Wharton IGEL’s Alumni Advisory Group is comprised of distinguished Wharton and Penn alumni working in fields ranging from clean-tech and sustainable ventures to resource efficiency throughout the world. This talented team’s guidance and innovation ensures that business sustainability is at the forefront of academics on campus. Alumni advisors provide feedback on our curriculum, events and research. They mentor advanced students and connect students to internships, while also helping with research projects. Joining the group provides an invaluable service to Wharton. If you would like more information, or would like to become an active member of the IGEL Alumni Advisory Group, please contact us at email@example.com.
Start-Up Investing & Advising – Value Selling & Pricing – Sustainability – Business Operations & Development Executive
Ratan Agarwal is a technology industry veteran with 25+ years in senior management and execution roles in Fortune100 to start-ups. Currently, with several colleagues, Ratan is working on a transformative technology platform solution to help change the inflection point in our drive to a sustainable world. Previously, as President/COO at 4.0 Analytics, Ratan led incubation to launch of a pioneering predictive maintenance solution for connected vehicles leveraging power of IoT, Cloud, Big Data Analytics and Mobility. Previously, during his 16-year tenure at Cisco, he developed, launched and managed global sales and marketing programs; led operational transformations of several billion-dollar businesses, and incubation-to-scale of new businesses in IoT and Cloud. Ratan is also part of several incubators and accelerators in NYC metro area, along with investing, advising and consulting with early-stage companies in IoT, Cloud/SaaS models, healthcare and clean-tech. Ratan holds a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School; a Master of Technology in Structural Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.
Mr. Nitish Aitharaju is the CEO of Civa and a partner at Deckspire. He has extensive experience building and operating technology ventures. Civa is a cloud based service that helps real estate agents engage and qualify estate leads. At Deckspire, Nitish focuses on helping leading businesses and non-profits leverage technology to solve important business problems across a variety of industries including energy, real estate, healthcare, insurance, and higher education. Prior to Deckspire, he was the co-founder and CEO of Mobspire, a mobile advertising platform. He started his career in quantitative trading at Citadel Investment Group. Nitish holds an an MBA from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelors degree from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
The Preservation Group
Chris Allen is a founding Partner of The Preservation Group which invests primarily in important lands and habitat in the path of development. He has over 30 years of experience in investment strategy, management, structure, and operations in both public and private markets. Primarily working with private taxable investors and entities, he has consistently focused on after tax investment returns. After earning his MBA at Wharton in 1989, he was instrumental in investment management and development of two family offices with assets now in excess of $6 billion. He has deep experience in investment policy and strategy, alternative investments, and corporate finance.
Chris has worked closely with some of the greatest entrepreneurs of the last three decades and from that experience is always open to new ideas. Having developed successful investment strategies and securitizations in a variety of investment disciplines, he enjoys the challenge of discovering new ways to unlock and add value for investors. Since 2009 Chris has focussed on impact investing and economically viable strategies that benefit all of the planet. His current mission with The Preservation Group is “Preserving What Matters Most”. For the world at large, that means Nature, the habitat for all living things. For Communities, that means historical structures and the natural environment which he believes enhances social interaction and communication, and ultimately reflects the connections among all life. At the individual level, it means preserving financial resources through proper asset allocation, strategies, and cost controls that will sustain good stewardship into the future.
Chris’s grandfather was Dr. Arthur A. Allen, the world’s first PhD in ornithology, the founder of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in 1915, and a co-founder of the Wildlife Society in 1937. Doc Allen was the first to teach a college level course on wilderness conservation and among the first to use the term “ecology”. Chris desires to honor his grandfather’s legacy through establishing land conservation as a sustainable investment asset class. The Preservation Group provides consulting and land acquisition and management services for like-minded investors who desire to Preserve What Matters Most.
Sustainability and Giving Manager
Bert Barnes is a graduate of Penn’s MES program and former Communications Manager for Wharton IGEL. As the Sustainability and Giving Manager at Beautycounter, Bert is advancing the company’s progress toward more socially and environmentally responsible production of safer personal care products. He develops solutions for responsible ingredient sourcing, sustainable packaging, corporate environmental impact mitigation, and charitable giving partnership strategy.
Before studying at Penn, Bert was an environmental consultant specializing in natural resources management, environmental permitting, and human health and ecological risk assessment. He earned his B.A. in Biology & Society from Cornell, with a concentration in Environmental Science and a minor in Entomology.
Chief Environmental & Cities Strategist
A 17 year Microsoft veteran, Rob is responsible for defining and implementing the global strategy for the company’s environmental and cities efforts. Under his leadership, Microsoft has established a carbon neutral goal and the first-of-its-kind internal carbon fee.
Rob and his team are also responsible for Microsoft CityNext to help cities around the world better leverage technology to realize safer, healthier, better educated, more modern and sustainable places for people to live and work.
As part of their work, Microsoft has leveraged technology to build their own “City of the Future” on Microsoft’s Puget Sound Campus. This project, along with associated market research, served as the early foundation for the company’s growing commitment to cities initiatives around the world while also improving energy efficiency across the company’s real estate portfolio.
World Housing Solution Inc.
Ron currently resides in Orlando but has lived all over the world. Before coming to the U.S. and graduating from the Wharton School of Business in ’86, Ron lived or worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central America and Europe. Fluent in four languages, he uses his international and entrepreneurial skills in growing and building both his businesses as well as helping others to do the same. He is currently the CEO and President of World Housing Solution Inc., a company that has developed a revolutionary solution to today and tomorrow’s emergency and temporary housing needs both in the U.S. and the world. Using Space Age composite sandwich construction methods to develop rapidly deployable and reusable shelters and structures, WHS has brought innovation to the way emergency personnel, Non Government Organizations (NGO), Charitable Organizations (e.g., Habitat For Humanity, Red Cross) and the Military can deal with short and long term housing and building facility needs. The reusable shelters and structures can be used to almost immediately respond to natural disasters, military deployment, and temporary labor housing needs. WHS’s revolutionary approach is tailored made to address the need for affordable secure and comfortable housing worldwide while maintaining a superior level of thermal efficiency.
Chief Financial Officer
Omar Blayton is Chief Financial Officer at Sunwealth. Formerly he served as a Vice President with Reznick Capital Markets Securities, a subsidiary of the Reznick Group. Omar’s background focuses on renewable energy, asset sales along with the raising, structuring, and negotiating of tax equity investments. Omar was an associate in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Leveraged Finance Group, focusing primarily on the industrial, healthcare, and gaming spaces. During his time at BAML, Omar structured and executed high yield, leveraged loan and asset-based loan transactions for leveraged buyouts, strategic acquisitions and corporate refinancing. He participated in 10 lead left transactions, totaling more than $14 billion. Before entering finance, Omar was an attorney with Reed Smith LLP where he focused primarily on investment management advisory to one of the nation’s largest mutual fund companies. Omar received his MBA in Finance from the Wharton School. He received a JD from Columbia Law School and his BA from Cornell University.
Product Marketing, Strategy, Partner and IOT Consultant, Adviser and Investor
Neil Blecherman is the acting Head of Product Marketing at Electric Imp, an Industrial IoT secure connectivity company, implementing product messaging/positioning, new brand rollout, product introduction plan, sales messaging and industry analyst engagement. He is a Guest Lecturer at Stanford University delivering insight and guidance to multiple companies investigating Industrial IoT strategy, business opportunity and competitive advantage. Neil also works as a contributing editor to the 2017 Industrial IoT trends and companies research paper, Woodside Capital Partners. Neil advises the CEOs of companies with game-changing solutions including Computes.com (decentralized mesh computing) and Boon Logic (IoT pattern recognition), Solar Components (consumer solar and IoT).
