Meet the Women of SFI

For International Women’s Day 2022, SFI, Project Learning Tree (PLT), and PLT Canada, want to help #BreakTheBias.

The women who are part of our staff, network of partners, SFI Board and Educational Operating Committee, SFI-certified organizations, and many other facets of our work show the value of SFI’s commitment to gender equality and a diverse and resilient workforce. Building a diverse and resilient workforce is one of the ways SFI celebrates the principles behind International Women’s Day every day.

Learn more about the important work and varied green career pathways of some women leaders in our network with these short videos:

Meet our new Chief Sustainability and Diversity Officer

Bettina Ring is passionate about advancing and elevating women leaders in the forestry and natural resources conservation sector. Prior to joining SFI, Bettina served as Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth of Virginia and as Virginia’s State Forester. Bettina was the first woman appointed to both positions. Today, she’s proud to contribute to the growing representation of women leading conversations about sustainability.

In this video, Bettina shares the importance of recognizing the many contributions of women in forestry, this International Women’s Day, and every day.

Changing the face of forestry

As a woman-led organization with many women leaders throughout the organization, we would like to recognize some of the many accomplishments the women at SFI have achieved in their sector and communities the last year:

Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI, serves the Nature Based Climate Solutions Advisory Committee (part of Canada’s 2 Billion Trees Commitment), helping provide advice to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). She was asked to join the committee in 2021, following the success and additional funding of Project Learning Tree Canada’s work to help young Canadians gain the skills and experience needed to succeed in a green career pathway.

Under Kathy’s leadership, Project Learning Tree Canada was founded in 2017. A key priority for PLT Canada is to develop a diverse and resilient workforce for the forest and conservation sector. Since 2018, PLT Canada, has placed young adults into more than 5,000 Green Jobs. Notably, the PLT Canada team was able to achieve gender balance in the placements.

Kathy’s commitment to gender equality is also embodied in the number of women in leadership roles and her support for SFI’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) working group. Kathy is also focused on elevating the role of women in the forest sector through support of important initiatives such at the Women’s Forest Congress.

Nadine Block, Senior VP of SFI’s Community and Government Relations, leads in her community by volunteering with a local Scout troop to help youth earn badges related to forestry, sustainability, and citizenship in society. She also co-leads a Women’s Forest Congress sub-team focused on “Workforce Opportunities for Increasing Recruitment, Retention and Advancement” and chairs the National Nominating Committee of the Society of American Foresters, helping identify and certify SAF’s elected leaders.

Shuya Huang, Coordinator of Education Systems at SFI, was recently elected to the Board of the Canadian Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (CCIUN). Since early 2021, Shuya has been volunteering on the CCIUCN Young Professionals Committee and has recently taken on this important role to continue to stress the importance of including youth voices. SFI and PLT Canada are both members of the CCIUCN.

Jaclyn Stallard, Director of Curriculum, was responsible for the development of PLT’s new flagship curriculum, the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide, a recent winner of multiple awards for both exceptional design and content. Outside of work, Jaclyn volunteers for Blue Star Families, helps raise money for wounded warriors, and is a community artist who recently co-created a one-of-a-kind giant cherry blossom sculpture as part of the “Art in Bloom” celebration of the Washington, D.C. National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Danika Strecko, Senior Manager of Education at SFI, was elected for a two-year term to the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication’s (EECOM) Board of Directors. EECOM is Canada’s only national, bilingual, charitable network for environmental learning. Danicka looks forward to supporting their work to strategically and collaboratively advance environmental literacy, engage in environmental stewardship, and contribute to a healthy and sustainable future.

SFI believes anyone can lead, and today we are reaffirming our commitment to elevating the role of women when it comes to the critical work, we are doing to ensure the sustainability of our planet.

  • Kathy Abusow, President and CEO
  • Mirna Abdo, Manager, Bilingual Communications
  • Emily Anderson, Coordinator, Conservation Partnerships
  • Carley Archibald, Coordinator, GIS and Conservation Research
  • Nadine Block, Senior VP, Community and Government Relations
  • Vanessa Bullwinkle, Senior Director, PLT Communications and Marketing
  • Jennifer Byerly, Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing
  • Maria Chiarella, Manager, Mentorship and Youth Programs
  • Rachel Dierolf, Director, Standards Reporting and Label Use
  • Jennifer Farant, Administrative Assistant, PLT Canada
  • Courtney Guillen, Coordinator, Statistics and Label Use
  • Monika Gurzenski, Director, Marketing and Design
  • Rachel Hamilton, Senior Coordinator, Conservation Program
  • Julia Hershberger, Director, Human Resources
  • Shuya Huang, Coordinator, Education Systems
  • Madhuri Jani, Coordinator, Green Jobs
  • Henna Jethva, Coordinator, Online Learning
  • Jess Kaknevicius, VP, Education
  • Lydia Kidane, Coordinator, Education Programs
  • Jane Kim, Senior Manager, Finance
  • Catherine Langille, Coordinator, Indigenous Relations
  • Ana Leirner, Instructional Designer, Adult Learning
  • Brittany Lodge, Youth Programs Coordinator
  • Kate Nagle, Director, Education & PLT Network
  • Sukhjina Nijjer, Program Accountant, PLT Canada
  • Amandine Nonga, Senior Coordinator, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
  • Annie Perkins, Senior Director, Green Building and Supply Chain
  • Bettina Ring, Chief Sustainability and Diversity Officer
  • Emma Roehrig, Intern, Education
  • Calie Schaefer, Sustainable Products Intern
  • Meggan Sleep, Intern, Communications and Marketing
  • Mila Snejinscaia, Business Director
  • Jaclyn Stallard, Director, Curriculum
  • Danika Strecko, Senior Manager, Education
  • Jerri Taylor, Director, Diversity in Career Pathways
  • Shwetha Kengasur Venkatesh, Coordinator, Green Jobs
  • Paula Wardle, SFI Contractor, Communications and Marketing
  • Mira Williamson, Senior Coordinator, Communications
  • Kirsten Whitford, Coordinator, Human Resources

The forest sector and SFI-certified forests and products are powerful tools to achieve shared goals such as climate action, reduced waste, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development.

When women’s voices are central to achieving these shared goals, we all win.


SIGN UP to receive our Monthly Newsletter.