Future 500 | Building Bridges for the Past 20 Years
Manager of Stakeholder Engagement

Sara works at Future 500 as a Manager of Stakeholder Engagement providing support in the organization’s energy, mining, and forestry programs, exploring the intersection of extractive industries and human rights. Sara is a recent graduate of the Ohio State University, where she studied Geography, with a concentration in Environment and Society, as well as International Development. Her work focused on long-term research projects that culminated in a thesis and advocacy campaign focused on indigenous resistance to large-scale hydropower projects in Honduras. She also worked with Oxfam America as a student organizer and as an associate consultant to non-profits, amid other environmental and social justice campaigns on campus and her greater community. Sara has found her way to Future 500 with the desire to contribute to meaningful, practical, and inclusive systemic change by bringing together activist and corporate agents.

Contact Sara: ssantiago@future500.org

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Researching and Organizing around Environment and Society

Sara’s worldview has been heavily shaped by her research and travel experiences abroad. She first worked within an environmental non-profit in Geneva, Switzerland, organizing the group’s international biennial general assembly. Sara has been most impassioned by exploring issues as they play out on the ground and listening to narratives of local people impacted by large development projects. In Honduras, Sara developed a project focused on indigenous resistance to a set of mega-dams proposed to be built on a major riverway, which would alter the traditional livelihoods of rainforest and river dependent peoples. In Bolivia, Sara assisted in preliminary research on plants’ cultural, health, and economic importance to indigenous Quechua. In these projects, Sara studied the landscape of diverse stakeholders that shape the social and environmental landscape, including the roles of corporations, indigenous peoples, local and international NGOs, and government agencies.

Aligning Corporate Power with Activist Purpose

In all of this work, Sara has realized roadblocks to progress and has therefore recognized the importance of bringing together adverse stakeholders in order to progress inclusive, systemic change. She first sought this out as a student associate consultant to non-profits, where she aimed to explore and better understand the business approach. Now, at Future 500, Sara works on a variety of issues around energy, mining, and forestry industries and is excited to expand the organization’s human rights arm, especially in Latin America.

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