Ag Innovations’ talented team includes staff and consultants that are matched to the needs of each project. Our current team includes:
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Genevieve is Executive Director and Managing Facilitator at Ag Innovations, a nonprofit based in Sonoma County that facilitates systems change and collaborative action at the intersection of agriculture and natural resources. She brings over 15 years of experience in facilitating collaboration on issues such as ag viability, water stewardship, fire resiliency, biodiversity, pesticides, food systems, climate adaptation, and organizational development, and is the facilitator for the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment (CRAE). Genevieve believes that vibrant collaboration is the key to unlocking solutions to the complex and interconnected challenges around our natural and working landscapes. Her team facilitates systems change and collective action in the areas of agricultural viability, water stewardship, fire resiliency, and food systems, and is known for their neutral, generative stance, dynamic bridge building, and ability to affect meaningful change.
Prior to Ag Innovations, Genevieve was Vice President at Global Genesis, a consulting firm specializing in organizational development. In this role she facilitated inventive group processes and supported organizations with strategic planning, teambuilding, mission and vision development, and leadership development. She has had the pleasure of working with businesses, not-for-profits, academic institutions, and government agencies spanning a variety of sectors, including food, natural resources, social services, hospitality, construction, and others. She has worked and traveled in almost 20 countries, most recently to teach an MBA course in Bangkok, Thailand. As a volunteer and social entrepreneur, she co-founded the annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference in 2005, the San Francisco Urban Alliance for Sustainability in 2003, and CircadiaOne in 2009, a change management firm dedicated to guiding enterprises toward sustainability.
Genevieve received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations, and a minor in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley, transferring from Santa Rosa Junior College. She is proud to be an alumna of Leadership Santa Rosa (Class XXI), and a fellow of the Leadership Institute of Ecology & The Economy (Class 2008). She learned to speak Spanish while studying abroad in Chile.
Robert Gould is a Senior Facilitator at Ag Innovations, where he leads large-scale, collaborative change efforts providing strategic guidance and process design, facilitation, communications, and organization development services to bring out the best in organizations and people to address complex problems. Current engagements include the California Water Action Collaborative (CWAC), CA Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), forest/watershed resiliency, food and agricultural systems, and developing a bio-economy in California.
Robert has 25 years of collaborative change, organization development and sustainability experience including Charles Schwab & Co., Interaction Associates, the renewable energy/climate industry, and Drawdown Marin, an innovative, multi-sectoral initiative to reverse climate change and generate multiple benefits at local levels. He holds an MA in Business, with a focus on sustainability and systems change.
He is a member of ACE (Advanced Community Energy) enabling the transition to a distributed, clean energy economy, and a long-time proponent of sustainable and regenerative solutions in agriculture, communities and the broader economy. He is also an avid food grower and loves trail running/hiking, skiing, and music.
Juliana E. Birkhoff
Juliana E. Birkhoff is a managing facilitator at Ag Innovations, and an experienced mediator, facilitator, and trainer, and scholar. For more than 30 years, she has worked with federal, state, and local level government as well as community, grassroots, and public interest groups. She has designed and conducted many dialogues, workshops, and scientific review processes. Dr. Birkhoff focuses on designed processes to achieve clear outcomes. Outcomes may include improved communications, consensus on how complex information applies to plans or management, consensus input on state or federal plans or policies, and agreements on plans and policies. She has particular experience in facilitating and mediating complex scientific and technical issues in politically charged contexts.
Dr. Birkhoff has taught negotiation, facilitation, and mediation, in training programs, as well as academic classes. She developed an adult certificate program in Collaborative Leadership at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. She is an accomplished teacher, providing instruction at the University of California Davis, Sacramento State University, George Mason University, University of New Brunswick, The American University, and Tias Nimbas Business School, the Netherlands.
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Aimee Ryan is a Senior Facilitator at Ag Innovations, where she leads multi-stakeholder groups to collaboratively develop solutions that truly work for everyone. Aimee brings over a decade of facilitation, mediation and conflict transformation, and collaborative decision-making experience to her work supporting groups and complex change initiatives.
