MEET THE TEAM
MEET THOSE WHO ARE ACCELERATING SOCIAL CHANGE
A world expert in design and innovation with over 20 years of industry and academic experience, including 9 years at IDEO, the foremost global design and innovation firm, where he created novel experiences, crafted futures, and shaped design strategy projects across a variety of industries around the globe. As Director of the Stanford Design Program, Banny has been highly influential in creating educational experiences that incorporate design thinking into catalyzing systemic change. As the world faces increasingly complex challenges that require new ways of thinking, working, and collaborating, Banny has focused his academic career on developing radically new processes and toolsets for bringing about large-scale, sustainable impact. To put theory into practice, he founded Stanford ChangeLabs, which applies and advances theory through industry projects and inter-departmental collaborations in the areas of behavioral sciences, social economics, systems analysis, management science, engineering, and art.
He joined the Stanford Law School faculty in 1969 and served as dean from 1987 to 1999 before becoming president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in 2000. He returned to Stanford Law School in 2012, where, as an emeritus professor recalled to active duty, he is teaching Judgment and Decision-Making at the Law School and Impact Investing and Managing to Outcomes at the Graduate School of Business. Professor Brest is a leading scholar and teacher of constitutional law; he now focuses on judgment and decision-making and philanthropy. Professor Brest is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds honorary degrees from Northwestern University School of Law and Swarthmore College. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1969, he clerked for Judge Bailey Aldrich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and Justice John M. Harlan of the U.S. Supreme Court, and did civil rights litigation with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in Mississippi.
Alison has more than a decade of international experience leading multicultural
teams, operations, strategy, programs and environmental education initiatives.
Her professional background includes building mutually beneficial partnerships
across public and private sectors at community, regional and international levels.
Alison has coached, counseled and advised large expat employee groups, led
employee learning and development initiatives, designed workplace inclusion
programs and worked as a mentor in several roles. She holds a degree in
psychology and studied Corporate Social Responsibility at Harvard Business
School. Alison attended the Institute for Humane Education and has earned
professional certificates in both Project Leadership and Women in Leadership from
Cornell University. Alison is a Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator (VLCE)
and holds a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center
for Nutrition Studies. Alison is trained in Grief Group Facilitation, Diversity and
Cross-Cultural Teams, Intercultural Empathy and Cultural Intelligence (CQ).
Alison is committed to driving positive change through thoughtful and impactful
leadership, teamwork and innovation.
Rod is a leader in the theory and practice of aligning incentives with good conservation outcomes, with a focus on improving the health of the world’s oceans. In 2000, he was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation to work on emerging issues in ocean conservation. In addition to his role at Root Solutions, Rod is the Director of Research and Development at Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program where he has been working with fishing communities, regulators and business leaders around the world to improve fishery policies for more than 25 years. He has helped establish marine protected areas (MPAs) totaling more than 10,000 square miles and worked with partners to reduce the impacts of trawling off California’s coast with an innovative private buyout and transition to more sustainable types of fishing. In 2008, Rod co-founded the California Fisheries Fund, a revolving loan fund that supports fishermen and fishing businesses as they transition to more sustainable business practices.
Rod has served on numerous state, regional, federal and international advisory bodies concerned with fisheries and ocean conservation issues. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications as well as many popular articles and the well-received book, Heal the Ocean. Rod’s interests in the workings of the human mind converged with his passion for conservation during discussions of the book Nudge by decision science pioneers Richard Thaler and Sunstein, which led him to co-found Root Solutions. His current research in the field of environmental decision science is aimed at increasing the effectiveness of conservation advocacy and policy making.
Amanda Hausman is a Root Solutions volunteer. She received her B.A. in Communication, Culture, and Advocacy from Northern Illinois University then continued on to their graduate program with a focus on groups and social influence. With 15 years B2B experience across multiple industries, Amanda brings meaningful insights to our Partnerships & Advocates Team.
Lauren Highleyman, MS, is a communications and behavior change strategist with experience designing and implementing effective and engaging initiatives across a variety of environmental issue areas. She is passionate about applying insights from the social and behavioral sciences to inspire action and strengthen collaboration among diverse environmental stakeholders. She holds an M.S. in Natural Resources & Environment with a focus in Environmental Behavior, Education and Communication from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from UC San Diego. She lives in Marin County, CA.
Ashleigh comes to Root Solutions with a background in Psychology and Economics from UC Berkeley. Throughout her career, she has been continuously drawn to the behavioral sciences, and she is now excited to be participating in behaviorally-rooted change campaigns at Root Solutions. She is particularly interested in the conservation of California’s ecosystems, as she spent her childhood summers exploring the beautiful state while camping with her family. She believes that the insights from the behavioral sciences are essential to creating change – even the most well-intentioned campaign can meet its downfall if it is not understood and accepted by the people with whom it interacts.
