On Thursday, June 24, Climate Resolve held our 8th annual Coolest in LA gala—a fun and flashy evening that honors local climate leadership. We put together a cutting-edge hybrid event held on the grounds of the La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown LA as well as the virtual events and networking platform, Remo. 

Together with 300+ guests online and in-person at our sold out event, we enjoyed delicious food and drinks, a live performance, and as always, a “great room” . . . a who’s who of Los Angeles.

Climate Resolve celebrated recent big wins, like helping launch the State of California’s first-ever Partners Advancing Climate Equity (PACE) cohort to advance the impact of BIPOC climate leaders, and launching the second phase of our Southern California Resilience Initiative, . 

Following of-the-moment COVID safety guidelines, we are grateful to have provided the most comfortable and enjoyable experience possible for our generous supporters, while celebrating a better future together! 

Thank you for making this year’s gala the most successful one to date!! Until next year…


Alissa Walker is a writer and a walker in L.A. As the California correspondent for Curbed, she covers transportation, housing, and environmental policy affecting the region. She is also the co-host of LA Podcast, a weekly podcast covering news and issues facing the city. Alissa lives in Historic Filipinotown with her family and is a mom to L.A.'s two most enthusiastic public transit riders.

Alissa Walker



Wade Crowfoot was appointed California’s Natural Resources Secretary by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2019.


Secretary Crowfoot oversees an agency of 19,000 employees who protect and manage California’s natural resources. This includes the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, coast and ocean, fish and wildlife, and energy development. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on natural resources and environmental issues.


Secretary Crowfoot believes good natural resources management helps natural places thrive and allows communities and our economy to prosper. His key priorities include:

  • Building California’s resilience to climate change-driven threats, including wildfire, drought, flooding and sea-level rise.
  • Expanding access to parks, natural places and outdoor recreation for all Californians.
  • Preserving California’s world-renowned biodiversity of plants and animals.

Prior to leading the Natural Resources Agency, Crowfoot served as chief executive officer of the Water Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropy that builds shared water solutions across the American West. Before that Crowfoot served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Governor. He also previously served as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior environmental advisor to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.


Secretary Crowfoot received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996 and earned a master’s degree in public policy from the London School of Economics in 2004, graduating with honors.


A native of Michigan, Crowfoot grew up spending his summers outdoors at a YMCA camp and at his family’s remote cabin in Northern Ontario. Upon moving to California in the mid-1990s, he became an avid hiker and backpacker and marks his first time in the redwoods at Big Basin State Park as one of his defining California moments. Now he spends his time outside of work hiking and camping with his wife, Lisa, and their young daughter.

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Rudy Ortega, Jr. is the Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, a native sovereign nation of northern Los Angeles County. As the elected Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians (, President Ortega Jr. oversees the Tribe’s governmental body and manages affairs pertaining to the rights of all Fernandeño Tataviam tarahat (people).


He is a member of Siutcabit, the lineage of present-day Encino, CA. His ancestors come from the villages that originated in the geographical areas of Santa Clarita Valley, Simi Valley, and San Fernando Valley. His great-grandfather Antonio Maria Ortega, from whom he receives his role as tomiar, traditional leader, fought in Los Angeles Superior Court in the 19th century to preserve traditional lands and protect the Tribe’s title to Mexican land grants from encroaching Anglo-settlers. His father, the late Rudy Ortega Sr., served as the previous leader of the Tribe for over fifty years and was elected to the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission (LACCNAIC) in 1977. Following his father's leadership, Ortega Jr. was appointed to the LACCNAIC by Mayor James Hahn in 2004 and currently serves as Vice Chair.


From 2004 - 2018, Ortega Jr. served as the Executive Director of Pukúu Cultural Community Services (, the Tribe’s non-profit that serves the greater Los Angeles County American Indian community and manages Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center, located 14 miles up the Angeles Crest Highway (2) (


Currently, Ortega Jr. is a member of the Los Angeles River Master Plan Steering Committee, the Edison Consumer Advisory Panel Board, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr..

Dr. Robert Garcia is an educator and the 28th mayor of Long Beach. Mayor Garcia has taken a leadership role in economic development, sustainability, and investing in technology. He is focused on making the City of Long Beach a leader in education, economic development, and climate protection. As Mayor, he has championed progressive education policy, launched an aggressive climate plan, supported workers by increasing the minimum wage and fought to expand and protect rights for women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.


Mayor Garcia is also a college and university educator, holds an M.A. from the University of Southern California and an Ed.D. in Higher Education from Cal State Long Beach, where he also earned his B.A. in Communication. Mayor Garcia is married to Matthew Mendez Garcia, a professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach.

