Meet The Staff - Michigan Interfaith Power & Light
Kat Bio

KaTania "Kat" Brown - Operations and Communications Manager

Kat is a freelance virtual assistant and owner of Virtually Possible 365. She left the corporate environment in 2019 to launch her own business venture, which would allow her to use the skills and talents she has acquired over the past 28 years to help other women in business. She believes the best thing about launching her business is the freedom to pick and choose her clients, which is why she was eager to join the team.



Deirdre Morrison - Partnerships and Development Coordinator

Deirdre joined Michigan IPL’s Light the Way outreach team in 2021, and now assists the organization to engage collaborators and funding partners to help grow our impacts across Michigan communities. She studied ecology and sustainable agriculture at the Evergreen State College in WA, completed two terms of volunteer service with AmeriCorps, and has worn many hats in her years working with non-profits. Deirdre loves being resourceful, finding useful ways to reclaim, repair, and repurpose– from freshwater and soils to building materials, and is especially interested in cross-cultural learning in this regard. She divides her time between greenthumbing, building projects, research, and writing. When she’s not dreaming of hot springs and trail-life, she’s often making art or volunteering with projects that address homelessness and conservation.


Kate Poirier - Energy Efficiency Outreach Specialist

Kate is very happy to be sharing the importance of energy efficiency and creation care with congregations throughout the state of MI. With a background in grassroots sustainable agriculture and organic family farming, and strong ties to churches and ministries in the state, working in the capacity of outreach is a wonderful blend of interests and passion for both the churches who desire to share God's love, and the earth that helps make church ministries possible. Kate currently works out of Arenac County where she is able to participate in food pantries, ministerial support projects and enjoys time spent with family, in particular her husband, Russ. 


Maria Thomas - Faith + Climate Justice Voter Campaign Organizer

“As I look back over my life and I think things over, I can truly say that I've been Blessed. I’ve got a testimony.” These gospel song lyrics relate to the results of grace and mercy that lasts forever and how Maria has benefited from the love of GOD for her family, friends, neighbors and herself throughout decades of life. This has not come without struggle! The struggle of surviving through systemic racial and environmental injustice. Injustice that manifests daily in many ways, but the environmental issues of polluted air, water and land contributing to health concerns such as asthma, cancer, lead poisoning, etc., are the very reasons why Maria has joined the small but mighty MIIPL team. Maria is a survivor, but she wants her children, their children, and the generations who follow to thrive and prosper. Being identified as one looking through rose-colored glasses, Maria wants the same for everyone and believes that the collective “we” can begin creating a better tomorrow today by voting for those who vote in our best interests when representing us. Maria’s mission is to encourage each and every one to vote for our future, for our children, for their children and with the environment-- created by GOD to be our one and only home-- in mind. Grace, Peace, Blessings and Love. 


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. 


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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