Author: News Release         Published:  May 13, 2020         Emerald Cities  Collaborative]

Tabaris might compare his Felipe Floresca Fellowship to drinking from a fire hose.  He testified before the U.S. Senate Environmental Justice Caucus in his first week.  His message focused on the importance of including workforce education, training and job opportunities for communities of color in the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). As a black male from rural South Carolina he impressed upon the senators how rare it was for young people like him to have opportunities in well-paying careers that also address critical community problems.  Water quality, access and affordability are real problems in his community, but few are represented in the planning and decision-making processes

That was just the beginning.  Tabaris continues to build economic opportunities for those left out of the clean economy and to ensure that communities of color are leading the effort to build sustainable, just and inclusive economies. He has been instrumental in facilitating a national working group to develop an online learning program for the ECC’s signature E-Contractor Academy, a program that trains small, minority, women, veteran and disadvantaged firms as socially responsible contractors to perform energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofit projects. He also brings classic millennial social media skills to ECC’s operations.  He applied for and received funding to develop a whiteboard video on ECC’s High Road Accelerated Minority Business Institute (HRAMBI).  He also masterminded a video project telling ECC’s high road story.  Tabaris describes his fellowship experience as “very informative, pragmatic, and creative”. We look forward to his continued growth and contributions to ECC’s mission.

With deep gratitude for her participation in the Felipe Floresca fellowship, here are a few highlights of our past 6 months with ECC East Bay wonderful fellow, Lisa Tran. From the jump, Lisa has been a tremendous support to our small but mighty team and our main local project Anchors in Resilience Communities (ARC).  She has a sharp and curious mind and many skills, some administrative…like typing copious notes, and organizing files in google drive, and being the lead on salesforce adoption of our contacts. To more extensive skills as engaging with our workforce partners, representing ECC in the development of our East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) work and coordinating ECC’s ARC three part webinar series. This series included national speakers with hundreds of participants nationally, and her technical and creative support was critical.  In addition, Lisa is helping by participating in, and when needed, facilitating the emergent conversations on the East Bay’s electrification, solar for schools, and new projects and innovation for ARC.  Always a strong YES, Lisa has been of great support to our local and national communication deliverables.  And there is more,  Lisa is diving deep into learning about workforce needs and employee ownership opportunities within the regional food system, along with supporting our ever growing coordinating demands. So appreciative, Mahalo Lisa!

Mikela has been working and leading important aspects of our work in the San Francisco market. She has been a part of the Anchor Partner Network team, where ECSF is convening over 150 community stakeholders in public workshops to understand the equity impacts of building decarbonization, and to design programs and policies with equity as a lens. Mikela has helped create the agendas, content and facilitation in these meetings, and has been a strong leader in facilitating small group conversations. She has also been working on the SF RENEW multifamily program to project manage two clients- Chinatown CDC and Asian N’hood Design. On the E-Contractor front, MIkela has done one-on-one check-ins with our grads, and is the point of contact for any issues they face. Mikela has also taken the lead on researching and pursuing local funding opportunities to help grow and support our work. She has emerged as a key support and leader of our work here, and has been appreciated by all our steering committee members, stakeholders and allies for her work and excellence.

Tama Semo, the Felipe Floresca Fellow in Seattle, has brought tremendous enthusiasm for our mission at the intersection of environment and equity.  He is an active learner, copious notetaker, and willing leader.  Among Tama’s many contributions include helping to lead the organization’s adoption of the salesforce platform including customizations and 1-on-1 coaching.  He’s also become a Zoom wizard, utilizing the platform the enhance our ability to convene diverse stakeholders in our region.  He supported the RENEW retrofit and conservation management efforts with site visits, renewable energy compliance, monthly utility monitoring and complex analyses of utility use in Bellwether Housing’s properties.  Recently he led a statewide team strategizing an Equity First approach to building electrification.  When not performing his assigned Emerald Cities’ duties he is an active participant in Got Green’s Young Leaders Program and has a leadership position with the Pacific Islander Community working on capacity building and their response to COVID-19.