Women in Cleantech and Sustainability (WCS) fosters an influential network of professionals to further the roles of women in growing the green economy and making a positive impact on the environment.
Founded in 2011, WCS is a nonprofit 501(c)6 organization made up up nearly 3,000 professional women and men building the green economy. Our members range from the students and entry level professionals, to Founders, C-Suite executives and investors.
Lisa Ann Pinkerton founded WCS in 2011, to create a Bay Area community to give women a sisterhood to thrive in and spotlight the remarkable women (and men) whose work is building our future green economy.
By 2013, WCS was officially established as a nonprofit 501(c)6 organization and a board formed to grow the organization beyond its early stages.
In 2014, the first WCS Talks was held. The TED-style conference established a top tier stage for women to share their professional stories, career tips and industry expertise.
In 2016, the Jobs Board and Mentorship programs were established to further foster WCS members on their career paths.
In 2018, WCS Talks held the first female-focused pitch competition for early-stage startups at WCS Talks.
Today, WCS is home to over 5,000 community members internationally, with local chapters in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Our members consist of all genders and range from the students and entry level professionals, to founders, C-Suite executives and investors.
WCS aims to meet once a month to network and learn the latest industry developments, as well as attain new business and personal skills from speakers and panelists. Topics covered include: renewable energy (solar, wind biofuel, etc), water, smart grid, biomass, carbon reduction, sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, sustainability, green buildings and many other technologies that aim to make our world a cleaner, more sustainable place.
Board seats and volunteer positions available. Contact Us!
Founder and Chairwoman – Lisa Ann Pinkerton
Lisa Ann Pinkerton is founder of Women In Cleantech & Sustainability, a San Francisco Bay Area group dedicated to the advancement of women in various environmental and technology sectors. She is also Founder and President of Technica Communications, where she handles marketing, social media, content production and public relations for cleantech and biotech startups. Additionally, Lisa Ann is Co-Founder and Marketing Chair for the Global Cleantech Cluster Association, an international speaker and moderator and documentary filmmaker. Lisa Ann is a former award-winning broadcast journalist who reported for National Public Radio, PBS Television, WPXI-NBC, American Public Media, and Free Speech TV.
Vice Chairwoman – Sara Eve Fuentes
Sara is currently a sustainability program manager with Commercial Industrial Waste Applications, where she conducts site audits and surveys for LEED and ISO certification and manages projects for ZERO Waste facilities. Previously Sara was a marketing director for World Financial Group and a sustainability program manager for the Green Schools National Conference. She has been on the board of Women in CleanTech and Sustainability since 2013.
Treasurer – Anna Astretsova
Anna manages project finance at First Solar. Previously she worked at GreenWorld Capital and the Adidas Group. Anna has an MS in Applied Mathematics from Lomonosov Moscow State University and an MS in Financial Mathematics from Stanford Uiversity. She has been on the board of Women in Cleantech and Sustainability since 2013.
Secretary – Kelly Ratchinsky
Kelly Ratchinsky is Board Chair Secretary for Women in Cleantech & Sustainability (WCS). As Board member she brings expertise on transportation innovation and smart cities. Kelly has earned a MSc and BSc in Ocean / Mechanical engineering specializing in autonomous vehicle control systems and renewable energy systems. Globally oriented and technically trained, Kelly has enjoyed success collaborating with business and technical teams to manage and execute industrial scale projects.
Anita Gavini, Finance Committee
Anita is currently a Business Development Manager for a local environmental services firm. Her prior experience spans over 10 years in various supply chain operations and strategy positions at Ford Motor Company and Target Corporation, as well as management consulting. Passionate about sustainability from both a social and environmental perspective, Anita volunteers actively with the GRID Alternatives International Program (energy access/sustainable development) as well as the North South Foundation (educational programming). She holds a Masters in Sustainability from Harvard University Extension School, a MBA from Duke University, and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her free time she loves to hike, travel, and compete on a local dragon boat team.
Malini Kannan, Career Development Committee Co-chair
Malini is currently a Program Engineer with Clean Coalition where she leads the technical activities of Clean Coalition’s Community Microgrid Initiative. She has helped communities across California, the New York metropolitan area, and Puerto Rico design and develop Community Microgrids through scoping, planning, and engineering design and analysis work. Previously, her work involved off-grid electrification as a consultant to the World Bank, designing and developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure on California’s North Coast, and resolving fuel cell quality issues at Bloom Energy. She holds a B.S. from the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego.
Lydia Krefta, Volunteer Coordinator
Lydia Krefta is a Manager on the Grid Edge Innovation team at PG&E where she has been leading the charge on blockchain research and development. She focuses on internal and external blockchain education and awareness, strategy and use case advancement. Most of her time is devoted to the development of two energy focused blockchain pilots, testing blockchain applications for supply chain and electric vehicle carbon credits. In addition to blockchain, Lydia develops and executes pilot projects in the electrification space, including medium/heavy duty transportation electrification, vehicle-to-grid integration, and building electrification. Prior to her current role, she developed long-term gas and electric investment strategies as part of the Corporate Strategy team. She holds a B.S in Engineering Science from Penn State University and an M.B.A. from UCLA.
Melanie Lucas-Conwell, Career Development Committee Co-Chair
Melanie is currently pursuing an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School, focusing her studies on renewable energy development and solving climate change through technology. Before her MBA studies, Melanie was a Global Business Product Manager at Google, spearheading product development and commercialization strategy for Emerging advertising formats. She has volunteered for the WCS Career Development Committee since 2016, helping launch and grow the Mentorship program. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of San Diego and she enjoys rowing crew in her spare time.
Julia Murphy, Career Development Committee Co-Chair
Julia is a skilled investment professional with 15 years of energy, finance (project & corporate) and business development experience in utilities, private equity, consulting and renewables. As Managing Director, she built Ultra Capital which is an investment firm that invests through project finance in sustainable assets across energy, water, waste and agriculture. Additionally, she originated projects across these sectors. Previously, she was CFO of 3 Degrees where she led finance, accounting, trade operations, insurance, investor relations and human resources. As Treasurer of Babcock & Brown, she built, invested and financed a $2B infrastructure fund. Priorto Babcock & Brown she led $9B PG&E’s utility refinancing to emerge from Chapter 11. Julia has worked internationally on projects in Sydney, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and London. She has an MBA in Finance & Accounting, University of Chicago Booth; BS in Biology, Occidental College.
Sara Prochasson, Events & Marketing Committee Co-Chair
Sara has been a member of WCS for over a year. She joined as a Mentee and is now a Board Member and part of the event committee. She is an internationally experienced engineer, passionate about sustainable energy and cleantech. She currently works at Autogrid as Product Manager on DERMS applications. For three years, she conducted projects for the French Distribution System Operator (within EDF Group) analyzing complex challenges related to smart grid development and the energy system transformation. Prior to EDF, Sara held positions at Suez environment, working with public bodies and regulatory authorities, and at Demeter Partners, the largest European VC company in renewable energy and cleantech. She is an Energy Engineer from the National Institute of Applied Sciences of Lyon, and a former International Athlete of the French Rowing Team.
Hilary Wall, Events & Marketing Committee Co-Chair
Hilary has spent the past 8 years working for the solar industry in many capacities, from collaborating with state and local governments on legislation to supply chain management. Hilary’s interest in sustainability began with her undergrad studies in interior architecture, and her passion for sustainable building inspired her to become LEED certified. She worked on multiple LEED projects before ultimately transitioning into renewable energy. She has been a member of WCS since 2018.
Anandi Yadav, Finance Committee
Anandi’s passion for living sustainably motivated her to join the WCS group 4 years ago where she is a part of the Finance Committee overseeing the budget and sponsorship requirements for the organization as well as a core member of the WCS Talks committee. She currently works as a product manager at Verizon’s Yahoo Small Business where she leads the product strategy and roadmap for building customer facing online tools in the SMB industry. Anandi has diverse experience having worked in multiple industries from semiconductors to cleantech and software. She has a strong technical background in nanotechnology and holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the Technical University of Munich in Germany and a diploma in Project Management and Global Business Management from the University of California, Berkeley. Having lived in different part of the world, she has developed a passion for traveling and meeting people from various cultures and backgrounds. In her spare time she enjoys reading about world history, art and is also a trained dancer.
Abigail Carson, Events & Marketing Committee Co-Chair
Abigail brings over 6 years of experience working in cleantech and renewable energy to WCS. Specializing in deploying large, complex, and innovative DER projects, Abigail is experienced with both hardware and software. She currently works at AutoGrid as a member of the Industry Solutions team, extracting business opportunities from existing accounts and new clients. Before joining AutoGrid, Abigail worked at Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) for 2.5 years on various behind-the-meter energy storage applications. Prior to AMS, Abigail worked at SolarCity/Tesla for 2.5 years on the inside sales team for their large-scale commercial solar and storage products. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from University of Oregon and has completed a professional certificate from Stanford University in “Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies“.
Caroline Trowbridge, Events & Marketing Committee
Caroline joins the WCS board as a member of the events committee. As a Project Manager at Metrus Energy, an energy efficiency finance company, she oversees the development, closing, and construction of Metrus’ assets. Previously, Caroline worked for the non-profit Climate Solutions, conducting analyses for cities on carbon reduction opportunities. She is an avid adventurer, having led outdoor educational tours for kids across the US, including a self-supported bike tour from coast to coast. Whether in the office or outside, Caroline is dedicated to facilitating group dynamics and motivating her team to optimize its potential. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Middlebury College.