Dr. Garcia

Vice Mayor Rex Richardson is a city councilmember and regional leader, known for advocating for our most vulnerable communities and taking innovative approaches to address local government challenges.


Richardson represents the 9th District in North Long Beach and was recently re-elected to serve as Vice Mayor by the Long Beach City Council. In this capacity, Richardson has focused on equity and ensuring everyone, regardless of their background, has an opportunity to thrive. He is responsible for creating the City’s Office of Equity, establishing shelter capacity to address homelessness in the community, and leading the regionally recognized Framework for Reconciliation, an effort to acknowledge and address the impacts of systemic racism across the city. He also successfully led efforts to pass Measure US, a local tax on oil production to fund youth, community health, and climate action programs.


Regionally, Richardson is the Immediate Past President of the Southern California Association of Governments, the largest Metropolitan Planning Organization in America, representing 191 cities. Under his leadership SCAG established the Special Committee on Equity and Social Justice and approved the Connect SoCal Plan, a sustainable communities strategy that addresses future mobility and housing needs with environmental and public health goals.


Richardson is also a member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board of Directors. In his role with the board, Richardson serves on the Technology, Stationary Source, Ports, and Climate Change Committees.


Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, his wife, Dr. Nina Richardson, and two daughters, Alina and Mila, are residents of the Collins neighborhood in North Long Beach. 

Rex Richards_2@2x

With a relentless dedication to improving the lives of others, Nichol Whiteman serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the award-winning Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF). Under Nichol’s leadership, LADF tackles the most pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, health care, homelessness and social justice for all Angelenos. During Nichol’s tenure, LADF launched the incredibly impactful Dodgers RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), a youth development initiative serving more than 10,000 youth. The Spelman College alumna has cultivated partnerships resulting in more than $32 million in community investment in the form of direct programs and grant making, impacting over 2.3 million children.


A product of Nichol’s vision and unwavering dedication, the Los Angeles Dodgers is now the proud owner of an ESPY--having been named the 2020 ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. She also helped pave the way to LADF receiving the 2020 Beyond Sport Award for Reducing Racial Inequalities. Garnering attention from acclaimed journalists, she has been featured in outlets including Forbes Magazine, NBC’s CA Live, and the LA Times to name a few. With a firm belief that each person has the power to positively impact a life, Nichol's journey continues to be full of inspiration and hope as she fights for young people to realize their dreams. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband Timothy and two sons, Timothy Jr. and Nicholas.

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Now NRDC’S Western Director, Joel Reynolds has specialized in law reform litigation and advocacy since 1980, arguing cases on behalf of environmental and community organizations at all levels of the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.  


He has twice been selected California Attorney of the Year in the environmental category.  


He has successfully led several of NRDC’s largest campaigns, including to protect the gray whale birthing lagoon and World Heritage Site at Laguna San Ignacio in Baja California, to reduce ocean noise pollution, to protect the popular California State Park at San Onofre, and, most recently, to stop the Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska.


His work has been profiled in the New York Times best seller "War of the Whales" (Simon & Schuster 2014). In October 2017, he received an Emmy for Outstanding Nature Documentary for the film Sonic Sea.


For the past decade he has been a member of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.


He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1978.

Martin Adams is the General Manager and Chief Engineer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest publicly-owned utility. He took over the leadership role in July 2019 after three years as the agency’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the City’s water and power systems.


He leads an organization of more than 11,000 employees delivering water and power to the 4 million residents of Los Angeles. Mr. Adams has over 36 years of experience with at LADWP, where he started in 1984 as an entry level engineer in the Water System, eventually leading that organization as the Senior Assistant General Manager of Water. During the course of his career, Mr. Adams worked throughout the Water System and was directly involved with the planning and implementation of major changes to water storage, conveyance, and treatment facilities to meet new water quality regulations. He has spent almost half of his career in system operations, including ten years as the Director of Water Operations in charge of the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the Los Angeles water delivery system, including the Los Angeles Aqueduct and other supply sources, pump stations, reservoirs, water treatment, and management of Water System properties.


Mr. Adams is a native of the greater Los Angeles area and lives with his family in Burbank, where he served for nine years on that city’s Water and Power board. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.


Susana Reyes is the first Filipino-American appointed to the L.A. Board of Water and Power (LADWP) Commission and serve as its Vice President. Reyes is the CEO of AgilEngines, a management consulting firm. Her 32+ years of public service included stints as Director of LADWP Low-Income Access and as Senior Sustainability Analyst in the Office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Susana Reyes@2x



To become a partner of Coolest in LA this year, please contact:

Kristina von Hoffmann
Senior Operations Director
(213) 634-3790 X108