The VERGE 23 advisory board brings together a select group of influential leaders representing companies, sustainability executives, investors, tech innovators and policymakers. They represent industries key to the transition to a clean and just economy.
Advisors hold their positions for a year and provide the GreenBiz team with invaluable insights, guidance and connections — informing our events, content and peer networks. The relationship with our advisors enables us to better analyze and unpack the most important topics, trends and initiatives for today’s sustainability professionals.
Here’s the 2023-24 cohort:
Paula R. Glover started as President of the Alliance to Save Energy in January 2021. A dynamic leader with more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, Ms. Glover is the seventh president in the Alliance’s 43-year history.
Ms. Glover previously served as President and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, a non-profit professional association whose focus is to ensure that African Americans and other minorities have input into the discussions and development of energy policy, regulations, and environmental issues. In this role, she was responsible for managing the national office, and providing strategic direction and leadership for the organization. Prior to this role, Ms. Glover served as AABE’s Vice President of Operations and as the organization’s Director of Communications.
Ms. Glover’s other experiences include 15 years in the energy industry for both electric and natural gas distribution companies. During that time, she built a stellar reputation working with state legislators and regulators in her roles as Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs. Ms. Glover commands a clear understanding of the consumer and community sides of the business as well having held industry positions in Community Outreach and Economic Development.
Ms. Glover is a seasoned non-Profit professional. Prior to her time at AABE, Ms. Glover was the Community Awareness Director for the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut where she was responsible for the organizations’ marketing, communications, community and government relations and public relations functions.
In March 2014 Ms. Glover was appointed to the National Petroleum Council by U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz.
Ms. Glover received her B.S. in Marketing Management from the University of Delaware. She is the recipient of the Bring It Home to Hartford Award; the Clarke Watson Chairman’s Cup; the Award of Distinction by the Videographer Awards and the Platinum Achievement Award from the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program at Fort Valley State University. She is a 2003 graduate of Leadership New Haven and has contributed to an article on work life balance in Take Pride magazine.
Jennifer Place is a Principal on the Climate Tech Investment team at Fifth Wall—the largest asset manager focused on improving, future-proofing, as well as decarbonizing the built world—where she focuses on investments in technologies that decarbonize the built world. Prior to joining Fifth Wall, Jennifer was an Investment Director at Finistere Ventures where she led thematic coverage and investment efforts in companies driving innovation across the agri-food value chain, powering the future of food commerce & next-generation sustainable food products. Prior to joining Finistere, Jennifer was a private equity investor at Energy Capital Partners, focused on existing and new-build energy projects within renewable energy & infrastructure services. Jennifer began her career as an investment banker at Credit Suisse. Jennifer grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and currently lives in San Diego, CA. She graduated from Stanford, receiving her BS in Energy Resources Engineering.
Erin Meezan is Chief Sustainability Officer for JLL. She is responsible for directing and delivering JLL’s sustainability program by embedding it throughout the firm and driving meaningful impact with, and through, JLL’s clients.
Under Erin’s leadership, the global sustainability team focus on efforts to accelerate JLL’s progress on its ambitious sustainability targets, develop industry-leading approaches to impact and measurement, foster innovation and provide technical excellence.
Erin joined JLL in September 2022 from Interface Inc., the global flooring manufacturer and renowned sustainability pioneer. As CSO for Interface, she was the key architect in creating the company’s Climate Take Back mission and the framework for its implementation that led to Interface’s carbon negative products, launched in 2020.
Erin is a recognized sustainable business advisor and frequent lecturer on sustainable business to senior management teams, universities and business audiences around the world. Her recent TED video released in 2022 discusses what nature can teach us on sustainable business. She’s a key character in the awarded Beyond Zero documentary, by filmmaker Nathan Harvey that details the story of corporate transformation.
Erin serves as a guest lecturer at Harvard University for the Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership program and has been involved since its inception in 2016. She earned a Juris Doctor and Masters of Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Sara Neff is Head of Sustainability for Lendlease America, where she is helping the company meet its ambitious goal of achieving absolute zero carbon across every scope by 2040 while creating $250 million of social value by 2025. In 2022, under her leadership Lendlease earned the top residential score in the Americas on GRESB and multiple green leasing awards from the Institute for Market Transformation. Previously, she served as Senior Vice President, Sustainability at Kilroy, where she helped the company achieve carbon neutral operations in 2020.
