STAFF AND BOARD

SENIOR MANAGEMENT

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Brian Wiedenmeier

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Executive Director

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 Presidio falls on his bike route.

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Mike Yarak

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Urban Forestry Program Manager

ISA Certified Arborist WE-11781A

Mike joined Friends of the Urban Forest as an intern in 2015, right after graduating from SF 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.

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Jim Rogers

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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.

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Roberta Catalinotto

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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.

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Paawan Kothari

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Marketing and Communications Director

Paawan joined Friends of the Urban Forest in Feb as their first Marketing and Communications Director, a role newly created this year. 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!).

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Karla Nagy

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Vice President of Operations

Karla has a long history with Friends of the Urban Forest. Her first role with the organization was as a tree planting manager in the early 2000s.  A licensed landscape architect, she returned to Friends of the Urban Forest in 2010 to manage the fledgling Sidewalk Garden program. Karla is the "heartwood" of the organization, overseeing program and administrative operations. She loves giving support to her inspiring and passionate colleagues in beautifying the city and helping with their professional development journeys. Karla is a long time resident of Lower Haight and her bright hair is a reflection of her cheerful personality.

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Jennifer Kim

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Human Resources

Jennifer is a nonprofit management consultant who has been working with Friends of the Urban Forest for several years on human resources and contracts administration. Before starting her consulting practice, she had a career in nonprofit fund development, management, and philanthropic services. While she currently resides in Denver, Jennifer is dedicated to the Bay Area where she lived for 30 years and now visits as much as she can.

Board of Directors

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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Josh Bagley

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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. 

 

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Sarah Jones

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Chair, Engagement Committee

Neighborhood: Cole Valley

Sarah grew up in New York City, and discovered city planning in college. She has been a planner for 25+ years, mostly for the City and County of San Francisco. For part of that time she was the City’s Environmental Review Officer, overseeing adherence to the California Environmental Quality Act. She’s currently Planning Director for the SFMTA. She sees streets as important public and community spaces, and trees as perhaps the most important factor contributing to the quality of those spaces. She believes that strategically improving the urban forest in a community-based way is a step towards racial, social, and climate justice. Sarah and her husband Jim have two adult children. 

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Ray Schreiber

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Vice Chair

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. 

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Joyce Wang

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Secretary

Neighborhood: Pacific Heights

Joyce is the director of conservation programs and corporate engagements at the Wildlife Conservation Network. She helps steer the growth strategy of WCN’s portfolio of field investments, while also executing impactful cause marketing partnerships to benefit animals and the bottom line. Joyce was once a corporate deal attorney in Silicon Valley and has a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University. She has lived in the Bay Area for over 20 years and in San Francisco since 2009 and believes deeply in FUF’s mission. She loves hiking in the Presidio with her dog and backpacking trips. 

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Monica Edwards

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Lives in: East Bay

Monica is the Managing Director of Community First Lending, a community lender headquartered in Richmond that serves the San Francisco Bay Area. Monica has funded real estate development all over the country and hopes to bring the beauty and vitality of trees to the low-income community she has served over the course of her career in community and economic development. Monica is originally from Baltimore. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Princeton University, and an MBA at Clark Atlanta University, and also completed the University of Southern California’s certificate program in Real Estate Development. 

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SaraT (ST) Mayer

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Chair, Finance and Audit Committee

Neighborhood: St. Mary’s Park

ST has experience working inside and outside government to advance equity. She most recently worked as the Chief Program Officer at Code for America, and before that as the Director of Public Health, Policy, and Planning for the San Mateo County Health Department. She has served on the Community Advisory Board for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, as Board Chair at Human Impact Partners, and as a Board Member for the Housing Leadership Council. She joined the FUF Board because she loves walking and biking the city streets. She believes FUF is a part of making our public spaces healthy, green, and enjoyable for everyone. 

 

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Dave Steer

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Neighborhood: Clarendon Heights

Dave joined the FUF Board in 2016 because of the importance of growing and protecting the urban forest in a time of climate change. He grew up in Newton, Massachusetts — nicknamed “The Garden City” — and sees trees as the symbol of a healthy community. He graduated with a BA from the University of Vermont, where he studied Political Science and Environmental Studies. Dave has worked at the intersection of public policy, advocacy, and communications for some of the most well-recognized brands in the technology industry. He is currently the Head of Global Product Marketing for Trust, Safety, and Identity at Twitter.  

 

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Gina Falsetto

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Chair

Interim Chair, Fundraising, Development, Marketing, and Outreach Committee

Neighborhood: Buena Vista Heights

Gina has experience in business development, project management, client service, and corporate communications. Most recently, Gina was Manager of Real Estate at SFMade, a non-profit serving manufacturers; prior to SFMade, she was Senior Vice President and Director at Callan Associates, a financial consulting firm; and out of college, she was on the sales and marketing team at ShareData. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of California at Davis. Gina regards trees as magical because of all they do: clean the air, filter water, reduce crime, mitigate climate change, save energy, provide oxygen, and increase home value — and they’re beautiful to look at. 

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Shaila Parikh

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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. 

 

 

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Alison Torbitt

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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.