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 joined the TCI team in Fall 2021 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

Senior Program Officer, True Costs Initiative

Joining TCI in 2017 as a Program Associate and Administrator, Nittaya brought to TCI insights and perspectives gained from over a decade of working directly with disadvantaged and marginalized communities on issues including youth development, impacts of dam construction, education, community engagement, racial and gender equity, and cross-cultural learning.

In her current role as Senior Program Officer, Nittaya continues to work alongside the Executive Director providing input on TCI’s strategies.  She manages our dynamic grants portfolio, prioritizes partner relationships, and leads the program team as we amplify the impact of our partners’ work.

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, community engagement, and racial equity.  During her time in RI Nittaya served on the Rhode Island LEP/ELL Advisory Council, Providence Human Relations Commission, and board 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/Lao, Thai, and English.

 

Loretta Taylor

Program Officer, True Costs Initiative

Loretta joined TCI in March 2022 as our Program Officer, working closely with the Senior Program Officer and Program Associate and Administrator to manage the organization’s grant portfolio, implement programmatic efforts, and build fruitful relationships with grantee partners.

Before joining the TCI team, she gained non-profit experience at organizations dedicated to supporting medium and small sized businesses through mentoring, providing resources to incarcerated teens in Mexico, and promoting ethical tech policy in the Global South.  Loretta attended Macalester College, graduating with a B.A. in Hispanic Studies.  She also has a M.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies from American University and an MPaff from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin.

Although born and raised in Philadelphia, Loretta has lived and worked in Mexico City, Mexico; Panama City, Panama; and Madrid, Spain.  During her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, singing, and walking.

Vashti Williams

Program Associate and Administrator, True Costs Initiative

Vashti joined 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 a minor in International Business from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

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