Resilience rules with big moves at 100 Resilient Cities, AECOM

Names in the News

Resilience rules with big moves at 100 Resilient Cities, AECOM

100 Resilient Cities, AECOM, Fairtrade America, Providence, Earth Policy Institute
Clockwise from top left: Lester Bown, Earth Policy Institute; Christiana Fragola, 100 Resilient Cities; Rodney North, Fairtrade America; Henk Campher, Alison+Partners; Leah Bamberger, City of Providence; Josh Sawislak, AECOM.

If you thought resilience was just another sustainability buzzword, right about now probably would be a good time to reconsider.

This month's installment of Names in the News, our monthly column capturing the names and faces behind the headlines in sustainable business, is all about adaptation.

From a new European focus for the Rockefeller-backed 100 Resilient Cities to a White House veteran jumping into private sector climate adaptation, the rush to build more cities and companies able to withstand shocks linked to climate, supply chain instability or social turmoil is increasingly evident in the sustainability job market.

Beyond the realm of resilience, it's also been a busy summer for a long-time green leader and several other executives diving into new roles.

Have a tip for our next edition about a big hire, promotion or other career news for you or someone you know? Drop us a line at [email protected].

A new rallying point for resilience

In you live in a big city such as Oakland or New York, you may have heard about the work Rockefeller Foundation offshoot 100 Resilient Cities is doing to help municipalities hire dedicated chief resilience officers and plan for shock-absorbent urban environments.

But as of July, the group also has expanded its international presence with a new London office to be headed up by newly minted Regional Director for Europe and the Middle East Cristiana Fragola.

One key challenge for Fragola, who first joined the organization this spring, will be serving as a "bridge" between the two regions she oversees. About 25 percent of cities participating in 100 Resilient Cities are in either Europe or the Middle East, from Amman, Jordan to Athens; from Barcelona to Byblos, Lebanon.

From her new perch in London, Fragola — a veteran of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and U.N. Development Programme — will focus on shaping the region's resilience conversation while also engaging in policy work, advocacy and resource mobilization.

"My role is to make sure the cities have the best support possible to unfold very robust strategic plans to enable them to tackle implementation quite soon,” Fragola said in a recent interview. “We want to maximize the opportunities that the region offers."

Who's news

Josh Sawislak, AECOM

Virgina-based professional and technical services firm AECOM has picked up a veteran of the White House to lead its resilience and climate adaptation arm. Josh Sawislak, who most recently served as the associate director for climate adaptation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, will work with the firm's clients across sectors to help companies and communities shape resilience strategies.

In his previous role in Washington, Sawislak was responsible for leading the development of infrastructure recommendations for President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.

Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

The Washington, D.C., environmental think tank founded by longtime sustainability leader Lester Brown, the Earth Policy Institute (EPI), closed its doors at the end of June to coincide with Brown's retirement. Brown, 81, started EPI in 2001 after launching the Worldwatch Institute — which continues to churn out research, articles and books on a range of internationally focused sustainability topics — three decades earlier.

EPI produced 11 books during its time in operation, including Brown's autobiography, to further a mission of "planning a sustainable future and providing a road map of how to get from here to there."

Henk Campher, Allison+Partners

A seasoned sustainability branding specialist who has worked with clients such as eBay, the North Face and Unilever, Henk Campher has seen the ups and downs in the green hype cycle.

Following his time as managing director of sustainability at public relations behemoth Edelman, Campher is taking on a new role as executive vice president of social impact at San Francisco-based creative services firm Allison+Partners. In his new role, Campher will focus on bringing his branding experience to bear at the growing agency by helping companies leverage corporate responsibility efforts to increase customer loyalty.

Leah Bamberger, City of Providence

As an architect of the mayor of Boston's "Greenovate Boston" sustainability strategy, Leah Bamberger is no stranger to how cities formulate plans that integrate environmental outcomes.

Now, she's getting an even bigger say in how nearby Providence, Rhode Island, will integrate sustainability into its strategy after being hired as the city's director of sustainability earlier this spring. Her priorities will include minimizing waste, preventing pollution, promoting efficiency and cultivating resources to boost the local economy.

On the Move

— It's entrepreneur to investor for Rodrigo Prudencio, who previously founded youth-focused ridesharing company Shuddle and recently accepted a new position as director of investments and new business for South Korean firm GS Shop.

— Fair trade food movement veteran Rodney North has accepted a new position as director of marketing and external relations for D.C.-based nonprofit Fairtrade America. He joins as the organization seeks to scale up operations geared toward small small-scale farmers, workers and businesses opting to import fair trade products.

— The lack of diversity in the sustainability workforce (and many corners of the corporate world) has nagged the sector for decades. Now, however, Green 2.0 is work to move beyond building awareness to highlight sustainability professionals of color through an online initiative called Leadership at Work, which will feature a rotating slate of talent.

Brandon Deno, previously U.S. sales chief for Taiwanese solar panel manufacturer AU Optronics, is taking on a new role in the realm of clean tech financing. He will serve as vice president of solar for Clean Fund, a San Francisco Bay Area company focused on commercial PACE financing.