The Project Team

The New Climate Economy (NCE) project is led by Programme Director Helen Mountford. The project team is headquartered in London, with members located in the partner institutes in Addis Ababa, Beijing, New Delhi, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm and Washington DC.  

The Team

Helen Mountford, Programme Director

Helen is the Programme Director for the New Climate Economy project and Director of Economics at WRI. She previously worked as Deputy Director of Environment for the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). She worked at OECD for over 16 years advising governments on policy reforms, and overseeing work on green fiscal reform, climate change finance and economics, fossil fuel subsidy reforms, green growth, water pricing, biodiversity incentive measures, and economy-environment outlooks and modelling. Prior to joining the OECD, Helen managed recycling schemes in England and worked for an NGO in Australia.

Ferzina Banaji, Head of Communications

Ferzina Banaji is the Head of Communications for the New Climate Economy project. Prior to joining NCE, she was the Communications Manager for WRI’s Global Climate Program. She previously led climate change communications for BBC Media Action, the BBCs international charity arm, and was based in New Delhi. She managed projects that ranged from improving the quality and quantity of climate coverage in the Indian media, to overseeing a 7 country research survey on perceptions of climate change in Asia, and to producing emergency programming for cyclone-hit communities. Earlier in her career, she taught film and philosophy at Cambridge and wrote a book on how media can change conceptions of history, memory and identity. Ferzina has an Mphil and a PhD from the University of Cambridge and Bachelors’ degrees from the Universities of Paris and Mumbai. 

Beth Benyishay, Grants and Finance Coordinator

Beth Sullivan is the Grants and Finance Coordinator for the New Climate Economy, responsible for program finances and compliance as well as contractual agreements. Prior to joining the New Climate Economy, she worked as a Program Officer for the Eurasia Foundation, where she oversaw operations for projects focused on civil society in Russia. Beth has a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and a BA in History and Russian language from Goucher College.

Milan Brahmbhatt, Issue Expert/Researcher 

Milan Brahmbhatt is Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute and leads the work of the Country Transitions workstream.  Before joining the New Climate Economy, Milan worked at the World Bank, as Senior Adviser to the Vice President of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, dealing with a wide range of macroeconomic and structural policy issues, including the economics of climate change and sustainable growth. Milan holds Masters and Bachelors degrees in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Talia Calnek-Sugin, Communications Intern

Talia Calnek-Sugin is the Communications Intern for the New Climate Economy Project. She provides support for external and internal communications, as well as social media. Prior to joining WRI, Talia was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Mexico City, where she taught English to graduate students at CINVESTAV (the Center for Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute). In Mexico City, Talia also worked as the Institutional Development Assistant for Cooperación Comunitaria, an NGO dedicated to rural sustainable development. Talia holds a BA in Physics from Williams College in Williamstown, MA.

Kelly Collis, Administrative Coordinator

Kelly Collis is the Administrative Coordinator for the the New Climate Economy Project and the Economics Center at the World Resources Institute. She provides support for Program Director, Helen Mountford. She also assists in travel planning, creates and monitors expense reports, and performs other administrative duties. Prior to joining WRI, Kelly served as Administrative and Project Associate for the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) and the Pisces Foundation, where she oversaw operations for DC staff, provided budget support to both programs, and assisted with grant support. Kelly holds a B.A. in international studies from Towson University in Towson, MD.

Christopher Delgado, Land Use Issue Expert/Researcher

Christopher Delgado is a Sr. Fellow at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., where he works on the interactions among climate change, agriculture, and food security. He is the workstream lead for Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use Change for the New Climate Economy. Previously, he was Economics and Policy Adviser in the Agriculture and Environmental Services Department at the World Bank, and led the Department’s Agricultural and Environmental Economics and Policy Practice. He was the founding Program Manager of both the Bank’s internal Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP) and the G20-requested Global Agricultural and Food Security Program (GAFSP). Prior to joining the World Bank, he was director of the Markets Theme at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya (2003-2006), and spent 26 years as a researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University and co-authored a half-dozen books and over 100 professional papers in a number of languages.

Ian de Cruz, Deputy Director, Global Strategy and Partnerships

Ian de Cruz is Deputy Director, Global Strategy and Partnerships for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, responsible for developing and implementing the overall engagement strategy.  Ian has a diverse professional background including previous roles as Project Director of the Garnaut Climate Change Review in Australia and Head of Climate Change Response for an international development organisation, World Vision.  Ian enjoys travelling, eating and spending time with his young family.  Ian started life as a barrister and has a MBA from Australian Graduate School of Management and BCom (majoring in accounting and finance) and LLB from University of Western Australia.

Giulia De Giovanni, Project Administrator
Giulia De Giovanni is the Project Administrator for The New Climate Economy project. Giulia is responsible for managing the majority of the administration behind meetings, calls, travels, invoice processing, and always assisting the Project Manager on any kind of task. Giulia previously worked in London for a non-profit, the Ethical Fashion Forum, and in Kenya for a microcredit company, MyC4. She also volunteered for a Kenyan NGO, Right 2 Thrive, dedicated to women empowerment in the slums of Nairobi. She holds a Bsc in Environmental and Development Economics from Roma Tre University and a Msc in Business and Development Studies from Copenhagen Business School.
Ipek Gencsu, Research and Engagement Coordinator 

Ipek Gencsu is Research and Engagement Manager at the New Climate Economy. She manages, and conducts research for, the Global Commission's Annual Reports. She also co-manages NCE's programme of work on land use with a wide network of partners. Her past experience includes climate change, migration and gender justice research and advocacy at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in London, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI, Paris), and at Oxfam International in New York. She has also campaigned for Oxfam in the US and UK on climate and food justice. Ipek has an MSc in Political Theory and a BSc in Philosophy and Economics, both from the London School of Economics, and a Certificate in Global Philanthropy from New York University.

