Laura Subin, Esq, Executive Director. Laura has an extensive background in grassroots and legislative advocacy working on social justice issues including drug policy reform, violence against women and gun violence prevention. Laura directed the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, successfully advocating to end the racist system of cannabis prohibition in the state. Laura spent 20 years working to support and advocate for individuals experiencing domestic violence. She served as the director of The Vermont Council on Domestic Violence, Steps to End Domestic Violence and the NYC Coalition of Battered Women’s Advocates. Ms. Subin has been recognized as an expert in domestic violence by courts in Vermont and New York. She has testified on numerous occasions in Vermont courts and before the Vermont legislature. Laura has served as a consultant to a wide variety of non-profit organizations assisting them with all aspects of organizational management and development. She is a member of the Board of Directors of GunSenseVT and leads that organization’s legislative advocacy. Contact Laura
Liz Subin, Director. Liz received her B.A. from the University of Vermont and holds a Masters Degree in International Administration from the School for International Training. Liz was the founding director of the Anguilla National Trust where she was responsible for establishing a system of management for cultural and environmental resources on the island. She worked as Development Director for the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) before moving back to Vermont. Liz now lives in Essex, VT with her husband and three kids. She served on the school board in Essex from 2014 to 2020 and continues to do work on racial and social justice issues in her community as a founding board member of Voices for Inclusion in Essex and Westford. Contact Liz
Ryan Green, Intern. Ryan is a senior attending Fordham University in New York City with a Major in Humanitarian Studies and a double minor in Creative Writing and Anthropology. Ryan is from Rhode Island and is passionate about travel, outreach, writing, design, our many pennywise grantees, and much more. Ryan's senior thesis is currently coming together on refugee and other displaced person's relations and should come to full fruition in the fall. She is spending the summer between Rhode Island and Vermont writing, working for Pennywise, surfing, waitressing, and hiking. Contact Ryan
Mia McKay, Intern. Mia is a junior at the University of Vermont where she is studying Psychology with a minor in Business and Spanish. She is from Boulder, Colorado and enjoys spending time outside hiking, camping, swimming, and skiing. Mia is passionate about health, diversity, sustainable business development, and the outdoors. Her interest in business development and outreach began when she had the opportunity to volunteer abroad in Costa Rica. She learned about inequalities affecting indigenous communities, performed economic development projects, and experienced Costa Rican culture. Inspired by this experience, she has set out to find ways to create a lasting impact on other communities locally and around the globe. Contact Mia
Ernesto Godinez, Intern, McCourt School of Public Policy (Georgetown University)
From the inner city of Miami, Florida, Ernesto aims to shift the narrative of what it means to succeed in this world. He has been a part of a variety of organizations and people-centered initiatives, and seeks to learn, grow, and expand his reach. Ernesto has experience in solving complex problems and has demonstrated the flexibility to work with people across lines of difference in any situation. His approach to organizing, solving complex problems, and creating solutions will cultivate better outcomes for those we serve. With a passion for social impact, he brings high energy and enthusiasm to the team and work at Pennywise.Contact Ernesto.
Chris Schwerin, President. Chris is a film editor with more than twenty years of experience working on television and film. She has worked extensively for National Geographic and most recently is an editor at Big Fish productions where she works on television programs for a wide variety of audiences. In her free time, Chris loves to travel, ski and walk the beaches with her dog, Juno. Contact Chris
Louis Jones, Secretary. Louis is a Media & Marketing Consultant whose career has spanned three decades. Filled with passion, Louis has pushed for strategic impact, innovation and success through growth. Jones was most recently EVP, Media & Data at the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies). In that role, Jones focused on how to to amplify its members’ collective voice with various partners and suppliers. He oversaw 4A’s media committees/ task forces, and served as liaison with industry associations to lead efforts that address industry-wide issues like brand safety, cross-media measurement and new technologies, like distributed ledgers. Prior to joining the 4A's Team, Louis had consulted for the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), helping them create mobile education modules to help advertisers to continue to invest in the mobile channels. Contact Louis
JB Sugar, Treasurer. JB is a sales leader with over 15 years of experience managing digital, mobile sales, SaaS and programmatic teams. Proven in developing large-scale, customized programs for Fortune 500 brands across all categories including automotive, cannabis, hospitality, pharmaceutical, CPG, telecom and entertainment. Core competencies include: sales planning/forecasting, new business development, staff hiring/training, increasing revenue, ideating products, positioning/marketing, data deployment and compensation strategies. Contact JB.
Andrew Subin (JD ’92) has practiced criminal defense, with an emphasis on cannabis defense, for over 25 years. Throughout his career, he has been a vocal advocate for cannabis law reform. In the early nineties, Mr. Subin was the first attorney in Washington State to employ medical necessity as a defense to charge of growing marijuana, representing a woman who was growing on behalf of a patient with severe glaucoma. Mr. Subin has published on the subject of civil asset forfeiture and its constitutional ramifications and argued (unsuccessfully) to the Washington Supreme Court that asset forfeiture in conjunction with criminal prosecution violates the constitutional prohibition of double jeopardy. In 2018, Mr. Subin relocated from Bellingham, Washington to Burlington, Vermont and joined with Tim Fair to form Vermont Cannabis Solutions, the first cannabis business law firm in the state. Vermont Cannabis Solutions is at the forefront of the burgeoning Vermont cannabis industry; we represent over 100 license applicants: the future cultivators, product manufacturers and retailers of the Vermont industry. Mr. Subin and Mr. Fair are also attorneys of counsel with the Hoban Law Group, the nation’s premiere cannabusiness firm: a network of the most experienced cannabis attorneys throughout the country. Mr. Subin has lectured and spoken, both regionally and nationally, on numerous cannabis issues. Contact Andrew
Kim Chaix. Kim oversees key aspects of the Rainforest Foundation's fundraising, and communications activities and spearheads strategic partnerships and new initiatives. Previously, Kim served as the Director of Virunga Fund, a US non-profit dedicated to the protection of Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse national park. He also founded The Charcoal Project, a non-profit dedicated to bringing better biomass fuels and technologies to populations that depend on wood and traditional charcoal in sub-Saharan Africa. Kim’s first career was as a television news producer and wildlife documentary film-maker. As a French-Nicaraguan, Kim is a native Spanish and French speaker. Contact Kim