Hello. We’re Veda.

Veda is co-owned by two enthusiastic and dedicated professional women with over 40 years combined experience protecting natural resources. Hilary and Sarah formed Veda in 2008 out of both frustration and passion: frustration with the inefficiences of many environmental protection efforts, and passion for working more constructively.

Sarah Brace

Principal & Co-founder

Sarah is a science junky at heart, with passion for seeing the trees for the forest. Her background in botany, air quality and forest ecology led her though a circuitous route to her current role at Veda, where she helps connect science to decisions-makers.

Sarah’s current passions:

  • Preventing oil spills from happening
  • Translating jargon into everyday terms
  • Leading sticky conversations
  • Skiing, hiking, and basically doing anything outdoors
  • Tying science to action
  • Practicing German — Was ist los?
  • Raising Mason bees in her garden

Sarah earned her B.A. in Biology at Smith College, and M.S. in Forestry at the University of Washington.

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Sarah has an amazing grasp of complex scientific subjects and how to communicate them effectively to the public. She facilitates technical discussions among experts and arrives at the kernel of wisdom that lies within. Her passion for finding solutions is manifest through an energy to listen to polarized stakeholders and find value in all sources of input to a discussion.

- Doug Myers, Director of Science (former), People for Puget Sound

Hilary Wilkinson

Principal & Co-founder

Hilary is a middle child and a natural mediator. Fascinated by science and politics, she has a soft spot for critters great and small and found her true calling mediating and facilitating environmental disputes and processes.

Hilary’s current passions:

  • Addressing legacy pollution
  • Cleaning up derelict fishing gear
  • Helping environmental scientists parley their work into action and communicate with mere mortals
  • Kayaking, swimming, skiing, and backpacking

Hilary earned her B.A. in Political Science at Occidental College, and an M.S. in Environmental Science and a Masters in Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs

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The success of Hilary's facilitation skills comes from her extensive background in the science and policy of environmental issues and helping us plan and stage work sessions to achieve our goals. She was adept at listening, quickly processing input from the group, keeping us organized and on track while moving forward toward our goals.

- Mary Knackstedt, Executive Coordinator (former), San Juan MRC

Employees

Melanie del Rosario

Melanie del Rosario, a Junior Associate, is passionate about encouraging inclusive and scientifically informed policy processes to address environmental concerns.  A true people person, Melanie specializes in forging connections and encouraging dialogue to foster collaboration. She has over five years of experience in environmental restoration, community engagement, and education efforts. Her current passion is to encourage inclusive and scientifically informed policy processes to address environmental concerns, and thus she fits in well with the Veda team. Melanie earned a Masters in Environmental Studies at Western Washington University in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring all of the outdoor wonder this region has to offer. 

Marie Rothlisberger

Marie manages Veda's day-to-day office operations, she keeps our systems moving smoothly and supports our project work.   Her background in human resources and office administration is well suited for her role as Veda Administrative and Project Coordinator. She is passionate about nature and the environment, and spends most of her free time outside, skiing, hiking, backpacking, climbing and gardening.

Meet Veda's Partners

Veda is proud to work collaboratively with a talented team, including facilitators, research assistants, project support staff, and others.

Cathy Angell

Cathy Angell is a presentation coach and trainer with Cathy Angell Communications. For 18 years she developed and coordinated Washington State Ecology's Coastal Training Program, considered to be one of the most successful training programs in the country for coastal managers. Cathy saw, firsthand, how presentation and curriculum design could either make or break the effectiveness of a training. When she pursued her Master’s degree in Adult Learning, she incorporated her passion for effective science communication and teaching into a 2-day training class for environmental scientists and public officials. In a short time, this training catapulted into being one of the most popular classes in the course catalog. In 2015, Cathy received a communication award from NOAA that is given out each year in her honor. Cathy is delighted to partner with VEDA and bring her vision of effective communication to agencies and individuals in Washington and other states. 

Kim Rakow Bernier

Kim is an organizational and leadership development consultant who loves partnering with social purpose organizations to build capacity and align people, purpose and planning for impact. She brings a strength’s-based, collaborative approach to her work that centers on building capacity within organizations and the individuals and teams that give them life. Her early days as a Peace Corps volunteer teacher shaped her still evolving passion and interest in locally owned, and culturally appropriate community development. Kim’s strong suits are strategy development and facilitation and her work is informed from being a 20 year practitioner in the nonprofit sector in various roles in global philanthropy, environmental sustainability, global issues education, international exchange, and leadership development programs.

 

Nanda Guajardo

Nanda has managed environmental outreach programs for over 15 years in the Puget Sound region and is regularly sought after for her organizational skills, attention to detail, relationship-building, and creativity. In 2013, Nanda began collaborating with Veda; bringing her strengths to foster clear communication between government and neighbors, and ultimately, supporting environmentally-sound communities for all. She has often been called a “Connector,” someone who uses her unrivaled messaging and follow-through skills to link people with resources that will make an impact. 
Nanda’s strengths lie in her tremendous organizational skills, task tracking, constant team communication, clear messaging with public, writing, research, meeting coordination, and holding all pieces of large programs. She keeps things moving along and delivers top-notch products. Nanda is a facilitator, communicator, organizer, and natural manager.

Laura Todd

Laura has more than 25 years of experience in leadership development, coaching, facilitation and training in Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurial endeavors and non-profit organizations. Laura helps teams achieve goals by offering engaging and interactive retreats, expert facilitation, and transformative workshops.  She coaches leaders and their teams with a clear intention of focusing on strengths to bring more joy and heart to their work.  An adventurer at heart, Laura seeks to find deep connections that bring aliveness to both organizations and individuals. She has great capacity for being with, connecting to, listening deeply and creating safe and generative spaces for clients. 

When she is not working, you can find her engaged in her loves which include running, biking, SUPing, paddling, skiing, playing guitar, practicing yoga and caring for her community.

Lyn Wiltse

Lyn is the founder and president of PDSA Consulting, Inc. She has over 25 years of experience facilitating public meetings with diverse stakeholders who have conflicting interests. She believes that true consensus can unlock creative solutions that benefit all over the long term. Her consulting experience includes strategic planning, collaborative problem solving, team building, conflict resolution, and productivity initiatives in public and private sectors. Her style is highly energetic and infused with humor, creating a safe environment for considering new ideas.

Lyn has developed and presented interactive courses in the areas of leadership, process improvement, systems thinking, communication styles, facilitation, and teamwork. She also leads retreats in the areas of strategic planning, leadership, and teambuilding. She is dedicated to helping others discover better ways to work together.

Lyn co-authored the article “FERC Relicensing: Working Together to Determine the Best Use of a Public Resource” published in Hydro Review Magazine in 2011.

Fun Fact: Veda means “science” in Czech and “knowledge” or “wisdom” in Sanskrit.

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