ATLANTA, GA—APRIL 22, 2021— Southface Institute is pleased to announce today the addition of three Sarasota sustainability leaders to its team as it expands work in Florida and officially launches Southface Sarasota, the Atlanta-based national nonprofit’s first satellite location.
To lead the new office, Southface selected Amber Whittle, Ph.D., as Managing Director of Southface Sarasota, where she will be responsible for helping local businesses, municipal entities, and community organizations support a more sustainable built and natural environment that promotes business development, health and wellbeing, and equity for all.
Elizabeth Moore, conservationist and philanthropist, and Charles Reith, Ph.D., an environmental expert, who have partnered with Southface on a variety of projects, have joined Southface Institute’s Board of Directors.
“Southface is delighted to welcome Elizabeth, Charles and Amber to the organization, and we look forward to partnering with them as we strengthen our commitment in the Sarasota community and beyond,” said Andrea Pinabell, President of Southface. “Having worked in the Sarasota community for nearly two years, Southface knows that each of these talented people brings a wealth of complementary leadership experience. We’re proud of the programs already underway to support Sarasota and are excited for Amber, Elizabeth and Charles to continue to work closely with our community, economic and government partners.”
Southface began working in Sarasota in 2019, and ramped up our engagement in 2020 on a variety of projects including: a partnership with Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to improve affordability and conditions for health through energy efficiency improvements in public housing offered by the Sarasota Housing Authority; supporting Sarasota’s renewable energy and resilience goals by advising the Green Building Policy effort; training and certification programs to enhance economic mobility and develop the next generation of green building and low-impact development tradespeople; providing GoodUse matching grants to All Faiths Food Bank and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties for energy and water efficiency upgrades; and building science, municipal planning and certification programs.
About Amber Whittle
Whittle, who has a doctorate in Zoology with a specialty in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology, comes to Southface from The Florida Aquarium, Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach, Florida, where she was Director of Conservation & Director of Grants and Foundation and guided conservation programs, sea turtle research, and policy work as well as oversaw the budget, and solicited key grant funds to grow their satellite campus.
In her new role at Southface, she will remain based in Sarasota, and further identify new opportunities for growth, collaboration and partnership to support a regenerative economy where the natural, built and social environments can thrive together.
“I grew up in Sarasota, and with Sarasota’s place on the water and having spent Thanksgivings at Myakka River State Park, the environment and ocean have always been very important to me, as has the Sarasota community where there is a very dedicated group of environmental advocates,” Whittle said. ”Southface brings unmatched expertise and experience to Sarasota and the greater Gulf Coast area for the betterment of our built and natural environments, improving the wellbeing of people, and our community’s economic resilience. I’m really excited to further bring such a renowned organization as Southface into the Sarasota community where we can effect change.”
Southface conducted a four-month, nationwide search for the new role. Whittle officially began March 16.
About Charles Reith
Reith has a doctorate in Ecology and brings 25 years of global experience in energy, mining, agriculture, environmental remediation, waste management and academia, including roles at American University of Nigeria, Tulane University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and George Mason University. Throughout his career he has held executive management, project execution, technical analysis, solution development, and sustainability auditing roles. His clients include multinational oil and gas firms, resource ministries, small businesses, municipalities and NGOs.
After traveling to Sarasota for years, he relocated about five years ago and has been on the Florida House Board of Directors since 2016, and Chair since 2019. Charles has worked closely with Southface for more than 18 months and has moderated panel discussions, played a role in the Sustainable Communities Workshop in partnership with Southface staff, and has been instrumental in networking within the sustainability community.
“Southface brings a new, deeper expertise to the Sarasota community,” Reith said. “It is reinvigorating the local sustainability leadership. It is like a dream. When I joined Southface, I knew it was going to create a renaissance of the community. Now, as one of the two board members and in partnership with Amber, I will have a role in that renaissance and providing a measure of counsel. It’s an honor of a lifetime.”
About Elizabeth Moore
Moore is a champion of protecting the planet, environmental education, and engaging communities in solutions to resource challenges. She has generously donated to Mote Marine Laboratory to conduct research on coral reefs in the Florida Keys, to the Marine Science Center at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, partnered with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to protect Triangle Ranch, served on the Florida House board since 2015, as well as supported Southface’s mission.
“Southface’s partnership in Sarasota is just a blessing to the community,” Moore said. “It brings science know-how, skilled organization, and new program areas that go deeper than where we had been before. When I learned about Southface’s mission and vision, that is what we’ve always tried to achieve locally. Amber has done a great job already.”
Moore spends much of her time in Sarasota, and is passionate about protecting its natural environment, especially during expanded development.
“Personally, I really have enjoyed the leadership and comradery, communication and the humor that Andrea and I share,” Moore said. “The board is wonderful, diverse and capable, and there is a great skill set there. This is the kind of board I would really like to be a part of; they are open to new ideas and they’re already interested in my suggestions.”
About Southface Sarasota
Southface Sarasota will drive its mission through collaboration, partnership and various programs that improve the built and natural environment. One of the first events for Southface Sarasota will be co-hosting an Earth Day Celebration in partnership with Florida House Institute.
“We’re so excited to officially kick off our presence in Sarasota and welcome everyone to FHI’s gardens for self-guided tours in celebration of Earth Day,” Whittle said.
About Southface Institute
Southface Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is leading the way toward a sustainable, equitable and healthy built environment for all. Since 1978, our programs have closed the gap between environmental awareness and action by promoting scalable resource efficiency and clean energy solutions for homes, workplaces and communities. Our practice of regenerative placemaking amplifies real-world strategies to create a built environment where the synergy between ecological and human needs supports health and well-being while creating resilient, equitable and thriving communities, striving to achieve a low-carbon future.