Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

IEN Team

Tanya Denckla Cobb, Director

Ever since taking my first mediation training in 1991, bringing people together to find creative and workable solutions has been a passion. As Director of IEN, I strive to be a servant leader for an extraordinary team of people who enjoy working together while making a difference in our world. IEN has a rich history of tackling tough issues through mediation, negotiation, and facilitating difficult conversations, which I’m proud to be a part of since 1997. I’ve worked on a broad palette of issues at the intersection of environment, health, and community – from urban forestry to food and agriculture, from septic and waste issues to stormwater and sea level rise. Learn more about me here.  You can find my resume here. Email Tanya.


Franklin Dukes, Ph.D., Distinguished Institute Fellow

I have been privileged to work for the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) since 1990, and served as its Director from 2000-2015. As a mediator and facilitator, I seek to help individuals and groups address complex public problems and conflicts in ways that strengthen communities rather than tear them apart. Each year I work on average on a dozen or so projects involving environment and land use, contaminated sites, community development, education, and health. I have also facilitated many difficult community conversations on topics ranging from faith and homosexuality, to education, to reparations for slavery. Learn more about me here. You can find my resume here.  Email Frank.

Kelly Altizer, Project Manager, Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute

As Program Manager for the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute, I coordinate VNRLI’s logistics, and organize alumni events and the six sessions that comprise the leadership program. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2009, I volunteered for a year with Americorps at the Southeastern Appalachian Rural Alliance in Lewisburg, WV. I received my Master's degree in Environmental Management from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, where I researched the effectiveness of UN peace-building programs in areas of environmental conflict and interned with the North Carolina Conservation Network. Email Kelly.

Tammy Switzer, Administrative Assistant

My role at IEN is part-time Administrative Assistant. I provide general administrative support to the IEN staff, but the majority of my time is spent working on the Virginia Natural Resource Leadership Institute (VNRLI). I came to IEN in September of 2008 after being a stay-at-home mom for over 10 years. I am originally from Littleton, Colorado, where I worked for the University of Colorado for 12 years. In 1999, my husband was transferred to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where we lived for six years. In 2005, his company brought us to Charlottesville. We have two wonderful boys that keep us very busy and active. Email Tammy.

Judie Talbot, Senior Associate

I started working at IEN in February 2015. I have had 15 years of experience in facilitating and mediating collaborative efforts and public involvement programs. My projects include strategic planning; assessments and process design; joint fact-finding; facilitating of meetings, workshops, and technical panels. My work focuses on policy planning for natural resource issues involving federal, tribal, state and local agencies as well as underserved communities, environmental, commercial, agricultural and recreational interests. My services include technical research, writing, and editing. I also create tailored materials for public engagement such as press releases, informational brochures, and content for briefings, newsletters and websites. My resume can be found here. Email Judie.

Supervisory Grants and Office Manager, Vacant