VP, Chief Information Officer
Sheryl Bunton joined Gulfstream as VP, chief information officer (CIO) in September 2015. Her background includes leadership roles in industrial finance, SAP consultancy and information technology for global organizations. At Gulfstream, she is responsible for all aspects of information technology and cyber security with a staff of more than 700 personnel.
Previously, Sheryl was vice president and CIO of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO), an $8B global leader in agricultural machinery. There, she was responsible for leading more than 500 global employees involved in strategic project execution and the management of technology services for more than 400 major systems globally with over 10,000 desktop users. AGCO is unique in that 80 percent of the business is generated and fulfilled outside of the U.S.
Prior to AGCO she was senior vice president and CIO for Southwire, a privately owned $6.5B cable manufacturer. There, she led a total IT transformation effort in less than three years. Bunton has expertise in SAP for global manufacturers and managing diverse environments from a portfolio and cyber perspective.
Early career highlights include:
- 15 years at AT&T Capital with the last six years as senior vice president for industrial finance
- General management experience running a global SAP consultancy in the industrial cable market.
- Bachelor of Arts degree in business and psychology from Calvin College
- Executive MBA in finance from Wharton through the AT&T School of Business
A full bio is available on LinkedIn.
McKinsey & Co.
Diana graduated with honors from Harvard (AB), Wharton (MBA in Finance), and the Lauder Institute (MA in International Studies, Energy and Environment). Her Masters thesis, on renewable energy in French Polynesia, was nominated for the Research Prize for best thesis. Between college and graduate school, Diana worked as a high-yield research analyst at Morgan Stanley, covering automotive companies. Before Wharton, Diana also studied Conservation Biology at Columbia and chaired the Wildlife Conservation Society’s junior committee. Diana has also worked on a smart grid strategy project for a utility, and is now working with McKinsey & Company’s Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice in Washington, DC and Jakarta, Indonesia.
Lawrence B. Cahill, CPEA
Lawrence B. Cahill, CPEA (Master Certification) is a Technical Director with Environmental Resources Management (ERM), an international 5,000 person consulting firm that provides environmental and sustainability services to its global clients. His 35 years of professional environmental experience with industry and consulting, includes over 20 years with ERM and, previously, 10 years with Booz, Allen & Hamilton. He was also a Project Environmental Engineer with Exxon Research and Engineering. Mr. Cahill has consulted for many large international corporations such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Chevron, Colgate-Palmolive, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Honeywell, Tyson Foods, Sherwin-Williams, and Unilever. Mr. Cahill is a recognized expert in the field of environmental, health and safety auditing. He is the principal author of the widely used text, Environmental, Health and Safety Audits, now in its 9th Edition and its 2015 follow-up text EHS Audits: A Compendium of Thoughts and Trends, both published by Bernan Press. The books have been used as texts for technical courses by over 40 colleges and universities across the U.S., including the University of California-Irvine and Indiana University, as well as around the world at institutions such as the University of Wales and Thammasat University in Thailand. Mr. Cahill has published over 70 articles on various environmental topics and has been quoted in numerous publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Cahill holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University where he was elected to Pi Tau Sigma, the International Mechanical Engineering Honor Society. He also holds an M.S. in Environmental Health Engineering from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science of Northwestern University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a BEAC Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA), Master Certification, a former Environmental Commissioner with the City of Camden, NJ, and has worked in more than 25 countries during his career.
Technology Product and Growth Executive
Tyler Christie is an experienced entrepreneur, investor and tech growth executive focused on bringing disruptive data-driven products to market. He creates and leads teams delivering strong commercial growth and shareholder value. He has over fifteen years of experience in the environmental field with a focus on using data and information to improve management.
His specialties include: entrepreneurship, startups, venture capital, growth, product management, new product development. big data, business intelligence, sustainability.
Founder & Managing Partner
Andrew founded 1955 Capital to invest in technology from the Americas and Europe that have the potential to solve the most pressing problems in China, India, and the developing world. The firm has completed a first close on $200M in anchor commitments.
Previously, Andrew was a general partner at Khosla Ventures focused on energy, food, agriculture, education, health & emerging tech. He joined Khosla in 2011 as one of six partners & served as a director on the boards of Lanzatech (biofuel), LS9 (biofuel), EcoMotors (transportation), Pellion (storage), Biodiscovery (agriculture), and a stealth company (mobile). Prior to Khosla Ventures, Andrew worked at Lightspeed Venture Partners, where he helped build the firm’s cleantech practice. During his five-year tenure, Andrew helped drive and manage the firm’s investments in Solazyme (NASDAQ: SZYM, biofuel), Stion (solar), LS9 (biofuel), Coaltek (clean coal), Leyden Energy (storage), Orbis Education (nursing), and Personalis (genome interpretation).
Andrew earned his BA in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University and holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Andrew chairs the Cleantech Advisory Board for The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), serves on the Advisory Board for Stanford Energy Crossroads, and is an advisor to the Clean Tech Open.
Chairman & CEO
CO2 Sciences, Inc.
Bernard J. David is an entrepreneur, educator and author. He has founded, built and sold several businesses. They include SaveSmart, Inc. (Prio, Inc.)—sold to Infospace, Inc. and officesupplies.com—sold to Office Depot. Bernard has taught at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania as a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship to undergraduates, graduates and executives. He has written eight books on various elements of entrepreneurship and allied computer technology use. (Read more)
Founder & CEO
Mr. Kavaneet Dhami is the Founder and CEO of KDHI Agriculture (www.KDHI-Agriculture.com), an AgriBusiness and AgriTech social enterprise in Sub-Saharan Africa that develops productive, efficient, and data-driven supply chains to bring select agricultural products from the farm to the international market, in addition to launching plantation projects that integrate various levels of technology such as Wireless Sensor Networks (“WSNs”) and USSD technology.
The WSNs are strategically placed throughout the farm areas to location the precise position of the farms via GIS/Geotagging and allow for the creation of maps to measure key variables, including crop yield, topography, organic matter content, moisture levels, nitrogen levels, pH, K, soil resistivity, temperature, humidity, and others. This data is then passed through a data analytics platform to inform key decision making for farmers and which would ultimately maximize production yields. In doing so, Kavaneet is tackling some of the challenges Sub-Saharan Africa faces in relation to climate change, food security, and poverty among subsistence farmers.
In his experience on the continent, Kavaneet has engaged key stakeholders in different countries at the highest level including the Presidency, and also at the grassroots level with farmers. Prior to founding KDHI Agriculture, Kavaneet worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at Bonwick Capital where he advised clients on IPOs, mergers and acquisitions, capital raises and restructuring assignments in a wide array of industries, geographies and transactions.
Kavaneet holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with honors and is an active member in the Wharton Club of Africa. He is a recognized expert in the field of Agriculture, Impact Investing and Business in Africa, and is a frequent panelist and moderator on topics relating to those areas. Kavaneet has lived and worked in the US, Africa and Asia. He is fluent in four languages: English, Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu, and can have basic conversations in Spanish.
