Coaches will be guiding and supporting cohort members and their groups to meet their organizational goals. Get to know the great people who will be functioning as coaches here:

Debbie Lacy

Debbie Lacy is a consultant, facilitator, and certified life coach. She partners with individuals, work teams, and organizations to help them successfully pursue goals and navigate transitions. Debbie has over 20 years of experience that includes social psychology research, clinical social work, nonprofit management, community organizing, intercultural competency, group facilitation, and organizational leadership in equity efforts. Debbie holds a B.A. in Psychology from Wellesley College and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland.

Debbie is active in social justice and community building efforts. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition, which supports cities, institutions, and organizations in East King County, Washington to be safe and welcoming places for all. Debbie started the coalition in 2002 and has built a multi-sector, racially and ethnically diverse network of advocates who work together to institutionalize welcoming.



Ileana Méndez-Peñate

Ileana Méndez-Peñate is a queer femme Latina who has called New York City her home for the last 18 years. She is passionate about critical pedagogy and facilitation, building transformative leadership within communities of color, and ending violence in all forms. Ileana has worked within the youth liberation movement and anti-violence movement, and spent many years supporting intergenerational social justice spaces that center children and caregivers. She holds an LMSW  from the Silberman School of Social Work.


Laura Severinac

Laura Severinac is an activist, community organizer, facilitator and coach who is passionate about creating community spaces for transformative work to unfold. She is particularly interested in organizing events and workshops that strengthen our collective resiliency, knowledge and skills as we work towards social and environmental justice. An environmentalist at heart, Laura has spent most of her working life manifesting solutions alongside a wide network of grassroots organizers and leaders. In her early career she was active in campaigns for food security, human rights and environmental protection. She moved on to working with Greenpeace Canada, deepening her skills in campaigning, direct action, project management, film production, facilitation and team building. Laura is currently Director of Tools for Change, an organization offering skill development training for activists and change-makers with a focus on grassroots organizing, direct action and equity. As a coach, she is drawn to serve leaders, artists, change-makers and anyone seeking to approach life with authenticity, balance, purpose and personal impact. If you come across Laura, she will most likely be making or sharing delicious food while plotting and scheming for a better



Nicole Lee

Nicole Lee is a leadership coach, trainer and nationally recognized speaker and strategist who regularly consults with non profits, schools and businesses to improve their organizational climate for their workforce and all those that they serve. A former nonprofit leader, Nicole formerly served as the first female President of TransAfrica, the nation’s premier African American foreign affairs organization. She is a co-founder of the Black Movement Law Project (BMLP), a legal assistance organization that assists protesters involved in mass mobilization.

Nicole is a prolific speaker and commentator who has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and BBC. She has been recognized for her outstanding contributions in the private and public sectors through numerous awards, including Congressional Black Caucus, Running Starts “Women to Watch”, Black Women’s Roundtable TrailBlazer and Global Leadership and the National Newspapers Publishers Association’s Press Champion Award.




Valerie Costa

Valerie Costa is immersed in the world of 350 these days. She’s a member of the Support Team (the staff collective) of 350 Seattle. Valerie joined the organization three years ago, during the epic ShellNo fight, where hundreds of people on land and sea confronted Shell’s arctic drilling operation. She helped to build 350 Seattle into a vibrant and politically powerful organization with a 30 person leadership team, thousands of supporters, and a 300K budget. Valerie loves organizational development, non-hierarchical structures, fundraising strategy, mass mobilizations, and distributed organizing strategy.

Through her consulting business, Valerie also has worked with 350 groups around the country to develop and implement successful fundraising plans. She ran a 10-part fundraising group coaching series local groups through Her work with social justice organizations throughout the country as a consultant and a volunteer has helped Valerie see the importance of people powered movements. Valerie got her start in fundraising while working at Senior Services in Seattle, where she held the position of the Chief Development Officer and was responsible for raising $2.4 million annually. Raising that first 100K for local groups is just as hard — if not harder – than those millions.