Community Environmental Council Welcomes Laura Francis to Board of Directors; Michelle Weinman, Deborah Williams to Partnership Council

The Community Environmental Council (CEC) is pleased to announce the addition of a new member to its Board of Directors, which plays a vital role in the organization’s mission and leadership. The nonprofit is also welcoming two new members to its Partnership Council, a broad spectrum of community leaders who act as ambassadors to advocate, network, and promote on behalf of CEC.

Addition to CEC Board of Directors

Laura Francis has more than 25 years of experience in ocean and environmental science education and outreach through working at the National Park Service, National Marine Sanctuary System and as a teacher and environmental educator. She leads a variety of projects and programs including professional development for teachers and creating education and outreach materials for the public designed to increase ocean awareness and stewardship. Laura earned her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley in Zoology and her Masters at UC Santa Barbara in Deep Sea Biology. She is involved with Sustain SB, the Santa Barbara Women’s Fund and Social Venture Partners. She lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and son.


Additions to CEC Partnership Council 

Michelle Weinman is the firm administrator at Buynak, Fauver, Archbald and Spray, where she has been on staff for five years. She has long been passionate about the environmental movement, starting when she was the operations manager at a local wind power company. A longtime supporter of CEC, the Environmental Defense Center and Los Padres Forest Watch, she also volunteers as treasurer for the San Marcos High School Band and serves on the board of Strides for SMS, a local children’s non-profit. She lives in Santa Barbara with her partner, Jefferson Litten, and three active kids. The family enjoys hiking, swimming and attending school events, concerts and festivals together.

Deborah Williams has dedicated over 35 years to advancing environmental protection in Alaska, California, and the nation. Born and raised in California, Deborah received her B.A. from Pomona College and J.D. from Harvard Law School. Between 1981 and 1994, she practiced law and was also the Executive Director of the Alaska Consumer Advocacy Program and of the Alaska Lung Association. In 1994, Deborah was appointed by President Clinton to serve as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Interior for Alaska. Deborah later served as Executive Director of the Alaska Conservation Foundation. Deborah returned to California in 2016, and is now an Environmental Studies Lecturer at UCSB and a consultant with PlanetSolar, among other activities. Throughout her career, Deborah has served on many boards and commissions, including the Exxon Valdez Trustee Council, Trustees for Alaska, and Alaska Youth for Environmental Action. Deborah especially enjoys hiking, kayaking, backpacking, gardening, reading, watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.

About the Community Environmental Council (CEC)

Since 1970, CEC has led the Santa Barbara region – and at times California and the nation – in creative solutions to some of the toughest environmental problems. CEC pioneers real life solutions in areas with the most impact on climate change. Our programs provide pathways to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems, and reduction of single-use plastic. Find CEC on the web at and on and


Leave a Reply