Willem Adrianus de Bruijn
Willem de Bruijn graduated from Wharton in 1967 already with the idea that consumers should be allowed to deduct from their taxable income the money they spend on products that keep Nature in perfect condition.
Until 1974, he worked for multinationals developing information systems for investment programs. Then he went back to study and obtained a degree about hydrology. After graduating in 1976, he participated in the organisation of the Vth world congress on water resources of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA). It was held in Brussels in 1985. In the mean time, he did some consulting work for the European Commission and did private tutoring. He was the secretary of the Conference Committee and assumed the position by organizing the Congress in space and in time as well as the synthesis of the papers presented at the Congress. He was co-author of “Well-Being & Integrity”, which was published in 1987. The article deals with the results of the analyses of some fifty hand-written syntheses of approximately three hundred articles presented at the Congress. The article develops a process scheme of man’s impact on the natural resources and arrives at the conclusion: water has to be managed with integrity to maintain its integrity. He developed this scheme into an operational model of man’s sustained economic behavior. The model was presented at the opening session of the VIth World Congress on Water Resources of IWRA, held in Ottawa, Canada in May 1988.
Since 1987 he has been doing research how to achieve a development of the economy, which will actually meander forever between the limits of Nature. He thereby founded three new concepts in the science of economy. They were published in journals, he presented them at congresses, participated in discussion groups on Internet and created a talk group at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/TaxDeductible-GreenCostsofLiving/, besides presenting these concepts and the vital need to apply them to politicians and academicians.
During this period he wrote a book about accounting and published it here. It presents in a scheme the dynamic relationships that exist in double bookkeeping. The accounts: Costs and Revenues are presented in this scheme as the working accounts of the Capital account. He also managed some real estate, which enables him to live in a beautiful, brand new apartment with a view on the park surrounding the castle which houses the municipal services of a village close to Brussels. He continues to give private tutoring.
Dakota Dobyns is a consultant at Geneva Global, a consulting firm that specializes in philanthropy and social impact. Since joining Geneva Global in 2013, Dakota has advised a range of clients– including foundations, corporations, multilateral institutions, and non-profit organizations— to broaden impact in the global health and social impact sector. Prior to joining Geneva Global, Dakota worked at the World Bank as part of the Agriculture and Environmental Services team, where she collaborated with financial institutions throughout Africa and Asia to increase their agricultural lending capacity. Additionally, she coordinated events and research projects at Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership. While at Penn, Dakota co-founded wH2O: The Journal of Gender & Water, an open-access academic journal supporting the advancement of women’s economic and social development by creating a centralized body of interdisciplinary research on water and sanitation issues. She holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in metropolitan studies from NYU.
Executive Chairman, UBQ
CEO, Ajover/Darnel Group
Board Member, Endeavor
Albert is Senior Partner and Active Director of UBQ, a materials technology company that has developed a process that revolutionizes the domestic waste and materials industries. UBQ uses largely unsorted municipal waste, including 100% of the organics, to produce a patented, polymer-like, material called Infini-Q that can replace wood or plastic in thousands of products. UBQ does all of its basic science research and industrial development in Israel where it also has a fully functional manufacturing plant for the production of Infini-Q.
Albert is CEO of the Ajover/Darnel Group, a diversified group of companies in the petrochemical, construction materials, and packaging and disposables markets. What started as a small plastic products manufacturing company in Colombia, today has operations in over 15 countries and four continents. He has vast experience in operating complex organizations with distributed manufacturing and service centers and thousands of employees. Albert is also very involved in several non-profit organizations. He is Co-Founder of Endeavor Colombia, and has been on the board of educational and health organizations. He graduated from Harvard College and received an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
Senior Vice President – Global Government Affairs
Suez – Water Technologies & Solutions
Jon Freedman is based in Washington, DC, where he leads Global Government Affairs & Policy for the multi-billion dollar Suez Water Technologies & Solutions.
Before taking on the government affairs roles, he was a director in GE’s Corporate Marketing Initiatives Group, where he reported to GE’s Chief Marketing Officer and he helped lead the creation of GE’s global environmental sustainability initiative called Ecomagination.
Freedman originally joined GE as a Global Business Development Leader with GE Energy, where he helped GE create a global water business by initiating and leading acquisitions of NYSE-listed companies.
He is on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania where he teaches graduate courses on water, energy, and sustainability. He also serves on Alumni and Corporate Advisory Boards for the The Wharton School’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and he co-chairs the WateReuse Association’s Industrial Committee.
Elinor Haider held the position of Vice President of Market Development for Veolia North America’s Municipal and Commercial business, and lead development and execution of sales strategy through business analytics, marketing, public policy and industry affairs.
Ms. Haider has over 20 years of project development, finance and energy experience. Prior to Veolia, Ms. Haider served as Chief Executive Officer at NovaThermal Energy. Ms. Haider has served as Deputy Commerce Director and Chief of Staff for the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development of the City of Philadelphia, and the Vice President of Financing at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.
Ms. Haider holds a MBA in Real Estate Finance from the Wharton School, MA in international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and BA from Georgetown University.
Energy Program Manager
As You Sow
Lila Holzman is the Energy Program Manager at As You Sow, where she represents investors in engagements with companies on issues relating to climate change, health impacts, and environmental risks to local communities. Lila’s previous experience includes helping a residential solar startup get off the ground, serving as a sustainable agriculture volunteer in rural Panama with the Peace Corps, implementing a clean cookstove pilot project in Ghana, and sourcing examples of private sector promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals while at the United Nations Global Compact. She currently serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Northern California Peace Corps Association. Lila holds an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania with a focus on Environmental & Risk Management as well as an undergraduate degree from Rice University where she double majored in Environmental Engineering and Policy Studies.
Entrepreneur, Advisor and Children’s Fairyland Board Member
Craig served as Program Director, Global Energy and Sustainability and member of the Institute for Building Efficiency, where he supported the development and implementation of innovative business models, strategies, technologies and policies across the globe for Johnson Controls Building Efficiency Division. His focus includes research and dissemination of best practices in energy management, building upgrades, financial models and smart building technologies to drive a more efficient and sustainable built environment. Prior to joining Johnson Controls, Craig worked with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, where he was part of the team responsible for managing the deployment of $36B of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. He served as the Acting Program Lead for the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG), a $2.7 billion program funding more than 13,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in over 2,300 municipalities. Craig’s experience also includes working for McKinsey and Company serving Fortune 100 energy and transportation companies, traveling as part of national presidential campaigns, managing a private investment group’s China office focused on manufacturing, financial services and real estate, and marketing for solar and green building companies.
Craig graduated from the University of Michigan with a BSE in Industrial and Operations Engineering and a BA in Economics. He received an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as the President of the Wharton Energy Network.
InfraRed Capital Partners Ltd
InfraRed is a leading global investment manager focused on infrastructure and real estate. Before working for InfraRed Capital Partners she was a Principal at Global Water Development Partners (GWDP), Blackstone’s investment vehicle into the water infrastructure sector, focused on both corporate investments into water companies and greenfield project development of water infrastructure assets globally. In this role, Liliya is responsible for deal execution, leading due diligence, investment analysis, deal structuring and negotiations for transactions in the water infrastructure sector. She began her career as an investment banking analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners in New York where she executed M&A and public financing transactions in the Cleantech sector. Post investment banking, Liliya joined the International Finance Corporation (IFC), where she structured debt and equity investments in the Water & Waste space globally. Most recently, Liliya completed a joint degree program at the University of Pennsylvania, obtaining an MBA from The Wharton School as well as an MA in International Studies from the Lauder Institute, with a focus on Latin America. She holds a BA in International Studies from University of Chicago, from which she graduated with general and major honors.
