Building Healthy Communities from the Ground up

Welcoming CEJA’s Two New Directors!

CEJA is thrilled to welcome Katie Valenzuela, Political & Policy Director and Mad Stano, Program Director to CEJA!

Both Katie and Mad are highly talented advocates with deep experience working for environmental justice in California, including with CEJA member organizations. Their senior-level expertise will broaden our capacity and grow our leadership. They will work closely with CEJA’s Executive Director and Steering Committee as thought partners and in developing long-term strategy.

Please join us in welcoming Katie and Mad to CEJA!

Katie Valenzuela, Policy and Political Director

As Policy and Political Director, Katie will work to scale the power of the Alliance by advancing CEJA’s Building the EJ Voice in State Policy, Civic Engagement, and Electoral programs. As CEJA’s primary policy and political strategist, she will guide our team in developing and implementing an integrated, cohesive power-building strategy for systemic change through impact policy to improve the health and well-being of environmental justice communities.

Katie Valenzuela comes to CEJA with 10 years of public policy and environmental justice experience. She most recently served Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia in key roles, first as the principal consultant for the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change, and then as Capitol Director. A community organizer for 20 years and a proud resident of Sacramento since 2008, Katie helped start the Sacramento Urban Agriculture Coalition, was one of the first Sacramento representatives on California’s AB 32 Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, and is co-chair of the Sacramento Community Land Trust. Katie is passionate about racial and environmental justice, and spends a great deal of her personal and professional time helping elevate the voices of communities of color that are most impacted by climate change. Katie was born and raised in Oildale, California, and holds a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Community Development from U.C. Davis.

Contact Katie at: katie [at]

Mad Stano, Program Director

As Program Director, Mad will oversee, guide the direction of, and strengthen CEJA’s Energy Equity, Climate Justice, and Green Zones Programs. Mad will develop and advance the implementation of a broader framework and coordinate across program areas to increase cohesion and maximize effectiveness.

Mad Stano is a highly regarded attorney and public policy advocate with vast experience working for environmental justice in California. Mad started their legal career as an attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, where they worked with residents impacted by oil and gas pollution in the San Joaquin Valley through litigation, administrative advocacy, state and local policy work, organizing and storytelling. Mad recently completed two years working on energy equity issues through regulatory and state policy work at the Greenlining Institute in Oakland. Their work experience includes anti-discrimination, land use, climate change, extreme energy extraction, and a community-led just transition away from fossil fuels.

Mad has been published in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law with a piece on their former clients in the Native Village of Kivalina, Alaska and has appeared as a fracking legal expert on Al Jazeera America numerous times. Mad is also a lecturer on environmental justice at Berkeley Law. Mad was raised in Metro Detroit, and received their bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan Honors Program and JD from the George Washington University Law School.

Contact Mad at: mad [at]