Staff

Mami Hara
CEO
Mami Hara is the CEO of the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Mami brings over three decades of experience in land and water management, advancing sustainable practices through cultivating leaders and partnerships, workforce development, inclusive community participation, science- and community-informed planning, and knowledge sharing. In her public sector and private practice roles, Mami has guided the planning and implementation of award-winning green infrastructure, sustainability, economic development, and waterfront programs across the United States.
 
Prior to serving at the Alliance, Mami was the general manager and CEO of Seattle Public Utilities, which provides solid waste, drainage, and wastewater services for Seattle residents and businesses, as well as drinking water for 1.4 million regional customers. Under her leadership, Seattle Public Utilities undertook the largest capital project ever delivered by the City of Seattle and significant improvements to its capital delivery processes, including incorporation of climate factors in design. Mami also served as first deputy commissioner of Philadelphia Water, where she helped with climate planning and shepherded the country’s largest green infrastructure program. She has been an advisor to several environmental, philanthropic, planning, and design advocacy organizations and has taught at PennDesign, Temple School of Architecture, and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Mami holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
Clare Auld-Brokish
Program Associate

Clare Auld-Brokish is a Program Associate at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on the Alliance’s Equitable Water Future Initiative. Clare's interest in water's role in climate resilience and environmental justice began while researching Dianchi Lake in Southwest China, first as a student and later as a Fulbright fellow. She recently completed a Princeton-in-Asia fellowship with the Beijing and US offices of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Clare graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in biological sciences and Chinese language and culture. She is based in Washington, DC, and enjoys exploring the city’s culinary offerings as well as navigating to its various bodies of water by foot and bike.

Joya Banerjee
Senior Fellow

Joya Banerjee is a Senior Fellow at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Joya provides strategic counsel to social change leaders and organizations, with a particular focus on breaking down silos, building field capacity, and developing new partnerships. She also serves as a senior advisor to the Environmental Policy Innovation Center. Joya is a board member for the Center for Diversity and the Environment, the California Water Data Consortium, and 826 Valencia, and she serves on the advisory board to OpenET and Stanford University’s Water in the West. Previously, Joya led the Environment Program at the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, where she developed a ten-year grantmaking portfolio designed to advance a more sustainable, equitable water system. In her spare time, Joya enjoys climbing trees and building driftwood forts with her two boys. 

Scott Berry
Director of Policy and Government Affairs

Scott Berry is the Director of Policy and Government Affairs at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. He leads the Alliance's engagement on policy issues. Previously, he was director of the Utility Infrastructure Division, Environment, and Trade at the Associated General Contractors of America. There, he spent nine years as their head lobbyist on water infrastructure and water policy issues, and was the member services lead for water, sewer, power, telecommunications, and underground construction. He has served in the leadership of the Water Infrastructure Network, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition, the Common Ground Alliance, and the Waters Advocacy Coalition. He has a BA in political science and geography from the University of Mary Washington.

Morgan Brown
Senior Program Manager

Morgan Brown is a Senior Program Manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on initiatives for advancing racial equity in water, One Water management, and equity in climate resilience. Prior to the Alliance, she worked at the Water Environment Federation, managing programs to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, municipal wastewater treatment, water reuse, resource recovery, and innovation in the water sector. Morgan is a certified Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) and holds a BA in biology and environmental sciences from the University of Virginia. Outside of work, Morgan enjoys spending time with friends and family, dancing, and cooking.

Letitia Carpenter
Senior Program Manager

Letitia Carpenter is a Senior Program Manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She leads the Alliance’s Equitable Water Future initiatives. Letitia is passionate about environmental justice, racial equity, and community centered practices. She began her work on equity and environmental justice while working as a community liaison for the Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities in North Charleston, SC, which helped her understand that tackling the environmental injustices communities face requires all sectors to collaborate to leverage their unique skills and strengths. Previously, Letitia worked as a community benefits analyst at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, working on their environmental justice portfolio and staffing their Citizens Advisory Committee. Letitia also worked as a policy and data analyst for the City of Richmond, where she developed community engagement strategies for the their Open Data platform and co-created the Richmond Department of Children and Youth. Letitia holds a master’s in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley. Outside of work, Letitia enjoys spending days at the beach and taking care of her collection of house plants. 

