Josh Futtersak leads research and fact checking at The Years Project. He specializes in OSINT based investigative research and often writes and works behind the camera. Josh received his Master’s from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism where his research focused on organized crime in Eastern Europe, religious history, and unique New York subcultures.
Maya Lilly became an environmentalist before it was hot at only 15 years old. Her gateway was discovering that we were clearcutting the rainforest to make room for cattle… and emitting carbon in the process. Shocked, she immediately became a vegetarian, and figured if she told EVERYONE around her what was happening, they would immediately take action. …Few did. This teenage Ah-ha moment sent Maya on a lifetime journey to discover the best ways to get people to care about climate. Because it was, and still is, the most important thing.
Maya’s produced long-form documentaries like Amazon’s Generation Wealth and The Big Fix; fictional projects like Starhawk’s iconic classic, The Fifth Sacred Thing (for which she narrated the audiobook); short form like Pulse’s Resist and Seven Bucks/BET’s Finding Justice; and digital stories with Brave New Films and Elevate Films. Maya is a Udall Congressional award winner, and holds a Masters from the United Nations in Environmental Security and Peace. In the (very) little spare time she has, she likes making videos for @GunghoEco, her eco-influencer channel on YouTube, Fbook, Insta and Twitter. And with Years, Maya hones her initial question of HOW to make people care every time she produces a shoot, writes a script, and forges a relationship with a frontline community.
Vernon Church began his management career as a co-founder of Newsweek Interactive, Newsweek’s award-winning digital media venture and the first of its kind in the world. He went on to lead digital and creative teams at HarperCollins Publishers, Blue Man Productions, John Wiley and Sons Publishers and TMP Worldwide, the world’s largest recruitment advertising company, where he oversaw all digital, brand and creative operations in North America.
He also acted as Chief Content Officer and EVP of Operations for media start-up UGO Entertainment where he led strategy and optimization work that contributed directly to acquisition by Hearst Interactive.
Before beginning his management career, Church was an environmental scientist, journalist and playwright with a peer-reviewed paper, more than 60 articles and two plays produce off-Broadway to his credit. He is also a board member of the CUE Art Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to elevating emerging and under-recognized artists. Church holds a BS in biology from Cornell University, an MS in oceanography from The University of Rhode Island, and an MA in science journalism from New York University.
Founder, Chairman & Executive Producer
David Gelber is co-founder and chairman of The Years Project. He served as Ed Bradley’s producer at 60 Minutes® for twenty-five years, during which he won every major journalism award, including a Peabody, two DuPont Awards and eight Emmy® Awards.
During the nineties, Gelber was executive producer of Peter Jennings Reporting at ABC News®. He spent two winters in Sarajevo producing documentaries on the Bosnian Conflict. He returned to CBS News® in 1996 to head the Ed Bradley Unit. Gelber and Joel Bach left 60 MINUTES in 2011 to create the Emmy-winning series YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY and have focused on communicating stories about the climate crisis ever since.
Founder, Executive Director & Executive Producer
Joel Bach is the founder and executive creative director of The YEARS Project. He was the showrunner and series director of YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, the Emmy Award winning TV series on climate change. The series was executive produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late Jerry Weintraub — and featured an ensemble cast of A-list celebrities and journalists who traveled the globe to tell the story of climate change.
Joel now serves as the director of YEARS’ short-form video campaign, the videos of which have been seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world. Joel sets strategy for the company and determines the creative direction of the enterprise. Before creating The YEARS Project, Joel was a field producer at 60 MINUTES, working with Scott Pelley, Steve Kroft, Lesley Stahl and the late Ed Bradley. Before working at 60 MINUTES, he directed and produced music videos, short films and commercials in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Founder & CEO, Christensen Global Strategies, LLC
Aimée Christensen has twenty-five years’ experience in energy, climate change and sustainability across policy, law, investment, and philanthropy, including with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), World Bank, Baker & McKenzie and Google. She is currently CEO of Christensen Global Strategies and executive director of the Sun Valley Institute, building resilience for economic prosperity, environmental protection and human wellbeing in the Wood River Valley of Idaho and serving as a model and resource for communities everywhere.
She serves on the boards of Advocates for the West, the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute on Sustainability at Arizona State University, the National Forest Foundation, and the Smith College Center for Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability. In recognition of her accomplishments, Aimée is a 2017 Idaho Women in Leadership & Zions Bank laureate, the 2011 Hillary Institute Global Laureate and a 2010 Aspen Catto Fellow. She has a BA from Smith College and a JD from Stanford Law School.
