Sara Kendall, Interim Executive Director
Sara is a graduate of Middlebury College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. As Program Director, Sara coordinates WORC’s regional issue campaigns, as well as our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work. She has represented WORC in Washington, D.C., since 1994, monitoring Washington policy decisions that affect WORC’s members, activating our organizations and leaders, and leading issue campaigns. Sara has written and edited many WORC publications, including Uncertain Fortune, Law and Order in the Oil and Gas Fields, and Model Oil and Gas Laws, Regulations and Ordinances.
Kerri Nelson Wolenetz, Finance Director
Kerri joined the WORC staff in May 2002 as a college research intern on food safety and GM crop issues. She stayed on staff after graduation in 2003, to become WORC’s Development Director and coordinate joint fundraising for the WORC network. Today, Kerri provides administrative, HR, bookkeeping and financial management support to WORC and its fiscal projects and provides support to the grantmaking programs of WORC Education Project and its fiscal projects. Kerri is a graduate of Rocky Mountain College with a B.A. in English and Writing and is pursuing a B.S. in Accounting from Montana State University.
Leah Berry, Political Director
Leah Berry joined the WORC team in January 2020 leading the Grassroots Democracy Program and working closely with rural and Native voter projects across the region. She was born and raised in rural Central Montana and has a Bachelors of Arts in History and Political Science from Montana State University Billings. She began her start in political organizing with the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and joined the WORC network in 2016 when she was the Canvass Director for Northern Plains Resource Council and Montana Rural Voters. Most recently Leah worked to build power in Indigenous communities as Field Director and Development Director with Western Native Voice. Leah also serves on Forward Montana’s Board of Directors and is chair of the Forward Montana Voter Fund.
Rachel Zatterstrom, Leadership and Capacity Director
Rachel joined the WORC network as an organizer for Western Colorado Alliance in 2013 and worked on a variety of state and local campaigns. In 2017, she joined the WORC staff as a regional organizer. She served as WORC’s Training & Capacity Coordinator from January 2018 through May 2019 and transitioned into her role as WORC’s Leadership and Capacity Director in June 2019. Rachel is responsible for all aspects of WORC’s Leadership and Capacity building program including our regional trainings and events and works with WORC’s staff team to identify and deliver capacity-building assistance to WORC’s member groups. She also serves on WORC’s Management Team. Rachel is a passionate facilitator and trainer, dedicated to developing the leadership capacity and skills of people who want to work for positive social change in their community. She spent her formative years on her family’s ranch in Nucla, Colorado where she ate a lot of dirt and rarely came indoors.
Marvel Karch, Office Administrator and Donor Relations Coordinator
Marvel has been with WORC since September 1995. Not only does she keep the office running smoothly, she is lead on internal fundraising, donor support and stewardship and uses her 27+ years of logistics knowledge to do outside consulting for large meetings, which brings in extra revenue to WORC. Marvel also supplies support for accounting, training and communication work.
Eric Halstvedt, Regional Technology Coordinator
Eric joined the WORC staff in November 2013. He’s a fourth-generation Montanan with a B.A. in International Commerce & Spanish from Montana State University, and a B.S. in Information Systems from MSU-Billings. Eric has worked in the information technology field since 2000 when he went to work for Microsoft, and has used his technological knowledge in Montana’s non-profit community since 2004.
Michael Nelson, Washington DC Representative
Born and raised in Missoula, Montana, Michael attended the University of Montana and earned his BA in political science with a minor in international development studies. His passion for travel and regenerative agriculture propelled him to study abroad in Ifrane, Morocco, and farm in Bédarieux, France, as a WWOOF volunteer. As field manager for Forward Montana, Michael founded the first Full-Time Billings Field Office where he administered voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts to engage thousands of voters ages 18-35. Since joining WORC in October 2021, Michael can be found tracking legislation, Zooming with ally groups and members of congress, and connecting our member groups to their leaders in DC.
Sarah Hunkins, Washington DC Representative
Sarah joined the WORC team in October 2022 as a DC Representative. She is a graduate of Boston College where she studied Sociology and Environmental Studies. Sarah grew up as a military brat and has moved over 12 times, living in Japan, Germany, Canada, Egypt, and throughout the United States. Her obsession with all things outdoors translated into a devotion to protect the planet. She started her career in the Berkshires as an environmental educator, teaching under-resourced public school students about the resilience and beauty of our natural world. From there, Sarah worked as an environmental organizer with Green Corps where she ran campaigns around the country to promote renewable energy, hold corporations accountable, and protect wildlife. She is passionate about invigorating the masses to take action against inequities and upsetting the status quo to enable progress and change in this country. She is excited in her new role at WORC to help pass formative legislation, support member groups, and build powerful campaigns and coalitions.