Abigail Gardner
Communications Advisor

Abigail Gardner is the Communications Advisor for the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She handles press requests and media relations on behalf of the Alliance and for the Value of Water Campaign. For more than a decade, Abigail has worked with communications and media at the intersection of politics, campaigns, and advocacy. Prior to her work with the Alliance, Abigail was a vice president at SKDKnickerbocker, where she served as a communications consultant for several political candidates, issue advocacy campaigns, and clients in need of crisis-management. She also served in the official office of Congressman Dan Maffei (D-NY) and Governor Eliot Spitzer and worked on several political campaigns. Abigail is a graduate of the University of Virginia and a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city famous for its three rivers.

Nahal Ghoghaie
Senior Program Manager
Nahal Ghoghaie is a Senior Program Manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She serves as a leader in the Alliance’s Equitable Infrastructure initiative and manages projects across An Equitable Water Future, Climate Action, One Water Hub, and One Water Summit. Nahal has over a decade of nationwide, multidisciplinary water, climate equity, and environmental justice experience. Prior to joining the Alliance, Nahal served as the first environmental justice program manager at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, providing leadership in policy and planning with a focus on community and tribal engagement in shoreline decision making. She also served as the regional lead for a state-funded grant program to support local leaders with outreach, education, and capacity building in communities historically excluded in water resource management. Nahal is the founder of EcoEquity, a consulting firm that helps clients develop strategies for equitable inclusion of underserved communities in climate planning, policy, and public funding processes. She earned her master's in environmental studies with an emphasis on tribal leadership of watershed adaptation at The Evergreen State College and has a BA in English from the University of Texas, Austin. Outside of work, Nahal enjoys biking with her husband and son, yoga, cooking, and exploring parks and live music venues with family and friends. 
Ted Henifin
Senior Fellow
Ted Henifin is a Senior Fellow at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. He works on the Equitable Infrastructure initiative. Ted is the former General Manager of Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), holding this role from 2006 until 2022. While at HRSD, Ted built a culture of innovation that led to the development of the novel Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow, a large-scale aquifer recharge program unique in the eastern US. Ted previously served for nine years as Director of Public Works for the City of Hampton, during which he managed a multidisciplinary department responsible for the city's sanitary sewer system, engineering services, and maintenance of city facilities. His duties also included oversight of solid waste collection, street maintenance, and operation of a waste-to-energy plant. 
Dune Ives
Director of Brand and Communications
Dune Ives is the Director of Brand and Communications at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Dune brings nearly three decades of experience in brand marketing communications and large-scale cultural change initiatives across a variety of environmental issues and industries. With a sharp focus on persistent impact, Dune has developed viral, award-winning global and domestic culture change movements founded on core principles of collaboration, transparency, and inclusion. 
 
Prior to her work with the Alliance, Dune served as the Founding CEO of Lonely Whale, a US nonprofit dedicated to preventing plastic waste from entering the ocean. During her tenure, she created the viral #StopSucking global movement on single-use plastics, the Ocean Heroes Media Network, the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize, and NextWave Plastics, a cross-industry collaboration of leading brands that collectively yielded more than 4 billion earned media impressions. Dune also developed and led the first global environmental philanthropic portfolio for Mr. Paul G. Allen where she oversaw a $143 million portfolio, led Mr. Allen’s $100 million commitment to stop the spread of Ebola and reunite children with their families, and co-founded the Green Sports Alliance, a membership-based organization of more than 500 professional and collegiate sports venues. Passionate about the power of communication to shift cultural norms, Dune holds her PhD in psychology from Utah State University and can often be found exploring in nature with her husband and eight-year-old son. 
Katy Lackey
Director of Climate Action

