Meet the Board: Sally O’Neil and Kammy Lo

By Canopy Team on October 12, 2018

Meet the Board

In follow up to our posts on Laura Martinez and Susan Rosenberg and Marty Deggeller and Shelley Ratay—we’re thrilled to introduce two more Canopy board members! Meet Sally O’Neil, Canopy’s Board Chair and long-time volunteer, and Kammy Lo, Canopy’s Vice Chair who joined the board in 2016. 

Sally O'NeilSally O’Neil

Sally O’Neil served as Director of Industrial Contracts at Stanford University. A lawyer and former journalist, Sally holds a JD from Santa Clara University, an MJ from the University of California, Berkeley, an MTA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Oberlin College. Sally is a Palo Alto resident and longtime Canopy volunteer. Gardening, traveling, reading and hanging out with her grandkids are her favorite activities.

How did you get started with Canopy and how long have you been on the board?

Sally: I started with Canopy by doing a young tree survey on a Saturday afternoon with another volunteer, about 15 years ago. I’m an enthusiastic gardener but I didn’t know enough about trees. Even that first day, I learned a lot about identifying trees and assessing their health. Canopy continued to provide a great opportunity for me to volunteer when I had the time — as I had three kids at home then. Now I’ve been on Canopy’s board for a little over four years. I have learned so much!

What inspires you most about Canopy’s work?

Sally: Canopy provides a unifying center for our families, schools and communities. Canopy brings us together for the good of all, young and old. And Canopy provides terrific training in tree planting and care — for free! I’ve never found programs this extensive anywhere else.

Why do you care about trees?

Sally: I can’t even list all the reasons! Trees relax and inspire us. They educate us. They show us about our environment and they provide homes for birds and other animals. There is nothing like the shade of a big tree when I am hot and tired from hiking.

What is your favorite tree?

Sally: My favorite tree is a gigantic Japanese maple that was in my parents’ front yard in Virginia; it was beautiful all year long, then it turned a brilliant scarlet in the fall. My parents enjoyed seeing that tree every day for the decades they lived in that home.

Thanks Sally!


Kammy LoKammy Lo

Kammy Lo, Vice Chair, previously worked in the software industry, but now devotes much of her time to wellness and education of youth and environmental causes. She is actively involved at Mountain View High School and local youth service leagues, and is a member of Leadership Mountain View Class of 2019. Kammy joined the Canopy board in 2016. Having grown up in a lush subtropical urban forest in Guangzhou, China, Kammy feels the happiest when she is in nature. She enjoys reading, yoga, gardening and exploring the outdoors with her husband, their two teenage sons and family dog. Kammy holds a BS and MS in Computer Science from University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.

How did you get started with Canopy and how long have you been on the board?

Kammy: I first got introduced to Canopy when my sons and I volunteered at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day planting event in East Palo Alto several years ago. It was just after heavy rain, so the park was very wet and muddy, which made digging and planting challenging. But my sons and I all had fun, even though my younger son almost lost one of his shoes in a mud puddle :).  I was very impressed by the energy of Canopy’s staff and volunteers, the passion and care that went into the planting, the way the event brought everyone together, not to mention the long-lasting impact of Canopy’s work on the community and the environment. When I was invited to join the board in 2016 to help further Canopy’s work with the Mountain View community, it was an easy yes for me.

What inspires you most about Canopy’s work?

Kammy: Every day I am inspired by the big vision held by this small nonprofit: “a day when every resident of the Midpeninsula can step outside to walk, play, and thrive under the shade of healthy trees”. This beautiful vision not only drives Canopy’s multi-year strategic plan and mission, informs its annual budget and resource allocation, but also guides its staff and volunteers on a daily basis how to prioritize their time and where to focus their effort. I hope you also believe in this vision, and together we will realize this ambitious dream — one tree at a time!

Why do you care about trees?

Kammy: I developed a love for trees while growing up in the subtropical urban forest on the campus of Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, China. I used to spend hours chasing grasshoppers under the shade of many tall and handsome trees, and then dozed off at night with a lovely lullaby sung by hundreds of frogs and crickets that were so abundant in the small forest behind my childhood home. The loud yet endearing songs of cicadas on a hot summer day and the mysterious light from darting fireflies on a moonless night have been permanently imprinted in my childhood memory. Thinking back, none of these wonderful memories could have existed if not for the trees, because they provided a healthy habitat for all the critters… and my family and me!

Unfortunately many of these trees have since been replaced by buildings as the university developed over the years. The same story plays out in many parts of the world, and the Bay Area is no exception. It’s imperative that we strike a balance between environmental protection and economic development. And to do that, we need all the help we can get from our silent yet loyal friends, the trees!

What is your favorite tree?

Kammy: I love all trees, but must confess my favorite is banyans. I love their massive, lush crown and aerial roots that seem to hang down from the sky. Banyans can grow very large because the roots they drop from their branches can merge into stout pillars. These false trunks provide extra support, enabling banyan branches to grow longer and send down even more roots. As a child I fell in love with these gentle giants that shade many old streets of my hometown, Guangzhou. Their presence makes me feel happy and protected. When visiting southern India to see my husband’s family or vacationing in Hawaii, I feel right at home in part thanks to the banyans easily found in these tropical areas. Incidentally, both the Indian and Hawaiian cultures seem to revere banyan trees.

Thanks Kammy!

Stay tuned for next month to meet two more Canopy board members!

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