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Valerie holds an MSc in Sustainable Development from Utrecht University (Netherlands), and a BSc in Environmental Conservation Economics from the University of Alberta (Canada). Her master’s thesis compared New York City and Rotterdam, looking at the similarities and differences in how they address community resilience. Prior to joining C40, Valerie worked for Cordaid, an international disaster relief NGO based in the Hague. She managed Cordaid’s resilience and DRR programs in Kenya, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Vanesa is responsible for the administration and management of restricted fund grants, ensuring that compliance is met and robust systems and processes are in place. Vanesa was recently Finance and Operations Manager at Pro Bono Economics, a charity helping other charities to understand and improve their impact. Prior to this she was Finance and Operations controller at Trillion Fund, a loan based crowdfunding platform for renewable energy projects. She has also worked at IDOM, a global architectural and engineering consultancy firm, Quiet Revolution, a vertical axis wind turbine firm and Waste Watch, a sustainability charity. Vanesa holds a BSc (Hons) in Ecology, Conservation & Environment from York University and an MSc in Environmental Decision Making from the Open University.
Viola serves as Project Manager in C40’s UrbanShift team. She is responsible for many vital functions to support the tracking, coordination, budgeting, events and outcomes of C40’s participation in UrbanShift.
Before this role, Viola was the C40 Projects & Events Officer for the Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative (FSCI). She supported FSCI academies, forums, communication and knowledge management, and assisted cities in accessing vital finance to make their Climate Action Plans a reality. Previously, Viola worked with the C40 Measurement & Planning team as an intern.
Viola holds a Master in Sustainable Cities from King’s College London, where she focused her research on the benefits of urban nature on the human brain through neuroscience technology. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management.
Vivienne is C40’s part-time Reporting Accountant and will be supporting the Group Management Accountant and Finance and Grants Officer by providing monthly reports to external funders. She is ACCA qualified and has over twenty years’ experience in financial management and reporting. She has also worked as a finance and IT trainer, a job which took her to over thirty countries and involved a variety of corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations. Vivienne was Finance Manager at Turning Point (the UK’s largest drug and alcohol charity) and at Childline. She is also voluntary Treasurer for Friends of Coldfall Wood, a group that aims to preserve an ancient woodland in North London.
Wenwen Chen is Office Manager, leading the Beijing office’s registration and operation as well as supporting Chinese cities’s engagement in C40 China work. Prior to joining C40, Wenwen worked as a Program Operation Manager for Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. Wenwen has also served as Vice Director for the International Cooperation Department of the Dragon Design Foundation, where she led the World Green Design Award’s reform, arranged the World Green Design Forums, and developed a Sino-EU green technology collaboration. She has also worked for the first local Fair Trade organization in China. Wenwen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Ecology from South China Agriculture University and an International MBA from Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, including one semester in ESSEC Business School.
Wilberforce Chege serves as C40’s TUMI E-Bus Manager for Africa, India, and Indonesia. In this role, Wilberforce works to support the deployment of electric buses in emerging markets, ensuring readiness for 100,000 e-buses by 2025.
Prior to joining C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Wilberforce’s worked with GreenCape Sector Development Agency in South Africa as a Senior Energy Analyst and Sector Lead, working on providing technical assistance and advisory on Sustainable Mobility and Energy Storage to cities, local governments, municipalities, and private sector clients and SMMEs. His previous career roles have included Technical Director, Project Manager, and Civil and Transportation Engineer, delivering on projects across Africa, Europe, and the Americas. He is also the author of several publications in Electric Mobility and Sustainable Transportation.
Wilberforce holds a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Transport and a B.Sc. (Eng.) Civil Engineering degree from the University of Cape Town, with the research component conducted at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He is also a Master of Business Administration (MBA) candidate with Project Management specialisation at the University of Edinburgh Napier in Scotland, UK. Wilberforce is a Net Zero Accredited Professional (Carbon, Water, Waste, and Ecology) by the Green Building Council of South Africa and was shortlisted as the Graduate Engineer of the Year finalist by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) in 2020.
William serves as Declaration Manager for C40’s Green and Healthy Streets Declaration. In this role, William coordinates C40 support towards Green and Healthy Streets Declaration signatories and tracks the implementation of the Declaration in cities, helping to accelerate implementation and achieve effective, ambitious and measurable outcomes on decarbonising transport in cities.
Prior to his current role, William was Benefits Research Officer in the Knowledge and Learning Directorate, where he supported cities with making the case for climate action through demonstrating the wider social and economic benefits. He also supported on a number of additional research projects, including The Case for a Green and Just Recovery released by the C40 Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, and Coal-free Cities: The Health and Economic Case for a Clean Energy Revolution.
Ms. Ying Gao is the Head of Regional Coordination and Partnerships, China. She will take the lead to engage with Chinese cities, support the development and delivery of our China strategy and coordinate from both operation and city engagement perspective to build cross-team synergy to support C40 cities in China. Ying has over ten years of experience in the field of sustainable development, on government partnership development, project management and organizational operation. Prior to joining C40, she worked at Ellen Macarthur Foundation to lead the food initiative in China. She also worked for Chinese Foundation – the Qiaonyu Foundation as well as WWF China where she supported the CEO and Chief Conservation Officer in strategic partnerships development, strategy development, social impact investment, projects management and provided trainings on project management for both internal and external colleagues. She holds a Master’s degree from ESC Rennes School of Business. She is also a member of Conservation Coaches Network.
