|Janelle Orsi, Executive Director and SELC Co-Founder
Outside of her work with the Sustainable Economies Law Center, Janelle Orsi is an attorney and mediator focused on helping individuals and organizations share resources and create more sustainable communities. Through the Law Office of Janelle Orsi, she works with cooperatives, community gardens, cohousing communities, ecovillages, and others doing innovative work to change the world. She attended UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. In 2010, Janelle was profiled by the American Bar Association as a Legal Rebel, an attorney who is “remaking the legal profession through the power of innovation.” In 2012, Janelle was one of 100 people listed on The (En)Rich List, which names individuals “whose contributions enrich paths to sustainable futures.”
Janelle is author of the book Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy (ABA Books 2012), and co-author of The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community (Nolo 2009), a practical and legal guide to cooperating and sharing resources of all kinds.
Jenny Kassan, Community-Supported Entrepreneurship Program Director and SELC Co-Founder
Jenny Kassan is an attorney and community development consultant, specializing in environmentally friendly and socially responsible ventures. She is the managing director of K2 Law Group and C.E.O. of Cutting Edge Capital, a business that helps social enterprises raise capital from their communities. Her legal practice areas include small business start-up and financing, securities regulation, nonprofit law, business agreements, real estate development, franchising, cooperatives, and assessment districts.
Jenny earned a masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School. She worked for eleven years at the Unity Council, a nonprofit community development corporation in Oakland, where she served as staff attorney and managed community economic development projects including the formation and management of several social ventures designed to employ and create business ownership opportunities for low-income community residents.
Christina Oatfield, Policy Director
Christina works with SELC staff, volunteers and a diverse array of stakeholders to propose and advocate for laws that pave the way to more sustainable, local and resilient economies. She managed the successful grassroots campaign to enact the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616), a cottage food law for California. Her policy work currently focuses on small food enterprises and cooperatives of all kinds. She is involved in a number of local and state-wide community groups, including the California Food Policy Council and the Northern California Chapter of Slow Money.
Christina is pursuing an attorney license as part of the Law Office Study Program of the State Bar of California, which is an alternative to law school for aspiring attorneys seeking experiential learning and expertise in topics not often taught in accredited law schools. She studies under the supervision of Jenny Kassan at Katovich & Kassan Law Group in Oakland. Christina earned her B.S. in Environmental Sciences at UC Berkeley where she wrote a thesis about student-run food cooperatives and co-founded the Berkeley Student Food Collective. She also served on the Board of the Berkeley Student Cooperative.
|Yassi Eskandari-Qajar, Community Currencies Program Director, City Policies Program Director
Yassi directs the Community Currencies and City Policies programs and manages a network of lawyers, law students, and experts to create SELC’s legal research and policy recommendations in these areas. She is interested in applying ecological principles and innovative social systems to make our cities more just, equitable, and ecologically sound. She is particularly interested in how, through these means, the areas of transportation, food, energy, development, wealth, and exchange can be transformed.
Yassi is currently pursuing her attorney license through the California State Bar’s Law Office Study Program under the supervision of attorney Janelle Orsi. She holds a B.S. in Conservation & Resource Studies and minor in City & Regional Planning from U.C. Berkeley. While at Cal, Yassi also co-founded the student-run nonprofit marketplace called the Berkeley Student Food Collective and developed and facilitated an undergraduate course about the social, economic, and ecological dimensions of food to 35 incredible undergrads.
Ricardo Samir Nuñez, Legal Services Program Director
Ricardo coordinates the Resilient Communities Legal Café, a 6-month pilot program that provides direct legal support to individuals and groups working to create new solutions for resilient local economies in East Oakland. He also manages SELC’s social media communication and community outreach, in addition to Co-opLaw.org, a collaborative legal resource library of SELC and the Green-Collar Communities Clinic (GC3). Ricardo is also participating in the Law Office Study Program of the State Bar of California under the auspices of Janelle Orsi. The Law Office Study Program is an alternative to law school that allows would-be lawyers to obtain their attorney’s license through a four-year legal apprenticeship.
Ricardo is on the board of the Los Angeles Worker Ownership Resources and Cooperative Services (LAWORCS) Committee, an initiative to start a worker’s cooperative incubator for the greater L.A. area. Previously, Ricardo was a Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Case Manager where he worked with low-income families to stop pending evictions and re-house our homeless neighbors in southern LA County. Prior to his housing work, Ricardo was a Rural Education Development Specialist in Zambia with the U.S. Peace Corps. Ricardo led efforts in capacity building with 15 rural, up-country schools, establishing two village based Women’s Cooperatives, and educating multiple Farmer’s Cooperatives on sustainable farming practices.
|Camille Pannu, Staff Attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow
Camille is an Equal Justice Works Fellow and Staff Attorney (sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP) based in California’s rural San Joaquin Valley. She partners with rural and farm worker communities to create community-owned projects that improve health, build residents’ capacity, and support sustainable local economic development. She is humbled and thrilled to work with local communities to restore the beauty and possibility of the Valley.
Raised in Richmond, California, Camille graduated with a B.A. and J.D. from UC Berkeley, where she developed programs and university-community partnerships to address persistent inequality in California’s rural and urban low-income communities of color. In addition to her work with Valley communities, Camille serves on the boards of, and advises, several local and statewide community organizations focused on economic, environmental, and food justice.
|Chris Tittle, Development Director
Chris@theSELC.orgA recent transplant to the East Bay, Chris is passionate about exploring life-sustaining alternatives to the neo-liberal market paradigm. In his role as Development and Communications Director, he is working to build SELC’s internal resilience and bring principles of social and economic justice into SELC’s fundraising strategy. In his many other roles, he is contributing to SELC’s Community Currencies program and working directly in the community on issues such as access to public land and local food sovereignty.
Chris recently completed an MA in Economics for Transition at Schumacher College, an international whole-person learning community near Totnes, UK. While in the UK, he was active in Occupy London’s Energy, Equity and Environment working group, helped guide a community exploration of Totnes’ monetary ecology with Transition Town Totnes, and spent time exploring the forests and farmlands of SW England. His dissertation focused on alternatives to market-based ‘development’ and climate change adaptation in the Global South. Chris has previously worked as an ecological educator, outdoor guide, and environmental journalist for MNN.com. He can usually be found on his bike, in his garden, in the hills, or fermenting tiny lifeforms in his kitchen.
|Will Zell, Website Developer
Will is owner of Zellous.org which specializes in helping non-profits, entrepreneurs, and small-businesses adapt`their online presence toward sustainable design. He develops websites and applications for the “sharing economy” which includes TimeBank/Barter startups with hOurWorld, and community-based initiatives such as: lending/information resources, co-operatives, and social networks. He received his BFA through the Tyler School of Art, his teaching degrees through the University of Southern Maine and University of New England, and is presently pursuing a MS in Education Technology through Walden University.
Other affiliations include Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative, and the Maine Songwriters Association. Will has a special interest in animal rights and local food initiatives. He lives and plays guitar along the Abagadasette River in Bowdoinham with his wife, two sons, and a bunch of animals. Will is a longstanding host for SERVAS a worldwide hospitality network.
|Bryan Springmeyer, Website Developer
Bryan is an attorney in San Francisco. He is the owner of Springmeyer Law, a law firm that represents and advises startup technology companies in matters ranging from incorporation, intellectual property and employee matters to early-stage investments. Through his pro bono work, Bryan also works on transactional matters for non-profits, represents ex-offender entrepreneurs, assists individuals in clearing their criminal records, and represents indigent inmates in habeas and other post-conviction actions. Bryan went to UCLA for undergrad and UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall) for law school.
Bryan enjoys web development and design, and builds web applications, mostly to automate legal processes. He has also designed and maintains a few websites for non-profit agencies and friends’ law and accounting practices.
Michael Shuman, author of The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age
Richard Register, Founder and President of Ecocity Builders, author of Ecocities: Building Cities in Balance with Nature
James Kalin, Founder of Virtually Green and SCUFI: Sustainable Commercial Urban Farm Incubators