Meet our Speakers
US Representative Jayapal

U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal

A former Washington State Senator and a lifelong organizer for immigrant, civil, and human rights, Representative Pramila Jayapal was recently re-elected to Congress for a third term with more votes than any Member of the House of Representatives. In 2016, she became the first South Asian American woman ever elected to the House. She came to the United States alone at the age of 16, and went on to start the largest immigrant rights organization in Washington state before becoming one of only 14 immigrants serving in Congress today. As the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representative Jayapal is the lead sponsor of the Medicare for All Act, the College for All Act, the Housing is a Human Right Act, the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, and the Roadmap to Freedom immigration resolution. She currently serves on the Judiciary, Budget, and Education and Labor committees. Congresswoman Jayapal lives in West Seattle with her husband Steve.


Ali Zaidi

Ali Zaidi, Deputy National Climate Advisor & Deputy Assistant to the President

Ali Zaidi currently serves as Deputy National Climate Advisor and Deputy Assistant to the President.  In this role, he helps lead the White House Climate Policy Office, which is responsible for coordinating the policy-making process on domestic climate-policy issues; coordinating domestic climate-policy advice to the President; ensuring that domestic climate-policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President’s stated goals and that those goals are being effectively pursued; and monitoring implementation of the President’s domestic climate-policy agenda.  

Zaidi joined the Biden-Harris Administration after serving as the state of New York’s Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment and Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance, where he lead the state's efforts on climate change — driving investment into infrastructure and innovation, empowering workers and communities, and boosting economic and environmental resilience.  Zaidi also taught graduate courses on technology policy and studied the fiscal and financial impacts of climate change as an adjunct professor at Stanford University.  During that time, Zaidi also co-founded Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, a Stanford-coordinated initiative that equips sustainability-focused startups with pro bono legal services.


Donnel Baird

Donnel Baird, Founder & CEO of BlocPower

Donnel Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a climate tech startup based in Brooklyn. BlocPowers' tech platform analyzes, finances, and installs clean energy and building decarbonization upgrades in buildings in underserved communities. BlocPower creates jobs for qualified local low-income workers, energy savings for building owners, reduces carbon emissions and asthma rates, and provides financial returns to investors. In 2021, the company announced a historic partnership with Ithaca, New York to decarbonize 100% of the city’s buildings—the first such project in the United States.

BlocPower is backed by Kapor Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, theAmerican Family Institute for social and environmental impact, and Salesforce. Baird is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia Business School, where he was a recipient of the Board of Overseers Fellowship and a recipient of investment from the Lang Fund for Entrepreneurial Initiatives. He spent four years as a political and community organizer, and more than two years managing a national initiative to leverage American Reinvestment and Recovery Act energy efficiency investments in underserved communities. He sits on various boards including the New York Federal Reserve Bank Advisory Board. Baird lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.

Patience Malaba

Patience Malaba, Executive Director of Housing Development Consortium

For almost four years at Housing Development Consortium (HDC), and in increasing levels of responsibility, Patience has served as HDC’s Director of Government Relations and Policy. HDC is a nationally recognized and diverse network of organizations, government agencies, and businesses committed to producing, preserving, and increasing equitable access to affordable homes in King County, WA. Prior to that, she managed Seattle for Everyone, a broad coalition that was central to the success of Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). Previous positions also include work with Futurewise and the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 6.

Patience has been recognized for her leadership in addressing the intersecting crises of affordable housing, racial equity, and climate change and was the 2020 Bullitt Foundation Environmental Fellowship awardee. A powerful advocate for affordable homes and equitable communities, her efforts have advanced cross-sector partnerships that result in equitable access to affordable housing. A demonstrated commitment to housing access, equity, and community makes her the ideal person to guide HDC into the next phase of our leadership role in creating affordable housing for all people in King County.

Deepa Sivarajan

Deepa Sivarajan, Washington Clean Buildings Policy Manager at Climate Solutions

Deepa works to advance policies that will facilitate an equitable and just shift to clean energy in Washington. Deepa is passionate about ensuring that environmental justice communities are represented in local and state policy development and implementation. Prior to joining Climate Solutions, Deepa served as a project manager at the public engagement and communications firm EnviroIssues, working with local government agencies to involve communities in planning processes for transportation and urban planning projects. 

Join us for our event, Momentum in 2022: Embarking on a New Era of Climate Leadership on May 4, 2022. Click here for event information and registration links.

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