Staff and Board

Staff

Mike Tidwell, Executive Director

Mike Tidwell is founder and director of the CCAN Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Under Tidwell’s leadership, CCAN has helped pass landmark clean-energy legislation in Maryland and the District of Columbia; blocked coal and oil development plans in Virginia; and worked with groups nationwide to push for a fair and effective carbon cap policy on Capitol Hill.

Tidwell is also an author and filmmaker whose books include The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Race to Save America’s Coastal Cities. Tidwell’s documentary film – “We Are All Smith Islanders” – vividly depicts the dangers of global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. Tidwell has received numerous awards for his advocacy work, including the Audubon Naturalist Society’s prestigious “Conservation Award.” A long-time resident of Maryland, he lives in Takoma Park with his wife Beth and son Sasha. Read more about Mike here.

Contact: mtidwell [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org, 240-460-5838

Anne Havemann, Deputy Director and General Counsel

Anne Havemann is CCAN Action Fund’s Deputy Director and General Counsel. She has a decade of experience working on environmental issues at the regional and national scale. At CCAN, she works to fight climate change and promote clean energy through litigation and policy development, while also providing general legal support and foundation grants management. Prior to CCAN, she worked at a think tank, the Center for Progressive Reform, on its Chesapeake Bay program area. She focused on enforcing the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to clean up the Bay, with a particular emphasis on industrial chicken farms. Anne has clerked for U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the American Wind Energy Association. She served as CCAN’s first communication director before leaving in 2010 to further her education in environmental law. Anne received her law degree with a certificate in environmental law from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude. She was editor in chief of the Maryland Law Review. Anne received a B.A. in environmental science from Colorado College.

Contact: anne [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Mustafa Abdullah, Director of Campaigns and Strategies

Mustafa Abdullah (he/him) is the Director of Campaigns and Strategies for the CCAN Action Fund where he will help lead the organization’s efforts to build grassroots power and infrastructure to help our communities in DC, MD, and VA to tackle the biggest threats and take on the biggest opportunities to achieve climate stability. Mustafa’s commitment to organizing work is driven by sharing moments with people when they realize their own power and have a clear sense of hope and what is possible.

Mustafa has been organizing professionally since 2010 and has significant experience building volunteer programs and organizing on a wide range of civil rights and liberties issues at a municipal and state level. He also has experience leveraging elections to get candidates to adopt critical policy positions. Among his proudest achievements are setting up a legal support infrastructure for movement work, which led to volunteers and activists being trained on how to work with lawyers to file effective litigation in courts to protect their rights. Additionally, Mustafa is particularly proud of working with activists on the ground in St. Louis to get the top two vote getting Mayoral candidates in 2021 and a majority of the members of the Board of Aldermen to adopt the ACLU of Missouri’s civil liberties platform to mitigate police surveillance, reduce arrests for low level offenses, closing a local jail, and increasing police transparency.

Contact: mustafa [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Jamie DeMarco, Maryland Policy Director

Jamie leads CCAN’s Maryland lobbying and advocacy. Before joining CCAN, Jamie led state-level lobbying for the Citizens Climate Lobby, was a campaign manager for the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, and worked as a legislative assistant at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. He got his start as an advocate interning at the CCAN years ago. Jamie graduated from Warren Wilson College where he led a successful divestment campaign, and helped close the Asheville coal plant. Jamie grew up in Baltimore and now lives in College Park with his girlfriend and their dog Mila. As a child and young adult Jamie spent his summers being a camp counselor in Shenandoah. Now he enjoys morning runs around lake Artemesia, laughing with friends on the back porch, and going to bed early.

Contact: jamie [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Victoria Higgins, Virginia Director

Victoria Higgins (she/her) is the Virginia Director for Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Victoria grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey and studied psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University. Her career in environmental advocacy began with Green Corps, a rigorous training program for environmental organizers. She worked on campaigns with Mighty Earth, Conservation Colorado, and Environment Virginia to hold corporate polluters accountable, pass state climate policy, and limit plastic pollution in Virginia’s waterways. After falling in love with Virginia, she moved to Richmond to work with Virginia Conservation Network as their Civic Engagement and Grassroots Campaigns Manager.

She received a Master of Science in Energy Policy and Climate at Johns Hopkins University. In her free time, she plays Ultimate frisbee, issues unsolicited opinions about pizza, and carries around a deck of cards in hopes that someone will play spades with her. 

