Director, Sustainable Solutions, TreePeople
Bio: Lisa Cahill is the Director of Sustainable Solutions at TreePeople. Lisa first came to TreePeople as a Citizen Forester and has since planted over 150 trees in her neighborhood. Lisa's environmental perspective was shaped by lessons she learned from her grandparents: to take personal responsibility to make the world a better place. Lisa currently serves on the board of directors for reDiscover and continues to volunteer as a Citizen Forester. When she's not at TreePeople Lisa loves cooking for friends, creating one-of-a-kind birthday celebrations for her children, and enjoying the simple pleasures of working in her garden.
Diretor of Advocacy Campaigns, Care2
Bio: As Director of Advocacy Campaigns at Care2, Natasha Nummedal leads a highly creative and skilled campaigns team that connects hundreds of nonprofits in the US and around the globe with donor members and supporters within Care2's community of 30 million citizen activists. Since 2007, she's run countless online campaigns committed to advancing social justice, protecting our planet and building healthier lives for everyone. Prior to Care2, Natasha was Director for Amnesty International USA's Urgent Action Program, with more than 18 years of volunteer and work experience in the human rights movement.
Bio: Ashley Crowder is the CEO and co-founder of VNTANA, the world’s first scalable, affordable and interactive hologram system created in 2012 with the goal of allowing artists to play multiple venues at the same time. Ashley leverages her engineering and event production experience to guide VNTANA’s overall direction and technology development. Prior to co-founding VNTANA, Ashley gained valuable engineering experience at Gulfstream, Northrop Grumman and BP. She also worked in event production at MTV Networks and INCA Productions, planning events to be executed in multiple countries. As VNTANA’s CEO, Ashley continues to push the boundaries of virtual reality to create innovative brand experiences.
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Founder & Director, Navdanya
Bio: Dr. Vandana Shiva is an Indian environmental activist who contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food, focusing her work on the most significant ecological and social issues of our times. Dr. Shiva combines sharp intellectual enquiry with courageous activism, and her work spans teaching at universities worldwide to working with peasants in rural India. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental ‘hero’ in 2003, and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators in Asia. In November 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as one of the Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe.
Suze Yalof Schwartz
Founder, Unplug Meditation
Bio: Suze Yalof Schwartz is the founder and CEO of Unplug Meditation. Before becoming a spiritual entrepreneur, Suze enjoyed decades as a fashion editor, director and stylist. The New York Times touted her as the “fairy godmother of makeovers.” She has worked at Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and Glamour. She was a regular on "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "CBS Early Show" and "The View," and made appearances on "Oprah" and CNN. Suze had an aha moment in late 2012 when she wanted to learn how to meditate and couldn’t find a place that fit her schedule, budget or aesthetic. So she decided to build it herself. After taking dozens of meditation classes, devouring lots of podcasts, books and Web sites and collaborating with Maha Yoga’s Steve Ross and MBSR teachers Stefanie Goldstein Ph.D. and Nicholas Bruss she came up with a program that works for the hurried, modern American. Suze's teaching approach is minimalistic and filled with easy tips for a meditation practice on the go.
Bio: Jordan Howard is a social good strategist with an expertise at the intersection of youth engagement, sustainability, education and politics. Since her teen years, Jordan has dedicated her time and energy working to ensure young people have a seat at the table. At the age of 23, Jordan has developed strategies and advises brands on innovative ways to educate, engage and activate youth to solve global issues. Alliance for Climate Education, Surfrider Foundation, United Nations Foundation, The U.S. State Department, 5 Gyres, Hulu and Dell are some of the brands she has partnered with over the years. Whether it’s developing curriculum to teach the science of climate change, equip youth with the art of public speaking, creating STEM programs for teen girls and working with city government to engage youth, Jordan has done it. Ebony Magazine named her Ebony’s Power 100, as one of the most influential African Americans. Jordan has been featured as an expert in NY Times, ABC, NBC, FOX, GOOD, and the book Girls Gone Green. From opening events for Secretary Hillary Clinton to teaching pre-teens across India, Jordan’s journey to spark change among millennials around the world is only beginning.
Marketing & Social Media Strategist, Content
Bio: Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff is a journalist, strategist and speaker who has appeared on “The Today Show” and “CNN Headline News” and at SXSW Eco and Natural Products Expo West, among others. As a marketing, content and social media consultant, Rachel works with mission-driven brands and organizations through her company, Sarnoff Productions. She was the Executive Director and CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, the leading children’s environmental health non-profit, and currently produces MommyGreenest.com, where she recently published The Mommy Greenest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond because “you shouldn’t have to be a scientist to raise healthy kids.”
Director of Transportation Policy, Lyft
Bio: A member of the Lyft team since its launch, Emily Castor works with transportation planners, environmental advocates, and transit agencies to advance ridesharing as a sustainable transportation option. She also serves as the Chair of the Sharing Economy Advisory Network for the National League of Cities. Emily started her career as a transportation policy aide for U.S. Congresswoman Susan Davis of San Diego and later served as a financial advisor for public infrastructure projects. She holds an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania and has been recognized by SAP as a “Top 40 Influencer on the Networked Economy.”
Bio: Deborah Burnes is the CEO and cofounder of Sumbody, a skincare company dedicated to all-natural, eco-friendly products free of synthetic chemicals. Combining her knowledge of chemistry and biology with a background in cosmetology, natural medicine and environmentalism, Deborah relies on her instincts as a working mother and beauty-industry insider to deliver a message of conscientious beauty to her customers. Deborah is the author of Look Great, Live Green and has been featured on television shows including Tyra, Access Hollywood, and TV Guide’s Fashion Team as well as in print in such magazines as InStyle, Lucky, Organic Style, W, and O The Oprah Magazine.
Bio: Jehmu Greene is the President of WakaWaka North America, an award-winning social enterprise that designs, manufactures and markets the world’s most efficient solar-powered flashlights and chargers. The company has also helped bring light and power to nearly a million people worldwide living without access to electricity. Jehmu served as the President of the Women's Media Center between 2009 and 2010, and of Rock the Vote between 2000 and 2005. Under her leadership, over 1.4 million young people were registered to vote, membership grew from 1,500 to over 1 million, and young voter turnout increased 11%, the highest increase ever recorded in between two presidential elections. In 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed her to the United States National Commission for UNESCO. A lifelong evangelist for social good, Jehmu is a widely sought-after speaker and commentator, and has been featured on The Daily Show, NBC News, The New York Times, and numerous other media outlets.
Bio: Jen Boynton is editor-in-chief of TriplePundit, a news media site for the conversation on sustainability in business. In her role as Editor-in-Chief, Jen oversees the TriplePundit team in publishing 10 articles per day on topics ranging from cause marketing to employee engagement to energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and carbon accounting. TriplePundit has nearly half a million readers per month. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen led the sustainability green team for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Jen holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and lives in Oakland with her husband and baby girl.
Deputy Executive Officer, Legislative and Public Affairs, South Coast Air Quality Management District
Bio: As the Deputy Executive Officer of Legislative and Public Affairs for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Lisha B. Smith directs the agency's public outreach and education programs, small business and local government assistance activities, and environmental justice programs. She and her team also address state and federal legislative issues impacting the air district. Lisha has over 20 years experience in public affairs, media and government relations, and community outreach. During a seven-year stint in county government, she served as Board Assistant to Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who represented San Bernardino County on the SCAQMD Governing Board. Lisha returned to SCAQMD in 2012 to lead the LPA team.
Assistant Deputy Executive Officer, Planning, Rule Development & Area Sources, South Coast Air Quality Management District
Bio: Jill Whynot has extensive experience working in the air pollution field and has worked at SCAQMD since 1989. As Assistant Deputy Executive Officer for the Office of Planning, Rule Development & Area Sources, she works with the Deputy Executive Officer to handle the functions of this office. Jill was formerly the Assistant Deputy Executive Officer in Engineering & Compliance and prior to that was the Director of Strategic Initiatives, where she led SCAQMD’s efforts in developing and evaluating air quality policies and strategies related to climate change, and was in charge of the PM Control Strategies New Source Review, Administrative Rules, and socioeconomic teams. Before joining SCAQMD, Jill spent ten years as a chemist doing research on the respiratory effects of acute air pollution exposures at the Los Amigos Research and Education Institute Incorporated of Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center.
