Who we Are

We Spark Innovative Solutions to Plastic Pollution.

But for us, the problem isn't just plastic. It's really the throw-away culture that's at the root of plastic pollution and a host of other problems. So we're building a movement to "make throw away go away" through:

BUSINESS INNOVATION to transform iconic venues to become Throw-Away-Free Places, and create the conditions for reuse businesses to thrive.

POLICY to create Indisposable Communities by making sit-down dining disposable-free, and paving the way for reuse businesses to tackle to-go.

CULTURE CHANGE campaigns that make single-use history and show there's a better way than throw-away (that's more fun!).

We're a little different than your average non-profit.

We're alchemists. We create the space and invite business leaders, policymakers and culture hackers to join us in changing the world.

We're solutions engineers, innovators and catalysts. We're not into easy fixes. We leverage everything we've got to drive systems change.

We're storytellers. We work to change hearts and minds, and spread good news!

We're friendmakers and movement builders. We see a better future, and we want to build it with you.

We know this space, and we know how to effectively lead in it. We helped create #BreakFreeFromPlastic - an international movement of more than 1400 NGOs. We built a network of local government leaders throughout the US and Canada - and have helped to pass more than 100 laws now on the books. We formally advise the UN’s Environment Program on plastics strategies.

We've brought together thousands of business, non-profit and community leaders to solve big problems, and we know its going to take all of us to build something better.

Team

Erin Covey-Smith
Graphic Designer, Executive Assistant & Smooth Operator
Freeport, ME
Erin Covey-Smith
Graphic Designer, Executive Assistant & Smooth Operator

A graphic designer and writer with a fine arts background, Erin ardently believes in applying creative thinking to all realms to bring out unseen possibilities and potential solutions. She helps ensure the smooth flow of day-to-day operations that help keep UPSTREAM running while also contributing word and image power to UPSTREAM's stories. Besides living the mission of a throw-away free tomorrow, Erin loves running, cooking, and being outside whenever possible.

Brooking Gatewood
Podcast Host & Collaboration Maven
Los Angeles, CA
Brooking Gatewood
Podcast Host & Collaboration Maven

Brooking hosts UPSTREAM’s The Indisposable Podcast and guides our team on virtual collaboration and culture-building. She has worked on plastic pollution issues since 2016 as a facilitator and strategist. She has spent much of the last decade supporting collaborative leadership for many ambitious change efforts - from saving monarch butterflies to curbing diabetes. In her spare time, Brooking can be found writing and performing poetry, or hosting community-connection events in her local LA neighborhood.

Miriam Gordon
Indisposable Communities Director
San Francisco, CA
Miriam Gordon
Indisposable Communities Director

Miriam has had a life-long interest tackling waste and toxics issues to make the world a better place. Previously, she was the California Director of Clean Water Action between 2008 and 2016, where she launched ReThink Disposable, a program that helps food service operations move to throw-away-free. She was a leading advocate helping the Clean Seas Coalition secure 150 local bag bans and 100 foam bans, and helped ban micro-beads in personal care products and secure the statewide bag ban victory in California. Working for the state, she authored the California Action Plan to Reduce Land-Based Discharges of Marine Debris and the California Marine Litter Reduction Strategy.

Eva Holman
Policy Coordinator & Organizing Guru
San Francisco, CA
Eva Holman
Policy Coordinator & Organizing Guru

Eva Holman is the co-founder of an San Francisco-based zero waste & plastic free business, Goods Holding Company, a long time volunteer for the SF Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and an Ambassador for 5 Gyres. She led the Rise Above Plastics Program for Surfrider SF, which looks for ways to reduce plastic pollution by finding alternatives to single use plastic, for 8 years. She has spent most of the last decade focused on finding alternative solutions for plastic straws, single use plastic cups and lids, plastic shotgun wads, plastic to go ware, single use plastic packaging and wrapping, plastic micro fibers, cigarette butts and more - and is dedicated to education and outreach in local schools and in SF neighborhoods.

Julie Lamy
Chief Friendmaker & COO
Nobleboro, ME
Julie Lamy
Chief Friendmaker & COO

Julie joins Matt to form UPSTREAM's management team. Whether she's out front making friends and building networks or behind the scenes making sure UPSTREAM is working like a smooth machine, she is an enthusiastic believer in a better way than throw-away. Julie brings 25+ years of experience with non-profits of all sizes, community problem solving skills, and a Peace Corps experience to UPSTREAM. And she plays frisbee year-round, outside....in Maine. No cabin fever here.

Lauren Moore
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
Portland, ME
Lauren Moore
Communications & Outreach Coordinator

A writer, editor, and activist, Lauren directs our flow of magic, management, social media, and special projects. As a leader of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic U.S. movement, Lauren connects change-makers working toward the same plastic-free future from fossil fuel extraction to ocean dumping.

Inder Nirwan
Lead Creative & Storyteller-in-Chief
Vancouver, BC
Inder Nirwan
Lead Creative & Storyteller-in-Chief

Inder coordinates and executes much of UPSTREAM's outbound marketing. His background in filmmaking and storytelling brings a special kind of flare to the way stories are shared throughout UPSTREAM's ecosystem.

Matt Prindiville
Imagineer & CEO
Rockport, ME
Matt Prindiville
Imagineer & CEO

Matt is a recognized thought leader within the plastic pollution community and advises the United Nations Environment Program on their plastic pollution strategies. He is one of the founders of the global Break Free from Plastic Movement and the founder of the Cradle2 Coalition and Make It Take It Campaign. He helped establish and advance the Electronics Takeback Coalition, the Multi-State Mercury Campaign, and the Safer Chemicals and Healthy Families Coalition. Matt has written for the Guardian, GreenBiz, and Sustainable Brands among other publications. He’s been featured in the Economist, the New York Times, on NPR’s 1A, Jack Johnson’s Smog of the Sea film, and consulted with 60 Minutes on their plastic pollution special.

Samantha Sommer
Director of Business Innovation
Alameda, CA
Samantha Sommer
Director of Business Innovation

Samantha brings close to 15 years of zero waste industry experience specializing in source reduction, business innovation, and culture change.  Before joining the UPSTREAM family, Samantha directed the award-winning ReThink Disposable campaign for the national non-profits, Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund. She oversaw the certification of hundreds of food service operations transitioning from single use to reusable food ware with measurable source reduction impacts.  In her role as Director of Business Innovation, Samantha will be working closely with our partner communities and businesses to disrupt disposability in food service and co-create conditions for reusable systems to thrive. She is developing a suite of services for our friends that need tools, training, consultation, and cost-benefit modeling to support their transition. Hailing from Los Angeles, Samantha now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Vanessa Tiongson
Marketing Director
New York, NY
Vanessa Tiongson
Marketing Director

With nearly 20 years of experience launching award-winning campaigns for several lifestyle and luxury brands, Vanessa joins the nonprofit world as UPSTREAM’s first ever, Marketing and Communications Director. Vanessa began her marketing career in the media/publishing world at Time Inc., overseeing customer retention for premier lifestyle and business publications including In Style, Real Simple, Health, Fortune and Money magazines. Most recently, Vanessa was USA Marketing Director at Air France-KLM where she spearheaded several marketing campaigns with a focus on the airlines’ environmental sustainability efforts. In her new role at UPSTREAM, Vanessa brings deep expertise in brand development, omni-channel marketing and public relations to our marketing and communications strategy. She will work to elevate the reuse narrative and support all of our programs in business innovation, policy and throw-away culture change. Vanessa lives on the Upper West Side of her hometown in New York City.


Erin Covey-Smith
Graphic Designer, Executive Assistant & Smooth Operator
Freeport, ME
Erin Covey-Smith
Graphic Designer, Executive Assistant & Smooth Operator

A graphic designer and writer with a fine arts background, Erin ardently believes in applying creative thinking to all realms to bring out unseen possibilities and potential solutions. She helps ensure the smooth flow of day-to-day operations that help keep UPSTREAM running while also contributing word and image power to UPSTREAM's stories. Besides living the mission of a throw-away free tomorrow, Erin loves running, cooking, and being outside whenever possible.

Brooking Gatewood
Podcast Host & Collaboration Maven
Los Angeles, CA
Brooking Gatewood
Podcast Host & Collaboration Maven

Brooking hosts UPSTREAM’s The Indisposable Podcast and guides our team on virtual collaboration and culture-building. She has worked on plastic pollution issues since 2016 as a facilitator and strategist. She has spent much of the last decade supporting collaborative leadership for many ambitious change efforts - from saving monarch butterflies to curbing diabetes. In her spare time, Brooking can be found writing and performing poetry, or hosting community-connection events in her local LA neighborhood.

