VPIRG Board of Directors
Anna previously graduated with a degree in environmental studies from the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she moved to Vermont in hopes of receiving her diploma and living in a culture that more closely aligned with her values. Anna first joined VPIRG as a canvasser in May 2021, before being promoted to Field Manager, where she was responsible for the daily operations of a small canvassing team. She is excited to bring her canvass experience and her fresh perspective on environmental and social justice to the VPIRG Board as a student trustee.
Chris is the Social Mission Activism Manager at Ben & Jerry’s, a unique position within the corporate world. He is responsible for development and execution of the company’s issue advocacy campaigns that are rooted in its progressive values. Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of running campaigns on issues like mandatory GMO labeling, marriage equality, money in politics, and climate change. Before joining Ben & Jerry’s, Chris led the sustainability work at Seventh Generation, the leader in natural non-toxic household and personal care products. He also directed Greenpeace USA’s national climate change campaign and served on the staff of then Congressman Bernie Sanders. Chris also serves as the chair of the board of directors of Car Share Vermont and is vice-chair of the board of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.
Throughout her career, Jen has worked to protect public health and ensure all communities have equal access to a clean and healthy environment. Prior to joining EIP, Jen was the Vice President and Director of Conservation Law Foundation Vermont where she launched a successful regional campaign to secure state drinking water regulations for toxic “forever chemicals” and helped pass three “strongest in the nation” state laws to protect drinking water and reduce single-use plastic. Jen also served as the General Counsel for the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources where she led the Office of General Counsel and oversaw the delivery of legal services for the Central Office and Departments of Environmental Conservation, Fish and Wildlife, and Forests, Parks, and Recreation. Prior to her position with the Agency, Jen was Managing Attorney for EIP. Jen developed and brought successful litigation requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to limit toxic discharges from coal plants for the first time; developed and litigated cases requiring clean up of three coal ash landfills; and persuaded a state environmental agency to withdraw construction permits for two waste coal power plants. Jen graduated magna cum laude from Vermont Law School and also earned a Master of Studies in Environmental Law.
Marianne has used her innate entrepreneurial skill over a 30-year career to successfully launch and lead both for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises. As a social entrepreneur, Marianne was a founding member and now serves as a trustee of the Circle School, a Sudbury-inspired democratic school in Harrisburg, PA. She founded her first company at 23, launching the first green real estate development firm in Pennsylvania. Marianne later brought her talents into the areas of electronics, communications technology, and the green energy sector. Marianne currently serves as co-founder of Catalyst Clean Energy Finance, LLC, and co-chair of Vermont’s Energy Action Network’s Capital Mobilization workgroup. Marianne matches her creativity and boundless enthusiasm for entrepreneurship with a deep commitment to identifying and pursuing opportunities to enact meaningful, lasting positive change for the greater good.
Aiko directs the national Just Solutions Collective which identifies, analyzes and curates equitable and racially just clean energy policy and program models to foster replication, scaling and greater capacity for diverse communities to engage in the environmental movement.
Aiko has nearly 30 years of experience working on public policies on climate justice, anti-poverty, consumer protection and tax reform, as well as partisan campaigns. She has worked in a number of states and with diverse communities across the US. Most recently Aiko was a principal author and leader of Washington State’s 2018 climate justice ballot measure. Prior to her work on climate and environmental policy, Aiko was a faculty member at the University of Washington in Seattle.
In addition to directing Just Solutions Collective, Aiko provides strategic consulting to political campaigns, non-profits, government and foundations on policy and program development. She lives in Stowe, Vermont with her husband and their two teenage children.
Ashley has served as a VPIRG board member since 2014. At Seventh Generation, Ashley is responsible for the development, implementation and management of the Company’s issue advocacy campaigns and outreach. In 2010, she became the first Executive Director of the Seventh Generation Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting social and environmental progress through education, conservation, research and advocacy. Formerly, she served as the Company’s representative in developing the curriculum offered by the Kaplan-Seventh Generation Sustainability Institute. Ashley received her Green MBA in Environmental and Organizational Sustainability from Antioch University New England. She is an active member of her community, serving on the Wellness Committee for her son’s pre-school and formerly sitting on Hinesburg’s Planning Commission. She credits her move to Vermont in 1998 to valuable time she spent working on VPIRG’s summer canvass. Ashley served as VPIRG Board President from 2018 to 2022.