Contact: vhiggins [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Quentin Scott, Federal Policy Director

Quentin Scott (he/him) joined CCAN in January 2021 as part of the newly created CCAN Federal Team. He moved from Chicago specifically to build political will for groundbreaking national climate and climate justice policies. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, he got a first-hand look at the two Americas and sought to bring the two Americas closer together through advocacy. Quentin’s passion for math and science landed him at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Instead of using his skills for engineering, he uses his knowledge to build data-informed campaigns. Before joining CCAN, Quentin was chief of staff for an Illinois State Representative and a legislative correspondent in the US House of Representatives, and has led numerous issue and candidate campaigns across the Midwest and East Coast. In his roles, he has stood with neighborhood groups to hold industrial polluters accountable in communities of color and looks forward to bringing that fight to the federal level. 

Quentin enjoys exploring new places and has been to 37 states. When he is not traveling you can find him engaging in some form of competition, whether that’s video games, board games, or on the basketball court.

Contact: quentin [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

KC Chartrand, Communications Director

KC Chartrand is the Communications Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Prior to joining CCAN, KC spent over 25 years promoting innovative solutions for sustainability and risk management – including environmental (e.g., carbon management), health, safety, disaster response/recovery, and more. He headed up communications teams for leading providers such as the EHS & Sustainability practice at IHS Markit, Environmental Support Solutions Inc. (ESS), and Marsh Crisis Consulting. In each of these roles, he showed corporate and government decision makers how the latest technologies and best practices dedicated to regulatory compliance or operational excellence could help them better serve their respective stakeholders, as well as the public and planet. 

Recently, KC has served as an Advisory Board member to SABER Institute, the Single Automated Business Exchange for Reporting. SABER is a nonprofit partnership that supports disaster relief operations for hurricanes and other natural disasters that are increasing in frequency and severity due to global climate change. Now KC is proud to join the CCAN team and fight for the kind of proactive, scalable public policy change that the world needs. KC lives in Rockville, Maryland, with his wife Jennifer. He enjoys biking, hiking, drawing, and occasionally still rides his unicycle.  

Contact: kc [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Courtney Dyson, Fundraising Director

Courtney grew up on the family farm in Southern Maryland and is CCAN’s Fundraising Director. Courtney first delved into nature in the 1st grade when completing a science project on squirrel nesting habits. This fascination led her to complete her undergraduate degree in Conservation and Wildlife Management from Delaware Valley University. After working as a naturalist and on wildlife management surveys, Courtney chose to pursue a master degree in International Cooperation and Development from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy, where she focused on climate change adaptation in vulnerable communities and food security.

Prior to joining the team Courtney was a Communications Fellow with CCAN and completed an internship with the United Nations Climate Change secretariat. In her spare time Courtney enjoys birding, board games, and spending time on her family’s farm.

Contact: courtney [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Mari Schimmer, Director of Staff Support and Operations

Mari Schimmer (she/her) is the Director of Staff Support and Operations at CCAN, managing recruitment, hiring, and onboarding processes and executing the internal equity and culture plan and day-to-day operations. She brings over a decade of experience in staff management and organizational leadership. Before joining the CCAN team, Mari specialized in designing and managing field organizing programs for national nonprofits. She led issue advocacy, leadership development, and electoral programs at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, Democracy for America, and NARAL Pro-Choice America. Earlier in her career, Mari organized for clean cars and other environmental protections and managed voter contact canvassing projects in Colorado. She has also directed national recruitment for a political consulting firm.

A native of Northern California, Mari’s first organizing experience was campaigning in defense of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at UC Santa Cruz. She lives in Takoma Park with her partner and an ever-growing crew of rescue pets. She enjoys exploring state parks in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, kayaking, reading on the beach, and knitting.

Contact: mari [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Charlene Castillo, Director of Finance

Charlene Castillo (she/her) grew up in Maryland, and enjoys being close to both Baltimore and DC. During her early 20s she spent two years doing mission work in the Marshall Islands.  There,  she saw firsthand the effects of not treating our world kindly due to the still-present results of nuclear testing on the Bikini Atoll.  Prior to joining CCAN she was a contractor specializing in nonprofit accounting.  She enjoys working with mission oriented organizations.  In her spare time Charlene likes to spend time with family and friends, at the beach, eating out, making bread, and watching her backyard birds eat the treats she puts out for them.  

Contact: charlene [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Zander Pellegrino, Virginia Field Manager

Zander (he/him/his) spent the first two decades of his life in Virginia. Born in Harrisonburg, he studied biology and environmental policy at William & Mary. Zander went on to work in and research international sustainable development projects, focusing on participatory planning and just climate adaptation in Egypt. During and after earning a master’s degree from Yale School of the Environment he joined local and regional fights for climate justice and against green gentrification in the US.

At CCAN, Zander works with action members throughout Northern Virginia to advance climate justice and build local leadership teams.

Contact: zander [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org 


Ariel Cassell, Communications Manager

Ariel  C. Cassell has over 10 years of digital communications and brand optimization experience. Before amassing the experience that inspired her moniker, Ariel began as an entertainment blogger and videographer while attending Clark Atlanta University. During this time, she directed several music videos, interviewed and photographed many up-and-coming musicians, and wrote articles about music, fashion, film, and more. 

After amassing millions of views on her blog and corresponding YouTube page with zero marketing budget, Ariel decided that it was time to branch out and do the same for other brands. She then went on to work with clients in the industries of finance, music, beauty, and medicine; Then, in 2019, where she decided she wanted to work in a field where she could apply her talents to use for the greater good of the community: politics. 

Through a variety of communications methods from media outreach to social media management and graphic design, Ariel has been able to support digital and communications teams across the nation in their efforts to win paid family and medical leave, fight voter suppression, ensure gender, racial and economic equality, increase civic participation, and bring awareness to problems such as food and medical deserts, which plague communities like the one she grew up in. 

Ariel graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media Arts; with an emphasis in Film.  She then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Media Design from Full Sail University. She lives in Atlanta, with her two children and her dog TikTok, pun very much so intended. 

Contact: ariel [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Naomi Cohen-Shields, D.C. Campaign Manager

Naomi (she/her) is the DC Campaign Coordinator at CCAN, working on the Electrify DC campaign. She grew up in Maryland, just outside of D.C., where a love of both protests and hiking combined to nurture a passion for environmental learning and justice. Naomi studied Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, with a particular focus on the inequitable impacts of air pollution and science communications. While there, she also helped start the campaign to divest and dissociate the university from fossil fuels. Naomi went on to work at the Environmental Defense Fund as a climate science fellow, and later for the New Hampshire Democratic Party as a field organizer for the 2022 midterm elections.

Naomi thrives on being outside – especially in green spaces and in water -, reading novels and nonfiction in balanced quantities, and cooking (i.e. eating) delicious food.

Contact: naomi [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org


Hadley Dzuray, Development Associate 

Hadley (she/her) joined CCAN in 2023 as the Executive Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator and transitioned to Development Associate in January of 2024. Raised in Columbia, MD, just 20 minutes from the Chesapeake Bay, she grew up developing a deep appreciation for Mother Earth. During her time at the University of Delaware, she worked on grassroots and organization initiatives with The Climate Reality Project, the Delaware Environmental Institute, and several other campus-led groups. After exploring the world of sustainability, she discovered a particular passion for advocacy. 

Outside of work, Hadley enjoys exploring DC with friends, catching shows at 9:30 club, and relaxing outside. She is now living in Arlington with her amazing roommate, and her cat, Jeremiah. 

Contact: hadley [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Tzippy Horowitz, Baltimore Organizer 

Tzippy joins CCAN as Baltimore Organizer after having organized with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Missouri, building high-performing volunteer teams on college campuses in support of Senator Sanders’s bid for President, digitally organizing for the Florida Coordinated Campaign for the general election in 2020, and most recently has organized and served as a lobbyist and canvasser for the New Hampshire Youth Movement. Tzippy has studied and practiced the organizing practices of both Saul Alinsky and the Midwest Academy and says that doing one-on-one meetings with community members and volunteers is one of her favorite things. And, lastly, she is a musician and has created musical performances to build community, particularly in Jewish spaces. She is particularly proud of JamJews, a Jewish music community focused on distance learning and virtual opportunities for sharing music, including a recently completed virtual Jewish guitar curriculum.

Contact: tzippy [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Mason Manley, Central Virginia Organizer

Mason Manley (he/him) joined CCAN in May 2023, after graduating from and organizing at the University of Richmond. He is originally from Brighouse, England, and has been in the US since 2019. While working towards his BA in Environmental Studies, Mason led GreenUR – the University of Richmond’s student environmental advocacy organization – through an organizational transformation from service-oriented to environmental justice advocacy. The group’s major campaign seeks to divest the University of Richmond’s endowment from fossil fuels.

As a Bonner Scholar, Mason has also spent time working with the James River Association where he focused on the impact of dams on the James River watershed. Additionally, he worked to provide free solar installation training to formerly incarcerated and otherwise marginalized groups through his work at Bridging The Gap In Virginia.

At CCAN, Mason focuses his work on the opposition of pipelines, advancement of public transit, and strengthening of youth climate activism throughout Virginia. He also serves as the National Technology, Finance, and Operations Coordinator for Fridays For Future USA.

Mason is an internationalist at heart and seeks to think globally and act locally, in all that he does.

Contact:  mason [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Diana Menendez, Executive Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator

Diana Menendez (She/Her) is the Executive Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. She was raised in Ellicott City, MD, and had a passion for the environment since her early childhood, with a particular fascination for the ocean. This love motivated her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University. In her college career, she interned at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, focusing on water quality research in Chesapeake Bay. She actively involved participants and volunteers, fostering community engagement in her research.

