR, Accounting, IT and program management functions at Global Footprint Network. She has been involved with the organization since 2011 in various capacities and brings a passion for smooth operations that support Global Footprint Network's mission. So far Sandra has created HR processes for recruiting and performance management, aided the creation of a revised strategic plan and implemented systems for tracking operations and finance analytics to enable timely, data-driven decisions.
Sandra brings 20 years of experience as a business operations executive for technical and scientific organizations. She earned her MBA from UC-Berkeley with an emphasis in organizational behavior and strategy. Throughout her career Sandra has focused on creating high-performance cultures that are financially stable and data-driven. She is passionate about delivering outstanding services to clients and partners.
Sandra’s interests include global travel and volleyball. She lives in California with her husband and two children.
VP, Outreach and Programmes
Sebastian Winkler is a Mexican-French-German national who grew up in Francophone Africa. He is currently Vice President of Programmes & Outreach at Global Footprint Network and Senior Advisor of Sustainability & Strategy for one of the largest gold mines in Europe. He also sits on the Board of Internews Europe, European Business and Biodiversity Campaign, Bioregional North America and Global Nature Fund.
In 2010, Sebastian was part of the Spanish European Union Presidency team. From 1997 to early 2010 he worked for IUCN at the international and European level. Prior to IUCN he worked for UNEP's Economics, Environment and Trade Unit. In 1995, he worked for the World Food Program's Office of Evaluation and in 1993 he worked for Mexico's Deputy Minister of Environment.
Sebastian has a multi-disciplinary educational background with a B.A. from the University of Constance, Germany as well as the University of Guelph, Canada. He holds various M.A.s from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, the Netherlands, the University of Trier, Germany and the Ecole Polytechnique of Lausanne, Switzerland. He also studied at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques of Grenoble, France and in the USA at Harvard Business School. Sebastian speaks fluent German, English, French and Spanish, and has a good working knowledge of Italian and Portuguese.
Director, Mediterranean and MENA Regions
Alessandro is a Senior Scientist and the Mediterranean-MENA Program Director at Global Footprint Network. As Senior Scientist, he contributes to research on the Ecological Footprint methodology and technical publications. His research analyzes the historical changes in human dependence on natural resources and ecological services through the use of sustainability indicators and environmental accounting methods. Previously, he worked as technical advisor on the Al Basama Al Beeiya (Ecological Footprint) Initiative in the United Arab Emirates with the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS-WWF) and the Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi (EAD).
Alessandro holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Sciences from Siena University. He is the lead author of the Mediterranean Ecological Footprint Trends report and co-author of several publications, including 13 articles in peer-reviewed journals, the article “Global Biodiversity: Indicators of Recent Declines” published in the leading journal Science, and WWF’s 2008 and 2012 Living Planet Reports. Alessandro is also member of the editorial board of the journal Resources: Natural Resources and Management, and was a MARSICO Visiting Scholar at University of Denver, Colorado, USA, in April 2011.
Ronna is leading the international communications efforts at Global Footprint Network. She previously worked at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business as editor-in-chief of BerkeleyHaas Magazine and the school’s online newsroom. Before that she worked as a journalist for more than a decade, covering everything from city government to transportation to business at TheStreet.Com, The Industry Standard and The Oakland Tribune. Ronna has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a B.S. in business administration from UC Berkeley.
Helena has several years of experience successfully recruiting senior management staff for NGOs around the world. She has also consulted for foundations focusing on the environment and social entrepreneurship. Previously, Helena was the Programs Manager for UNEP’s World Environment Day in San Francisco. As Program Executive for the Goldman Environmental Foundation, Helena helped develop the world’s largest international prize for grassroots environmentalists. She researched and promoted hundreds of environmental leaders around the world. She also awarded grants through the Goldman Fund, including a human rights and environment initiative she created. Helena is a co-founder of Rainforest Alliance as well. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Democratic Republic of Congo and later worked on Peace Corps staff as a recruiter and administrator. Helena earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Yale University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Russian Studies from the University of Rochester. She is certified as a Global Professional in Human Resources.
