Board of Directors
Aaron Eske (Co-Chair)
Vice President, M+R
Aaron Eske is a Vice President at M+R where he supervises the media and marketing campaigns for nonprofits like Oxfam America, Greenpeace, GLAD, ASPCA, Center for the Prevention of Genocide, and the MacArthur Foundation. Prior to M+R, Aaron was the communications director at the Gates Foundation supported Global Action for Children and the press secretary for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). During his two years as a Marshall Scholar, he circled the world researching and writing a book about the global orphan crisis, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010.
Abby Reyes (Co-Chair)
Director, Sustainability Initiative, University of California, Irvine
As a program director at the Environmental Legal Assistance Center in Palawan, Philippines, Abby provided paralegal education and training to rural fishing and farming communities working to defend environmental and human rights. As the director of the U’wa Defense Project, she coordinated international solidarity support to the Colombian indigenous U’wa community in their resistance to oil exploitation. Abby completed her bachelor’s degree in human biology at Stanford University in 1995 and her JD at UC Berkeley Law in 2004. After clerking for the Honorable Richard A. Paez on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Abby served as a staff attorney at the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. In 2011, she joined the University of California, Irvine, as a sustainability researcher, and now directs the campus-wide Sustainability Initiative in the Office of Academic Initiatives. She volunteers on the Swatcha Ganga campaign to clean the Ganga River at Varanasi, India, and is an ambassador for the Pollination Project.
Stanley L. Corfman, MBA CPA (Treasurer)
Chief Financial Officer, Transitional Services for New York, Inc.
Stan has served the non-for-profit community in management, advisory and governance positions for over 35 years. After completing his MBA from Columbia, his evolving career took him to a number of arts and human service organizations, including the Directorship of the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, and included a period as Director of Services to Nonprofit Organizations for Price Waterhouse. It also included volunteer service as Member and as Chair of the AICPA’s Committee on Nonprofit Organizations and membership on Advisory Boards to Independent Sector, the Urban Institute, and the United Way of the USA. He has also served as Adjunct Professor of Accounting at Columbia University’s School of International Affairs and at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Development Manager, Rocky Mountain Institute
Prior to joining Rocky Mountain Institute, Lara was Regional Coordinator at Open Society Foundations where she managed program strategies and grantmaking in countries across Asia. Prior to OSF, she was Senior Research Coordinator at Johns Hopkins University. Over the years, she has founded and managed two international businesses providing strategic planning and grant evaluation for international organizations, businesses, and donors.
Co-Executive Director of the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense
Astrid Puentes, originally from Colombia, holds an LL.M. in Comparative Law from the University of Florida, a Masters in Environmental Law from the University of the Basque Country, and a J. D. from the University of Los Andes, Colombia. She is a Co-Executive Director of AIDA, the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense, responsible for the organization’s legal work in the Americas since 2003. She has worked from AIDA’s office in Mexico City since 2004, overseeing the team’s attorneys and the development and implementation of legal strategies. Astrid has significant experience with public interest litigation, especially in the field of human rights and the environment. She has worked with communities and organization on cases throughout the region including in Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Panamá, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and Canada. She is a highly regarded presenter and prolific author, providing critical legal analysis and strategic advice to communities, nations and international organizations. Astrid taught a new seminar on human rights and the environment in Latin America at American University over the summer of 2014. She is active in the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide and sits on the international advisory board for International Rivers.
Kate is a lawyer who practiced law in Illinois and Missouri from 1977 until her retirement in 2011 from the law firm of Korein Tillery LLC. She has served on a variety of non-profit boards, including Illinois College, the Illinois Bar Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois and the Crested Butte Center for the Arts in Crested Butte, Colorado. In addition to the ERI Board, she currently serves on the board of the Crested Butte Music Festival and is an Emerita Trustee of Illinois College. Pursuing her life-long interest in human rights and environmental issues, Ms. Tillery resumed her formal education in 2000, when she entered the International Affairs Program at Washington University, from which she earned a master’s degree in 2003. She has served as a pro-bono lawyer for Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation on fair housing issues and has written and lectured on the subject of the Alien Torts Claims Act and Sustainable Globalization. She is particularly interested in ERI’s schools in Thailand, where she has taught International Human Rights Law since 2006. Kate joined the ERI Board in June 2007.
CEO, Global Witness
Gillian Caldwell is based in London where she serves as the CEO of Global Witness, an organization that conducts investigations and advocacy surrounding natural resource extraction and related corruption and environmental and human rights abuse. Before joining Global Witness, Gillian spent five years consulting on strategic planning and organizational development with a range of clients from across the NGO, government, university, business and philanthropic sectors. She is experienced in advancing social justice and environmental campaigns in the United States and around the world and has managed all aspects of organizational growth, including fundraising, policy advocacy, online strategy and organizing, field operations and outreach, communications and multi-media production, operations, human resources and finances.
