A highlight of the OPEN conference, the Sustainable Practice Impact Award luncheon recognizes companies or individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in developing clean technologies, implementing sustainable practices in their businesses, or providing exceptional educational opportunities to university students. The award reflects The Lemelson Foundation and our strong commitment to supporting technological innovation that improves the world.
This year’s luncheon features a keynote speech by Melanie
Nakagawa, the Head of Climate Initiative with Princeville Global, an investment firm focused on backing rapidly growing technology-enabled companies around the world. In this role, she is leading an effort to invest in global companies delivering transformative solutions to climate change with strong investor returns. Before Princeville Global, Melanie
’s career spanned government and non-profit sectors. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation at the U.S. State Department. There she led efforts to support countries implementing clean energy commitments and shift toward a low carbon economy as integral to economic development and energy security. Melanie
also served as a strategic advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry spearheading policy efforts focused on environmental conservation and climate change. She has served in the U.S. Senate as the Senior Energy and Environment Counsel for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a global environmental organization.
She is currently a non-resident Fellow with the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is a Member of the Loomis Council (a forum for America's technology leaders and policymakers to identify common values, share expertise, develop solution and consider the future of technology policy) and on the Advisory Board of REVERB (a nonprofit dedicated to empowering millions of individuals to take action toward a better future for people and the planet). She has a J.D. and M.A. in International Affairs from American University’s Washington College of Law and School of International Service, and an A.B. from Brown University.