Village Power Finance
Ty Jagerson is CEO of Village Power Finance, a solar development and finance platform for community organizations like universities, churches, schools, towns and local businesses (www.villagepower.com). Ty was previously President of HelioPower, an integrated renewable energy solutions company with over 3000 systems installed. Ty has over 15 years of experience in renewable energy, technology development and finance. He joined HelioPower through the acquisition of Simple Energies, a renewable energy development company he founded in 2009. Prior to Simple Energies, Ty co-founded SolFocus, Inc., a pioneering CPV firm, and spent 5 years at Xerox PARC commercializing technologies and co-initiating PARC’s Cleantech Initiative. Ty spent 6 years in Eastern Europe and started one of the region’s first ESCO’s.
Ty holds an MBA from Wharton, speaks Russian, and holds 4 patents. He is on the board of trustees of the University of California, Merced, the alumni advisory board of Wharton’s Institute for Global Environmental Leadership, and the board of the Portola Valley Schools Foundation. He sits on the boards of product design firm Speck Design, and biofiltration company Azzuro; he is an advisor to biomass energy company Phoenix Energy, a regular lecturer on project finance at Stanford, and a mentor at the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford. Ty has worked professionally in over 25 countries.
Senior US Network Manager
UN supported Principles for Responsible Investment
Carol Jeppesen is the Senior US Network Manager for the UN supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). She joined the PRI in September of 2015 to help establish the organization’s first US office and is responsible for building and sustaining a strong presence for the PRI with asset owners and investment managers in the US marketplace. The PRI is recognized as the leading global network for institutional investors who are committed to integrating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into their investment practices and ownership policies. The PRI has grown significantly since its founding in 2006 by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan and today represents over 1,500 signatories, globally, collectively managing over $60 trillion in AUM, highlighting the tremendous progress in the evolution of responsible investing over the past decade.
Carol has more than 15 years of experience in financial services across investment banking, private equity and asset management. She began her career as an investment-banking analyst in the Global Energy Group at Merrill Lynch in New York and later led the firm’s cross-selling efforts for the investment banking division in the Americas. After getting her MBA, Carol led business development for a small private equity firm focused on investments in distressed community banks. Prior to joining the PRI, Carol was part of the Strategic Advisory Solutions group at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
Carol holds BS and BA degrees, cum laude, in Finance and Economics from Boston University as well as an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, Carol received vocal performance training at the Juilliard School in New York.
Carol is a frequent panelist and moderator on topics relating to responsible investing, ESG integration and fiduciary duty. She has been a featured speaker at conferences and workshops for public and labor pension funds, leading universities and educational endowments, central banks, sovereign wealth funds, asset managers and private equity firms.
Karissa Kruse is President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. Karissa joined Sonoma County Winegrowers as Director of Marketing in September 2012 and was named President for the organization on May 1, 2013. Karissa earned a BS in Economics and an MBA in Marketing from Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania. She has over 17 years of experience in various aspects of marketing, brand management, strategic planning and business development. Karissa has worked for companies such as General Mills, Universal Studios, Mattel and Dairy Management, where Karissa worked for seven years on behalf of dairy farmers nationally. She is a partner in a small winery, Argot Wines, and the owner of a 25 acre parcel in Bennett Valley, with five acres planted to grapes. Karissa is on the boards of the Sonoma County Tourism, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation, Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm Foundation, Ag Trust Committee and Viticulture Advisory Committee and a member of Leadership Santa Rosa Class 29. Kruse was selected as a North Bay Business Journal ‘Women in Business 2014 Honoree’ and ‘Forty under 40’ Award recipient in 2012.
Senior Manager, Sustainable Development
The Dannon Company
Alana Libow is the Environmental Sustainability Manager for The Dannon Company’s (North American subsidiary of Groupe Danone). She manages the development and integration of environmental strategy across each of the company’s functional areas (including sourcing, industrial, logistics, packaging, sales, and marketing). Prior to working at The Dannon Company, Ms. Libow worked for Winston Eco-Strategies as an independent consultant and spent her Wharton MBA summer with the home delivery business unit at FIJI Water (a division of Roll International). Prior to receiving her MBA from Wharton, Ms. Libow was a non-traditional equity analyst at Innovest, Strategic Value Advisors, a global research investment advisory boutique, now owned by MSCI. At Innovest, she managed the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk management and strategic profit opportunity analysis across seven sectors (with a particular focus on CPGs and agriculturally-based products, including beverages, tobacco, and textiles). Ms. Libow also managed Innovest’s Community Development Index.
Ms. Libow served as a Fulbright Scholar (2004-2005), assessing the socio-economic impact of four microfinance strategies upon the livelihood of 20 female indigenous entrepreneurs in El Alto/La Paz, Bolivia. Ms. Libow spent her earliest years of post undergraduate studies working at Harvard’s Kennedy School within the Women and Public Policy Program. Ms. Libow holds an MBA from The Wharton School (2010), with a major in Operations and a sub-focus in Environmental Risk Management and graduated Magna Cum Laude, with an AB in Anthropology (focus on Latin America), from Washington University, in St. Louis (2002).
Professor, Business & Non-Profit Adviser / Board Member
Robert M. LoBue has been Vice President of Operations for SAP North America Services Partners since June, 2011. He was previously Vice President for SAP Global University Alliances. Prior to joining SAP in 2008, Dr. LoBue was Professor of Accounting and Management for ten years at Reutlingen University, Germany. He was Dean of the university’s top-ranked School of International Business from 2006 to 2008. In 2007 and 2008, Dr. LoBue was placed in the Top 10 for Professor of the Year by Unicum Beruf , a national magazine distributed to university campuses throughout Germany. Prior to Reutlingen University, he was a member of the executive board in leading global high technology companies, including as Senior Vice President and CFO of IPC Communications Services and Axil Computer, and a senior manager at Interlink Computer Sciences, Adaptec, and Unisys. He received a doctorate in management from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, where he was a Research Associate at the Center for Corporate Governance. He holds an MS from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a BS from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. In 2011, he was awarded an Honorary Professor title and diploma from Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don and Taganrog, Russia.
Chief Impact Officer
The Angiogenesis Foundation
Eric Lowitt works as the Chief Impact Officer of The Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded more than two decades ago with the goal of improving global health through research and application of the field of angiogenesis, the process used by the body to grow new blood vessels.Eric Lowitt has previously worked as a sustainability consultant. He also is a speaker and author of “The Future of Value: How Sustainability Creates Value Through Competitive Differentiation” (Jossey-Bass, Oct. 2011). Learn more about Eric at EricLowitt.com and follow him on Twitter @EricLowitt. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The Harvard Business Review, among tier one publications worldwide. Eric is fluent in Japanese and is an avid baseball fan. He lives outside of Boston, MA, with his wife and two young children.