In 2010, Gillian completed three years as Campaign Director for the United States 1Sky campaign (now merged with 350.org), which she helped build from inception. She also served as the Executive Director of WITNESS, which uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses, and previously directed a global undercover investigation and global campaign on the Russian mafia’s involvement in trafficking women for forced prostitution, and produced and directed an influential documentary film which was televised internationally and helped spur policy changes worldwide.
Gillian is a recipient of numerous awards and honors for social entrepreneurship and leadership. She received her BA from Harvard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University, where she was recognized as a Public Interest Law Scholar. Gillian joined the board in June 2018.
The EarthRights Leadership Council was founded in 2014 to harness the energy, passion and perspectives of our supporters and fellow earth rights defenders. The Council brings together advocates, experts, and leaders in the human rights and environmental fields that have unique capabilities to support ERI’s organizational mission. Members serve in an advisory capacity, contributing their expertise and working to strengthen ERI’s effectiveness and expand our support networks.
Each Leadership Council member serves without terms for as long as the Council member and ERI consider the service mutually beneficial.
Senior Partner of Leigh Day
Martyn Day is the Senior Partner of Leigh Day, and specializes in international, environment and product liability claims, often as group actions. He heads a team of over 20 lawyers, representing claimants in cases against corporate and government bodies. He is well known for running many high profile and controversial cases, mostly on behalf of groups of claimants, both in this country and abroad. Martyn qualified in 1981 with Colombotti & Partners. He moved to Clifford & Co and then Bindman & Partners in 1981 and left to set up Leigh Day & Co in 1987. He is an Executive Committee Member of the Society of Labour Lawyers, a Director of Greenpeace Environmental Trust and a member of the Association of Professional Injury Lawyers. He is Co-Author of ‘Toxic Torts’, ‘Personal Injury Handbook’, ‘Multi-Party Actions’ and ‘Environmental Action: A Citizens Guide’. He regularly addresses lectures, seminars and the media on environmental issues. Martyn has consistently been ranked as leading lawyer in the two main legal directories for the last decade. In Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession 2012, Martyn is identified as a star individual and described as “without question one of the most knowledgeable and experienced environmental lawyers in the country.” He is also identified as “a real fighter for his clients – he is very shrewd and does it with great charm” and “very clever and very smart with the science.”
Clinical Professor of Law and the Clinical Director of HRP at Harvard Law School
Prior to joining Harvard Law School, Tyler was a founder and director of EarthRights International. Giannini spent a decade in Thailand with ERI conducting fact-finding investigations and groundbreaking corporate accountability litigation. He served as co-counsel in the landmark Doe v. Unocal case, a precedent-setting Alien Tort Statute (ATS) suit about the Yadana gas pipeline in Burma, which successfully settled in 2005. He is currently co-counsel in In re South African Apartheid Litigation, a major ATS case that seeks to hold multinationals liable for their support of human rights violations committed by the apartheid state. He is also co-counsel in Mamani v. Sanchez de Lozada, which brings claims against the former Bolivian president and defense minister related to a 2003 civilian massacre. Giannini has authored numerous amicus curiae briefs including, in 2010, two to the United States Supreme Court in Samantar v. Yousuf and Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman. He has authored numerous publications and reports and teaches in the fields of business and human rights, human rights and the environment, human rights in contemporary South Africa, human rights in Southeast Asia, and ATS litigation. Giannini holds graduate degrees in law and foreign policy from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of the law review. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar and speaks Thai.
Partner in Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman, LLP
Paul Hoffman is a civil and human rights lawyer based in Venice, California. He is a partner in the civil rights firm of Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris and Hoffman LLP. He is the former Legal Director of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and a former Chair of the Board of Amnesty International USA and Chair of Amnesty International’s International Executive Committee. He is the Director of the International Human Rights Litigation Clinic at the University of California at Irvine School of Law and has taught at several law schools including Stanford, UCLA and USC. He has argued numerous international human rights cases in U.S. courts including Sosa v Alvarez-Machain and Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum in the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also written extensively about civil and human rights issues.
President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
Ms. Kennedy’s life has been devoted to the vindication of equal justice, to the promotion and protection of basic rights, and to the preservation of the rule of law. She has worked on diverse human rights issues such as children’s rights, child labor, disappearances, indigenous land rights, judicial independence, freedom of expression, ethnic violence, impunity, and the environment. Ms. Kennedy established RFK Partners for Human Rights in 1986 to ensure the protection of rights codified under the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. RFK Partners provides an on going base of support to leading human rights defenders around the world. The Center uncovers and publicizes abuses such as torture, disappearances, repression of free speech and child labor; urges Congress and the U.S. administration to highlight human rights in foreign policy, supplies activists with the resources they need to advance their work and creates other programs to advance respect for human rights. She is also the Chair of the Amnesty International USA Leadership Council. Nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate, she serves on the board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace, Human Rights First, HealthEVillages and Inter- Press Service (Rome, Italy). She is the best-selling author of Being Catholic Now, Prominent Americans talk about Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning, and Speak Truth to Power; Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World. She is a member of the Massachusetts and District of Columbia bars and is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School.
