Monica Nakielski is the Vice President of Sustainability at Advocate Aurora. Monica brings over 15 years of experience as a sustainability practitioner and consultant to Fortune 500 organizations, governments, institutions, and nonprofits with a focus on health care, hospitals and health systems.
Previously, Monica led and managed sustainability at MassGeneralBrigham (formerly Partners HealthCare) across 16 facilities and 18 million square feet. Monica also served as the head of sustainability at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA). In this role, Monica and her team worked to influence health insurers to be leaders of environmental sustainability. Most recently, Monica led the NA Health Care Practice for Anthesis, a global sustainability consultancy.
Monica currently serves as the Vice-Chair for Healthy Building Network's Board of Directors, and is a member of the steering committee for Clean Production Action’s Chemical Footprint project.
Monica has a bachelor’s degree in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s in business administration from Simmons College, and has completed executive education in sustainability leadership from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Murali Selvaraj, Chief Information Officer of Perkins+Will, is responsible for all facets of the firm’s information and knowledge management architecture. He is directly involved in establishing the vision for the firm’s information systems and services – one that creates a high-performance culture through agile, innovative use of tools and technologies. Trained as an architect, Murali worked with some of the firm’s high profile corporate clients on strategic planning and consulting engagements. He led complex projects that required an integrated, systems-driven emphasis – projects related to portfolio planning, real estate information management, and scenario-driven strategic planning. His clients included Hewitt Associates, AT&T, Nuveen Investments, and Schneider Electric. At Perkins+Will, Murali helped launch the the new generation of Transparency Website in 2017, creating a much smarter data-architecture and a more refined navigation and user experience. He also works across the spectrum of the firm’s Green team leaders, orchestrating a data-driven process to implement their vision and operational goals. Murali serves on advisory boards of some of the top AEC technology firms such as Bluebeam. He is also a charter member of the Built Environment Innovation Network.
Mike is Lead for Circular Economy at Google where he leads a cross-functional team focused on achieving their circular economy vision across their operations, products, and supply chains and efforts to enable others to do the same. Previously at Google, Mike also led the product sustainability, biocompatibility, and environmental compliance team for Google’s consumer hardware division.
Before joining Google in 2017, Mike led safer chemistry and biocompatibility initiatives at Apple and product sustainability for Haworth Inc, a global contract office furniture manufacturer. Mike has worked in the green building and product design space for 15 years including with renowned green architect Bill McDonough.
Mike holds a BS in Chemistry from Villanova University. In addition to serving on the board of directors for the Healthy Building Network, he also serves on advisory boards for several organizations including the Green Science Policy Institute, ChemForward, and Materiom.org. Mike previously served as a sustainability advisor to the Department of Homeland Security and National Institute of Building Sciences.
Carolyn Fine Friedman
Carolyn Fine Friedman is chair of the Fine Fund and a longtime friend and supporter of HBN. As a philanthropist and advocate for environmental health and justice, her deepest conviction is that we all deserve to live in a world where we are not unwittingly poisoned by our food, water, transportation, buildings and the products used in our daily lives. With a Master’s degree in education from Harvard University, Carolyn initially entered the workforce powered by curiosity about what people actually do at work and committed to helping them find fulfillment in their careers. After an interim parenting period, Carolyn became a champion for environmental health and justice. Today she fulfills her mission of advocating for untainted good health for all by working with nonprofits, holding events, and speaking in public, in print and online about the subject.
Bradford C. Grant
Immediate Past Board Chair
Bradford C. Grant, Professor of Architecture, Department of Architecture of the College of Engineering and Architecture at Howard University, Washington DC, has been in leadership roles at Hampton and Howard Universities as Chairperson, Director, Associate Dean and Interim Dean. As an architect and a distinguished educator he has extensive experience in community design, universal design, contemplative practices in design education, and social and cultural factors in architecture. His community design work, research on the role of African American architects and his teachings on “Drawing as Meditation” have earned him multiple awards, including the Universal Design Education Award and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Education Honor Award. Grant is past president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the national organization representing Schools of Architecture, a former board member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and a member of the Fetzer Institute’s Advisory Council on the Design Professions.