She has been named a Los Angeles Woman of Influence by the Los Angeles Business Journal, a 40 under 40 awardee by the Urban Land Institute, a Los Angeles Power Woman in Real Estate by Bisnow, a Women in Sustainability Leader by Green Building & Design magazine, a Woman of Influence by GlobeSt Real Estate Forum, and was the recipient of NAREIT’s 2020 Leader in the Light Leadership Personified award, an award that recognizes achievement in sustainability.She holds a BS from Stanford and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
She is a LEED Fellow and holds a BS from Stanford and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Sonia Aggarwal is the Chief Executive Officer of Energy Innovation, where she leads the organization and works closely with partners and policymakers on effective climate and clean energy policies across North America, Asia, and Europe.
Prior to this role, Sonia served as Special Assistant to the President for Climate Policy, Innovation, and Deployment in the Biden administration, where she helped to develop the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and to set the nation’s high-level climate targets including the commitment to cut economy-wide greenhouse gases by 50-52 percent below 2005 levels in 2030. Sonia also co-chaired the Biden administration’s Climate Innovation Working Group and focused federal initiatives to reinvigorate clean energy manufacturing across the country.
Sonia was a founding director of Energy Innovation, building Energy Innovation’s policy research, modeling, and analysis teams over eight years until she was appointed to serve in the Biden administration. Sonia has deep experience in energy modeling, analysis, and policy design in many of the world’s largest-emitting countries and regions. She spearheaded creation of America’s Power Plan, a platform to identify innovative thinking on decarbonization policy solutions for affordable, reliable electric power.
Before Energy Innovation, Sonia managed global research at ClimateWorks Foundation, worked on the McKinsey carbon abatement cost curves, advised the International Energy Agency’s “Accelerating Technology Transitions” project, advised clean energy companies on technology and financial communications, and worked in accident prevention design engineering at a nuclear power plant. In 2019, she received the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Award.
Sonia holds a B.S. from Haverford College in astronomy and physics, and an M.S. from Stanford University in engineering, focused on energy.
Jesse Morris is the co-founder and chief executive officer of the Energy Web Foundation, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating development and deployment of blockchain technology in the energy sector.
As Director of Datacenter Energy Strategy for Microsoft, Mariah leads global policy and strategy, assisting a global energy team in datacenter locations across the globe. Prior to joining Microsoft, Mariah served in multiple roles at Puget Sound Energy, including managing teams assisting in areas at the state, federal and regional levels and in energy markets. She also taught Energy Law and Policy at Seattle University School of Law and, as an attorney, Mariah practiced law at K&L Gates in Seattle, Washington.
Sam Kass is the former Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition in the Obama administration, Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign and the Obama family chef. He is a Partner in Acre Venture Partners.
After cooking for the Obamas in Chicago for two years, Sam joined the White House kitchen staff in 2009. During his White House tenure, he took on several additional roles including Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign and Senior White House Policy Advisor for Nutrition. Sam is the first person in the history of the White House to have a position in the Executive Office of the President and the Residence. As one of the First Lady’s longest-serving advisors, he helped the First Lady create the first major vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden.
Currently Sam is a Partner at Acre Venture Partners. Acre is a venture capital fund investing in the future of food with a mission to improve human and environmental health in the food system. The fund focuses on early stage, highly disruptive impactful companies in the food system focused on agriculture, supply chain and consumer.
In 2011, Fast Company included Sam in their list of 100 Most Creative People, and in 2012, he helped create the American Chef Corps, which is dedicated to promoting diplomacy through culinary initiatives. He is an MIT Media Lab fellow and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago.
Sam is the author of Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World, which was published by Clarkson Potter on April 17, 2018.
Michiel Bakker is an accomplished senior strategic, multi-disciplined, global ‘services and experiences’ business leader, grounded in hospitality with a touch of technology. As the visionary behind Google’s celebrated flagship Food@Work program, he brings deep experience in global operations, people, project, program, design / development, change management and food systems.