A VPIRG board member since 1995, Biff Mithoefer has taught yoga at Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica, Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, and at workshops in Vermont, Hawaii, and California. He is a 500-hour Yoga Alliance registered teacher, and has studied shamanism. Previously, Biff was the President of East Mountain Environmental Services, engaged in the development of large-scale organic waste composting projects and is the former President and owner of East Mountain Transport, a solid waste handling, transportation, and recycling company.
Diana (pronounced De-ahna) has over two decades of experience developing social change leaders in education, activism, and electoral politics through her work as a trainer and facilitator. She lives in Winooski and represented Chittenden 6-7 in the Vermont House of Representatives from 2014-2020; sitting on the House General committee as the Ranking Member and the assistant leader of the Progressive House caucus. She proudly worked on climate solutions, racial justice bills, and many labor rights bills.
She grew up in Southern California and has called Vermont her home since 2002. Her full time work is now as the Director of Leadership Programs at Equality Federation, the strategic partner to state-based organizations working to win equality in the communities we call home. In addition to her masters degree in Conflict Transformation from the SIT graduate institute she may one day finish her dissertation in Education, Leadership and Policy from the University of Vermont.
A VPIRG board member since 2008, Drew describes himself as a cat-herder, wrangler of impossible coalitions, and developer of complex communications and field campaigns. His consulting confab specializes in helping candidates and campaigns identify the messages and tools to effectively mobilize people in pursuit of peace, justice and sustainability — from simple websites to massive voter mobilization and everything in between. Recent clients have included Greenpeace, TrueMajority.org, USAction and others. Drew built his skills in political organizing and communications as a fellow at MoveOn.org, Field Director for the Symington for Governor Campaign and at VPIRG, where he served as Field and Communications Director from 2003-2008. Before settling in Vermont, Drew worked for the State PIRGs and their affiliates in Maryland, Georgia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the Green Corps Field School for Environmental Organizing and New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
Duane has served as a VPIRG board member since 1998. Duane is a social entrepreneur with an eclectic 35-year career in socially responsible business, campaign management, government service and community involvement. He moved his family from California in 1996 to Vermont where he worked as Chief of Stuff at Ben & Jerry’s for 12 years getting to execute Ben Cohen’s creative vision. Committed to advancing values-led business models, he’s a member of the national Social Venture Network, Vermont Venture Network and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. He also serves on the Boards of the HowardCenter and USAction. Duane co-directs SunCommon, a solar venture modeled after VPIRG’s highly successful solar communities program.
Kanika is the Agrichemical Section Chief at Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture. Prior to joining the Agency, Kanika was a standout advocate with VPIRG, focusing her efforts over 18 months on energy, environmental, and agricultural policy work. In particular, she was a leading voice on our campaigns dealing with plastics and pesticides. Before coming to VPIRG, Kanika worked as a policy specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and with the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. She also worked briefly as a consultant with the City of Providence Department of Economic Development.
Kanika fell in love with Vermont when she spent time farming on an organic vegetable operation in southern Vermont. While her interests are varied, she has always been drawn to agricultural issues and she has a love for politics. She is a graduate of the highly regarded Emerge Vermont program. Kanika earned her BA and MPA from Brown University and now makes her home in Montpelier.
A VPIRG board member since 1984, Mathew is the President of Spruce Mountain Design where he is engaged in run-of-river hydro project operations and energy conservation work. Mathew is also President of East Haven Windfarm, a small commercial wind energy project. He has previously developed, and continues to own and operate, three small hydroelectric power plants in Vermont, and has consulted on the development of numerous other hydro projects in New York and New England. Mr. Rubin has served on the boards of directors of a wide array of community and civic organizations including Renewable Energy Vermont, the Vermont Independent Power Producers Association, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.
Lindsey is currently a junior double majoring in public health science in the College of Nursing and Health Science and sociology
in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Vermont. They previously interned for Hunger Free Vermont–working on the campaign for universal school meals–and the Vermont Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association–where they worked to create and deliver education programs for a variety of audiences. They worked on VPIRG’s Keep Vermont Cool campaign as a member of the Street Team and were responsible for restarting the VPIRG Club at UVM.
Megan is an associate attorney at Dunkiel Saunders in Burlington supporting the firm’s transactional practice and working on projects related to non-profit governance, affordable housing, and green marketing. She earned her law degree from Vermont Law School. During her time there, she interned for Judge Peter Hall of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, served as managing editor of the Vermont Law Review, and worked with the Appellate Advocacy Project. After graduating from VLS, Megan clerked for two years for Chief Justice Reiber of the Vermont Supreme Court. She previously worked for VPIRG – first as a summer canvasser on VPIRG’s 2013 GMO Labeling Campaign and then as a full-time fellow in VPIRG’s Democracy program.