Yisum serves as the Workshop Project Officer for C40’s Global Initiatives team. She provides support in the effective and professional delivery of around 18 network workshops and side events per year. The workshops are mainly focused on sectoral-based initiatives, in particular: Adaptation, Waste & Water, Transportation, Buildings & Energy, Urban Planning & Development. Before joining C40, she worked in a variety of project management and business development within the policy, education and business sector. This includes coordinating multidisciplinary research projects at the Policy Institute at King’s, organising engagement events with policy stakeholders at Pearson and delivering executive education courses for international clients at LSE Enterprise. She was also placed on a volunteering scheme set up by the UK’s Department for International Development where she explored issues of climate change mitigation & adaptation, social wellbeing and sustainable urban development in Peru. Yisum holds an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London and a BSc in International Relations and History from the London School of Economics. She speaks English (fluent), Spanish (intermediate) and Mandarin (intermediate).
Yunqing serves as the Technical Manager of Climate Action Planning, China programme, providing technical advice and support to cities and consultants as well as reviewing technical outputs and developing knowledge products.
Prior to C40, Yunqing worked at GIZ as a technical advisor focusing on climate mitigation and adaptation at city level. She engaged in an urbanization project which aimed at improving energy efficiency in buildings and a project on climate risk and resilience which aimed at enhancing cities’ adaptation measures and risk transfer mechanism. Before that, her experience includes working at the International Energy Agency, collecting data for energy outlook and facilitating IEA’s engagement with China as well as working at a Chinese consulting firm as an industry analyst. Yunqing holds a master’s degree in urban governance and policy from Sciences Po Paris with a focus on urban energy systems.
Yuping Qiu is a Programme Officer, C40 China Buildings Programme, supporting the development and implementation of ambitious citywide building energy efficiency initiatives. Prior to joining C40, Yuping worked as an Advisor at the Danish Energy Agency, part of the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate, where she focused on collaboration with the Chinese government supporting UN sustainability goals. Based in the Department for Global Cooperation, Yuping was in charge of energy policy monitoring, report drafting and policy analysis. In addition, she brings experience from the Royal Danish Embassy in China, where she worked with consular affairs. Yuping holds a master’s degree in International Studies from Aarhus University, Denmark.
Zachary Tofias serves as the Director of the Food, Water and Waste Programme at C40. His work supports C40 cities transition towards regenerative resource management and reduce emissions through more sustainable consumption. The Programme is helping cities accelerate a worldwide transition to more effective urban water and municipal solid waste management, and the implementation of comprehensive solutions that reduce carbon emissions and increase resiliency throughout the urban food system. Zach has been with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group since 2007 in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative. Over the course of this time he has been City Director in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, created and led the Climate Positive Development Program, and most recently was the head of Urban Planning and Development. For over 10 years, Zach has been working around the world with leading cities and the private sector on developing locally relevant solutions for replicable models for sustainable city growth. Zach has a Master’s of Business Administration from Cornell University, and a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College.
Zarina serves as a Senior Manager for the Climate Action Planning Africa Programme, within the Measurement and Planning Team. In this role, she works with African cities to develop ambitious and robust long-term climate action plans that are compatible with the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Prior to this, Zarina worked as a C40 City Adviser to Durban, where she supported the City to develop their Climate Action Plan. Prior to joining C40, Zarina worked at the National Business Initiative (NBI) South Africa as a project manager for climate change mitigation, where she managed work on the CDP climate change and water programmes in South Africa. She also worked with companies to build capacity and provide best practice guidance on greenhouse gas reporting. Previously, Zarina worked as a Programme Officer for environmental, water and energy projects at the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), where she managed a low carbon cities project, focusing on the City of Durban. Zarina holds an MSc in Environmental Science and a BSc Honours in Environmental Management, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Zoe works on the Zero Emission Vehicles network and grant funded projects, working closely with the ZEV Programme Manager and the rest of the Transport and Urban Planning team. This involves managing webinars and workshops for the network, working with cities to identify priorities and challenges in terms of ZEVs, and developing grant-funded projects to assist cities on specific barriers.
Previously, Zoe managed communications and events for London-based refugee charity Breadwinners and ran a local non-profit sharing cheap, local vegetable boxes with the student community. She also holds a MA in Conflict, Security and Development, specialising in sustainable development and environmental migration, and a BA in English, both from the University of Exeter, UK.
Zoë Chafe serves as Technical Lead for Air Quality at C40. In this role, Zoe provides technical guidance on air quality across C40 and leads C40’s air quality technical assistance program. Zoë has deep experience at the intersections of air quality, climate change, and human health. She served as Chapter Scientist for the Human Health chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, and as a lead author of the Global Energy Assessment. As a consultant for the World Health Organization, she led a report on the air quality and health impacts of home heating with wood and coal. At the City of Oakland, California, she evaluated potential health and safety risks associated with the proposed handling of coal at a bulk commodities terminal. She also served on the research and communications staff of the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, DC.
Zoë holds a PhD (Energy and Resources) and MPH (Master of Public Health) from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Young Scientists Summer Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and the Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellowship in Sustainability at Cornell University.
Zoe Sprigings serves as Director of Business Planning and Reporting at C40. She is responsible for reviewing and reporting C40’s progress against its current business plan targets, and developing the new four-year Business Plan. She was previously Programme Director for Energy and Buildings at C40. Prior to joining C40, Zoe was a Senior Policy Adviser in the Department of Energy and Climate Change of the UK Government, where she worked in climate roles spanning parliamentary legislation, international finance and communications. Her non-executive experience includes Chair of the Board of Trustees for Medsin, a global health charity. She has been published in various academic journals and books on urban climate policy and the history of medicine. Zoe holds a Masters of Arts in Disasters, Adaptation and Development from King’s College London, and an undergraduate Masters of Arts in History from the University of Oxford (Coombs scholar, Somerville College).