Anita Bekenstein manages a private family fund which supports non-profits focused primarily on health, education, the environment and the arts. She currently serves as a trustee on several non-profit boards including Upstream USA, Natural Resources Defense Council, Boston Medical Center, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, Teach for America MA and Partners in Health. She is an overseer at the New England Aquarium and is a member of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers Visiting Committee at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. After receiving her Master’s degree from Tufts Boston School of Occupational Therapy, she worked at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital where she specialized in neurology and pediatrics. She and her husband Josh live near Boston where they enjoy spending time with their five children, two horses, three dogs, a dozen chickens and one cat.
Ivana Rahaman is an intern at The Years Project. Born and raised in New York, she is currently attending Hofstra University where she is majoring is Sustainability Studies and Global Studies. Ivana has been passionate about the environment since a young age. Her family is from Bangladesh, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. As conditions in her motherland and in numerous other countries worsened, she knew that she wanted to pursue a career that would allow her to fight climate change and help protect endangered communities.
Gabriella Sotelo is an intern at The Years Project and also a Journalism and Environmental Studies student at New York University. Gabriella loved writing when she was younger and later found a deep interest in environmental issues. So she decided to combine her passion of writing and her interest in the environment as an aspiring environmental journalist. Gabriella is currently a writer for her university’s local newspaper, where she focuses on issues within the Latinx community.
Drew Lei-Alerta is an intern at The Years Project, and currently a student at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Drew grew up in Denver, Colorado and enjoys spending her time outdoors snowboarding and swimming. Her areas of interests include filmmaking and communications.
Isabella Colello is a climate change intern for The Years Project. She is currently a photography and environmental studies student at Ithaca College. She is originally from Watertown, NY and spends a lot of time on the St. Lawrence River. Previously, she spent time studying sustainability in Iceland, which has been a driver towards her current work. Her areas of interest are in climate action campaigns and digital media.
Cassidy Slamin is an intern at The Years Project, as well as a Video/Television student at Hofstra University on Long Island. Cassidy has an interest in environmental justice and policy as well as activism. Cassidy has reported for her schools radio station, 88.7FM WRHU and is the Associate Producer for her school’s news program, Hofstra Today.
Morgan is a passionate environmentalist that has been devoted to conservation since she was a teenager. A native New Yorker, she immersed herself in the culture of progress that the city has to offer. She holds a BS in Environmental Science from Hunter College and a Master’s in Renewable Energy & Sustainability from University of Colorado: Boulder. She is committed to fighting for climate justice and a just transition in the face of our changing world. Her interests include writing and journalism, connecting with the earth and meditation.
Social Media Community Manager
Ilana Berger is a recent NYU graduate with a B.A. in journalism in environmental studies. She helps create brand engagement and grow TYP’s active social media communities, as well as build strong relationships and partnerships with other non-profits, digital influencers, celebrities, and thought leaders.
Prior to working at TYP, Ilana worked in digital marketing at Urbanstrong, a Brooklyn-based environmental project management firm. Prior to that, she helped with communications and digital content creation at AARP.
Ilana’s interests include green urban infrastructure, environmental justice, and being extremely online.
Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Achim Steiner is UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a post for which he was unanimously selected by the UN General Assembly. He is currently in his third term at the organization’s helm. Before joining UNEP, Mr. Steiner served as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and as Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams. He has worked in I ndia, Pakistan, Germany, Zimbabwe, USA, Vietnam, South Africa, Switzerland and Kenya, among other places, and chairs a number of key bodies at the United Nations.
Founding Partner, Fred Siegel Partners
Fred Siegel is founding partner of Fred Siegel Partners, a team that creates and implements large-scale social change initiatives for corporations and leading non-profits. Fred currently sits on the The American Cancer Society’s Revenue and Marketing Board, and advises multiple startups and non-profits ranging from Google Venture-backed SideCar to Ourtime.org. Prior to Fred Siegel Partners, Fred was the Marketing lead for Excite, Excite @ Home, QVC, Executive Creative Director for Ketchum Advertising and Group Creative Director McCann Ericsson.
President & CEO, The Nature Conservancy
Mark Tercek is president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, the global conservation organization known for its intense focus on collaboration and getting things done for the benefit of people and nature. A former managing director for Goldman Sachs, where he spent 25 years, Mark brings deep business experience to his role leading the Conservancy, which he joined in 2008. Mark earned an M.B.A. from Harvard in 1984 and a B.A. from Williams College in 1979.
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Why I'm involved
There is so much misinformation about what is creating the fires, the droughts, the extreme storms. I really wanted to be part of getting the correct information to people.
Why I'm involved
Caring about animals and their survival ensures our survival, if we want to not go extinct ourselves.
Why I'm involved
I spoke to scientists, I spoke to politicians, I spoke to children, and I spoke to a psychiatrist. I’ve really run the gamut of all things climate change on this incredible personal journey of mine.
Why I'm involved
When we all unite our unique abilities in service of a common good, we can create a better world.