He presently leads Google’s Real Estate and Workplace Services’ (REWS) Global Programs Team (= Food, Transportation, Sustainability, ‘Global Events, Amenities and Guest Services’, Health and Performance and Placemaking) with overall responsibilities for the ongoing delivery of REWS global workplace programs & services to over 250K+ individuals around the world (55+ countries).
He is an active contributor to various Advisory Boards around the world, including the Culinary Institute of America (USA) Menus of Change Business Leadership Council, the Yale Center for Customer Insights’ Advisory Board (USA), the EAT Advisory Board (Sweden), and the Food & Nature Board of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He is also an Executive Advisor for the Future Food Institute (Bologna, Italy), a member of the James Beard Foundation Board of Trustees and a member of the Dutch startup Orbisk Supervisory Board.
Before joining Google in 2012, Michiel spent two decades in global hotel and food and beverage operations, creating and building out partnerships, leading hotel F&B developments, openings, and food experience design.
2021 Women of Power, 2019 GEN T Honoree, V Label Global Hero, 2 x TEDx Speaker: Serial social entrepreneur & trends forecaster Sonalie Figueiras is a sustainability expert, food futurist and eco-powerhouse who has been inspiring global audiences for over a decade with practical steps on how to fight climate change. Known as the Green Queen of Asia, she is the founder and Editor in Chief of the award-winning Green Queen - the region’s first impact media platform that educates millions of readers on the connection between health, sustainability and the environment and showcases future solutions. She is also the co-founder and CEO of organic sourcing platform Ekowarehouse and climate tech SaaS Source Green, which helps consumer brands quit plastic packaging thanks to proprietary plastic reduction software In addition, Sonalie is a global keynote speaker and an advisor to multiple mission-driven startups and NGOs, and a venture partner to several VC funds.
Sunny serves as the director of Corporate Affairs for Ralphs, Food 4 Less and Foods Co. – the California banners of The Kroger Co. With annual revenues of $148 billion, Kroger is the country’s supermarket chain and ranks #21 on the Fortune 500 list. In her role, she oversees communications, media relations, government relations and philanthropy for the state by elevating our story and building meaningful relationships that enhance our reputation and license to operate. She is committed to living Kroger’s purpose to Feed the Human Spirit.
Previously, she served as Executive Director and Head of Philanthropy at Kroger, leading the corporate philanthropic strategy and grantmaking across the Kroger Family of companies. She was responsible for both The Kroger Co. Foundation and the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, totaling in over $135 million in assets. She grew the philanthropic impact and grantmaking by 100% from 2017 to 2022 and also launched the $10 million Innovation Fund to provide grant support to innovative startups, solutions and technologies aligned to Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste mission.
Vanessa Garcia Polanco
Vanessa Garcia Polanco co-designs the strategy and implementation of the National Young Farmers Coalition policy campaigns, ensuring equity-driven, farmer-centric research, policy, and programmatic interventions for a more just food system. She serves as the organizational council member of the US National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. She has previously worked with the US Department of Agriculture, and the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems. She is a United Nations Youth Agriculture Working Group member and was part of 2021 New York Times Generation Climate at the United Nations Conference of the Parties Climate Hub. She is an alumna of Michigan State University and the University of Rhode Island. She is a James Beard Foundation Scholar, an Agriculture, Food, Human Values Society Innovation Leader, and a 2021 Emerging Leader in Food and Ag. As an Afro-Dominican immigrant, she brings her experiences and identities to her policy and advocacy activities. She leads #DominicanFoodStudies and funnels financial and physical resources to Dominican food sovereignty projects.
Margaret Henry was born on a dairy farm in Kentucky. She has spent her life and career working to improve social, economic and environmental outcomes for rural communities around the world. She has a BA and BS from Brown University, training from Massachusetts Institute for Technology in System Dynamics and a Master’s Degree from Princeton University in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy.
Her career focused on improving sustainable food systems in government, NGOs and the private sector in places as varied as Mozambique, Brazil, the U.S. and India. She is the Sr. Director of Sustainability Strategy and External Engagement at PepsiCo where she works on their strategy for partnerships, to expand climate resilient, and partner with farmers to expand the uptake of regenerative farming practices around the world. She believes that the most enduring change comes about when aligning diverse partners with different expertise and driving outcomes through finding shared value from the farmer to the environment to the consumer.