Emerging Leader Board Member
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.
Chrissa 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.
Anne 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.
Nsedu Obot Witherspoon
Nsedu 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.
David Rapaport, Global Social Mission Officer at Ben & Jerry's, has been a sustainability thought leader for over 30 years, spanning the business, non-profit and government sectors. Previously Vice President of Earth and Community Care for Aveda, he helped drive the company’s mission to care for the world and strive for environmental leadership and responsibility. Prior to Aveda, Dave worked with the Governor of Vermont to help oversee Tropical Storm Irene recovery efforts. He held multiple leadership roles with green household care products pioneer Seventh Generation, and has experience in the renewable energy field. Dave spent two decades in public policy, as Executive Director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group and in various leadership roles with the environmental organization Greenpeace, including directing national work on toxic chemicals and pollution prevention. He was adjunct professor at the University of Oregon and consultant for UNICEF and other international agencies on sustainable development, waste management, sanitation, and marine pollution.
Brophy Christensen, partner at O'Melveny's San Francisco office and co-chair of the Capital Markets Practice, has extensive experience representing issuers, underwriters, and investors in a wide range of public and private equity and debt offerings and exchange offers, including initial public offerings, high-yield debt financings, and convertible offerings. These transactions have involved companies in a variety of businesses, including financial services and banking, life sciences, REITs, semiconductors, computers, electronics, software, entertainment, and telecommunications. Brophy regularly advises investment banking clients on securities law-related matters and corporate clients on general corporate matters, including corporate governance, securities, and Sarbanes-Oxley matters. Brophy also represents buyers, sellers and financial advisors in connection with public and private strategic transactions, including mergers, stock and asset acquisitions, joint ventures, spin-offs, and recapitalizations.
Chief Executive Officer
Gina Ciganik, Chief Executive Officer, has been growing and scaling HBN’s vision since assuming the CEO role in 2016. Previously she served as Senior Advisor for Housing Innovation, establishing and leading the HomeFree initiative, an expansion of HBN’s healthy materials work into the affordable housing sector. Recognized as a national leader in transforming human and environmental health through strategic partnerships, innovative business practices, education, and leading-edge research, Ciganik has a proven track record of creating healthier spaces where we live, work, and play. Prior to HBN, she was Vice President of Housing Development at a Minneapolis-St. Paul area affordable housing development organization, where she spent two decades creating thousands of healthy, affordable homes. Her efforts culminated in the construction of The Rose, a 90-unit apartment building in Minneapolis that set a new national standard for healthy materials.
MyDzung T. Chu
Emerging Leader Board Member
MyDzung T. Chu, PhD, MSPH, is an environmental epidemiologist and postdoctoral scientist at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is invested in public health research and practice centered on housing and environmental justice. Her current research investigates the impact of federal housing assistance on residential environmental exposures for low-income communities. She is also co-investigator of a gut microbiome study looking at the association of acculturation and environmental risk factors for foreign-born women. Her dissertation research examined socio-contextual drivers of disparities in indoor and ambient air pollution and poor housing quality for low-income, immigrant, and Black and Brown households. Prior to her PhD, MyDzung worked as an epidemiologist at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and she also serves on the board of the Asian American Resource Workshop. MyDzung has a PhD in Population Health Sciences from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a MSPH in Environmental-Occupational Health and Epidemiology from Emory University, and a BA in Neuroscience from Smith College.
Dr. Ami Zota is an Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her work seeks to secure environmental justice and improve health equity through advancements in science, policy, and clinical practice. Her research identifies novel pathways linking social disparities, environmental exposures, and reproductive and children’s health, and has been featured in high-impact national and international media publications including the Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, Huffington Post, and the Atlantic Monthly. Ami recently developed and launched the Agents of Change initiative to amplify underrepresented voices in environmental health - specifically, early career people of color. She received her masters and doctorate in environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health and then completed postdoctoral fellowships at Silent Spring Institute and University of California, San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health.