Faith helping to build a dome with a group

Who We Are

The Buckminster Fuller Institute consists of a dedicated Board of Directors, an international network of cross-disciplinary thinkers and doers, motivated volunteers and a small but multi-faceted staff.

Staff

Meet our staff, headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

Faith Flanigan

BFI INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Faith is the strategic and operational lead of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, working to catalyze and cohere collective insights through our network of partners, collaborators and community. She focuses on designing and building systems from a whole systems perspective for all of BFI’s programs including Regenerosity, Trimtab Space Camp, the Cooperating Manual for Spaceship Earth and the Design Science Studio. She is a seasoned operations lead with over eighteen years of program and operations experience, bridging experts with community leaders through sense-making practices that focus on real-world solutions to planetary-scale problems.  She has worked in social justice and environmental nonprofits, including Greenpeace, Global Footprint Network, GreenFestival, as well as for-profit companies including Duncan Channon. She believes deeply in civic and social justice for all people and living systems.

Felicia Chavez headshot

Felicia Chavez

CHIEF OF STAFF

In addition to joining the BFI team in October of 2022, Felicia has directed a small nonprofit dedicated to the promotion of systems thinking in Marin County since 2017. She completed her B.A in Psychology at Dominican (1999), and a Green MBA (2007). Most recently she has earned a PhD in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute (2017). Her dissertation is titled Sustainability and Spirituality: Common Threads and Common Threats. Felicia is a former sustainability consultant, and is passionate about scientific literacy, direct spiritual experience, and a systems thinking approach to sustainability and the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of 2030. As of June 2018, Felicia is president of the local chapter of the United Nations Association, Marin County.

Jazmine Cable

STRATEGY & PROGRAM DESIGN MANAGER

Jazmine works at the intersection of social and environmental justice. Her mission is to bring more knowledge, clarity, and beauty to the world and does this by working with various organizations that center this at their core. Jazmine helps people think systemically and embrace design science to bring forth regenerative solutions for society & the earth’s ecosystems at the Buckminster Fuller Institute. She’s also a Program & Project Lead at the J.E.D.I Collaborative and is an advisor for the Jonas Philanthropy’s Trees for Climate Health Campaign.

Board

Tom Chi in front of a blackboard

Tom Chi

BOARD CHAIR

Tom Chi has worked in roles ranging from astrophysical researcher to Fortune 500 consultant to corporate executive leading hardware/software team to develop innovative products & services. He pioneered and practices a unique approach to rapid prototyping and leadership that can jumpstart innovative new ideas and move large organizations at unprecedented speeds. He was head of Product Experience and a founding member of Google X, and current works to accelerate a future where humanity becomes a net positive to nature as Managing Partner of At One Ventures.

Barbara Merz photo

Barbara Merz

BOARD MEMBER

Barbara Merz is a visionary leader who inspires resilience in nature and communities. She led a $8B+ campaign for our planet at the Nature Conservancy. She has now joined Pathfinder International to lead a Women’s Led Climate Resilience Fund. Barbara focuses on systems change at scale, towards a more equitable and regenerative future for all.

George Orbelian photo

George Orbelian

BOARD MEMBER

George Orbelian is a husband (Marcia), parent of twins (Craig and Wade), artist / creative, lifelong motorcyclist (current bike: Yamaha R1M) with expertise in both building competition motorcycles and experience in racing motorcycles, masters swimmer, lifelong surfer (San Francisco Ocean Beach + Hawaii and other locations around the world), surfboard design expert, author (ESSENTIAL SURFING), former Surfboard Design Editor for SURFER Magazine, real estate owner / manager (Orbelian Holdings, L.P.), environmentalist (Co-founder or Project Kaisei which funded Scripps Institution of Oceanography SEAPLEX research and received Google Earth Hero recognition, worked with The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational with Contest Director George Downing, is a technology entrepreneur (lead investor in Ojingo Labs, Inc. and in addition to the Buckminster Fuller Institute, is a board member of the Walter Munk Foundation of the Oceans, and the San Francisco State University School of International Business.

George is interested in identifying and sharing comprehensive solutions that will allow humanity to regenerate the eco systems that sustain all life on this planet and integrating those solutions into resilient communities that incorporate lessons learned in his decades of experience with emergency preparedness.

George is fluent in Russian, and is continually learning how we can use design science innovations in science, engineering and technology to empower individuals with knowledge of a regenerative future so that we can share life on this planet in the way envisioned by Buckminster Fuller, “Make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”