Michael Town joined Virginia LCV as its Executive Director in June, 2014. Having grown up in Southern Maryland, New York State and Pennsylvania, he moved to Virginia to attend James Madison University, where he fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Commonwealth.
He has lived in Richmond since 1995, and is the father of four children and step-father of two. His 26 years of experience working in the conservation community includes running both state and national conservation organizations. Since his time at Virginia LCV he has helped build the organization into one of the most politically influential nonprofits in Virginia.
Lee Francis started work at Virginia LCV as its communications manager in early March 2015 and was promoted to his current post in the fall of 2018. Previously, he worked as editor of the (Hanover) Herald-Progress, a weekly newspaper based in Ashland. His tenure there followed a three-year stint in the Northern Neck of Virginia, where he served as managing editor of three weekly newspapers: the Westmoreland News, Northumberland Echo and Northern Neck News.
Lee graduated in 2006 from James Madison University with a bachelor’s of arts in English. In the spring of 2014, he completed a graduate degree in multimedia journalism through Virginia Commonwealth University’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture.
Lee grew up in rural Nelson County, nestled in Virginia’s majestic Blue Ridge mountains, where conservation and environmental stewardship have always been near and dear causes.
Shantane Tho joined the Virginia LCV staff in September, 2021 and is the Chief Financial Administrative Officer (CFAO). She provides strategic leadership for the organization’s finance and administrative functions, as well as for the management of its financial resources and capital. Shantane has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and over 14 years of experience spanning finance, project management, and business administration within the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
As a Virginia native, Shantane has worked with local non-profit organizations on environmental sustainability, conservation, affordable housing, and providing resources to vulnerable communities. She is passionate about working with organizations focused on the societal impact of their work and are committed to racial justice and equity. She currently serves on the board of Reach Out Center 2.0.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, swimming, and interior design. She currently resides with her husband and three children in Chesterfield, VA.
Sarah Ahmed joined VALCV in February of 2020. Previously an organizer with the Climate Action Program of LCV, Sarah played an important role in mobilizing and educating voters who saw environmental issues as a top priority. Her professional career actually began in the world of Human Resources, working at the Counseling Alliance of Virginia in Richmond as HR Coordinator before switching to the world of organizing. Sarah got involved in political organizing in 2017, working at the Progressive Turnout Project to ensure high voter turnout for the 2017 Gubernatorial VA Elections. Prior to becoming Field Manager at VALCV, Sarah was Deputy Director of Voter Registration for the organization. Sarah's passion for civic engagement and the environment is equivalent to her love for breakfast, stand-up comedy, and a strong internet connection.
Chris Leyen joined Virginia LCV as senior policy manager in December 2020. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff to Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) starting in June 2016.
Chris graduated in 2015 from the Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences with a bachelor’s of arts in Biological Sciences, a concentration in genetics, and a minor in law, science and public policy. From 2013 though 2015 he worked as a research technician in the Harrington, Hoffman and Mazourek labs engaging in veterinary and agricultural entomology research as well as plant breeding.
Chris grew up in Discovery Bay, California on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where early exposure to water quality, climate change, agricultural and recreational access concerns engendered an early appreciation for conservation and environmental stewardship.
Lauren Alexander joined Virginia LCV in February 2022 with over 15 years of development and communications experience in nonprofit. Prior to her returning to her roots in Central Virginia, Lauren worked for a decade in environmental conservation with organizations like Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, and Friends of the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC. Her background includes advocacy and outreach for various causes as well. Lauren also has been an active participant in political progress volunteering on local, state, and federal campaigns and managing two Virginia state legislative campaigns for the House of Delegates. She is excited to lend her voice to the amazing LCV team and bring increased philanthropic engagement with the mission of making Virginia the #1 conservation leader.
Lauren has BA in Cultural Anthropology and English Literature, with a focus on Indigenous Populations, Storytelling, and Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University. She serves on several Boards of Directors in the Central Virginia region that focus on community, arts, and culture, and has a workplace certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion -- something she is passionate about. She considers herself an activist, public radio enthusiast, and science groupie. In her spare time, she can be found out on the river, attending live music events, or just enjoying life with her best friend and dog, Archie.
Michaela Mizrahi joined the Virginia LCV staff in November 2020 as the Digital Marketing and Communications Manager. Prior to joining VALCV, Michaela served as Confidential Assistant to the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security under Governor Ralph Northam upon graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) with dual degrees in Political Science, concentrated in International Relations and Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. During her time at VCU, she spent years gaining experience in Virginia’s legislature while serving as an intern and Legislative Fellow in the Virginia General Assembly and later became the Social Media Intern for the Virginia Council on Women within the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office. Throughout her life, she’s enjoyed spending her free time volunteering with local organizations and fostering relationships to build community.
Catherine Setaro joined the Virginia LCV staff in August 2021 as the Hampton Roads Organizer. In May of 2020, she graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Environmental Policy and Planning and a minor in American Indian Studies. During her time at Virginia Tech, she traveled throughout the state working for Undergraduate Admissions in Diversity Recruitment. She also spent some of her free time volunteering with nonprofits to encourage civic engagement across campus. After graduating, she gained more experience in nonprofit work as a Communications Officer for Native Americans in Higher Education and Mentorship. She has spent the majority of her life in the Richmond area and enjoys spending time outdoors with friends and family, kayaking and cooking.
Jordan joined Virginia LCV in June of 2022 as the Northern Virginia Organizer. As a life-long Virginian, Jordan has had the pleasure of spending a lot of her time in our state’s parks and natural spaces. She spent the majority of her young life as a participant, volunteer, or employee of local 4-H programs where she fostered her love of nature and community building. While studying Political Science at the University of Mary Washington, Jordan was an active part of the campus community by participating in civic engagement initiatives and serving as leader in the Student Government Association. After college, Jordan worked as a session clerk for the Virginia House of Delegates and later as an Assistant Registrar for the City of Fredericksburg. Jordan now lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia and loves spending her time on the Rappahannock River and patronizing the many amazing coffee shops in town.
Jenny Morand joined the Virginia LCV staff in 2022 as the Richmond Organizer. Jenny is a lifelong Virginian and dedicated community activist who resides in North Chesterfield with her family. Growing up in Henrico, Jenny studied performing arts. She attended an 'acting for camera' course in New York and worked on independent film projects there and in Canada. But Jenny felt most at home living and working in downtown Richmond, immersed in the arts district, and in 2010, her family opened a cafe in historic Jackson Ward. When Jenny became a mother, she heard the calling to support other new parents as a birth and postpartum doula. During that time, she joined the fight to protect breastfeeding and reproductive rights in Virginia. For ten years, Jenny developed content for a national reading assessment program and began advocating for improvements in public education. In 2020, Jenny was proud to work for the Virginia LCV's Voter Education Fund, leading an outreach team in Petersburg during the pandemic. Through climate advocacy and environmental justice work, Jenny exercises her passion for civic engagement and voting rights and works to build a safer commonwealth for her children. Jenny enjoys volunteering for progressive candidates, relaxing in her husband’s garden, and watching her kids develop and grow.
Toni Robinson is the Finance Assistant at Virginia LCV and has been an accountant for 20 years working with companies and clients in both the public and private sectors. When she is not “counting and categorizing”, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren as well as spending time outdoors hiking with her husband.