WHO WE ARE
GCV Education Fund Team
Brionte has spent her career training activists, advancing equity and inclusion in the environmental movement, and organizing grassroots voters. She formerly served as the director of engagement at EcoDistricts, and before that, as the Georgia Sierra Club assistant director.
Brionte’s love of the Georgia environment grew from a striking moment in her childhood:
“When I was ten years old, my family and I got in our car and drove away from our military base in the hot, dry Mojave Desert to start a new life in Warner Robins Georgia. I will never forget waking up in the car after four long days of travel and being blown away by the view outside of my window of Georgia’s thick, green forests blanketing the landscape as far as the eye could see. Before that moment, I had only seen so many trees in textbooks. It was this experience that ignited a fire in me to love, explore and protect the environment.”
HR and Operations Manager
Hello, my name is Georgia Milteer and I was born in Honolulu, HI. Being a military child, we moved to Georgia when I was 3. We lived in Valdosta, GA for 5 years before moving to Warner Robins, GA. When I graduated from high school in 2010, I moved up to Atlanta and have lived here ever since. Since graduating from Park University in 2016 with my BA in Administrative Science: Management, I have spent 5 years of my career working in administrative roles for different companies.
My love for the Georgia environment began at a young age. My most vivid memories stem from my childhood. My grandparents were school teachers who would visit every summer and Christmas. During the summers, we would visit several places in Georgia such as Ocmulgee Mounds National Park, Okefenokee Swamp, High Falls State Park and the Callaway Gardens, to name a few. My grandfather was a science teacher so many of the trips were lessons about nature. He also would stress the importance of why we should protect and take care of nature. The beauty of these sites always left me in awe, and I developed a great appreciation for nature.
I want to use my professional experiences as well as her personal ones to help the GCV team succeed in promoting conservation and equity for all.
From a young age, Sara has been fascinated with government and politics. As an intern during the 2009 Georgia General Assembly legislative session, Sara caught the excitement and has remained a strong advocate for the people ever since.
In 2012, Sara joined the Georgia House Democratic Caucus as their Legislative Director and went on to also run candidate and issue based campaigns to help engage voters in a grassroots way. During her time with both Feminist Women’s Health Center and the City of Atlanta, Sara continued to work at the state Capitol as a lobbyist and mentor for nonprofit policy advocates. After spending a year working political campaigns at the senate and presidential levels, Sara returned to issue advocacy by becoming Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia. In this role, Sara championed democracy and ethics issues across the state using robust grassroots education campaigns as well as effective media strategies to pass voting machine legislation that led to Georgia adopting a paper ballot voting system.
Throughout her time with Common Cause Georgia, Sara worked to educate voters across the state on a myriad of democracy issues. She incorporated both citizen and professional lobbying to move the needle forward on ethics issues as well. Sara spent time traveling the state to help cities develop and maintain strong ethics programs within their local governments.
For the past few years, Sara has been working with America Votes to help ensure one of the largest voter turnouts in Georgia history in 2020 and 2021. As Program Director, Sara worked with over 60 nonprofit organizations to plan, fundraise, and execute their voter turnout and lobbying campaigns. With over 25 million doors knocked during the 2020 general election alone, Sara and the AV team were instrumental in ensuring every program was successful in reaching its goals.
Sara has both a BS and an MA in Political Science and enjoys hanging out with her three daughters, gardening, and teaching part-time at Clayton Stare University.
Michael Hawthorne Jr. is an experienced political campaigner and clean energy advocate who brings decades of environmental organizing and policy experience. Michael is a coalition builder who has a knack for mobilizing diverse audiences and those unfamiliar with the clean energy movement. Michael has built successful campaigns that engaged Faith Leaders, Business Owners, and Communities of Color to secure clean energy policies that shifted from fossil fuels to renewable energy generation.
For a decade, Allie has advocated for progressive issues and candidates by building grassroots campaigns, training large teams of organizers, and working with diverse coalitions across the Southeast.
Allie fell in love with Atlanta’s green spaces at an early age, walking throughout forests in the city and later backpacking and camping in north Georgia. At the University of Georgia, she was introduced to the power of organizing when she joined a group of students to advocate for the shutdown of an outdated and dirty coal boiler on campus.
After college she spent seven years leading clean energy advocacy campaigns with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, successfully opening up access to solar power through a statewide Florida ballot campaign in 2016. Allie then made the pivot to support environmental champions in the 2020 election cycle, serving as the Field Director for Warren for President and Debbie for Congress.
When she’s not working on campaigns, Allie can be found cheering on her favorite Atlanta sports teams and exploring new hiking trails with her dog Tunji.
Christian Emile Dacus
Communications & Marketing Director
Christian Emile Dacus is a classically trained artist, specializing in digital design and photography. Christian graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and went on to work for some of the most prestigious and well known designers in New York’s thriving fashion industry. After leaving the fashion world in 2011, Dacus moved on the the Nightlife scene where he owned and operated several major New York City nightclubs and restaurants, before making his exit in 2014. Dacus now resides in Atlanta, GA where he lends his digital marketing and design services to nonprofit organizations to benefit marginalized communities.
Partnership & Coalition Manager
Sheknita Smith is a native of Macon-Bibb County. She is a servant leader with over 20 years of combined experience in community engagement, political advocacy, workforce development, and social services. Ms. Smith is known as a community activist and strategist who believes in ensuring that the voices of marginalized people are uplifted in every room.
Her heart for people is known throughout her community. Most recently, Ms. Smith served as the Regional Political Director for the Georgia gubernatorial race campaign covering Middle Georgia and South Metro Atlanta. Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor of Social Science Degree from Mercer University and a Master of Divinity from Mercer’s McAfee School of Theology. In her spare, she enjoys spending time with her eight beautiful grandchildren.
Alexis Greenblatt is a recent graduate of Emory University who is passionate about the intersection of voting rights and environmental advocacy. During her time at Emory she registered thousands of students to vote and was very involved with the school’s Fair Fight U and Young Democrats chapters. Originally from New Jersey, Alexis has fallen in love with Atlanta and Georgia in the last few years and can’t wait to continue to work towards a more progressive future and sustainable environment in the South.
In 2020, Alexis was the Communications Director for Connie DiCicco’s campaign for State House in Marietta. This campaign opened Alexis’s eyes to the world of local politics in Georgia, and showed her that we need to elect outstanding candidates all the way down the ballot to ensure that all Georgians can live in a clean, thriving environment.
In her free time, Alexis loves to go to Sofar Sounds concerts and be outside – she is especially passionate about chasing down a good sunset. She hopes her work will help to amplify GCV’s message to Georgians of all ages and backgrounds.
Government Affairs Manager
Atlanta Metro Native, Mia Delamar has led a career and lifestyle dedicated to scholarship and service. As a recent graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, TN, she began her pre-political journey as the Chair of Policy Review in the SGA. Throughout her matriculation at Belmont, Mia went on to become the second black Parliamentarian under the first black president of the SGA. From there she became an Organizer for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and an Organizer for the Democratic Party of Georgia. During these campaigns while helping to elect the President and two key Senators of Georgia, Mia found her passion for the political sector and striving to help constituents have their voice heard.
For the three years, where she first began as an intern, Mia has worked at The Delamar Firm LLC, a Metro-Atlanta area law firm which specializes in small business litigation, family law and estate planning, Mia served as Senior Legal Assistant to the Managing Attorney.
As a classically trained musician and dancer, commercially trained vocalist, Mia is a professional recording artist, writer and choreographer. She also is an actress who believes in the importance of The Arts. One of her mottos is to “Fail Forward”. She wants to prove that you can have a successful career in entertainment and also fight for causes you believe in that make a difference in people’s everyday lives.
Mia loves the beach and frequents one of Georgia’s close kept treasures, Tybee Island. She believes keeping the environment healthy and clean helps keep Georgia’s natural wonders beautiful for generations to come.
Deborah Opie is a passionate leader who uses ideation to engage communities, build faith-based partnerships, and communicate concepts. She is an AmeriCorps Alum who has served over 4000 hours as a volunteer in the Atlanta Public School System. She has spent two decades teaching transformational leadership to local community leaders and pastors in Kenya.
She has a BA in Political Science from Winston-Salem State University and attended Beulah Heights University as a Theological Student from 2012-2015. Deborah appreciates the opportunity to engage, equip, and empower communities through education.
Chassidy is a native of the metro Atlanta area. She moved to Savannah, GA in 2004 upon enrolling at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where she received her BFA in Historic Preservation, including a minor in Architecture, in 2008. Chassidy joined the Georgia Conservation Voters team in 2021 and serves as its Community Organizer.
Chassidy brings with her 10+ years of non-profit professional experience concentrated in organizational development, fundraising, marketing, strategic planning and volunteer program management. Chassidy is active within the Savannah community and serves on various boards and committees notably, Savannah Development and Renewal Authority (SDRA) and the Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association. She is a recent graduate of the 2020 Leadership Savannah Program.
Her extensive knowledge and appreciation of Georgia’s environmental and vernacular history; commitment to protecting the natural treasures of her home state; coupled with her excitement at building broad community alliances will aid in strengthening Georgia Conservation Voters statewide impact.
CiCi Arriaga is a proud daughter of Mexican immigrant parents. She fell in love with Georgia and its natural environment since she arrived in the United States at eight years old. Since graduating from college with a BA Writing and Communication from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, she has become an empathetic and dedicated Community Organizer with a deep passion for helping others and a strong determination to perform great work. CiCi is dedicated to empowering individuals and creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.
Her passion for organizing stems from her immigrant parents and the values instilled in her by their story: a deep sense of gratitude for the sacrifices made by countless others to afford us this moment, and an understanding that each of us are part of a deeply interconnected community. She believes that when people come together, rooted in these common values, we can transform established systems and build a better world.
CiCi is driven by the love of her family and friends, the vision of a new and different world, the inspiring victories won by people who come together to fight, and her love for avocados too.
Every day, she is motivated to fight for a better future, not just for herself or her family, but for all.
William Carnes was born in upstate New York, and soon relocated to Atlanta, GA with his family. He graduated with AP Honors from Cedar Grove High School in 2007. Shortly after, he started a professional career with an extensive background in HR, payroll, administration, operations, and non-profit. Prior to joining Georgia Conservation Voters, William worked for Georgia Council for Recovery, which is a non-profit focused on uplifting the voice of recovery. During his spare time, William loves to travel, attend concerts/local festivals, cook, and spend time with his loved ones. Currently, William resides in the city of Atlanta.
With a background in Education and a Marketing degree from Clemson University, Ashley Rodriguez is a seasoned professional with a knack for orchestrating engaging events and crafting captivating marketing content. She is committed to addressing environmental challenges and social inequities through her work at GCV. In her spare time she enjoys concerts and exploring new restaurants in Atlanta.