Lena Selzer

Co-founder & COO


As Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Lena is focused on building an organization that pulls Civilla’s mission forward and enables each team member to do their best work. Sometimes referred to as Civilla’s ‘air traffic controller,' she guides the organization’s operations, design, storytelling, and teaching/learning work – ensuring it all aligns with our long-term vision. She also plays an integral role in scaling Civilla’s impact through fundraising and partnerships.

Before co-founding Civilla, Lena entered the design field with a background in environmental science and research. Through her fieldwork, Lena saw the importance of understanding human behavior when solving challenges so that solutions are designed to meet people’s needs. This brought Lena to the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (the to study human-centered design. There, she met Civilla co-founders Adam and Michael, and together, they started dreaming up the organization that exists today.

Lena holds a BS and MS in environmental science from Stanford and has spent over ten years committed to social impact design. She built her own consulting practice leading a range of projects in the U.S. and abroad, which she ran until founding Civilla.

Lena was raised in the Pacific Northwest where she spent as much time in the outdoors as possible. She laughs (a lot) and has completed three coast-to-coast trips across the United States – once by bike, once by car, and once living out of a vintage Airstream trailer named Milly.