Entrepreneurial GM & Business Development Leader
Jonathan is a technology-focused entrepreneurial team leader with expertise in managing hypergrowth products and innovation through general management, business and corporate development. Previosly he worked at Noribachi and Cisco Systems. Mr. Lyons has experience in public relations and clean tech consulting. He launched his own cleantech consulting agency that developed public-private partnerships for clients. He also designed local lobbying campaigns to secure wind energy permits for a top 5 wind farm developer. Jonathan received a BS in economics from University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Industry Analyst & Project Manager
Yaowen Ma is an Industry Analyst and Project Manager at Verdantix, a globally recognized independent research and consulting firm with specialized expertise in environment, health, safety, quality, energy and sustainability management topics. He contributes to the EHStech practice on engagements associated with EHS information management, product stewardship and supply chain risk management. Prior to Verdantix, Yaowen gained work experience with Deutsche Bank on ESG and impact investing and with Sustrana and the Business Environment Council on strategic corporate sustainability management practices. Yaowen holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in International Relations and Environmental Studies, and he also served as founding editor-in-chief for the Penn Sustainability Review publication.
Sustainable Development Expert
Lead, Corporate Sustainability Program
Sarene Marshall is a passionate and collaborative leader with decades of proven experience devising strategies, leading teams, and delivering programs in the private and non-profit sectors. At Lead her focus is on advising the bank’s leadership on carbon reduction goals and design programs tha increase the staff and management awareness of sustainability. Previous to her involvement with Lead, Serene was the Managing Director for the Nature Conservancy’s global Climate Change Team. Her previous roles on the Climate Change team include Deputy Team Lead and Associate Director of the Conservancy’s program aimed at Reducing Emissions from Deforestation. Through her previous job involvements she has proven herself to be an exceptional fundraiser and spokesperson, with a track-record of securing tens of millions in revenue and dozens of media quotes. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and an MA in International Studies from University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute, and is fluent in Spanish.
Siemens Oman LLC
Claudia Vergueiro Massei is the CEO at Siemens’ Oman branch. She is responsible for overseeing Siemens’ support of Oman’s economic development, driving business in key growth areas including power generation, transmission and distribution, oil and gas, automation, manufacturing and smart building technologies. She has a strong background of being an executive manager with extensive international experience, having lived and worked in the Americas (Brazil and USA), Europe (Germany, France, Denmark and Portugal), Africa (South Africa and Morocco) and Asia (China and Oman). Claudia’s career path took her from strategy consulting to NGOs, to experiencing entrepreneurship to currently working at a multinational corporation. Previously to her appointment at Siemens Oman she held positions in Strategy, Business Development, Product Management and Sale at Siemens.
Claudia pursued her undergraduate studies in Aeronautical Engineering at her home country’s ITA, and later earned an MBA from Wharton and an MA in International Studies from The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.
Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Rekha is responsible for setting overall company vision and leading client and product development. Prior to Vertaeon, Rekha led comprehensive enterprise risk assessment, and CSR strategy development, at NV Bekaert SA, directly reporting to the CEO and periodically to A&F Committee of the Board. At Bekaert Group Business Development, Rekha managed global teams towards growth opportunity identification, JV/ M&A option assessments, and scenario planning for multiple $1Bn+ businesses. Prior to this, Rekha worked for over 10 years in the US Chemical industry, with Lyondell (and its Arco/Millennium subsidiaries) as Global Market Manager, Process Engineer and Sr. Development Engineer. Highlights include cross-functional leadership for multiple new product developments, and Chairman’s award at Millennium for optimization and yield improvement without CAPEX.
Rekha holds a US patent for process innovation, publication in Energy & Fuels, certification as sustainability practitioner (Brussels, 2010). She received Bachelors in Chemical Engineering (with honors), Masters in chemical engineering from Auburn Univ. at Auburn, AL and MBA from the Wharton School at Univ. of Pennsylvania.
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)
Doug works at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to transform global energy use and enable a clean, prosperous, and secure future through innovative, interdisciplinary environmental solutions. He contributes to RMI’s Buildings, Communities, and Electricity practices, placing a particular focus on engaging commercial real estate stakeholders to capture the business full value of energy efficient buildings and accelerate the adoption of efficiency measures. Doug gained a diverse range of research and work experience in the environmental field from his time at Chatham House, Carbon Smart, Oxford University, Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL), Wharton Risk Management & Decision Processes Center, Mayor of Baltimore’s Office of Sustainability, Hunsucker Goodstein PC, and TerraLogos eco architecture.
Doug received the MSc in Environmental Technology—Environmental Economics & Policy Option from Imperial College London in 2013, for which he received distinction and the URS Prize for Most Outstanding Overall Course Performance. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 with a BA in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) and Environmental Studies. His academic honors from Penn include summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, as well as top honors and awards from both the PPE and Environmental Studies departments.
CEO & Co-Founder
14bis Supply Tracking
Eleanor Mitch started 14bis Supply tracking in order to provide customers with supply chain transparency & ensure universal system interoperability. 14bis, the universal connector, transforms the way inventory is tracked and profitability is managed. She is working on transforming inventory management. Previously, she worked as an independent consultant with expertise in environmental governance and social inclusion and has 15+ years of international experience.
She has B.A. in philosophy, communication & fine arts (individualized major) from the University of Pennsylvania, was an invited professor Fulbright Scholar at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro & the Research Institute of the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden. She participated in Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership in 2014. She is currently completing a doctoral degree in public and fiscal law at the Université de Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne on Access to environmental information in the digital era: France, Brazil and the United States.
She considers herself a world citizen with a US passport, conducting business in: English, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. Umeboshi (梅干) is one of her favorite snacks.
Nimesh is a Director at Imagine H2O, a leading accelerator for water innovation. Imagine H2O’s global competition and accelerator program has helped over sixty water startups win customers and receive more than $1 in every $10 of early stage financing in the water sector. His role is focused on designing and executing Imagine H2O’s public policy initiatives as well as strengthening strategic partnerships and communications in support of the organization’s accelerator activities. Nimesh most recently worked in strategy and operational roles with Danone’s Sustainable Development Team (New York) and for-profit social enterprise WaterHealth International (Accra). Prior to graduate school, Nimesh worked for five years with international development consulting firm, Nathan Associates Inc., advising USAID, governments and multilateral institutions on economic and trade policy (Singapore and Washington, DC). Nimesh holds a MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Matthew V. O’Malley
President, Environmental – North America
Matt is the president of XL Catlin North America Environmental Insurance business. He oversees environmental underwriting, field operations and sales and marketing for the US and Canada. Since joining XL Catlin in 2004, he has also served as our head of Environmental Underwriting Operations and manager of the Environmental Commercial Business unit.
Matt holds an MBA degree with a specialization in finance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Villanova University and a Master of Science in Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, where he currently serves on the Board of Overseers. He is a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, an Associate in Reinsurance, a Registered Professional Liability Underwriter and a Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist. Matt is also a member of the Alumni Advisory Group of the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and serves on the Leadership Council of the CPCU Society.
Collective Growth Partners, LLC
At Collective Growth Partners, Arthur provides strategic advisory services focused on business growth, renewal and development, fueled by interdisciplinary industry expertise and our network of relationships. Our firm is intentionally interdisciplinary and team oriented, to help our clients deftly manage industry convergence, identify emerging opportunities and adapt to where their industry is heading, without being tied to legacy assumptions. Prior to working at CCP, Arthur was the founder and CEO of Sustain:Green, a provider of unique, biodegradable credit cards that reduce the cardholder’s carbon footprint with every purchase, while additionally funding rainforest preservation.
Arthur earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania with a dual major in biology and English literature and a minor in Chemistry.
