WEA's team merges their extensive experience in international development, grassroots organizing, environmental justice law, global philanthropy, environmental sustainability, and non-profit leadership to steward WEA’s unique mandate.
Melinda Kramer: Founder,
"Every environmental issue I encountered, I found women leading
the charge, often without support or recognition. I started seeing woman
after woman after woman environmental leader who I had encountered on
my path...I could actually feel the groundswell of genius, passion, and
know-how could be tapped if these women were linked strategically,
pooling their strategies, so that they were not only able to influence
their local campaigns but to participate meaningfully at a global
Melinda Kramer is an environmental activist, mother, connector, and founder of Women's Earth Alliance. At age 24, she set out to create a thriving global resource to support the courageous efforts of grassroots women leaders working around the world to protect the environment for future generations. Today, she co-directs WEA's work on three continents around issues of clean water, food security, climate change, and land protection. Before founding WEA,
Melinda worked around the world with organizations pursuing
justice, sustainable local economies and indigenous rights. She lived in
East Africa working with CARE Kenya on sustainable agriculture and
health projects and later worked throughout the North Pacific Rim,
the emergence of grassroots environmental movements in China, the
Russian Far East, and Alaska with international
organization, Pacific Environment. Melinda led Pacific Environment’s
China and Marine programs, conducting trainings in media,
organizational development, and campaign strategy for grassroots NGOs.
Melinda also worked on
sustainable fisheries issues in Alaska and the Russian Far East,
facilitating the International Bering Sea Forum, a long-term
collaborative initiative that involved Russian and Alaskan scientists,
policy makers, fisherman, NGOs, and indigenous leaders. At the Natural
Capital Institute, Melinda worked with Author and Entrepreneur, Paul Hawken and the NCI team to create WiserEarth.org, the web-based communication tool. Melinda studied at Washington University and University of Nairobi. She
is a trained facilitator and speaks Swahili, Spanish, and some
Mandarin. Read WEA's Founding story here.
Gemma Bulos: Global Women's Water Initiative Director
Amira Diamond: Co-Director
“We need it all — idealism, business sense, and political acumen, as well as intergenerational participation, a strong emphasis on using our work as a platform for leadership development for all participants, and joyful moments of music and laughter. We weave it all together because we see process as inextricably linked with results; in a complex world in crisis, we have to start building solutions that integrate all the gifts and resources that are available to us."
Amira Diamond joined founder Melinda Kramer as WEA Co-Director in 2007 to expand WEA's programs, build the WEA team and create a community of support for its work. Active within the NGO community for over 20 years, she has worked for community health, environmental and food justice, LGBTQ, women's rights, and civic engagement. Prior to WEA, Amira served as Associate Director of Circle of Life supporting environmental justice awareness campaigns and the first national biodiesel powered bus tours and concerts. As West Coast Director of Democracy Matters, she mentored student leaders on college campuses building grassroots networks, organizing conferences, events and street theater. Amira's deepest inspiration comes from her family of musicians, artists and dedicated community organizers. A violinist, vocalist and activist since childhood, Amira is committed to using the power of music to unite; she founded and conducts a community choir. She lived and studied women and development in Jamaica with the School for International Training, studied at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and holds a degree in Women’s Studies from Colgate University. Amira is a member of the Forbes Executive Women's Board, holds certification as a holistic health counselor and is a new mother.
to me is just a perfect metaphor for a pathway to peace because the
smallest plant and the richest man are equal in that we need water to
survive. What an amazing place where we can agree—forget everything
else—we agree on that. What an amazing place for us to set a foundation
An award-winning social entrepreneur and
musician, Gemma is one of WEA's Founding members and has partnered with
WEA since its inception. Gemma co-founded the Global Women’s Water
Initiative along with Women's Earth Alliance and Crabgrass in 2007.
Prior to stepping in as Director of GWWI, Gemma was the
Founder/Executive Director of A Single Drop (USA) and the Founding
Director of A Single Drop for Safe Water in the Philippines, developing
innovative programming that creates income-generating community-based
water service organizations. For this innovation, Gemma received
national and international social entrepreneur awards from Echoing
Green, Ernst Young and Schwab Foundation, and others. Her programs also
won accolades including the Tech Museum Tech Equality Award and Warriors
of the UN Millennium Goals, sponsored by Kodak Philippines. Gemma is
also the architect of The Million Voice Choir, a global peace mission to
unite people around water through song.
Rucha Chitnis: South Asia Program Director
Rucha Chitnis is the South Asia Program Director of WEA, where she is developing a program that holistically builds the capacities of grassroots women leaders—farmers, community leaders and natural resource custodians-- who are on the frontlines addressing food sovereignty and environmental and climate challenges in their communities. Prior to joining WEA, Rucha was the Director of Programs and Development at One World Children’s Fund, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that networks resources to grassroots groups globally that are promoting children’s rights. In 2011, Rucha was selected as one of the Asia 21 Young Leaders by Asia Society. She serves as an advisor to One World Children's Fund and Nirvanavan Foundation in Rajasthan, India, a rural group promoting child rights advocacy and education programs for girls from marginalized communities. Rucha has a Masters degree in Communications from the Scripps School of Journalism. She is also an amateur photographer with a special interest in social documentary and bird photography and enjoys urban food gardening.
Kahea Pacheco: Operations Manager and North America Advocacy Network Coordinator
Prior to joining WEA, Kahea worked and interned at various organizations committed to human rights and social justice, including Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, and Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL), a national social and health justice nonprofit serving the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. Kahea held a legal clerkship with Alexander, Berkey, Williams and Weathers LLC, representing Native American tribes; a legal research internship with the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, where her research was included in a 2008 shadow report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and a legal research internship with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, where she supported debt relief campaign efforts. Her article, “Broken Traditions: Protecting Native American Women from Sexual Violence,” was published in the University of San Francisco Journal of Law and Social Challenges. Born and raised on the Big Island of Hawai’i and educated at Kamehameha Schools, the University of Washington and the University of San Francisco School of Law, Kahea is committed to promoting Indigenous peoples rights and a sustainable future for our planet.
Caitlin Sislin Esq.: Special Initiatives Director
"It can be said that the work of Women’s Earth Alliance takes a circular shape. We stand together with our partners around the world, coordinating resources in a way that is responsive and responsible. You might imagine traditional development models as a straight and slightly downward-slanted line, where people at one end of the line funnel resources towards people at the other end of the line, without full, sustained engagement or a strong emphasis on relationship. We’re interested in the power of partnership, and in the powerful, self-perpetuating web of results — both immediate and long-term — that can arise when everyone involved in a 'development' process gets to bring their skills, their wisdom, their resources, their spirits."
In her career in public interest environmental law, Caitlin has worked with Natural Resources Defense Council; Earthjustice; the Center for Law, Energy and Environment; and Argentina's Center for Human Rights and Environment. As an Associate Attorney at the Law Offices of Stephan C. Volker, Caitlin oversaw the initiation of a lawsuit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency for violations of federal pesticide laws. As a law student at U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, Caitlin chaired the Environmental Law Society and coordinated the first annual Environmental Justice Symposium. Her article “Exempting Department of Defense from Federal Hazardous Waste Laws: Resource Contamination as 'Range Preservation” was published in Ecology Law Quarterly, one of the nation’s foremost environmental law journals. Caitlin is a student of herbal medicine, and her poem entitled “The Nation Waits” appears in Imagining Ourselves, an anthology of women's art and writing published by the International Museum of Women.
WEA's work would not be possible without our tremendously talented Interns. Meet past and current WEA Interns here!