At Ag Innovations, she has led projects that range from sustainable pest management to groundwater, and from fire resiliency to public engagement. More specifically, her projects have included facilitating the multi-stakeholder Sustainable Pest Management Work Group, a group convened by the State of California to reimagine pest management and pesticide use in California, as well as facilitating the Community Advisory Committee and public engagement for the Solano Groundwater Sustainability Plan, and developing a community of practice and support network for cohorts of PG&E Foundation grantees.
Aimee is known for her conflict resolution skills and her ability to help groups transform polarization into shared understanding and forward movement. Aimee is seen as a fast learner and recognized for her skill in supporting stakeholders to collaborate across sectors, beliefs, and at times, seemingly entrenched positions. Whether it is with clients or the Ag Innovations team, Aimee draws on her extensive experience facilitating both in-person and online, and feels confident supporting groups in any setting. Regardless of the meeting format, Aimee is passionate about creating spaces for “both/and,” where people of diverse backgrounds and interests, partisan views, and political divides can hold complexity, resolve conflict, and strengthen collaboration to address the challenges of our times.
In addition to her current role at Ag Innovations, Aimee also serves as a facilitator and trainer with the Center for Efficient Collaboration and is a certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication, a certified mediator, and a trained restorative justice facilitator.
Prior to joining Ag Innovations in 2020, Aimee worked as a freelance consultant, supporting organizations and communities to collaborate more effectively, strengthen their communication skills, and tackle complex challenges in ways that engage and uplift all stakeholders. In her work with conflict transformation, group process facilitation, and collaborative communication, she has worked with a broad range of clients, including nonprofits, businesses, schools, prisons, social and climate justice movements, and co-housing communities and ecovillages. She was a facilitator with East Point Peace Academy, a mediator with the NW AgriVillage, and a co-founder of the international Cultural Catalyst Network.
Prior to that, Aimee served as the Executive Director of the Montana World Affairs Council, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing international education events to Montana communities and classrooms.
Aimee started her undergraduate education at the University of California, Santa Cruz, but eventually chose to settle back into the mountains of Montana, receiving her bachelor’s degree with High Honors in International Relations and Comparative Government, and a Minor in Philosophy, at the University of Montana. During her time at UM, she also studied Arabic and was the recipient of the U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship, which sent her to Morocco for an Arabic-immersion program. She also loves studying personal and systemic healing, rock climbing, making pottery, jumping into mountain rivers and lakes, and sleeping under the stars.
Jenn Fox is a Senior Facilitator at Ag Innovations, focused on facilitating collaboration towards balanced and resilient water systems that support communities, agriculture, and ecosystems. She is working with local groundwater agencies and a technical team to complete and implement the Solano Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan, which reflects input from agriculture, the environmental sector, and local residents, businesses, and agencies.
Throughout her career, Jenn has supported teams and broader partnerships toward environmental results. As Executive Director of the Bay Area Open Space Council, she led the Conservation Lands Network – a biodiversity plan and conservation vision – requiring statewide frameworks, regional funding, and local implementation. She worked with 125 organizations to deepen the connection between Bay Area residents and their local parks, wetlands, ranches, and agricultural lands.
Jenn plans strategically in complicated environments, keeping her eye on the long-term vision and responding to changes in the landscape. In 2017, she convened a panel of experts and worked with State leaders on the California Sea Level Rise Science Update. In 2015, she managed the Water Funder Initiative’s Blueprint for Philanthropy to advance sustainable water management in the American West.
Jenn’s work supports groups who approach water from many different directions. Some view water through the lens of food production, public health, and social equity. Others focus on environmental quality and biodiversity, while still others concentrate on energy or sustainable development. She reminds us that when we work together, we recognize that tackling water and climate challenges is needed to progress on environmental, social, and economic problems. Her facilitation approach is rooted in good news: we already know how to manage our water more sustainably. Better policies, new technologies, and collaborative approaches show that, in an era of extreme weather and increasingly uncertain supplies, we can use and protect our precious water resources more wisely.
