Shelley Alpern, Director of Social Research & Shareholder Advocacy, Clean Yield Asset Management
Shelley Alpern is Director of Research and Advocacy for Clean Yield Asset Management. A shareholder advocate for nearly two decades, Shelley led and participated in numerous advocacy campaigns, many leading to negotiated agreements with leading corporations. She has worked on a wide range of issues, including greenhouse gas emissions, corporate political spending, hydrofracking, LGBT workplace policies, and deforestation. For her efforts in promoting inclusive nondiscrimination policies, she was recognized by the Gay Financial Network and Fortune magazine as one of the 25 most powerful lesbians and gay men in business and by the Advocate magazine as “one of our best and brightest activists.” Her work on phthalates was recognized by the Silent Spring Institute with the first ever Rachel Carson Award, and she is the recipient of the SRI Service Award from her peers in the socially responsible investing industry.
Shelley graduated the University of Pennsylvania and later earned her master’s degree in public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Shelley lives in Salem, Massachusetts where she weeds, cooks, bikes, combats clutter and falls behind in her reading.
Sharon Alpert, President, Nathan Cummings Foundation
Sharon Alpert is the president of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a multigenerational family foundation, with assets of nearly $450 million and an annual budget of $25 million that supports innovative approaches to addressing climate change and inequality, through grants and impact investing. As a global foundation, NCF also supports work in US, Israel, and developing countries. Sharon is the foundation’s fourth president and its first woman leader. She previously served as the vice president for programs and strategic initiatives at the Surdna Foundation, and was the lead architect of its first strategic plan. As director of Surdna’s Sustainable Environments Program, she reframed grantmaking to focus on improving people’s lives through investing in innovative solutions to environmental problems.
Sharon began her philanthropic career at the Ford Foundation, shaping portfolios focused on environmental justice and regional equity. She also worked in the environmental and community development fields at the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Washington Office on Environmental Justice, and Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation. In the late 1990s, she was the Director of Marketing at an internet start-up that provided software to energy companies and international banks.
Sharon earned a master’s in public administration and a bachelor’s in agricultural, resource and managerial economics from Cornell University. She lives with her Canadian husband and two children in Brooklyn, NY.
John Balbach, Program Officer, MacArthur Foundation
John brings more than twenty years of diverse experience across the nonprofit sector, large corporations, early-stage ventures and public-private partnerships to this role. Prior to MacArthur, he was integral to Silicon Valley Bank establishing a strong Seattle presence, and he led the financial effort that closed on both $23 million in venture capital and the eventual acquisition for a Seattle-based software company. Balbach has served on a National Science Foundation commercialization review committee, managed and raised capital for an Impact Investing Fund focused on developing the Michigan life sciences sector, advised industry leading corporations on infusing cleantech solutions into their supply chains, provided consulting services to leading nonprofit organizations with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, and served as a strategic advisor to hundreds of founders of technology-based startup ventures through a Michigan economic development program.
Arjun Batra, Co-Founder and Head of Product, Lendable,
Arjun is the Co-Founder and Head of Product at Lendable, where he is responsible for all product development and investor facing activities. Lendable is building a marketplace lending platform for consumer asset financing (i.e., solar home systems, auto, agriculture) in the developing world. Prior to Lendable, Arjun was at BlackRock, where he sourced and structured illiquid transactions using firm capital, and led product development for internal electronic trading platforms.
Jason Blau, Associate Principal, Redstone Strategy Group, LLC
Jason Blau is an Associate Principal at Redstone Strategy Group, a leading consulting firm to foundations and non-profits worldwide. In eight years at Redstone, Jason has helped identify top opportunities in climate mission investing; worked extensively on projects at the juncture of economic development and the environment in the US and internationally; and helped foundations design strategies and evaluations for hard-to-measure programs, including advocacy and capacity building. His work spans terrestrial, freshwater, and marine conservation; climate and energy; economic development; health; and education. His writing describing some of these efforts has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review and academic journals.
Before joining Redstone, Jason graduated magna cum laude from Yale University, specializing in development studies. Jason lives with his wife, Diana, and son, Noam, in Boulder, Colorado.
Aimée Christensen, Executive Director, Sun Valley Institute for Resilience and CEO, Christensen Global Strategies
Aimée Christensen is Executive Director of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience and CEO of Christensen Global Strategies advising clients including the Clinton Global Initiative, FEMSA, Microsoft, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the United Nations Foundation and Virgin. She has over two decades’ experience in policy, law, investment, and philanthropy including with the U.S. Department of Energy where she negotiated the first bilateral climate change agreements (U.S. – Costa Rica 1994, et al.), the World Bank, Baker & McKenzie, and Google where she guided the company’s first climate change initiatives (carbon neutrality, lobbying for AB32, and launching the first climate project for Google.org). In 2012 she served as Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General's High-level Group on Sustainable Energy For All; in 2010 and 2011 she was the founding program chair of the World Climate Summit, gathering over 800 business leaders to act on climate. In 2009 she moved home to Sun Valley, Idaho where she manages her family’s investments and founded the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience to enhance local quality of life and serve as a resource to communities everywhere. Aimée wrote the first university endowment investment policy on climate change (Stanford University, 1999), is the 2011 Hillary Laureate and a 2010 Aspen Catto Fellow. She has a BA from Smith College and a JD from Stanford Law School.
Rob Day, Partner, Black Coral Capital
Rob Day is a Partner with Black Coral Capital, based in Boston. He has been a cleantech private equity investor since 2004, and acts or has served as a Director, Observer and advisory board member to multiple companies in the energy tech and related sectors, currently including Digital Lumens, Next Step Living, and Noesis Energy.
Rob serves on the Board at the New England Clean Energy Council, and was the Chairman of the Cleantech Open – Northeast Region. Rob was previously a co-founder of the Renewable Energy Business Network, a non-profit organization which was acquired in 2009 by the Clean Economy Network, now part of Advanced Energy Economy. Since 2005 he has also authored the column Cleantech Investing, which currently appears on GreentechMedia.com.
Formerly a consultant with Bain & Company, Rob has worked with companies and evaluated private equity transactions in the energy/utilities, telecom, IT, medical/pharmaceutical, and retail industries. Earlier in his career, Rob was a member of the World Resources Institute’s Sustainable Enterprise Program, where he co-authored the report The Next Bottom Line: Making Sustainable Development Tangible. Rob received his MBA at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Northwestern University), and his BA at Swarthmore College.
Reid Detchon, Vice President of Energy and Climate Strategy, UN Foundation
Reid Detchon is Vice President for Energy and Climate Strategy at the United Nations Foundation, a portfolio that includes the Foundation’s partnership with the Club of Madrid, Global Leadership for Climate Action. He also serves as Executive Director of the Energy Future Coalition, a broad-based non-partisan public policy initiative focused on three critical energy challenges – oil dependence, climate change, and global energy poverty.
Mr. Detchon previously served as Director of Special Projects in Washington for the Turner Foundation; as a principal at Podesta Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm in Washington; as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy from 1989 to 1993; as principal speechwriter for Vice President George H. W. Bush; as a staff member and legislative director for U.S. Senator John Danforth of Missouri; and as an award-winning reporter for the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. He is a graduate of Yale University and lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director, Wallace Global Fund
Ellen Dorsey is an impassioned advocate for international human rights and environmental sustainability. Since 2008, she has served as executive director of the Wallace Global Fund. Under her leadership, the Fund adopted a new approach integrating grant making and investment strategies to promote its mission. Ellen came to the Fund from the Heinz Endowments, where she was the senior program officer in the Environment Program. She previously served as Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Institute and Associate Professor at Chatham University and founded the Human Rights and Environment Program of Amnesty International.
She has served on the board of numerous non-profit organizations, including the US Human Rights Network, Global Initiative on Economic and Social Rights, Shared Interest and Amnesty International USA, where she was Chair of the Board of Directors.
Her educational career includes a doctorate in political science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa during that country’s historic transformation from Apartheid. She has lectured and written extensively in books, journals and new media outlets on the topic of contemporary social movements and effective strategies of non-governmental organizations. Most recently, Dorsey co-authored, along with Paul J. Nelson, New Rights Advocacy: Changing Strategies of Development and Human Rights NGOs, published by Georgetown University Press.