Partner in M&H Capital Partners
Scott is a partner in M&H Capital Partners, a private investment firm focused on socially-conscious investments. He is also an independent management consultant specializing in start-up organizations and small non-profits. Previously, Scott held several senior management positions in a leading Internet consulting firm and was the founder of a successful information technology consulting firm. Scott started his career at Bank of Boston as a commercial loan officer in the area of acquisition finance. Currently he is active in several philanthropic initiatives including serving on the board of Courtney’s Foundation, a San Francisco-based foundation that he co-founded. Courtney’s focuses on funding unique approaches to solving environmental and human rights issues around the world. He also serves on the board of Our Children’s Earth, a maverick public charity which is recognized for its effectiveness in highly leveraged environmental justice campaigns and litigation, specializing in clean air issues.
Greenpeace International Executive Director
Born in South Africa, Kumi became involved in the country’s liberation struggle at the age of 15. As a result of his anti-apartheid activities, he was expelled from high school. He was very involved in neighbourhood organisation, youth work in his community, and mass mobilisations against the apartheid regime. In 1986, Kumi was arrested and charged for violating the state of emergency regulations. He went underground for one year before finally deciding to live in exile in England. During this time he was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford and earned a doctorate in political sociology. After Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, Kumi returned to South Africa to work on the legalisation of the African National Congress. During the democratic elections in 1994 he was the official spokesperson of the Independent Electoral Commission and directed the training of all electoral staff in the country. Kumi became the founding executive director of the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), an umbrella agency for the South African NGO community. Moved by the fact that South Africa has one of the highest rates of violence against women, Kumi organised the National Men’s March Against Violence on Women and Children in 1997. From 1998 to 2008, Kumi was the Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, which is dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. He was also the founding Chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) and also served as a board member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development. In 2003 Kumi was appointed by the former Secretary General of the United Nations to the Eminent Persons Panel on UN Civil Society Relations. More recently, he served as Chair of the civil society alliance ‘Global Campaign for Climate Action’ (GCCA), of which Greenpeace was a founding member.
Kavita N. Ramdas
Strategy Advisor, MADRE Speaks
Kavita N. Ramdas currently serves as a strategy advisor at MADRE Speaks, an organization that partners with and strengthens grassroots women’s organizations in war, disaster and their aftermath. She most recently served as senior advisor to the Ford Foundation’s president, Darren Walker, on global strategy, and as the representative of the Ford Foundation’s office in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where she oversaw all of the foundation’s grant making in the region. Her regional work focused on issues of equity, inclusion, economic fairness, freedom of expression, human rights, sexuality and reproductive health and rights, transparency and accountable governance, and sustainable development. Before joining the foundation in 2012, Kavita served as the founder and first executive director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship (PSE)—housed at the Centre for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. PSE brings global leaders in social innovation to share their expertise as practitioners with the academic community. From 1996 to 2010, Kavita served as president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, which grew under her leadership to become the world’s largest public foundation for women’s rights. During her tenure, the fund’s assets increased from $3 million to $21 million—giving women in more than 170 countries access to financial capital that fueled innovation and change.
In addition, Kavita has broadly promoted women’s human rights, social justice philanthropy and international development through her personal activism, writing, and membership and professional affiliations on the boards and advisory councils of a diverse array of organizations, including the Dalai Lama Fellows and the Women’s Public Service Leadership Program. She currently serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for India and is a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Kavita has a master’s degree in public affairs with a focus on international development from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in politics and international relations from Mount Holyoke and academic training from Delhi University.
Tom Van Dyck
Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor, Senior Consulting Group, RBC Wealth Management
Tom has been a leader in the field of socially-responsible investing since starting at Dean Witter in 1983. In 1987, he founded Progressive Asset Management (PAM), a firm dedicated to socially responsible investing. At PAM, Tom created the firm’s shareholder advocacy program. Joining Piper Jaffray in 1997, he developed an investment management consulting team, now called the SRI Wealth Management Group, which moved to RBC Wealth Management in 2006. Tom has authored numerous articles and studies on the economics of socially responsible investing. He has been actively involved in cleantech investing and was instrumental in developing Piper Jaffray’s Cleantech Ventures private equity fund of funds strategy. Throughout his career, he has worked to encourage major pension funds like CalPERS and CalSTRS to consider issues such as divestment from South Africa and environmental investment strategies. Tom is the founder of As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy foundation, and is active with environmental groups, including Rainforest Action Network, Baykeeper, Bioneers. He graduated from Duke University in 1980 with a B.A. in Political Science.