Emily Woodhull Newton
Emily Woodhull Newton was the IGEL Marketing & Communications Manager and recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Environmental Studies program, concentrating in Environmental Sustainability and Energy Management.
Emily graduated from Cornell University in 2010, where her focus was in art history and business. After graduating from Cornell, Emily worked for four years in marketing and management for ASG, an energy technology tart-up company. She also worked for the non-profit the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI), where she focused on marketing PRI’s research in paleontology, environmental science, energy, and climate change. Both of these experiences inspired her to continue her education anad her career working at the intersection of the environment and business.
While studying at Penn, she focused on these interests by taking courses in corporate sustainability strategies, life-cycle assessment, the geography and geology of energy resources, and the fundamentals of air pollution. She also worked as a Sustainability Analyst Intern at FMC Corporation. As the IGEL Coordinator she enjoyed learning from leading sustainability professionals and researchers at IGEL events and conferences. She is now working full-time at FMC.
Senior Solar Market Development Analyst
Amy is currently the Solar Market Development Analyst for GAF Materials’ Solar Program. She is focused on business development for GAF’s overall solar strategy in solar product development and residential and commercial solar investments, including GAF’s solar tax equity business which has invested in over 100 megawatts of projects in the last year. Amy works with a specialized team of Private Equity professionals who take principal risk positions in solar development deals. This entails reviewing business plans, financial modeling and executing completed deal documents.
Amy received her Master of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences where her research focused on corporate sustainability strategies for investments in renewable energy. While at the University of Pennsylvania, she worked with Owens Corning to analyze the integration of renewable energy into their corporate and manufacturing facilities. Amy received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Allegheny College where she conducted research on sustainable infrastructure.
Aviad A. Oren
Senior Director, Strategic Marketing
Evoqua Water Technologies LLC
Aviad Oren is Senior Director of Strategic Marketing for Evoqua Water Technologies’ Industrial Segment, leading the development and execution of its marketing strategy, pricing policy, and growth of the segment’s profitability and market share.
Prior to assuming his current role in January 2018, Aviad served as a Business Development Manager with Booky Oren Global Water Technologies where he created and fostered business partnerships, and implementation of strategy and innovation at corporates and utilities while leveraging close ties to the water entrepreneurial arena. Aviad has also served with the Israeli Special Ops and Ministry of Defense.
Aviad holds a BA and an MA degrees in Economics from York University, and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Managing Director & Head of Business Development
Malachite Capital Management
Sarah Orsay is a Managing Director and Head of Business Development at Malachite Capital Management, LLC, which is a global, market neutral, equity derivative relative value fund, based in New York City. Sarah’s 25-year career includes Wall Street, not-for-profit, and municipal government experience.
Sarah spent 17 years in finance, ultimately serving as a Managing Director in Derivative Sales at both Morgan Stanley and then Goldman Sachs, covering pensions, endowments and foundations. Sarah began her wall street career at Bankers Trust Risk Management in 1991. She joined the Derivative Sales group in 1993 covering pensions, endowments and foundations. After 8 years at Bankers Trust/Deutsche Bank (merger), Sarah joined Morgan Stanley and was promoted to Managing Director and Partner in 2002. In 2005, Sarah joined Goldman Sachs as a Managing Director. Sarah left Wall Street to join the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research as CEO in 2007, where she was responsible for overseeing 40 employees in the areas of research, fundraising, communications, and operations, with an annual budget of $35 million. She left MJFF to spend more time with her then young family.
Prior to joining Malachite, Sarah was the Director of Business Engagement for The Climate Reality Project, a Washington, D.C., based not-for-profit founded and chaired by former Vice President Al Gore. Sarah’s career also includes three years as Parks & Recreation Director for the Borough of Rumson, New Jersey, a paid, full-time professional position, and she also initiated the role of Communications Director for the Borough.
Sarah graduated magna cum laude from University of Pennsylvania in 1988 and was a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science and The Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union at Columbia University. She has also studied at the Pushkin Institute for Russian Language in Moscow, Russia.
CEO & Executive Director
The Ocean Exchange
Millicent Wallace Pitts is a thirty year operating executive in process industries at Atlantic Richfield, Rohm & Haas, Ferro, Engelhard/BASF, and a university incubator company. She has an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, is a Registered Mediator in the State of Georgia, and has completed two marathons, one triathlon, and one century bike ride with Team-in-Training of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She currently is the CEO/Executive Director of OceanExchange.org, a private foundation with the sole mission to help advance the adoption of innovative solutions in the field of sustainability.
Kim Quick manages and engages in user relationships for the Sustranaplatform – an online tool for sustainability planning and management. With a background in designing behavior change campaigns, Kim contributes to a wealth of social science insights that enhance users’ day-to-day implementation of Sustrana’s sustainability policies and practices. Kim holds a BS in Environmental Policy and Management from UNC Asheville and a Masters of Environmental Studies with a concentration in Communication and Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She recently completed her Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology, which supports understanding the psychological dimensions of sustainability challenges and opportunities. Kim co-teaches a class in Penn’s Masters of Environmental Studies program entitled “Leading Change for Sustainability.”
Ultra Capital LLC
Aaron has over 20 years of international investment and advisory work focusing on technology, energy, agriculture and waste. At Ultra Capital, Mr. Ratner is responsible for project origination, with a focus on agriculture, waste and frontier markets. Prior to joining Ultra, Aaron was a Developer in Residence at Generate Capital. From 2012 to 2014, he was the President of i2 Capital, an impact investment merchant bank.
Aaron began his career as a foreign market entry strategist at WKI, a global consulting firm based in Virginia. In 2000, shortly after completing university in Tokyo and Philadelphia, he moved to Hong Kong to work for Simon Murray & Company, a Pan-Asian multi-strategy investment and advisory firm. After attending the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Aaron worked for a series of activist hedge fund managers in New York.
In 2010, Mr. Ratner founded Emerging Energy International, a Hong Kong-based developer of mobile electrical power projects in frontier markets. In 2012 he became the second team member and President at i2 Capital, a Washington, DC-based impact investment firm with expertise in conservation, mitigation banking and energy.
Mr. Ratner received a MsM from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a BA (Honors) from the University of Pennsylvania.
The Nature Conservancy
Geof Rochester joined the Conservancy as the chief marketing officer in July 2010. He is responsible for steering the organization’s marketing, membership and visibility strategies. Rochester has a deep and varied marketing background. Most recently, he was the executive vice president for marketing at World Wrestling Entertainment. Prior to that position, he served as senior vice president for marketing at Showtime Networks. He held senior marketing positions at Comcast Communications, Radisson Hotels International and Proctor and Gamble. Rochester has consulted with several non-profit organizations, helping them advance their missions through strategic marketing efforts. A graduate of Georgetown University, Rochester received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Haley started Chipper Pet while an MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Chipper is a wholly nutritious and environmentally conscious pet food company that crafts treats using sustainable alternative proteins. With support from awards won at Wharton Women’s Summit, Wharton Latin American Conference, and the iDesign Prize, Chipper is bringing its first product—a dog treat made from cricket protein—to market in Fall 2018. Before Wharton, Haley worked in the Investment Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and at several food and beverage startups. Haley holds a B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University.