Assistant AQ Engineer, Engineering & Compliance, South Coast Air Quality Management District
Bio: Cherie Balisi began her career at SCAQMD in March 2008 as an Air Quality Inspector in Engineering & Compliance. Assigned to the Refinery Group, her responsibilities included enforcing local, state and federal rules and regulations, participation in multi-agency inspections, testifying on variance cases and orders for abatements, performing RECLAIM audits and teaching Rule 1176 wastewater system inspector certification classes. She was recently promoted to Assistant Air Quality Engineer, handling permit applications for stationary sources. Cherie was born in the Philippines and came to the U.S. in 2002 to join her family. She continued her college education at California State University-Long Beach, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering with a Minor in Environmental Engineering. Since starting at the SCAQMD, Cherie also obtained her Master's Degree in Engineering with an emphasis in Chemical Engineering and plans to continue her education by pursuing a second master’s degree in Public Administration to further her career goals at SCAQMD. Cherie believes her educational accomplishments helped open doors into an environmental protection career pathway.
Director of Content Development, Purpose
Bio: Jessica Lauretti is the Director of Content Development at Purpose where she leads the video team in developing groundbreaking content for social impact. With a background in media and documentary filmmaking she has directed and produced content for Purpose, VICE, New York Magazine and others and has created several "viral" videos, national ad campaigns, and branded and editorial content. Her work has premiered on CNN, MSNBC, The TODAY Show, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and others. Additionally, her work has been honored with several Webby, Do Gooder, and Creativity International Awards and Nominations.
Chief Enthusiast Officer, Marked Point
Bio: Jenn Hirsch is the founder of Marked Point, a strategic storytelling firm committed to building vibrant, engaged communities to foster early growth for healthcare and wellness-focused organizations. She believes that making small changes both in business and in life lead to explosive and exponential growth. Jenn graduated from UCLA with a bachelors degree in American literature and business economics and received her M.B.A. from the Wharton School.
Co-Founder, Bitty Foods
Bio: Leslie Ziegler is the co-founder of Bitty Foods, makers of delicious, high protein foods powered by cricket flour. She also serves as an advisor to several digital health companies, and was previously on the founding team at startup incubator Rock Health. Leslie speaks internationally on health, design and technology, most recently at SXSW, Web Summit, Chicago Ideas Week and AIGA, and has been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, NPR, Time, Entrepreneur and Inc.
Environmental Product and Policy Analyst, American Honda Motor
Bio: Jessalyn Ishigo is the Product and Policy Analyst in the Environmental Business Development Office at Honda, providing policy, science, and market research support to numerous projects. Leading up to the Honda Smart Home US Grand Opening in March 2014, she managed interior design decisions, materials analysis, and communications initiatives. In addition, she executed the Visitor Center project, an educational space that provides the public with interactive opportunities to learn about the advanced technologies employed in the Honda Smart Home or HSH US. Jessalyn holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Science and Management and is currently pursuing a law degree.
Director, Environmental Education, TreePeople
Bio: Candice Dickens-Russell is the Director of Environmental Education and Regional Environmental Education Coordinator for Los Angeles County, drawing on more than 10 years of experience in environmental education. Candice develops and manages high quality Environmental Education programs for Los Angeles area students and teachers. Candice began her career as an Education Director for Boys & Girls Clubs. She is a member of the State of California Environmental Literacy Blueprint Task Force and chairs the CREEC-LA Environmental Education Leadership Board and the Los Angeles Watershed Education Collaborative. She is a member of the Los Angeles Area Women's Environmental Coalition, and serves on the Los Angeles Environmental Education Fair steering committee.
Juliette Finzi Hart, Ph.D.
Founder & Principal Researcher, Thalassa Research & Consulting
Bio: Dr. Juliette Finzi Hart is the Founder of Thalassa Research & Consulting, which provides marine and climate services to private sector enterprises, and ThalassaVR, which explores how innovative forms of technology, such as virtual reality and gamification, can be utilized to encourage behavior change and inspire climate action. Juliette is also the Marine & Climate Science Specialist at USC Sea Grant and is a Research Assistant Professor at USC in the Marine Environmental Biology program. She received her doctorate from USC in Ocean Sciences in 2007, along with a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Engineering in 2002.
