May 17 & 18, 2017

Santa Barbara, CA


Naomi Klein

Award-Winning Journalist and Author

The Women and the Environment conference is your opportunity to connect, collaborate and create. This dynamic event is for changemakers who want to establish new partnerships and be effective agents of adaptation to climate and social change. Join us to hear and pursue new perspectives and models to redress today’s challenges and achieve successful outcomes. The Conference will culminate with selection of three 'big ideas,' generated by conference attendees, for seed capital investment to support further development.


7:30 pm on May 17 at The Granada Theatre

VIP Reception, VIP Seating and Keynote Address


Naomi Klein

Our Environmental Future: Connection, Collaboration, and Creation



Sadaf is co-founder and Director of Kindle Project, an outside-the-box grantmaking organization supporting wild solutions, by unusual suspects, in the attempt to move mountains. Sadaf co-founded the Indie Philanthropy Initiative in 2014 and has sat on the board of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and Skateistan, Afghanistan’s first skateboarding school. Sadaf is the former Environmental Justice Manager at Tewa Women United. A photographer and multi-media artist, Sadaf’s work documents the experience of being a first-generation Afghan-American and has received international recognition. She received her MA in Peace Education at the United Nations University for Peace and her BFA in Photography from the College of Santa Fe.

Maggie L. Fox:Past President & CEO of Climate Reality Project.

Maggie is a consultant serving organizations, foundations, communities and other endeavors in the development and implementation of 21st-century climate change and clean energy strategies. She is a veteran of numerous local, state, national and international environmental, political, legal and policy campaigns. Maggie is past President and CEO of the Climate Reality Project and the Climate Action Fund, with global campaigns that empower citizens to become leaders driving action on climate. She was the national President of America Votes as well as the Southwest Regional Director and Deputy Executive Director of the Sierra Club. Maggie currently serves on the boards of the Green Fund, the Energy Future Coalition, the Alliance for Climate Education and the Colorado State University School of Global Environmental Sustainability. Maggie began her career as a classroom teacher and community organizer on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations of Arizona and New Mexico. An avid outdoorswoman, Maggie worked with both the North Carolina and Colorado Outward Bound Schools and has been on numerous mountaineering expeditions and adventures around the world. She and her husband, Mark Udall, live in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado. They have two children.

Lisa Pike Sheehy is the VP of Environmental Activism for Patagonia, Inc. She oversees the implementation of the company’s international environmental grants program which gave away over 7.2 million last year to grassroots environmental organizations worldwide. Additionally, she leads Patagonia’s multi-year campaigns to publicize environmental issues and mobilize customers. Her work is focused on increasing environmental activism for Patagonia employees and customers through close partnership with the film, marketing and media teams. Before joining Patagonia in 2003, she was the Program and Membership Director for the Environmental Grantmakers Association, consisting of over 250 member foundations around the world. She has also worked with the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and the Sierra Club in their Washington DC office on public lands issues. After serving 10 years on the board of the Outdoor Industry Conservation Alliance, she continues her board service with the Outdoor Industry Association, 1% for the Planet, and Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation. Most recently Lisa received the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition Pioneering Woman of the Year Award. Lisa has a master’s degree in Environmental Policy from Tufts University. While not chasing around her two young children, she does her best to find time to head to the backcountry to ski, hike and fly fish.

Susana De Anda: Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director of the Community Water Center

Susana De Anda is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Community Water Center, a nonprofit environmental justice organization based in California’s San Joaquin Valley, whose mission is to act as a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy. Susana is a seasoned community organizer and has received numerous awards and recognitions, including: White House Champion of Change for Climate Equity (2016); Mark Dubois Award from Friends of the River (2014); “150 Fearless Women in the World” by Newsweek Magazine (2012); “Women on Top – Top Activist” by Marie Claire magazine (2012); AOL sponsored PBS three-part series titled, Makers: Women Who Have Shaped America (2012); “Las Fabulosas” and “Inspiring Latinas” by Powerful Latinas (2011); and the 2009 Petra Foundation Fellowship award. In addition, Jill Iscol’s book, Hearts on Fire, features a chapter on Susana De Anda and CWC (2011).

Susana’s experience includes planning and organizing positions at the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment; the County of Merced Planning Department; the Santa Barbara County Water Agency; and the Santa Barbara non-profit Community Environmental Council. Susana earned a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara while completing a double major in Environmental Studies and Geography. Susana served for the past few years on the Community Funding Board of the Grassroots Fund through the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment and now serves on the Tulare County Water Commission and the Board of Directors of the Tulare County United Way.

Anisha Desai: Director of New Leaders Initiative at Earth Island Institute

Anisha Desai is the Program Director of the New Leaders Initiative (NLI) at Earth Island Institute, which raises the profile of young emerging environmental leaders in North America and provides them with the skills, resources, and relationships to lead effective campaigns and projects. The NLI also confers the Brower Youth Awards, the premier North American awards honoring bold young environmental leaders. Anisha has a long history of work in youth leadership and social justice, and was formerly the Executive Director of the Women of Color Resource Center in Oakland and the Program Director of United for a Fair Economy in Boston.

Anisha earned a Master’s of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in African-American Literature, Psychology and Secondary Education from the University of Miami in Florida. She is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant and is the Founder of Radical Ceremony, where she creates and performs culturally savvy and creative ceremonies honoring rites of passage of all sorts in California, Florida and other destinations near and far.

Kira Redmond: Executive Director, Santa Barbara Channel Keeper

Kira Redmond has served as the Executive Director of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper since 2004. Ms. Redmond has worked in the environmental policy arena for 20 years. She has a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Management from the University of California Berkeley.

Tori Kjer: LA Program Director, The Trust for Public Land

Vien Truong, Director for Green for All 

Vien Truong is one of the country’s foremost policy experts and strategists on building an equitable green economy. She leads Green For All, a national initiative that puts communities of color at the forefront of the climate movement and equality at the center of environmental solutions. Vien has developed numerous energy, environmental, and economic policies and programs at the state, federal and local levels. She has advised on billions of dollars in public investments for energy and community development programs. Most recently, Vien co-led a coalition to pass and implement California’s landmark SB 535, a law that created the biggest fund in history for environmental justice communities to build economically sound and environmentally sustainable communities — to date it has reinvested over $900 million in disadvantaged communities most harmed by fossil fuel pollution.

Tracy Gray has over 20 years experience assisting organizations in a variety of industries reach their goals. Ms. Gray is currently the Founder and Managing Partner of The 22 Capital Group (The 22), a growth venture capital and advisory firm with a mission of job creation by increasing the export capacity of Southern California manufacturing – cleantech, hardtech, and advanced – companies, targeting women and minority-owned businesses. She is also an Executive in Residence at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and the founder of the non-profit We Are Enough. Ms. Gray was recently named one of the 50 “Women of Influence” in business in Los Angeles.

In 2015, Ms. Gray gave a TEDx Talk entitled “Why It’s Time For Women To Be Sexist With Investment Capital.” Due to the response from her TEDx Talk, Ms. Gray founded We Are Enough. We Are Enough’s mission is to increase the flow of capital to women entrepreneurs by educating women on how and why to invest in women-owned, for profit businesses or with a “gender lens.”

Ms. Gray was previously Managing Director at Collaborative Equity Partners (CEP), a venture catalyst consulting firm where she raised over $30 million in equity capital. Additionally, Ms. Gray worked at the Los Angeles Alliance for the New Economy, an economic justice non-profit and for a contractor on the NASA Space Shuttle program as a systems engineer/mission monitor.

Ms. Gray is on the Exergy, Inc. advisory board and Isidore Recycling board of directors. She also serves on the non-profit boards of directors/advisory boards of CSU Dominguez Hills Philanthropic Foundation, CHINAWEEK, Southern California National Association of Securities Professionals, Urban Manufacturing Alliance and Clockshop. She is a frequent speaker at various conferences and events including TEDx, Emerging Women and Google. Ms. Gray has traveled to 40 countries, conducting and studying business and economic development in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Ms. Gray holds a B.S. in Mathematical Science with an aeronautics emphasis from the University of California, Santa Barbara and dual MBAs from Columbia University and University of California, Berkeley specializing in private equity, international business and corporate social responsibility.

Diana Sokolove: Senior Planner, City of San Francisco

Diana Sokolove is a Principal Planner with the San Francisco Planning Department. Ms. Sokolove leads the Planning Department’s resiliency program and co-chairs the Mayor’s Sea Level Rise Coordinating Committee. Ms. Sokolove has a Master’s degree in City Planning from UNC Chapel Hill and a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Rochester. Ms. Sokolove is also certified as a public engagement specialist by the International Association of Public Participation.

Holly Lohuis: Ocean Futures, Jean-Michel Cousteau Executive Coordinator

Holly Lohuis is a marine biologist and educator with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society. She has appeared in many of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s documentaries over the past twenty years, including co-star of a new IMAX film, ‘Secret Ocean 3D, launched in 2015. With a degree in aquatic biology from UC Santa Barbara and experience in the ocean realm around the world, she is an eloquent and popular speaker on the beauty and crises facing our water planet. Holly is also a PADI Dive Master and Open Water SCUBA Instructor.

Heather Rosenberg: LA Director, Building Resilience, US Green Building Council

Heather Rosenberg is a USGBC Ginsberg Fellow and leader of USGBC-LA’s Building Resilience-LA, which helps organizations become more physically, economically and socially resilient. She is an ecologist with close to 20 years of consulting experience in the built environment, and a mayoral appointee to the City of Los Angeles Innovation and Performance Commission.

Sarah Newkirk Senior Coastal Project Director, The Nature Conservancy

Sarah Newkirk, Coastal Program Director at The Nature Conservancy in California, is trained as a marine scientist and a lawyer, and works at the intersection of science and policy to promote resilience to sea level rise and to abate land-based threats to marine and coastal ecosystems.

Laurel Hunt is the Secretary of the Mediterranean City Climate Change Consortium (MC-4), a global climate change solutions network focused on the five Mediterranean regions. She is also the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Loyola Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience. In her third role, she is Managing Editor of Cities and the Environment (CATE) Journal, a peer-reviewed online publication dedicated to urban ecology research and practice that is supported by an LMU – U.S. Forest Service partnership. Laurel is a guest lecturer in the Civil Engineering & Environmental Science graduate program at LMU. She also represents the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC) to the state-level Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA) and is a member of the Building Resilience Los Angeles Steering Committee though the U.S. Green Building Council. Her graduate degree is in Urban and Regional Planning and with an emphasis on climate change adaptation, regional environmental sustainability and community-based participatory planning.

Paula Daniels is co- founder and Chair of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, a social enterprise non-profit founded in July of 2015 as a national spin off from the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, which Paula founded in 2011. Paula was also Executive Director of California Central, a USC Villaraigosa Initiative, from April of 2015 to June 2016. She is a public policy leader in environmental food and water policy, with recognition through academic appointments and other awards. Some recent examples: September 2016, Resident Fellow of the Bellagio Center of the Rockefeller Foundation; 2015, Pritzker Environment and Sustainability Education Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; 2013, Lee Chair in Real Estate Law and Urban Planning; 2012-2013, Stanton Fellowship (awarded by the Durfee Foundation). She has also had academic appointments at USC, and Vermont Law School.

Building on a successful career as an attorney in civil litigation, she served as a Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner (a fulltime position overseeing the Department of Public Works) and then Senior Advisor to Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles. She has also been a commissioner with the California Coastal Commission, and a gubernatorial appointee on the governing board of the California Bay-Delta Authority. She was an appointee of Governor Brown to the California Water Commission, and served in his Office of Planning and Research as Senior Fellow for Food Systems, Water and Climate.

Wendy Millet is director of TomKat Ranch a 100% grass-fed cattle ranch in Pescadero, CA and a learning center whose mission is to raise healthy food on working lands in a way that sustains the planet and inspires others to action. Before joining the ranch, she worked in conservation for almost 20 years working with farmers, ranchers, and timberland owners to protect ranches, rivers and forests. She also worked at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, edited two books on land conservation, and worked on ranches in Wyoming and Montana. She currently serves on the board of the California Council of Land Trusts, the Western Landowners Alliance and as advisory board member to Save the Redwoods League, Peninsula Open Space Trust’s Farmland Advisory Committee and CalPoly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch. Wendy holds a B.A. in Literature from Harvard and is co-founder of Gallop Ventures LLC an equine leadership program connecting people with nature to inspire positive impact in the world.

