Wade Crowfoot directs the Water Foundation and lead its transition into an independent organization early in 2017. Wade brings more than 20 years of public policy and environmental experience to his role, with expertise in water, climate and sustainability issues. He came to the Water Foundation from California Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration, where he served since 2011, most recently as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to Governor Brown, leading the administration’s drought response efforts. Before joining the Brown Administration, Wade was west coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior environmental advisor to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Lizette Leclerc oversees all Water Foundation finance and administrative policies and systems including human resources, finance and budgeting, legal, communications, grants management, information technology, facilities, and administrative operations. She serves as a resource to the CEO and the Water Foundation Board of Directors for long-term planning. Before joining the Water Foundation, Lizette was chief of staff to the chancellor emeritus of the California State University system and retired president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Before that, she served as senior administrator of the Cotsen Family Office and Foundations, executive director of the Children’s Nature Institute, and controller of the USC Department of Cultural Arts and Activities. Lizette received a BS in Business Administration from the USC Marshall School of Business.
Jen Sokolove is Director of Programs and Strategy at the Water Foundation. She has been working on sustainability issues for more than two decades, with a focus on community-based conservation. Prior to joining the Water Foundation, she led strategy and grantmaking at the Compton Foundation around movement-building and narrative in climate change, reproductive justice, and peace and security. She joined Compton initially to advance its environmental programs on fresh water, climate, and rural conservation in the western United States, as well as sustainable food systems and art for social change. Before Compton, Jen worked on a variety of community-led conservation projects in California, Montana, and the Pacific Northwest. She serves on the board of EcoAdapt and advisory boards for the Healthy Headwaters project of Carpe Diem West and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at UC Santa Cruz. Jen received a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley.
Lester Snow was founding director of the Water Foundation and continues to provide strategic counsel on programs, projects, and initiatives. Mr. Snow has a distinguished record of innovation and results working on complex natural resource management matters. Prior to the Water Foundation, he served as California Secretary for Natural Resources, where he oversaw 25 departments, commissions, boards, and conservancies, and served as chief advisor on issues related to the state’s natural, historic, and cultural resources. During this time he also served as chairman of the California Ocean Protection Council and served on the Delta Conservancy, Delta Protection Commission, and the Strategic Growth Council. Previously, Lester was Director of the California Department of Water Resources, where he headed a Department that protects, conserves, and manages California’s water supply, including operation of the California State Water Project, the largest state-run, multi-purpose water and power system in the United States. He has also served as Executive Director of CALFED, regional director for the Bureau of Reclamation, General Manager of the San Diego County Water Authority, and spent six years with the Arizona Department of Water Resources, including four years as Tucson area director. Lester received a Master’s degree in Water Resources Administration from the University of Arizona and a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences from Pennsylvania State University.
Juliet Christian-Smith brings more than a decade of scientific research and policy analysis experience to this role, with expertise in water, climate and sustainability issues. She came to the Water Foundation from the Union of Concerned Scientists where she helped lead water and climate work as a Senior Climate Scientist. She also brings a comparative perspective, having received a Fulbright Fellowship to study the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive in Portugal and having been a Murray Darling Basin Futures Fellow in Australia. Juliet has a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley.
Andrew Fahlund provides leadership in the ongoing development and implementation of the Water Foundation’s organizational vision, mission, and strategic priorities. He works with other team members and management to craft strategy, develop projects, oversee implementation, and ensure that agreed-upon outcomes are being met, and that financial and program reporting is timely and accurate. Before joining the Water Foundation, Andrew was the executive director of the Water in the West program at Stanford University and worked for 12 years in the Washington, DC, office of American Rivers, where he was senior program director and senior vice president for conservation. Mr. Fahlund received an MS in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment and a BA in Anthropology from Colorado College.
Yvonne Leland serves as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and provides support to the board and staff. Yvonne has a background in activism and a fifteen-year career working with social justice organizations in administrative, finance, and operations capacities. Before joining Water Foundation, Yvonne served as the Operations Manager for Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights. Yvonne received a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a focus in non-profit management from Pace University.
Mike Myatt develops and implements strategies and projects for the Water Foundation. His past experience includes the development and administration of the California Department of Water Resources’ multibillion-dollar annual budget; design and coordination of a multiagency, crosscutting budget for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program; and development of long-term financing strategies for the California Bay-Delta Authority. Mike received BS degrees in environmental studies and economics from San Jose State University.
Alesandra Nájera provides planning and strategy development advice and support for program implementation and coordination for safe drinking water, water efficiency and Salton Sea/Colorado River initiatives. Prior to joining the Water Foundation, she was a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, and to Congressman John Garamendi. She previously served as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute STEM Graduate Fellow in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of the Interior.
Alesandra received both undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Stanford University, while working at Joint Venture Silicon Valley.
Aaron O’Callaghan develops and implements processes associated with Water Foundation’s grantmaking. Aaron has over a decade of experience in program management, providing expertise to a variety of philanthropic programs. Prior to joining the Water Foundation, he conducted research on the ecological systems of Lake Tahoe and the Bay-Delta in coordination with University of California, Davis and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. He received a BS in environmental biology and management from UC Davis.
Alex Paxton develops and implements strategies and projects for the Water Foundation. Prior to joining the Water Foundation, Alex was a consultant for Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors and before that was with the Community Redevelopment Agency for the City of Los Angeles. She received a BA in American Studies, an MFA in Theater Management, and a law degree from Yale University, as well as an MS in Social Anthropology from University College London.
Elizabeth Soderstrom develops and implements strategies and projects for the Water Foundation. Before joining the Water Foundation, Elizabeth was senior director of conservation and development at American Rivers. Prior to that she was director of the Sierra and Africa Rivers Program at the Natural Heritage Institute. She received a BA in English Literature, a BS in Biological Sciences, and an MS in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, as well as a PhD in Wildlands Resource Science and River Science from UC Berkeley.
Joshua Stewart ensures that the day-to-day operations run smoothly. He provides tech, administrative, and program related support to all Water Foundation staff. Prior to joining the Water Foundation, Joshua completed the Enterprise Rent-A-Car management training program and managed multiple branches in Northern California. He received a BS in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.