Arthur Chow is a Vice President at S2G Ventures. Arthur supports the Food & Agriculture strategy, focusing on consumer brands, marketplaces, and automation across the supply chain. His responsibilities include evaluating and executing investments as well as managing and supporting portfolio companies.
Arthur began his career in investment banking at UBS and later joined Frontenac, a middle market private equity firm, where he focused on food and consumer buyouts. Seeking operating experience, he worked for the Kraft Heinz Company and managed a $2 billion commercial P&L within the Foodservice business unit. Arthur then joined S2G prior to pursuing his MBA, where he primarily spent time working with several early-stage consumer-focused food companies including Tovala, Once Upon a Farm, and Dom’s Kitchen and Market.
Arthur received a BBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business with Highest Distinction and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Saswati Bora is the Global Director for Regenerative Food Systems at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). At TNC, she leads the development of an emerging set of regenerative foodscapes as a crucial part of accelerating the transition of food systems from degrading and extractive to productive and restorative for nature and people.
Saswati brings almost two decades of experience in developing and leading ambitious agendas related to food systems, sustainable agriculture and rural development. Formerly the Head of Food Systems Innovation at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Saswati developed WEF’s global programmes on innovations and incentives in food systems transformation as well as regional initiatives in India. Prior to that, she worked at the World Bank where she helped set up the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and the Global Food Crisis Program (GFRP). She has a strong track record in strategy development, policy analysis and building partnerships having previously also worked at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Saswati received her Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University, a B.A. in economics from Delhi University and a Post Graduate Diploma in communications from Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai.
Saswati was born and raised in the northeastern state of Assam, India. She is based in New York City.
Katherine Pickus is the Vice President of Sustainability and Global Impact at Tyson Foods where she is responsible for designing and implementing a long-term ESG strategy and shaping the direction of the company’s sustainability initiatives across each business unit – Poultry, Prepared Foods, Fresh Meats and International.
Kathy joined Tyson Foods in 2021 following nearly 15 years at Abbott, where she was the Divisional Vice President of Global Citizenship and Policy/Sustainability. Working together with business leaders, she led efforts to apply Abbott expertise and resources to help people build better lives and stronger communities while creating value for both the business and society. She also served as Vice President of the Abbott Fund, the company’s foundation, where she was responsible for developing strategic philanthropic partnerships with NGOs and shaping the long-range strategy for Abbott Fund’s office and programs in Tanzania.
Her diverse experience also includes serving at the White House as Special Assistant for National Security Affairs in the Office of the Vice President of the United States, with a specific focus on U.S. relations in sub-Saharan Africa. Kathy’s career includes time with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, where she worked to advance democratic institution-building programs worldwide. As a result of her work, she was selected by the United Nations to be an election monitor in the Republic of South Africa.
Throughout her career, Kathy has been involved with many organizations that help to advance environmental and social issues around the globe. Kathy recently was selected to be a Presidential Leadership Scholar, class of 2023 and served as a member of the Executive Council on Development at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, D.C. She is also a member of the US – Afghan Women’s Council and Women in Global Development Committee of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. In 2012, she was selected by the first-ever Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State to travel as part of a special delegation to Burma.
Sara takes care of the Equity & Access program at Elemental Excelerator. Sara creates local partnerships and supports project development by creating frameworks and tools that help operationalize equity to benefit startups and California‘s frontline communities at the same time. Sara also helps facilitate community engagement and public convenings to align climate startups with the needs and priorities of communities most vulnerable to climate change.
Prior to Elemental Excelerator, Sara was at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission where she worked on local, state, and federal policy and managed special projects across the utility’s water, wastewater, and power enterprises. Sara is also a former Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity fellow. A graduate of Howard University School of Law, she enjoys the unique opportunity Elemental has to be a bridge to make social equity operational and technological innovation culturally relevant. Sara is also a proud alum of Emory University where she studied English and concentrated on literature of marginalized people in fiction.
Dimitry Gershenson is the CEO and Co-Founder of Enduring Planet, a fintech platform offering fast, flexible, founder-friendly credit to all climate entrepreneurs.
Dimitry started Enduring Planet building on his 10+ years of experience across climate tech, operations, and impact investing.
