Rebeca Villegas

Headshot of Rebeca Villegas

Rebeca Villegas

National Director, Environmental Justice Strategy

Rebeca is the National Director of Environmental Strategy at the National Wildlife Federation. In her role, Rebeca leads efforts to institutionalize environmental justice principals across Federation practices, policies, and programs. In addition to strategic planning and implementation in collaboration with senior leadership and the NWF Board of Directors, Rebeca develops and manages systems and protocols to further enhance environmental justice work across Federation. Prior to her role, Rebeca served as the Environmental Justice Sr. Program Manager at NWF. In this role, she built capacity among the organization to participate and support an environmental and climate justice agenda through relationship building, project development, and strategic planning. She also analyzed federal and state legislation and programs to develop policy proposals to ensure fair and equitable impacts and benefits for communities of color and communities of lower-wealth. In graduate school, Rebeca helped develop, launch, and manage a Professional Development Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Program for Rackham Graduate School that serves to cultivate core equity and justice competencies among graduate students across disciplines. She earned a Master of Science in Environmental Justice, Policy, and Planning and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning in Land Use and Development in May 2020 from the University of Michigan.

Prior to her current role and graduate school, Rebeca gained valuable professional experience in program management and development. She served as the Program Director and Air Quality Specialist for Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision. In this role, she managed diesel emission reduction assistance programs totaling over $1.5 million for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (formally known as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and she represented the organization in several community-based participatory research projects geared towards reducing air pollution in the city of Detroit. Rebeca also served as the Coordinator of Affiliate and State Engagement at NWF. In this role, she organized and implemented strategic business operations for 51 affiliate entities and 7 regional offices, and she directed diversity, equity, and inclusion projects that promoted cultural competency and provided staff with resources that contributed to the development of equitable programs.

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