The Transition US Team


  Carolyne Stayton is Executive Director of Transition US. She is adept at aligning community activities towards unified goals, a skill honed from over thirty years of working with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. She has successfully galvanized communities around various social issues and has particular expertise in program development, participative leadership and “learning” organizations. Her background includes serving as Director of New College’s North Bay Campus for Sustainable Living, an innovative educational institution that promoted advanced studies in leadership, community-building and developed the nation’s first “green” MBA program. Carolyne has a master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration, resides in Sebastopol, California and is passionate about stewardship and protection of the natural world.

Marissa Mommaerts has been with Transition US since 2013 and serves as Director of Programs. Marissa is an avid gardener, homesteader, community organizer, and activist. She came to Transition US after six years working with government, civil society, and the private sector to promote just and sustainable solutions to poverty and public health crises. Prior to Transition, Marissa worked at The Aspen Institute coordinating a global communications project on reproductive health and population growth. Marissa has a Master's Degree in International Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she co-founded a sustainable development project in partnership with UW students and an island community in Lake Victoria, Uganda. Marissa is part of the Northern California Community Resilience Network and Transition Sebastopol, and is also a writer and speaker on the topics of community resilience and sustainable global development. You can view one of her recent presentations here.


Nils Palsson joined Transition US in 2015 as Communications and Special Projects Coordinator. A peaceful revolutionary his entire adult life, Nils has worked since 2010 on building local resilience as a community organizer with Transition Lake County. He attends the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he is working toward a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing & Consciousness and completing his Medicine Song, an intimate memoir. Nils serves as the host and producer of the weekly community and internet radio program Wake Up & Thrive!, and he is founder and facilitator of the annual Hands Around Clear Lake healing ceremony and tribal gathering. His passions include peace, justice, integrity and transformation, and his pursuits include holistic health and yoga, mythology and shamanism, and co-creating systemic change that benefits the whole. Nils lives in Sonoma County with his daughter, Satya Rose.

Joshua Shepherd joined Transition US in May 2016 as a fellow through The Mission Continues, an organization that helps veterans continue to serve through organizations in their community. Joshua is asking a big question- could building resilient military base communities reduce our reliance on war? Studying transition and existing base closure processes, he is synthesizing a robust path for base communities to begin transition before base closure strikes. Joshua began adult life as a computer systems technician in the US Navy, working on the Tomahawk Missile program and Ballistic Missile Defense in the US 7th fleet. After his service he studied architecture and political science. He also began advocating for veterans issues, including the 'Right to Heal' campaign of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Joshua is a carpenter, enjoys gardening and the outdoors, and is a lifelong learner.


Board of Directors


Trathen Heckman is President of Transition US and the founding Executive Director of Daily Acts Organization, publisher of Ripples, an award-winning journal and a backyard farmer. He is the former Executive Director and a board member of Green Sangha Organization. Seeking to inspire the engagement of hearts, minds and senses, Trathen educates and works with community, business and municipal leaders to create programs, policy and models which harness the power of nature and inspired action to restore the health of our lives and communities. Trathen has given oodles of local, national and international presentations on sustainability, Permaculture, ecological design and the power of our daily actions to renew the world. He lives in the Petaluma River Watershed where he grows food, medicine and wonder while working to compost apathy and lack


Asher Miller is the Executive Director of Post Carbon Institute and was the former Manager of the organization's Relocalization Network. He has thirteen years of nonprofit management experience, including as founder of Climate Changers, an organization that inspires people to reduce their impact on the climate by focusing on simple and achievable actions anyone can take. Previously, he was Partnership Director at Plugged In; International Production Coordinator at Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation; Youth Manager at the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County; a ghostwriter; and a consultant for a number of other nonprofit groups. Asher also serves on the board of Listening for a Change, and on the Advisory Board of ErthNxt. He also recently served as a member of Senator John Edwards' Cleantech / Green Business Advisory Committee. Asher received his B.A. in English, Creative Writing from The Colorado College.

Mark Juedeman grew up on a ranch in Montana where he acquired a life-long commitment to the natural world and environmentalism. He retired from a 30+ year career as a geophysicist in 2010 so that he could devote his time to volunteer service. He and his family lived for many years in New Orleans where he was active in historic preservation, bicycle advocacy, education, the environmental non-profit The Green Project, and obtaining personal experience with renewable energy technologies such as small wind and PV. Mark obtained a Permaculture Design Certificate in 2009 after being displaced to Houston by Hurricane Katrina.  He is a founding member of Transition Houston, a member of the executive committee of the Houston Food Policy Workgroup, serves on the board of Urban Harvest, teaches with the Permaculture Guild of Houston, is on the technical review board of the Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University, and is a lecturer at the University of Houston. Mark became a certified US Transition LAUNCH instructor in 2012.


Dr. Barbara Sattler is a Professor in Public Health at the University of San Francisco and a nursing leader in the area of environmental health, including issues related to climate change.   She has been an advisor to the EPA’s Office of Child Health Protection and the National Library of Medicine for informational needs of health professionals on environmental health. She helped to create the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, an international organization that is helping to integrate environmental health into nursing education, practice, research, and policy/advocacy.  She has been the principle on grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, the USDA, HUD, and the US EPA. In her personal life, she and her husband own an organic farm/vineyard/winery where they host the weekly community Farmers’ Market.





Elana Gurney is a creative strategist and storyteller with a penchant for engaging people in impactful entrepreneurship and design. Elana spends her days at the global design innovation consultancy IDEO, managing marketing and communication efforts for OpenIDEO – an open innovation platform that coordinates global challenges to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems using human-centered design and social entrepreneurship. She works to develop technology and services to support global communities in applying creative innovation to social and environmental issues. With over ten years of experience working and consulting with nonprofits and social enterprises – including Teach For America and the Price Center for Entrepreneurship – Elana also has agency experience in PR, marketing and project management and in 2014 founded a creative consultancy serving socially impactful organizations. 
Elana most recently received her degree in Global Studies from UCLA, and enjoys ukulele rock, hiking, and tending to her indoor herb garden in San Francisco.

Maggie Seeley consults with clients (solar company, paper manufacturer, machine shop, architecture firm) on incorporating the Triple Bottom Line (people: social equity; profit; economic prosperity and planet: ecological responsibility) in their business decision-making. UNICEF and Motorola convinced her consulting company to help them in China. Fina and Elf Oil brought her team to Nigeria. She is a community activist in New Mexico about water issues, micro credit and community building. At the world level, she is a citizen facilitator. Maggie loves to learn from her sustainability students at the University of New Mexico. They have taught her about grey water systems, biodiesel processors and how to put a 60 vendor Farmer's Market on campus.




Carl Shuller is excited to be supporting a movement that is so closely aligned with his vision and hope for our collective future.  His formal education culminated with a Master Degree in Human Environment Relations from Cornell University.   He is a trained facilitator of the Pachamama Alliance's Awakening The Dreamer Symposium and maintains that “together we can bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on this planet as a guiding principle of our times."  Carl has participated in numerous programs at the the Regenerative Design Institute including the Permiculture Design Course and Ecology of Leadership program.   Prior to joining Transition US, Carl had a successful 18 year corporate career where his focus was on project/program management and operations. He currently resides in Petaluma, CA where he is involved in the local Homegrown Guild and is eternally grateful to be a part of such an amazing, evolving, and increasingly resilient community.

  Scott McKeown is the founder and a continual core team member of Transition Sebastopol which in 2008 became the 9th official Transition initiative in the US and which continues to grow with now twelve active working groups. He has been a professional trainer and instructional designer for over fourteen years in both corporate high-tech environments. Scott has been a certified Training for Transition instructor since 2008. For thirty-five years Scott has been deeply involved in movement building and social action issues. He has been an event producer for over three decades and has produced hundreds of events including conferences, speaking tours, eco fairs and music festivals. Scott has been a production consultant and technical director and from 2003 through 2007 Scott was the Executive Director and chief executive of the thirty-thousand person attended Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, California, which during Scott's tenure more than doubled its attendance and revenue and has become one of the largest music and camping festivals on the West Coast.




Michelle Colussi has her own consulting business and is an associate of the Canadian Center for Community Renewal (CCCR), a Canadian based organization working in the field of community economic development. Michelle has worked in education, recreation, with youth at risk, in mental health, the arts and as a board and business trainer. Michelle has an extensive background in rural development projects, community-based research, multi-stakeholder facilitation and board/leadership development in the non-profit sector. She brings her background in drama and her humor to her work. She was a key staff member in the development of the Community Resilience Manual that CCCR developed and subsequently adapted for the Government of Botswana's poverty reduction strategy. As part of her role with Transition Victoria, Michelle is working with a team, adapting the Resilience Tool and the (UK) Transition Streets program for their Building Resilient Neighborhoods Project. In her consulting practice, Michelle is currently focused on various projects related to community resilience, social enterprise development, and facilitating Transition and Collective Impact workshops.


Raven Gray is the co-founder and past President of Transition US. She is a pioneer of the Transition Towns movement in the UK, having set up the world’s 2nd Transition Initiative after Totnes. Her professional background is diverse, ranging from ecovillage educator in India, to organic dairy farmer and community arts organizer in the UK, to software entrepreneur in California. Fundamentally, she is a permaculture educator and activist, with a strong commitment to environmental, social and economic sustainability. Raven has dedicated her life to restoring the earth’s balance, and is a frequent speaker and writer on this topic and the urgent need for transition. She received a BA in Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community from New College, California, and an MSc in Holistic Science: Ecological Education from Schumacher College in the UK.

Beth Gurney is passionate about preserving our planet, and fascinated with the interaction of human and environmental systems.  She helped create and supervised the Groundwater Protection Program for the State of Rhode Island, created and managed the Environmental Site Assessment Group for a California Bay Area environmental consulting firm, and was director of nature education programs for Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), a non-profit organization that preserves more than 5000 acres of habitat in Northern California. She has been a volunteer naturalist at ACR for more than 15 years, an ACR board member, and chair of the board’s Education Committee. A recent fellow of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Environment, she currently works part-time as a consultant specializing in helping human systems evolve and thrive. She also serves on the Advisory Committee of the Community Soil Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating resilient communities and habitats.