Senior Digital Manager, Climate Reality Project
Bio: What transforms ordinary, aimless web surfers into dedicated e-activists -- a bite from a radioactive spider? A superpower transmitted from the sun's rays? Lauren Meling has dedicated her career to finding what exactly it takes to make people take action online to serve a cause. As the Senior Digital Manager at The Climate Reality Project, Lauren uses her digital strategy experience and skillset combining email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, website optimization, and content creation to engage online communities in meaningful action to confront some of the most challenging crises humanity faces today.
LCI, Sustainable Streets
Bio: Andrea Aponte is the General Manager of the Santa Monica Bike Center, the largest full service commuter facility in the nation. She is also a Cycling Instructor certified by the League of American Cyclists, the oldest bicycle advocacy group in the US. Andrea is passionate about cycling as a tool for transportation and a fun solution to environmental and health issues.
Managing Director, Principal, Gensler
Bio: Barbara Bouza is Managing Director for the Los Angeles office of Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm. As Managing Director, Barbara leads the Health & Wellness and Life Sciences practice areas. Barbara is a member of the American Institute of Architects, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and the Women Presidents’ Organization. She was honored by The Los Angeles Business Journal as the “2014 Executive of the Year: Women Making a Difference” and was invited to speak on the topic of “Managing the Firm: A Woman’s Perspective” at the AIA/LA POWERFUL Women Leading Design symposium. Her work has been published in Architectural Record, Architectural Review and Domus.
Deputy General Counsel, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Bio: Manisha D. Patel serves as the Deputy General Counsel for the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) within the Executive Office of the President. Prior to serving in her current capacity, she served as the Deputy Associate Director for Regulatory Policy at CEQ. At CEQ, Manisha works closely with Federal agencies, state and local governments, stakeholders, and other White House offices to develop policies and initiatives that advance the President’s environmental, natural resources, and energy agenda. She coordinates interagency efforts to modernize the federal infrastructure permitting process. Manisha is part of the team that is implementing the Administration’s commitment to building safe, reliable, and resilient infrastructure in a manner that safeguards our communities and the environment. Prior to joining CEQ, Manisha served in various capacities at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She has been repeatedly recognized for her dedication and leadership in finding comprehensive and sustainable approaches to tackle the environmental issues and challenges we face as a country.
Senior Assistant Manager, Hollywood Farmers' Market, Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles
Bio: With a BFA in fashion design from the Savannah College of Art & Design (2004), Ariell Ilunga moved to New York City and started her career. After a tenure at a fast-paced fashion PR agency, she was able to parlay her contacts into a successful freelance business. After the Great Recession of 2008, and seeking a fresh start, Ms. Ilunga returned home to Los Angeles. It was during this time she started to teach herself to cook. Her curiosity about where food comes from, and a philosophy that "good ingredients make good food" eventually led her to a community garden plot in her new Los Feliz neighborhood. Ms. Ilunga had a short volunteer stint at the Atwater Village Farmers' Market before she was offered a job as the Manager of the Barnsdall Art Park market for Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA). When the market closed in late 2015, she was hired onto the management team of the Hollywood Farmers' Market by SEE-LA and was quickly promoted to the Senior Assistant Manager of the Hollywood Farmers' Market.
Head of Programming, SXSW Eco
Bio: As the Head of Programming for SXSW Eco, Carolyn Harrold oversees the three days of conference content, ranging from high-level panel discussions to interactive workshops and oneonone networking events. Her areas of specialization include clean technology, sustainable energy, water, and impact entrepreneurship. During her career she has produced events around the world with partners including the United Nations Foundation, the State Department, Bloomberg, HBO and MSNBC. Her previous experience includes journalism, public relations, marketing and sales.
Dr. Christine Boyle
Founder & CEO, Valor Water Analytics, Inc.
Bio: Dr. Christine Boyle is the founder and CEO of Valor Water Analytics. Her work focuses on developing decision support software that achieves both resource and financial sustainability goals for utilities. She received a doctorate in water resource planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011 and led Valor Water through the Y Combinator Accelerator in 2015.
