Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea Appointed ICLEI USA Board Chair

ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI USA) announces today the appointment of Brigid Shea, Commissioner of Travis County, Texas, as Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors, which also welcomes new Board Member Meghna Tare, Director of Sustainability for University of Texas at Arlington.

“Local communities and governments are on the front lines in the battle to combat climate change. By working together, we can all benefit by sharing our experiences and best practices during this rapidly changing environment,” said Commissioner Brigid Shea, who had served six years as Board Member before assuming the role of Chair. “As Board Chair of ICLEI, I look forward to providing my colleagues around the country and the world with the tools and information they need to address the climate emergencies they are facing in their respective communities.”

“Commissioner Shea has been a leader in the environmental movement for decades, including working with ICLEI’s founders to advance local climate action in the 1990s,” said Angie Fyfe, Executive Director of ICLEI USA. “We are delighted that she has accepted this leadership role at this critical time for U.S. local and regional governments.”

ICLEI USA is the country office for ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability – the leading global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainability. The ICLEI USA Board of Directors are public and private sector leaders from across the country, including mayors and county executives representing diverse regions. The Board helps drive the organization strategically and ensures that ICLEI’s value to its local government members continues to meet and exceed expectations.

Commissioner Brigid Shea has served as elected Travis County Commissioner for Precinct 2 since 2014. She moved to the City of Austin, Texas, in 1988 to found the Texas chapter of Clean Water Action. Commissioner Shea served on the Austin City Council from 1993 to 1996, where she championed consumer, electoral, and environmental reforms. Commissioner Shea is the co-founder of Save Our Springs Alliance (SOS), Austin’s historic law to conserve Barton Springs, has been an advisor to LCRA, Seton, and the City of Austin.

Shea’s work won her the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Environmental Excellence Award. She is a 2001 graduate of Leadership Austin and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Clean Energy Council. Prior to her time in Texas, Shea worked as an award-winning journalist at NPR stations in Minnesota and Philadelphia. She is a native of North Dakota, has two sons, and is married to John Umphress, Green Building specialist with Austin Energy. 

In her role as Board Chair, Shea’s priority interests to address local sources of environmental pollution contributes to ICLEI’s 30th anniversary year, celebrated in 2020, by recalling the organization’s founding impetus in 1990, when a coalition of mayors convened at the United Nations Headquarters to display local leadership to address depletion of earth’s ozone layer.

Ms. Meghna Tare is the Chief Sustainability Officer for University of Texas at Arlington, where she leads institutional sustainability efforts in support of the UT Arlington 2020 Strategic Plan and has spearheaded the Regional Center of Expertise for Education in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in North Texas.

“The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that local governments are key stakeholders to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs,” said Meghna Tare. “There is a growing need for educational approaches to help address these challenge of balancing the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development using UN SDG as a framework. My  work at UT Arlington aligns with ICLEI’s vision to create solutions to sustainability challenges through multi sectoral dialogue, education,  and collective impact to bring policy to scale and advice on future action.”

Prior to joining the University, Tare was an environmental manager with the city of Dallas’ Office of Environmental Quality, where she worked on a variety of environmental projects related to climate change, air quality, green buildings, energy efficiency and outreach, community gardens, and environmental management systems. Tare is a Tedx Speaker, was featured as the Women in CSR by Triple Pundit, and awarded Women of the Decade in Corporate Social Responsibility by the Women Economic Forum.

The Board announcements come during an election year for ICLEI. Democratically governed by a Council of local leaders, ICLEI’s strategic vision is determined by the priority of its members, who elect a global ICLEI Council that serves for a three-year term.

Commissioner Brigid Shea and Meghna Tare serve on a Board comprised of fellow local leaders who represent cities, towns, and counties across the country, including Board Vice Chair Pam O’Connor, former Mayor of City of Santa Monica, Calif., and Board Treasurer Matthew Appelbaum, Former Mayor of City of Boulder, Colo.; Frank Cownie, Mayor of City of Des Moines, Iowa; David Driskell, Deputy Director for the Office of Planning and Community Development at City of Seattle, Wash.; Bill Peduto, Mayor of City of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Harvey Ruvin, Clerk of the Courts for Miami-Dade County, Fla.; and Dan Stiles, Founding Partner at Stiles.Legal and Senior Strategic Advisor and General Counsel to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and The Climate Reality Project.

About ICLEI USA

ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability is the leading global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in more than 100 countries, we support local governments to deliver their self-determined sustainability policy and drive local action for low-emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. Our members and team of experts work together through peer exchange, partnerships, and capacity building to create systemic change for urban sustainability.

ICLEI USA is the United States country office of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and the leading technical experts on greenhouse-gas emissions accounting, climate action, and resilience and sustainability planning. Along with our ClearPath tool for local greenhouse gas emissions accounting, we remain firmly positioned as the experts in the industry through our development of the U.S. Community Protocol for Accounting and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, the Local Government Operations Protocol, and the Recycling and Composting Protocol.

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