The Collider Staff

Megan Robinson, Executive Director

Megan RobinsonMegan Robinson has served as the Executive Director of The Collider since the fall of 2016. She is responsible for the strategic development and execution of fundraising, programming, membership, cowork, and events.

Prior to joining The Collider team, Megan was a Strategy and Management Consultant at LMI Consulting, Inc., a nonprofit consultancy, and was the Program and Policy Analyst for the Deputy Director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Megan earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University focusing on Environmental Policy and Administration. She also has a Master of Science in Environmental Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where her research brought her to the Galapagos to study the socio-economic and environmental factors that contributed to agricultural pesticide use. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from the University of Rochester.

Megan also serves on the board of The RUN828 Foundation, a nonprofit working to promote healthy, active, outdoor opportunities for individuals and families in Western North Carolina. She is a member of Leadership Asheville 36.

Kathi M. Petersen, Director of Communications

Kathi Petersen oversees internal and external communications for The Collider and serves as the organization’s media and speaker’s bureau contact. Prior to joining The Collider, Kathi served as Executive Director of Operations and Senior VP of Corporate & Public Relations for the nonprofit, 23-county economic development commission AdvantageWest, whose programs included entrepreneurial funding and development, the green and clean-tech economy, food and natural products, and advanced manufacturing, among others.

With a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a B.S. degree in Communications Media, Kathi’s previous positions also include Director of Corporate Communications for CarePartners Health Services, a nonprofit organization with 1,000-employees; Director of Advertising & Marketing and head of the Promotion Department at WLOS-TV. She was also in advertising production at the Asheville Citizen-Times.

In addition, she provided communications services for a wide variety of entities across the country for more than a decade through her consultancy, KP Communications, assisting organizations ranging from nonprofits, startups, and SMEs to multinational corporations. Industry segments included film and food festivals to green building, cultural tourism, natural products, environmental groups, medicine, banking, and the outdoor industry.

Kathi is a graduate of Leadership Asheville and the recipient of numerous awards for her work. She has volunteered her communications expertise for countless nonprofit and community organizations. A former member of the Asheville Hub Alliance Board, she currently volunteers with Mountain Area Radio Reading Service and Asheville Downtown Association.

Leah Donatelli, ClimateCon Project Manager & Events Manager

Leah Donatelli plans and manages events for The Collider including venue rentals for meetings, conferences, workshops, and receptions. She also coordinates the weekly PercCollider gathering, an informal coffee hour for those in climate services and the community at large, and monthly events such as the State of the Climate briefing, the Science Pub with Asheville Museum of Science, and The Collider’s climate and environmental film series called Oskar Blues Presents Movie Night at The Collider.

In addition, Leah is the key contact and planner for a wide variety of groups who use The Collider’s space for events, from lunch ‘n’ learns and board meetings to evening receptions and lectures. She is the lead on planning The Collider’s newest event, ClimateCon 2018, a conference on the business of climate.

Leah earned a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in design, business, and entrepreneurship from Appalachian State University and has served as a wedding planner for the past three years. Before joining The Collider, Leah worked in Asheville with the advertising agency, Market Connections, as Special Projects Coordinator in the PR department, focused on communications and event coordination.

Outside of The Collider, Leah can be found with the Blue Ridge Alumnae of Zeta Tau Alpha as Vice President of Collegiate Relations collaborating alumnae support with regional collegiate chapters. She also enjoys serving her time on a discernment committee with The Cathedral of All Souls and participating in Integrare, an integration of young adults across the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina.

Jacqueline Lowe, Membership Coordinator

Jacqueline LoweJacqueline Lowe is The Collider’s Membership Coordinator, facilitating connections among members and helping to ensure that members benefit from their professional association with The Collider. She is a contact for both those interested in membership, as well as for existing members who have questions or ideas.

Jacqueline grew up in Germany (thus, the pronunciation of her name as “Jac-que-LEEN”). She moved here to attend UNC Asheville, where she graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Management. She is certified in GIS (Geospatial Information Systems) and interned with Collider member UNCA’s National Environmental Modeling & Analysis Center (NEMAC) to interpret, create, and deliver geographic data.

Prior to joining The Collider, Jacqueline worked as a GIS Technician with Clark Nexsen in Virginia Beach. She has been a volunteer with the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and in her free time enjoys singing first soprano with Asheville Symphony Chorus.

Harper Spires, Development and Operations Coordinator

Harper Spires is The Collider’s development and operations coordinator, providing fundraising support, donor database management, as well as event, communication, and administrative assistance. Harper also provides support wherever necessary in organizing The Collider’s newest event, ClimateCon 2018, a conference on the business of climate. She began volunteering with The Collider in the summer of 2017 and was The Collider’s Fall 2017 Thomas R. Karl Intern, assisting with fundraising events, communications management, and donor outreach.

Over the course of her undergraduate career at UNC Asheville where she graduated with a B.A. in Political Science, she studied public policy and researched environmental justice issues in the Asheville-Buncombe County area. Harper also worked at UNC Asheville’s Office of Sustainability as a Sustainability Communications Assistant and spent two summers with Texas-based utility Oncor Electric Company’s Environment Department as a Mickey Leland Environmental Intern. She is currently working towards her Masters of Public Administration at Western Carolina University, with a concentration in Nonprofit Management.

The Collider Board of Directors

  • George Briggs, Executive Director, The North Carolina Arboretum
  • Josh Dorfman, Director of Entrepreneurship, Venture Asheville
  • Chantal Gloor, Vice President of Project Management, Oceanside Resort, Inc.
  • James McMahon, CEO, The Climate Service
  • Mack Pearsall, Founder, The Collider
  • Michael Tanner, Director, NOAA NCEI Center for Weather & Climate
  • Anne Waple, President & CEO, Studio30K