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OUR PRESENTERS

Over the last 6 years, the Women In Green Forum has featured the "best of the best" presenters representing all aspects of the environmental industry from clean transportation to corporate sustainability to public policy to cleantech innovation and beyond. This year is no exception. Below you will find biographies detailing the vast experience and diversity of expertise held by the 2015 presenter roster. Enjoy!

2015 Presenter roster
(alpha order)

Aponte Andrea Aponte is the General Manager of the Santa Monica Bike Center, the largest full service commuter facility in the nation. She is also a Cycling Instructor certified by the League of American Cyclists, the oldest bicycle advocacy group in the US. Andrea is passionate about cycling as a tool for transportation and a fun solution to environmental and health issues. . 
Backhouse Sarah Backhouse is Director of Sustainability 50, private community of senior-most sustainability executives from Fortune 500 companies, and Founder of Future360.tv, an online video platform showcasing sustainable innovation. A former TV host and environmental journalist, Sarah has credits on CNBC, BBC, PBS, Fine Living, Discovery Channel and Planet Green and Al Gore's 24 Hours of Reality.
Balisi Cherie Balisi began her career at SCAQMD in March 2008 as an Air Quality Inspector in Engineering & Compliance. Assigned to the Refinery Group, her responsibilities included enforcing local, state and federal rules and regulations, participation in multi-agency inspections, testifying on variance cases and orders for abatements, performing RECLAIM audits and teaching Rule 1176 wastewater system inspector certification classes. She was recently promoted to Assistant Air Quality Engineer, handling permit applications for stationary sources. Cherie was born in the Philippines and came to the U.S. in 2002 to join her family. She continued her college education at California State University-Long Beach, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering with a Minor in Environmental Engineering. Since starting at the SCAQMD, Cherie also obtained her Master's Degree in Engineering with an emphasis in Chemical Engineering and plans to continue her education by pursuing a second master's degree in Public Administration to further her career goals at SCAQMD. Cherie believes her educational accomplishments helped open doors into an environmental protection career pathway. 
Berthelot-Jelovic Jennifer Berthelot-Jelovic is the President and Chief Executive Officer of A SustainAble Production, LLC. As CEO, Jennifer leads A SustainAble Production in providing an array of holistic consulting services including sustainable, regenerative and resilient design and construction for single buildings, communities and entire cities.  Jennifer is a Partner at Earth and Associates, a unique sustainability consultancy firm providing services including land and master planning, architectural design, engineering analysis, and construction. Jennifer is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the USGBC Los Angeles Chapter and a Co-Chair & Founding Member of the San Fernando Valley Branch of the USGBC-LA Chapter. 

Bouza Barbara Bouza is Managing Director for the Los Angeles office of Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm. As Managing Director, Barbara leads the Health & Wellness and Life Sciences practice areas. Barbara is a member of the American Institute of Architects, Healthcare Businesswomen's Association and the Women Presidents' Organization. She was honored by The Los Angeles Business Journal as the "2014 Executive of the Year: Women Making a Difference" and was invited to speak on the topic of "Managing the Firm: A Woman's Perspective" at the AIA/LA POWERFUL Women Leading Design symposium. Her work has been published in Architectural Record, Architectural Review and Domus. 
Boynton Jen Boynton is editor-in-chief of TriplePundit, a news media site for the conversation on sustainability in business. In her role as Editor-in-Chief, Jen oversees the TriplePundit team in publishing 10 articles per day on topics ranging from cause marketing to employee engagement to energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and carbon accounting. TriplePundit has nearly half a million readers per month. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen led the sustainability green team for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Jen holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and lives in Oakland with her husband and baby girl.  

Burns Debbi Burnes is the CEO and cofounder of Sumbody, a skincare company dedicated to all-natural, eco-friendly products free of synthetic chemicals.  Combining her knowledge of chemistry and biology with a background in cosmetology, natural medicine and environmentalism, Deborah relies on her instincts as a working mother and beauty-industry insider to deliver a message of conscientious beauty to her customers.  Deborah is the author of Look Great, Live Green and has been featured on television shows including Tyra, Access Hollywood, and TV Guide’s Fashion Team as well as in print in such magazines as InStyle, Lucky, Organic Style, W, and O The Oprah Magazine.

Cahill Lisa Cahill is the Director of Sustainable Solutions at TreePeople.  Lisa first came to TreePeople as a Citizen Forester and has since planted over 150 trees in her neighborhood.  Lisa's environmental perspective was shaped by lessons she learned from her grandparents: to take personal responsibility to make the world a better place. Lisa currently serves on the board of directors for reDiscover and continues to volunteer as a Citizen Forester.  When she's not at TreePeople Lisa loves cooking for friends, creating one-of-a-kind birthday celebrations for her children, and enjoying the simple pleasures of working in her garden.

Castor Emily Castor is the Director of Transportation Policy at Lyft and works with transportation planners, environmental advocates, and transit agencies to advance ridesharing as a sustainable transportation option. She also serves as the Chair of the Sharing Economy Advisory Network for the National League of Cities.  Emily started her career as a transportation policy aide for U.S. Congresswoman Susan Davis of San Diego and later served as a financial advisor for public infrastructure projects. She holds an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania and has been recognized by SAP as a “Top 40 Influencer on the Networked Economy.”

Crowder Ashley Crowder is the CEO and co-founder of VNTANA, the world’s first scalable, affordable and interactive hologram system created in 2012 with the goal of allowing artists to play multiple venues at the same time.  Ashley leverages her engineering and event production experience to guide VNTANA’s overall direction and technology development. Prior to co-founding VNTANA, Ashley gained valuable engineering experience at Gulfstream, Northrop Grumman and BP. She also worked in event production at MTV Networks and INCA Productions, planning events to be executed in multiple countries. As VNTANA’s CEO, Ashley continues to push the boundaries of virtual reality to create innovative brand experiences.

Dickens-Russell Candice Dickens-Russell is the Director of Environmental Education and Regional Environmental Education Coordinator for Los Angeles County, drawing on more than 10 years of experience in environmental education. Candice develops and manages high quality Environmental Education programs for Los Angeles area students and teachers. Candice began her career as an Education Director for Boys & Girls Clubs.  She is a member of the State of California Environmental Literacy Blueprint Task Force and chairs the CREEC-LA Environmental Education Leadership Board and the Los Angeles Watershed Education Collaborative. She is a member of the Los Angeles Area Women's Environmental Coalition, and serves on the Los Angeles Environmental Education Fair steering committee.

Fernandez Jimena Fernandez is the Innovation and Institutional Improvement Officer for the Government of Mexico with strong experience in the public sector, working for the Mexican government for the past five years.  Jimena has designed and implemented public policy that ensures transformation of environmental liabilities into sustainable assets. As one of the few female officials specializing in sustainability, she has promoted the alignment of the Mexican government practices towards the Millennium Development Goals, OECD Guidelines, and the UN Global Compact Principles.  She is an economist from Harvard University with an MPA from the Tecnológico de Monterrey and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Finzi Hart Dr. Juliette Finzi Hart is the Founder of Thalassa Research & Consulting, which provides marine and climate services to private sector enterprises, and ThalassaVR, which explores how innovative forms of technology, such as virtual reality and gamification, can be utilized to encourage behavior change and inspire climate action.  Juliette is also the Marine & Climate Science Specialist at USC Sea Grant and is a Research Assistant Professor at USC in the Marine Environmental Biology program.  She received her doctorate from USC in Ocean Sciences in 2007, along with a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Engineering in 2002. 

