HBN Welcomes Four New Board Members

HBN | January 2022 | Newsletter

HBN is thrilled to announce the addition of four new members to our board of directors in 2022! Please join us in welcoming Chrissa Pagitsas, Nse Witherspoon, and Anne Lebleu, who fill regular board director seats, and Joiana Hooks, who expands our Emerging Leader directors. Read more about the incredible experience they bring below. 

In addition, Monica Nakielski, Director of Sustainability at Advocate Aurora, will be stepping into the role of Board Chair in 2022 following the term completion of Chair Brad Grant, Professor of Architecture at Howard University. We would also like to thank George Salah, Chairman & CEO of Apparent, Inc, who will be completing his service this year, for his incredible contributions to the HBN Board of Directors over the past nine years!

We are grateful for the support of this outstanding group of established and emerging leaders who help drive forward the vision and mission of our organization. You can find a full list of HBN’s Board members on our website.


Chrissa%20Pagitsas%20180x180.pngChrissa Pagitsas is a senior advisor to C-suite leaders and board members on environmental, social governance (ESG), climate risk, green and social bonds and their intersection with the financial services, commercial real estate, and residential housing industries. She is the author of the book, “Chief Sustainability Officer at Work: How CSOs Build Business Growth Through Sustainable Strategies,” (Apress, 2022).

Chrissa is the former VP of ESG and director of the Green Financing Business at Fannie Mae. She launched and led Fannie Mae’s enterprise ESG strategy to become a leading ESG financial services company and its Green Financing business, resulting in over $51 billion issued in Green Bonds through 2018. 

Throughout her career, Chrissa has created impactful private-public partnerships resulting in positive outcomes and catalytic long-term market changes. She has served on the boards and advisory councils for international and domestic standard setters, governing bodies, and key industry associations including NASDAQ, Structured Finance Association, and the US Green Building Council.

Chrissa holds an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and a BA from Johns Hopkins University.

Nse%20Witherspoon%20180x180.jpgNsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH, is the Executive Director of Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN). For the past 21 years, Nse has served as a key spokesperson for children’s vulnerabilities and the need for their protection, conducting presentations and lectures across the country. She is a leader in the field of children’s environmental health, serving on commissions and boards for leading groups including Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO), the Cancer Free Economy Network, the National Environmental Health Partnership Council, the Pesticide Action Network of North America, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Maryland Children’s Environmental Health Advisory Council.
Nse has a variety of publications and has the distinct honor of having one of CEHN’s leadership awards, the Nsedu Obot Witherspoon (NOW) Youth Leadership Award, named in her honor. She is also the recent recipient of the William R. Reilly Award in Environmental Leadership from the Center for Environmental Policy at American University and the Snowy Egret Award from the Eastern Queens Alliance.
Nse has a B.S. in Biology Pre Med from Siena College and a M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health from The George Washington University, School of Public Health and Health Services.

Anne%20LeBleu%20180x180.jpegAnne Lebleu is a Managing Director, Philanthropy and Social Impact at BDT & Company. Prior to joining BDT, Anne was a Senior Director at a leading national philanthropy advisory firm.

In addition to HBN, Anne serves on the board of I-MAK, an organization focused on building a more just and equitable medicines system for all. She has a BA from Wesleyan University and an MS from Columbia University, was a Getty Graduate Intern at the J.P. Getty Trust in Los Angeles, and holds a CFA Certificate in ESG Investing.


Joiana Hooks joins the board as an emerging leader. Joiana received her Master of Architecture from Hampton University and her Master of Science in Research Practices at University of Minnesota (UMN). She has worked as an Architectural Designer at Harris + Smith in Atlanta, as a Graduate Research Assistant at UMN, as instructor of the Development & Implementation of Research course at UMN, and as a Student Researcher at Meyer Borgman Johnson. Presently, Joiana works as a Designer on Cooper Carry’s K-12 team.

At her core, Joiana is an artist and visual storyteller who is innately wired for analytical thinking. This is what ultimately led her to Architecture, and more recently, Architectural Research. Joiana’s current research interests in circular economies of safe, sustainable materials stem from her ultimate concern for human and environmental health.

Joiana’s research was recently accepted into Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) 2021 Conference on Performative Environments. She is at the forefront of her quest in protecting human and environmental health through design and continues to seek the knowledge, tools, and networks that will help make a difference in her pursuit of a more sustainable future.