Resilience + Sustainability Staff
Nicole Ferrini, LEED AP BD+C, CNU-A
Chief Resilience Officer
Nicole Ferrini holds degrees in both interior design and architecture from Texas Tech University. It is from that basis in the world of design that Nicole launched her career building better, stronger, more prosperous communities. In 2007, she founded Uncommon LLC as a mechanism to affect positive change within the built environment. The Uncommon concept of “Build for life” is about creating environments that move with the way we live now and change for the way we will live tomorrow, while always maintaining respect for the rich cultural history that represents where we’ve come from.
Nicole is a founding member of the USGBC Chihuahuan Desert Chapter, Eco El Paso Founding Board Member and member of the Congress for New Urbanism. Through her work with these organizations, Nicole has established herself as a community leader working to raise the bar for design and provoke a new conversation among civic leaders, industry professionals and the community at large. Most recently, Nicole acted as spearhead for the GRO El Paso Initiative focused on building grass roots resilience at a regional scale with emphasis on issues ranging from climate instability, resource conservation and crisis management to urban development and social justice.
Lauren Baldwin, MBA, LEED-GA
Sustainability Program Specialist
Lauren Baldwin is the Sustainability Program Specialist for the City of El Paso and helps manage the implementation of the City's sustainability initiatives and resilience strategy. Her main responsibilities include program implementation, outreach, and education. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with an Environmental Affairs focus and a Double Minor in Environmental Policy and Planning and Spanish. Lauren received her Master’s in Business Administration from UTEP and was recently nominated to the EPA’s Good Neighbor Environmental Board, which advises the President on climate resilience issues along the U.S.-Mexico border. She also volunteers locally as a board member for the U.S. Green Building Council West Texas Chapter, the Velo Paso Bicycle Pedestrian Coalition, and the West Texas Urban Forestry Council.
Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA Members
The Office of Resilience and Sustainability applied to receive a grant which included two full time Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA members through Cities of Service, a national nonprofit organization that supports mayors and city chief executives to engage local communities and residents in identifying challenges and solving problems together.
The Resilience AmeriCorps program will develop more resilient cities through citizen engagement in local impact volunteering programs that are designed to improve environmental and social resilience in low-income communities.
El Paso was one of ten cities selected across the nation to be apart of this first ever Resilience AmeriCorps program. Cities of Service, its federal partners, and The Rockefeller Foundation selected the cities based on regional and local vulnerability, commitment and progress to date from mayors to resilience efforts, and City Hall capacity to host and implement Resilience AmeriCorps in their cities.
Our VISTAs will work with community groups, neighborhood organizations, businesses, & residents to train leaders, create emergency response processes & toolkits, & establish information distribution protocols & programs for engaging everyday citizens. They will serve as local ambassadors and experts in impact volunteering, increasing local capacity and equipping low-income communities with the tools they need to better prepare for and address the risks associated with climate change.
Climate Preparedness Specialist
Jenny Hernandez is our Climate Preparedness Specialist Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA member. She is focused on developing community preparedness initiatives, with a specific emphasis on developing a Resilient Business Challenge for local businesses to identify and evaluate their specific resilient challenges that they face. She graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science with a minor in environmental philosophy. During her time at Texas State, Jenny participated in the efforts to protect and restore the San Marcos River. She worked on removing invasive plants and conservation initiatives on the Texas Wild Rice. Her final year she took a regional field course study that focused on Big Bend National Park's ecosystems and native plants. She spent several days throughout the year doing field work studies in the park. Prior to joining the City's Resilience and Sustainability team, she lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for four months doing an internship with Audubon. She worked on environmental education with their summer program, and other programs like bird watches, nature hikes, and wild flower walks. She also had the opportunity to participate in field work in Angle Fire, New Mexico where she studied the effects on butterflies in relation to areas that had prescribed forest fire burning vs. pristine forest.
Sarah Elena Dillabough
Sustainable Neighborhood Specialist
Sarah Elena Dillabough is our Sustainable Neighborhood Specialist Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA member. She is focused on developing community sustainability initiatives, with a specific emphasis on developing a sustainable urban food policy within our community. She graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science with a minor in French. During her undergraduate studies she interned for a nature conservancy in Michigan, studied abroad for one year to multiple countries including France, Morocco, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Bhutan, went on a medical brigade to Honduras, and was the leader for her schools Student Sustainability Fund and Thinking Green Campus Awareness organization. Prior to joining the City’s Resilience and Sustainability team, Sarah Elena interned for State Senator Jose Rodriguez.