Over the past couple of years, Grist’s strategic focus has evolved from sounding the alarm bells of climate change — people understand the climate is changing! — to telling the story of a better future that works for everyone, and elevating the leaders and ideas that will make it a reality. Under this new framework, we’ve deepened our commitment to ensuring the issues of climate change, environmental justice, and climate solutions are accessible to the public — ultimately to inspire and mobilize people to act. 

We accomplish this through three main programs: (1) through our Editorial program, we combat the doom and gloom narrative by telling the story of solutions and justice; (2) through our solutions lab Fix, we elevate and connect diverse, emerging leaders — Fixers — who are the protagonists of that story; and (3) through our Representation and Talent program, we support environmental journalists of color and address racial representation and racial justice in environmental media.

Another element of this evolution was moving on from a brand that was based on the Grist of yesterday to one that fully represents our work and can serve as a platform for growth and impact moving forward. In late March 2021, Grist reintroduced itself to the world. Our new website and brand better reflect who we are, what we do, and our ambitions moving forward. The website also comes with technical and operational advancements on the backend that allow Grist to publish more immersive and innovative pieces, like our stories on Trump environmental rollbacks, abandoned oil wells, and climate tipping points. Last month, the Online News Association recognized Grist’s efforts with prestigious awards in several categories, including “General Excellence,” “Best Topical Reporting (Climate Change),” and Best Investigative Data Journalism. 

We couldn’t have done all this without a hard working and immensely talented staff. To recognize them and all that they have done, we are pleased to announce that we are promoting fifteen staff members to new roles. I’m thrilled to work with the following team members in their expanded roles, and with all of the other talented staff at Grist who contribute to our mission. 

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Natasha Berman promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In three years at Grist, Natasha has built a high-functioning development team that has increased our budget threefold. Natasha will partner with me to lead strategy, internal operations, revenue, and all our cross-organizational functions. She will oversee the Innovation and Growth, Development, and Administration departments. 

Nikhil Swaminathan promoted to Editor-in-Chief. Nikhil has overseen the transformation and growth of Grist’s editorial efforts over the past three-and-a-half years. Under his leadership we have won multiple awards and carved out a niche for ourselves as a hard-hitting digital magazine with deeply reported and well-written features that show a just and sustainable future is within reach.

Lisa Garcia promoted to Sr. Director, Fix. Lisa has assembled a program that stands on its own. Fix lifts up and amplifies the voices of those who are working to meet humanity’s biggest challenges, and Lisa has done an outstanding job leading a team that is committed to climate justice and solutions. 

Clayton Aldern promoted to Sr. Data Reporter. In this role, Clayton will continue his deep data-driven reporting and analysis, helping Grist’s stories more clearly show the stakes behind everything from federally-backed green bonds to urban oil wells. In addition to contributing to projects, he’ll also take on his own reporting, telling standalone stories through data.  

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Jess Alvarado-Lepine promoted to Director, Membership. In this role, Jess’s exceptional leadership accomplishments in the areas of membership size and donor growth, membership revenue growth, cross functional leadership and management are being recognized.  As director, Jess will lead the membership team and work to ensure we build upon and continue to grow and steward our growing community of Grist members.

Amelia Bates promoted to Senior Designer. Amelia’s stunning illustrations and animations are core to Grist’s brand identity.  Her work to update our image and visual style guidelines ensured the success of the website and brand redesign. 

Teresa Chin promoted to Deputy Editor. Teresa is one of the most compassionate, collaborative, and talented leaders at Grist. In this role, Teresa will take over management of the Fellowship program, as well as continue her efforts to elevate the look, feel, and content of Grist’s work, from feature stories to videos to long-term projects.

Lisa Jurras-Buchanan promoted to Deputy Director. In this role, Lisa will assist the Fix Sr. Director, Lisa Garcia with the overall leadership of the Fix team, goals, and execution. Lisa also will manage events, the cli-fi contest, and network work, as well as continue to own Fix systems and operations. 

Josh Kimelman promoted to Project Coordinator. In less than one year with Grist, Josh has kept Fix organized and efficient, helping to ensure our continued success. In his new role, Josh will formally expand his current project assistance work by helping to support and co-lead the climate fiction contest and support events and networks.  

Lucia Priselac promoted to Special Assistant. Lucia’s role grew over the past year as she took on responsibilities in managing the Uproot Project and the project management of our Fellowship Program. Lucia will support the CEO, and will manage Board engagement, weekly management committee meetings, and all-staff meetings.

Naveena Sadasivam promoted to Sr. Staff Writer. Naveena’s work has had some of the deepest impact of any that we publish at Grist. She will continue her award-winning investigative reporting — conceiving, developing, and landing investigations big and small. 

Patrick Schmitt promoted to Director, Development. This was a record-breaking year for fundraising at Grist. This is due in large part to Patrick’s strategic approach to fundraising, his creative thinking, and strong management ability.  Based on his leadership, management, and organizational strengths combined with strong fundraising experience, Grist will be well resourced into the future. As leader of the Development department, Patrick will also join the Sr. Leadership team. 

Tory Stephens promoted to Network Weaver and Climate Fiction Creative Manager. In this larger role, Tory’s network reach will be expanded from the Northeast to also include the South. In recognition and appreciation for Tory’s vision and work on the climate fiction contest, Tory will now be the Creative Manager for the annual cli-fi contest.

Zoya Teirstein promoted to Staff Writer. Over four years at Grist, Zoya has shown increased comfort — and in many cases mastery — of everything from quick-turnaround debate-night posts to rich, place-based features. In this role, Zoya will continue her award-winning journalism, and will continue to build out the climate impacts beat.

Kate Yoder promoted to Staff Writer.  Over the past two years, Kate has developed a beat that is wholly her own. Grist’s editorial team’s mission is to provide the kindling for people to talk about climate — and Kate’s work examines the best way to have those conversations. Over the next year we’re hoping to develop a sub-brand around her writing.