Staff Directory

Welcome to the staff directory of Environmental Advocates NY, where you can connect with our passionate team of professionals dedicated to protecting New York’s air, land, water, and communities through advocacy, policy development, and grassroots action.

Administration

Vanessa Fajans-Turner

Executive Director

[email protected]
(518) 992-7206

Vanessa Fajans-Turner is a passionate environmentalist with a demonstrated history of working toward sustainable, systemic change.

Vanessa Fajans-Turner is a passionate environmentalist with a demonstrated history of working toward sustainable, systemic change. 

As Executive Director of BankFWD, she successfully put climate change at the top of the banking sector’s agenda, mobilizing billions of client dollars to to leverage unprecedented climate commitments from Wall Street. Her drive to create a lasting positive impact on the environment and future generations aligns seamlessly with the mission of EANY. 

She grew up in Central New York and has lived in the State for most of her life.

Pat Sterling

Pat Sterling

Finance Director

[email protected]
(518) 462-5526

Pat has been with Environmental Advocates NY since 1994 and is our most senior staff member. While her title is Finance Director, she also manages the office and our computer network.

Pat has been with Environmental Advocates NY since 1994 and is our most senior staff member. While her title is Finance Director, she also manages the office and our computer network.

Prior to joining EANY, Pat worked with National Development and Research Institutes Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on AIDS research, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

Pat grew up in Queens, NY, and in her teens moved to Greene County where she currently resides. She enjoys spending her free time gardening, camping and hiking.

Sarah Young

Sarah Young

Director of Individual Giving

[email protected]
(646) 716-1200

Sarah joined Environmental Advocates NY as the organization’s Director of Individual Giving in May 2011. Sarah’s role at EANY includes working with the Board of Trustees, major donors to the organization, and potential donors across the state of New York to encourage continued and increased financial support of our mission. Sarah works closely with our Advocate Award event committee to grow support for our annual gala in New York City in the fall.

Sarah joined Environmental Advocates NY as the organization’s Director of Individual Giving in May 2011.

Sarah’s role at EANY includes working with the Board of Trustees, major donors to the organization, and potential donors across the state of New York to encourage continued and increased financial support of our mission. Sarah works closely with our Advocate Award event committee to grow support for our annual gala in New York City in the fall.

Sarah is based in New York City.

Prior to joining Environmental Advocates NY, Sarah was the director of gift and estate planning at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and, previous to that, she was at the American Museum of Natural History, also working in the area of individual giving.

Sarah has a B.A. in history from Northwestern University. In her free time, she likes to hike, ski and chase her kids.

Marisa Tonelli

Junior Associate of Development

[email protected]
(518) 816-0025

Marisa joined Environmental Advocates NY in 2023 as a Junior Associate of Development. 

Marisa joined Environmental Advocates NY in 2023 as a Junior Associate of Development. Her primary responsibilities include tracking donations, corresponding with donors, and assisting with fundraising events, such as the annual Advocate Award Ceremony in New York City.

Marisa grew up in the Hudson Valley and graduated from the University at Albany in 2022 with a B.S. in human development and counselling psychology.

Policy & Government Affairs

Conor Bambrick

Conor Bambrick

Director of Policy

[email protected]
(518) 703-7553

Conor joined Environmental Advocates NY in 2013. As our Director of Climate Policy, he oversees policy development and advocacy efforts on issues related to climate change, air quality and energy policy.

Conor joined Environmental Advocates NY in 2013. As our Director of Climate Policy, he oversees policy development and advocacy efforts on issues related to climate change, air quality and energy policy.

Prior to joining EANY, Conor served as Legislative Director for New York State Assemblymember Kevin Cahill for several years. In that position, he was responsible for managing a legislative portfolio and budget priorities on behalf of Mr. Cahill, who was chair of the Energy Committee during that time. Conor was involved in the renewal of the power plant siting and state energy planning statutes; authorization of on-bill energy efficiency financing; expansion of net metering; and the enactment of the Green Jobs Green New York Program.

Conor has also worked for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) covering a wide range of issues including government transparency, higher education, consumer protection and energy and the environment. He is a graduate of the University at Albany, with a degree in political science.

Robert Hayes

Director of Clean Water

[email protected]
(518) 462-5526

Rob Hayes is the Director of Clean Water at Environmental Advocates NY. He joined the organization in May 2018 after graduating from the University of Chicago. Based in Albany, Rob lobbies for strong state-level legislation and regulations to protect clean water from source to tap. He leads numerous statewide advocacy coalitions and provides support to residents in communities directly impacted by water pollution, including Hoosick Falls and Newburgh. Recent coalition victories have included historic levels of state funding for water infrastructure upgrades and the establishment of nation-leading drinking water standards for toxic PFAS chemicals.

Adriana Ortega - Clean Water Associate at Environmental Advocates NY

Adriana Ortega

Clean Water Associate

[email protected]
(518) 462-5526

Adriana Ortega (she/her) joined Environmental Advocates NY as a Clean Water Associate in 2022. Her primary responsibilities include participating in coalitions, advocating in favor of EANY’s Clean Water goals at the State Legislature, and educating New Yorkers about the status of their drinking water via various engagement events.

Adriana previously held positions within several nonprofit organizations in New York State, including the American Council of Learned Societies, Make the Road New York, and Human Rights First. She graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2019 with a B.A. in Political Science. She is currently pursuing an M.P.A. from Pace University.

Sophie Patka

Climate & Legislative Associate

[email protected]
(518) 703-7528

Sophie joined EANY in 2022 as our Climate and Legislative Associate. 

Sophie has a background in renewable energy, electrification, and conservation. She received her Master’s in Public Administration and Environmental Policy from the University at Albany and is based in the Albany office. 

Communications

Brian Keegan

Director of Communications & Marketing

[email protected]
(518) 462-5526

Brian joined Environmental Advocates NY as the Director of Communications and Marketing in 2018. A strategic communicator with twenty years of experience spanning politics, government, and the think tank world, Brian oversees our communications/outreach efforts to diverse audiences including the media, elected officials, our membership, and the general public.

Brian joined Environmental Advocates NY as the Director of Communications and Marketing in 2018. A strategic communicator with twenty years of experience spanning politics, government, and the think tank world, Brian oversees our communications/outreach efforts to diverse audiences including the media, elected officials, our membership, and the general public.

Prior to joining EANY, Brian has held a variety of communication positions for the state of New York. He has also served as a communications officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington DC.

Brian received his Bachelor of Arts degree in theology from Villanova University. He lives in Hoosick Falls with his wife and son.