Katy Lackey is the Director of Climate Action at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She leads initiatives to accelerate equitable climate resilience and adaptation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and cultivate water culture and leadership for climate action. Katy is passionate about the power water has to shape communities and ecosystems. Prior to joining the Alliance, Katy held positions with The Water Research Foundation; Center for Strategic Latin American Studies, Comptroller General of Costa Rica, and World Camp, Inc. (now Access Health Africa). She has served on the young scientific programme committee for World Water Week, the executive board of the Women’s Aquatic Network, and the board of directors for World Camp, Inc. Katy is a certified Climate Change Professional (CC-P) and an active member of the Good Grief Network. She holds a dual-MA in international affairs from American University in Washington, DC, and in natural resources and sustainable development from the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. Outside work, you can find Katy hiking with her pup, reading by the river, or napping in a hammock. 

Linda Le
Director of Events and Operations

Linda Le is the Director of Events and Operations at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Linda works on many key organizational priorities for the Alliance, providing administrative, operational, and developmental support, and she manages the office of the CEO and special projects. Linda brings nearly 10 years of experience in executive assistant positions to top-level executives, and she possesses a track record of strong performance in high-volume, high-pressure environments. Prior to joining the Alliance, Linda served as an executive assistant to the CEO and founder of a local and state government relations and lobbying firm. When she is not working, Linda enjoys spending time with family and friends, crafting, and creating custom events and parties.

Jessica O'Keefe
Value of Water Campaign Communications Consultant

Jessica O’Keefe is a Value of Water Campaign Communications Consultant for the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She supports communications efforts for the US Water Alliance through social media management and the Value of Water Campaign, and she helped coordinate this past year’s Imagine a Day Without Water. Prior to working with the Alliance, Jessica spent seven years as a freelance writer and volunteer for Pittsburgh-based politicians. She also worked at an environmental nonprofit, helping to promote energy conservation and aiding local utilities in the process of establishing and building out customer assistance programs. Jessica holds a degree in public relations from Westminster College. In her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband and three cats and traveling to her favorite ski destinations.  

Kyla Peterson
Program Manager

Kyla Peterson is a Program Manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on the Alliance’s Equitable Water Future initiative. Kyla is passionate about community engagement, justice and equity, and environmental access and recreation. Her people-focused approach to environmental work flourished through interning at the US House of Representatives, where she gained an in-depth understanding of nationwide water issues and the socio-economic factors that exacerbate/mediate them. Kyla also worked as a team lead at the Texas Water Development Board, managing their agricultural water conservation program and providing technical assistance to stakeholders and communities. Additionally, she interned with the Wilson Center, where she published research articles on pertinent environmental issues relating to water policy, global migration, and the water/food nexus. As a native Texan and an Austin resident, Kyla seizes the opportunity to be in nature whenever possible. Catch her paddling along the Colorado River or cooling off at Barton Springs in her free time!

Dominique Lueckenhoff
Senior Fellow

Dominique Lueckenhoff is a Senior Fellow at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on the Equitable Infrastructure initiative. Recognized as a national thought leader and expert in green infrastructure innovations, environmental justice, climate resilience, and sustainable communities, Dominique has over 25 years of national award-winning program development and management experience across multiple EPA programs and geographic locations protecting the nation’s air, water, and land. Lueckenhoff served as Senior Advisor to the EPA Region 3 Administrator, where she developed and led initiatives related to innovative watershed management, community-based public-private partnerships, next-generation green technologies, and alternative market-based approaches to achieving environmental improvements and economic revitalization supporting resilient, sustainable communities. Dominique also led the EPA Region 3 Water Protection Division as Deputy Director and Acting Director. Dominique currently serves as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, EHS & Sustainability, at Hugo Neu Corporation.  

