Board and Staff at Spring Retreat
Board and Staff at Spring Retreat

We practice sustainability in all that we do.


As an organization, we use the principles of living systems to make decisions and develop strategies for greater impact. We seek to embody our change model of connecting, reflecting, and acting in all that we do – internally and externally, personally and professionally. For our team, this means having an ongoing, deep commitment to listening and learning from each other and striving to create a workplace that inspires and nurtures each team member.


We believe that what we create and offer to the world is a direct reflection of who we are and what we value.


We live our values by providing a flexible family-friendly work environment, encouraging staff to recharge with annual personal retreats, offering a sabbatical for long-term employees, and revisiting our practices and policies regularly to ensure that we continue to evolve to meet our needs.

Everyday, we bring to work a deep commitment to sustainability, and seek to discover change, together.


Kelly Bauman, Operations Manager

As Operations Manager, Kelly ensures that NWEI’s physical and web-based information systems are all running smoothly. Day to day, you’ll find him tweaking web layouts, researching soy-based inks and UV printing, creating tutorials and systems diagrams, and trying to remember all of his passwords.

Prior to joining NWEI, Kelly taught high school Spanish and ESL in California, supported implementation of assessment technologies at Northwest Evaluation Association, and, most recently, taught gardening to inmates at Columbia River Correctional Institution. Kelly holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership with a focus on Sustainability from Portland State University, as well as BCLAD teaching certification from the state of California. In his spare time, Kelly enjoys learning John Fahey and Mississippi John Hurt songs on his guitar, reading political economy, taking pictures, and walking.

Lacy Cagle, Director of Learning

As the Director of Learning, Lacy oversees the development of NWEI’s Discussion Course books, EcoChallenge, and educational materials. She also provides services and training to faculty and staff in higher education throughout North America. One of Lacy’s favorite parts of working at NWEI is inspiration—being inspired by people’s stories of action and change, and being able to develop curricula that inspire some of those actions and changes.

Before joining NWEI in 2011, Lacy worked for seven years in higher education administration, teaching and research, at Greenville College and at Portland State University. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy with a focus on Leadership in Sustainability Education from Portland State University. She has been a director at the Zahniser Institute since 2010. When not at work, Lacy enjoys her weekly trivia team, epic board games, and playing with her puppy, Huey. She also loves all aspects of food, from tending her backyard garden to creating inventive recipes with whatever ingredients she has on hand.

Erin Fitzgerald Marketing Manager

As the Marketing Manager, Erin puts her communications skills to good use for NWEI by telling stories that inspire action and build brand equity. As a lifelong environmental advocate, promoting EcoChallenge is the perfect job for Erin. Her 2013 EcoChallenge to buy nothing in a package resulted in an ongoing quest to be a better steward by living and consuming lighter.

Before joining NWEI, Erin worked in internal and external communications for companies with a focus on sustainability. She has a Master’s in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism and Communications from the University of Oregon. Outside of the office, Erin volunteers regularly at her neighborhood food pantry and trails conservation organization. She is an avid trail runner and enjoys sharing stories on her personal blog, Adventures in Thumbholes, to encourage conservation and drive positive change through running.

David Macek, Executive Director

As the Executive Director, David is responsible for the strategic direction of NWEI, and ensures that NWEI’s programs and staff are working toward the mission of inspiring people to take responsibility for Earth.

Before joining NWEI, he participated in his own set of EcoChallenges – from collecting all of his waste for 3 months to reducing his electricity bill to under $5/month (not to mention living in intentional co-ops for five years has the quality of a nonstop EcoChallenge). As a Massachusetts native who spent the last 12 years in California, Montana, and Colorado (and 25 countries traveled in between!), David has worn many hats leading transformation-centered nonprofits focusing on critical issues relating to the environment, education and culture. Within each organization, he has uncovered new systems and partnerships that improved efficiency and collaboration to support new growth and greater impact.

David has a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics from Stonehill College and a Masters in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University. David is thrilled to join NWEI, and says, “It is a dream opportunity to join NWEI as the Executive Director. From the moment I connected with NWEI, I was inspired by its progressive and widespread history of impact. NWEI’s model of ‘meeting people where they are’ to inspire change in ways that are fun and build community is core to my approach for individual and collective transformation.” When he’s not in the office, David loves being outside and experiencing the fullness of every season with his wife Lisa and their baby, Dilly, an English creme golden retriever.

Emily Mauro, Research and Curriculum Intern

As the Research and Curriculum intern at NWEI, Emily is responsible for developing and publicizing a new program on sustainability leadership for change. Originally hailing from the garden state of New Jersey, she has found her niche here in the Pacific Northwest. Obtaining a Community Health Education degree from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she quickly identified with courses exposing various determinants of health–specifically those associated with both the built and natural environment. This catalyzed a shift in gears as she began exploring environmental stewardship and its relation to human health.

Emily’s recent trip to South America shed some light on the Rights of Nature, Ecuador’s addition to its constitution in 2008.  The doctrine states that nature “has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.” This led her to probe the ethics of biocentrism–ultimately altering her perception of the complex natural world that we are all a vital part of. In her free time, she finds herself volunteering with organizations that advocate for equality. She is interested in further exploring the intersections between social equity and environmental sustainability, and is thrilled at the opportunity to do so with NWEI.

Deborah McNamara, Director of Organizational and Higher Education Partnerships

As the Director of Organizational Partnerships for the Northwest Earth Institute, Deborah supports NWEI’s network of partners and works closely with organizations and higher education communities. Prior to joining NWEI in 2006, Deb taught outdoor environmental education with Thorne Ecological Institute and Wild Bear Center for Nature and Ecology in Colorado. Deborah came to work for NWEI because “I enjoy working with individuals and organizations to affect change and have always been impressed with NWEI’s commitment to connection, reflection and action. Over the years, I’ve been inspired by countless examples of people making more intentional choices to live more sustainably.”

Deborah holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University, where she also received a Graduate Certificate in Ecopsychology. She holds a BA in Philosophy and Environmental Policy from Boston University. After hours, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her three young boys.

Sophia Turnbull-Appell Data Intern

As the Sustainability Behavior Research Intern, Sophie will analyze action data from the 2017 EcoChallenge and engage in outreach with climate justice organizations in Portland.  As a candidate in Portland State University’s Master in Urban and Regional Planning program, Sophie is excited to help promote the goals of the Portland and Multnomah Climate Action Plan and gain experience directly engaging with Portland communities. Sophie spends her free time hiking, skiing, and volunteering at animal shelters.

Liz Zavodsky, Director of Membership and Engagement

As the Director of Membership & Engagement at NWEI, Liz oversees program engagement with businesses nationwide, sponsorship and corporate partnerships, in addition to managing donor relationships and records, and volunteer coordination. Liz has been connected with NWEI for several years—she started using NWEI courses while working at the University of Arizona in 2007. When she moved to Portland in 2011, she started volunteering and interning with NWEI, and began working with NWEI in 2012. Liz remains inspired to be a part of the NWEI team because of the organization’s values and dynamic process of creating community and inspiring individuals through the discussion courses and EcoChallenge.

Before joining NWEI, Liz worked in higher education and residence life. She received her BA from University of Northern Colorado, and her MA in Human Development from University of Denver. Previously, she and her husband worked for Semester at Sea, and lived in Edinburgh, Scotland. When Liz is not at work, she is spending time with her family and friends hiking, cooking, reading, and traveling.

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