Totally in Tune: Weina Dinata & Megan Gleason
Left: Weina in Hood River. Portrait by Mirifoto. Right: Megan in Northern Ireland in 2017.
Weina Dinata and Megan Gleason are the two most recent additions to the Crag team. Both have been a part of the larger Crag community for years and we are so excited that they have joined the Crag staff. Together, they make up two-thirds of the development and communications staff. The work they do is essential to making Crag a lasting organization able to protect our communities, climate, and the wild.
The Office Songbirds
Besides their shared passion for helping the environment, there’s another thing these two have in common. Singing. I didn’t make this connection until I was interviewing them for this profile and I asked the icebreaker-esque question, “if you were an animal, what would you be?” I quickly realized that both of their answers were “a songbird.” For Weina, this was specifically a goldfinch, which is also the namesake for her business, Poppy & Finch. Both Weina and Megan love to sing, Weina is a part of two singing groups and has experience being a backup singer for artists and Megan has been a part of choirs and bands since middle school.
Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Weina ended up moving to the United States for college. She attended the University of San Francisco and studied graphic design in a program associated with the Academy of Art University. Growing up in Jakarta, a city with one of the worst air quality conditions in the world, Weina wasn’t surrounded by nature. Her family had a tiny yard, leaving National Geographic to be what connected her to the environment. While working in graphic design studios in the Bay Area and later Los Angeles, Weina began volunteering with different environmental groups to nourish her need to help the environment. This is when her passion for native plants began to develop. Soon, she was able to merge her experience with design and her passion for native plants into her own botanical design business, Poppy & Finch. After moving to Portland, Weina became connected to Crag through her business and was one of our Earth Day business partners. In June, she joined Crag as the Development and Outreach Assistant.
Megan was born in California and moved to Portland when they were seven. She attended Grant High School and was a student on the Grant Constitution Team, coming back as a Coach after graduating in 2015 from the University of Oregon Honors College. She describes Grant Constitution Team as “transformative” for the students and that the lessons it teaches (like critical thinking and organization, among other things) are valuable no matter the path they take. After college Megan worked for a couple months at Crag and then stayed connected as a volunteer. In 2022, after working for an ad agency and volunteering with Our Children’s Trust, she joined the Crag team in the newly created role of Communications Associate.
Growing Crag’s Support Team
Megan, Weina, and development director Suzanne Savell are the three people who make up Crag’s development and communications team (joined in the summer by a group of interns, including myself!). Their efforts make sure that Crag’s work can continue and be shared with our supporters and the public. Working in communications while being among a group of attorneys can be strange. Megan draws from her experience on Constitution Team to better collaborate with the attorneys effectively and for Weina, working at Crag and being among the attorneys and staff is “empowering and inspiring.”
Beyond the most obvious aspect of songbirds, their voices, Weina points out another characteristic, “they’re also at the same time resilient, especially in our climate. Right? A lot of things go against them.” She names a couple examples like pesticides and loss of habitats. Working in a field like environmental law, you need to be resilient. It’s easy to be doubtful and overwhelmed, but for Megan, the injustices she sees is one of the things that motivates her to continue working for the environment.
Both have found music and singing to be an important element in their lives. They describe music as similar to a ‘soundtrack’ to their experiences- a way to remember moments. One moment they remember: their first day working at Crag. They both started on the same day and found having each other comforting. As they were both leaving their first meeting, Megan hummed the tune of So This is Love from Cinderella. A moment later, Weina continued where Megan left off. “Weina caught my song,” Megan recalled. “It was the best moment of my first day.”
Though they first met a year earlier at a Crag volunteer event at Weina’s house, they have now become friends, collaborators, and officemates. In the office, it isn’t uncommon to hear the two humming together or discussing a graphic for an Instagram post. Weina gives Megan tips when it comes to designing graphics and, as Megan points out, “you can’t separate communications and development,” these are two things that must come together in harmony.
Summer 2022 Communications & Development Intern