“We have to rethink the concept of leader, because leader implies follower. I think we need to embrace the idea that we are the leaders we've been looking for.” — Author, social activist, philosopher and feminist Grace Lee BoggsMeet the staff of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, working across more than ten program areas to bridge the gap in legal education, research, advice, and advocacy to transition from destructive economic systems to innovative and cooperative solutions.

Looking to connect with us? Try looking below at each staff member's program areas or come to one of our upcoming events.


Janelle Orsi, Attorney at Law, SELC Co-Founder

Janelle Orsi - Executive Director & Co-Founder

Janelle is Sustainable Economies Law Center's chief visionary, continually developing ideas and strategies for stronger, more resilient economies. She provides guidance and support to each program circle and leads the Legal Profession in the New Economy program. She is also the Cartoonist-in-Chief, and her works can be found here and all over our website. And check out her book: Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy (ABA Books 2012).  

Program Areas

  • Lead: Legal Profession in the New Economy
  • Co-Lead: Commons Governance
  • Co-Lead: Money & Finance
  • Support: Grassroots Finance
  • Support: Cooperatives
  • Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe
  • Support: Policy
  • Support: Community Renewable Energy
  • Support: Fellowship Program
  • Support: Law Center Incubator Program

 

 

Operations Areas:                                    

  • Lead: Financial
  • Support: Grants 
  • Support: Nonprofit Administration
  • Support: Internal Resilience

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about Janelle: theselc.org/janelle_orsi


Neil Thapar, Food and Farm AttorneyNeil Thapar - Food & Farm Attorney

Neil leads Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Food and Farm Program. He is passionate about building collective power within communities of color to recreate a healthy, just, and resilient food system. Neil’s definition of happiness is his dog, Sutro.

Program Areas:                                           

  • Lead: Food and Farm
  • Support: Grassroots Finance
 

 

Operations Areas:

  • Support: Administrative
  • Support: Financial 

 

 

 

 

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Contact Neil at neil@theselc.org

More about Neil: theselc.org/neil_thapar 


Christina Oatfield, Policy Director, Legal Apprentice

Christina Oatfield - Policy Director

Christina is a leader of Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Food Program and she supports the Grassroots Finance Program. She also leads California state legislative campaigns in a variety of issue areas. While she is not yet licensed to practice law, her areas of expertise include food safety laws, agricultural laws, securities laws, and cooperative and nonprofit corporations.

Program Areas:

  • Co-Lead: Food and Farm
  • Support: Grassroots Finance
 

 

 

 

Contact Christina at Christina@theSELC.org

More about Christina: theselc.org/christina_oatfield 


Cameron Rhudy, Grassroots Finance Attorney and Fellowship Coordinator

Cameron Rhudy - Staff Attorney

Cameron leads Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Fellowship Program, which supports lawyers building resilient local economies. She also provides legal support to the Grassroots Finance Program and the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe Program.

Program Areas:

  • Lead: Fellowship Program
  • Support: Grassroots Finance                         
  • Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe
 

 

Operations Areas:

  • Support: Nonprofit Administration

 

 

 

 

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Contact Cameron at cameron@theselc.org 

More about Cameron: theselc.org/cameron_rhudy


Yassi Eskandari-Qajar, Attorney, City Policies Director

Yassi Eskandari - Policy Director

Yassi leads the Law Center’s local and regional policy work and co-manages the groundbreaking Transformative Policymakers project. She primarily focuses on worker cooperatives, direct legal services, food systems, and renewable energy, and serves as President of the center's Board of Directors. In 2017, Yassi passed the California bar exam without going to law school, and is honored to join a movement of lawyers who are making our economy work for the planet and the 99 percent. 

Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Policy
  • Support: Cooperatives
  • Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe
  • Support: Community Renewable Energy         
  • Support: Food and Farm
  • Support: Legal Profession
  • Support: Housing

 

 

  Operations Areas:

  • Support: Internal Resilience
  • Support: Nonprofit Administration

 

 

 

 

Contact Yassi at  yassi@theselc.org 

More about Yassi: theselc.org/yassi_eskandari 


Ricardo Samir Nuñez, Cooperatives Program Director, Legal Apprentice

Ricardo Samir Nuñez - Director of Economic Democracy

Ricardo co-coordinates the Law Center’s education, research, advocacy, and advice for equitable, democratic enterprises. Programs and projects include the Worker Coop Academy, Co-opLaw.org, policy advocacy at the local and state level, building a cooperative support ecosystem, and much more! He endeavor to co-create policies, structures, and institutions that empower communities to liberate themselves from systems of economic and social oppression. He is currently on the board of the California Center for Cooperative Development and the Board President of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives. He's also becoming a lawyer without going to law school through the California Law Office Study Program (likelincoln.org).

Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Cooperatives
  • Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe
  • Support: Legal Profession in the New Economy
 

 

Operations Areas:

  • Support: Communications
  • Support: Organizational Abundance
  • Support: Internal Resilience

 

 

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Contact Ricardo at ricardo@theselc.org

More about Ricardo: theselc.org/ricardo_nunez 


Chris Tittle, Esq. Apprentice, Worker Self Directed Nonprofits

Chris Tittle - Director of Organizational Resilience

Chris focuses on participatory governance for community-controlled economies, and co-leads or contributes to the Law Center’s Housing, Worker Self-Directed Nonprofits, Farmland, and Money & Finance Programs. He also helps coordinate much of the Law Center's internal governance, grant writing, and grassroots fundraising. Chris practices Aikido, is committed to collective liberation, and once traveled from Japan to West Africa by land and sea.

Program Areas: 

  • Co-Lead: Worker Self-Directed Nonprofits
  • Co-Lead: Housing                           
  • Co-Lead: Money & Finance
  • Support: Food and Farm

Operations Areas:

  • Lead: Internal Resilience
  • Support: Grants
  • Lead: Grassroots Fundraising

 

Contact Chris at chris@theselc.org

More about Chris: theselc.org/chris_tittle 


Sara Stephens, Housing & Cooperatives Staff Attorney

Sara Stephens - Housing & Cooperatives Attorney

Sara leads Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Housing Program and contributes legal support to the Cooperatives and City Policies programs. She is committed to supporting community-led solutions to housing and economic inequity. She also likes running and gluten-free baking.

Program Areas:

  • Lead: Housing
  • Support: Cooperatives

Operations Areas:

  • Support: Financial
  • Support: Grants
  • Support: Nonprofit Administration

Contact Sara at sara@theselc.org

More about Sara at: theselc.org/sara_stephens


Subin DeVar, Energy Program Director

Subin DeVar - Community Renewable Energy Program Director 

Subin (formerly Subin Varghese) leads the Community Renewable Energy Program, working to ensure that it is primarily communities, nonprofits, cooperatives, and households -- not large utilities -- that will own and control energy infrastructure as society transitions to renewable energy.

Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Community Renewable Energy                   
  • Support: Grassroots Finance

 

Operations Areas:

  • Support: Communications

   

Contact Subin at subin@theselc.org 

More about Subin at: theselc.org/Subin_DeVar


Elizabeth Burnett, Funding Development Consultant

Elizabeth Burnett - Staff Attorney

Elizabeth focuses on funding development and strategic partnership outreach for Sustainable Economies Law Center in order to expand the breadth and types of community support for the Law Center as it grows and expands programs for community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. Elizabeth also provides legal support to the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe Program.

Program Areas: 

  • Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe                                          

 

Operations Areas:

  • Support: Grants 
  • Support: Abundance

 

Contact Elizabeth at elizabeth@theselc.org

More about Elizabeth:theselc.org/elizabeth_burnett


Sue Bennett, Director of Operations & Miscellaneous Stuff

Sue Bennett - Director of Operations & Miscellaneous Stuff

Sue ensures the organization's office space and internal operations contribute to the wellbeing of staff and the effectiveness of the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s programs.

Sue has spent 25 years working in the nonprofit sector in a variety of program and administrative roles. When not reading a book, she is searching for a camping spot near the ocean or in a forest. 

Program Areas

  • Support: Worker Self Directed Nonprofits
  • Support: Food and Farm
  • Support: Incubation
 

 

Operations Areas:                                    

  • Lead: Administrative
  • Support: Internal Resilience 
  • Support: Financial

 

 

    

Contact Sue at sue@theselc.org

More about Sue: theselc.org/sue_bennett


Charlotte Tsui, Cooperatives Attorney

Charlotte Tsui - Skadden Fellow

Charlotte is a Skadden Fellow with the Center's Cooperatives programs. Her fellowship work is focused on supporting immigrant worker-owned businesses, particularly those from the domestic work sector and Asian Pacific Islander communities. Charlotte also provides support to the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe Program. 

Program Areas

  • Support: Cooperatives
  • Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe
  • Support: Policy

 


  

 

   

Contact Charlotte at charlotte@theselc.org

More about Charlotte: theselc.org/charlotte_tsui


Jay Cumberland - Legal Research and Policy Specialist

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Jay supports the Policy Circle and Cooperatives Circle. He assists with Policy Cafes, which allow community members to obtainlegal advice on forming and implementing policies at the state and local levels. He assists in identifying policy opportunities related to worker cooperatives, and he works with the Worker Coop Brigade, a group of worker coop worker-owners, to pursue those opportunities. He also performs research on miscellaneous topics, like the possibility of allowing self-directed solo 401(k)s to invest in local economies.

Jay attends the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where he is in his second year. Jay is from Jackson, Mississippi, but had left the South to become a lawyer focused on alleviating poverty. 

Program Areas

  • Support: Cooperatives
  • Support: Policy 
  • Support: Policy Cafe

 


  

 

   

Contact Jay at jay@theselc.org

More about Jay: theselc.org/jay_cumberland


Tia Katrina Taruc-Meyers, rock star extraordinaire!Tia Katrina Taruc-Myers - Director of Legal Education

Tia Katrina Taruc-Myers is the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s new Legal Cafe Director! She joined the Law Center excited to recruit volunteer attorneys to help folks create and control their own economies.

Passionate about redistributing power and wealth, Tia spends her time promoting participatory budgeting, worker-owned cooperatives, and economic justice for domestic violence survivors.

Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Legal Cafe
 

 

Operations Areas:                                    

  • Support: Communications
  • Support: Abundance

 

 

  

 


 

 Contact Tia at tia@theselc.org

More about Tia: theselc.org/tia


Gregory Jackson- Equal Justice Works Fellow
Sponsored by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Greg is an Equal Justice Works Fellow within the Center's Housing and Cooperatives programs. Greg assists the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative as Partnership Director. His fellowship work is focused on educating Black residents in East Oakland through a book club and workshop series, laying the groundwork for sovereign grassroots economic development rooted in community ownership, resource sharing, and collective decision making.

Program Areas: 

  • Support: Housing
  • Support: Cooperatives                                         

 

Operations Areas:

  • Support: Grants 

 

Contact Greg at greg@theselc.org

More about Greg: theselc.org/greg


Saki Bailey - Scholar-in-Residence 

Saki is an activist, researcher, and writer on the Commons. At Sustainable Economies Law Center, Saki will be documenting and writing articles about the development of the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative and supporting its communications needs. She will also be providing feedback on and contributing to the Law Center’s policy analysis and advocacy, particularly on policies that support and encourage the commons and economic democracy.

More about Saki: http://www.theselc.org/saki

 


Adam Stocker - Transportation Consultant

Adam is a transportation engineer and shared mobility researcher. In addition to serving as a consultant to the Sustainable Economies Law Center, he holds a research and project management position at the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at UC Berkeley. In partnership with the Law Center, Adam will be leading the design and implementation of a research project focusing on the potential of platform cooperatives in transportation and shared mobility applications.

 

More about Adam: http://www.theselc.org/adam_stocker

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: