Allison Chan

Allison Chan

Political Director

Save the Bay

Oakland, CA USA

Be afraid but do it anyway.


By Roadtrip Nation

Allison Chan


My road in life has been direct.
I always had an appreciation for nature growing up.
I went to college to study environmental engineering because I knew that engineers made more money, but I quickly realized that I wanted to go down a more people-centric and multidisciplinary path.
I switched my major and graduated with a degree in environmental studies.
After graduating, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in environmental science and management—the program offered more involved focuses, which really helped me find my footing in the field.
After grad school, I did some field research along the California coast.
By the time I had made my way to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2008, the economy crashed and I lost my job.
Fortunately, I found Save the Bay’s internship program and joined the team as a policy specialist—I’d never done advocacy work before and essentially received all of my training in policy on the job!
I’ve since spent over 12 years with Save the Bay, effecting change through policy and advocacy to protect our environment.
Keep following my journey


High School
Environmental Studies
University of Southern California
Environmental Science & Management
University of California, Santa Barbara


Political Director

I lead a team working to influence local, regional, and state policies to protect the San Francisco Bay.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Find a mentor. Having a professional mentor that can help you evaluate opportunities and work through professional challenges can be a real asset. It's not absolutely necessary—I didn't have one—but if I were to go back to my early career, a mentor could've helped me get to where I am a little faster or with less confusion. The best way to find a mentor is to have a lot of conversations with people. If you're interested in someone's role, reach out and ask them for an informational interview.


The Noise I Shed

From Family:

"You should be an engineer. They make more money."