HomePrinceton PacketSustainable Princeton's new president brings a fresh view to the Board of...

Sustainable Princeton’s new president brings a fresh view to the Board of Trustees

Sustainable Princeton has a new face leading the environmental non-profit organization

Yamile Slebi, a corporate and securities lawyer, takes over as president from co-founder Matthew Wasserman.

Wasserman helped found the organization in 2012, according to Sustainable Princeton officials.

“We have earned that seat at the table as evidenced by the recent endorsement of the Climate Action Plan and the assignment of a council liaison to our board of directors. While I admit I’m a bit sad about stepping down at such a crucial juncture, I know our new executive committee, led by Yamile (Slebi), is immensely qualified to lead us into the future,” Wasserman said. “I look forward to seeing what they accomplish. And like any proud parent, I know they’ll do great things.”

Slebi had previously served as vice president on the board for the Princeton organization and joined in 2015. She said she would like to grow the organization’s outreach.

“I’d like for Sustainable Princeton to work more closely with local businesses, public schools, and other nonprofit organizations in town. In other words, I’d like to grow our institutional outreach for a greater impact,” Slebi said.

Sustainable Princeton’s mission is to develop and implement solutions that impact the environment.

Slebi began her support of organizations in the non-profit sector at FairTrade USA, where she worked with farmers around the world on market access, quality improvement, and capacity building.

Slebi highlights her work in both the corporate world and financial sector as assets to her new position.

“I am bringing both perspectives to the table, as well as my enthusiasm and the historical knowledge from my years with the organization,” Slebi said. “I’m also not a native to New Jersey or even to the U.S. so I bring my international background to Sustainable Princeton and the community.”

Slebi, a native of Colombia, joined the board in 2015 because she saw the organization’s potential to make a difference.

“I saw potential for the organization to grow and make change. I liked the idea of working with such a passionate group of people on such pivotal issues,” Slebi said. “While the community had made some progress on sustainability, I recognized that we had an opportunity to take it to the next level.”

For Slebi, her continued passion for the organization stems from Sustainable Princeton’s staff and the children the organization meets.

“Internally, I feel committed to our staff that continues to reach important milestones (for instance, the completion of Princeton’s Climate Action Plan or CAP). Globally, we are dealing with climate change and its effects and we can’t drop the ball on mitigation and resiliency,” Slebi said.  “But what truly inspires me is the children: an email by a 10-year-old asking to volunteer with us; a team of middle schoolers now working on an anti-idling campaign and community trash cleanups. That’s what keeps me motivated and fills me with hope.”

She pointed out that there is no Planet B.

“We can’t keep doing business as we have in the past. We need to change our approach to the resources we consume. For example, we need to build buildings that are more energy-efficient and to eliminate the model of a car per family member,” Slebi said. “Sustainable Princeton is there to help us push forward and will be vital to the creation of the vibrant, forward-thinking Princeton of the future.”

In addition to Slebi’s new role, Sustainable Princeton has two new members on its board in Steven Averbuch and David Hill.

Averbuch is a medical oncologist and pharmaceutical industry veteran, retired as Vice President and Head, Precision Medicine within the Translational Medicine Division of Research and Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Hill brings his experience of more than 25 years as an attorney working on energy and environmental matters.

“Sustainable Princeton is extremely fortunate to benefit from the skills and expertise of a top-notch Board. The addition of Steve Averbuch and David Hill will further strengthen our joint efforts,” said Molly Jones, the Executive Director of Sustainable Princeton. “Matt (Wasserman) has done an incredible job supporting the organization’s evolution, so it is bittersweet to see him shift from the role of President. Yet, we are excited by the fresh view and thinking that Yamile (Slebi) will bring to this position and to helping Sustainable Princeton realize its full potential.”

For more information about Sustainable Princeton, visit www.sustainableprinceton.org.

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