Director of Sustainability
Kathia Benitez joined the Office of Sustainability in June 2016 as the director of sustainability. Kathia is responsible for providing leadership and management to ensure integration of sustainable practices throughout the University’s campuses. She will coordinate and administer sustainability and energy efficiency programs in collaboration with students, faculty and staff.
Prior to working for Northwestern, Kathia was the senior manager supporting the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative. In her role, she provided direct oversight and strategic guidance for the Better Buildings Alliance and Better Building Challenge initiatives. She also served as a sector matter expert for healthcare organizations.
Previously, Kathia served as the Corporate Energy Program Manager for New York Presbyterian Hospital where she managed an annual $60 million utility budget across a 12-million square foot building portfolio. Under her leadership New York Presbyterian Hospital won several ENERGY STAR Awards for Sustained Excellence in Energy Management and Climate Communications. The hospital earned additional recognition from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering’s Energy to Care program, the Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge, and Practice Greenhealth.
Manager of Sustainability and Resource Management
Julie Cahillane has been with Northwestern University since 1994, where she manages sustainability programs and resource management operations for the University. Her position entails contract management, program development, and education. She is a LEED AP and attempts to steer Northwestern in ‘green’ directions, which she has accomplished by serving as a founding member of the NU Sustainability Working Group.
Prior to working for Northwestern, Julie worked as an education coordinator for CRInc., a recycling company. In this role, she researched and designed solid waste education programs addressing waste reduction, recycling, and recycled product procurement. Julie was recycling coordinator for the State of Illinois from 1991 to 1993. In this position, she was responsible for a statewide office recycling program. She was appointed to the State of Illinois Task Force on Developing Markets for Recyclable Materials.
Sustainability Communications Manager
Stephanie Folk joined the Office of Sustainability in October 2015. She is responsible for developing communications strategies and leading campaigns to engage students, faculty, and staff in efforts to make Northwestern a leader in sustainability.
Before coming to Northwestern, Stephanie served as the communications and marketing manager at Elevate Energy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting smarter energy use for all. In her role at Elevate, she was responsible for leading marketing campaigns aimed at enrolling households and building owners in energy efficiency programs. She also worked with Ameren Illinois and ComEd to introduce new hourly electricity pricing programs that allow households to reduce their bills by shifting electricity use to off-peak hours. Previously, Stephanie worked at Brookfield Zoo as the media and public relations representative for the Chicago Wilderness consortium, and at Shedd Aquarium as an educator. She has a master’s degree in life science communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in theatre and performance studies from Northwestern’s School of Communications. Back to top