Rick Duke, Deputy Director, White House Office of Energy and Climate Change
Rick Duke currently serves in the White House as Deputy Director for Climate Policy at the Domestic Policy Council and Associate Director at the Council on Environmental Quality. His principal focus is implementation of the President’s Climate Action Plan. From 2009 through September of 2012, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy. At DOE he helped to launch the Clean Energy Ministerial and led analysis of domestic energy policy options, including the Administration’s Clean Energy Standard legislative proposal. Previously, at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), he launched and directed the Center for Market Innovation dedicated to working with government and corporate leaders to accelerate investment in low-carbon solutions. Prior to joining NRDC, Rick was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company, where his projects included managing the firm’s first global greenhouse gas abatement cost curve study. Rick has also worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the International Finance Corporation, and an off-grid renewable energy company in Honduras. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University, where his doctoral work focused on the economics of public investment in clean energy.
Christine Eibs Singer, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Energy for All Initiative
Christine Eibs Singer is a Senior Advisor to the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, focusing on the development of financing innovations to accelerate energy access and also serves as the Director of Global Advocacy for Power for All, a global campaign to accelerate the deployment of decentralized renewable energy. She is the Co-Founder of E+Co, a pioneer in the energy access and impact investment sector and was a founding member of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs. Her Board seats include SELCO India and the Dalberg Trust and she is a member of the Investment Committee of the Deutsche Bank Essential Capital Consortium. Ms. Singer spent 10 years at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, concentrating on the development of public-private partnerships. Ms. Singer’s recognitions include the 2007 Woman of Inspiration Award from Fairleigh Dickinson University, the 2011 Keystone Leadership Award for the Environment and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from New Jersey City University. Ms Singer currently serves as an Ambassador of the C3E Initiative and is an international Ashden Awards judge.
Nicholas M. Eisenberger, Managing Partner, Pure Energy Partners
Nicholas Eisenberger is a pioneer of the clean economy. As a successful entrepreneur, investor, strategist, and highly regarded speaker and author, Nicholas has worked for two decades to advance the clean technology industry. Nicholas is the founder of Pure Energy Partners, a venture catalyst firm that invests in high potential clean economy companies and actively works to accelerate their commercial success. Eisenberger is also a co-founder of the CREO Syndicate, a network of family office investors focused on opportunities in the clean economy, a co-founder of SuperCollider, a new investment platform focused on early stage Cleanweb companies using digital technologies to transform how we use energy and resources, and a board member of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the leading national umbrella organization for the renewable energy industry. Previously, Nicholas was Managing Principal of GreenOrder, which he and his partners established as one of the most influential corporate sustainability strategy firms and sold in 2008. Called one of the "go to guys" in the clean economy by Fortune, Nicholas is widely recognized for his groundbreaking work with global companies such as GE, whose multi-billion dollar ecomagination initiative Nicholas played a key role in guiding from its launch.
Jennifer Garson, Technology to Market Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Jennifer is a program manager on the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technology to Market Team, developing activities focused on supporting entrepreneurs to transition their technologies from research institutions into the market. Her programs have supported hundreds of startups through novel training programs, competitions targeted at university students, challenges linking solutions to major corporate partners, launched pilots helping validate companies' technologies, and created new national and regional networks.
Jennifer works with other DOE offices and other federal agencies to provide advice on prize and entrepreneurship programs, serves as a judge for competitions and investment pitches, and reviews technical grant programs.
Prior to her current role, she served as a policy analyst in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, developed analysis and provided technical assistance for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability on their smart grid portfolio, and served as a research assistant for a private consulting company.
Jennifer earned her B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies Concentration at Kenyon College and her M.P.P at George Washington University.
Danny Kennedy, Managing Director, California Clean Energy Fund
Danny Kennedy is a pioneer in clean energy investment and innovation, managing director of the California Clean Energy Fund, and president of CalCharge, a membership consortium that drives breakthroughs in energy storage technology. In 2007, Mr. Kennedy co-founded Sungevity, Inc., the country’s largest privately held solar company. He also co-founded Powerhouse, the only incubator and accelerator focusing solely on supporting solar entrepreneurs. Mr. Kennedy serves on the boards of VoteSolar, the Solar Foundation in Washington, D.C., and several solar startups, including Powerhive in Kenya and Sunergise in Fiji. He is the author of the clean energy manifesto Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy—and the Planet—From Dirty Energy. Working in collaboration with other groups, he spearheaded Sungevity’s Solar on the White House campaign, which resulted in the Obama administration’s decision to place solar panels on the First Family’s residence.