Team

Conniel Malek

Executive Director, True Costs Initiative

As TCI’s founding Executive Director, Conniel drives strategies centered on promoting collaboration among communities, funders, and creative leaders.  This collaboration is integral to tip the balance so corporations are held accountable for and internalize the true environmental and human costs of their actions.  She is a proud daughter of the Caribbean and is particularly committed to advocating for the rights of people in oft overlooked parts of the globe as they pertain to climate justice and technical expertise.

Under her vision and leadership, TCI became one of the founding members of Funders Organized for Rights in the Global Economy (FORGE).  Currently, Conniel serves on the Board of Directors for Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Environmental Defender Law Center (EDLC), and EDGE Funders Alliance.  She was an Equity in Philanthropy Fellow with the Rockwood Leadership Institute and prior to TCI, Conniel practiced corporate law for a decade.  She also serves on several advisory boards for organizations committed to supporting systemic change and innovation in the human rights movement.

Conniel received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Government, with a concentration in International Relations, from Cornell University.  Conniel is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania.

 

Peggy Chu

Director of Operations, True Costs Initiative

Peggy recently joined the TCI team as the Director of Operations to help strengthen TCI’s operational and administrative infrastructure.  She has a deep respect, admiration, and appreciation for environmental and social services, and she is excited for the opportunity to support TCI’s work.

Peggy started out as a teacher, which cultivated her interest in social justice at the intersection of housing and education.  She worked for The Community Builders, an affordable housing nonprofit, where she managed the evaluation and operations for resident services.  Prior to joining TCI, Peggy worked at Boston Public Schools to support principals and teachers in ensuring that English Learners receive quality services.  Peggy holds a BBA from Emory University for Information Systems and Operations Management and an Ed.M. from Harvard University for Education Policy and Management.

 

Nittaya Saenbut

Program Officer, True Costs Initiative

In her current role as a Program Officer, Nittaya cultivates relationships with partners and allies in the field, manages TCI grantee partner portfolio, and provides input on program strategies to the Executive Director.

Nittaya brings to TCI insights and perspectives gained from over a decade of working directly with disadvantaged and marginalized communities on issues including youth development, multi-dimensional impact of dam construction, education, community engagement, racial and gender equity, and cross-cultural learning.

Prior to TCI, Nittaya worked as a program manager at the Center for Southeast Asians in Rhode Island, where she led a team to design and implement a multi-faceted program focused on family and community engagement and racial equity with the primary stakeholders being Southeast Asian immigrant and refugee families.  During her time in RI, Nittaya served on the Rhode Island LEP/ELL Advisory Council, Providence Human Relations Commission, and boards of directors for The Peace Flag Project and the Laotian Community Center of RI.

An Isan woman, Nittaya was born and raised in Isan Region, Thailand. She earned her B.A. in English and Communication from Ubonratchathani University and her M.A. in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University.  She is fluent in Isan, Thai, English, and Laotian (verbal).

 

Vashti Williams

Program Associate and Administrator, True Costs Initiative

Vashti is the newest addition to TCI, joining the team in 2021 as the Program Associate and Administrator.  In this role, she engages with TCI’s partners, serves as the organization’s administrator, coordinates and implements TCI’s communications, and supports the Executive Director and Program Officer.

Her passions lie in environmental justice and cultural competency, with a uniquely compassionate perspective that comes from years of animal activism, community volunteer work, education equity, and ecological research.

Before joining TCI, she worked as an administrative assistant and science teaching intern at Moorestown Friends School.  There, she introduced a citizen science project called the NASA Globe Program to promote environmental education; co-created a mentorship database for predominantly lower-income students and students of color to connect with graduates of the Camden Scholars Program; and was the lead chaperone to a group of students and administrators attending NAIS’s People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California.

Vashti received her B.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Society and International Business from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

Photo credits, in order: Liz Linder, lizlinder.com; Rachel Rodgers Photography; Cliff Mautner Photography