Meet The Staff - Michigan Interfaith Power & Light

Joan Hawxhurst - Coordinator, Hope for Creation: the Southwest MI Chapter of Michigan IPL

Joan is thrilled to serve as the part-time Coordinator of Hope for Creation, a grassroots inter-religious group which supports faith-based action on climate justice in Kalamazoo and southwest Michigan. Over the years, Joan has founded a national organization for interfaith families, led the development of Kalamazoo's community reading program, and reinvigorated Kalamazoo College's career center. She is also a facilitator-in-preparation through the Center for Courage and Renewal, a certified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory, and a facilitator of Racial Healing Circles. She fell in love with the beauty and power of the Great Lakes when she came to Michigan in 1994 with her partner, a professor at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University. They are active members of Temple B’nai Israel in Kalamazoo.

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Cathy Marshall - Bookkeeper

Cathy has worked with non-profit organizations for over 30 years, first as an organizational manager and most recently as a bookkeeper. Long-term stints have included 4 years as the Executive Director of the WARM Training Center (now EcoWorks) and almost 20 years as the Deputy Director of the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation. Cathy's passion for protecting the environment and all of its amazing beauty is what draws her to Michigan IPL. Cathy is a member of Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, where she is part of the Social Justice committee. Her husband Jack is a founding member of the group that led the effort to install solar panels on the Temple. 


Emily Novick - Energy Efficiency Outreach Specialist

Emily is excited to join the Michigan IPL Team as an Outreach Specialist because of her passion for environmental protection and people-led solutions. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 2017 with an English degree and in 2019 she hiked the 2,192-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. During that 7-month hike, Emily walked through record heat waves, old mining areas with tainted water, and a rapidly changing landscape due to poor environmental regulations. Now she wants to do everything she can to protect our planet and raise awareness for climate change.

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Leah Wiste - Executive Director

Leah has been on staff at Michigan IPL since 2013 and has been the Executive Director since December 2018. She is deeply invested in advocating on behalf of our sacred, living Earth and all of its creatures, especially animals. She believes that the climate crisis is at its root a moral and a spiritual one, and that people of faith and conscience have a critical role to play in bringing us into right relation with the Earth and with each other. Leah has degrees in Women’s Studies and Cultural Anthropology. When she’s not fighting climate change, she’s weeding the garden, buying more books than she will ever read, and trying not to get electrocuted while renovating her house in Northwest Detroit. 

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Jennifer Young - Energy Programs Manager

Jennifer holds an MS in Resource Policy & Behavior from the School of Natural Resources & Environment at the University of Michigan and a BS in Biology from Eastern Michigan University.  Prior to working with Michigan IPL, Jennifer worked as a Program Manager for the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office where she convened government leaders in southeast Michigan communities in collaborative renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.  Jennifer is actively involved in the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit and the Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network, the Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission, and the  U.S. Green Building Council's Detroit Chapter.  Jennifer’s love of, and reverence for, nature stems from camping trips in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, where her Dad took her and her sister during many beloved summers in her childhood.

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