Prior to Enduring Planet, Dimitry led M&A and served as COO for Rango Wireless, an Enduring Ventures portfolio company. Before that, Dimitry built Meta’s Energy Access program, a $15M+ investing initiative that enabled energy access for 3M people and unlocked nearly $500M in additional capital in underserved markets like Kenya and India. While at Meta, Dimitry also led the development of multiple predictive ML products in the cleantech space and built corporate accelerator programs for impact startups in India and Puerto Rico.
Outside of Enduring Planet, Dimitry sits on the board of Ecosafi, a Lowercarbon-backed climate startup enabling clean cooking in emerging markets. Dimitry holds an MS in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley, a BS in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University.
Saloni Multani has spent 20 years working with, learning from, and investing in growing companies. In recent years, she has focused her efforts on companies and causes aligned with combating climate change, most recently serving as the Chief Financial Officer of the Joe Biden presidential campaign and working to support the administration’s climate efforts.
Prior to her work on the campaign, Saloni was a Venture Partner at Congruent Ventures, an early stage venture firm focused on the sustainability ecosystem; she also worked with Three Cairns Group, a NY-based family office, to help develop and execute a mission-aligned venture investment strategy oriented around climate.
Saloni has previously held investment roles at SPO Partners, a long-only investment manager where she was a Partner (2012-2016); Hellman & Friedman, where she was a Director (2006-2012); and Blackstone, where she began her career as a private equity analyst (2000-2002). Through these positions, Saloni invested across sectors – including software, industrials, distribution, and beyond – enabling a broad perspective she now brings to climate investing with a goal of helping to create a more sustainable economy.
Saloni has served on the boards of Vertafore, Goodman Global, Trove Recommerce, and Thrilling, Inc. She currently sits on the board of Artisan Partners, an investment management firm.
Saloni graduated with an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was an Arjay Miller Scholar. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two young daughters.
Chris Wu is Vice President at Impact Engine, an institutional investor managing venture capital and private equity strategies that drive positive impact in the areas of economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health equity, where I focus on investing in sustainability and climate tech.
Prior to joining Impact Engine, he was an engineering consultant providing structural engineering services for the design and construction of municipal water infrastructure and green buildings, including the world’s first skyscraper to earn LEED Platinum certification. Previously, he was the owner and head baker of a bakery.
Chris holds a BS and MS in Structural Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Taj Ahmad Eldridge is a 25+ year investment professional whose career has included high level executive roles in banking, asset management, alternative investments, and entrepreneurship.
Taj serves as Managing Director of Climate Innovations at Jobs For The Futures (JFF) where he’s leads a cross collaborative team focusing on the intersection of climate and workforce. The first project under Climate Innovations is the $25M 5 year project CREST funded by the Ares Managemrnt Foundation.
As a cofounder of Include Venture Partners , Taj focused on investing in diverse founders and fund managers who want to create innovative ecosystems in their areas - as geographic diversity is just as important as racial and gender diversity. Previously Taj served as Senior Director of Investments at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Taj has built a long standing career with expertise in the fields of fintech, media, energy, transportation, and the circular economy.
At LACI, Taj helped establish both the LACI Impact Fund I (LIF I) and the LACI Debt Fund to allow cleantech companies to grow with diverse capital. These funds utilize an equity impact lens to encourage invested companies to have environmental, economic, and social impact - particularly on increasing the number of underrepresented voices in the cleantech industry. In addition, Taj created programs such as LACI Investor Talks (LIT), the LACI Investor in Residence program, and the Player to CEO Athlete-Investor Impact Summit Series with JP Morgan Chase. Taj has been named one of the 53 Investors to Watch in 2021 by Pitchbook & 101 Black Titans in Tech while nurturing and building a team of investment activists.
Prior to LACI, Taj was the Director for the Incubator at the University of California in Riverside, California. During his tenure as Director, Taj’s team brought a $10M venture fund (Highlander Fund) to the Inland Empire - the first for the region. Because of Taj’s focus on blending entertainment, policy, and entrepreneurship, the region was named the #4 city in the United States for minority entrepreneurs via Entrepreneur Magazine.