Greene Jehmu Greene is the President of WakaWaka North America, an award-winning social enterprise that designs, manufactures and markets the world’s most efficient solar-powered flashlights and chargers. The company has also helped bring light and power to nearly a million people worldwide living without access to electricity.  Jehmu served as the President of the Women's Media Center between 2009 and 2010, and of Rock the Vote between 2000 and 2005.  Under her leadership, over 1.4 million young people were registered to vote, membership grew from 1,500 to over 1 million, and young voter turnout increased 11%, the highest increase ever recorded in between two presidential elections.  In 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed her to the United States National Commission for UNESCO. A lifelong evangelist for social good, Jehmu is a widely sought-after speaker and commentator, and has been featured on The Daily Show, NBC News, The New York Times, and numerous other media outlets.
Jordan Howard is a social good strategist with an expertise at the intersection of youth engagement, sustainability, education and politics. Since her teen years, Jordan has dedicated her time and energy working to ensure young people have a seat at the table. At the age of 23, Jordan has developed strategies and advises brands on innovative ways to educate, engage and activate youth to solve global issues. Alliance for Climate Education, Surfrider Foundation, United Nations Foundation, The U.S. State Department, 5 Gyres, Hulu and Dell are some of the brands she has partnered with over the years. Whether it’s developing curriculum to teach the science of climate change, equip youth with the art of public speaking, creating STEM programs for teen girls and working with city government to engage youth, Jordan has done it. Ebony Magazine named her Ebony’s Power 100, as one of the most influential African Americans. Jordan has been featured as an expert in NY Times, ABC, NBC, FOX, GOOD, and the book Girls Gone Green. From opening events for Secretary Hillary Clinton to teaching pre-teens across India, Jordan’s journey to spark change among millennials around the world is only beginning.
Ishigo Jessalyn Ishigo is the Product and Policy Analyst in the Environmental Business Development Office at Honda, providing policy, science, and market research support to numerous projects. Leading up to the Honda Smart Home US Grand Opening in March 2014, she managed interior design decisions, materials analysis, and communications initiatives. In addition, she executed the Visitor Center project, an educational space that provides the public with interactive opportunities to learn about the advanced technologies employed in the Honda Smart Home or HSH US. Jessalyn holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Science and Management and is currently pursuing a law degree.
Klein Farrell Klein began her public relations career in NYC one week after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She quickly earned her stripes as a fashion PR intern and assumed strategic roles on accounts for retail brands including Eddie Bauer, lululemon athletica, The Art of Shaving, Nestle Waters North America, Yoplait and RetailMeNot. Her move to San Francisco in 2012 sparked a passion for working with emerging technology companies that serve a consumer need, and introducing them to people across the country. When Farrell's not spreading the word about thredUP or enjoying the local foodie scene, she's likely in the nearby mountain ranges or visiting family and friends in Boston. 
Lauretti Jessica Lauretti is the Director of Content Development at Purpose where she leads the video team in developing groundbreaking content for social impact. With a background in media and documentary filmmaking she has directed and produced content for Purpose, VICE, New York Magazine and others and has created several "viral" videos, national ad campaigns, and branded and editorial content. Her work has premiered on CNN, MSNBC, The TODAY Show, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and others. Additionally, her work has been honored with several Webby, Do Gooder, and Creativity International Awards and Nominations.  
Meling Lauren Meling has dedicated her career to finding what exactly it takes to make people take action online to serve a cause. As the Senior Digital Manager at The Climate Reality Project, Lauren uses her digital strategy experience and skillset combining email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, website optimization, and content creation to engage online communities in meaningful action to confront some of the most challenging crises humanity faces today.  
Nack Jaime Nack is the CEO and Founder of One Drop Interactive, an employee engagement and sustainability education platform. Jaime has a Master's in Public Policy from UCLA, where she also earned her Bachelor's in International Economics with a minor in Urban Planning. She serves as one of Vice President Al Gore's presenters for The Climate Reality Project and has served as a federal appointee to the National Women's Business Council. The U.S. S.B.A named Jaime the "2013 Environmental Conservator of the Year". The World Economic Forum also named her a Young Global Leader.  
Nummedal Natasha Nummedal is the Director of Advocacy Campaigns at Care2 and leads a highly creative and skilled campaigns team that connects hundreds of nonprofits in the US and around the globe with donor members and supporters within Care2's community of 30 million citizen activists. Since 2007, she's run countless online campaigns committed to advancing social justice, protecting our planet and building healthier lives for everyone. Prior to Care2, Natasha was Director for Amnesty International USA's Urgent Action Program, with more than 18 years of volunteer and work experience in the human rights movement.  
Patel Manisha D. Patel serves as the Deputy General Counsel for the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) within the Executive Office of the President. Prior to serving in her current capacity, she served as the Deputy Associate Director for Regulatory Policy at CEQ. At CEQ, Manisha works closely with Federal agencies, state and local governments, stakeholders, and other White House offices to develop policies and initiatives that advance the President's environmental, natural resources, and energy agenda. She coordinates interagency efforts to modernize the federal infrastructure permitting process. Manisha is part of the team that is implementing the Administration's commitment to building safe, reliable, and resilient infrastructure in a manner that safeguards our communities and the environment. Prior to joining CEQ, Manisha served in various capacities at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She has been repeatedly recognized for her dedication and leadership in finding comprehensive and sustainable approaches to tackle the environmental issues and challenges we face as a country.  
