Meet the Staff

For a full list of the policy issues that our Director and advocacy staff cover, click here. 


Brandon Dawson, Director (he/they)

Brandon Dawson headshot

Brandon Dawson joined Sierra Club California in 2018 and directs all aspects of Sierra Club California's operations, lobbying, policy advocacy, organizing, fundraising, and media relations. As a Policy Advocate from 2018 - 2021, he led the organization’s work to protect the San Francisco Bay-Delta, restore and revitalize the Salton Sea and surrounding communities, preserve California’s unique biodiversity and wildlands, and defend against harmful rollbacks to CEQA in the state legislature. Prior to joining Sierra Club California, Brandon worked in the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resource Division. During law school he interned at both Earthjustice and the Environmental Defense Fund. He received his B.A. from Texas A&M University and his J.D. from the Indiana University-Bloomington Maurer School of Law.

Jason John, Associate Director (he/him)

Jason John headshot

Jason John joined Sierra Club California in 2023 as the chapter's Associate Director to lead state-level campaigns and initiatives related to renewable energy, transportation, and industrial decarbonization. He also manages the strategy for the organization's California 30x30 campaign and forestry work. Previously, he was the Science and Policy Lead for the Biodiversity and Habitat team at the California Natural Resources Agency, where he worked on 30x30 California and other habitat restoration initiatives. Jason received his Ph.D. in Physiological Ecology from the University of California Santa Cruz, working in a broad range of habitats from California to Antarctica. In his spare time, Jason enjoys cooking, hiking, and traveling with his wife Tamara.

Sakereh Carter, Senior Policy Strategist (she/her)

Sakereh Carter headshot

Sakereh joined Sierra Club California in June 2022 as a Senior Policy Strategist to advocate on issues pertaining to oil & gas, building decarbonization, offshore wind, toxics, plastic pollution, and waste management. Additionally, she supports the political empowerment of low-wealth Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities by elevating environmental justice perspectives in regulatory and state decision-making processes. Previously she worked as an Environmental Scientist with the State Water Resources Control Board, where she served as the Microplastics Subject Matter Expert, CA ‘Integrated Report’ Roundtable facilitator, and Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board liaison. She received her M.A. in Biological Sciences from California State University, Sacramento, and B.S. in Animal Biology from UC Davis with a minor in African and African American studies.

Erin Woolley, Senior Policy Strategist (she/her)

Erin Woolley, Policy AdvocateErin Woolley joined Sierra Club California in October 2021 to work on policies related to water resources and public lands. She is excited to advocate at the California legislature and governmental agencies for a more sustainable future for our water and environmental resources. Erin received a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from UC Davis and a J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School with a certificate in Energy, Environmental, and Natural Resources Law and Policy. During law school, she interned for WildEarth Guardians and California Coastkeeper Alliance. In her spare time, Erin enjoys hiking, quilting, and baking bread.

Gabriela Facio, Policy Strategist (she/her)

Headshot of Gabriela
Gabriela Facio joined Sierra Club California in April 2023 as a policy advocate for industrial decarbonization, renewable energy, and agricultural policies. Gabriela is a California native, valley-raised, first generation Mexican-American and she is excited to bring her knowledge and experience working with some of the most climate-impacted, underserved communities to Sacramento state policy. Gabriela has an educational background in rural sociology, over 3 years experience in community organizing and policy advocacy around climate related issues, and over 4 years experience working with BIPOC, marginalized communities around other housing, labor and social rights issues. With her experience working in grass-roots, community-based environmental justice organization and other social work non-profits, it is imperative to Gabriela that we guide our advocacy efforts at Sierra Club with frontline communities in mind, holding ourselves as well as the industrial, regulatory and legislative entities accountable to the voices and communities that are most impacted by climate change. In her spare time, Gabriela enjoys bird-watching, exercising with her 8 year old labradoodle, and spending time with her family back at home, in Bakersfield CA. 