Taj began his career as a banker and economist with Wells Fargo Bank, UBS Investment Bank, and TRW Investments. Taj has also been a Founder, Board Member, and Investor in companies such as NCX, Bevy, BlocPower, ILTG Media, Boswell Official Apparel, Voter, Xtopoly, Rookielook, iListen, KYC Hospitality, KIGT, Majira Project, CleanTek Capital and ConCreates. Taj also serves on the Climate Finance Advisory Team of the Community Investment Guarantee Pool (CIGP), the Executive Board of the Homeboy Ventures Fund, The Majira Project, and Advisory Board of VC Include.
Taj has been profiled in publications such as Impact Alpha, Los Angeles Business Journal, Pitchbook, Forbes, GreenBiz, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more regarding his tireless efforts on achieving alpha while also advancing equity.
Taj has undergraduate degrees in poetry & literature and graduate geopolitical economics from Texas A&M University-Commerce, Pepperdine University, and Claremont Graduate University. Taj also studied abroad at The Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in Santiago, Chile, The Universidad Do Porto in Porto, Portugal, and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in Hong Kong, China.
Taj is an avid audiobook bibliophile and a lover of music of all genres.
As Director for Micron's AI Fund and portfolio manager for Comet Labs, Andrew invests in and supports the best early-stage AI and robotics startups that transform big industries. His focus is in deep tech, industrial automation, and computing hardware that enable the next wave of machine learning innovation. Prior to Comet, Andrew was the founder of Stower Energy - an early startup leveraging machine learning to provide predictive operations and maintenance for distributed energy systems - and project manager for utility scale wind and solar projects. He did his graduate work in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University, and enjoys his limited peaceful moments far in the desert gabbing with coyotes.
Gabriel Kra co-founded Prelude Ventures in 2013, after almost 25 years as an investor, entrepreneur, scientist, and activist. He is responsible for overseeing the firm’s investments in advanced energy, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, advanced materials and manufacturing, and advanced computing. Gabrielserves on the Board of Directors for Renew Financial, Ripple Foods, Sense Labs, PLANT PV, Natron Energy, ClearMetal, Raxium, and Form Energy, and is active with Metalenz, Zymergen, Planet, QuantumScape, Catalog, Emergy and Spark Thermionics. Gabrielalso serves on the Board of Directors of Activation Energy and The CREO Syndicate, and on advisory boards for Cyclotron Road, Prime Coalition, and Carbon180.
Sophie Purdom invests with conviction in early-stage climate technology founders and their companies via her $75M venture capital fund, Planeteer Capital. She writes Climate Tech VC to bring perspective and data to 50,000+ subscribers, and helps steer CTVC’s climate market intelligence platform. Prior, Sophie started a carbon-negative fertilizer company, launched an early institutional ESG fund, and learned to make pretty decks at Bain & Co. She was born in a British village, but feels most at home playing handball on the streets of New York.
Claudine works at the intersection of tech, investing, and impact. She leads the Salesforce Ventures Impact Fund, which invests in mission-driven enterprise technology companies in climate tech, education, workforce development, financial inclusion, and digital health. Prior to Salesforce, Claudine led social enterprise investments at Kiva. Claudine spent the first half of her career in economic development consulting and has worked in Beijing and Kathmandu.
Claudine serves on the board of the DC-based nonprofit Global Communities, which implements high-impact programs in global development and humanitarian assistance in 35 countries globally. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Katherine Delmar Burke School. Claudine is Co-Chair of the San Francisco Harvard Schools Committee and holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies (magna cum laude) from Harvard and a Master’s in Urban Planning from MIT.
Chante Harris is a champion of social and financial innovation. Throughout her career. she has successfully scaled nationwide campaigns, technologies, and ideas for the Obama Administration, Fortune 500 companies, and startups. Her writing and work have been featured by ImpactAlpha, Business Insider, The Milken Institute, and other notable publications.
As an operator, she has secured and effectively deployed millions of dollars for the implementation of climate projects and energy-efficient technologies. In 2020 she built a $10 million early stage climate tech venture studio in the U.S. focused on global companies deploying technologies across mobility, buildings, agriculture, waste, water, materials, and carbon. Chante recently completed a residency with Schmidt Futures and is now developing new financial and deployment models with a broader group of catalytic funders to address the funding gap for hard tech and material science climate technologies at the critical early infrastructure project stage.
