Judith Ford, PhD

Sustainability & Resilience Fellow

Judith Ford, PhD





Dr. Judith Ford leads strategic development and cross-sector initiatives, research and communication, which engage students and faculty in addressing sustainability and resilience projects on campus and with community partners. This work follows the successful resource assessment and stakeholder engagement she previously led, which resulted in Sonoma State signing onto the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitment (PCLC). Judith convenes workshops and symposia, facilitates certificate program and curriculum development and responds to grant applications, while continuing her own research into the effects of organizational culture and trust on strategic response to natural disaster and long term climatic change.

Judith has lectured and conducted post-doctoral research within the Departments of Business and Geography, Environment, and Planning, the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, Wine Business Institute, Center for Environmental Inquiry, Sustainable SSU and Operational Sustainability at Sonoma State on systemic, place-based strategies to build sustainable, resilient communities. With twenty years of broad, multinational academic, commercial and advocacy experience, she studied, teaches, writes and practices international strategy, environmental communication and stakeholder engagement. Following an International MBA and bachelor in Communication Studies and Psychology, her cross-disciplinary PhD dissertation used the nexus of culture, strategy, communication and psychology and the illustrative case study of climate change to explore how individuals discover and use their personal passions in response to the needs and opportunities of their physical and cultural environment. The symbiotic relationship between people and place creates authentic and diverse communities reflective of their unique assets, time and place. Innovation, purpose and community well-being become mutually constructive.

After thirteen years abroad Judith returned to her native California, where she relishes the natural beauty, community scale, and local food so revered in the North Bay. Her work with local youth and faith organizations entwines social justice and food literacy to address the growing homelessness and hunger found side by side the waste of abundance in her community. She is a frequent conference speaker and expert commentator within academic and mainstream arenas on the nexus of resilience, cultural identity and communication.

Selected Publications & Presentations

PhD Dissertation (2015) Climate Change as Metaphor & Catalyst: The Deeper Meaning & Potential of an Environmental Crisis

The Role of Trust in Organizational Resilience (2018-2020) Research Team with Armand Gilinsky Jr, Judith Ford, Sandra K. Newton & Deanna Brown. Grant funding provided by Stephen Norwick Memorial Fund.

'Elevating Latino Voices to Heal Our Community from Climate Impacts; 'Elevando Voces Latinas para Sanar Nuestra Comunidad de Impactos Climáticos', Report for MAPOne Sonoma Community Foundation Grant to Engage Latino Cultural Leaders in Climate Action, 20 March 2020.

Unified Wine & Grape Symposium Panel (Feb 2020) Preparing for and Mitigating the Impact of Natural Disasters and Emergencies.

Wine Jobs Summit (November 2020) Disaster Preparedness: Employee Communications, Safety Protocol & Planning