Meet our Team
Karen Crossley, Interim Executive Director
Raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Karen Crossley received her BA from Colby College in Maine majoring in Environmental Studies, MS in Botany from the University of Washington in Seattle, and landed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison seeking a PhD in Botany, but chose not to complete her degree. Karen worked for The Nature Conservancy for nearly ten years in Washington, Maine and Wisconsin. She received her Executive MBA from UW-Madison’s School of Business and worked at the University of Wisconsin Foundation for nearly seventeen years, first as lead development officer for the Business School and then for six years as vice president serving on the Foundation’s Senior Leadership Team, overseeing development efforts for the Business School, Law School, College of Engineering, Division of International Studies, and cluster of environmental units at UW, and helping grow major gift activity outside of the U.S. Karen served as Director of the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission/Dane Arts, for nearly six years, supporting her lifelong enjoyment and appreciation of arts and culture.
As an encore to her professional career, Karen was associated with UW-Madison's Morgridge Center for Public Service for five years, serving as Special Projects Director. She helped launch a sustainability focus area for the Center's Badger Volunteers program and The Philanthropy Lab course and program in partnership with UW's School of Human Ecology. Karen participated in the 2nd class of Leadership Greater Madison and her volunteer community involvements mostly relate to education, youth leadership development, and the environment. Madison residents for 30+ years, Karen and her husband have three adult children and enjoy athletic pursuits, outdoor adventures, and traveling together. Karen most recently served as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer, working on organizational capacity building with a local NGO, in Kutaisi, (Republic of) Georgia.
Jessie Lerner, Development & Partnerships
Jessie is always in motion. When Jessie joined Sustain Dane in November 2007, she was still working with the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona, trying to engage an appreciation in the outdoors in young children, and she would bike furiously between the two jobs. She hasn't slowed down since. Between 2008 and 2013, Jessie coordinating the MPowering Madison campaign, working one-on-one with local businesses, helping them go more sustainable. In 2013 she stepped up as Interim Director and in 2014 she became Executive Director. She previously worked in program development and environmental education at the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. Jessie earned a B.S. in zoology and psychology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Learn more about Jessie's story.
Gloria Castillo, Sustainable Communities Initiative
Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Gloria grew up surrounded by friendly people and beautiful landscapes nested in the Andes mountains, the Colombian Caribbean coast, the Plains and the tropical forest. Inspired by the ecological richness of her country, Gloria graduated from Javeriana University in Bogota with a B.S. in Ecology and later earned a Master's degree on Environment and Resources from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies with a certificate in Gender & Women’s studies from UW-Madison. Gloria’s professional experiences and interests focus on the intersection of sustainability, human rights, equity and community engagement. Before joining Sustain Dane, Gloria worked in the nonprofit sector in Colombia, Canada and the US on environmental conservation, gender and human rights, environmental education and community empowerment. Gloria loves spending her free time hiking, camping and drinking a good cup of coffee, especially when it is Colombian! Learn more about Gloria's story.
Tyler Logan, Operations Manager
Tyler is a relative newcomer to Madison, having moved here in 2013. Prior to Wisconsin he spent 4 years assisting in scientific research on carbon cycling in Arctic Sweden. Tyler has spent most of his career studying streams and lakes for the public sector, most recently at the Wisconsin DNR. He is excited to join Sustain Dane to apply his logistical and data management skills as our new Operations Manager. Tyler is looking forward to actively shaping the human environment instead of passively observing its interaction with nature.
Tyler has a B.S. in Conservation and Restoration Ecology from Utah State University. Having grown up in the U.S. Mountain West, he finds his new home of the Midwest to be inaccurately named. He thoroughly enjoys living here though. When not working, he can most often be found on the Yahara lakes and river, preferably on a sailboat, but also with a paddle or fishing pole in hand, or ice skates under feet.