Suguet López is Lideres Campesinas’ Executive Director. She has been with Líderes Campesinas, for ten years. She had started as a Programs’ Assistant, then worked as Programs’ Coordinator and lastly was the statewide Director of Programs. She brings much experience and knowledge about issues that affect women, especially immigrant women. Ms. López, is one of the pioneers of the ‘Alianza Nacional de Campesinas’ (National Farmworker Women’s Alliance.)

Ms. López brings over two decades of commitment to social work and social justice as she volunteered in extracurricular activities to tutor and mentor peers in México, as well as in the U.S. She provided volunteer service at hospitals in México; and later within LA County area, in special programs, to help illiterate English speakers learn to read and write.

Ms. López was the first in her family to attend higher education and obtain a Bachelors’ Degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona – College of Agriculture and graduated with honors. She is also a fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute, sponsored by The Women’s Foundation in California.

Bio Coming Soon…

Kim Arnone: Vice President at Cutting Edge Capital
Kim Arnone is a principal at Cutting Edge Capital, which specializes in developing community capital raising strategies for social enterprises, cooperatives and nonprofits. Kim works primarily on investment offerings that can be publicly advertised and that are open broadly to community members, not limited only to wealthy investors. Her strategies allow people to invest in alignment with their values and in their own communities, creating a virtuous cycle of local investment, growth, community return and reinvestment. Through her work, Kim seeks to implement solutions that contribute to an economy that is more resilient, just, and sustainable.

Kim has assisted a wide range of enterprises in successfully raising millions of dollars–from a worker-owned green waste recycling company to an organic farm, from a rural community development fund to an urban food coop. Kim frequently speaks on the topics of community capital, community investment funds, direct public offerings and investment crowdfunding. Kim has been with Cutting Edge for 5 years and has been practicing law for 20 years. She has her Juris Doctorate from Hastings College of the Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Women’s Law Journal.

Having pioneered the bridging of psychological research and sustainability for more 20 years, Dr. Renee Lertzman gracefully marries the worlds of academia and practice. She does this by translating complex psychological and social science research insights into clear, applied and profound tools for organizations around the world seeking to engage, mobilize and connect with diverse populations, communities and individuals. Her unique and integrated approach brings together the best of the behavioral sciences, social sciences and innovative design sciences to create a powerful approach to engagement and social change.

Renee is an internationally recognized thought leader and adviser, and works with organizations, professionals, and practitioners from government, business, philanthropic, and non-governmental sectors to design research tools, brand strategy, trainings, workshops, engagement practices, and strategies suited for the uniquely challenging nature of environmental work.

Renee also is regularly commissioned to teach, present and produce research for a range of institutions, including World Wildlife Fund, the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST), National Center for Atmospheric Research, NOAA, Climate Solutions, Sustainable Path Foundation, Columbia University, Portland State University, Center for Sustainable Energy, Skoll Global Threats Fund, Radboud University (NL), Lanzhou University (China), Royal Roads University (British Columbia), Oxford University’s UK Energy Research Centre, and the University College London’s Climate Sciences Communications Policy Commission.

Maimuna Syed has worked for statewide and national unions for eight years. Most recently, as Northern California Field Director at California Labor Federation, she directed the political, organizing, and legislative priorities of the organization, its unions, 17 central labor councils, and 1.2 million union members in Northern California. Among her achievements, Maimuna created and managed a ground-breaking training program for union members to promote engagement and leadership development, which has become a model across the labor community. Previously, Maimuna worked as New Mexico State Affiliate Political Organizer for the American Federation of Teachers and as Pennsylvania Political and Legislative Coordinator for AFSCME.

Prior to coming to Emerge CA, Maimuna worked for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. As Pennsylvania Training Director, she developed and implemented training programs for organizing, leadership development, mobilization and voter contact for over 3,000 staff and volunteers.

Maimuna will be the first Muslim-American to serve as Executive Director in Emerge America’s network of 17 state affiliates.

