Erica Mattison, MPA, JD
Erica's focus is on impact - how to make a positive impact and empower others to do the same. She motivates people to identify and pursue their passion and contribute their skills and energy to work that has personal meaning.
She has 15+ years of combined experience in program management, strategy development, and government and community relations. She has mentored dozens of people with an interest in public service, sustainability, advocacy, and environmental policy and law.
Erica’s consulting practice is called Sunrise Strategies, inspired by the name her parents gave to their family-owned business.
Erica grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. Heavily influenced by her parents' activism in support of local greenspace, she became a community activist from a young age. As an adolescent she organized park clean-ups, successfully advocated for her school to discontinue its use of polystyrene trays, and created and led a school newspaper.
She pursued her love of journalism in high school and college, becoming the co-editor of The Sagamore and a news writer at The Daily Collegian. Erica studied psychology in the Commonwealth College Honors Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (’03). Through attending a talk at Amherst College on political psychology, she became aware of the intersection of two of her top areas of interest. Subsequently, working with Professor Linda Isbell, now one of her longtime mentors, Erica focused her senior honors thesis on the role of gender in politics.
Erica's leadership on campus and involvement in politics earned her recognition as one of the first students to receive the university's prestigious Leader of the 21st Century award. She obtained a Masters in Public Administration and a Law Degree from Suffolk University, while working full-time. Erica was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in November 2013.
Erica has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Brookline Arts Center, Fenway Civic Association, Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action, Greater Ashmont Main Street, and MassBike. Seeking to bring together area residents and build a sense of community among younger residents, Erica founded Fenway Young Professionals and organized several community gatherings. She also led a community effort to advocate for park enhancements and historic preservation in the Back Bay Fens, raising tens of thousands of dollars and partnering with the state parks agency to get initial planning work done. At Greater Ashmont Main Street, a non-profit organization in the Boston Main Streets program working to foster a vibrant community in Dorchester, Erica co-chaired the Beautification & Public Spaces Committee and was named Volunteer of the Year in 2015.
A persistent voice urging bikable, walkable communities in Boston and beyond, Erica has been actively involved in the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition and Boston Cyclists Union, playing a key role in shaping and implementing strategies to foster safer streets and sustainable urban mobility. “How easy it is to get from place to place in a sustainable manner has major implications for our health, our wealth, and our happiness,” notes Erica.
Adding to her nonprofit organizational experience, Erica served as the Executive Director of Depave, a small 501(c)(3) organization based in Portland, Oregon. The nonprofit utilizes green infrastructure techniques and collaborates with community partners to transform over-paved places, helping to reconnect urban landscapes to nature. “I love the look of empowerment on volunteers’ faces as they bust up pavement to make way for greenspace,” says Erica.
After meeting Juan Perfetti of Comunicas, a citizen journalism organization, at the Impact Hub in Boston, Erica collaborated to establish The Dorchester Post, an online news site that tells the stories of people living and working in Dorchester, MA.
PUBLIC POLICY ADVOCATE
Erica worked as an environmental protection lobbyist from 2013-2017, serving as Legislative Director at the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM). A leading strategist on advancing a statewide conservation agenda, her work included convening networks such as the Massachusetts Environmental Collaborative and building and leading coalitions such as the Green Budget Coalition, which she tripled in size in three years to 110+ organizations and businesses. She served as a regular source for media coverage on environmental policy issues. (clip).
Beginning in 2016, Erica provided consulting services to a network of urban open space advocates, Boston Park Advocates. This work has involved organizational support for the all-volunteer steering committee, serving as a liaison to the successful Yes for a Better Boston Campaign, advising on strategy, community relations, communications, event planning, and fundraising. Erica's work coordinating large-scale events to convene park advocates has resulted in information sharing and relationship building to strengthen Boston's green space community, facilitating a higher level of attention for urban park needs.
While pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at Suffolk University, Erica formed a coalition to advocate for a campus recycling program, which led to the opportunity to work for the university's Facilities Planning & Management Department, revamping and expanding the campus' program. After building an award-winning recycling program, Erica established a comprehensive sustainability program, which earned local, state, and national recognition.
In 2019 Erica returned to the field of campus sustainability to fill a new role at Boston University as Assistant Director of Sustainability Communications. There, she leads communications strategy development and implementation, including a repositioning effort to enhance campus communications in light of the recently adopted University’s Climate Action Plan.
Prior to her work as a sustainability professional, Erica worked at the Massachusetts State House. She served as a legislative aide performing constituent services for a state senator's office. Next, she assumed the role of Executive Director of the Caucus of Women Legislators, where she created a monthly newsletter for distribution to legislators and aides and collaborated with government officials and non-profit organizations to raise awareness about a range of issues, from women's health to financial literacy.
While in law school, Erica sought out opportunities to contribute to the lawmaking process and worked alongside state legislators to craft legislation on climate adaptation, which was signed into law in 2014. She pursued her interest in the intersection of policy, law, and the environment by interning in the General Counsel's Office at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs.