Winter 2014 SEERS Fellows Bios

Natalie Bridgeman Fields

Email Address:

Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA

Organizational affiliation: Accountability Counsel

Organizational overview and your role: Accountability Counsel defends the environmental and human rights of marginalized communities around the world. As lawyers for people harmed by internationally-financed projects, we focus on innovative ways to provide access to justice. Through direct lawyering for communities and policy advocacy, we ensure that the complaint offices tied to the supporters of international projects are fair and effective. Our work pays particular attention to women, girls and other marginalized groups, who are often the most deeply harmed by abuses. As executive director, I oversee a team of lawyers working on community cases in ten countries, conduct policy advocacy, raise funds, manage our communications, and focus on ensuring Accountability Counsel’s growth and well-being.

Why do you do the work that you do? In 1998, I watched indigenous women in Chile tear-gassed while defending their land that was being taken to construct a massive dam financed by the World Bank. I felt an obligation to use my education, skills and resources to support such communities. I founded Accountability Counsel for that reason and on this premise: people in vulnerable communities around the world deserve to know that they have the option to complain when international institutions and corporations violate their rights, they deserve high quality legal representation in pursuing those rights, and they deserve to engage with accountability offices that are fair and effective.

What you hope to achieve at Stanford? I am looking forward to working with Stanford students to talk about our work, share lessons from my experience founding and directing Accountability Counsel, and discover how it fits into what students are learning. I always find inspiration and renewed energy working with students. I’m also looking forward to grounding Accountability Counsel’s messaging and communications in academic theory through work with Stanford faculty.

Favorite quote or fun fact about yourself: I’ve been a professional singer/songwriter with my a cappella trio Mayim for 20 years! But the most fun fact in my life is my one-year-old son, Nico.

Social media or multi-media: 

Twitter: @nataliebridgema

Facebook: Accountability Counsel Page


Michael Lombardo

Email Address:

Hometown: Berkeley, CA

Organizational affiliation: Reading Partners

Organizational overview and your role: A mountain of research has shown that whether a child masters reading in elementary school largely determines the life they will live as teenagers and adults, yet only 35 percent of fourth graders in American public schools read at a proficient level.

Reading Partners’ mission is to help children become lifelong readers by empowering community volunteers to provide individualized instruction that produces measurable results. We pursue this mission by connecting citizen volunteers with Title I elementary schools in order to offer students data-driven, one-on-one tutoring.

As CEO, I set the overall direction and strategy of Reading Partners, advocate publically for the issue of early reading, and bring together community leaders to create meaningful progress in closing the achievement gap.

Why do you do the work that you do?  I grew up in a small town in Northern Michigan and am the lifelong product of public education, from kindergarten to university. Without access to excellent public schools, I firmly believe that my opportunities would have been severely limited and am strongly motivated to make sure that all kids have the same chance I did to make something of themselves.

What you hope to achieve at Stanford?  At Reading Partners, we believe that education reform is a team sport. Everyone has a role to play and I am excited to work with students, faculty and staff at Stanford to engage the tremendous assets of the university community to support issues of social change. I also am motivated by the many amazing leaders who are helping me achieve my vision for Reading Partners and hope I’ll be able to play a similar role for others interested in social entrepreneurship.

Favorite quote or fun fact about yourself:  The pinnacle of my California experience was handing an invitation to give the commencement address at Berkeley to George Lucas while dressed as the Green Lantern. (He said no.)

Social media or multi-media:

Twitter: @MichaelLombardo


Lateefah Simon

Email Address:

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Organizational affiliation: Rosenberg Foundation

Organizational overview: The Rosenberg Foundation is an independent, grant-making foundation committed to ensuring that every person in California has fair and equitable opportunities to participate fully in the state’s economic, social and political life. Since its founding, the foundation has provided close to 2,800 grants totaling nearly $80 million to regional, statewide, and national organizations advocating for social and economic justice throughout California. I lead the foundation’s efforts to identify and support emerging leaders and build new coalitions in California, with a particular focus on undeserved regions of the state.

Why do you do the work that you do?  Nearly 20 years ago, I was given the unique opportunity to take on a leadership role in a community organization. As a struggling teen mother with limited education, my experiences were not discounted, rather I was encouraged to work harder, to dream bigger and play an instrumental role in building a movement of strong young women leaders in the Bay Area. Having trained and employed hundreds of low income and homeless young women to champion critical issues, I am convinced that change rises through those most impacted by injustice. I came to social justice work with few life options and after two decades of fighting for justice, I know that I have just begun.

What you hope to achieve at Stanford? I have led successful organizations, raised millions of dollars, and helped win sizable policy victories – and yet, I have not reached the desired impact on the communities that I strive to serve. My hope is to produce a critical needs assessment of the philanthropic investment, community development, and service provision opportunities for low income young women in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area.

Favorite quote or fun fact about yourself: "In my next life, I’d love to be a yoga guru- but in the meantime, there is a revolution to be won." – Anonymous

Social media or multi-media: