Staff

Sara Allen
Membership and Development Associate

Sara Allen is the membership and development associate at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She has over six years of experience in fund development and grants management in the diverse settings of philanthropy, the Bay Area's affordable housing sector, and rural Rwanda. Prior to her work at family and community foundations, Sara served in the Peace Corps in Rwanda as a community health worker and as an AmeriCorps volunteer at Habitat for Humanity in Oakland, CA. She enjoys finding linkages between social justice, environmental conservation, and climate resilience. Sara holds a BA in environmental policy and urban planning from Western Washington University. She enjoys exploring and appreciating city parks, and drinking the Bay’s delicious tap water.

Sara Aminzadeh
Vice President of Partnerships
Sara Aminzadeh is the vice president of Partnerships at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She oversees fundraising, strategic communications and partnerships and supports the CEO to grow the One Water movement. Sara is an attorney and advocate with more than fifteen years of experience working at the intersection of law, policy, communications and grassroots organizing in service of environmental justice. Prior to joining the US Water Alliance, Sara led the Water Program at the Pisces Foundation, supporting equitable and sustainable water solutions in cities across the country. 
 
Previously, Sara was the Executive Director at California Coastkeeper Alliance, a grassroots network dedicated to achieving swimmable, fishable, and drinkable waters in California. She worked to build political power for policy and legislative reforms for clean water, including by recruiting and launching the business network Blue Business Council. Sara currently serves as an appointed, volunteer member of the California Coastal Commission and was recognized for her coastal protection work by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as a Visionary Woman. Sara holds a JD from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a BA with honors from U.C. Santa Barbara in political science and environmental studies. 
Joya Banerjee
Senior Fellow

Joya is a senior fellow at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Joya provides strategic counsel to social change leaders and organizations, with a particular focus on breaking down silos, building field capacity, and developing new partnerships. She also serves as a senior advisor to the Environmental Policy Innovation Center. Joya is a board member for the Center for Diversity and the Environment, the California Water Data Consortium, and 826 Valencia, and she serves on the advisory board to OpenET and Stanford University’s Water in the West. Previously, Joya led the Environment Program at the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, where she developed a ten-year grantmaking portfolio designed to advance a more sustainable, equitable water system. In her spare time, Joya enjoys climbing trees and building driftwood forts with her two boys. 

Scott Berry
Director of Policy and Government Affairs

Scott Berry is the director of policy and government affairs for the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. He leads the Alliance's engagement on policy issues out of their Washington DC office. Previously, he was Director of the Utility Infrastructure Division, Environment, and Trade at the Associated General Contractors of America. There he spent nine years as their head lobbyist on water infrastructure and water policy issues and member services lead for water, sewer, power, telecommunications, and underground construction. He has served on the Water Infrastructure Network, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition, the Common Ground Alliance, and the Waters Advocacy Coalition. 

Morgan Brown
Senior Program Manager

Morgan Brown is a senior program manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on initiatives for advancing racial equity in water, One Water management, and equity in climate resilience. Prior to the Alliance, she worked at the Water Environment Federation, managing programs to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, municipal wastewater treatment, water reuse, resource recovery, and innovation in the water sector. Morgan is a certified Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) and holds a BA in Biology and Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. Outside of work, Morgan enjoys spending time with friends and family, dancing, and cooking.

Letitia Carpenter
Program Manager

Letitia Carpenter is a program manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on the Alliance’s Equitable Water Future initiatives. Letitia is passionate about environmental justice, racial equity, and community centered practices. She began her work on equity and environmental justice while working as a community liaison for the Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities in North Charleston, SC, which helped her understand that tackling the environmental injustices communities face requires all sectors to collaborate to leverage their unique skills and strengths. Before joining the Alliance, Letitia worked as a community benefits analyst at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, working on their environmental justice portfolio and staffing their Citizens Advisory Committee. Letitia also worked as a policy and data analyst for the City of Richmond, where she co-created the Richmond Department of Children and Youth and developed community engagement strategies for the City of Richmond’s Open Data platform. Letitia holds a master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley. Outside of work, Letitia enjoys spending entire days at the beach and taking care of her collection of house plants. 

Abigail Gardner
Communications Advisor

Abigail Gardner is the communications advisor for the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She handles press requests and media relations on behalf of the Alliance and for the Value of Water Campaign. For more than a decade, Abigail has worked with communications and media at the intersection of politics, campaigns, and advocacy. Prior to her work with the Alliance, Abigail was a vice president at SKDKnickerbocker, where she served as a communications consultant for several political candidates, issue advocacy campaigns, and clients in need of crisis-management. She also served in the official office of Congressman Dan Maffei (D-NY) and Governor Eliot Spitzer and worked on several political campaigns. Abigail is a graduate of the University of Virginia and a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city famous for its three rivers.

Katie Henderson
Senior Program Manager

Katie Henderson is a senior program manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Katie manages the Value of Water Campaign and the One Water Hub. Prior to joining the Alliance, Katie was a research manager at The Water Research Foundation, where she managed a large portfolio of research on integrated water management, workforce, and communication. Katie is a strong advocate for effective communication about water’s value and has written blogs, essays, and journal articles exploring how to inspire behavior changes that will lead to better management of and investment in our water systems. Katie holds a Master of Science from Utah State University, where she researched the federal and local response to a fatal landslide that resulted from the failure of a 150-year-old irrigation canal, diving deep into the ways in which water infrastructure is often taken for granted. When she’s not thinking or talking about water, you might find Katie drawing, biking, fiddling, or baking. 

Sarah Huckins
Program Manager

Sarah Huckins is a program manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on the Alliance’s policy portfolio as well as The Value of Water Campaign. Prior to joining the Alliance, Sarah served as a partnership manager for Island Press. She also worked as an environmental coordinator for Patagonia DC and spent time in Amman, Jordan working with EcoPeace Middle East to promote environmental stewardship and regional cooperation as a part of Patagonia’s Environmental Internship Program. Sarah holds an MA in strategic communication from American University’s School of Communication, where she served as a research assistant at the Center for Media and Social Impact. Sarah is an avid consumer of pop culture and donuts, and enjoys biking around Washington, DC. 

Andy Kricun
Senior Fellow

Andy Kricun is a senior fellow with the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. He works on the Water Equity Network. Andy has 35 years of experience in wastewater and biosolids management, highlighted by his former role as the executive director and chief engineer of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority. With a passion for social justice and environmental protection, Andy served on the board of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, and he currently serves on the New Jersey Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Andy graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in chemical engineering. Additionally, he holds a professional engineer's license in civil engineering and is a board-certified environmental engineer. Andy lives in New Jersey with his amazing wife and amazing twins, and he loves sightseeing, hiking, reading, music, and sports. 

Katy Lackey
Senior Program Manager

Katy Lackey is a senior program manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on initiatives for One Water leadership, equity in climate resilience, onsite non-potable water systems, and agriculture-municipal partnerships. Katy has seven years of experience leading research and programming in the water sector. Prior to joining the Alliance, Katy was a Research Manager for The Water Research Foundation. Her portfolio covered One Water, cross-sector collaboration, extreme events, green infrastructure, decentralized systems, and sustainable energy management. In DC, Katy also served on the executive board of the Women’s Aquatic Network (WAN) for four years. Katy holds a M.A. in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from the United Nation’s University for Peace in Costa Rica, as well as an MA in International Affairs from American University’s School for International Service in Washington, DC. A Colorado-native, she loves hiking and is in constant awe of the interconnections and beauty of all our water resources.

Linda Le
Senior Manager, Events and Operations

Linda Le is the senior manager, Events and Operations, at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Linda works on many key organizational priorities for the Alliance, providing administrative, operational, and developmental support, and she manages the office of the CEO and special projects. Linda brings nearly 10 years of experience in executive assistant positions to top-level executives, and she possesses a track record of strong performance in high-volume, high-pressure environments. Prior to joining the Alliance, Linda served as an executive assistant to the CEO and founder of a local and state government relations and lobbying firm. When she is not working, Linda enjoys spending time with family and friends, crafting, and creating custom events and parties.

Karen Rodriguez
Vice President for Finance and Operations

Karen Rodriguez is the vice president for Finance and Operations at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She has spent the last 20 years serving various nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area in a similar capacity. Prior to joining the Alliance, Karen served as Controller for CollegeSpring, Director of Finance & Administration for Amazon Watch, and Chief Financial Officer for California Humanities. She enjoys helping intrepid nonprofit organizations create and maintain systems that enable them to more efficiently fulfill their missions. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from San Francisco State University, and avidly enjoys traveling and singing when she can.

Zoë Roller
Water Equity Fellow

Zoë Roller is a water equity fellow at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Their work with the Alliance’s An Equitable Water Future initiative focuses on access to safe and affordable water and sanitation infrastructure. Zoë has a background in city planning and spent three years managing community development projects in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. These projects addressed issues including food security, environmental justice, violence reduction, public health, and education. Zoë has also worked with the San Francisco Planning Department on sea-level rise adaptation, and with the Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence in Delhi on sustainable water management in informal settlements. In a volunteer capacity, they are involved in advocating for housing rights and prison abolition. Outside of the water infrastructure world, Zoë enjoys boxing and reading science fiction. 

Emily Simonson
Director, Strategy

Emily Simonson is the director of strategy at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She is responsible for supporting the CEO on high-priority strategic initiatives, philanthropic engagement, and organizational positioning and planning. Emily also coordinates the Alliance’s Equitable Water Future and Recovering Stronger portfolios. Emily became passionate about the role water plays in social and environmental prosperity while working in Ghana for Global Brigades, a community development nonprofit. She was responsible for mobilizing students to build rainwater harvesters and deliver hygiene education workshops in rural communities without access to piped water and sanitation services. Emily also spent two years at the EPA as an ORISE Fellow with the Urban Waters Program, where she took on conference planning, strategic communications, and initiatives to increase the government's ability to provide an integrated approach when working with communities to restore their waterways. After an internship with the United Nations in Switzerland, Emily graduated from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University with master’s degrees in public administration and international relations. Off the clock, Emily will use any excuse to get outside and especially likes frisbee, biking, paddling, and hiking with her dog and friends. 

Yasmeen Smalley-Norman
Communications Manager

Yasmeen Smalley-Norman is the communications manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Yasmeen brings over six years of experience leveraging communications strategies to advance solutions to environmental issues. Her background in communications includes a fellowship as a Fulbright Scholar in the Philippines, where she created 3D models of threatened coral species and co-wrote a coral identification book. Prior to joining the Alliance, Yasmeen served as the marketing and communications manager at the Coral Reef Alliance, where she created communications materials and strategies and integrated them into multi-channel marketing campaigns. Yasmeen’s connection to water began with the murky water of Galveston Bay, where she fell in love with the ocean. She’s now training to be a scuba instructor, so she can connect others to water.  

Benny Starr
Artist-in-Residence
Benny is the Artist in Residence at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Born in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Benny Starr is constantly going against the grain while paying homage to the legends that came before him and crafting bodies of work that require your time and full attention. 
 
His most recent body of work, A Water Album, recorded live with his fellow bandmates The Four20s, at Charleston Music Hall, was released on Juneteenth 2019. 
 
In January 2020, Benny Starr and singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Rodrick Cliche joined talents and birthed the innovative partnership, Native Son. Their most recent release “The Land” is a rallying cry that echoes the injustices of Black Legacy Farmers at the hands of the USDA, and part of an ongoing partnership with The Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund and The Black Farmers Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign.
 
The US Water Alliance welcomed Benny Starr as their inaugural One Water Artist-in-Residence in October 2020. Through his one-year residency with the Alliance, Benny will work with staff and the Alliance network to infuse arts and cultural strategies into thinking, problem-solving, and programming. Benny also serves as a board member for Community Resources for Enduring Wellness (CREW). In his free time, Benny enjoys creating music, watching movies, and traveling.
Gina Wammock
Senior Fellow

Gina is a senior fellow at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Gina is an independent consultant with a 25-year career in the water and environment sectors. Gina is passionate about reforming systems and policies to build racial equity. She was a primary author of the Alliance’s One Water for America Policy Framework, as well as a key contributor to the Michigan governor’s Water Advisory Task Force Final Report on the Flint water crisis in 2016. She has co-authored other water industry publications, such as AWWA’s Avoiding Rate Shock: Making the Case for Water Rates. A former US Water Alliance Board member, Gina led water marketing, sales, and strategy at CH2M (now Jacobs) and now operates Lakeview Strategic Services, providing communications and strategic consulting services. Aside from this work, Gina is a certified mindfulness meditation teacher. 

Renée Willette
Vice President, Programs and Strategy
Renée Willette is the vice president, Programs and Strategy, at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She oversees all programmatic work and supports the CEO on strategic growth efforts for the organization. Prior to joining the US Water Alliance, Renée worked for Stantec, a global, multi-sector engineering and architecture firm where she served as the Water Sector Leader for the Midwest region. In her role at Stantec, she managed the Midwest team of water and wastewater engineers, oversaw regional business development efforts, supported national strategic partnerships, and served on Stantec’s United States Inclusion and Diversity council.
 
Previously, Renée was the Director of Strategy Initiatives for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) which is responsible for providing 24/7 water, wastewater, and municipal power services to 2.6 million Bay Area residents. At the SFPUC, Renée led the agency’s regional workforce development partnerships as well as the place-based revitalization strategy for the $2.7 billion Sewer System Improvement Program. Renée also served as senior staff in two San Francisco Mayoral administrations, focusing on fiscal policy and legislative affairs. Renée serves on the board of the Minnesota Freshwater Society and attended executive education at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a David Bohnett Leaders Fellow.  She holds a BA from Carleton College and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.   
Anna Yates
Communications Associate

Anna Yates is a communications associate at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on website development and disseminating communications for the Alliance. Previously, Anna worked with the National Park Service and the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy, specifically on initiatives that addressed rising sea levels. Additionally, Anna's held communications positions at Make Music NOLA, a nonprofit that provides tuition-free music education to New Orleans youth, and in Egypt at the American University in Cairo's Center for Applied Research on the Environment and Sustainability. Anna holds a BA in environmental studies and international development from Tulane University. Outside of work, Anna enjoys backpacking, seeing live music, and eating Popeye's on the New Orleans bayou.