Miriam Gordon
Indisposable Communities Director
San Francisco, CA
Miriam Gordon
Indisposable Communities Director

Miriam has had a life-long interest tackling waste and toxics issues to make the world a better place. Previously, she was the California Director of Clean Water Action between 2008 and 2016, where she launched ReThink Disposable, a program that helps food service operations move to throw-away-free. She was a leading advocate helping the Clean Seas Coalition secure 150 local bag bans and 100 foam bans, and helped ban micro-beads in personal care products and secure the statewide bag ban victory in California. Working for the state, she authored the California Action Plan to Reduce Land-Based Discharges of Marine Debris and the California Marine Litter Reduction Strategy.

Eva Holman
Policy Coordinator & Organizing Guru
San Francisco, CA
Eva Holman
Policy Coordinator & Organizing Guru

Eva Holman is the co-founder of an San Francisco-based zero waste & plastic free business, Goods Holding Company, a long time volunteer for the SF Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and an Ambassador for 5 Gyres. She led the Rise Above Plastics Program for Surfrider SF, which looks for ways to reduce plastic pollution by finding alternatives to single use plastic, for 8 years. She has spent most of the last decade focused on finding alternative solutions for plastic straws, single use plastic cups and lids, plastic shotgun wads, plastic to go ware, single use plastic packaging and wrapping, plastic micro fibers, cigarette butts and more - and is dedicated to education and outreach in local schools and in SF neighborhoods.

Julie Lamy
Chief Friendmaker & COO
Nobleboro, ME
Julie Lamy
Chief Friendmaker & COO

Julie joins Matt to form UPSTREAM's management team. Whether she's out front making friends and building networks or behind the scenes making sure UPSTREAM is working like a smooth machine, she is an enthusiastic believer in a better way than throw-away. Julie brings 25+ years of experience with non-profits of all sizes, community problem solving skills, and a Peace Corps experience to UPSTREAM. And she plays frisbee year-round, outside....in Maine. No cabin fever here.

Lauren Moore
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
Portland, ME
Lauren Moore
Communications & Outreach Coordinator

A writer, editor, and activist, Lauren directs our flow of magic, management, social media, and special projects. As a leader of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic U.S. movement, Lauren connects change-makers working toward the same plastic-free future from fossil fuel extraction to ocean dumping.

Inder Nirwan
Lead Creative & Storyteller-in-Chief
Vancouver, BC
Inder Nirwan
Lead Creative & Storyteller-in-Chief

Inder coordinates and executes much of UPSTREAM's outbound marketing. His background in filmmaking and storytelling brings a special kind of flare to the way stories are shared throughout UPSTREAM's ecosystem.

Matt Prindiville
Imagineer & CEO
Rockport, ME
Matt Prindiville
Imagineer & CEO

Matt is a recognized thought leader within the plastic pollution community and advises the United Nations Environment Program on their plastic pollution strategies. He is one of the founders of the global Break Free from Plastic Movement and the founder of the Cradle2 Coalition and Make It Take It Campaign. He helped establish and advance the Electronics Takeback Coalition, the Multi-State Mercury Campaign, and the Safer Chemicals and Healthy Families Coalition. Matt has written for the Guardian, GreenBiz, and Sustainable Brands among other publications. He’s been featured in the Economist, the New York Times, on NPR’s 1A, Jack Johnson’s Smog of the Sea film, and consulted with 60 Minutes on their plastic pollution special.

Samantha Sommer
Director of Business Innovation
Alameda, CA
Samantha Sommer
Director of Business Innovation

Samantha brings close to 15 years of zero waste industry experience specializing in source reduction, business innovation, and culture change.  Before joining the UPSTREAM family, Samantha directed the award-winning ReThink Disposable campaign for the national non-profits, Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund. She oversaw the certification of hundreds of food service operations transitioning from single use to reusable food ware with measurable source reduction impacts.  In her role as Director of Business Innovation, Samantha will be working closely with our partner communities and businesses to disrupt disposability in food service and co-create conditions for reusable systems to thrive. She is developing a suite of services for our friends that need tools, training, consultation, and cost-benefit modeling to support their transition. Hailing from Los Angeles, Samantha now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Vanessa Tiongson
Marketing Director
New York, NY
Vanessa Tiongson
Marketing Director

With nearly 20 years of experience launching award-winning campaigns for several lifestyle and luxury brands, Vanessa joins the nonprofit world as UPSTREAM’s first ever, Marketing and Communications Director. Vanessa began her marketing career in the media/publishing world at Time Inc., overseeing customer retention for premier lifestyle and business publications including In Style, Real Simple, Health, Fortune and Money magazines. Most recently, Vanessa was USA Marketing Director at Air France-KLM where she spearheaded several marketing campaigns with a focus on the airlines’ environmental sustainability efforts. In her new role at UPSTREAM, Vanessa brings deep expertise in brand development, omni-channel marketing and public relations to our marketing and communications strategy. She will work to elevate the reuse narrative and support all of our programs in business innovation, policy and throw-away culture change. Vanessa lives on the Upper West Side of her hometown in New York City.