Dr. Boyle is passionate about entrepreneurship and has worked at three “startups” in addition to founding two of her own (Blue Horizon Insight and Valor Water Analytics). She has published widely on water technology, data science in the water sector, and water finance. She is Chair of the Cal-Nevada American Water Works Association Financial Management Committee and a water policy advisor for the World Bank.
Bio: Deborah Burnes represents the new face of green living—modern, multifaceted, and holistic. As the CEO and co-founder of Sumbody, a skincare company dedicated to all-natural, eco-friendly products, Ms. Burns has been profiled for being "at the forefront of the natural-beauty product revolution", and for her "commitment to purity" and "responsibly cultivated 'clean' ingredients." She has become the go-to source for not only effective products, but for her knowledge and expertise on natural beauty. She is the author of "Look Great, Live Green" which reveals the harmful truth about the many chemicals and toxins lurking in the thousands of beauty products and Natural Beauty Skin Care: 110 Organic Formulas for a Radiant You! Where Ms. Burns shares formulating secrets what allow you to be your own cosmetic chemist at home and make simple yet effective skincare.
A Native New Yorker, Ms. Burns brings a unique blend of business savvy and approachable warmth to her interactions with everyday consumers, high-powered executives and celebrities, and is considered one of the leading experts on natural skincare. Featured on television shows (such as the Tyra Banks Show, Access Hollywood and NBC's Wine Country Living), in magazines (including In Style, Lucky, Organic Style, W, Shop Etc. and O, The Oprah Magazine), in national newspapers and celebrity events (such as Academy Awards' and the EMMY Awards), Ms. Burns and Sumbody have developed thousands of devoted fans.
Ms. Burns combines knowledge of chemistry and biology with a background in cosmetology, natural medicine and environmentalism, plus experience as a model, working mother and beauty-industry insider. She synthesizes a vast amount of knowledge and experience from both the eco-sensitive and conventional sides of the fence, making her not only someone consumers can trust, but with whom they can identify with.
Activist, President, Dolores Huerta Foundation
Bio: Dolores Huerta is an American labor leader, civil rights activist, and leading voice in the women's and environmental movements. Ms. Huerta co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became United Farm Workers (UFW). She founded and currently serves as the President and full-time volunteer for the Dolores Huerta Foundation, where the next generations of leaders are working across the state and nation.
Throughout a lifetime of activism, Ms. Huerta has played a critical role in the civil rights movement. She led effective strikes and boycotts against California grape growers in the 1960s, played a critical role in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, and spearheaded legislation which resulted in the Immigration Act of 1985 (in which 1,400,000 farm workers received amnesty). She has also worked tirelessly for women's rights and empowerment over the last several decades. She has served on the Board of The Feminist Majority and has been instrumental in mentoring women leaders into key roles across many sectors.
Ms. Huerta believes in the power of each of us to have an impact on our surroundings and once said that she sees in, "every minute a chance to change the world." She continues to fight for positive change as a thought leader and activist in the environmental arena. She led one of the first campaigns against dangerous pesticides like DDT and Parathyon and has spoken out in favor of food democracy and GMO labeling. She is a leading advocate for clean energy, green jobs, and California’s landmark plastic bag ban, which will face a referendum on the November 2016 ballot.
In recognition for her work, Ms. Huerta has received several of the country’s highest honors. In 1998, President Clinton awarded her the Eleanor Roosevelt Humans Rights Award. In 2011, she received the nation's highest civilian honor from President Obama - the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has received nine honorary doctorates from universities throughout the United States.
Dr. Emily Church
Director, Education and Impact, XPRIZE Learning
Bio: Emily Musil Church is Director of Education and Impact for the Learning prizes at XPRIZE. Before joining XPRIZE, she was a professor at Lafayette College, where she specialized in African studies, human rights, and women’s global issues. She built upon her academic career by operating large-scale educational initiatives at XPRIZE that connect entrepreneurs, researchers, programmers, and humanitarians to radically transform access to education and learning worldwide. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. from UCLA, and a B.A. from Drew University.