Coastal States Organization Staff
Derek Brockbank is Executive Director of the Coastal States Organization (CSO), which represents the nation’s Coastal States, Territories, and Commonwealths on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes issues. With two decades of experience in Washington DC on coastal adaptation policy and organizational development, Derek is connecting state coastal management programs with federal agencies and resources in order to address the greatest coastal challenges facing society. Derek previously served as Executive Director for the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) where he led the strategic planning and outreach, government affairs, and development goals of the nation’s leading organization advocating for beach and coastal restoration. Prior to starting with ASBPA, Derek worked as campaign director for a coalition effort to restore the Mississippi River Delta and Coastal Louisiana, and was part of a gulf-wide campaign to pass the RESTORE Act, securing billions of dollars for Gulf Coast restoration. This followed up on his work with National Wildlife Federation on climate adaption. Derek grew up in New York City and got his coastal education from an early age playing on the beaches of Long Island, and kayaking and fishing in Peconic Bay.
Director of Federal Affairs
Rebecca Dennis is CSO’s Director of Federal Affairs. In her role, she leads the development and implementation of CSOs legislative strategy. Rebecca comes to CSO with over a decade of experience of working on legislative affairs and strategic communications. She most recently served as the Associate Director of U.S. Policy and Advocacy for PAI, where she worked to advance global health and gender equity. Originally from Michigan, she holds a B.A. in International Affairs from Michigan State University, where she studied both human rights and environmental policy, and a M.A. from George Washington University. Rebecca enjoys spending her free time hiking with her dog, River, rock climbing and traveling.
Director of Operations
Norma Longhi is CSO’s Operations Director. She manages all aspects of administrative, financial, general operational functions, and grants management in furtherance of CSO’s vision and mission. Prior to joining CSO, Norma worked as a Policy and Development Fellow for Voices for Progress where she provided support to senior staff in various capacities. Norma holds a B.A. in Legal Studies and a Master of Public Administration from University of Central Florida. Norma is originally from Brazil, passionate about environmental issues, and an animal lover.
Research, Science, and Program Director
Vidya Balasubramanyam is CSO’s Research, Science, and Program Director. In her role, she leads CSO’s programmatic efforts working closely with coastal managers and programs across the nation. She brings on-point experience in project management, climate adaptation and resilience, DEIJ work, and a good understanding of Great Lakes and Atlantic Coast issues. Previously, she worked with the Illinois Coastal Program as the Hazards Coordinator leading efforts relating to community resilience and adaptation planning, nature based shoreline management, and regional sediment management. Prior to that, she worked at the New Hampshire Coastal Program as a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow dabbling in projects on advancing living shorelines in coastal New England. Vidya is passionate about more intentionally addressing social justice issues through coastal management work. In her free time, Vidya enjoys learning contemporary styles of dance and urban sketching.
Senior Policy Analyst
John Ryan-Henry is Senior Policy Analyst for CSO. He supports CSO’s mission through legal and policy analysis of coastal issues including hazard resilience, climate adaptation, flood risk management, beneficial use of dredged materials, maritime commerce, and offshore development. He joined CSO in 2018 after working jointly with CSO and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources as a 2017 Knauss Coastal Policy Fellow. A Rhode Island native, John has a J.D. from the Roger Williams University School of Law and a Master of Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. As a law student, he worked on coastal zone management issues with the NOAA General Counsel’s office and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, and on regional ocean planning with SeaPlan in Boston. He is admitted to the bar in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Digital Coast Fellow
Annika Tomson is CSO’s 2022-2024 NOAA Digital Coast Fellow in a joint appointment between the Association of State Floodplain Managers and Coastal States Organization. Her work at CSO focuses on managed retreat, in particular, planning and management of acquired land. Prior to CSO, Annika attended the University of Michigan where they studied environmental policy and planning; her research focused on Great Lakes community coastal resilience and the relationships between local governments and state and federal agencies. Originally from upstate New York, Annika holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Cornell University and a M.S. in Environment and Sustainability from the University of Michigan.
Ana Dulskiy is a 2023 Knauss Fellow / Coastal Hazards and Mitigation Specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Coastal States Organization. Prior to joining CSO, Ana served as a North Carolina STEM Policy Fellow with the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, where she supported the Resilience Team in research and analysis related to floodplain management, nature-based solutions, and risk mapping. Ana holds a M.S. in ecology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied the microbial ecology of temperate corals native to the southeastern US. Originally from New Hampshire, Ana holds a B.A. in biology and music from the College of the Holy Cross.
NOAA Coastal Management Fellow
Natalie Cross is CSO’s 2023-2025 NOAA Coastal Management Fellow. Her work at CSO focuses on providing technical assistance and capacity support for the implementation of justice and equity within state coastal zone management programs. Prior to joining CSO, Natalie served as a policy research fellow with Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank focused on providing an equitable and just future for coastal cities. She holds an M.S. (‘23) and B.S. with Honors (‘22) from Stanford University’s Earth Systems program where she specialized in marine ecological research, environmental justice & scientific communication. Hailing from a Caribbean family, she is particularly passionate about supporting historically marginalized coastal communities, as they much too often bear the brunt of climate and environmental injustices.
Coastal States Stewardship Foundation Staff
Lisa Schiavinato is the Managing Director for the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation (CSSF). As Managing Director, Lisa oversees the administration, management, legal, contracting, and budgeting for CSSF and the Regional Ocean Partnerships that are fiscally sponsored by CSSF. Lisa brings a broad range of experience to this role. She has expertise in ocean and coastal law and policy, program management, grant management, and nonprofit leadership. Prior to joining CSSF, Lisa worked with Sea Grant programs in Louisiana, North Carolina, and California and with nonprofit organizations across Southern California. Lisa holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of South Florida and a law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Lisa is based in California, but she was raised in the Sunshine State of Florida where her fascination for all things ocean and coastal began.
Emma Johnson is the Grants Administrator for the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation and assists the ROPs and RWSC with record keeping, preparing financial reports, budget tracking, processing invoices for payment, and ensuring reporting requirements are met. Emma earned both a B.S. in wildlife conservation and a master’s in organizational leadership from Juniata College in PA. She is passionate about the environment and a certified bird nerd, with her early career being in wild bird rehabilitation. She has experience in budget management, communications strategy execution, operational support, and grant assistance. Emma is based in New Jersey, and in her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, Hope, binge-watching reality TV with her cockatiel, Clomp, and spending time with friends and family.