Yes, the climate is changing and so is HEAL Utah (but our changes aren’t a crisis). As you may have heard through the HEAL Utah Podcast or in the Salt Lake Tribune, two HEAL staff members are leaving this fall.
Our Development Director for the last 3 years, Hannah Whitney, is headed to Chile with her husband in October where they’ll be traveling for the remainder of the year and are hoping to find some volcanoes to ski. And, Michael Shea, our Senior Policy Associate for over three years, is moving on to become Salt Lake County’s first ever Environmental Services Manager.
They have both been rock stars and we are sad to see them go, but we are excited about these new opportunities and chapters in their lives!
So we obviously had some searching to do to fill Hannah and Michael’s shoes. And, no surprise, HEAL Utah continues to attract genuine people with a deep commitment, amazing skills, and broad experience.
Noah Miterko, Policy Associate
If you’ve volunteered with us, come to any of our community nights, or bumped into us as a local farmers’ market, you already know Noah! He started at HEAL as an intern and then became our Grassroots Organizer, a position he developed for HEAL and has been in for the last two-and-a-half years. He will now move into Michael’s old position and will join Jessica Reimer as one of our Policy Associates! He’ll be the lead for our energy and climate work and they will share responsibility for radioactive waste campaigns. So you’ll still see Noah at all our events and out in the community!
Carmen ValDez, Grassroots Organizer
With Noah moving to Policy Associate, we went looking for someone to take his place. And we are delighted to have found Carmen ValDez who will be joining us as our new Grassroots Organizer!
Carmen is a double University of Utah graduate, earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science with a minor in Campaign Management and then a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Global Enterprise. Her professional background includes political organizing in Washington D.C. and Utah, as well as local legal work at some of Salt Lake City’s most esteemed law firms. She is excited to work at HEAL Utah so she can activate more citizens to protect our state and the air, climate, and pristine places that we all love about it.
Outside of work, Carmen is still advocating for other causes she cares about. In the last three years, she has not only created the Women’s International Diplomacy Initiative but has volunteered, sat on the board of, and attended national conferences for four separate organizations working on issues like anti-genocide, conflict free sourcing, Latinx leadership, and developmental disabilities.
When she somehow finds spare time, Carmen is either at a concert or a campground with her two dogs and is even trying to visit all of the U.S. national parks in the next 2 years.
Turner Bitton, Development Director
We are thrilled to announce that Turner Bitton will be our new Development Director!
Turner has been passionate and invested in public service and advocacy for years. In fact, he ran for his local city council when he was only 22! Hailing from western Weber County, the farm he grew up on is dedicating some of its land to become a solar farm – so Turner is no stranger to the world of energy and environmental activism.
Prior to joining HEAL Utah, Turner has worked at a number of nonprofits ranging from Equality Utah to the YMCA. He most recently received a Certificate from Harvard Kennedy School in Applying Behavioral Insights to the Design of Public Policy.
Turner first became a supporter of HEAL Utah when he went to one of our presentations back in high school. He is excited to join a team that he describes as “small and mighty” (we sure are!) and looks forward to furthering our efforts to make a real, innovative impact.
When he’s not writing the commuter column for Cycling Utah magazine, you can still find Turner getting involved in local politics or attending a board meeting for one of the 10 – that’s right, 10! – nonprofit and community organization boards that he serves on.
Welcome to the team Turner!
Cynthia Chen, Fall Outreach and Research Intern
A Utah native who is now attending Rice University in Houston, TX, Cynthia is HEAL’s Fall Outreach and Research Intern! She will be assisting HEAL staff this semester with community events and helping to lead data-heavy policy research.
At Rice University, Cynthia is working towards her Bachelor of Arts in Computational and Applied Mathematics with a minor in Energy and Water Sustainability. She has also worked on local Utah Senate campaigns and conducted in-depth surveys for Texas-based firms.
Whether she’s in Texas or Utah, Cynthia spends her free time playing ultimate frisbee, boxing, running, dancing, and hiking!
Please join us at our 20th Anniversary Fall Party on Thursday, October 10th in the large event space at Publik Coffee on West Temple to meet these new staff members and say goodbye to those who are leaving! Stay tuned for tickets and more details next week!