The Foundation’s staff brings a broad range of talents to the organization, with experiences drawn from academic, scientific, public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Michael Sutton
Executive Director

Mike is a respected environmental conservation leader with extensive experience managing nonprofit organizations, influencing public policy, advocating for natural resources, and guiding successful philanthropic efforts. His distinguished career has ranged from work with the National Park Service to senior conservation roles at the World Wildlife Fund, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the California Fish & Game Commission, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and National Audubon Society. Mike received his BS in Wildlife Biology at Utah State University; did graduate studies in Marine Biology at the University of Sydney, Australia; and, received a law degree with honors from George Washington University’s National Law Center. He joined the Prize in 2018.

Lorrae Rominger
Deputy Director

Lorrae grew up on a fifth-generation farm in rural California, where her family lives and raises organic tomatoes. Prior to joining the Prize in 2003, she spent 25 years working in entertainment as a producer in film, television, music, and sports. Beginning in Los Angeles as the executive assistant to the manager of the rock star Prince, she also worked at Sony Pictures, Sports Channel, and Madison Square Garden Productions in New York, and led the Mayor’s Office of Film and Television in San Francisco.

Melissa Eckert
Administrator

Melissa joined the Prize in 2013 and manages the foundation’s finances, human resources, and office operations. She has worked in philanthropy, strategic planning, public health, and nonprofit administration for over 20 years, having held positions with the Koret Foundation, the Washington University School of Medicine, and the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. Melissa holds a BA in Psychology and a MPH in Community Health from Saint Louis University; she interned at the Carter Center and is a Coro Fellow.

Ilan Kayatsky
Communications Director

An enthusiastic strategist, Ilan has worked in communications and media for more than 15 years—as a communications director for the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, and for Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); and as a freelance journalist and writer for the New York Post, Architectural Record, the Forward, and beyond. A Bay Area native, he holds a BA in American Studies from UC Berkeley. Ilan joined the Prize in 2017.

Lindsey Freedman
Program Officer, Asia / Europe

Prior to joining the Prize in 2013, Lindsey managed Kiva Microfunds’ South American portfolio, working with 22 partner microfinance institutions in six countries across the region to provide loans to small business owners. Prior to that, she spent a year volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Buenos Aires, Argentina, developing social performance metrics to measure the success of their microloan program. Lindsey holds a BA in Spanish from UC Santa Barbara and an MA in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Ryan Mack
Program Officer, North America / South & Central America

Ryan is a passionate advocate for the environment and human rights. With over 15 years of experience, he has worked with grassroots organizers, local nonprofits, international NGOs, government agencies, and the private sector. Ryan has managed projects in the US and Latin America related to climate change, energy efficiency, zero waste and organic agriculture. He holds a MS in Environmental Management with a focus on energy and water resources. Ryan joined the Prize in 2013.

Myriah Cornwell
Program Officer, Africa / Islands & Island Nations

Myriah is a social scientist with 10 years of experience in international conservation, environmental justice, and natural resource management. In her previous roles at the Pew Charitable Trusts and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Myriah made grants on capacity building, conservation coalitions, environmental policy, and scientific research. She has conducted and published research on grassroots networks for biodiversity conservation. Myriah holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Reed College and a PhD from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. She joined the Prize in 2015.

Katie Stoughton
Program Associate

Katie has been with the Prize since 2012. She manages Prize nominations, as well as nominator recruitment and communications. Katie also oversees the small grants program for Prize winners. Prior to joining the Prize, she worked at the American Jewish World Service and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society spearheading cross-departmental efforts to steward key donors and fundraisers. She received her BA in Family and Consumer Sciences from San Francisco State University.

David Corrado
Program Associate

David is enthusiastic about empowering others to implement human-based solutions to local environmental challenges. Previously, he worked to strengthen partnerships between rural communities, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations within the Environmental Program of Peace Corps Panama, where he served as a volunteer and coordinator at the regional and national level. David received his BA in Ecosystem Science and Policy from the University of Miami. He joined the Prize in 2018.

Edwina Dueñas
Communications Associate

Edwina joined the Prize in 2017 and is excited to tell the stories and help amplify the impact of Prize recipients. She previously worked for international education and online advocacy organizations. Edwina holds an MPS in Communications from Georgetown University and a BA in English from UC Davis.

Dawn Meza
Administrative Assistant

Dawn joined the Prize in 2018 after working previously with local and international nonprofit organizations. She spent several years working in the educational field, including spending a year teaching English in Xi’an, China. While abroad, she also volunteered with NGOs in Thailand and Nepal to promote community development and help standardize their English programs. She received her BA in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz.