Canopy Welcomes New Board Members

By Canopy Team on August 25, 2023

Canopy is delighted to welcome four new members to our Board of Directors — Mar Y Sol Alvarado, Philip Jonas, Peying Lee, and Jose Talavera. Representing various communities served by Canopy’s programs and a wealth of unique skills and perspectives, each member is committed to working toward a day when every resident of the Midpeninsula can step outside to walk, play, and thrive under the shade of healthy trees.

The primary responsibilities of the Board of Directors are to establish long-term vision and financial stability for Canopy. The Board provides governance, which includes developing policies, procedures and regulations for the operation of Canopy, monitors finances and oversees the programs and performance of the organization. Each Board Member supports Canopy in carrying out its mission by serving on committees and contributing expertise.

Meet the New Members of the Board

Mar Y Sol Alvarado (she/her) is a first generation college graduate, and proud East Palo Altan. She’s immigrated to from Michoacán, Mexico at age 10 and was raised by a single mother; the eldest daughter with two siblings.

As a full time business owner, she finds time to stay active and engage in her community. She is serves as the Treasurer for her office condominium HOA and is part of the small business ambassador team for the City of Mountain View Chamber. As a native Spanish speaker, she serves as a business advisor for San Mateo County Small Business Development Center, proudly supporting Spanish speaking entrepreneurs and business owners. She partners with Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center to share her story as a small business owner, and a woman of color in business.  She is a member of the Parish Council for St. Francis of Assisi Parish in East Palo Alto, where she actively supports bringing resources to the Parish and community members. She’s been a guest speaker for local non-profits that highlight the importance of educational achievement among local youth and social support programs for local families. 

Mar Y Sol was recently nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year award by InStyle Latina Magazine.

Philip Jonas (he/him) joined Canopy’s Board of Directors in 2023 after volunteering on the Finance Committee for over a year. Philip is an experienced financial and accounting professional and licensed California CPA, currently responsible for financial planning and analysis at Veritas Technologies. At Veritas, he is also the Santa Clara headquarter ERG Champion for GIVE (Giving at Veritas Empowered). In this role, he organizes and supports volunteering events and giving opportunities for local employees, including adopting a creek near the office on behalf of the company. Prior to Veritas, he worked in public accounting at BMP (Burr Pilger Mayer) LLP where he was a member of the Nonprofit Industry Group and provided assurance, tax and advisory services to several local nonprofit organizations. Philip lives in Palo Alto with his wife and dog. He can often be seen walking his dog or the neighborhood donkeys, or exploring open space trails of the greater Bay Area.

Peying Lee (she/her) grew in her awe of nature in cities after participating in Canopy’s first Community Forestry School in 2019. Since then, she has been an active tree planting leader and vocal advocate for growing the urban forest in the Midpeninsula. In her home of Mountain View, she co-leads GreenSpacesMV, a grassroots advocacy coalition striving for healthy communities thriving with nature and native biodiversity. Peying is currently a program coordinator at Project Safety Net, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit promoting youth mental health and suicide prevention. Through her experience and previous work in public health outreach, early childhood education and supportive services, Peying has seen the power of collaboration to bring about positive change. Peying loves engaging the community on the connections between health and environment.

Jose Talavera (he/him) works as the Associate Director of Advocacy at KIPP Public Schools Northern California. Born in Nicaragua and raised in Costa Rica, he began working with youth from different socio-economic backgrounds through local organizations in his community. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2016, he has built relationships with families and local leaders through his work at organizations like Hope Horizon, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Innovate Public Schools. Jose is passionate about engaging community members from East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Redwood City to promote the leadership development of low-income families through community organizing and advocacy. He also serves as a board member at The Rosalie Rendu Center in East Palo Alto. Jose currently resides in Redwood City, where he enjoys walking around his neighborhood and hiking at Edgewood Park.

Learn more about the Board of Directors.

Growing the Canopy of Advisors

Growing the urban canopy would not be possible without the talented Advisory groups of arborists, community leaders, and professionals that share their expertise with Canopy. Over the last year, Canopy has formalized these Advisory groups to focus their energy and skills where it can make the most impact in our community’s urban forest.

Advisory Council:

Ronit Bryant
Haydi Danielson
Jeff Greenfield
Karen Holman
Sheryl Klein
Nikki Lowy
Vicki Moore
Jeff Snyder
Erica Spotswood
Lauren Swezey
Kathy Thibodeaux
Stacey Wagner
Violet Wulf-Saena

Tree Technical Advisory Committee:

Herb Fong
Michael Hawkins
Uriel Hernandez
Dave Muffly
Katherine Nägele-Lin
Jeff Newborn
Jason Shirar
Elise Willis

Learn more about Canopy’s Advisors.

Committee Members

These tree champions are crucial to Canopy’s work, helping Board and Staff members address issues and achieve goals through committees.

Advocacy Committee: Dave Docktor, Kammy Lo, Scott Marshall, Geoff Paulsen

Education Committee: Carol Olson, Nico Janik, Kammy Lo, Shersingh Joseph Tumber-Davila

Finance Committee: Ann Bilodeau, Marty Deggeller, Kim Kelly, Shelley Ratay

Fund Development Committee: Kathy Thibodeaux

Tree Programs Committee: Marty Deggeller, Kammy Lo

For the full roster of each committee, including Board and Staff participation, visit Canopy Advisors.

Thank You to Outgoing Canopy Leaders

A Board term is three years and may be renewed for a second three-year term. Board members are limited to two three-year terms and may be re-elected after being off the Board for one year.

Thank you to outgoing Board member Shelley Ratay, who served as Treasurer and continues to lend her expertise to the Finance Committee after the conclusion of her Board term. 

We also wish to give a warm farewell to Kammy Lo, who served as Interim Executive Director after Catherine Martineau’s retirement in February 2023 and assisted the Transition Task Force in their months-long search for Jean-Paul Renaud, Canopy’s new Executive Director.

Thank you to everyone for their service to our community and Canopy’s mission to grow urban tree canopy in Midpeninsula communities for the benefit of all! To learn more about Canopy’s work, visit Who We Are.

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