Staff

US Water Alliance Staff

Mami Hara
CEO
Mami Hara is the CEO of the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Mami brings over three decades of experience in land and water management, advancing sustainable practices through cultivating leaders and partnerships, workforce development, inclusive community participation, science- and community-informed planning, and knowledge sharing. In her public sector and private practice roles, Mami has guided the planning and implementation of award-winning green infrastructure, sustainability, economic development, and waterfront programs across the United States.
 
Prior to serving at the Alliance, Mami was the general manager and CEO of Seattle Public Utilities, which provides solid waste, drainage, and wastewater services for Seattle residents and businesses, as well as drinking water for 1.4 million regional customers. Under her leadership, Seattle Public Utilities undertook the largest capital project ever delivered by the City of Seattle and significant improvements to its capital delivery processes, including incorporation of climate factors in design. Mami also served as first deputy commissioner of Philadelphia Water, where she helped with climate planning and shepherded the country’s largest green infrastructure program. She has been an advisor to several environmental, philanthropic, planning, and design advocacy organizations and has taught at PennDesign, Temple School of Architecture, and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Mami holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
Clare Auld-Brokish
Program Associate

Clare Auld-Brokish is a Program 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 the Alliance’s Equitable Water Future Initiative. Clare's interest in water's role in climate resilience and environmental justice began while researching Dianchi Lake in Southwest China, first as a student and later as a Fulbright fellow. She recently completed a Princeton-in-Asia fellowship with the Beijing and US offices of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Clare graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in biological sciences and Chinese language and culture. She is based in Washington, DC, and enjoys exploring the city’s culinary offerings as well as navigating to its various bodies of water by foot and bike.

Scott Berry
Director of Policy and Government Affairs

Scott Berry is the Director of Policy and Government Affairs at 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. 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 was the member services lead for water, sewer, power, telecommunications, and underground construction. He has served in the leadership of the Water Infrastructure Network, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition, the Common Ground Alliance, and the Waters Advocacy Coalition. He has a BA in political science and geography from the University of Mary Washington.

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 water equity, climate action, One Water management, and leadership. 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. 

Letitia Carpenter
Senior Program Manager

Letitia Carpenter 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 leads 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. Previously, 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 developed community engagement strategies for the their Open Data platform and co-created the Richmond Department of Children and Youth. Letitia holds a master’s in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley. Outside of work, Letitia enjoys spending days at the beach and taking care of her collection of house plants. 

Paula Conolly
Director of Local Engagement and Senior Advisor for Distributed Infrastructure

Paula Conolly, AICP, is the Director of Local Engagement and Senior Advisor for Distributed Infrastructure for the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Paula helps manage local technical assistance and community outreach efforts to support equal access to water services, maximize community and economic development, and build resilient communities. Prior to joining the Alliance, Paula was the Executive Director of the Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange, a peer learning network of local public sector green infrastructure practitioners. A co-founder of the network, Paula helped build the organization and led the network toward adopting equity and authentic community engagement as tenets of the green infrastructure practice. Before that, she led policy initiatives for Philadelphia’s renowned Green City, Clean Waters program, helping to change “business as usual” to implement over 30 acres of green stormwater infrastructure on vacant lands, parks, streets and private property. She also helped establish a state-of-the art drinking water protection program for the City of Philadelphia, helping to raise over $3M to improve and protect the Schuylkill River Watershed. Paula graduated from the University of Notre Dame. In her free time, Paula enjoys helping her Philadelphia neighborhood get green, yoga, and dancing badly. 

Erica DePalma
Program Manager

Erica DePalma 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 initiative. Erica is passionate about water equity and affordability. Prior to joining the Alliance, Erica worked at The Water Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where she supported the management of national and regional water programming and research. She worked closely and collaborated with partners from water utilities to community leaders to educators in order to develop and implement impactful solutions to urban water challenges. Erica graduated with an MS in applied geosciences with a focus in hydrology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in environmental science from Fordham University. In her spare time, Erica enjoys running, playing soccer, and simply being outside in nature.

Nahal Ghoghaie
Senior Program Manager
Nahal Ghoghaie 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 serves as a leader in the Alliance’s Equitable Infrastructure initiative and manages projects across An Equitable Water Future, Climate Action, One Water Hub, and One Water Summit. Nahal has over a decade of nationwide, multidisciplinary water, climate equity, and environmental justice experience. Prior to joining the Alliance, Nahal served as the first environmental justice program manager at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, providing leadership in policy and planning with a focus on community and tribal engagement in shoreline decision making. She also served as the regional lead for a state-funded grant program to support local leaders with outreach, education, and capacity building in communities historically excluded in water resource management. Nahal is the founder of EcoEquity, a consulting firm that helps clients develop strategies for equitable inclusion of underserved communities in climate planning, policy, and public funding processes. She earned her master's in environmental studies with an emphasis on tribal leadership of watershed adaptation at The Evergreen State College and has a BA in English from the University of Texas, Austin. Outside of work, Nahal enjoys biking with her husband and son, yoga, cooking, and exploring parks and live music venues with family and friends. 
Mary Morton
Senior Program Manager

Mary Morton, AICP, 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 serves as a leader in the Alliance’s emerging Equitable Infrastructure initiative and contributes to cross-organizational support with focus on communications, design, and planning. Prior to joining the Alliance, Mary was a Senior Associate at WRT, a national collaborative practice of planners, urban designers, landscape architects, and architects. She brings over a decade of experience working with communities to build capacity, design projects that support the development of meaningful public spaces, and tackle issues of environmental stewardship, social justice, equity, and authentic placemaking. During her time at WRT, she managed multiple projects related to green stormwater infrastructure and resiliency, including a plan for Harrisburg’s green infrastructure and the Cleveland Harbor Eastern Embayment Resilience Study (CHEERS). She earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami and her master’s in city planning with an emphasis on urban design from the University of Pennsylvania. In her free time, Mary enjoys watching college football, traveling, and going on adventures with her dog, Nola.

Kyla Peterson
Program Manager

Kyla Peterson 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 initiative. Kyla is passionate about community engagement, justice and equity, and environmental access and recreation. Her people-focused approach to environmental work flourished through interning at the US House of Representatives, where she gained an in-depth understanding of nationwide water issues and the socio-economic factors that exacerbate/mediate them. Kyla also worked as a team lead at the Texas Water Development Board, managing their agricultural water conservation program and providing technical assistance to stakeholders and communities. Additionally, she interned with the Wilson Center, where she published research articles on pertinent environmental issues relating to water policy, global migration, and the water/food nexus. As a native Texan and an Austin resident, Kyla seizes the opportunity to be in nature whenever possible. Catch her paddling along the Colorado River or cooling off at Barton Springs in her free time!

Sarah Robinson
Program Manager

Sarah Robinson 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 Initiative. Sarah has experience in both the water utility and nonprofit sectors, focusing on watershed management and program development. Prior to joining the Alliance, Sarah worked at Houston Water, where she developed and provided community programs aimed at improving Houston’s water infrastructure and resiliency. She also worked at Galveston Bay Foundation, serving as the water programs manager. Sarah graduated with a master’s in natural resource management and a BS in environmental geosciences, both from Texas A&M University. She also holds a professional certificate in behavior change for sustainability from University of California, San Diego. Sarah lives in Colorado with her husband and dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and any activity that is on or near a body of water. 

Emily Simonson
Director of Strategic Initiatives

Emily Simonson is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization building a sustainable water future for all. She is responsible for building, incubating, and leading initiatives that help advance multi-benefit, equitable policies and practices at the intersection of water, infrastructure, community, and social justice. Harnessing the power of diverse networks, Emily guides strategic engagement opportunities with and for the One Water Council, Water Equity Network, water and wastewater infrastructure technical assistance teams, policymakers, and others. Emily became passionate about equitable access to safe, reliable water and sanitation while working in Ghana for Global Brigades, a community development nonprofit. Emily also spent two years at the EPA as an ORISE Fellow with the Urban Waters Program, an environmental justice focused initiative 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 serves on the Board of Directors for Youth Outlook, a northern-Illinois based nonprofit dedicated to serving LGBTQ+ young people. She will use any excuse to get outside with her dog and friends. 

Renée Willette
Vice President, Programs and Strategy
Renée Willette is the Vice President of 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 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, 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 state and federal government affairs.  
 
Renée 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 master's in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently residing in Minneapolis, Renée also serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Freshwater Society.  
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, disseminating communications for the Alliance, and operational support. 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 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.

Fellows

Joya Banerjee
Senior Fellow

Joya Banerjee 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. 

Ted Henifin
Senior Fellow
Ted Henifin 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. He works on the Equitable Infrastructure initiative. Ted is the former General Manager of Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), holding this role from 2006 until 2022. While at HRSD, Ted built a culture of innovation that led to the development of the novel Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow, a large-scale aquifer recharge program unique in the eastern US. Ted previously served for nine years as Director of Public Works for the City of Hampton, during which he managed a multidisciplinary department responsible for the city's sanitary sewer system, engineering services, and maintenance of city facilities. His duties also included oversight of solid waste collection, street maintenance, and operation of a waste-to-energy plant. 
Dominique Lueckenhoff
Senior Fellow

Dominique Lueckenhoff 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. She works on the Equitable Infrastructure initiative. Recognized as a national thought leader and expert in green infrastructure innovations, environmental justice, climate resilience, and sustainable communities, Dominique has over 25 years of national award-winning program development and management experience across multiple EPA programs and geographic locations protecting the nation’s air, water, and land. Lueckenhoff served as Senior Advisor to the EPA Region 3 Administrator, where she developed and led initiatives related to innovative watershed management, community-based public-private partnerships, next-generation green technologies, and alternative market-based approaches to achieving environmental improvements and economic revitalization supporting resilient, sustainable communities. Dominique also led the EPA Region 3 Water Protection Division as Deputy Director and Acting Director. Dominique currently serves as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, EHS & Sustainability, at Hugo Neu Corporation.  

Benny Starr
Senior Fellow, Arts and Culture
Benny Starr is the Senior Fellow, Arts and Culture at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Benny works with Alliance staff and the Alliance network to infuse arts and culture-based strategies into thinking, problem-solving, and programming. 
 
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, crafting bodies of work that require your time and full attention. His most recent body of work, “A Water Album,” was released on Juneteenth, 2019, and was recorded live at Charleston Music Hall with his bandmates, The Four20s. In January 2020, Benny and singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Rodrick Cliche joined talents and birthed the innovative partnership, Native Son. Native Son's most recent release, “The Land,” is a rallying cry that echoes the injustices of Black Legacy Farmers at the hands of the USDA, and is part of an ongoing partnership with The Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund and The Black Farmers Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign. 
 
In addition to his work with the Alliance, Benny serves as a board member for Community Resources for Enduring Wellness (CREW). In his free time, Benny enjoys creating music, watching movies, and traveling.