Sarah Robinson
Program Manager

Sarah Robinson is a Program Manager at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on the Alliance’s Equitable Water Future Initiative. Sarah has experience in both the water utility and nonprofit sectors, focusing on watershed management and program development. Prior to joining the Alliance, Sarah worked at Houston Water, where she developed and provided community programs aimed at improving Houston’s water infrastructure and resiliency. She also worked at Galveston Bay Foundation, serving as the water programs manager. Sarah graduated with a master’s in natural resource management and a BS in environmental geosciences, both from Texas A&M University. She also holds a professional certificate in behavior change for sustainability from University of California, San Diego. Sarah lives in Houston with her husband and dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and any activity that is on or near a body of water. 

Emily Simonson
Director of Strategic Initiatives

Emily Simonson is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She is responsible for supporting high-priority philanthropic engagement and organizational positioning and planning, and she coordinates the Alliance’s Equitable Water Future and Recovering Stronger portfolios. Emily became passionate about the role water plays in social and environmental prosperity while working in Ghana for Global Brigades, a community development nonprofit addressing water and sanitation access. Emily also spent two years at the EPA as an ORISE Fellow with the Urban Waters Program, an environmental justice focused initiative to increase the government's ability to provide an integrated approach when working with communities to restore their waterways. After an internship with the United Nations in Switzerland, Emily graduated from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University with master’s degrees in public administration and international relations. Off the clock, Emily will use any excuse to get outside and especially likes frisbee, biking, paddling, and hiking with her dog and friends.

Benny Starr
Senior Fellow, Arts and Culture
Benny Starr is the Senior Fellow, Arts and Culture at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. Benny works with Alliance staff and the Alliance network to infuse arts and culture-based strategies into thinking, problem-solving, and programming. 
 
Born in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Benny Starr is constantly going against the grain while paying homage to the legends that came before him, crafting bodies of work that require your time and full attention. His most recent body of work, “A Water Album,” was released on Juneteenth, 2019, and was recorded live at Charleston Music Hall with his bandmates, The Four20s. In January 2020, Benny and singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Rodrick Cliche joined talents and birthed the innovative partnership, Native Son. Native Son's most recent release, “The Land,” is a rallying cry that echoes the injustices of Black Legacy Farmers at the hands of the USDA, and is part of an ongoing partnership with The Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund and The Black Farmers Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign. 
 
In addition to his work with the Alliance, Benny serves as a board member for Community Resources for Enduring Wellness (CREW). In his free time, Benny enjoys creating music, watching movies, and traveling. 
Renée Willette
Vice President, Programs and Strategy
Renée Willette is the Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She oversees all programmatic work and supports the CEO on strategic growth efforts for the organization. Prior to joining the Alliance, Renée worked for Stantec, a global, multi-sector engineering and architecture firm where she served as the water sector leader for the Midwest region. In her role at Stantec, she managed the Midwest team of water and wastewater engineers, oversaw regional business development efforts, supported national strategic partnerships, and served on Stantec’s United States Inclusion and Diversity council. Previously, Renée was the director of strategy initiatives for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is responsible for providing 24/7 water, wastewater, and municipal power services to 2.6 million Bay Area residents. At the SFPUC, Renée led the agency’s regional workforce development partnerships as well as the place-based revitalization strategy for the $2.7 billion Sewer System Improvement program. Renée also served as senior staff in two San Francisco mayoral administrations, focusing on fiscal policy and state and federal government affairs.  
 
Renée attended executive education at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a David Bohnett Leaders Fellow. She holds a BA from Carleton College and a master's in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently residing in Minneapolis, Renée also serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Freshwater Society.  
Anna Yates
Communications Associate

Anna Yates is a Communications Associate at the US Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization advancing policies and programs that build a sustainable water future for all. She works on website development, disseminating communications for the Alliance, and operational support. Previously, Anna worked with the National Park Service and the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy, specifically on initiatives that addressed rising sea levels. Additionally, Anna's held communications positions at Make Music NOLA, a nonprofit that provides music education to New Orleans youth, and in Egypt at the American University in Cairo's Center for Applied Research on the Environment and Sustainability. Anna holds a BA in environmental studies and international development from Tulane University. Outside of work, Anna enjoys backpacking, seeing live music, and eating Popeye's on the New Orleans bayou.