STAFF AND BOARD
Vice President, Development
During her 25+ years in the field, Roberta has led development programs for a broad range of nonprofits, including community-based, national and international organizations, and museums such as the Smithsonian Institution. When she became VP for Development at Friends of the Urban Forest in 2018, she felt that she had finally “come home,” because Friends of the Urban Forest’s mission combines her passions for the environment, social justice, and urban planning. Roberta is a life-long student, a political activist, and a serious hiking enthusiast.
Director of People and Operations
Born and raised in Northern California, Kelsey has always loved the natural environment. Since earning a degree in Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice from SF State, she’s gained over 10 years of nonprofit leadership experience. Before joining Friends of the Urban Forest in 2023, she was the Director of People and Operations at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. When she’s not working, Kelsey enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and being in the top 1% of Beyoncé listeners on Spotify.
Brian brings over 15 years of nonprofit management, public policy, and fundraising experience to his role as Executive Director of Friends of Urban Forest. Brian joined the organization in 2021 after serving as Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. He is thrilled to lead a talented and passionate team in ensuring that all San Franciscans benefit from a robust urban canopy and neighborhood green space. Brian can often be spotted riding to Hawk Hill and he indeed appreciates that our office in the Presidio falls on his bike route.
Marketing and Communications Director
Paawan joined Friends of the Urban Forest in 2022 in the newly-created position of Marketing and Communications Director. She brings 15+ years of marketing experience from a range of organizations and thrives on building/elevating brands and people through storytelling. Paawan is an avid hiker, and her latest hobby is to count the Friends of the Urban Forest signs during her urban hikes in the city, a skill she has yet to master (there are so many, she loses count!).
Finance and Contracts Director
As Friends of the Urban Forest’s Finance and Contracts Director, Jim brings 10+ years of nonprofit management, accounting, and information systems experience to the role. Prior to this role, Jim held the positions of Controller at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Finance Manager at Greater Farallones Association. Jim enjoys running and hiking near his home in Woodacre, and he can also be found backpacking or backcountry skiing in the Sierra Nevada range.
Dr. Bunny McFadden
Community Workforce Development Director
Dr. Bunny McFadden (she/they) grew up reading books in the crook of a crabapple tree. With over ten years of experience in education and workforce development and a doctorate in education from the University of South Carolina, Bunny is committed to growing deep roots and building community in the Bay Area. Outside of work, Bunny can be found playing with ink in some form or another.
ISA Certified Arborist WE-11781A
Mike joined Friends of the Urban Forest as an intern in 2015, right after graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in Environmental Studies. What brought him to Friends of the Urban Forest was his love for trees. What has kept him here since then is the community engagement and participation to get more trees planted. Outside his interest in all things related to trees, Mike enjoys skateboarding and camping in the wilderness.
Board of Directors
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chair, Finance and Audit Committee
Neighborhood: Outer Richmond
Josh is the Deputy Chief Business Officer for the Presidio Trust, helping to transform the historic Presidio into America’s first financially self-sufficient national park site and ensuring that the Presidio will be visited and loved by all forever. Josh believes in the power of trees to improve personal health, mitigate climate change, and increase economic stability. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children, and they enjoy reading books, exploring parks, taking hikes, little league baseball, and youth soccer (for which Josh is a volunteer coach). He earned a BS in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California.
Neighborhood: Bernal Heights
Shaila fell in love with the trees of San Francisco over 10 years ago, walking along tree-lined Folsom Street in the Mission District. She believes a vibrant urban tree canopy is critical for physical and mental well-being and vital in addressing climate change. She is thrilled to be serving on the board. For the last 10 years, Shaila has helped build and scale fast-growing companies in healthcare and tech. Before that, she worked with communities in developing countries addressing issues of health, education, and economics. You can often find Shaila wandering the narrow, mulched pathways of the San Francisco Botanical Garden with her son and husband.
Chair, People and Operations Committee
Neighborhood: Potrero Hill
Ray joined FUF’s Board in 2020 after having been a Volunteer Planting Leader since 2018. The longtime San Francisco resident believes in the power of trees to improve lives, fight climate change, and make everyone smile. He is committed to restoring and establishing a healthy, thriving tree canopy, especially in underserved neighborhoods. Ray has worked in leadership roles within enterprise software and technology firms for more than 20 years. His technology interests and experience range from supply chain and logistics solutions, wireless networks, and IoT technologies to data analytics. Ray has a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Cornell University.
Chair, Fundraising, Development, Marketing, and Outreach Committee
Neighborhood: Sunset District
Lara is the Associate Vice President of People Strategy for the YMCA of San Francisco, focusing on culture, employee experience, organizational decision making, and internal communications. Prior to her current role, Hitchcock served as the Executive Director for two YMCAs in the GGNRA, working with partners across government, non-profit, foundation, and corporate functions to provide community programs in healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. Hitchcock holds a BS from Boston College and loves hiking in her neighborhood and in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area with her husband and teen sons.
Neighborhood: Mission District
Lindy brings to the board more than fifteen years’ experience as a brand strategist and creative director, focused on helping mission-driven companies and nonprofits build powerful brands and influence positive change. A long-time San Franciscan and environmental justice advocate, Lindy believes deeply in the importance of urban green space and is dedicated to forwarding the role it plays in making our city healthier, happier, and more beautiful. She also loves biking, reading, disc golf, and growing things.
Lives in: East Bay
Alison is an Energy and Environment partner at Nixon Peabody, helping clients find sustainable solutions to environmental problems, looking for ways to mitigate risk while reducing pollution. She’s the co-chair of Nixon Peabody’s Legally Green Initiative, overseeing a $2M biennial pro bono commitment. Previously she worked as an aquatic toxicologist, utilizing her BS in Aquatic Biology from UC Santa Barbara. She received her JD from the University of Oregon, graduating first in her class. An avid scuba diver since age 15, Alison has been on 300+ dives around the world. Alison joins the Board to help improve San Francisco’s urban environment, increasing tree equity and pushing back against the devastating impacts of climate change.
Katie McCloskey John
Neighborhood: Russian Hill
Katie is a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), focusing on technology-driven transformation with expertise in carbon accounting and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives. Her passion for sustainability was sparked during her college years when she studied abroad in Northern Europe, with a focus on landscape architecture, sustainable transit and waste management. Originally from the Bay Area, Katie holds a degree in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley. She enjoys exploring the outdoors, travel and photography.
Neighborhood: Mission District
Victor Ruiz-Cornejo serves as a policy advisor to San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed, with a focus on small business, economic recovery, arts & culture, cannabis, entertainment & tourism, and LGBTQ policy. Previously, Victor was Communications Director for Senator Scott Wiener. He joined the Friends of the Urban Forest board in 2022. Throughout his life Victor has had a love of plants and nature. Growing up he learned to garden with his mom, and believes everyone benefits from being surrounded by nature. Victor received a degree in International Relations from Stanford University. He was born and raised in Sonora Mexico, before immigrating to the United States at 8 years old.