Niyanta Spelman is the founder and executive director of Rainforest Partnership whose missions is to protect tropical rainforests by partnering with people at global and local levels to create lasting solutions to deforestation. The Rainforest Partnerships visions is for a world in which tropical rainforests thrive and support a balanced, healthy planet.
Niyanta has a wide range of public sector experience and currently serves on the board of the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, based in San Francisco, is an advisor to SxSW Eco and is an adjunct faculty member at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at University of Texas at Austin. She was a founding member of Texas Federation of Asian American Chambers of Commerce, served for several years on the Austin Zoning & Platting and Planning Commissions and on the boards of various nonprofit organizations.
Niyanta grew up in Tanzania and lived in India and England before coming to Texas 25 years ago. She received a B.A. in biology from the University of Texas at Dallas, and a Masters degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband Bill Spelman, a UT professor and an Austin city council member, live in Austin and have two sons, Jasiel and Ronan.