Board

Dawn Erlandson
President
Minneapolis, MN
Dawn Erlandson
President

Dawn Erlandson is the founder and president of Aurora Strategic Advisors, a public affairs and communications consultancy.

Dawn has 20 years of sustainability, environmental, public affairs, communications, and executive experience in Washington, D.C. and Minnesota. Dawn leads comprehensive public affairs and marketing communications efforts for many national, state and local clients.

A social entrepreneur, Dawn launched two non-profit organizations focused on sustainable development – one in the Great Plains region and one nationally. Dawn served as Market Mechanisms Coordinator for the President’s Council on Sustainable Development under Bill Clinton and as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Donald W. Riegle (D-MI).

Clayton Kyle
Vice President
Portland, ME
Clayton Kyle
Vice President

Clayton Kyle has been active as both a venture capitalist and entrepreneur in the Portland, Maine area for nearly 30 years. In the mid '90s, he co-founded North Atlantic Ventures II, an equity investment firm focused on early stage companies. He subsequently partnered in the acquisition of several Maine companies and in 2005, was part of an investment team that purchased the technology and developed the business model for CLYNK (www.clynk.com), a unique, convenient bottle redemption and recycling service partnered with Hannaford supermarkets. He served as CLYNK’s CEO starting 2008, until his retirement in 2018. CLYNK now operates in nearly 100 Hannaford retail locations in Maine and New York and has licensed its patented technology for use in Oregon, Iowa and New Brunswick, CA. It was his experience in recycling innovation and a deeper understanding its challenges that inspired him to join Upstream’s important mission.

Steve Sherman
Treasurer
Berkeley, CA
Steve Sherman
Treasurer

Steven, resource economist/planner, is a leading technical and policy expert on the development of municipal organics programs; he has extensive board experience, too. His consulting, research, operations, policy, education and training efforts over a 30-year period have helped to lay the groundwork for food scraps management as a cornerstone of zero waste and advanced recycling efforts taken by local governments. Several of his clients, including San Francisco, Portland, EBMUD, and the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (“StopWaste.Org”), have won state and national awards for their leadership in organics management (e.g., composting, anaerobic digestion, plastics restrictions, landfill bans, mandatory source separation). Steven co-founded the California Organics Recycling Council in 1992. He has served in officer roles with the Alameda County Recycling Board, San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union, and Upstream. Steven earned a B.A. from Yale College and an M.S. in Resource Economics from Cornell University.

David Stitzhal
Secretary
Seattle, WA
David Stitzhal
Secretary

David is President of Full Circle Environmental, Inc., a resource conservation consulting firm he founded in 1993.  He is also the founding Coordinator of the Northwest Product Stewardship Council (of governments) for which he served fifteen years.  He currently serves as Board President of the National Stewardship Action Council, and is past Board President of the Washington Toxics Coalition (now Toxic Free Future).  David represented local government as one of the original stakeholders of the groundbreaking National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative, which tilled the soil for manufacturer responsibility for electronics in the U.S.  He also helped develop early local, state, and national policy for the take-back of unwanted medications, including the first-in-the-nation WA producer responsibility law mandating take-back by pharmaceutical companies.  His current work on manufacturer responsibility and EPR is focusing on packaging.  In light of Upstream’s deep policy roots, and its future-facing, exuberant focus on eliminating waste by advocating for reusables, David couldn’t be more excited to support this effective, ascending organization.  David holds a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University, and a double bachelors degree from Swarthmore College.  He can often be found wrestling with his ninety pound dog, or hiking with his family.

Mark Hays
Washington, DC
Mark Hays

Mark Hays is the Senior Director at the progressive lobbying firm Waxman Strategies. For nearly 15 years, he has conducted advocacy, research and campaign development work for a wide range of social change organizations, including Oxfam America, the Sierra Club, SEIU, Public Citizen, Greenpeace, NAACP, Corporate Accountability International, and more.

His work has been primarily focused on developing and implementing cutting-edge strategies to pressure corporations to end conduct that harms people and the planet and to empower people to enact local and global solutions that promote more robust corporate accountability, transparency, and sustainability.

Lauren Daniluk
Palo Alto, CA & NYC
Lauren Daniluk

Lauren Daniluk has worked in the nonprofit sector for her entire career.  First as a fundraiser for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, then as Director of Marketing & Public Relations for The New 42nd Street, and finally as the Executive Director of Armitage Gone! Dance.  In addition to raising her three children, she now consults with a focus on nonprofit arts and environmental organizations.


Jon Hinck
Portland, ME
Jon Hinck

Jon Hinck is an environmentalist, lawyer and politician. His environmental affiliations include cofounding Greenpeace USA in 1972, directing Greenpeace International, and acting as staff attorney for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine’s leading environmental advocacy group. Between 2006 and 2012, Jon served in the Maine legislature as a State Representative, and in 2013 was elected At-Large City Councilor for Portland, Maine. At NRCM, Jon worked to promote renewable energy, control mercury pollution and remove chemical hazards from Maine schools.

In 2004, he led a successful effort to enact a landmark electronic waste law that allows Mainers to turn in old computer monitors and TVs to be recycled in an environmentally sound manner at manufacturer, not taxpayer, expense. During his legal career, Jon successfully represented commercial fishermen after the Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill and, later, Maine well owners harmed by MTBE groundwater contamination. Jon is a 1990 graduate of the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California Berkeley, where he was an associate editor of and published in the California Law Review. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History in 1976 from the University of Pennsylvania.

Marion Hunt
New York City, NY
Marion Hunt

Marion remembers when smoking on airplanes was normal. Originally from Pennsylvania, Marion is a graduate of New York University and worked in California for 10 years in Motion Picture and Television, producing both documentaries and features, including Co-producing The Mighty Quinn for MGM and Voice of the Planet series for PBS and Turner Broadcasting.

For the last 25 years she has been focusing on environmental issues in philanthropy, looking especially for root cause solutions. She has been a Trustee of the Roy A Hunt Foundation for more than 40 years and is Program Officer for the Foundation’s environmental grant program, a program she helped develop.

Her interests are environmental health, climate change, and food systems with a keen interest in policy advancement. In addition to serving on the board of UPSTREAM, she also serves on the board of Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.  She formerly served on the board of Friends of the Earth for 14 years. She has been a member of Environmental Grantmakers for 20 years and has served on program committees. Marion has been a Zen and Yoga practitioner for 30 years.

Letise LaFeir
Washington, DC
Letise LaFeir

Letise LaFeir is a Program Officer at Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) where she develops, implements, and oversees projects for ocean, coasts, and fisheries programs. Before joining RLF, Letise was California Ocean Policy Manager at Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she helped advance the Aquarium’s ocean health goals. She has spent most of her career based in the Washington D.C. area, where she previously worked as a Policy Analyst and then National Outreach Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Prior to that, she was Director of Government Relations and Education Program Coordinator at the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and spent one year as a Sea Grant Fellow for now-retired Congressman Sam Farr (D-California). In addition, Letise is founder and co-owner of Upwelling Consulting, LLC. She has authored or co-authored several scientific publications and a book of poetry, she is a certified scuba diver (Advanced and Nitrox), and she has traveled to all seven continents. She serves or has served on multiple professional boards, including the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, EarthEcho International Board of Directors, and American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Executive Board. Letise is a graduate of Brown University, with a BS in Aquatic Biology and a BA in English (with Honors in Creative Writing). She received a PhD in Marine Biology from the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies.

Leslie Tamminen
Los Angeles, CA
Leslie Tamminen

Leslie Mintz Tamminen is a consultant for Seventh Generation Advisors, a nonprofit environmental organization in Santa Monica CA.

She is the Director of the Ocean Program, and in this capacity she facilitates the Clean Seas Coalition, a growing group of statewide environmentalists, scientists, students, and community leaders pushing California to strengthen laws reducing trash in California’s seas and on beaches.

Leslie is also a California Ocean Science Trustee. Formerly, Leslie was a special advisor to Lt. Governor John Garamendi and the Legislative Director and staff attorney for the environmental nonprofit organization Heal the Bay.