The Greenleaf team brings a variety of backgrounds and perspectives to our work– we believe this enables us to engage more effectively with our collaborators to integrate disciplines and apply their research towards tangible results. A shared passion for supporting a sustainable, healthy world by addressing environmental causes of preventable human ailments is what brings us together and keeps us moving forward.
Our ability to effectively further our mission comes from the depth and variety of knowledge and expertise brought to programmatic work by our board of directors and service partners. We collaborate with the staff, service partners, and board at our affiliated organization, Greenleaf Advisors. They include leading researchers in the fields of human health, resource management, environmental sciences, economics, and other disciplines. Greenleaf staff provides the operational support and research project management to guide our service partners working together across disciplines to address primary environmental threats to human health. In this way, Greenleaf produces sound scientific recommendations to inform policies and practices.
John A. Andersen, Jr.
John Andersen is founder and President of Greenleaf Advisors, LLC, where he advises businesses, institutions, and communities on strategies that advance their sustainable development. John’s thirty-plus years of experience, serving businesses, capital clients, nonprofits, governments and institutions, demonstrates that it takes effective engagement across these sectors to achieve sustainable growth and solve complex problems.
His current clients include regional governmental entities seeking to protect water resources, renewable-energy companies, private-equity investment firms, nonprofits, energy research institutions, and industrial-materials recycling and waste-energy recovery companies.
Previously, John was an International and Managing Director at Jones Lang LaSalle, where he managed the company’s national land business and its strategic expansion into China. He was also the Great Lakes Director of The Nature Conservancy, where he worked across the region’s scientific, business, and government sectors to advance biodiversity conservation. John is a faculty member at DePaul University, where he teaches Sustainable Value Creation in the Kellstadt Business School.
Additionally, John is President of Greenleaf Communities, a nonprofit research entity that recruits and organizes multi-disciplinary teams of scientists to investigate environmental influences on health and apply that knowledge to improve industrial practices and public policies. John holds an AB in Economics from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Katie is a Program Manager focusing on research, outreach and communication efforts. Her agricultural research focuses, in part, on the Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters symposia series which addresses a whole systems approach to sustainable agriculture by inviting multidisciplinary groups including producers, researchers, government agency staff, and non-profit organizations. She co-led the workshop on sensor technologies and applications to soil health, carbon sequestration, and water resources. Her agricultural research focused on the soil and water benefits derived from the use of gypsum as an agricultural amendment. Katie has conducted scientific literature reviews for clients, such as GYPSOIL and EPRI. She coordinates outreach and communication with the Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES) at the University of Illinois as they develop the center to be the “go-to” place for cities of all sizes to improve resilience and sustainability. Katie supports the team in its efforts on climate policy research and works to address water quantity concerns both in Northern Illinois and the Colorado River Basin.
Katie also provides support to our affiliated organization, Greenleaf Advisors, in the program areas of land, water, material, and energy. To advance sustainable water solutions, Katie works with Opti to bring innovation to stormwater management in Illinois. In addition, she works with Intelligent Generation to assist in their development and analyze potential renewable energy projects.
Katie graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BS in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and a minor in Business. She holds an MS in Environmental Management and Sustainability from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Francine van den Brandeler
Associate, Climate and Water Fellow
Ben Bezark is a Director at Greenleaf Advisors and Greenleaf Communities where he works with clients to meet their business and environmental objectives. He joins Greenleaf from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute where he led the development of operational systems and technologies to facilitate the growth of the Cradle to Cradle Certified® Products Program to thousands of products from over 600 companies around the world. Ben brings experience in operational and technology management, product design and development, and circularity and waste reduction.
Ben holds his MS in Product Design and Development Management from Northwestern University and B.S. in Community Development and Applied Economics from the University of Vermont.
Katie Boyce is an emerging sustainability professional based in Chicago, Illinois. While obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and minor in Sustainability from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she became interested in the communication and collaboration across sectors to develop holistic solutions to address climate challenges. As a result of this, Katie is currently pursuing dual MBA and MPA degrees in Sustainable Solutions from Presidio Graduate School and is passionate about advancing the integration of circularity and systems thinking across her work.
Katie has experience working with nonprofits and consulting for clients across sectors on a variety of projects including competitive and strategic analysis, financial analysis, sustainability reporting analysis, marketing analysis, supply chain analysis, policy diffusion and strategic positioning, qualitative and quantitative data aggregation and analysis, stakeholder engagement, qualitative and quantitative research, and synthesizing ideas.
