About Systems Thinking Marin
To raise awareness about, and adoption of, systems thinking in Marin County, in all sectors.
To help Marin County to become more conscious of itself (Theory U reference).
To promote great ideas that improve the quality of life for everyone in Marin County.
To raise the level of consciousness in our local systems (Theory U reference).
Welcome to this Systems Thinking Marin “About” web page. My name is Felicia Chavez, and I’m the founder of Systems Thinking Marin (STM). (You can read a bit about me in my bio further down this page.) In order to meet the mission and objectives of STM, the major project I / we are working on is promoting a systems thinking approach to local adoption and adaptation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of 2030. You can read more about that initiative here, which I am carrying out in conjunction with the local chapter of the United Nations Association, of which I’m a board member.
I’d like you to take two things away from this website.
One: clarity about importance of shifting our dominant default worldview here in Marin County from linear to cyclical; from short-term to long-term; from mono-cultural to multi-cultural; from an extractive economic system to a regenerative economic system.
Two: a clear idea of where to start, and how to help. If this last one is not clear to you after poking around, watching the Systems Thinking Mini-Course, and checking out the SDG initiative page, I am here to clarify next steps for you and / or your organization. (I do actually have very specific steps available.) Contact page.
The Systems Thinking Marin Team
I’m happy to say that I have two “Eagles” (Advisory Board members). One person, Tricia, is my co-founder, funder and friend. My second Eagle is Ann Blake (who supplied the idea for the alternative term for the Advisory Board). Ann has a great depth of experience in systems thinking, and she helps me think through decisions on a regular basis. Finally, my fiscal sponsor, Inquiring Systems Inc., provides insights and support as well.
Overview of Systems Thinking Marin.
Felicia I. Chavez
Felicia has been a resident of Marin County since 1995. She completed her B.A in Psychology at Dominican (1999), and a Green MBA (2007). Most recently she has earned a PhD in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her dissertation title is Sustainability and Spirituality: Common Threads and Common Threats. Felicia is a sustainability consultant, and is passionate about scientific literacy, direct spiritual experience, and a systems thinking approach to sustainability. As of June 2018, Felicia is president of the local chapter of the United Nations Association, Marin.
Felicia’s systems thinking training is varied. Whilst a student in the Green MBA program, Felicia first learned about the field from Bruce McKenzie, who calls his particular expertise “systemics.” Later as a PhD student, Felicia incorporated systems thinking into her dissertation, drawing largely from Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi’s The Systems View of Life, and later completed the Capra Course. Felicia has also completed the Presencing Institute’s Foundation Training (Theory U), and +Acumen’s Omidyar Group systems mapping training.
Felicia has worked with a variety of for-profit and non-profit entities, and is no stranger to public service. Her experience includes working for the California League of Conservation Voters, serving as the staff representative to the board for two years. From 2002-03 she was the Associate Director of the Marin Cancer Project, working with Judi Shills to establish a 501(c)(3), and to recruit 2,000 volunteers who knocked on 65,000 doors in Marin. She has also worked as a consultant to corporate clients, including Autodesk and Delta Dental, helping them to implement more sustainable practices. Recently, in addition to earning her PhD, Felicia has built websites, including LifeLikeHoney.net, and IntroductionToSustainability.com. Currently she volunteers with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL).
To learn more, visit www.feliciachavez.com.
i.e., “Advisory Board”
Eagles are an icon of far-sight and inspiration. Their perspective from high up enables them to offer laser-like insights that only they can offer. Not only can they see “something the size of a rabbit at more than three miles away” (Ref), but they can also see 360 degrees, and perceive a greater range of the color spectrum than us mere humans (Ref to a commercial site that nevertheless offers great insights on this topic).
* Thank you to Eagle Ann Blake for the inspiration to migrate from the generic “Advisory Board” title to something more inspirational.
Founding Advisory Board Member
Tricia has resided in Marin County since 2008. She is a long-time supporter of community groups and arts organization in Marin, Sonoma, and San Mateo County, and beyond. Tricia is a business owner and social entrepreneur, investor, and real estate manager. Tricia has worked to make her home in Mill Valley more sustainable with rainwater catchment, solar panels, and an electric vehicle. When Tricia is not participating in Systems Thinking Marin, she is perhaps spending time with her 90-year-old father who resides in San Rafael, hiking with her dog, Molly, tending her small farm in Healdsburg, or attending the Mill Valley Film Festival, which she also supports.
Advisory Board Member
Ann Blake, Ph.D., is an Environmental and Public Health consultant with over 25 years of experience finding safer alternatives to industrial chemicals in global manufacturing. Ann was born in Singapore and grew up in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, graduating from high school at the International School Bangkok. The systems worldview is key in Ann’s work, which spans creating criteria for environmentally preferable purchasing, ecolabels and product rating systems, to local, national and international chemicals policy reform, among a variety of other pursuits. She has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and neural development from the University of Oregon.
Ann has consulted with organizations such as the Garfield Foundation’s Cancer-Free Economy Network, the City of San Francisco’s Department of Environment, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Blue-Green Alliance, a national strategic partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations.
Dr. Blake is a member of the Green Ribbon Science Panel created by the California legislature to advise California EPA on the implementation of California’s Safer Consumer Product regulations. She currently co-chairs the board of Women’s Voices for the Earth in Missoula, Montana, and the board of the UC Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry.
Prior to consulting, Ann worked for the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control as a hazardous waste inspector and Pollution Prevention Coordinator.
Ann’s consulting company, Environmental & Public Health Consulting, is proud to be a certified B Corp and a 2015 and 2016 B Corp Best for the Environment awardee.
Ann’s career path was informed by her parent’s work at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). Her parents were also university professors, her father a professor of economics at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, Malaysia, and several other universities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. Her mother was a professor of sociology and social work at the National University of Singapore.
Ann came early to an awareness of community and worker impacts of manufacturing of consumer products while assisting her mother’s Ph.D. research on female electronics workers in the free-trade zone in Penang, Malaysia in the 1970s. She has continued this work with predominantly female immigrant populations in the US who take low barrier to entry employment (hotel room cleaning, house cleaning, garment cleaning, nail salons, etc.) that include disproportionate exposures to chemicals in the workplace.
Ann and her husband currently reside in Alameda, CA, and is active in local climate change mitigation and adaptation work, among other issue areas.