< People

Vanessa Fajans-Turner


Board Chairperson

Vanessa Fajans-Turner is the Assistant Director of the Avatar Alliance Foundation, in which capacity she generates and manages a diverse portfolio of climate change and sustainable energy initiatives. 

Proficient in five languages, she has worked as a researcher and analyst for the UN Development Program (UNDP) and UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, during which time she lived and worked in various parts of the US, South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Building on her background in international relations, her role with the Foundation has grown to include analysis of transnational programming and business opportunities in Brazil, China, Mongolia and Kenya. 

She also developed the digital engagement and outreach strategy for DEEPSEA CHALLENGE, Avatar Alliance founder James Cameron’s historic expedition to conduct oceans research and explore the world’s deepest place, the Mariana Trench. In these roles, Vanessa worked with both national governments and community-based organizations to formulate policies to advance social and environmental objectives. Her interest in social media and online platforms for social change stems from past work for President Obama's campaigns and start-up NationalField.com

She holds an MA degree in International Development and Economics from Johns Hopkins-SAIS and a BA in Social Studies from Harvard College. She also serves on the advisory board of The Resolution Project and loves playing ice hockey.