Our Team

The Living the Next Economy (LNE) Bay Area Collaborative is a collective of individuals, community organizations, and social entrepreneurs working to lift up socially just, ecologically sustainable economic solutions. We host events, support local initiatives, and cultivate gathering spaces for people to share ideas, forge mutual support networks, and elevate solutions in ways that build vibrant local economies that work for all.*

In 2016, the following individuals and organizations have come together to co-organize the Living the Next Economy Convergence in Oakland, October 21-23 at Oakstop:


Alli Chagi-Starr, Starr Consulting

Alli Chagi-Starr is the founder of Starr Consulting. Recently, she also served as director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economy’s Local Economy Fellowship program. She has worked with national and community leaders to amplify the impact of campaigns and events for social and environmental transformation. Chagi-Starr supported the launch of the green jobs movement at Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC) and then Green For All, where she served as the Green Business Partnerships Manager and the Sr. Community Engagement Strategist. She is also an MBA candidate in the socially responsible business program at Mills College.

Rani Croager, Uptima Business Bootcamp

Rani Croager is co-founder of Uptima Business Bootcamp, a member-owned business accelerator based in Oakland. Uptima supports entrepreneurs in launching, going to market, funding and scaling their businesses, and encourages them to think holistically about the role of their business in the community.

YaVette Holts, Cowrie Village & BAOBOB

YaVette Holts heads up Cowrie Village, a Berkeley/Oakland initiative that challenges our attitudes about money and our reflexive reliance on dollars as the be all to having our needs met. Cowrie Village is building tools to help the East Bay redefine its wealth with a few key projects: pop up, guerilla-style barter markets, called Barter to The People and Rootical Gathering, an old school gifting and investing circle with roots in traditional African sou sou. YaVette is also the founder of BAOBOB – the Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses, which helps boost Black-owned enterprise by keeping dollars recirculating in the local economy.

Desiré Johnson-Forté, BIZ Stoop & Downtown TAY

Desiré Johnson-Forté, 24, is an Oakland native and first generation graduate of the Mills College Class of 2013. She currently works as the program manager at Downtown TAY (Transitional Age Youth), a young adult resource center in the San Pablo corridor of Oakland. In between her full-time work and passion-oriented consulting, this high-opportunity youth brings her dreams to fruition. In 2015, she partook in the Youth Impact Hub as a fellow launching her premier social enterprise The BIZ Stoop. Desiré is an ARTivist, waging creativity in the face of divestment, using shared narrative to transform the possibilities society & culture have outlined for black youth. In 2016, she was awarded a Mental Health Achievement Award from the Mental Health Association of Alameda County.

Aaron Lehmer-Chang, Citizens Trade Campaign, Bay Localize & House Kombucha

Aaron Lehmer-Chang is an activist, writer, policy advocate, and social entrepreneur. He currently serves as California Director for the Citizens Trade Campaign.  He co-founded Rooted in Resilience (formerly Bay Localize), a local nonprofit working to build local community resilience, and serves on its Steering Committee. He also co-owns House Kombucha, a family-owned, local green business founded by his wife, Rana Lehmer-Chang. He has also worked for the Oakland Food Policy Council, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Circle of Life, and Earth Island Institute. His articles and commentaries have appeared in a wide range of media, including AlterNet, NPR, Resilience.org, the Earth Island Journal, the Oakland Tribune, Permaculture Activist, and the S.F. Bay Guardian. He currently lives in Oakland with Rana, their son Justice and daughter Shenandoah. He is an avid gardener, sci-fi geek, hiker, singer, and amateur astronomer.