Named by Forbes as a 30 Under 30 in the Energy Category, Nasdaq as a Woman to Watch in 2022, ACEEE as a Champion for Energy Efficiency, GreenBiz as 30 Under 30 Leader, America on Tech as an Innovator and Disruptor, and Women Enews as a Pioneering Woman in Sustainability, Chante is at the helm of driving climate innovation and advancing the energy transition across the globe. Chante has traveled the world to speak at global events like COP, GreenBiz, and TechStars.
In addition to her work leading in climate tech and investment, Chante launched and built the only global digital collective and community that is 100% dedicated to advancing women of color working across the sustainability industry. Since its launch in the summer of 2019, the community has brought together over 5,000 women of color through virtual and in-person events, social media channels, a digital community, and online publication.
Chante is on the advisory committee for the first-ever global Climate Center being built on Governor's Island in NYC and sits on the Board of Summit Impact. She is a lover of nature and music, an avid meditator, and a poet.
Ingrid Irigoyen serves as the Associate Director, Ocean and Climate, for the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program (EEP) where she leads EEP’s work on ocean and coastal sustainability and decarbonization of the ocean economy. She is also Director of the Aspen Institute Shipping Decarbonization Initiative (Aspen SDI), which partners with leading organizations and companies to drive the transition to zero emission maritime shipping. She is the lead facilitator for Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels (coZEV), a coalition of major multinational consumer products companies and other freight buyers working to accelerate the pace of decarbonization in maritime shipping and is the President and CEO of the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA), a non-profit organization and coZEV initiative to enable companies access to zero-emission shipping solutions that are not currently available. Ingrid holds a Masters of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of New Hampshire.
Gail Grimmett is a Senior Vice President of Corporate Innovations at Delta Air Lines.
Gail leads Delta’s efforts to drive forward innovative, sustainable solutions that will empower the next chapter of aviation, which includes next generation technologies, partnerships with educational institutions and other corporations.
Prior to joining Delta, she was the Chief Experience Officer for Wheels Up overseeing the member experience, including event programming, marketing, public relations, social and digital channel performance, as well as member experience and member benefits.
Gail has spent 20 years at Delta Air Lines, serving in multiple key executive functions including SVP of Global New York, SVP of Pricing and Yield Management and Managing Director of Investor Relations.
She served as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s appointee on both the New York State Tourism Board and the New York City Regional Economic Development Council for a decade.
For six years straight, Gail was consecutively named among the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by Crain’s Business.
Gail holds an undergraduate degree from Indiana University and an MBA from George Washington University.
Jan Hagen Andersen
Jan Hagen Andersen has over 30 years of experience in the maritime industry with a broad technical knowledge and business development understanding. After graduating from engineering college in Norway, he completed a Bachelor and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. He then joined Trans Marine Propulsion Systems, Inc. in 1991, a marine engineering and service company in Seattle with a focus on marine propulsion and ship machinery systems. In 2005, he joined DNV in Norway in the Machinery Section of Maritime Technical Advisory. The advisory group in DNV provides consultancy and non-class support services to ship owners, shipyards, manufacturers, designers, and other stakeholders. In 2010 he moved to DNV Maritime in Houston, Texas and is currently a Business Development Manager and the Regional Director for Maritime Decarbonization. The role focus on performance management, energy efficiency, environmental compliance, and service development for DNV’s maritime and shipping clients. He has been engaged with several projects and studies on alternative fuels and new technologies for ships and offshore units. He is a member of the SNAME M-16 Panel on Propulsion Shafting and is on the North America Marine Environmental Protection Association (NAMEPA) Board of Directors.
Dr. Francis, a former Medical School Faculty member, is a public health executive, entrepreneur and transportation disruptor. Dr. Francis is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of EVNoire. EVNoire’s work focuses on two pillars: E-Mobility Best Practices and Equity Best Practices. The EVNoire Team specializes in providing business solutions to enhance electrification strategies for Utilities, Non-Profits, Municipalities, Government Agencies, Public Health Organizations, and Regional and National organizations to expand this market share. EVNoire also engages communities on workforce development opportunities in the alternative fuel/electric vehicle economy.
Chris Cooper is the President of Neste US. Neste is the world’s leading producer of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel, and renewable feedstock solutions for various polymers and chemicals industry uses. In his role, Chris is responsible for supporting and aligning regional business strategies to deliver the strategic growth targets, and he acts as Neste’s primary representative for the external community in the US. Prior to his current role, Chris was the Vice President for Renewable Aviation at Neste US, where he led a team across the Americas to increase the distribution and accessibility of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Chris believes that we need to act now to fight climate change, and renewables fuel meaningful climate action today. Chris received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
As Prologis Mobility's director of product development, Ramya Winstead leads the commercial structuring, pricing, packaging, and value articulation of Mobility's offers across Workplace, Depot, Hub, and Temporary Power segments globally. Product, in this context, is the ultimate offer our customers are buying (i.e., the Electrification as a Service bundled solution), and the contracting, pricing, guarantees/SLAs, etc. that comprise those offers.
Ms. Winstead is a high-energy executive leader with proven leadership abilities in business strategy, development of hardware and software products/solutions for infrastructure, power, and energy systems, and managing large cross-functional, multi-vendor, inter-disciplinary teams. In her 15 years of experience, she has demonstrated the ability to create successful business relationships with customers, strategic suppliers, and third-party partners, and deliver to financial targets and performance metrics required for long-term scaled operability of products and solutions.
Prior to joining Prologis, Ms. Winstead led an interdisciplinary team at Amazon Logistics (AMZL) to build and launch products, operational tools and programmatic mechanisms needed to electrify AMZL delivery stations and scale their EV fleet (Rivian delivery vans). Her team owned the end-to-end execution for hardware and software product development, provided operational product support, performed systems engineering, established industry partnerships, procured, and managed the supply chain for a portfolio of EV charging and infrastructure products. Their work enabled 1,000+ electric delivery vehicles (EDVs) to deliver 5million packages in more than 100 cities across the U.S. in 2022. As of Q2-23 AMZL was on-track to deploy at least 100k EDVs on 100% of Amazon's last mile delivery routes by 2030 and eliminate millions of metric tons of carbon from tail-pipe emissions every year.
Additionally, Ms. Winstead played a key role in Product at Amazon Web Services (AWS) and led teams of both hardware and software product managers to deliver infrastructure products and solutions for AWS data centers. She also worked at NRG and later Clearway Energy in Asset Management across Solar, Thermal and Fuel Cell asset classes, where she was deeply involved in financial analysis, acquisition and divestiture assessments, and commercial structure development.
Anisa Kamadoli Costa
Anisa is a sustainability and philanthropy executive with a track record of connecting environmental, social, and governance issues to business performance, reputation, and shareholder value. She currently serves as Chief Sustainability Officer at Rivian as well as President and Trustee of the Rivian Foundation. Previously Anisa worked at Tiffany & Co. for nearly two decades. During her tenure she served as Tiffany & Co.’s first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer as well as Chairman and President of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, focusing the company’s philanthropic strategy on supporting nonprofit organizations dedicated to the stewardship of natural resources and empowerment of local communities, in the areas of responsible mining and marine conservation. She developed Tiffany & Co.’s metrics-driven ESG effort, which has been recognized by investors and the private and nonprofit sectors for its substance and transparency, including Tiffany & Co.’s commitment to become a net zero company. Her career has focused on catalyzing collaborative, mutually beneficial relationships among an array of stakeholders, scaling programs and impact, and effectively communicating strategy and purpose to diverse constituencies and audiences. She is a recognized expert in philanthropic, environmental and social impact issues with extensive board leadership experience on a variety of domestic and international nonprofit, industry, and multi-stakeholder bodies.
Rob Reich has served as the Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer since 2019. He previously served as Senior Vice President, Equipment, Maintenance and Driver Development. Reich has held several senior leadership positions during his tenure at Schneider across the Maintenance, Human Resources, Driver Development, Driver Training and Safety areas. Prior to joining Schneider, Reich served as an officer in the U.S. Army and was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. Reich holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Additionally, Reich serves on the Board of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency since 2015 and has been the Chair since 2017.
Noelani Derrickson is on the public policy and business development team at Tesla, focusing on policy in North America. Key topic areas of her work include electric vehicle charging infrastructure, utility and local municipal engagement, codes, permitting, and electric utility rates. Previous to Tesla, she managed policy in the southwestern states for a leading utility-scale solar provider. She has a master’s degree in International Affairs from the University of California San Diego focused on Energy and Environmental Policy.