2021 | Collaborating For The Future We Want

Join us to understand how you can be a global citizen, starting in your own community. Six Panels to choose from with a Keynote speaker discussing successful examples of SDG 17. We cannot accomplish solutions to global problems alone, but we can work on solutions together. Panels include Environmental Justice, Community Resiliency, ESG Disclosure, Sustainable Agriculture, Clean Energy Solutions, and Circular Economy.

11amPanel 1

Community Resiliency


Circular Economy:
12pmBrian Williams, Keynote Speaker
12:45pmNetworking 1 to 1
1:15pmPanel 2

Corporate ESG Disclosure


Sustainable Agriculture
2:15pmPanel 3

Clean Energy Solutions


Climate Justice



Assuring our communities are prepared for the impacts of climate change is one of the larger tasks we need to undertake.  Not only do we need to be prepared, but we need to bounce back quickly from what is already happening.  Join this conversation to see what communities are doing to be prepared for climate change, as well as how powerful our voices can actually be. 

Lynette Widder – Moderator

Lynnette Widder is the Principal and Co-founder of aardvarchitecture, a small architectural practice specializing in residential work with an emphasis on high-quality innovative construction. The practice’s designs have been featured in various publications including the New York Times, Time Out New York, and the HGTV series, Small Space Big Style. Prior to starting aardvarchitecture, Widder was the English-language editor of Daidalos Architecture Quarterly, a Berlin-based publication covering contemporary architecture. In 2011, she worked as a consultant for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital Innovations Group. Widder has over fifteen years of experience teaching design, conducting seminars, and organizing architectural excursions for architecture students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She was an Associate Professor of Architecture, and later the head of the architecture department, at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has held teaching posts at ETH Zurich, University of British Columbia, Cornell University, Cranbrook Academy of Art, City College of New York, and Columbia University.

Kizzy Charles-Guzman – Speaker

Kizzy Charles-Guzman is a Deputy Director at the New York City (NYC) Mayor’s Office of Sustainability where she leads the social and environmental policy team. For over a decade, she has engaged in citywide sustainability and resiliency planning efforts to ensure that social, public health, and environmental justice priorities are integrated into climate action agendas and environmental policies. She led the development of Cool Neighborhoods NYC, the City’s first comprehensive strategy to address the impacts of rising temperatures and heatwaves, and other equity-focused initiatives that ensure that NYC residents are ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change. Kizzy also served as the Deputy Director for Social Resiliency at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, and as Director of the Climate Change and Public Health Program at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, developing and implementing effective initiatives that support and promote NYC’s environmental health. She received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Quality Award and a Champion of Change Award from the U.S. White House in recognition of her work. She is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She also teaches at New York University.

Jeff Benevides – Speaker

Since 2007, Jeff has helped launch award-winning sustainability programs with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Bank of America, the City of Orlando Greenworks, and the micro-finance non-profit SELF. As Orange County’s first Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer, he is the senior advisor to Mayor Jerry L. Demings and works to strengthen the implementation of sustainability practices and revitalizing partnerships to enhance community resilience. Before joining the County, Jeff co-founded three Florida-based companies recognized by Inc. 5000 Top Companies and has managed over 320 green building certifications in top 50 Newsweek Green Rankings . Every day, Jeff works to push forward the  17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which are the blueprint to achieve a better future for all. Jeff has aligned his work in Goal 4 Quality Education as an Adjunct Professor at Valencia College’s Energy Management Control Technology Program and his technical work focused on Goal 7 Affordable Clean Energy.

James Lima – Speaker

James Lima is planning and development of the BIG U, an ambitious, award-winning flood protective system encompassing ten miles of Lower Manhattan waterfront that was selected as the winner of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild By Design competition.


Learn about the ways in which different stakeholders can collaborate in order to move towards a circular economy. Discuss the major challenges and opportunities faced for start-ups and larger companies when adopting a circular business model.

Danielle Azoulay – Moderator

Danielle Azoulay is the head of CSR and sustainability for L’Oréal USA. As part of her role, she oversees the implementation of L’Oréal’s global sustainability program, Sharing Beauty With All, which addresses environmental and social impacts across L’Oréal’s value chain. Prior to joining L’Oréal USA, Azoulay established the environmental sustainability program at Marc Jacobs International and worked on supply chain sustainability issues at PVH. Throughout her career, Azoulay has developed and executed sustainability strategies to reduce supply chain impacts, drive positive change upstream, create business value, and increase stakeholder engagement. Specifically, she has designed and implemented goal-oriented programs for impact areas such as responsible chemicals management, waste management, carbon emissions, water quality, and more.

Ben Christensen – Speaker

Ben is the Founder and CEO of Cambium Carbon, a platform to restore America’s forests by enabling local wood economies to flourish. He started this company to create a new way to address climate change at scale in the US. Ben is a recent graduate with a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is dedicated to scaling carbon removal implementation through novel finance and social mechanisms. 

Prior to founding Carbon Cambium in 2019, Ben worked in the Carbon Removal Team of the World Resources Institute and as the Green Campus Team Manager at the Cal Poly Energy Utilities and Sustainability Department. 
Ben appears in Forbes Social Impact 30 Under 30 2021 list.

Carolyn Butler – Speaker

Carolyn Butler is a chemical engineer turned Circular Economy Pioneer innovator in zero-waste design.  An entrepreneur who holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, she has 15+ years of experience creating business strategy, lean manufacturing, and supply chain logistics. Her work developing a circular business model has been celebrated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Borobabi is featured as the gold standard for the circular business model in the upcoming educational series, “Circular Economy for Dummies,” due out this April.

Georgia Sherwin – Speaker

Georgia works across platforms at Closed Loop Partners on branding and communications, spreading the word about the work the firm does in building a more circular economy. Prior to joining Closed Loop Partners, Georgia worked in Business Development and Marketing at Inspiring Capital, and has varied experience in other start-ups, non-profits and social enterprises.

Georgia holds a Bachelor’s in the Arts and Sciences (BASc) from University College London. In particular, she focused on environmental sustainability, writing two dissertations on the subject; one on the relationship between globalization and plastic pollution in the ocean, the other on Patagonia and Nike’s circular economic principles.


Brian J. Williams is the United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative in Albania. Prior to his assignment in Albania, Mr. Williams served as Chief of Financing for Peacebuilding with the UN Peacebuilding Support Office at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. Under his leadership, the Peacebuilding Fund has funded over $300 million to over 25 post-conflict countries, with a focus on those on the agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission.

Prior to the work with the Peacebuilding Support Office, Mr. Williams focused on public health, in particular the global HIV crisis. From 2004 to 2008, he served as the UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Myanmar. From 2001-2004, Mr. Williams worked at the UNAIDS Headquarters in Geneva in the country-support division. Since 1990, Mr. Williams has been involved in humanitarian assistance, governance, rule of law and post-conflict recovery in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. Mr. Williams has served as consultant for a number of United Nations Agencies and development organizations including the United States Agency for International Development and CARE International.

Mr. Williams holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and an undergraduate degree in engineering from Harvard University. Mr. Williams is married and has two children.


The future of business goes hand in hand with social responsibility, environmental stewardship and corporate ethics.  We have the ability to assure we hold the organizations that operate within our communities accountable for their actions.  Join this conversation to see how professionals are stepping up to the task through disclosures and stakeholder engagement. 

Celine Ruben Salama – Moderator

Celine is a business strategist focused on long-term value creation through innovation, risk reduction, efficiency, and long-term oriented sustainability planning. As American Express’ first Director of Sustainability/CSR, Celine was responsible for environmental affairs including strategy setting, implementation, and communications for the enterprise globally.​

Celine advises large organizations on strategy and communications for environmental, social and governance issues including: climate change management, opportunity and risk identification, resilience planning, supply-chain engagement, efficiency through IT implementation, and ESG/CSR reporting. Her clients include Fortune 100 companies, public sector institutions such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), as well as non-profit organizations/NGOs such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the United Nations (UN). To date, over 80 of her articles have appeared in publications such as: Consilience, the Journal of Sustainable Development; Yahoo Green; treehugger.com; Inhabitat.com; Ecogeek.org; and CSR Now!.