Tom Llewellyn, Shareable

Tom Llewellyn is the organizing director at Shareable where he coordinates the global Sharing Cities Network, #MapJam, and #ShareFest campaigns in addition to co-editing the Shareable Guide to Sharing book series and presenting internationally about real, equitable sharing cities. Previously he was the Education and Activism Director for Sustainable Living Roadshow touring the U.S. producing eco events and actions which promoted environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Tara Marchant, Emerald Cities Oakland

Tara Marchant, Emerald Cities Oakland Director, brings over eight years of experience in energy efficiency policy and workforce development. She brings a collective effort to retrofitting large-scale buildings in Alameda County to be more energy efficient and produce family-wage jobs. Recently, Tara was appointed by to sit on the Alameda County East Bay Community Choice Energy Program as a Steering Committee member. She also served as program manager of the Greenlining Institute’s Green Assets Program (now the Environmental Equity program), working with advocates and elected officials to include communities of color and low-income communities in California’s green economy. She also holds a permaculture certificate from the Permaculture Design Institute.

Colin Miller, Rooted in Resilience & Local Clean Energy Alliance

Colin Miller serves as the co-director at Rooted in Resilience, which works to build socially just, climate-resilient communities. He also works as program manager with the Local Clean Energy Alliance. Colin has also worked as a bilingual teacher in East Oakland and at the Greenlining Institute, Urban Habitat and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights focused on advancing environmental, racial and economic justice and sustainability. He is also a skilled violinist, Brazil-ophile, and capoeira artist.

Susan Juniper Park, Economic Development Without Displacement Coalition

Susan Juniper Park is an activist working at the cross-section of ecological, economic and social justice. She is also involved in urban farming, healing work, and permaculture. She is a co-founding member of the Economic Development Without Displacement Coalition (EDWD), which is examining issues of gentrification. For the past few years, a deep curiosity about shifting the economic system has taken her on a stumbling journey with stints at a graduate sustainable business school (BGI), running a food justice economic project (Phat Beets Produce), working at a worker-owned coop, fundraising for a grassroots non-profit (Ruckus Society), experimenting with barter/gift/alternative economy, and novice attempts at self-sufficiency. She dreams of a justice-based, non-extractive and bio-regional economy that honors our great Mother and all her creatures.

Angela Sevin, Green Life

Angela Sevin is the director of The Green Life, a peer education class at San Quentin state prison. She has also served as co-director of Pathways to Resilience, an Alameda County Innovations in Re-entry project. Since the mid-’90s, she has worked to create educational environments inclusive of social change ideals and activist principles balanced with the pursuit of individual empowerment. Angela envisions a future where creativity and learning are nurtured in a way that integrates sustainable and regenerative ways of being.

Thuy Trang, Community Organizer

Thuy Trang is the only daughter in a family of four that immigrated from Viet-Nam in 1993. She came to Oakland by way of an Indonesian refugee camp and Louisiana. As an Oakland-based community organizer with more than a decade of experience locally and nationwide, she has worked in the vibrant Asian American social justice movement at the intersections of social, reproductive, environmental, and economic justice. In 2012, she co-founded the Nail Salon Women Greening Jobs and the Environment project, focused on strategies to support an alternative economy for and by the East Oakland nail salon community. The project works to reduce the harm from pollution stemming from the nail salon industry, and helps low-wage workers from low-income communities who are hit first and worst by climate change. Recently, she helped the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) organize at the state level on issues of climate change policy to engage leaders from the Asian American Pacific Islander communities.

Corrine Van Hook, Rooted in Resilience

Corrine Van Hook serves as the co-director at Rooted in Resilience, which works to build socially just, climate-resilient communities. She co-leads organizational management and development, and also manages communications and outreach. As a former IDEAL Scholar, she witnessed and continues to witness the compelling impact of investing in youth and disenfranchised communities so that leadership can reflect the real diversity it seeks to serve. She has developed her talents working with the Rockwood Leadership Institute, Greater New Beginnings Youth Services, and through contracting with various organizations. Corrine holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. She hopes to learn, educate, and urge communities to be more proactive in functioning within their environment so we can create and maintain sustainable futures.

* NOTE: Coordination of this year’s convergence has transitioned from Bay Bucks to the LNE Collaborative. Bay Bucks continues to be involved as an advisor, and the LNE Collaborative and its core organizing team has assumed the primary leadership and coordination of the event.

Advisory Group: