Learn more about our all-star team on this page.
Third Act is guided by a volunteer Advisory Council led by Akaya Windwood. Organizing, campaigns, and operations are coordinated by a small staff team.
Vanessa is the President and Co-Founder of Third Act. She is an activist and administrator, a gardener and a mother. Vanessa began her activist work in the world of food justice at Slow Food USA, SolidarityNYC, and on small farms across the northeast of the United States. Her writing has been published in State of the World: Innovations that Nourish the Planet. For the last decade she’s worked on the climate crisis at 350.org, helping coordinate actions big and small. She lives in upstate New York with her family.
B Fulkerson is the Lead National Organizer for Third Act. A fifth-generation Nevadan, B is an Army Brat whose mother protested the Vietnam war, which left their father 100 percent disabled. At 85, she still helps to bail B out of jail when they get into good trouble. Their first act was serving as executive director of Citizen Alert, Nevada’s first statewide watchdog organization, raising a daughter, and coming out. Their second act was marrying their husband from rural Nevada, co-founding the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, and serving as Executive Director for a quarter century. Their third act is helping raise two grandkids and doing everything in their power to ensure the children have a shot at a livable planet.
Veronique Graham is the Lead Administrator for Third Act. She has worked with organizational leaders and campaigning teams for over a decade at Avaaz.org, 350.org, SumOfUs, ProtectDemocracy. Most recently she worked on the People Team at Change.org where she coordinated the onboarding program and organized DEI and racial equity trainings. Passionate about reducing waste and living closer to the land she wants to go back to growing her own food just like her parents always did. She is a native of Alsace, France. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, teenage kids, dog and bunny.
Kafia Ahmed (she/her) is the CEO of Third Act. She’s been organizing for nearly 20 years in marginalized communities on issues ranging from housing, carceral abolition, racial justice, and immigration. In between years organizing stateside – Kafia worked in international development, working alongside pastoralist communities in East Africa affected by climate change and survivors of gender based violence. Her passion and pride for her Somali culture and family are part of her driving force for creating a better world – when she isn’t organizing she’s a voracious reader, an avid baker and a lover of chasing waterfalls.
Deborah is a Campaign Strategist here at Third Act. Her background is as an environmental scientist, with expertise on water and energy, and as a campaign manager and organizer, most recently with the Union of Concerned Scientists. She has stopped destructive mega-dams and saved rivers around the world; helped pass 100% clean energy and climate laws in California, Oregon, and Washington; co-founded an all-volunteer voter registration organization and helped pass vote-by-mail laws. She’s based on Ohlone Land in Berkeley, California.
Jeremy Friedman is Campaign Strategist for Third Act. Previous roles include founding NYU’s Office of Sustainability; establishing the Central Brooklyn Community Solar Campaign; and co-founding a grassroots criminal justice reform Political Action Committee which elected anti-carceral DAs.
Jeremy has worked hands-on as a massage therapist for as many years as they’ve been a community organizer, and has led workshops from Taipei to Black Rock City. A common thread throughout is the conviction that change is inevitable, generative, and always unfolding at the personal, relational scale of our physical bodies.
Melanie Griffin is a writer and social justice activist who spent nearly thirty years lobbying for the Sierra Club in Washington, D.C. Her major campaigns included public lands and wildlife and air and energy policy. She was the founder and director of the Club’s first National Partnerships Program. Melanie holds a Masters in Creative Nonfiction and is a certified Spiritual Director. She served for three years as a pastor at a progressive Christian church in suburban Maryland and taught at a Quaker school. She leads writing workshops and contemplative retreats and loves to garden, read, and travel.
For over 30 years, Pam has been in leadership positions with or in nonprofits. For 20 of those years, she started and managed health agencies to bring charity health services to low-income families including medical, dental, pharmaceutical, psychiatric and counseling services. Previously she used her public relations background to serve multiple clients in a marketing firm and in her employment as a director at a YMCA in Los Angeles. Pam loves animals and is keen to help preserve wildlife everywhere, and to protect the beauty surrounding her home base in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Jordan Wong (he/him) is the Digital Associate for Third Act. He has worked in various operations roles, and has a background in Digital Marketing and Database Operations. Most recently, he was a database coordinator at Children’s Day School, a progressive preschool through eighth grade community in the vibrant Mission District of San Francisco. Jordan is a native Californian and an avid hiker, who has seen the long-term effects of climate change out on the trails, and is passionate about helping to create a sustainable future for all. He currently resides in New York with his two pugs.
Akaya Windwood facilitates transformation. She advises, trains, and consults on how change happens individually, organizationally, and societally. She is on faculty for the Just Economy Institute, and is founder of the New Universal, which centers human wisdom in the wisdom of brown womxn. She was President of Rockwood Leadership Institute for many years, and directs the Thriving Roots Fund, which supports young womxn’s finance and philanthropic learning and leadership based in generosity and interconnectedness.
Akaya received the 2020 Vision Award from Middlebury College and was one of Conscious Company’s 30 World Changing Women of 2018. She is an Ella Award recipient from the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and served on the Alameda County Human Rights Commission. Akaya is deeply committed to working for a fair and equitable global society while infusing a sense of purpose, delight, and wonder into everything we do. She lives in Oakland, CA where she reads science fiction, makes sauerkraut, and relishes growing enormous squashes in her garden.
Bill McKibben is a founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 to work on climate, democracy, and racial justice. He founded the first global grassroots climate campaign, 350.org, and serves as the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2014 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel,’ in the Swedish Parliament. He’s also won the Gandhi Peace Award, and honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities. He has written over a dozen books about the environment, including his first, The End of Nature, published in 1989. His most recently released book is The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at his Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened.
Heather Booth is one of the country’s leading strategists about progressive issue campaigns and driving issues in elections. She started organizing in the civil rights, anti-Vietnam war and women’s movements of the 1960s. Heather started JANE, an underground abortion service in 1965, before Roe. In 2000, she was the Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund, helping increase African American election turnout. She helped found the Campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2005. She directed Progressive and Seniors Outreach for the Biden/Harris campaign. Heather was the founding Director and is now President of the Midwest Academy, training social change leaders and organizers. There is a film about her life in organizing, “Heather Booth: Changing the World.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants and Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. She lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.
Katea Stitt is a performing arts producer and founder of Anyanwu Management, which offers event, tour, and artist management services. Since 1991, she has hosted Beyond Borders, a weekly Jazz/World Music program on DC Pacifica station WPFW. From 1999 until 2004, Ms. Stitt was a historian and coordinator for the Smithsonian Institution’s Jazz Oral History Program. She is currently Program Director for Washington DC’s legendary “jazz & justice” radio station, Pacifica radio station WPFW, and the Tour Manager for singing ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock. Katea is a graduate of Georgetown University.
Rebecca Solnit is a writer, historian, and activist, and the author of over eighteen books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including the books Men Explain Things to Me and Hope in the Dark. Rebecca has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a regular contributor to The Guardian.
Lisa is a Senior Advisor at Uncommon, a consultancy firm supporting mission-driven foundations and nonprofits. She led community relations for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2007 – 2012, and was communications director for Philanthropy Northwest. Passionate about helping young people tell their stories, she serves on the Advisory Board of Seattle Arts and Lectures.
Anna Goldstein (she/ her) is grateful to live in this epoch of evolution and opportunity. In the climate NGO world, she spent a good decade at 350.org and now works as an independent consultant with orgs including The Sunrise Project & Oil Change International. She is the Board Chair of the Borneo Project, which supports Indigenous land rights and rainforest preservation in Malaysian Borneo. Previously, she ran the Alameda County rape crisis hotline and co-founded Exhale, a post-abortion counseling talkline. She is learning to become a death doula. She likes dogs, books, spicy food, thrift stores, intersectional organizing and non-violent direct action. She lives on occupied Ohlone land.
Sam Brown is a long time political activist and organizer. He served as founder and co-chair of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee, which organized one of the largest demonstrations in U.S. history He has served as the elected State Treasurer of Colorado; as director of federal volunteer programs including VISTA and Peace Corps; was on the founding Board of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank, and has been a board member of a multi-billion dollar pension fund. He and his wife, Alison Teal, have been married for 43 years. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Lani cherishes her more than thirty-five years of diverse teaching experiences in urban, suburban, and independent schools in the United States and Canada. A National Board Certified Teacher, she created and facilitated professional development around technology infusion into learning for more than twenty years. Lani served as a community leader and facilitator of connected coaches in online communities with Powerful Learning Practice, during which time she co-authored The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. She currently is a national volunteer with Third Act. She’s out in her gardens every chance she gets in Northeast Ohio.
Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. is the President and C.E.O. of Hip Hop Caucus. Rev Yearwood is also the host of the award-winning climate and environmental justice podcast ‘The Coolest Show’ and senior advisor of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Beyond Petrochemicals Campaign, Beyond Carbon campaign and Sustainable Cities Campaign. He is a leader in campaigns calling for divestment from fossil fuels, and an advocate and strategist for racial justice and climate justice. Rev Yearwood is a White House Champion of Change for Climate Leadership and has been named a “New Green Hero” by Rolling Stone.
Juliet Schor is an economist and Professor of Sociology at Boston College whose research focuses on work, consumption, the climate crisis—in particular the relationship of carbon emissions to inequality and time use. Her books include The Overworked American, The Overspent American and True Wealth. Schor is a co-founder of the Center for a New American Dream, the South End Press, and the Center for Popular Economics, and currently serves as Chair of the Better Future Project, a climate activist organization.