A Transition: CCST Looks Toward a New Chapter With the Departure of CEO Amber Mace

August 10, 2023 | ,   | Contact: Keleigh Friedrich

A portrait photo of Amber Mace in formal wear over a light blue background.
Outgoing CCST CEO Amber Mace.


“We are all stewards of this important and ongoing work.”

As CEO Amber Mace looks toward a new professional chapter, she’s leaving CCST stronger than ever.

After a decade of innovative and strategic leadership at the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), Amber Mace, PhD, is departing her position as CEO in late September. CCST Deputy Director Sarah Brady, PhD, has been appointed by the Board of Directors as Interim CEO.

“It has been a joy and an honor to steward CCST through so much growth and change,” says Mace, who joined CCST as Deputy Director in 2013. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with CCST’s incredible team, Board members, partners, and extensive network of California’s top science and technology experts over the last 10 years.”

Mace succeeded former Executive Director Susan Hackwood, PhD, who retired in 2018 after 23 years with CCST and is currently the director of the Science to Policy initiative at UC Riverside.

“CCST has prospered enormously because of Amber’s leadership,” says Peter Cowhey, CCST Board Chair and Dean and Qualcomm Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego’s Graduate School of Global Policy & Strategy. “Her accomplishments on the Science Fellows program, revamping our science advisory services, raising our visibility and credibility in Sacramento, and securing our finances have elevated CCST to the trusted thought partner, connector, and messenger that it is today.”

The CCST Board of Directors will conduct a national search to fill the CEO position—who will continue to lead the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization in its mission to strengthen California policy with science and technology—while Brady leads as Interim CEO.

A portrait photo of Sarah Brady in formal wear over a light blue background.
Newly appointed Interim CEO Sarah Brady, PhD.

“Sarah has been an integral decision maker and guiding force at CCST and will provide vital stability in our leadership transition as we close out our 35th anniversary year,” says Mace. “While there’s never a perfect time for a transition like this, CCST is the strongest it’s ever been, with a flourishing team, an active board, and unprecedented financial security. I feel confident passing on the baton to the next steward who can lead CCST to an even greater level of growth and impact at the nexus of science and policy.”

Mace, a Bay Area, California native with a background in environmental policy and marine ecology, has accepted a job as Managing Director/Chief of Strategic Partnerships at the California Academy of Sciences. The Academy has an ambitious new mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration, which she will help to guide.

“Amber has fully embodied CCST’s values of service, independence, and partnership, and for many has become synonymous with the organization,” says Brady. “As a leader, she’s modeled a rare authenticity, creating a collaborative and inclusive space where new ideas are encouraged. Along the way, she has tackled some of the most challenging issues facing our state and the planet, from disaster resilience and adaptation to climate change and energy policy. I’m immensely grateful for her mentorship and the ways she has nurtured our team and cultivated an organization rooted in integrity and trust.”

Brady joined CCST in 2016, was appointed Interim Deputy Director in 2018, and was permanently hired to the position in 2019. Prior to joining CCST, she served as Legislative Director in Assemblymember Susan Bonilla’s office where she was hired after her placement as a CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellow in 2014. As Deputy Director, Brady has led outreach efforts to connect CCST’s network of experts with state decision makers and directs large-scale commissioned projects requested by the Legislature and state agencies. Sarah is also a member of the CCST Science Fellows Alumni Steering Committee.

To support the transition, CCST Senior Program Officer Puneet Bhullar, MPPA, has been appointed Interim Director of Policy Engagement.

“As we navigate this transition as a team and with the support of our invaluable Board and partners, I’m reminded that we are all stewards of this important and ongoing work,” Mace says. “And it’s in times of change that CCST’s resilience, nimbleness, and inventiveness truly shine.”



About the California Council on Science and Technology
The California Council on Science and Technology is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established via the California State Legislature — making California’s policies stronger with science and technology since 1988. We engage leading experts in science and technology to advise State policymakers — ensuring that California policy is strengthened and informed by scientific knowledge, research, and innovation.

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