Lead Scientist, Resource Accounting
David is a member of the Research team, and contributes to the production, development and improvement of the National Footprint Accounts. Prior to joining Global Footprint Network, David earned his Ph.D. and worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the Systems Ecology Laboratory at the University of Texas at El Paso. His research focused on integrating models of ecosystem function with land cover change analysis in Arctic ecosystems. David is a native of California, and holds a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Laurel currently serves as a Research Scientist for Global Footprint Network. As part of the Research team, she helps to build and refine the National Footprint Accounts. She also works on the Sustainable Development Return on Investment (SDRoI) project, which empowers communities to identify their current resource and development conditions and informs future development strategies.
Previously, Laurel worked in the Office of Strategic Information, Research & Planning at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, DC. Prior to this, she served over two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. In this role, she developed a management plan for Sumaco National Park and taught GIS fundamentals to park staff. Before her international service, Laurel worked as an environmental consultant at AECOM specializing in environmental impact analysis, particularly socioeconomic and environmental justice impacts. Laurel has a BA in Natural Resource and Environmental Geography and a Masters of Arts in Geography from San Diego State University; her master’s thesis research focused on climate change vulnerability and agriculture.
Golnar is a Research Scientist working on National Footprint Accounts. She earned a B.S. in Physics with a minor in Mathematics from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Golnar joined Global Footprint Network after completing a certificate in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for Environmental Management from the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto. Since then, she has been working on biocapacity calculation and land use analysis.
Jon is a Research Analyst for the Resource Accounting team in the Oakland office. He plays a large role in the development of the National Footprint Accounts and in the application of their results. Before joining Global Footprint Network, Jon worked as a farm hand, bio-pesticide researcher, stream surveyor, winemaking intern, and handyman. He graduated from UC Davis in 2013 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management and a minor in Managerial Economics.
Katsunori is a Research Economist, responsible for tracking Ecological Footprints in global supply chains through the use of the Multi-Regional Input-Output model, which also applies to sub-national and personal calculator projects. Currently, he is working on developing the Computable General Equilibrium for Ecological Footprint (CGE-EF) model to assess the impact of different policies on nature. His next project will be building a platform to connect interdisciplinary scholars and leaders in Asian regions that are facing sustainability challenges. He holds an M.S. in Economics, specializing in Environmental Economics, from Okinawa International University, Japan.
Social Media and Communications Associate
Amanda supports Global Footprint Network’s communication and outreach efforts and manages the organization’s website and social media channels. She holds an interdisciplinary Master’s Degree in Weather, Climate and Society from the University of Miami in Florida and a Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology from San Jose State University. Her prior experience includes working for the Alameda County Green Business Program, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Everglades National Park.
Diane brings more than 20 years of experience in fundraising, government funding, granting, and environmental and infrastructure policy to her position as Global Footprint Network’s fundraising manager. She has raised several million dollars in funds to preserve a public trail in Connecticut; protect land and endangered species throughout the US for National Audubon Society; restore creeks in California; and create alternative and affordable transportation options in Alameda County, Calif. As an urban and transportation planner for Alameda County, Diane managed more than $25 million in sustainable and affordable transportation projects and programs. At San Francisco Foundation, she wrote $6 million in grant proposals for sustainable housing and community building in San Francisco’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Diane earned her graduate degree in environmental studies and urban planning at Yale.
Robert Williams manages the Global Footprint Network computer network and IT department and is responsible for the computer programming that is required to calculate the National Footprint Accounts. He is also responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of the database systems, which hold the National Footprint Accounts data. Robert has a broad background in programming, database management and systems administration. He is also the owner of Cosmetto, an information technology (IT) consulting company, that provides custom IT services to small businesses in the Bay Area. Robert has certificates in Java and C++ programming from the University of California Santa Cruz and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems (summa cum laude) from Excelsior College.
Frank Thompson has extensive experience working with nonprofits. Most recently he worked at Building Futures with Women and Children as director of finance and administration. He previously served as the controller for the Northern California Institute for Research and Education. Frank has a B.S. in Finance from San Francisco State University and a certificate in baking and pastry from the California Culinary Academy.
Office Manager, Geneva
Loredana manages operations in the Geneva office. She has experience working with non-profit organizations and the private sector in the areas of finance, operations and program management. Originally from Romania, Loredana received a Masters in Financial Management and a BA in Economics. She also serves as Treasurer for the Organization of Women in International Trade.
