Sustainable Princeton announced a changing of the guard for board president and the addition of two new Board members. Co-Founder and Board President, Matthew Wasserman is passing the leadership baton on to Vice President, Yamile Slebi.
“Eight years ago, a small group of people committed to the idea of changing people’s habits and getting ‘sustainability’ a seat at the table, got the ball rolling by starting a small non-profit with local grant money,” recalls Wasserman. “We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but then again, when are the things really worth doing, easy? As board president, I have been honored and fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly smart, passionate people as we have worked to build Sustainable Princeton into what it is today.”
On passing the baton, Wasserman reflected, “We have earned that seat at the table as evidenced by the recent endorsement of the Climate Action Plan and the assignment of a council liaison to our Board of Directors. While I admit I’m a bit sad about stepping down at such a crucial juncture, I know our new Executive Committee, led by Yamile, is immensely qualified to lead us into the future. I look forward to seeing what they accomplish. And like any proud parent, I know they’ll do great things.”
A corporate and securities lawyer, Colombia native Yamile Slebi began her support of organizations in the nonprofit sector at FairTrade USA where she worked with farmers around the world on market access, quality improvement, and capacity building. Prior to joining the Sustainable Princeton board in 2015, she volunteered working to help with the Great Ideas initiative, now in its 7th year.
“I’m very proud of the organization Sustainable Princeton has become. We have an amazing staff and a very committed board,” said Slebi. “One of the strengths of our programming and community outreach is presenting residents with sustainable choices that protect the environment and generate financial savings. Home energy audits, for example, can translate into residents saving on energy bills and a reduction of the collective impact on our footprint right here in Princeton.”
Princeton’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was endorsed by Municipal Council last July. Since then, Sustainable Princeton has worked with multiple stakeholders and committees to implement strategies outlined in the plan.
Slebi continued, “with the CAP, we are hoping to reduce Princeton’s greenhouse gas emissions and build the community’s resiliency, (the ability to withstand the effects of climate change). This aspect is very close to my heart,” shared Slebi, “it has the potential to directly benefit Princeton’s underserved population. We are currently working with the municipality on the creation of Princeton Prepares, a new registration program to assist our most vulnerable residents during climate crises.”
Slebi especially enjoys working with students on green projects because they are passionate about protecting our planet — “the younger generations get it,” she says.
“Every town should have an organization that leads the community to take action for a healthier local ecosystem, emissions reductions, and resiliency. We are so fortunate to have Sustainable Princeton working on these critical challenges and I am sincerely honored to support the organization by helping to lead the charge,” said Slebi.
Of this, Sustainable Princeton Executive Director, Molly Jones, said, “Sustainable Princeton is extremely fortunate to benefit from the skills and expertise of a top-notch Board. The addition of Steve Averbuch and David Hill will further strengthen our joint efforts. Matt has done an incredible job supporting the organization’s evolution, so it is bittersweet to see him shift from the role of President. Yet, we are excited by the fresh view and thinking that Yamile will bring to this position and to helping Sustainable Princeton realize its full potential.”
At a meeting earlier this month, Sustainable Princeton trustees welcomed two new board members:
Steven D. Averbuch, M.D., medical oncologist and pharmaceutical industry veteran, retired as Vice President and Head, Precision Medicine within the Translational Medicine Division of R&D at Bristol-Myers Squibb
David R. Hill, Fellow and Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy
Steven D. Averbuch, M.D., medical oncologist and pharmaceutical industry veteran, retired as Vice President and Head, Precision Medicine within the Translational Medicine Division of R&D at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Previously, Steve served in leadership roles at Merck Research Laboratories and AstraZeneca for oncology clinical research and drug development. Prior to joining industry, Steve held academic appointments at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the U.S. Public Health Service School of Medicine. Steve is currently a consultant and he is on several medical organization advisory boards. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research having served on multiple committees for both organizations. Steve is the 2014 recipient of the University of Illinois College of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus Award. Steve lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife Rachel Rivest. Steve and Rachel are passionate about the environment, sustainable and healthy nutrition, and educational opportunities for the underserved.
David R. Hill is an attorney with more than 25 years of experience working on energy and environmental matters. He currently is a Fellow and Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and also advises private sector clients. From 2012 to 2018, Hill served as Executive Vice President & General Counsel of NRG Energy, Inc. where he was responsible for the company’s legal, regulatory, environmental and government affairs matters Prior to that he was a partner and co-head of the energy practice at the multinational law firm Sidely Austin LLP, and from 2005 – 2009 served as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington. In addition to serving on the board of Sustainable Princeton, David is president of the board of directors of the Princeton Public Library Foundation, and serves as treasurer of Arm in Arm, a nonprofit organization working to address food insecurity and prevent homelessness in Mercer County, New Jersey.