Julia Armstrong D'Agnese
CEO and Co-Founder
Julia Armstrong D’Agnese is an innovator and change-maker and as Earth Knowledge CEO drives strategic partnerships and big-picture transformational opportunities to help build a more sustainable world. She uses her ability to gain respect of, and constructively challenge, business and organizational leaders, advocating and driving reinvention through technology. Julia works with Fortune 500 company leadership to innovatively become truly sustainable, harnessing global change opportunities and mitigating risks to become more climate resilient and nature positive.
Blacks in Green
Founder & CEO
Naomi is dedicated to self-sustaining Black communities everywhere. Her strategy begins with her aim to reinvent her childhood “sustainable-square-mile” here in the Age of Climate Crisis. She is the founder & CEO of Blacks in Green (BIG™), an urban theorist, attorney, activist, and proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers. Her heritage forms the foundation for BIG's course in Grannynomics™, The 8 Principles of Green-Village-Building™ and The Sustainable Square Mile™ which Naomi authored and teaches nationally in community lectures and workshops and at universities. Naomi serves as a bridge and catalyst among communities and their stakeholders in the design and development of green, self-sustaining, mixed-income, walkable-villages within black neighborhoods – so that every household can ultimately walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-learn, walk-to-play – and neighbor dollars can circulate locally to help limit greenhouse gasses associated with transportation and manufacturing pollution. She conveys the risks of global warming; the health/wealth opportunities of the new green economy; the power of neighbors to lead in their city’s enviro-economic policy and practice; and the primacy of land ownership.
Warren Dick, PhD
The Ohio State University
Ali Fatemi, PhD
Editor-in-Chief, Global Finance Journal
Emeritus Chairman and Professor of Finance
VP, Sustainability and Market Development
The Open Group
Janet Hock, PhD
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
Center for Urban Health Investigator
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (Retired)
Nancy Holm was the Assistant Director at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) which is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her role as assistant director, she has overseen ISTC’s Sponsored Research Program which funds research projects through the State of Illinois’ Hazardous Waste Research Fund. Additionally, Nancy is involved with several research projects at ISTC on pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the aquatic environment and, most recently, fate and transport of microplastics in aquatic systems. She is also co-leader of ISTC’s Solar Module End-of-Life Initiative promoting proper recycling of decommissioned solar modules.
Nancy holds a B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Luther College and an M.S. in Oceanography and Limnology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Energy Attorney and Consultant
Writer on Energy and Agricultural Innovation
Darrell Norton, PhD
USDA National Soil Erosion Research Lab
Research Soil Scientist, Retired
Global Sourcing Lead
Director of Business Development
Sabina Shaikh, PhD
University of Chicago, Faculty
Director, Program on Global Environment, Environmental & Urban Studies
Ashish Sharma, PhD
Discovery Partners Institute,
University of Illinois System
Climate and Urban Sustainability Lead
Dr. Ashish Sharma is the Climate and Urban Sustainability Lead at the Discovery Partners Institute, University of Illinois System. He holds a joint appointment as a Climate Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. Dr. Sharma has expertise in atmospheric sciences, focusing on regional climate, air quality, and assessing adaptation and mitigation strategies. Through collaborative research across science, engineering, social sciences, and policy, he studies environmental justice issues including heat, fog, air quality, and high-impact weather.Read more about Discovery Partners Institute.
Beneficial Reuse Management
Roy Wehrle, PhD
University of Illinois-Springfield
Roy Wehrle is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He is a Senior Economist and former member of the Council of Economic Advisors to President Kennedy. In the U.S. Department of State, he served as Economic Counsellor to U.S ambassadors in both Laos and South Vietnam, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Vietnam. He was Senior Economist at Brookings Institution. He has taught and written extensively about the connection between economics and the environment and effective climate policy.
Paul West, PhD
Sr. Scientist, Ecosystems & Agriculture
Paul West, Ph.D., is an ecologist developing science-based solutions for sustaining a healthy planet for people and nature. Paul is assessing how climate solutions can create win-wins and trade-offs for conserving biodiversity, creating a sustainable food system, and many other aspects of planetary health and human well-being.
Paul joined Project Drawdown from the University of Minnesota, where he maintains an appointment. His research has focused on improving both global food security and the environment, and is published in leading science journals—including Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—as well as appeared in National Geographic, museum exhibits, and major media outlets. Paul’s impact goes well beyond academia. He works with a global network of leading scientists, development banks, non-profit organizations, businesses, tribal nations, and national governments.
Don Wuebbles, PhD
University of Illinois, Emeritus Professor
Earth Knowledge, Director of Climate Science