Heaven Gullate is the founder and CEO of Heavenly Productions 98 LLC, a media company that specializes in "All Things Media." Gullate also has experience in PR, advertising, social media marketing, journalism, production, graphic design, website building, celebrity interviewing, and more. Gullate is an alumni of the illustrious North Carolina Central University and graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts in Mass Communications with a concentration in Journalism. She has served as TreesDurham's Marketing and Communications Assistant since August 2021.
Board of Directors
Marcy Lowe is the founder and CEO of Datu Research, an environmental consultancy that informs federal and international public policy to slow global climate change. Datu’s clients and partners include the Environmental Defense Fund, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rockefeller Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Rotary International.
With this global backdrop, Lowe’s TreesDurham work focuses on coping with the climate changes that are already underway, including hotter summers, more flooding, and increased stress. Many of Durham’s most climate-vulnerable neighborhoods lack adequate tree cover. Lowe believes that planting trees empowers a community to reduce heat, protect against flooding, improve mental health, and reduce crime. She also finds it fun and rewarding to work really hard on a beautiful Saturday planting trees with TreesDurham friends old and new!
Brittany Curry is the Director of Development, Marketing and Communications at Global Scholars Academy. Curry joined Global Scholars Academy in 2017 and Durham is so lucky to have her.
Prior to joining GSA, Curry served as an industry leading marketer at Johnson & Johnson. While there she managed local and global businesses including JOHNSON’S®, BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages, AVEENO®, and LISTERINE®. She has corporate experience in brand management, strategy development, innovation, media, and finance, agency experience in marketing campaign planning and execution and talent management, and non-profit education experience in fundraising strategy, marketing and communications. Basically she can do almost anything and look good doing it.
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Curry holds a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations and English from Hampton University and a M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan – Flagler Business School with certifications in Marketing and Sustainable Enterprise.
Mel Downey-Piper is the Vice President of Health Strategies for the American Heart Association in the Triangle. Prior to that, she worked for 11 years at the Durham County Department of Public Health as the Health Education Community Transformation Director and Partnership for a Healthy Durham Coordinator.
Mel holds a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Berrian has worked in Research and Development for the consumer-packaged goods industry for more than 23 years. For the first 20 he worked for Procter and Gamble, on the oral care business with assignments in Caracas, London, Mexico City and Cincinnati. More recently he moved to Durham to lead the Research and Development team for Burt’s Bees, a leading natural personal care brand.
Berrian was born and raised in Venezuela and has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the “Universidad Simon Bolivar." He has been actively involved in Hispanic youth since his arrival to the US in 2003.
Willa Robinson Allen
Willa Robinson Allen has worked in the field of public health for over 20 years.
Currently, she is the Program Manager for the chronic disease and injury prevention
programs, known as Health Promotion and Wellness in the Health Education Division at
Durham County Department of Public Health. In Durham she also works on
policy/environmental change, community empowerment and concentrated efforts
working with Durham’s faith community—where she provides resources, skills building
trainings, small conferences and networking opportunities.
Having lived in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, she has appreciated
the beauty of each state and has been inspired to take action to protect the
environment. This became even more a part of her focus while living in Colorado.
In addition to her community contributions as an educator, volunteer and community
engagement, Willa served 20 years in the armed forces and retired as a E7/SFC
(Sergeant First Class ) in the United States Army Reserves.
Kelly Benhase has taught English, composition, and reading for over 30 years. She has taught in
independent schools, public high schools, and universities, and is currently a writing tutor for
Durham Tech’s Center for Academic Excellence.
Teaching offers many gifts, besides the challenges, and one gift Kelly has received is an
education in how different families see their place in the world, and more specifically, in the
natural world. Kelly encourages students’ interaction with the outdoors. At three schools,
including Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School here in Durham, Kelly founded
and led an Outdoor Club. She came to realize that trees in particular can offer significant social
and cultural space. Kelly admires Trees Durham’s focus on what matters—the material and psychological benefits of trees, and the fact that all citizens deserve those benefits.
Clay Bordley is a pediatrician at Duke Health, where he has served in a variety of leadership
roles including Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department, and creator of Duke's
Pediatric Hospitalist program.
A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Clay loves restorative agriculture and trees. Together with his
family, he is developing a sustainable agroforestry operation in east Durham County along
Panther Creek. Clay’s vision is to combine his career in child and public health with his passion
for (read: obsession with!) growing trees. An expanding body of research connects systemic
racism—especially redlining of non-white neighborhoods—with heat maps that align with
communities with poor health outcomes. Clay is excited to collaborate with communities to
grow and plant native trees to create a greener, healthier, more equitable Durham.
Our Invaluable Partners
We’re energetic. We’re passionate. We help trees make Durham a better place for all.
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Come join us!