Melissa Everett, Ph.D., Executive Director
Melissa Everett, Ph.D., is an outreach and communications strategist working at the intersection of climate action, green industry and community development. Since 2004, she has helped to build a movement of local innovators who are reducing their communities’ carbon footprints and building the market for clean energy industries. Her accomplishments with SHV include convening eight influential regional summits and conferences and bringing the Solarize model for community education and solar group purchasing to the Hudson Valley on a three-year funding award from NYSERDA. Trained in counseling and group facilitation through the Concord Institute in Massachusetts, Melissa has taught innovative courses in leadership and community service at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and in sustainability at SUNY Dutchess. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from the International, Off-Campus Program of Erasmus University’s Centre for Environmental Management and Sustainable Development in the Netherlands, a pioneering program for mid-career professionals worldwide. Her thesis research focuses on the dynamics of community turnarounds and the role of social networks. She was one of the original 1,000 prominent citizens trained by The Climate Project. The author of three books and many articles, Melissa has given lectures and workshops on three continents. Her Making a Living While Making a Difference was honored with the Bronze medal for Best Book in Foreword Magazine’s annual rankings. She was named one of nine “People to Watch in 2012” by Hudson Valley Magazine.
Barbara Todd, Program Coordinator
Barbara Todd had a productive career in software quality assurance and management before joining SHV in June 2021 as Program Coordinator (aka “Chaos Reducer”). She hit the ground running, organizing SHV’s inner workings. She is a Hyde Park native with a B.A. in Psychology and a Certificate in Systems Analysis from Marist College. At Hudson Valley Credit Union she evolved from IRA specialist to IT Analyst/Project Manager. In New York City in the Software Quality Assurance field, she progressed from Senior QA Analyst to Manager at Columbia House, to Manager of QA for Ad Sales Systems at Viacom, to Director of QA at Scholastic Corp. More recently she consulted as IT Project Manager at HDtracks. Barbara is an accomplished photographer and Vice President of Artists’ Collective of Hyde Park as well as Marketing Committee Chair for Arts Mid-Hudson.
Chrisso Babcock, Outreach Coordinator
Chrisso Babcock (he/him) grew up in the Hudson Valley, enjoying a free range upbringing which included playing in the woods for hours, climbing trees, and running around barefoot all summer. He became an organic farmer for 5 years in his early 20’s, and has extensive experience homesteading and living outdoors. He has been teaching healthy, traditional cooking and fermentation skills for 10 years through his business Coyote Kitchen Workshops, a pursuit which is currently on the back burner (pun intended). Chrisso is an LMT, (a NY licensed massage therapist), and worked the years leading up to the pandemic as a bartender. After many years of diverse work experience, he recently finished a BA in Food and Sustainability, combining and furthering many of his interests. He enjoys work that creates and supports community and the health of the natural world.
Suzie Fromer, Repair Cafe Coordinator
Lizette De Alem, Organizing and Outreach Intern
Lizette De Alem is currently in her last year of graduate school. She is pursuing her M.P.S. in Environmental Leadership Justice and Communication from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She previously attended the school and received a Bachelors of Science in Sustainability Management. She has also attended the Fashion Institute of Technology where she obtained an Associates in Advertising and Marketing Communications. She enjoys attending yoga sculpt classes and film photography.
Alyssa Rivera, Organizing and Outreach Intern
Alyssa Rivera (she/her) is a recent graduate from a Bachelor of Science program in Sustainability Management from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Human Rights from John Jay College. She enjoys foraging, horror novels, antiquing, and her cat, Clementine.
Joanne Louis-Paul, Climate and Energy Communications Intern
Joanne Louis-Paul, a native and resident of Rockland County, is a sales and marketing professional, writer, musician, and community builder. In 2023, she returned to Hunter College in NYC to finish up her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Media Studies en route to obtaining her Master’s in Social Work. Her diverse work experience, interests, and talents have An LED (Light-emitting diode) is a type of lightbulb which lasts 5o times longer than standard bulbs. Resources: CenHub Store
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More her to her mission to help rehabilitate the education and economic development sectors of her hometown of Spring Valley, a predominantly black and brown immigrant community in dire need of resources. Joanne loves playing volleyball, taking long nature walks, and sharing deep belly laughs with friends.
Cynthia Nikitin, Resilient Places Consultant
Cynthia Nikitin has An LED (Light-emitting diode) is a type of lightbulb which lasts 5o times longer than standard bulbs. Resources: CenHub Store
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More numerous large-scale multi-sectoral place-based community-led projects during her twenty eight years with Project for Public Spaces (pps.org) and since. She has facilitated over one hundred placemaking training workshops and seminars around the world. Cynthia’s technical expertise stretches from the development of downtown master plans to the creation of corridor-wide transportation and land use strategies, and development of creative placemaking initiatives to create safer and healthier cities and upgrade informal settlements in the developing world.
From 2012-2018, she directed the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™, a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts serving rural communities with multi-day trainings. www.rural-design.org/where-we-work. She managed the Heart of the Community program, a five year partnership with Southwest Airlines to create transformative public spaces. She provides technical assistance to ThinkCity, an urban regeneration organization based in four cities in Malaysia. Cynthia is lead facilitator of the Georgia Placemaking Collaborative, a three year, 9 community placemaking training program.
Currently, she is the Resilient Places Strategist and a Senior Fellow with Sustainable Hudson Valley, advocating for a place-based people-centered approach to disaster recovery and mitigation. Cynthia and her husband Eugene co-founded the Friends of Brunel Park, a non-profit organization that stewards, preserves, and interprets the Emile Brunel Studio and Sculpture Garden in Boiceville, NY: www.brunelpark.org.