Muhamed is a strategic advisor, with a strong interest in sustainability and long-standing business experience in the Mediterranean Region, Asia and Africa. He is currently the Group Director of IFFCO, a business based in Dubai that manufactures and markets consumer products. Muhamed also serves as a strategic advisor to Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute in San Francisco. He is a former member of the Advisory Council of Sheikh Mohammed Technology Park in Dubai, a former member of the Advisory Council of the UCLA Institute for Strategic Studies’ Center for Middle East Development and a former member of the Executive Committee of EAN-international (Int’l Article Numbering Association). His expertise lies in international business development, innovation and technology management, and international public relations. Muhamed received his BS from University of Sarajevo in theoretical mathematics and his MS from the University of Zagreb in information technology. He is also an alumnus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Robert is leading Data Sales at Global Footprint Network. He has twenty five years of experience in the financial services industry. At ING Equity Markets Robert initiated and led Social Responsible Investment & Corporate Governance Brokerage. As a Client Portfolio Manager at APG he was a member of the Sustainability & Governance Steering Committee. As Managing Director and ESG Specialist at Fair Impact Robert has a focus on improving the ESG strategy of organizations. He is the Chairman of the Committee for Responsible Investments of the Dutch Association of Investment Professionals VBA. He has a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Amsterdam.
Laetitia Mailhes is a writer with more than 15 years of experience in journalism and advocacy work. The Silicon Valley correspondent of the French Financial Times for 10 years, she also had her work published in business magazine Stratégies and French national daily Libération among others. She has also contributed to various radio news programs in France and Switzerland. The co-author of two books about food systems, she has written extensively in English and French about sustainability issues. Her writing has appeared on GreenBiz, Care2, MomsRising.org and more.
A Sciences-Po Paris graduate, Laetitia earned her M.Litt. in International Security and Conflict Resolution at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and her M.A. in International Journalism at City University, London.
Jag is the Founder of Impactvesting LLC, a research and advisory firm that helps asset managers develop sustainable investment solutions. He is contributing to the Global Footprint Network’s Finance for Change initiative. Jag is also a Director of Fossil Free Indexes LLC, a provider of research, investment products, and index solutions aligned with a low carbon economy. Formerly he was a Senior Managing Director and head of global research and consulting for Strategic Insight / Asset International, a business intelligence provider to the fund management industry. During the past 20 years, he has advised the executives of more than 100 investment management firms on market strategy, product innovation and global distribution. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard and a Master’s from the London School of Economics.
Melita Elmore, Principal Consultant for the British Standards Institution (or BSI) Austin, Texas office, has over 20 years’ experience as a business owner, senior project manager for several international engineering firms, an industry executive and a state regulator. Melita has a diversified environmental background, and has managed a wide range of projects including EHS and sustainability/energy efficiency audits, real estate due diligence and M & A assessments, environmental management system implementation, EHS training and curriculum development, with multi-media training production, and strategic planning for regulatory issues facing clients. She has served on the National Chamber of Commerce Environmental Committee, is senior advisor to 10Power, been on the Board of Directors for SXSW Eco.
Annabel Hertz advises think tanks and nonprofit start-ups on strategy, policy and external relations. Previously, she taught International Relations at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and served as Global Governance Fellow at the World Economic Forum, where she also involved the private sector in disaster risk reduction/climate change. In the twelve years prior, she held senior advocacy and executive roles with NGOs. This included re-building World-WIDE, a UN organization dedicated to women and environment friendly projects and policies, and pioneering a US government supported equity investment facility for sustainable development. She has also has experience in diplomacy.
Annabel holds a MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School, a MA in International Relations (IR) from San Francisco State, and a BA in Politics from the University of California, and has completed two years of doctoral studies in IR, and executive education in business. She is the author of Seeing Green, a humorous novel about environmental politics, and her non-fiction work has appeared in such publications as the Huffington Post, the Globalist, Financial Mail, and Harvard Program on Negotiation. As an artist, her paintings have sold in cafes, fundraising auctions, and citywide exhibitions.