Sarnoff Rachel Sarnoff is the Marketing and Social Media Strategist for Content where she designs and executes communications plans for mission-driven brands and organizations, specializing in content, social media, marketing, public relations, influencer engagement and development strategy. Rachel is Founder and CEO of MommyGreenest.com and recently published The Mommy Greenest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond. Rachel co-founded EcoStiletto, an online magazine dedicated to eco-friendly style and founded Sugar Public Relations. Rachel maintains a Huffington Post column and has appeared on the TODAY Show, CNN Headline News, Extra, and others.  
Shiva Dr. Vandana Shiva is an Indian environmental activist who contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food, focusing her work on the most significant ecological and social issues of our times. Dr. Shiva combines sharp intellectual enquiry with courageous activism, and her work spans teaching at universities worldwide to working with peasants in rural India. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental 'hero' in 2003, and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators in Asia. In November 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as one of the Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe.  
Smith Lisha B. Smith is the Deputy Executive Officer of Legislative and Public Affairs for the South Coast Air Quality Management District and directs the agency's public outreach and education programs, small business and local government assistance activities, and environmental justice programs. She and her team also address state and federal legislative issues impacting the air district. Lisha has over 20 years experience in public affairs, media and government relations, and community outreach. During a seven-year stint in county government, she served as Board Assistant to Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who represented San Bernardino County on the SCAQMD Governing Board. Lisha returned to SCAQMD in 2012 to lead the LPA team. 
Tierney Lori Tierney is the Founder, President and CEO of Tierney Management, LLC, a strategic marketing consulting firm in Los Angeles. For over 25 years, Tierney has specialized in strategic selling, marketing, and networking and has led numerous projects in business development. Previously, Tierney co-founded Bozarth CM, an international commercial construction management company. Tierney is on the board of the Los Angeles Business Council, is the President-elect of the Downtown Breakfast Club and Urban Land Institute Building Well Cities Committee, and is the co-Founding Chair of the LA Business Council Sustainability Summit. Tierney founded Red Road Retreats in 2006 to fulfill her passion for providing destination corporate yoga. 
Vreeland Jean Vreeland is the Marketing and Outreach (M&O) Associate at Energy Upgrade California and supports the M&O team through coordination of marketing, education, and awareness programs within all outreach channels. Channels include community outreach, youth education, mobile, experiential, sponsorships, retail, and online education. Jean provides ideas, insights and recommendations to increase the Energy Upgrade California initiatives success for all channels and has a passion for helping people learn how to save energy and conserve our natural resources. She has worked in the high tech industry as a marketing program manager for over ten years and has had her own marketing business. She is delighted to be a part of the Energy Upgrade Team that is dedicated to educating, motivating, and activating Californians to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint. Jean studied Marketing and Design at the Art Institute of Colorado and Technical Communications at Northeastern University.  
Vukmanic Beth Vukmanic Lopez is the SIP Certification Manager for The Vineyard Team, a farmer organization dedicated to education and promotion of sustainable viticulture. Beth graduated from California Polytechnic State University with a Bachelors of Science in Agribusiness. Beth joined the Vineyard Team in 2009 to manage the Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Certification program. She has enjoyed watching the program grow to over 32K acres and 1.75 million cases of wine over the past six years. In her off time, Beth plays the harp professionally. 
Whynot Jill Whynot has extensive experience working in the air pollution field and has worked at SCAQMD since 1989. As Assistant Deputy Executive Officer for the Office of Planning, Rule Development & Area Sources, she works with the Deputy Executive Officer to handle the functions of this office. Jill was formerly the Assistant Deputy Executive Officer in Engineering & Compliance and prior to that was the Director of Strategic Initiatives, where she led SCAQMD's efforts in developing and evaluating air quality policies and strategies related to climate change, and was in charge of the PM Control Strategies New Source Review, Administrative Rules, and socioeconomic teams. Before joining SCAQMD, Jill spent ten years as a chemist doing research on the respiratory effects of acute air pollution exposures at the Los Amigos Research and Education Institute Incorporated of Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center. 
Yalof Schwartz Suze Yalof Schwartz is the founder and CEO of Unplug Meditation. Before becoming a spiritual entrepreneur, Suze enjoyed decades as a fashion editor, director and stylist. The New York Times touted her as the "fairy godmother of makeovers." She has worked at Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and Glamour. She was a regular on "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "CBS Early Show" and "The View," and made appearances on "Oprah" and CNN. Suze had an aha moment in late 2012 when she wanted to learn how to meditate and couldn't find a place that fit her schedule, budget or aesthetic. So she decided to build it herself. After taking dozens of meditation classes, devouring lots of podcasts, books and Web sites and collaborating with Maha Yoga's Steve Ross and MBSR teachers Stefanie Goldstein Ph.D. and Nicholas Bruss she came up with a program that works for the hurried, modern American. Suze's teaching approach is minimalistic and filled with easy tips for a meditation practice on the go. 

 

   

 

 

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