Board of Directors
Karen Blaney, Vice President
Karen is a sustainability professional with over 15 years of project management experience in operations, partnerships, and grants administration. She is Texan by birth and moved to Austin in 2007, where she first worked at the University of Texas at Austin. In July 2016, she joined regional energy efficiency partnership organization SPEER to launch a 2030 District for Austin. 2030 Districts focus on reducing energy and water consumption and transportation emissions in a city's urban business core. Karen has a MA from the Pennsylvania State University and a BA from Austin College in Sherman, TX.
Noel Radley, Secretary
Noel joined the board in 2015 and focuses primarily on board governance and communications. While she works in Austin as a communications project manager, for 10 years she had a previous life as a college educator, during which time she taught courses about sustainability and writing. In particular, her research focused on the way that language impacts the preservation or destruction of the ecology. Noel has a PhD in English and has taught at the University of Texas at Austin (her alma mater) and at Santa Clara University. Her interests include permaculture and eco-feminism. Noel loves hiking and camping with her young daughter and her partner in Texas, and beyond.
Karly Jo Dixon, Treasurer
Before Joining the Ecology Action Board of Directors in 2013, Karly Jo served as a Co-Director of Ecology Action and Financial Manager for seven years. She is a co-founder of the Central Texas Zero Waste Alliance and Treasure City Thrift in Austin Texas. Karly Jo has a JD from the University of Texas, School of Law and is an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Texas Fair Defense Project.
Suzanne Baker, BOARD MEMBER
Before joining Ecology Action in 2017, Suzanne organized the successful initiative to expand the Austin Community College district into Del Valle and Pflugerville, providing a savings of over 50% on college tuition to over 300 students per semester in those areas. She is a long time community advocate, activist and organizer who has spent her career supporting at-risk youth, low-income families, and veterans. For the last 18 years, Suzanne has worked collaboratively to create opportunities and to develop targeted career pathways for central Texans through support networks and recruitment pipelines. Suzanne earned a B.S. in Applied Science from Texas State University. She is a Certified Public Manager and is a member of The National Career Development Association. She has also served as Co-chair to the Community Advisory Committee of ACC Riverside and Round Rock campuses. Her interests include organic farming and enjoying being a new grandmother.
Alex Canalini, Board Member
Alex Canalini began his life in the rich, earth-reverent heritage of his native Peru. His personal mission is the pursuit and implementation of reconnecting humans with nature, and assisting in programs that seek to restore balance to the human experience and Earth through sustainable living, biophilic designs, and symbiotic harmony. Currently based in Austin, Texas, he continues to infuse his life’s work with these intentions, beginning on the local level with his own construction company, Southstone Development Group, and tirelessly building resources toward assisting global harmony. His deep indigenous roots nourish his passion, and he is honored to be part of the structural system guiding the new frontier of Ecology Action.
Emily Maker, Board Member
Emily first moved to Austin in 2005 with her then one-year-old daughter, Allison, and has since used the city as a semi-permanent home-base for traveling. Trips that last for a couple of months at a time, and have ranged in location from Washington D.C. and the Big Island of Hawai'i, to Oklahoma City and New Orleans. These trips have taught her a lot about being flexible, dedicated and resourceful which have paid off in her new position at Habitat Suites as Head of Sustainability and Front Office Manager. Emily discovered Ecology Action while doing sustainability research for work, and immediately wanted to get involved. The idea of creating opportunities for a more just society by working to plan the respectful use of space is a passion that has always inspired Emily, though she is only now learning of how deep it lies and how far it will take her.