Dana Pearlman is a Senior Facilitator at Ag Innovations. Dana designs and facilitates diverse, multi-stakeholder engagements and action learning programs that leads to transformational learning and social innovation. She utilizes many methodologies, frameworks, practices, principles, and systems thinking. Her academic background is in clinical psychology and strategic leadership towards sustainability. Dana’s designed and facilitated sessions for the State of Vermont, The Ministry of Education of Tanzania, California Accountable Communities for Health, Napa County Department of Health and Human Services, Casey Family Programs, Accenture Tech Vision Advisory Board, Zoomdata, Swissnex, Public Health Institute’s Population Health Innovation Lab, GlobeMed, Dalai Lama Fellows, California Association of Hospitals and Health Services, Sonoma Co. Sustainability and Energy Dep., Impact HUBs SF, Stanford Leadership Experiment, CIIS, Sonoma State U’s CORE Leadership, Sustainability Learning Centre, BTH in Sweden: Masters in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability. Dana leads intensives in The Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter, Theory U process, and workshops in Authentic Leadership training facilitators in participatory methodologies. Dana aims to catalyze and accelerate world-changing leadership necessary to meet the profound challenges of the 21st century. Dana uses powerful questions to unearth wisdom at the individual, team, organizational and community, and systemic levels. Her intent is to steward a world that is more whole, interconnected, and in alignment with our true selves for wiser + conscious planetary impact. Her sweet spot is at the intersection of leadership, tapping into a group’s collective wisdom, and cultivating communities of practice in order to become a system of influence and transform failing systems in our world.
Malia Josephine is a lead facilitator at Ag Innovations, where she supports the California Water Action Collaborative and the Tulare Basin Watershed Network. Her career has focused on leading stakeholder and community engagement efforts to inform government and public sector strategies and policies. She received a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University where she specialized in designing and implementing long-term engagement plans for city and regional land use and development.
Malia’s passion for facilitation started in 2016 when she was accepted into an intensive hands-on facilitation program with the Center for Public Deliberation. Through that experience she facilitated city government public forums, open houses, and focus groups to help multi-stakeholder groups collaborate on city resilience, sustainability, homelessness, affordable housing, and zoning plans and policies.
In her seven years of experience as a deliberation facilitator and community engagement specialist, she has assisted with designing and conducting a range of collaborative multi-party public dialogues, strategic plans, visioning sessions, policy deliberations, partnership building, and action planning and implementation.
Prior to joining Ag Innovations, Malia was a freelance facilitator where she facilitated strategic planning sessions for the National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Civic Synergy, and the Japanese American Museum of Oregon. Preceding freelancing, in 2019, she and a team produced an award winning Anti-Displacement plan for the City of Vancouver where she involved over 500 stakeholders through participatory events to inform anti-displacement policies and initiatives. In 2020, with consulting firm Catalysis LLC she assisted with the implementation of a ten year strategic plan for the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Service.
Senior Project Manager
Suzannah Sosman is a senior project manager at Ag Innovations, a non-profit organization that catalyzes collaborative solutions for sustainable environmental, agricultural and food systems. She brings a decade of experience in project management, event planning and facilitation and collaborative support to her work at Ag Innovations. Suzannah has held key roles on water projects including the California Water Action Collaborative, Solano Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan, and the Groundwater Leadership Forum. Her project management leadership and facilitation has enabled successful collaborations through proactive client support, stakeholder engagement, research and analysis, skilled meeting planning, meeting agenda design and meeting synthesis. She contributes to facilitated events with logistical and substantive support including preparing event agendas and meeting outcome documents that reflect the group’s consensus. These roles reflect her passion to bring diverse interests together to creating meaningful change on environmental and agricultural issues.
Prior to joining Ag Innovations, Suzannah managed an event and leadership development program in which she designed leadership development curriculum and led nature-based education experiences. Suzannah holds an undergraduate degree in environmental studies. She completed an environmental studies fellowship, and is fluent inBrazilian Portuguese and conversant in Spanish.
Gillies Robertson specializes in natural resource management and agriculture with a background in resource conservation districts and small-scale family farming. He has cultivated a career dedicated to sound environmental stewardship practices and collaborative project management, and enjoys working at the intersection between agriculture and environmental conservation.
His background in natural resources project management has helped him hone skills such as budgeting, developing and managing scopes of work, grant writing, and more.
Since 2010, Gillies and his wife have been operating a diverse-livestock ranch business with the goals of producing high-quality food for local families while enhancing the biodiversity, soil health, and productivity of the land they farm. They raise pastured pork, grass-fed lamb, and a range of poultry products. After five years of working on the farm full-time, Gillies recently returned to his career in project management with the goal of having a bigger and wider-reaching impact on the natural and working landscapes of the place he now calls home.
Gillies developed his project management skills in Yolo County and brings with him past experience from other nonprofits, including Yolo and Shasta Valley Resource Conservation Districts, as well as from a local environmental consulting firm in Chico.
Gillies graduated from the University of Tasmania, Australia in 2007 and received his bachelor’s degree in Natural Environment and Wilderness Studies. He also attended Technical and Further Education College in Sydney, New South Wales from 2002-2003 where he gained a Diploma in Natural Resource Management.
Growing up in Scotland, Gillies maintains a strong interest in the culture and music of his homeland and is a keen player of the national instrument of Scotland, the bagpipe! He also enjoys working on the farm with his young family, as well as enjoying various outdoor recreation activities around their home in Siskiyou County.
Guadalupe is a Project Manager with Ag Innovations where she supports Environmental Justice outreach efforts for the Delta Conveyance Project. She has a decade of experience in team building and leadership development. Working with groups of various backgrounds from at-risk youth to fortune 500 teams. Guadalupe is deeply committed to the development of a more sustainable food system that takes in consideration all three pillars of sustainability including environmental, economic, and social needs.
Prior to Ag Innovation, Guadalupe was a Facilitator for Napa County Resource Conservation District. In this role, she co-coordinated and facilitated the Napa Youth Stewardship Council. She taught youth how to engage community members in environmental stewardship events. Through this experience, she gained in-depth knowledge about pollinator habitat restoration, water stewardship, and community outreach. She was also a Lead Student Farmer at the UC Davis Market Garden and learned about seasonal organic vegetable production. She coordinated greenhouse operations and mentored groups of students. Guadalupe has participated in various research projects; learning to measure soil aggregate stability, vineyard water stress levels, and propagating plants for breeding purposes. She brings a balance of project coordination and hands-on fieldwork to the team.
Guadalupe graduated from the University of California Davis in 2020. She received her bachelors in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems with a focus in Agriculture and Ecology. In her free time, Lupe can be found in her home garden harvesting veggies and feeding her chickens. She has a deep passion for the arts as a ceramic sculptor for over ten years. She loves to sing and if you ask her she can bust a move with a hula hoop.
Katy Mamen is a senior partner with Ag Innovations and founder of Water Bear Collaborative, a consultancy that supports leaders in the social sector to envision and implement system-informed strategies in service of social justice and ecological health. With a primary focus on, and expertise in, food & farming, water, and climate, she has consulted for a wide range of entities in the non-profit, philanthropic, public, and educational sectors.
Katy was previously Director of Programs with Ag Innovations, where she managed state policy roundtables and led the California Food System Alliance Network. Prior to Ag Innovations, Katy founded the California Agricultural Water Stewardship Initiative, directed the US Local Food Program at the International Society for Ecology and Culture, and was a fellow of the Oakland Institute. She holds an MS from Schumacher College in the UK with a focus on managing complexity, where her research examined the intersection of traditional and expert knowledge in agriculture in the southwest of England. Katy has worked supporting farming communities in Central and South America, Asia, Europe, and North America.