Angela Mooney D’Arcy (Juaneno Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation)—Angela is from the Native Nation whose traditional territories include the area now known as Orange County. She has been working with Native Nations, Indigenous people, grassroots and nonprofit organizations, artists, educators and educational institutions on environmental and cultural justice issues for over fifteen years. She is the Executive Director and Founder of Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples, a Los Angeles-based, Indigenous-led community organization and Affiliate of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples dedicated to building the capacity of Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples to protect sacred lands, waters, and cultures. She is co-founder of the United Coalition to Protect Panhe, a grassroots alliance of Acjachemen people dedicated to the protection of the sacred site Panhe. Angela also authored the Environmental Justice chapter of the report Native Voices Rising: A Case for Funding Native-led Change, which was sponsored by Native Americans in Philanthropy and Common Counsel Foundation. She serves as Board Secretary for the Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum & Acjachemen Cultural Center in San Juan Capistrano and is a recipient of the New Voices Fellowship, a national Ford Foundation-funded program dedicated to cultivating the next generation of social justice leaders and the Earthjustice Sutherland Fellowship, awarded each year to a recent law school graduate to continue their work in environmental public-interest law. She received her B.A. from Brown University and her J.D. with a concentration in Critical Race Studies and focus on federal Indian law from University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

Cindy DeVries is Chief Operating Officer of Fetzer Vineyards, an iconic U.S. wine company approaching its 50th anniversary in 2018. During nearly 25 years with the company, DeVries has been integral to management teams that built the winery to national prominence and successfully navigated two changes in ownership, and is now helping to lead a renaissance in quality and brand creation.

COO since 2014, DeVries has continued to improve and integrate fundamental winery processes including grape purchases, winemaking, operations, marketing and administration as well as brand and product development. Critically, she has also helped strengthen the company’s long-standing commitment to sustainability, including rigorous certifications for B Corporation status, Zero Waste operations, and adherence to the Carbon Neutral® Protocol.

Today, Fetzer Vineyards’ portfolio encompasses multiple category leaders as well as innovative new growth brands. Its flagship Fetzer line is a top-five U.S. premium wine brand,1 and its 100% organically grown wine, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, was among the fastest-growing wine brands in 2016 and named American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast. Beyond the winery, DeVries lends her experience and vision to the industry, serving on the boards of directors of Wine Institute, California’s premier wine policy and marketing organization, and the American Vineyard Foundation, a non-profit sponsoring research in winegrowing and winemaking.

“One of my top priorities as Chief Operating Officer has been instilling a winning mindset throughout our organization,” she says. “When people trust that you’re going to back their ideas and efforts and give them the best chance to succeed, they bring their passion to work every day.”

Sherri Pittman is Managing Director and co-lead of the California Clean Energy Fund. The organization has been accelerating clean energy innovation and startup systems for over a decade. Today’s work is focused on optimizing the energy transition to create a 100%= clean energy economy for the 100%. Sherri brings over 30 years of strategic leadership to her role at the California Clean Energy Fund. Prior to joining the organization, Sherri served as Executive Vice President of Metropolitan group leading the firm’s San Francisco office. During her tenure there Sherri provided strategy and organization development consultation to environmental and social justice clients such as Sierra Club, Plan USA International and the U.S. Forest Service. Previous roles include Vice President Marketing at solar startup, Sungevity, close to ten years at Levi Strauss & Co. leading a variety of strategic initiatives, among other corporate marketing roles.

Sherri holds a MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Master of Arts in Culture & Spirituality from Holy Names University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. Deeply engaged in the social change sector, Sherri serves on the board of Mal Warwick Donor Digital and the Social Venture Network.

Manager, Mission Investing, The Schmidt Family Foundation

Shally Shanker is Manager of Mission Investing for The Schmidt Family Foundation. She is responsible for the Foundation’s portfolio of program-related investments (PRI) and mission-related investments (MRI), and in that role works with a team of content experts to identify, structure, and manage investments that are consistent with the Foundation’s mission and return profile. The portfolio seeks to create environmental and social impact in the areas of agriculture, food, water, waste reduction, energy, health, access to finance, and human rights.

Shally has over 20 years of investment management experience structuring and managing global portfolios of debt and equity instruments.