Where Are They Now? Cherry Sripan

Cherry Sripan is Communications and Advocacy Coordinator for the World Fair Trade Organization Asia, based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo courtesy of Cherry Sripan.
Cherry Sripan is Communications and Advocacy Coordinator for the World Fair Trade Organization Asia, based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo courtesy of Cherry Sripan.

It’s been a nonstop adventure since I left beautiful Arcata and the NEC! These two places really helped me discover a passion for, and later a career in, social and environmental justice.

I joined the NEC as a work-study student during my final year of studies at Humboldt State University (HSU) and was part of its fantastic team from June 2014 to July 2015. My main tasks included helping with the EcoNews archive, assisting with donations processing, and supporting the organization of the NEC’s activities and events.

Cherry Sripan, Justin Zakoren, and Madison Peters from 2014, when they were all NEC staff. Photo courtesy of Cherry Sripan.
Cherry Sripan, Justin Zakoren, and Madison Peters from 2014, when they were all NEC staff. Photo courtesy of Cherry Sripan.

My time at the NEC was an important catalyst for me to continue in the nonprofit field. I learned how to apply theories from the classroom to my community—on the ground, where the action is, where change happens. The NEC’s more than 40 years of strong stakeholder engagement, and its ability to galvanize community members into action, speak volumes to the NEC’s huge role in protecting California’s Pacific North Coast. Being a part of this legacy was so empowering. I learned how effective one person can be and that a strong community is key to any victory. The NEC taught me the ropes of awareness-raising and community engagement—the very skills and experience that led me to where I am now in my career!

the World Fair Trade Organization Asia, based in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Cherry Sripan with renowned activist and author Vandana Shiva, at the World Fair Trade Organization Asia conference in 2017. Photo courtesy of Cherry Sripan.

I am now part of the World Fair Trade Organization Asia, a regional office of the World Fair Trade Organization, where I serve as Communications and Advocacy Coordinator.  Fair Trade is a global movement fighting social and environmental inequality by encouraging responsible trade, production, and consumption. Fair Trade is about offering better trading conditions for and securing the rights of producers and workers.  The WFTO is home to more than 400 Fair Trade enterprises, businesses that are mission-driven and prioritize people and planet over profit. Its operational activities are monitored and verified in accordance with standards that ensure workers’ rights to safe working conditions and living wages, fight child labor and discrimination, and promote gender equality and environmental stewardship.

I am grateful for my experience at the NEC, which paved my career path, and I am especially grateful to have worked alongside my wonderful colleagues at the time—Dan Ehresman, Jennifer Savage, Morgan Corviday, Brandon Drucker, Madison Peters, Sydney Stewart, and Justin Zakoren—whose passion and talent inspired me immensely. Thank you NEC!

Do you know a former NEC intern, work-study student, volunteer, or employee who continued on an environment-related path after leaving the NEC?
Contact the editor at morgan@yournec.org for possible inclusion in EcoNews.