Joseph is President Emeritus at Ag Innovations. He is a nationally-recognized collaboration specialist, systems thinker, and facilitator who works with groups to unleash the potential for creative and effective action.
Joseph joined Ag Innovations in 2001 and since that time, he has leveraged his organizational development, facilitation, and social change skills to grow Ag Innovations into a trusted and respected organization that works to cultivate the ideas and actions needed for healthy farms, communities, and ecosystems. He served as president of Ag Innovations from 2006 to 2018 and now, in his senior fellow role, is focused on further developing our collaboration methodology and our work supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in California.
Joseph has worked with food businesses, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, farmers and community members to build robust solutions to some of our food system’s most pressing challenges. He developed our signature Food System Alliance and Roundtable processes as well as having led hundreds of meetings and change efforts that bring divergent interests together to see problems in a common light and find innovative solutions.
Originally trained as an economist, Joseph has taught Environmental Economics at New College of California and History of Economic Thought at University of Rhode Island. This training lent itself well to Joseph’s early business career focused on marketing, management, and conference development which he continues to apply today. In addition, he is an experienced nonprofit organization manager, having spent seven years as executive director of Resources for Creativity, an organization that trained group facilitators. He also holds a MA in Psychology with an Organization Development focus from Sonoma State University; he uses this knowledge extensively in his facilitation and social change work.
Joseph came early to sustainability through his interest in systems thinking and steady-state economics cultivated as an interdisciplinary studies student at the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California (BA in Liberal Arts with Honors). Living in Stockton placed him in the heart of California Delta agriculture and left an indelible impression of the bounties and the risks of the current food system.
Joseph is co-founder of the Academy for Systems Change, a 10-year initiative to enable leaders, communities and networks in critical systems to catalyze and facilitate societal, environmental and economic well-being on a scale that matters. He is a fellow of the Leadership Institute for Economy and Ecology and board member of Daily Acts, a Petaluma-based organized focused on building resilient communities.
Joseph lives in Graton, CA where he enjoys his growing family of children and grandchildren, gardening, reading and writing poetry, and staying in touch with a large circle of friends.
Executive & HR Assistant
Michelle Cárdenas-Campos is an Executive and Human Resources Assistant at Ag Innovations, and supports the Executive Director and Finance Manager. Prior to joining Ag Innovations, Michelle was a recruiter for a national arboriculture and environmental services company for six years. She also worked as an executive assistant at a Santa Rosa hospital for more than 15 years, and attended Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University part-time to obtain Human Resources certifications.
Michelle is a self-described “resident-tourist” of Sonoma County, and enjoys being outdoors as much as possible. If she’s not floating down the river or hiking, she is sure to be enjoying music, dancing, and cooking with family and friends.
Brian R. Leahy provides expert consulting on pesticide policy, Williamson Act land use issues, and organic agriculture. Mr. Leahy served as the Director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for the Administration of Governor Jerry Brown and as Assistant Director of the Department of Conservation in charge of the Division of Land Use Protection during the Governor Schwarzenegger Administration. Before joining state service, his roles included Executive Director of California Certified Organic Farmers; Staff Attorney with Legal Aid of Nebraska; and owner/operator of Cherokee Ranch, a 900-acre organic/wildlife friendly rice farm. He is currently on the Board of Ag Innovations and on the Advisory Committee of the Western Integrated Pest Management Center.
CEO / CIO
Meyer Family Enterprises
Stephen Hohenrieder is the CEO and CIO of a single-family investment office where he oversees a portfolio that includes a range of assets, business interests and structures. He is an entrepreneurial investor who is particularly interested in companies, real assets and people that are financially focused but also strive to create social and ecological benefit.
Since 2008, Stephen has invested private capital along the value chain of our food system in ways that promote more regenerative land management practices, the production of healthy food at scale, and connect people to each. He has been exploring a thesis for how our food system is evolving, and how it is increasingly defined by fragmentation. This thesis is the foundation of an investment strategy that has included assets such a land, livestock and crop production, processing, supply chain infrastructure, services, technology and consumer packaged goods. Stephen has been focused on companies that are building authentic core brands through products that represent transparent, high-integrity supply chains from land to the consumer.
Stephen has served in a unique role that bridges production agriculture, consumer products, the capital markets, and impact-oriented values. His combination of education, experience, systems approach to investing, and love of the land have enabled him to play a strategic role in building more regenerative food systems. He actively collaborates with other investors, funds, universities, and non-profits.
Stephen lives in Marin County with his wife and three daughters, and his family grows wine grapes near Lodi, CA. He received his undergraduate degree in Agribusiness from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Angelina Ceja is currently the vice president and chief education officer at AgSafe, a nonprofit organization in Modesto providing safety and human resources and practical education to the agricultural community. In the past 10 years, she has helped develop and expand programs and create supervisor leadership curriculum to address issues and challenges facing the agricultural workforce. Prior to joining AgSafe, she worked in the nonprofit sector providing support for leadership initiative programs in the Central Valley. Ms. Ceja currently serves as a board member for Protected Harvest.
Ms. Ceja possesses a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University, Stanislaus.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling and reading.
Charlotte is the executive director of the California Farmland Trust, a nonprofit agricultural organization dedicated to the protection of farmland in California and a mission to help farmers protect the best farmland in the world.
In addition, Charlotte is also a managing partner of Mitchell Farms, a diversified family farming operation in Sacramento County consisting of walnuts, turkeys, and sheep.
Charlotte is a graduate from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1995 with a degree in ag business. She serves on the Ag Innovations board, Sacramento County Agricultural Advisory Committee, Florin High School Ag Advisory Committee, and treasurer of the California Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team.
Charlotte, her husband Ken, and their two sons live on the family farm. Ken is also a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in poultry science and serves as past district director for the California Farm Bureau. Her motivation to live and work in the agriculture industry is to see the next generation be afforded the opportunities that exist in agriculture. She has a commitment and passion for ensuring her boys have the opportunity to be sixth generation farmers.
STRAW Restoration Manager
Growing up in California’s Central Valley, I spent most of my childhood either working in our family’s almond orchard or exploring the rivers and wetlands of the Valley and the Sierra Nevada Mountains just east from home. These experiences led me to a life-long fascination with the critical role agriculture plays in ecosystem health and the quality of life here in California.
I joined the STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed) Project in 2000, and Point Blue (then PRBO) in 2011. As Restoration Manager, I provide leadership and science expertise to STRAW’s habitat restoration projects with students, teachers and community members on public and private landscapes, working with our phenomenal STRAW Project Managers to get these projects in the ground and thriving.
I received a B.S. in Fermentation Science from the University of California, Davis in 1996 and a California Single Subject Teaching Credential with CLAD emphasis in Biology from Dominican College in 2000.
I live in Sonoma County with my wife and two sons. In my free time I enjoy time with family and friends, music, various forms of cycling, and time outdoors throughout the Western US and beyond.
Amy Wolfe is a partner in Mujeres Poderosas, a collaboration of hard-working, determined, and passionate women sharing their collective wisdom for the betterment of organizations. She has spent nearly twenty years in executive capacities within the charitable sector, most recently as the President and CEO of AgSafe. Her career also includes tenure as a professional staff member in the California State Assembly and with the creative team for E&J Gallo Winery.
Ms. Wolfe currently serves on Ag Innovations, Protected Harvest and Modesto Rotary Club Boards of Directors. Her previous Board service and leadership includes the Association of Fundraising Professionals, League of Women Voters of Stanislaus County, Modesto Chamber of Commerce, and United Way of Stanislaus County.
Ms. Wolfe possesses a Master of Public Policy and Administration from California State University, Sacramento and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. In addition, she is accredited as Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).