Board and Staff at Spring Retreat
Board and Staff at Spring Retreat

We practice sustainability in all that we do.


As an organization, we use the principles of living systems to make decisions and develop strategies for greater impact. We seek to embody our change model of connecting, reflecting, and acting in all that we do – internally and externally, personally and professionally. For our team, this means having an ongoing, deep commitment to listening and learning from each other and striving to create a workplace that inspires and nurtures each team member.


We believe that what we create and offer to the world is a direct reflection of who we are and what we value.


We live our values by providing a flexible family-friendly work environment, encouraging staff to recharge with annual personal retreats, offering a sabbatical for long-term employees, and revisiting our practices and policies regularly to ensure that we continue to evolve to meet our needs.

Everyday, we bring to work a deep commitment to sustainability, and seek to discover change, together.


Kelly Bauman, Digital Operations Manager

As Operations Manager, Kelly ensures that NWEI’s physical and web-based information systems are all running smoothly. Day to day, you’ll find him tweaking web layouts, researching soy-based inks and UV printing, creating tutorials and systems diagrams, and trying to remember all of his passwords.

Prior to joining NWEI, Kelly taught high school Spanish and ESL in California, supported implementation of assessment technologies at Northwest Evaluation Association, and, most recently, taught gardening to inmates at Columbia River Correctional Institution. Kelly holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership with a focus on Sustainability from Portland State University, as well as BCLAD teaching certification from the state of California. In his spare time, Kelly enjoys learning John Fahey and Mississippi John Hurt songs on his guitar, reading political economy, taking pictures, and walking.

Lacy Cagle, Director of Learning

As the Director of Learning, Lacy oversees the development of NWEI’s Discussion Course books, EcoChallenge, and educational materials. She also provides services and training to faculty and staff in higher education throughout North America. One of Lacy’s favorite parts of working at NWEI is inspiration—being inspired by people’s stories of action and change, and being able to develop curricula that inspire some of those actions and changes.

Before joining NWEI in 2011, Lacy worked for seven years in higher education administration, teaching and research, at Greenville College and at Portland State University. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy with a focus on Leadership in Sustainability Education from Portland State University. She has been a director at the Zahniser Institute since 2010. When not at work, Lacy enjoys her weekly trivia team, epic board games, and playing with her puppy, Huey. She also loves all aspects of food, from tending her backyard garden to creating inventive recipes with whatever ingredients she has on hand.

Zia Laboff Sustainability Research Intern

As the Sustainability Research Intern for NWEI, Zia is responsible for researching and reviewing NWEI course books and other materials as well as engaging with participants of the programs.

Originally from Seattle, she grew up surrounded by the natural wonders of the PNW. That environment fostered a deep love and appreciation for our natural world and drives her to advocate for its protection. She is currently entering her senior year at Portland State as an International Studies major with a minor in Spanish. During her 3 years at university, Zia has worked in student government holding the position of President as well as Equal Rights Advocacy Director. She has worked with other on-campus activist organizations on campaigns such as disarmament, and advocacy for survivors of sexual assault.

When not in school she enjoys working as a whitewater rafting guide in Washington. In her free time, she loves exploring around Portland, especially to find new food and hiking spots.

David Macek, Executive Director

As the Executive Director, David is responsible for the strategic direction of NWEI, and ensures that programs and staff are working toward the mission of inspiring people to take responsibility for Earth.

Before joining NWEI, he participated in his own set of EcoChallenges – from collecting all of his waste for 3 months to reducing his electricity bill to under $5/month (not to mention living in intentional co-ops for five years has the quality of a nonstop EcoChallenge). As a Massachusetts native who spent the last 12 years in Colorado, Montana, and California (and 25 countries traveled in between!), David has worn many hats leading transformation-centered nonprofits focusing on critical issues relating to the environment, leadership, and culture. Within each organization, he has uncovered new systems and partnerships that improved efficiency and collaboration to support new growth and greater impact.

David has a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics from Stonehill College and a Masters in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University. David is thrilled to join NWEI, and says, “It is a dream opportunity to join NWEI as the Executive Director. From the moment I connected with NWEI, I was inspired by its progressive and widespread history of impact. NWEI’s model of ‘meeting people where they are’ to inspire change in ways that are fun and build community is core to my approach for individual and collective transformation.” When he’s not in the office, David loves being in nature experiencing the fullness and wonder of every season with his family.

Liz Zavodsky, Director of Organizational Development

Liz oversees program engagement, sponsorship and corporate partnerships, in addition to managing donor relationships and records. Liz has been connected with NWEI for several years before working there —she started using NWEI courses while working at the University of Arizona in 2007. When she moved to Portland in 2011, she started volunteering and interning with NWEI, and began working with NWEI in 2012. Liz remains inspired to be a part of the NWEI team because of the organization’s values and dynamic process of inspiring individuals to create change through the discussion courses and EcoChallenge.

Before joining NWEI, Liz worked in Higher Education and Residence Life. She received her BA from University of Northern Colorado, and her MA in Human Development from University of Denver. Previously, she and her husband worked on three Semester at Sea voyages, and lived in Edinburgh, Scotland.

You may also be interested in finding out more about:
Our Model for Change
Contact Us