In her free time, she enjoys relaxing on the beach, exploring the DC area with friends, and quality time with her dog.

Contact: dmenendez [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Nicole Schroyer, Senior Communications Manager

Nicole Schroyer (she/her/hers) is the Communications Manager at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Prior to joining CCAN, Nicole earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and International Studies from Washington College, in Chestertown, MD. After completing her degree in 2019, Nicole joined CCAN as a Social Media and Communications Intern and then transitioned into a Temporary CRM Associate role before moving on to take on the role of Communications Coordinator at MOM’s Organic Market. In May of 2022, Nicole returned to CCAN to take on the role of Communications Manager. Nicole currently lives in DC and enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, and spending time with her pets, Camellia (dog), and Clover (Cat).

Contact: nicole [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Gabby Walton, Federal Campaigns Associate 

Gabby Walton (she/her/hers) is the Federal Campaigns Associate at CCAN. Before joining CCAN, Gabby earned her bachelors degrees in French and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Gabby was very active on campus and contributed extensively to research projects, volunteered at a neuroscience laboratory, volunteered to serve refugees, and joined the International Day of Solidarity with survivors of sexual violence, co-launched “Denim Day @ Carolina.” After graduating in 2023, Gabby came to CCAN as the Federal Fellow before taking her current position as a full-time staff member. In her free time, Gabby enjoys maintaining her French and Spanish fluency, teaching herself other languages, reading, exercising, drawing, and playing video games.

Contact: gabby [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Ting Waymouth, Northern Virginia Organizer

Ting Waymouth (she/her) got involved with CCAN as a volunteer in 2021, then joined CCAN’s staff as the Northern Virginia Organizer in 2024. Brand new to Virginia in 2021, Ting found community and fulfillment in becoming a volunteer leader through CCAN and felt well supported in growing her skills and experience in climate activism and organizing. She helped found the Northern Virginia chapter of CCAN, NoVA New Leaf, in 2022. Ting is also a Climatebase Fellow and a “climate quitter,” having left her previous career to give more of her time and energy to the climate fight and environmental justice.
Ting is passionate about waste, electrification, and connected communities. She lives in Springfield, VA with her spouse, two kids, and her dog, Pip (who thrives on kibbles made of insect protein). She has a B.A. in English from Vassar College, and an M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from UMass Amherst.

Contact: ting [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org

Board

Sat Jiwan Khalsa, President

Sat Jiwan has been an environmental advocate and activist since 2000, working and volunteering in non-profit environmental consumer advocacy and energy efficiency consulting. He recently completed an intensive green renovation of his family’s home. Sat Jiwan works closely with a team of green architects, designers, builders and energy consultants (Helicon Works) to make green homes. Sat Jiwan is a green-building and environmental consultant, current president of the Save Our Sky Home Heating Cooperative (aka “Corn Coop”), and the monthly “Going Green” columnist for the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Voice.

Sat Jiwan previously worked at Whole Foods Market and Center for a New American Dream. He graduated from Brandeis University with BAs in linguistics and cognitive science, and psychology. He joined the CCAN board in 2007.


Keith Thirion, Secretary

Keith joins the CCAN Action Fund board after previously leading the Virginia field team for it and its affiliate Chesapeake Climate Action Network. A seasoned campaigner, advocate, and organizer, he is currently the Vice President of Strategy at Alliance for Justice, a national advocacy organization that fights for a fair and independent justice system, and empowers nonprofits to advocate for their causes. He joined AFJ after serving as the Director of Advocacy & Programs and then as Acting Director of Equality Maryland, where he played a lead role in passing the state transgender anti-discrimination law and developed public education initiatives to reduce anti-LGBTQ prejudice and discrimination. Previously as the Virginia Field Director at CCAN, he managed the organizing team to defeat the largest proposed coal plant in Virginia, expose corporate greenwashing by the state’s most powerful utility, develop legislative champions, and build networks of climate activists and coalition partners across the state.

Keith began organizing LGBTQ ballot initiative campaigns and as an Organizing Fellow with the National LGBTQ Task Force. He lives in Washington, DC.


Amanda Tandy, Member

Amanda is an activist in Loudoun County, VA. She focuses on local environmental protection, equity and politics. Currently, she is the committee chair for both the NAACP Loudoun Environmental and Preservation Justice Committee and the Political Action Committee, one of NAACP Loudoun’s Vice Presidents, and co-treasurer for both the Virginia Justice Democrats and People Power Virginia. Her favorite things about activism are meeting and interacting with all of the other amazing, hopeful activists and holding people in power accountable to do better. Amanda joined CCAN Action Fund’s Board of Directors in 2021.