UPHE Staff

Jonny Vasic – Executive Director

Jonny Vasic

Jonny Vasic has over ten years of experience working with non-profit organizations in various roles including International Director and Director of Media. He has lobbied in Sacramento and Washington D.C. with the Humane Society of the United States and was the International Director at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, where he was part of the team that created the critically acclaimed hit show Whale Wars for Animal Planet. He is on the Board of Directors for Surfers for Cetaceans and he is the producer of the award-winning documentary film Minds in the Water. Before Jonny’s non-profit work, he was an Executive in Charge of Production at a Los Angeles based TV production company. He was founder and president of Evergreen Oasis Entertainment, which specialized in communication with a conscience. Jonny grew up in Salt Lake City and has a keen interest living in an environment with clean air, water, and soil. His life long passion for the outdoors, a healthy environment and his love of animals combined with his experience in multi-media, has led him to work with groups that are making a real difference in people’s lives.


Brandi O’Brien – Manager of Programs and Development

Brandi first became interested in Utah environmental issues during a year-long internship in the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance’s Washington D.C. office. Here, she lobbied for the protection of Utah’s wild places and engaged with passionate activists from across the country. During this time, Brandi was also enrolled in George Mason University, where she went on to obtain a degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Being particularly interested in the environment and its effect on people, she focused this major to revolve around environmental justice issues. With this focus she was able to research topics such as: water rights, air quality, and the success of various pieces of environmental protection legislation. Still passionate about Utah public lands, Brandi moved to Cedar City in 2019 to do field work for the Utah Conservation Corps. She was ecstatic at the opportunity to conduct this field work in one of her favorite parts of Utah- Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. She has since worked on other public lands improvement projects throughout the West- partnering with both nonprofits, and land management agencies. Brandi is thrilled at the opportunity to continue her work for the health of the environment and people of Utah through her role with UPHE.

Born and raised in Upstate NY, Brandi spends much of her free time exploring the breathtaking camping and hiking that Utah has to offer. 

brandi@uphe.org


Yasmine El-Hage – Community Engagement and Outreach Coordinator

An aspiring physician, who enjoys kitesurfing, climbing, and snowboarding, Yasmine wants to ensure that what’s breath-taking about Utah is its incredible nature…not its worsening air quality. Having spent the last 7+ years studying and working on the frontlines of Public Health crises, including the refugee crisis in Europe, COVID-19, and a devastating coastal oil spill in Peru, Yasmine has seen how vital prevention, education, and community action are in ensuring healthy communities and environments. She has worked with organizations and research institutes like the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and UNICEF. More recently, she has co-created and leads the “San Francisco Blue Water Task Force” – the first community water quality monitoring lab program for the San Francisco chapter of the Surfrider Foundation – and is part of the Health Policy and Systems Research Working Group at Charité Medical University of Berlin. She is excited to join UPHE’s efforts to protect the health of Utah’s communities and nature. Please reach out to her with any questions, comments, or ideas!