Green Leadership Trust Announces New Executive Director, Emira Woods, Global Justice Strategist
Washington, DC — The Green Leadership Trust (GLT), an influential network of people of color who serve as fiduciaries for environmental organizations and foundations, has named Emira Woods as its next Executive Director. Woods brings decades of experience as a leader, analyst, and strategist on governance, human rights, climate justice, and global equity to this new role.
Woods will build on the foundation laid by Francisco “Paco” Ollervides, who became the GLT’s first Executive Director and led the network through a period of rapid growth and organizational development.
GLT’s mission is to build power for the environmental movement by expanding the impact and leadership of Black, Indigenous and people of color serving on U.S. environmental nonprofit boards; and Woods takes the helm during a critical moment for the nation and the planet, as the broader environmental movement, including nonprofits of all sizes and the philanthropic community, continue to grapple with historic underrepresentation by people of color in leadership positions.
Woods is a values driven professional with a broad network of connections in government, philanthropy, and the media. She has management experience in the private sector as well as nonprofit organizations, social movements, federations, and complex networks.
“Finding someone of Emira’s caliber and expertise for this role is a gift.” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth Action and one of GLT’s co-chairs, “As a Trustee of the Wallace Global Fund and the Janelia Foundation, she brings to bear a sophisticated understanding of the funder community and her service on several other boards makes her a perfect fit to lead this network of leaders.”
Over the past decade, Woods has distinguished herself working with grassroots organizations, social movements, and philanthropists in over 50 countries. She is recognized as a thought leader on governance and a global justice champion, making regular appearances in broadcast and print media. Woods is a regular analyst on CNN’s One World with Zain Asher. She also is a frequent commentator on Voice of America, BBC and National Public Radio, among others.
Michel Gelobter, GLT co-founder and co-chair, shared “The diversity and depth of Emira’s experience is astonishing. She is the consummate insider who has worked for and represented the people of the global majority in venues across the world. Her intimate understanding of how governance drives change will be transformative for Board members and leaders across our sector.”
Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, GLT co-founder and co-chair, stated “As GLT approaches our 10th anniversary, I am so excited to welcome Emira’s leadership to build on nine years of accomplishments especially around Environmental Justice! How fitting to begin her tenure as the country commemorates Martin Luther King’s legacy, it inspires us to ‘dream’ a just and equitable future as she takes the helm for our next phase.”
“Emira’s deep background in governance within philanthropy, advocacy, and grassroots activism, combined with her endless positive energy, make her the perfect leader for GLT. I’m sure she will supercharge their important work to make our movement more diverse, more powerful, and more impactful,” shared Annie Leonard, Co Executive Director, Greenpeace US.
Allison Chin, GLT co-founder, expressed “As a member of the hiring committee, I am confident that Emira’s stellar background will be a tremendous asset to the GLT. I am excited to work with her to ensure that there continue to be more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color on governing boards and senior leadership in the environmental movement.”
“In a week where Clyde Bellecourt, the “Thunder Before the Storm”, joined the ancestors, it is uplifting to support organizations like GLT carrying forward the legacy of giants fighting for justice. As a longtime member of the GLT, I applaud the GLT’s selection of Emira Woods as our newest Executive Director. I look forward to working with her in her new role and ensuring these legacies continue to ground and inspire us to do this critical work,” said longtime GLT member John Echohawk.
Long time GLT member, Tamara Toles O’Laughlin had this to say about the announcement of new leadership “The Green Leadership Trust remains a singularly impactful space for agenda setting collaboration, and environmental equity in practice. In this spirit, I am enthusiastic about the leadership of Emira Woods at a crucial time for the development of global and diaspora level solutions. I am ready to collaborate in support of long term action on today’s issues of climate, environment and justice.”
As the Executive Director of the Green Leadership Trust, Woods will work at the nexus of race, governance, and environmental advocacy. With the support of the Green Leadership Trust’s Steering Committee, she will oversee GLT’s core programming, including its work developing current and future members and funders, promoting best practices for Boards, and engaging C-suites to rigorously evaluate their approaches to diversity, inclusion, and impact.
“I am thrilled to join the Green Leadership Trust at this moment in history. With less than a decade remaining to avoid the worst forms of climate chaos, we must collectively seize every opportunity to strengthen organizations, movements, and philanthropies by centering racial justice, equity, and inclusion in all boards of directors and governing bodies. Black, Brown and Indigenous communities disproportionately bear the brunt of the climate crisis, a crisis made worse by economic, social and political exclusion. Our communities bring forth powerful solutions rooted in ancestral knowledge and our lived frontline experiences,” shared Emira Woods, Executive Director of GLT. “The Green Leadership Trust has a phenomenal track record – forging paths, building power and creating positive change. GLT’s aligned vision, strategic tools and unique model of collaboration will maximize the impact of the sector as we work to end all forms of oppression, amplify voices, protect people and build a more sustainable future,” said Woods.
“As a founding member of the Green Leadership Trust, I am so happy to welcome Emira to our community,” said Peggy Shepard, Executive Director of We Act for Environmental Justice and Co-Chair of the White House Advisory Council on Environmental Justice, “Her deep understanding and experience with social justice movements in Africa and across the world will be an incredible asset for GLT as we work to create a more effective, inclusive, and representative environmental movement in this country.”
About the Green Leadership Trust
Since 2013, the Green Leadership Trust (GLT) has worked to build power for the environmental movement by diversifying its most senior leadership. Together, we are building a more just and sustainable world. For more information, visit www.greenleadershiptrust.org.