Beth received a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts; a M.S. in Environmental Studies from Brown University, where she developed and taught a course on limits to growth; and a M.A. in Organization Development from Sonoma State University.  In 2013, she received her certificate in Permaculture Design from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, which she is currently applying to transform her own patch of 3+ acres into a sustainable food forest and wildlife habitat. She’s an avid hiker and observer of nature, and dedicated mom to three amazing “millennials.”

Richard Heinberg is author of ten books, including The Party’s Over, Peak Everything, and the soon-to-be-released The End of Growth, Richard Heinberg is widely regarded as one of the world’s most effective communicators of the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels. With a wry, unflinching approach based on facts and realism, Richard exposes the tenuousness of our current way of life and offers a vision for a truly sustainable future.

Senior Fellow-in-Residence at Post Carbon Institute, Richard is best known as a leading educator on Peak Oil—the point at which we reach maximum global oil production—and the resulting, devastating impact it will have on our economic, food, and transportation systems. But his expertise is far ranging, covering critical issues including the current economic crisis, food and agriculture, community resilience, and global climate change.

Richard’s latest book, The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality makes a compelling argument that the global economy has reached a fateful, fundamental turning point. As energy and food prices escalate and debt levels explode, paths that formerly led to economic expansion now go nowhere. The “recession” will not end in a “recovery,” yet in the coming years we can still thrive—if we maximize happiness rather than the futile pursuit of growth at any cost.

Richard is a much sought-after speaker and has presented in dozens of countries and across the United States. He’s featured in many documentaries, including End of Suburbia and Leonardo DiCaprio’s film 11th Hour. Richard has appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, Canadian Broadcasting Television, BBC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Al Jazeera, as well as numerous radio programs (national NPR) and print publications (Time magazine). He lives in northern California with his wife and is an avid violin player.

Rob Hopkins is the originator of the Transition concepts and co-founder of the Transition Network. He spent many years teaching permaculture and cob building, mostly when living in Ireland. Now based in Totnes, he is a member of Transition Town Totnes, works part time for Transition Network, publishes, is author of the ‘Transition Handbook’ and generally spends far too much time thinking about Transition stuff. He is also a Trustee of the Soil Association.

Rob is a family man with 4 sons, Rowan, Finn, Cian and Arlo, and is deeply in love with the raised beds he just finished building.

Peter Lipman



Peter Lipman  is policy director at sustainable transport charity Sustrans and is particularly proud of their DIY Streets project. He’s also a part time lawyer and chair of trustees of the Centre for Sustainable Energy.


Vicki Robin is well-known as the co-author with Joe Dominguez of the international best-seller, Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence. The Wall Street Journal, Money, Woman's Day, Newsweek, Utne Magazine and the New York Times, and newspapers around the world have reported on her work on lowering consumption in North America. Vicki served on the President's Council on Sustainable Development's Task Force on Population and Consumption. She is also co-founder of the New Road Map Foundation, the Center for a New American Dream, Sustainable Seattle, Conversation Cafes, the Simplicity Forum, the Turning Tide Coalition, Let’s Talk America, and currently Transition Whidbey which is seeking to catalyze the community on Whidbey Island to greater food, fuel, energy and economic self-reliance in light of predicted impacts of oil depletion and climate change.

Chong Kee Tan has been an activist for 20 years, working in the area of Asian democracy, press freedom, censorship, and -- after coming to the United States -- in the area of equal rights and sustainability.  After the 2008 financial crisis, he began studying our financial and monetary systems, and quickly came to realize that changing these systems could help address many of the most pressing problems facing the world today. He started the regional currency Bay Bucks as a TransitionSF project. Chong Kee received his BA (Hons) in Computer Science from Cambridge University and his PhD in Chinese Literature from Stanford University.

Pandora Thomas is a passionate global citizen who works as a sustainability and environmental education consultant, permaculture teacher and curriculum developer. She is a certified green building professional, credentialed multiple subjects’ teacher and studied at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, Teachers College, and Tufts University. Her writing includes a children's book, various curricula, and a greenbuilding manual for youth. She lectures on the intersection of diversity, social justice, women's leadership, and sustainability. Pandora co-founded Earthseed Consulting LLC, a holistic consulting firm whose work expands the opportunities for sustainable living for diverse communities. Her clients include Toyota and UC Berkeley. She most recently co-founded the Black Permaculture Network, which is serving a community of diverse permaculturalists around access and support. She has worked with groups as diverse as Iraqi and Indonesian youth to men serving in San Quentin creating inspiring and hands on programs around biomimicry, sustainability, and outdoor and environmental education. She has studied four languages and lived and worked in over twelve countries and her other achievements include presenting at Tedx Denver and SF, and being awarded fellowships to Columbia University, Green For All and the Applied Research Center.  


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