Michael Berg – Speaker

Michael Berg is a sustainability and governance expert with a focused specialization on how financial markets, regulators and large supply chains are addressing climate change and sustainability. Michael, who is  the founding principal of Berg & Associates, serves as a strategy and  communications advisor to leading Fortune 200 companies and organizations across sectors including healthcare, travel & tourism, consumer products and financial services. 

Michael regularly writes and speaks on emerging sustainability topics. 

Michael is one of few that has been certified in North America as an instructor by the Global  Reporting Initiative (GRI) to educate organizations on the framework’s indicators and process  for defining key stakeholders and material issues for reporting in alignment with strategic  goals and industry-specific issues.

Roberta Barbieri – Speaker

Roberta Barbieri is PepsiCo’s Vice President for Global Sustainability.  Roberta has over 25 years of experience in environmental sustainability across the electronics and food and beverage industries. In her role with PepsiCo, Roberta is accountable for developing and executing PepsiCo’s environmental sustainability strategy, including the company’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions strategy, its positive water impact strategy and its sustainability data governance and reporting strategy.  Before joining PepsiCo, Roberta worked for Diageo, where she held the position of Global Environmental Director and served as the principal architect of Diageo’s Global Environmental Sustainability strategy.

Roberta currently serves on the steering board of the 2030 Water Resources Group.  She is past chair of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable’s Water Working Group and has served on the steering committee for the CEO Water Mandate.  Roberta holds an MS in Environmental Engineering and an MS in Environmental Science from the University of New Haven, as well as a BS in Environmental Conservation and International Studies from the University of New Hampshire. 

Kristen Sullivan – Speaker

Kristen B. Sullivan is a partner and leads Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Sustainability and KPI services, working with clients to help address their sustainability and non-financial disclosure strategy needs. Kristen also serves as the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (DTTL) Americas Region Sustainability Services Leader, the Global Audit & Assurance Climate Services Leader and the Integrated Reporting Community of Practice Leader. Kristen brings extensive experience in delivering sustainability risk assessment, governance, strategy alignment, measurement, reporting and assurance services. Given the growing market emphasis on the importance of ESG standards and frameworks, Kristen serves as a member of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Community, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Assurance Task Force, the Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) Initiative Corporate Working Group, and serves as Chair of the AICPA Sustainability Task Force and member of the AICPA Materiality Task Force. She also served on the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Working Group. Kristen has authored a number of publications around the value of sustainability and non-financial disclosure and assurance, including conflict minerals and anti-human trafficking disclosure. 


In this panel we want to offer the audience different perspectives on how stakeholders are demanding better agricultural practices throughout the supply chain. Technology and collaboration are key for scaling and transforming agricultural practices. In addition, we also want to focus on the social impacts that production has in communities as sustainable agriculture and development go hand in hand.

Lara Bryant – Moderator

Lara Bryant promotes soil health practices and policies that protect water quality, use water more efficiently, and help farms to be more resilient to climate change. Prior to joining NRDC, she worked on sustainable agricultural policy at the National Wildlife Federation and World Resources Institute and was a chemist at a private environmental laboratory. Bryant holds a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in public administration in environmental science and policy from Columbia University. She works out of NRDC’s Washington, D.C., office.

Rob Laing – Speaker

Rob is the CEO and founder of Farm.One, a radical new kind of farm in the heart of New York City. Farm.One is a vertical farm founded in 2019 that grows rare and exotic produce indoors, year-round, pesticide-free, using hydroponics and LED lighting.

Rob is an experienced startup founder with a career spanning the UK, Japan and now New York who is passionate about plant-based eating and using technology for clean, accessible food. He is the author of Ditch the Dirt, a home-growers guide to hydroponics and specialty produce, and the Plant Gourmet podcast, interviewing plant-based chefs. Previous to Farm.One, Rob founded Gengo.com, the crowdsourced translation technology platform, later acquired by Lionbridge.