Martin is a seasoned architect and international development specialist. He has a degree in architecture and a post-graduate degree in international development cooperation, both from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. After 10 years of architecture practice as a partner in “Architekturgenossenschaft Bauplan” in Zürich, Martin led for two years the Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln Technology Transfer Programme in Kathmandu, Nepal, a programme to promote energy and environmental efficient brick production. His professional focus now is sustainable urbanism. He works for a leading urban engineering company in Switzerland.
Steve helps build coalitions to develop new applications of the Ecological Footprint, provide strategic direction for Global Footprint Network and offer quality assurance for projects. Steve was formerly a Global Footprint Network Senior Scientist. Before joining Global Footprint Network, he helped establish The Natural Step US, an NGO focused on socio-ecological sustainability, and served as its Director of Education. He has also worked with Second Nature, an NGO promoting environmental literacy and the greening of operations in higher education. Steve’s doctorate in psychology at Cornell University emphasized an ecological approach to perception and cognition.
Eli is the former Lead Researcher of Resource Accounting in the Research and Standards Department who managed the National Footprint Accounts while also working on its development, the running and development of related applications and the Multi-Region Input Output model, and related research projects. His primary research interest is in the application of Ecological science to Economics and the integration of sustainability into measures of welfare.
Eli has contributed to several peer-reviewed papers, various public reports, and several trainings on the Ecological Footprint including in Indonesia and the UAE. He had a broad professional background before joining Global Footprint Network, including as an environmental advocate, small business owner, and in the arts. He holds a Bachelor’s in Economics with an Ecological Economics emphasis from San Francisco State University, where he graduated with the highest honors.
Justin is a post-doc at the University of California, Berkeley, and the former Manager of the Research and Standards Department. He continues to contribute to methodological research in Ecological Footprint accounting, including the development of the National Footprint Accounts and the Footprint Standards. Justin holds an M.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University.
Bonnie is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Australia, where she is developing an Ecological Footprint methodology with which to compare alternative future Footprint scenarios using the temporal evaluation of multi-regional input-output data. The outcome of the research, which is carried out in partnership with Global Footprint Network, the University of Sydney, the University of Newcastle and a number of Australian state government partners, will inform policy makers as to the most effective approach to reducing Ecological Footprints. She also worked with EPA Victoria, Global Footprint Network and the University of Sydney to calculate the Footprint for the state of Victoria. Bonnie holds a Ph.D. in environmental science from the University of Tasmania.
Dan Moran is the former Director of the National Accounts Program at Global Footprint Network. He is currently at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) working with multi-region input-output models for consumption based accounting. Previously Dan was a Senior Analyst with MSCI in New York. Dan holds a BA in Philosophy, an M.Sc. in environmental economics from Lund University in Sweden and a PhD from the School of Physics at The University of Sydney.
Juan Alfonso is an accomplished architect and has also worked in the areas of sustainable development, appropriate technologies and community participation projects. He has collaborated with Ecuador’s national housing agency, the United Nations Center for the Human Settlements (UNCHS), and has held a private practice. He is also a founding member of two non-profit organizations: Fundación Terra which is advancing sustainable development of communities bordering the ecological reserve "Cayambe-Coca", and Fundación Acuerdo Ecuador which is developing democratic citizen participation to inform governments from the ground up.
Yoshihiko Wada is Associate Professor of Ecological Economics at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. He is also Executive Director of Ecological Footprint Japan. Yoshihiko completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, under the supervision of Professor William Rees.
Gemma now works for Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. Previously, she led projects for Global Footprint Network out of the Geneva office and supported the organization’s Research and Standards Department by contributing to research on the Ecological Footprint methodology, projects and applications. Gemma completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath, UK. She completed her Masters of Aerospace Engineering in 2006 from the same institution. Her research areas include ecological and carbon footprints, assessing the determinants behind the footprint and studying the differences between high-income and low income countries.
- Zahra Medouar, Research
- Serena Mancini, Research
- Zhiyu Tang, Research
- Michael Wang, Research
- Dengyao Xu, Research
- Rong Xu, Research
- Benjamin Bellman, External Affairs
- Carlos Inigo, External Affairs
- Paulina Saracco, Communications