Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation Announces New Staff and Board Members
A Letter from Rini Banerjee, President:
Dear friends and colleagues,
We are delighted to announce that Vonda Brunsting, Marc Diaz, Terrelene Massey, Leilani Wilson Walkush, and Caitlyn Beardsley have joined our team as Board members, contributing to a long-standing governance formation that is comprised of family and non-family members. We look forward to leveraging their deep knowledge in mission-aligned investment strategies and grassroots organizing in the United States to advance our mission to bring about a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.
It’s also a pleasure to introduce you to our new program officer, Olivia Trabysh. Olivia will serve as a key connection point with our peer funders and our place-based grantee partners to ensure our participatory and collaborative grantmaking processes are accountable to the movements we support. She will also provide program direction and capacity support to bolster our intersectional approach to grantmaking to advance racial and gender justice.
Find out more about them below — and join us in welcoming them to the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation.
With deep appreciation,
Caitlyn Beardsley is a Senior Team Lead at Aya Healthcare, based in San Diego, CA. She volunteers with several different organizations including the Rady Children’s Hospital and recently participated in the local San Diego Alzheimer’s Walk. Previously, she was a Taproom Manager and Event Coordinator at Eight Bridges Brewing, Inc. Caitlyn holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from California Polytechnic State University.
Vonda Brunsting works with the Initiative for Responsible Investment at the Center for Public Leadership of the Harvard Kennedy School. In partnership with the Grantham Institute at LSE, she manages a project on Investing in the Just Transition, which aims to connect institutional investor action on climate with pathways for positive social impact.
Previously, she was director of the Capital Stewardship Program at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which was created to engage the capital markets and financial institutions in innovative ways. Vonda served as a trustee on the SEIU Master Trust Pension Plan and on the board of the Council of Institutional Investors. Prior to joining SEIU‚ Vonda Brunsting co-founded two community organizations devoted to leadership development and community change and worked on community finance initiatives at the University of New Hampshire and the Harvard Business School. She currently serves on the board of the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), the Good Work Institute, and on the Investment Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Common Endowment Fund.
She received her Bachelor of Arts from Calvin College and holds a Master's degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
Marc Diaz is Senior Vice President of TerViva where he leads sustainability and commercialization. Marc draws on his impact investing experience to scale the company's work introducing pongamia as a new food ingredient and a tree crop in new geographies. Prior to this, Marc founded and led NatureVest®, The Nature Conservancy’s impact investing division, building a $2 billion portfolio that delivered conservation results and financial returns for investors. Earlier, Marc launched and managed the UNICEF Bridge Fund and worked on finance, strategy, and risk management at McKinsey and Company and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
Marc earned a Master of Business Administration with distinction from Harvard Business School, a Master of Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College where he majored in government.
Terrelene Massey is the Executive Director of the Southwest Women’s Law Center and the former Executive Director of the Navajo Division of Social Services. Prior to her appointment with the Navajo Nation, Terrelene was employed as an attorney at Johnson Barnhouse & Keegan, LLP, in Albuquerque. She also served as a staff attorney at New Mexico Legal Aid, Inc., where she provided legal services to low income clients regarding federal Indian law, family law, and tribal law matters. Terrelene has also served as the Tribal Liaison for the New Mexico Human Services Department and as the Associate Director of Honoring Nations at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at Harvard University. Terrelene holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She is licensed to practice law in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. Terrelene is originally from Pinon, Arizona and is a tribal member of the Navajo Nation.
Leilani Wilson Walkush
Leilani Wilson Walkush is a senior consultant with Breakwater Investment Group in Everett Washington where she provides independent investment consulting to Native American communities. She is a fiduciary advisor working with Tribal retirement and trust accounts and has a focus on financial literacy. She is currently an elected member of the Board of Directors of Goldbelt, Incorporated, an Alaska Native Corporation. In 2015, she was appointed Vice Chair of the Special Trustees’ Advisory Board of the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, then in 2016 she became Chair until the end of the Obama administration.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in financial counseling and planning from Purdue University, and a Bachelor of Administration in business management from the University of Alaska, Southeast. Leilani is an enrolled member of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska and is a member of Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (Canada).
Olivia has worked as a program design and strategic communications consultant for progressive national funders and previously led development and communications at the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights and coordinated Special Projects at the Amarillo Area Foundation. Most recently a fellow of The Coaching Fellowship, an international program that nurtures and brings together the world’s high potential young women leaders of impact, Olivia graduated from West Texas A&M University where she studied English with an emphasis in post-colonial studies, political science, and art history. She served West Texas communities for several years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children and LGBTQ youth in the foster care system and sexual assault emergency responder before advocating for place-based grantmaking nationally. She also studied genocidal rhetoric, conflict resolution, and reconciliation with the School for International Training.