Henry Gordon-Smith – Speaker

Henry Gordon-Smith is a sustainability strategist focused on urban agriculture, water issues, and emerging technologies. Henry earned his BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, coursework in Food Security and Urban Agriculture from Ryerson University in Toronto, and an MSc in Sustainability Management from Columbia University.

Henry founded the popular blog Agritecture.com in 2011 and co-founded the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) in 2013 where he served on the board until 2017.

In 2014, Henry launched his company Agritecture, a boutique urban agriculture advising firm where he helps entrepreneurs with vertical farming feasibility studies, recruiting, and systems design. To date, Agritecture has advised more than 90 clients in 20+ countries around the world.

Ines Amenabar – Speaker

Inés heads the Social Sustainability Department at Pantaleon in Guatemala. Pantaleon is an agro-industrial organization dedicated to the processing of sugar cane for the production of sugar, molasses, alcohols and renewable energy. Pantaleon is Central America´s largest sugar producer and #11 in the world. At her job, Inés oversees the Social Sustainability strategy for the group, oversees its implementation in the group´s 5 sugar mills and implements programs with positive social impact. She is also a Professor at Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala, teaching International Relations and Public Policy.

Inés holds Master in Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP) from
Columbia University and undergraduate degree in Economics and Politics from Lafayette College. Inés has previously worked in Havas and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New York, as well as for consultancy projects focusing on economic development and public policy at Fundación Corona in Colombia, USAID in the Philippines, UNICEF, amongst others.


The Clean Energy revolution will not be televised, it is here and now.  We have the ability to demand more from our communities to assure we have the best solutions available, from clean technologies to cleaner buildings to the economics that get us there. 

Philip LaRocco – Moderator

Phil LaRocco has over thirty years of experience at the intersection of the public and private sectors, leveraging public purposes and private sector initiative, blending financial, economic, social and environmental returns. From 1970-1990, he served as the Director of Trade and Economic Development for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey where he managed the NY World Trade Center, developed inner city industrial parks in the South Bronx, Yonkers and Elizabeth, and developed the Essex County (Newark) 2,250 ton-per day waste to energy facility. In 1990 he moved on to create a project management firm that led to his 1994 founding of a pioneering not-for-profit energy investment company E+Co, operating in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and Southeast Asia. He served as E+Co’s CEO until 2009, directing investment in over 150 energy enterprises in more than twenty companies, building relationships between big institutions (e.g. Rockefeller Foundation, UN Environmental Programme, European Development Finance and Development organizations, U.S. AID, World Bank Group and International Finance Corporation), and more than 150 small and medium sized energy enterprises (e.g. SELCO-India, Toyola-Ghana and La Esperanza-Honduras).

Rhiannon Jacobsen – Speaker

Rhiannon Jacobsen is the Vice President of Strategic Relationships at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). In this role, Rhiannon focuses on a variety of clients and initiatives related to the green building industry. Rhiannon’s areas of professional oversight include the manufacturing, technology, commercial contracting and hospitality sectors, as well as all traditional philanthropic and corporate sponsorship activities of USGBC. She also oversees various market based engagement activities including the LEED User Groups.

Rhiannon first joined USGBC in March 2006 as the Director of Sponsorships and Exhibits and has also served as the Director of Strategic Accounts. Rhiannon graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and History.

Kevin Haley – Speaker

Kevin Haley is the senior director of membership and philanthropy at REBA where he oversees the membership program, new business development and engagement with Fortune 500 companies on renewable energy. Kevin has over seven years of experience in the renewable energy industry covering a range of technologies like wind and solar, as well as in-depth work on cross-cutting issues including clean energy finance and public policy.