Geraldine Alava, Operations & Advancement Senior Coordinator (she/her)

Geraldine Villanueva smiling and standing outdoors

Geraldine Alava is a hardworking multi-tasker. She prepares the budget, against which she pits actual expenditures. In addition, she keeps the books tidy and audit-compliant. She monitors the expenditures of all c4 and c3 projects for the chapter; and prepares the lobby reports to FPPC. As the Admin person, she performs logistics and purchasing functions. Furthermore, she helps raise funds, manages donations, and helps strengthen relationships with donors.

Geraldine has a university degree in Business Administration and has performed accounting and business development roles in several companies in the Philippines and Singapore before joining Sierra Club California in June 2014. She also completed the Fundraising and Development Professional Concentration Course from UC Davis in May 2020.

Molly Culton, Organizing Manager (she/her)

Molly Culton, Conservation Organizer

Molly joined Sierra Club California in January 2018 as a Conservation Organizer focused on engaging volunteers and allies on water issues in NorCal. Molly is instrumental in our efforts to stop the Delta tunnel. Previously she worked at the City of Berkeley where she developed and implemented the Building Energy Savings Ordinance (BESO) program as part of the city's Climate Action Plan. Born and raised in Northern California, Molly graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016 with a B.S. degree in Environmental Policy. She enjoys hiking, traveling, art and music.

Caty Wagner, Senior Water Organizer, Southern California (she/her)

Caty Wagner, Conservation Organizer

Caty joined Sierra Club in June 2020 as a Conservation Organizer. She is responsible for educating Southern Californians about the negative effects of the Delta Tunnel project and mobilizing them to advocate for sustainable, local, equitable alternatives to water sourcing. She received her bachelor's from NYU and a Master of Public Administration from UConn. She worked in social work on the East Coast and abroad before organizing in the Central Valley on issues of pesticide reform, access to safe drinking water and improved air quality, immigration and social justice issues, and voter rights. She then helped to elect several congressional candidates in the High Desert and Central Valley before most recently joining a presidential primary campaign. She is excited to work with the community to achieve environmental justice and build lasting solutions for sustainable water sources.

Michael Blenner, Communications and Digital Manager (he/him)

Michael Blenner, Communications Associate

Michael joined Sierra Club California in August 2021. He works with chapter volunteers and regional staff to develop and implement the outreach strategy for Sierra Club California’s campaigns and public education projects. Before joining Sierra Club, Michael worked on sustainability and environmental issues at public affairs firm BerlinRosen, and national environmental nonprofit Environment America. He received his B.A. in Political Science from SUNY Purchase, where he ran the campus wide composting program and bike shop. Outside of work, Michael loves biking, jazz, and cooking.

Mahtisa Djahangiri, Campaign Strategist (she/her)

Headshot of Mahtisa

Mahtisa joined Sierra Club California in January 2023 to advance public lands conservation as part of the Sierra Club’s California 30x30 campaign. She works hand in hand with our frontline partners and environmental justice allies to advocate for renewable energy siting policies, improved forest management, and other public lands policies, especially policies that prioritize black and brown communities. Previously, Mahtisa worked as a Biological Science Technician with the National Park Service, an Environmental Science educator, and a Civic Engagement and Advocacy specialist in Wyoming. She received her B.S. in Physical Geography with a Minor in Geology and Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Texas State University. Mahtisa finds joy in gardening, rock climbing, mountain biking, and music.

Destiny Villarreal, Digital and Social Media Assistant (she/her)

Destiny Villarreal headshot

Destiny joined Sierra Club California in October 2022 as a Communication Intern. In May 2023 she joined our staff full-time as a Social Media and Digital Assistant. She works on our digital content from social media, emails, alerts, and website development to amplify and refine our messaging. Prior to interning with Sierra Club, she was a Climate Action Corps Fellow at Tree San Diego where she worked on communications, outreach, and program coordination. She received her B.A. in Communication at San Diego State University with a focus in Environmental Communication. During her time in university she volunteered for her school's sustainability commission, amongst multiple other organizations, where she worked on communication, outreach, and DEI projects. In her free time she loves to go to the beach, hike, salsa dance, and make pottery at a local studio. She also loves to travel with a goal to visit all the Blue Zones! (Located in California, Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, and Japan)