Nick Godfrey, Head of Policy and Urban Development

Nick Godfrey is the Head of Policy and Urban Development for the NCE. Nick was the coordinating author of the cities chapter of the Commission’s report in partnership with LSE Cities. An economist by background, Nick has over ten years’ experience in the public and private sectors providing strategic and economic advice in relation to responding to climate change, resource scarcities, and catalysing economic development. Nick is on sabbatical from his position in the Atkins futures team, which provides leading thinking on the future of cities. Prior to this Nick worked at DFID supporting the climate change negotiations and the design of the UK’s International Climate Fund, as well as for the Government of Guyana leading a team to develop its national economic development strategy.  Nick holds a first class honours in economics from the University of Nottingham and a Masters in development economics for which he was awarded the Dehn Prize for outstanding academic achievement by the University of Manchester. 

Joel Jaeger, Communications Specialist

Joel is the Communications Specialist for the New Climate Economy (NCE) project. He writes op-eds, speeches, and briefings for members of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, coordinates communications and media outreach around report launches and events, and assists with report editing and production. Previously, Joel has covered environmental topics at the United Nations as a journalist for IPS News, a global news wire with an emphasis on the developing world. He has held internships at several foreign policy research organizations, including with the communications team at the Council on Foreign Relations. Joel holds a B.A. in political science from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

Annie Lefebure, Programme Manager

Annie Lefebure is the Programme Manager for the New Climate Economy, responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administrative financial and operational management of the London office. Prior to joining NCE, she worked as the Project Administration and Communications Assistant with the SEED Initiative, which promotes entrepreneurship for sustainable development in non-OECD countries. Before this, she interned with UN DESA, supporting the Partnership Forum at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Annie has a BA in Psychology from Loyola University Maryland (USA) and a BS and MS in Business Administration and Economics from Umeå University (Sweden).

Priyanka Mohanty, Intern

Priyanka is the intern for the New Climate Economy. Prior to WRI, she worked at Hamilton Place Strategies where she helped form advocacy strategies for energy businesses and at school, she interned at the Council on Foreign Relations where she worked on international geo-economic and climate policy research. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Priyanka graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016, with a BA in Economics and Public Health.

Cory Rand, Communications and Engagement Specialist

Cory is the Communications and Engagement Assistant for the New Climate Economy Project. He conducts policy research and stakeholder mapping to inform NCE's special initiatives and 2016 calendar. On the communications side, he helps write key messages, blogs and social media posts to communicate NCE messages.  Cory previously worked in international professional exchange programs, working through the Seattle World Affairs Council and the U.S. Department of State to bring international delegations of emerging leaders to Seattle. He also participated in the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in St. Louis, Missouri. Cory is an avid runner, climber, and cyclist. He has biked across the United States and Europe, and works part time as an REI Outdoor Instructor. Cory holds a B.A. in politics from Whitman College in Washington State. 

Filippo Rodriguez, Senior Engagement Manager

Filippo Rodriguez is the Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator at the New Climate Economy. He manages partnerships with governments, international organizations and global decision-makers by driving relationship management and coordinating consultation activities with NCE stakeholders. He has over eight years experience working for the United Nations, the European Commission and the Government of Italy in several countries across the globe. Filippo holds master degrees in Political Science and International Affairs, and is currently earning a diploma in Corporate Social Responsibility. Other than his native Italian, he is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and is now learning Bosnian.

Rachel Spiegel, Intern

Rachel is an intern for the New Climate Economy, supporting the engagement and communications teams. She assists the team in creating key messages from NCE research, and supports NCE team leads and the Global Commissioners on the Economy and Climate to disseminate those messages to target audiences and at international convening moments. Rachel previously worked in the State Department with the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change, where she was involved with various research projects to support the U.S.-India bilateral climate partnership, work related to the Arctic Council, and implementation of the Paris Agreement. Rachel holds a B.A. in environmental analysis and international studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA.

Rachel Waddell, Chief of Staff

Rachel Waddell is Chief of Staff with the New Climate Economy. Prior to the New Climate Economy, she was Strategy Advisor and International Cooperation Manager for the Global Green Growth Institute based in South Korea. Rachel has also worked on International Climate Change Negotiations in DECC in the UK Government. She has a Masters degree from the University of Leeds in East Asian Studies and a BA in History from the University of Nottingham    

Leah Worrall, Senior Research Officer

Leah Worrall is a Senior Research Officer for the New Climate Economy and the NCE Cities initiative. She is responsible for leading research projects for urbanisation country programmes and gender and supporting other research projects. She has previous experience in research, management and communications at the Overseas Development Institute, Commonwealth Secretariat, International Institute for Environment and Development, and WWF-UK. She holds a MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London and a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Bristol.