Ramón Cruz has over 20 years of experience intersecting the fields of sustainability, environmental policy, urban planning, energy and climate change. He has worked in the public sector as the Deputy Director of the state environmental regulatory agency in Puerto Rico and held senior positions at the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, the Partnership for New York City and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
Panel 1: Community Visions and Power
How do we create alternatives, shape narratives and build power in community? Drawing from their experience in domestic and international development, our panelists explore how to build power and enact change in our workplaces and communities through solidarity.
Sergio Rodriguez Camarena – III, '24
Taylor Nelson (she/her) – III-URP, '19
Consultant at Bloomberg Associates
Taylor Nelson is a consultant at Bloomberg Associates, the philanthropic consulting arm of Bloomberg Philanthropies. In this role, she advises mayors' offices on matters concerning internal operations, strategic partnerships, and data & technology, helping these entities provide quality and streamlined services to their communities.
Prior to joining Bloomberg Associates, Taylor was the executive programs coordinator for the City of Detroit Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. In this position, she worked to integrate refugees into Detroit and connect immigrant groups to community resources. Before working in government, Taylor spent almost three years in education. As a Teach For America corps member, she taught middle school special education in Decatur, GA. Taylor also taught English as a Second Language in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Taylor hails from Metro Detroit and holds a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University with a focus on domestic urban policy. She received her undergraduate degree from University of Michigan, graduating with distinction with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature and a minor in French & Francophone Studies.
Fatima Khan (she/her) – II, '21
Panel 2: Building Spaces of Freedom
How do we translate visions of justice and equity into reality? Our panelists are organizers who have worked with grassroots and grasstops to build a more equitable economy and city. They will discuss the nitty gritty of bringing forward an alternative future that works for all.
Paco Garcia Bellego – II, '23
Francisco Diez (he/him/his) – IV, '20
Senior Policy Strategist for Economic Justice at Center for Popular Democracy
Francisco is the Senior Policy Strategist tor Economic Justice at Center for Popular Democracy. He works to amplify worker voices and power within the workplace and improve workplace protections. He supports organizing for reforms to unemployment insurance, Fair Workweek legislation, higher wages, and expansions In labor law enforcement. In the past, Francisco has worked as a researcher for TED Talks and as an organizer with the New York City Democratic Socialists of America and for the Bernie 2016 Campaign. He holds a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University, where he focused on Economics and Public Policy, and a Bachelor.s degree in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale University. At Princeton, he was was a proud member of Students for Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED).
Midori Valvidia (she/her/ella) – III-URP, '08
Midori (she/her/ella) is a transportation, operations, and urban planning leader committed to expanding mobility options for people. She is currently at her own consulting practice providing policy advisory services at the intersection of transportation, climate change, and equity. Midori serves as a Board Member of the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the largest transportation organization in North America. She also serves as Trustee of the Transit Center, a national philanthropy and think tank devoted to the expansion of public transit. She is part of communities that work to increase representation and build the power of women and people of color across the urban planning sector.
Midori has led a career in the public sector, holding senior roles at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the MTA, and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. Her experience spans across a variety of modes including subways, bus, ports, taxis, and airports. She was most recently the Chief Operating Officer for the Coro New York Leadership Center, the City's premier civic leadership training organization. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner and toddler. She enjoys growing vegetables, reading fiction, and spending time exploring the world through her child's eyes.
Panel 3: World-breaking/Making and the Urgency of Building Alternatives
How should we imagine alternative futures when prospects seem grim? With experience in space policy, nuclear security, and securing justice for indigenous communities, our panelists will discuss the urgency of building what's next when the stakes are high, as well as how to find space for rest and grace in stressful situations.
Vyette Tiya – I, '23
Tim Evans – II, '03
Deputy General Counsel of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
A member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe of North Carolina, Tim graduated as a sociology major from Harvard College in 1994. He started a joint MPA/JD program at Princeton's SPIA and Cornell Law School in 1999, graduating from both programs in 2003. He passed the California bar and joined the national law firm Holland & Knight LLP, as an associate attorney in their American Indian law practice group, eventually rising to senior counsel and then partner. From the firm's Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. offices, Tim represented tribes and tribally-owned entities across the country in a wide range of governmental, transactional, and litigation matters, Including land acquisition/restoration and economic development projects. In fall 2019, Tim joined the in-house Legal Department for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, near Highland, CA, outside of Los Angeles. Served initially as a Managing Attorney, then Vice President, Associate General CounselGovernment, and currently serves as Deputy General Counsel. He continues to represent San Manuel across a broad range of matters and oversee the day-to-day operations of the current 12-attorney in-house Legal Department.
Lauryn Williams (she/her) – I, '18
Senior Advisor for Strategy in the White House Office of National Cyber Director (ONCD)
Lauryn Williams is a Senior Advisor for strategy in the White House Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD). She is a national security policy expert focused on emerging technologies and previously worked at the Department of Defense, where she served in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy. There she led DoD's efforts on leveraging commercial space capabilities and space industry outreach. Previously, she served in the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, where she conducted extensive outreach to international partners, and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Lauryn is from Long Beach, CA and received her B.A. from Stanford University and MPA in public and international affairs from Princeton University. She was SAOC co-chair 2017 through 2018.