Head of Sustainability, Natural & Organic Operating Unit
Shauna believes that food companies have an opportunity and a responsibility to play a significant and positive role in creating a more sustainable food system. At General Mills she works cross-functionally and throughout the industry to create programs that enable transparency to the farm and a deeper understanding of how our agricultural and farming systems connect to the foods we eat. The way we manage agricultural lands is driving many environmental and social challenges and I seek to create solutions that account for a more balanced, triple-bottom line (people, planet and profits) outcome. Shauna cares deeply about the food that ends up on your plate and work to create a healthy and balanced system for people and the planet.
Shauna’s commitment to creating a more sustainable food system stems from her early years, growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, where she learned firsthand the pressures that farmers face while making a living from the land. She has a deep passion for creating meaningful connections between farmers – stewards of the land – and consumers. She believes that through thoughtful policy, education and engagement, companies can improve transparency about their products’ origins and impacts. In doing so, they can motivate support to protect natural resources and social capital, building the possibility for systemic positive change. Shauna received her BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a MS in Agriculture, Food and Environment from the Friedman School at Tufts University. She serves on the board of the Sustainable Food Trade Association. Shauna lives in San Francisco with her husband, daughter and zany Boston Terrier.
Philadelphia Energy Authority
Emily Schapira manages marketing, outreach and business development for Aelux, an energy efficiency company focused on lighting and controls retrofits for commercial, industrial and institutional clients. Aelux’s portfolio ranges from small businesses to some of the world’s best-known brands. Emily also serves as Vice Chair of the Philadelphia Energy Authority, a board created by the City of Philadelphia to address issues of affordability and sustainability in municipal energy.
Prior to joining Aelux, Emily worked on sustainability for Verizon and managed operational sustainability efforts for Wharton. As Wharton’s Associate Director for Sustainability and Leadership from 2009 to 2012, Emily split her time between marketing efforts for the Wharton Leadership Program and the creation and implementation of the Wharton Sustainability Program, based in Wharton’s Operations group. Emily’s efforts focused on operational eco-efficiency and behavior change, and supported LEED certifications and attempts across the Wharton portfolio, earning the first LEED for Commercial Interiors certification at Penn.
Previously, Emily held an internship with Intel Capital and Intel’s Eco-Technology group, and spent five years running a consumer heating oil co-op and advocating for low-income energy assistance.
Emily earned her MBA from Wharton in Environmental and Risk Management, and has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. Emily is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialization in Operations and Maintenance.
Silvia Schmid is a program manager at EcoVadis, a supplier sustainability ratings firm that helps companies’ procurement teams and suppliers to collaborate to increase transparency and improve CSR performance throughout their supply chains. Prior to joining EcoVadis, Silvia worked in sustainability reporting and stakeholder engagement at two communications consulting firms in New York, Addison and SalterBaxter, helping Fortune500 clients to define and communicate their CSR strategy and performance. Silvia also developed partnerships and produced events and research projects for Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and before coming to the University of Pennsylvania, she worked in affiliate and online marketing for a multinational software corporation. Silvia has a Master of Environmental Studies from Penn and a Bachelor in Psychology and International Literary & Visual Studies from Tufts University, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish.
Elizabeth Seeger joined Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) in 2009 to help oversee the management of environmental and social responsibility issues and opportunities across KKR’s portfolio, including through KKR’s Green Portfolio Program (http://green.kkr.com). Elizabeth was previously a Project Manager in the Corporate Partnerships Program of Environmental Defense Fund. Prior to EDF, Elizabeth was a consultant with the Corporate Executive Board, where she advised companies across a broad range of industries in Europe and the United States. Before CEB, Elizabeth was an Associate at the Environmental Law Institute, a non-profit organization focused on environmental law and policy research and education. Elizabeth has more than ten years of experience working on corporate environmental and social issues and earned a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Chemical Review Manager
Nathan is an ORISE Fellow with the EPA Department of Water, focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation. He is a graduate of the Master of Environmental Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences where he concentrated in Environmental Sustainability. While an MES graduate student, his research focused on water and energy security on small Caribbean Islands. While in the MES program, Nathan also served as Coordinator for IGEL.
Nathan was a 2010 Teach For America Corps Member, teaching high school science in Philadelphia, during which time he attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Nathan holds a B.S. in Biology, as well as an Environmental Science Minor from Trinity College in Connecticut, where he conducted environmental research in Hartford that focused on urban wildlife and forest regeneration. Nathan is from the U.S. Virgin Islands, which have served as inspiration to seek a career that advocates sustainable resource use.
Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office
Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Societies with a concentration in Environment and Health from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences. During his time at Penn, he served two terms as co-chair for a newfound environmental umbrella organization, the Student Sustainability Association at Penn(SSAP). Additionally, he helped establish the Fossil Free Penncampaign that initiated the university’s first undergraduate referendum in almost a decade, resulting in 87.8% of the voting student body favoring fossil fuel divestment.
Michael is interested in the intersection of social responsibility, climate change, public health, and sustainable development. Currently, he serves as a paralegal for the Federal Litigation Unit at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and as a teaching assistant for the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Environmental Studies program. He ultimately aspires to attend law school and pursue a career as an environmental justice attorney.
As an Eagle Scout and a key youth leader and volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America, one of his ongoing projects is to identify a working definition of sustainability for Scouting’s National Honor Society, the Order of the Arrow, and develop recommendations for engraining environmental stewardship in servant leadership opportunities locally. He also aims to develop a collaborative coailton between the alumni groups from SSAP, IGEL, and the Department of Earth and Environmental Science for Penn students to network and learn about opportunities in the sustainability field.
Founder & Managing Partner
Ashmeet is a seasoned executive who came to Foundation Capital with a combination of fifteen years of experience ranging from startups to establishing companies. His experience spans engineering, sales, marketing and product management. Most recently, he was at VMware where as Dir. of Product Management he was responsible for multiple products including Virtual SMP, P2V and their flagship product, ESX Server. At VMware, he helped grow ESX Server from early pilots to widespread worldwide deployment in mission critical systems by Fortune 500 companies. Prior to VMware, Ashmeet was CEO of Sidana Systems, a successful enterprise-software company that pioneered Docsan for publishing very-large (terabyte) documents. He bootstrapped Sidana Systems from inception through growth and to its acquisition by Doclinx. Ashmeet began his professional career at Hewlett-Packard and later Silicon Graphics, holding various technology roles. Ashmeet also led Foundation Capital’s investments in, and currently serves on the board of Azure Power, Cantaloupe Systems, CiiNOW, Freewheel, PanoLogic, Sanrad, Simply Hired, and Zetta. His only previous investment at Foundation Capital was Altor Networks, where he led the Seed and Series A rounds, and served on its board from inception through its acquisition by Juniper Networks in 2010.
Ashmeet loves adventure travel and in his spare time can be found planning his second trip to Mt. Everest. In addition to an MBA from the Wharton School, Ashmeet received an MS from Stanford University and a BS from the University of Southern California.
Senior Director, Structured Finance
Gianluca is Senior Director, Structured Finance at NRG where he finances residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar and other clean energy technologies out of the San Francisco office. He was Head of Clean Energy Finance at Rabobank, N.A., where he financed clean energy projects and companies. He is co-founder of Empowered By Light, an NGO that promotes clean energy solutions for off-grid schools in the developing world.
Previously, he was an economist with the U.S. Treasury Department focused on Latin America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. He holds degrees from Stanford University (BA), Johns Hopkins University SAIS (MA), and Wharton (MBA).
Documentary Film Producer /Director
Sarena (Penn SAS ’07) is a documentary filmmaker and social impact investor. She began her career at National Geographic Television, and has served as a producer and researcher for several feature-length, theatrically distributed documentaries. Sarena also serves on the Board of Directors of the Snider Foundation, a family foundation started by her late father, Ed Snider. The foundation works strategically to advance individual liberty, support Jewish causes, and bolster community-based nonprofits. She has a passion for food policy and is currently enrolled in graduate studies in nutrition. (As part of her advocacy for food access, she launched a joint partnership between Snider Hockey, a nonprofit that provides ice hockey programming and academic support for inner-city youth, and Philabundance, a hunger relief nonprofit. The program provides fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste to participants and their families.) Sarena received her BA in History the University of Pennsylvania, and has attended professional programs in documentary and screenwriting at George Washington University and at the University of California – Los Angeles.
Insight Venture Partners
Gary Survis is a Venture Partner at Insight Venture Partners where he focuses on driving operational strategies and improvements within Insight and its portfolio companies. Prior to joining Insight, Gary was the Chief Marketing Officer of Syncsort, a big data and mainframe enterprise software company, and the General Manager of its Sort business unit.
Gary is a leader in the corporate sustainability space. Industry experience includes being COO of Geoscape Solar, a firm specializing in residential, commercial and non-profit solar projects, and Founder/Managing Partner of Go Green Displays, a sustainable print and display company. Survis has been featured in multiple media outlets including CMO.com, SiriusXM Radio, Forbes.com, and Knowledge@Wharton. He is a regular speaker and panel member covering marketing, big data, and sustainability to organizations including Canon, Cushman & Wakefield, FMC Corporation, Sustainable Brands, and the Wharton Energy Club Conference.
He is also currently on the adjunct faculty of the University of Pennsylvania’s Masters of Environmental Studies program. He is a Senior Fellow at Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership(IGEL) which focuses on corporate engagement in sustainability issues. He has also served as the learning director, and faculty member, for Wharton’s Executive Education program entitled, Business Sustainability Leadership. Gary has been responsible and moderated IGEL’s Annual Conferences on Big Data and Sustainability, Climate Change, and the Circular Economy.
Gary holds a Bachelor of Science from Wharton in Entrepreneurial Management, and an MBA in marketing from NYU Stern School.
Faster Forward Transformation Platform
Keith Sutter is a Senior Director at Faster Forward Transformation Platform at Johnson & Johnson. In his position Keith is leading the design of the Johnson & Johnson Supply Chain’s Faster Forward cultural transformation platform that will accelerate the ability to achieve its aspiration of setting a new standard in Healthcare. Previously he worked as a director for Sustainability at J&J, and in that role he lead J&J’s 250 Operating Companies in developing sustainable products, business and marketing strategies.Keith began his career at Johnson & Johnson in 2001 as a marketing associate. He subsequently held positions of increasing responsibility as a brand marketer on brands such as BAND-AID®, NEUTRGENA®, LACTAID® and LUDENS®. In 2009-2010 Keith spent a year studying how companies in 18 countries were using sustainability for competitive advantage. To learn more about his research, visit www.GreenAroundTheGlobe.com.
Keith has a BS in Economics from the Wharton School, at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Center City with his wife, Amy.
VP and Regional Director
Vipin Varma brings a wide range of experience and expertise to the alumni advisory board of Wharton IGEL. He has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. His professional experience includes Technical Project Development and Management, New Product Development and Commercialization, Global Business Development, Business Unit General Management, and Start-ups. He is currently Vice President at NCASI Inc., an organization affiliated to the Forest Products Industry that focuses on topics of environmental interest. In this capacity, Vipin manages the development of cost-effective pollution prevention strategies that improve environmental performance and reduces the industry’s overall environmental footprint. Vipin is also in charge of developing the company’s long-term expansion and growth strategies. Previously, as Director of Corporate Development at innovative start-up Vorbeck Materials, he managed the development of novel products and identified new applications for these products in Printed Electronics. He founded VERTAEON LLC in 2010 with the vision to drive and track Energy Management within Corporations and currently manages their growth strategy as a Board Member. He is also serving as a non-executive advisory board member at BOOSTER sprl., an EU-based company seeking to enable the multi-billion dollar market in sub-orbital tourism and research. He is a co-inventor in 5 US and WIPO Patents.
Rotunda Capital Partners
Bob Wickham joined Rotunda Capital Partners in July 2010. Prior to Rotunda, Bob was a Principal in the Private Finance Group at Allied Capital. During his seven years at Allied, Bob invested approximately $470 million in subordinated debt and equity securities. He served on the Board of Directors of three portfolio companies and was an active Board observer of 11 other companies. Bob also served as a rotating member of the Investment Committee and worked on several portfolio development and workout situations. Prior to joining Allied Capital, Bob worked in the investment banking groups of Merrill Lynch and Equitable Securities (now part of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey) and was a co-founder of Brentwood Capital Advisors, a boutique M&A and private placement advisor.
Bob received a BA in Economics, with honors, from the University of Virginia and a MBA with honors, from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Co-Founder and Director
Ocean Recovery Alliance
Woodring is an environmental entrepreneur, an ocean advocate, a writer, a competitive athlete, a sports event organizer and a creative innovator on community issues. He is the co-founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance, a non-profit organization which is focused on bringing innovative solutions, technology, collaborations and policy together to impact positive improvements for the health of the ocean. Two of the projects currently being launched were announced at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010, the Global Alert platform, and the Plastic Disclosure Project. In 2008 he co-founded Project Kaisei, which focused on the plastic in the North Pacific Gyre, and he is a UNEP Climate Hero for his efforts. Woodring has been on the advisory board of the XPrize, and the Economist’s World Oceans Summit, and in 2011, he co-authored the United Nations Environmental Program Yearbook chapter on the danger of plastic in the ocean. He was also the founder of Plasticity at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, a one-day side event focused on the future of plastic, and where the leaders are going with solutions, innovations, and opportunities. He is a much sought after speaker at major environmental conferences, universities and corporate programs. Woodring has worked in Asia for almost 20 years in a number of industries which have been at the forefront of technology within their sectors, mainly related to the environment and new media platforms. Prior to working with technology start-ups, while at Merrill Lynch Asset Management Hong Kong in 1998, he proposed the company’s first global environmental technology fund which was later launched in 2001. He started his career in Japan, working for one of the largest fishing companies in the world, which is partly where his drive for ocean protection originates. Woodring is active in the environmental community, and has been the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce’s Environmental Committee in Hong Kong, and helped to start the Hong Kong Shark Foundation, dealing with the overfishing of sharks around the world. He was nominated for the 2011 and 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Yearfor his innovative contributions to the sport. Born in Northern California, Woodring has a dual masters degree from The Wharton School (MBA) and Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he studied Environmental Economics. He has an undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and is an open water swimmerand former water polo player.
Eva Zlotnicka is a sustainable investing professional with a background in utilizing markets, policy, and partnership to motivate the private sector to simultaneously improve sustainability, profitability and competitiveness.
In addition to experience within the academic, public and non-profit sectors, Eva has worked on Wall Street for over ten years with responsibilities ranging from fixed income strategy to portable alpha portfolio management. Prior to her current role, she had been a sell-side ESG (environmental, social, and governance) research analyst for over 6 years. She holds an MBA and MESc from Yale University as well as two BSc degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, including the Wharton School. Eva co-founded WISE (Women Investing for a Sustainable Economy) in 2012.