Meet The Staff - Michigan Interfaith Power & Light

Georgé A. Cole - Water Stewardship Outreach Coordinator

Georgé is an ambassador who helps Renew, Rebuild and Restore communities. Georgé earned her degree in Religious Studies from the Victory Education Training Institute, San Dimas, CA and her Paralegal degree at Carthage University, WI. She was elected to the office of Citizen District Council in the City of Detroit within the historical Virginia Park District and Core City neighborhoods and currently serves as a friendly neighborhood Ambassador to promote sustainability and environmental initiatives and is the founding president of the La Salle Beautiful Block Club Association. She Co-Founded the Community Urban Garden – "The E.D.G.E." (Educating and Developing in Gardens Everywhere) and the Holy Grounds Peace Park and Rain Garden. The rain gardens serve as a refuge and place of serenity for survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence as part of their "Faith Walk" ministry. She helped pioneer and co-pastors at the Victory Outreach Greater Detroit City Church in the "Greatest Comeback City of America:" Detroit, Michigan! Victory Outreach City Church is an inaugural member of the Detroit 2030 District Houses of Worship Green Team.

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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. 


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 Detroit's North End. 

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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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