Ashleigh is planning to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy, so she can build a career on creating behaviorally-driven policies and campaigns for a wide range of social issues.
Ray Rieder has nearly 15 years of experience designing, implementing, and leading
social and environmental initiatives. She’s worked with and for public, private, and non-
profit organizations, both in the United States and internationally in countries across
Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Western Europe. Ray is currently a private consultant
working with NGOs, non-profits, social enterprises, and businesses, to create strategic
program and organizational plans that help them reach their impact goals.
Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Ray was the Deputy Country Director for
DKT Tanzania, one of the world’s largest family planning organizations. She was
charged with creating and implementing the organization’s strategic plan and
overseeing all operational departments, including Logistics, Sales, Marketing &
Communications, HR & Admin, and Service Delivery. This in-depth hands-on
implementation experience greatly informs her current work with clients, as she strives
to create plans that are practical, straightforward, and aligned with each organizations’
specific mission, opportunities, and constraints. Before working in Tanzania, Ray
oversaw an educational Human Rights program in Nepal, Jordan, and Chile, and
started her career assessing and designing programming aimed at ameliorating child
hunger in the Upper Midwestern US.
Ray has experience working with businesses aiming to improve their ESG
(Environmental Social Governance) practices, designing Behavior Change
interventions, managing high-level partnerships, implementing focused programming,
and strategic planning for impact organizations. She holds an M.B.A. from London
Business School, an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a B.A. in
International Relations and in Human Biology from Brown University.
An experimental social and personality psychologist and is currently a Behavioral Social Scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund. At EDF, he works to use behavioral sciences to inform programs and initiatives and conducts research on how to communicate information about environmental protection to foster environmentally responsible behavior. He has coauthored numerous scientific articles and has contributed to books on social behavior. From 2006 to 2012, Romero-Canyas was a post-doctoral research scientist and then an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University. He received his B.A. in psychology from Yale University and his MA, MPH. and PhD from Columbia University.
Susan Schneider holds degrees in environmental and mechanical engineering (MS, Brown University), and did an energy efficiency project for US Steel. After a stint in the Peace Corps, she obtained a PhD in psychology (University of Kansas), specializing in reinforcement learning principles, and had an academic career. Her expertise includes delay discounting, reinforcement schedules, and incentive systems. Schneider’s award-winning book for the public, The Science of Consequences, covers learning principles, their biological context, and their many applications, including sustainability. The book earned coverage in top journal Nature and led to an international book tour. A lifelong environmental activist, Schneider now mainly gives talks about the climate crisis. She co-founded and co-chairs her local Climate Action Coalition, which has vehicle idling and tree planting successes, and conducts education and advocacy. Schneider is a Visiting Scholar at the University of the Pacific.
Caroline joined Root Solutions in the fall of 2021 after completing their Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies at the University of San Francisco. Previously working as a teaching assistant and dog sitter, they are committed to understanding behavior and positive reinforcement strategies. They find hope in Root Solution’s implementation of human centered design and participation within the environmental movement.
Home to Moravia in Czechia, Caroline plans to study agroecology or horticulture in the future. In their free time, Caroline enjoys biking through Golden Gate Park, hiking, and volunteering in the Santa Cruz mountains. They intend on working with their community in Saratoga to ensure the conservation of redwood trees and open spaces.
Nya co-founded Root Solutions with Rod Fujita in 2014 and has served as the nonprofit’s Executive Director since its inception. Nya’s conservation work has focused on the application of research in institutional design, sociology, economics, and other fields to create policies and design principles that facilitate rational environmental decision-making, namely in service of preserving the world’s oceans. Nya has created educational and outreach materials for the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society on the fragility of earth’s coral reef ecosystems. As a fisheries specialist at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), she provided sustainable fishery management expertise through workshops, trainings, and resource development.
During her five-year tenure at EDF, Nya met and worked closely with Rod Fujita. Together they led the introduction of decision science to their colleagues. Nya has co-authored two books published by EDF: Catch Share Design Manual, Volume 1: A Guide for Managers and Fishermen, and Catch Share Design Manual, Volume 2: Cooperative Catch Shares, as well as several scientific articles. Nya holds an M.A. from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University and a B.A. in Anthropology and in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley.
Kate Wing is the principal of KW Consulting, where she works with a range of clients on philanthropic strategy design, communications, and ocean conservation. Prior to starting her own firm, she spent five years as a Program Officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Marine Conservation Initiative, where she developed and managed a $20 million portfolio of more than 35 grants focused on ocean policy and innovation. She worked on state and national ocean campaigns during her eight years at the Natural Resources Defense Council, including the creation of California’s network of marine protected areas. She was a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow on the Senate Commerce Committee and holds a Master’s of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Marine Biology from Smith College.