OpenEarth’s Team and our first offsite Retreat takeaways

Open Earth Foundation
5 min readNov 28, 2021

Story and shareout by: Melissa Hauser, Executive Admin Assistant and master team builder

The OpenEarth team at the 2021 offsite retreat in Los Angeles, with 4 members attending remotely.

When you have a small international team doing big things for planet Earth, your team doesn’t always have the ability to be in the same room. Open Earth Foundation (OEF) embraces our remote day-to-day operations, but being centered around open collaboration we knew it was important to have our team meet face to face to celebrate our accomplishments, build upon our interpersonal relationships and tackle an org-wide goals list. Therefore, OEF decided to bring everyone together in Los Angeles, California to collaborate in person while living with each other for 4 days… and it was magical!

The team retreat was not just a success for our team building, it was a massive success in laying down the groundwork for our organizational goals. Whether it was creating our mission and values statements, brainstorming our Objective Key Results, filming an informational video for our website, or looking at what the future of OEF holds…we crushed it!!!!

It all began as we revisited our team norms that center around communication, collaboration and innovation. We checked our egos at the door to listen with intent and communicate with radical candor, regardless of the topic. We were bold with our ideas and embraced our commonalities and differences among such a diverse group of people. We welcomed difficult emotions of frustration about the current fragmented climate space and sadness at the current state of the earth’s ecosystems. Most importantly, we remembered to be stubbornly optimistic and high spirited, reminding ourselves: we are assembling the climate Avengers the world has been waiting for.

The passion that filled up the room on topics like tokenomics, blockchain, crypto, nested climate accounting, forest restoration and ocean conservation gave hope that with such brilliant minds and dedication to the planet’s resilience, our team could be the solution based commitment this Earth needs. The conversations that were had, whether it was group brainstorming or dinner conversations, made us all realize how this group of truly unique individuals is even more inspiring and motivating as a collective unit. We are innovative, collaborative, solution oriented, technology driven and ambitious. The achievements we have undergone as a foundation in just a little over a year are extremely impressive. In fact, it is hard to believe we were only a team of 10 in October 2021.

Walking away from our funky retreat house, we could stand proud of what we accomplished as an organization and look back on beautiful memories we will tell our grandchildren about. The days looking at picturesque mountain views, using our tech skills to setup outdoor work group sessions, nights in the hottub with deep conversations, family style meals that lasted for hours, evening sunsets at the beach with special appearances from the local dolphins and we even concluded the last evening with a sunset sound bath. Everyone left with a full heart and endless gratitude for such an amazing team. I couldn’t help but think, how did I get so lucky to love what I do and who I get to do it with?

As I praise these brilliant minds we call our OEF Avengers, you might ask:
who are these team members that are striving to move the needle on climate through digital innovation and radical collaboration?

Martin Wainstein, Executive Director, who realized the climate space was missing the idea of nested climate accounting and how it could be the solution to the Paris Agreement article 6 and started OEF to make this a reality and change the idea of climate data for generations to come.

Katherine Foster, Community Director, who left a world of diplomacy and decided to sit at the table that merged the climate and technology world, knowing it was a powerhouse that could change climate policy forever.

Christian Wiseenthal, our Director of Corporate Development, joined OEF at its very beginning stages knowing that his scientific background and business expertise could help turn this small organization into a household name.

Joaquin Van Peborgh, Product Manager, who has always had a passion for climate activism with a parent in the climate space, decided to put his tech and project management skills to good use in becoming a key player in the prototype for the UNFCCC.

Marco Schletz, Innovation Fellow, who decided it was time to merge the world of climate policy and tech, like a true millennial, specializing on how blockchain can play such an innovative role in climate governance and how crypto is the new age gold.

Sarah Barrington, Innovation Fellow, who has been successful in any world she enters as she left a successful career in marketing and communications to take on a specialized field of AI, building oracles most know nothing about all while completing a Phd at UC Berkeley.

Ria Persad, Digital Gaia OEF Lead, who has a long list of accomplishments but started her own innovative start-up being able to predict weather conditions months ahead until she joined OEF to lead special projects in AI as she paves the way for women leadership in tech.

Angel Hsu, Board Member, is a powerhouse regardless of what hat she is wearing: whether she is nerding out on data models and the role they play in the climate world, leading Ted talks or COP events, or mothering two young children, she is the definition of unstoppable.

John Clippinger, Board Member, if you want to know anything about merging the world of nature and tech John is your go to with his passion for tokenization and crypto as the future of harmonization, just read his Bitcoin to BurningMan book to really understand about decentralization and today’s governance.

Melissa Hauser (me), Administrative & Communications Assistant, let her passion for social justice lead her to years in the non-profit sector traveling around the world to help children have a fighting chance of a successful future, until she joined the climate Avengers of OEF on their road to battle the climate crisis.

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Open Earth Foundation

A not for profit harnessing emerging digital technologies & radical collaboration to innovate, deploy & scale concrete systemic solutions at a planetary level