Jessica Plance, Creative Content Producer
Jessica joined the WORC staff in March 2020. She is an environmental photojournalist from upstate New York. After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in photojournalism and environmental studies, she spent 4 years living and traveling around the west documenting conservation and research projects while advocating for the protection of public lands. Jessica produces photographs, articles, and videos for WORC’s Homegrown Stories, Homegrown Prosperity, and Living with Oil and Gas storytelling projects.
Eric Warren, Media Coordinator
Eric grew up in Billings, Montana, but has since lived all over the mountain west including northern Wyoming and Colorado’s western desert. He majored in photography at Northwest College and creative writing at the University of Montana. He combined his visual and storytelling skills for almost a decade as a documentary filmmaker focusing on the environment, education, and rural issues. Before joining WORC in 2018, he produced films for Western Native Voice and Northern Plains Resource Council, including Mixing Oil and Water, which screened at dozens of film festivals on three continents.
Click here for press inquiries.
David Wieland, Organizing & Training Coordinator
David joined the WORC Staff in January 2019, where he coordinates our organizing in oil and gas extraction communities. Before joining WORC, David organized youth for climate justice in Alaska, coordinated lobbying for higher education access in Washington, and led trail crews across the West. When not at work, he can be found exploring the Beartooth Mountains, organizing for racial justice, or perfecting one-pot meal recipes.
Briana Kerstein Bergeron, Development Coordinator
Briana joined the WORC staff in her current position in February 2020. Until 2016, she was the Campaign Director for the Western Coalfield Alliance, a coalition which included WORC, Northern Plains, Powder River Basin Resource Council, and other regional and national partners. Prior to returning to her hometown of Billings, Montana, Briana spent 7 years in New Orleans working with the Gulf Restoration Network. Briana assists with grant writing, compiling grant reports, and general external fundraising support. She is a graduate of Colorado College with a B.A. in Womens’ Studies.
Pat Sweeney, Senior Advisor
Pat served as WORC Executive Director from 1982 to 2014. He is a third generation Montanan and a graduate of the University of Montana in history. He has been a community organizer on natural resource and family farm agriculture issues in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain Region since 1972. He has served on numerous state and federal boards and commissions dealing with energy, mining, reclamation and water. He is a founder of Montana Conservation Voters, Montana Rural Voters and Montana Native Vote with campaign and field experience. He currently serves on the board of Big Sky 55+ as Treasurer and Managing Director of A Better Big Sky, a Montana donor table. As senior advisor, Pat focuses on special projects, civic engagement and voter participation programs, and fundraising.
Pat serves on the Board of Directors for the Bus Federation Civic Fund – national youth voter engagement programs, and Executive Committee for the Power Past Coal and Western Coalfield Alliance Campaigns. He is a founder of Montana Conservation Voters, Montana Rural Voters and Montana Native Vote with campaign and field experience. As senior advisor, Pat focuses on special projects, civic engagement and voter participation programs, and fundraising.
Kevin Williams, Senior Advisor
Kevin is a graduate of the University of Idaho with a Master of Science Degree in Forest Resources. He recently retired as a full-time employee after 35 years in the WORC network. Kevin held several positions in the WORC network including as a community organizer and then staff director for the Western Colorado Alliance. As a regional organizer for WORC, Kevin helped plan and win a number of issue campaigns in partnership with the member groups focused on oil and gas, clean energy and food safety issues. He was the lead organizer responsible for conducting an organizing assessment in eastern Oregon, which led to the formation of a new WORC member group, Oregon Rural Action. He also helped build the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils. During his tenure on the WORC staff he also provided assistance and support to WORC’s member groups in seven states, and helped design and facilitate countless trainings, workshops, conferences and meetings. In 2020, Kevin will provide advice and consultation on WORC’s Great Plains Organizing Project, which entails building two new WORC member groups in Nebraska and Kansas. Kevin and his spouse Brenda reside in Montrose, Colorado.
Never miss an opportunity to make the West a healthier and more sustainable place to call home.