Prior to joining REBA, Kevin was a program manager at the Rocky Mountain Institute, supporting the Business Renewables Center. While at RMI, Kevin also supported a variety of programs including Sunshine for Mines, the Global Race to Zero Methane Emissions, and the Energy Web Foundation. Prior to that, he was the director of communications at the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) in Washington, D.C. and he has past experience as a consultant to the American Wind Energy Association, the Sierra Club and The Energy Foundation.

Kevin graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and a minor in German. In 2010, he completed an internship in the U.S. House of Representatives. Kevin is an avid skier, golfer and runner in his spare time and enjoys regular travel to visit friends and family in Chicago and Boston.

Alexander Heil – Speaker

Alexander Heil, Ph.D. was the Chief Economist at the Port Authority of NY & NJ since 2010. At the PANYNJ, he led six economists in the Economics Unit of the Port Authority to provide strategic leadership to executive management on issues relating to macroeconomic scenario forecasting, traffic and activity projections, cost-benefit analysis, sustainability & climate change, economic impact analysis, and ongoing real-time commentary of the regional and national economies. Previously, he was an Environmental Economist & Group Leader at CDM Smith, Inc. where he focused on economic and environmental issues for public utilities and researched the economic impacts of transportation investments. Alexander received his Doctorate of Philosophy in Transportation Economics from the University of South Wales in the UK, a Master of Science in Economics from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Hawai’i Pacific University. 


The colliding intersection of social equity and climate equity.  This panel is meant to discuss the emerging role climate change plays within the social landscape of our communities.  A discussion on how we as individuals can use our voices, votes, and influence to assure municipalities and organizations are looking at this subject. 

Donna Givens – Moderator

Donna Givens Davidson has over 35 years’ nonprofit leadership experience in areas of youth and family development, community economic development, community partnerships, and community education. Over the years, she has developed and implemented demonstration programs and worked in partnership with a number of youth serving organizations with the consistent goal of increasing opportunity, building capacity, and fostering growth.

Now serving as president and CEO of Eastside Community Network, Givens Davidson formerly served as president of the Youth Development Commission, CEO of Visions Education Development Consortium, LLC, executive director of Vanguard Community Development Corporation, vice president of programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit and in leadership positions at several other nonprofit organizations. She serves as board member of New Detroit, Inc., Michigan College Access Network, and Urban Research Centers; member of the Bridge Detroit Magazine Advisory Council and the Charles H. Wright Community Advisory and Action Council; and steering committee member for the Lower Eastside Action Plan, Building the Engine for Community Development in Detroit and the Detroit Resident’s First Fund. Givens Davidson co-hosts a weekly podcast, Authentically Detroit, with Orlando Bailey.

In the Spring 2021 semester, Givens Davidson will introduce a new course, Building Resilience in 21st Century Detroit: Roots and Remedies to Racial Injustice.

Monica Lewis-Patrick – Speaker

Monica Lewis-Patrick is an educator, entrepreneur, and human rights activist/advocate. Along with the other four founders of We the People of Detroit (WPD), she, with the leadership of volunteers and community experts, placed herself and WPD at the forefront of the water justice struggle in Michigan, across the country and globally. Lewis-Patrick is known throughout the environmental justice community as The Water Warrior. She is actively engaged in the struggle for access to safe, affordable water for all under-resourced communities. 

She currently serves as a member of several organizations, boards, and committees dedicated to the advancement of water equity, including the National Water Affordability Table, All About Water/Freshwater Future – Subcommittee, PolicyLink- Water Energy Resource Caucus (WERC), Michigan Water Unity Table, End Water Poverty, Healing Our Waters/Equity Advocacy and Action Committee, and D-REM.org. In October of 2015, she was named to the World Water Justice Council. In 2019 she was appointed to the International Joint Commission (IJC) Great Lakes Water Quality Advisory Board, and she received an appointment to the Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice by Gov. Whitmer.

As a former Lead Legislative Policy Analyst for Detroit City Council, Monica has authored legislation, conducted research, and delivered constituency services to thousands of city residents. Lewis-Patrick attended the historic Bennett College. She is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Sociology and a Masters of Arts of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in Criminal Justice/Sociology and Public Management. She is currently one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Michigan.