Managing Director, Global Climate Strategies
Athena Ronquillo-Ballesteros is managing director of global climate strategies for the Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI), leveraging her deep climate expertise and extensive global network to guide new climate philanthropists to outsized impact.
Athena brings extensive experience in nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, with more than 20 years’ involvement in environmental development and natural resource governance. Prior to joining CLI, Athena served as director of programs and strategy for the Growald Family Fund, a high-impact venture philanthropy founded by Eileen Rockefeller and Paul Growald that invests in a rapid transition to a clean energy future. Athena also was the global director of the World Resources Institute’s Center for Sustainable Finance, where she led research efforts to shift finance towards low-carbon climate resilient development, and worked to improve the environmental and social performance of public financial institutions.
Originally from the Philippines, Athena also brings significant intercultural and international experience to the CLI team. She is a long-time policy advisor to the Philippine government’s official climate change negotiating team at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and has been widely published on climate change, climate finance, clean energy, governance, and human rights. She serves on multiple boards, including International Rivers, Action Aid, and True Costs Initiative. Athena has a Global Master of Arts degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees from the University of the Philippines and the Asian Institute of Management.
Athena resides in Maryland with her husband and three young adult children. In the wake of a global pandemic, she understands the urgency of addressing the climate emergency while meeting development needs, and is passionate about accelerating positive impact on climate change with issues of health and poverty in mind.