WCS Talks 2019 Speakers
AXM Software LLC
Arila Barnes is the managing director of AXM Software LLC, a small company providing “Architecture as A Service” and incubating software products in the IoT space focused on renewable energy for the consumer and improving women health. Arila has a tenure as Principal Software Architect with GE Digital building the Industrial Internet for GE Renewables Energy (Digital Hydro Plant, Digital Wind Farm), and improving the reliability of the traditional grid with Grid Analytics by GE Digital Energy. She was the co-founder of Pluto Health Innovations Inc, and a Principal Text Analytics Architect with SAS Institute Inc.
Talk Topic: Resurrecting DC one house, one block, or one village at a time
Marina is an engineering manager at Recurrent Energy working to decarbonize the grid by installing large solar and storage systems. Recurrent is a top US solar developer, with over 2.3 GW of operating solar projects, and 5GW project portfolio including a 180 MWh storage project. Recurrent Energy is a subsidiary of the 3rd largest solar manufacturer in the world, Canadian Solar.
Deeply dedicated to fighting climate change, she has previously helped install some of the first solar+storage systems at SunPower. There also oversaw designing and launching the #1 US commercial rooftop and carport solar product, Helix, as an Engineering Program Manager. At Environmental Systems Design, she led engineering and energy design and optimization for the most iconic and sustainable high-occupancy buildings in the world such as Tour First in Paris, Willis and Hancock Towers in Chicago.
Marina is a licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer and is a LEED Accredited Professional. She is currently working on her MBA at the Wharton School of Business. Marina is from Moldova and graduated Cum Laude from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering department.
Talk Topic: Global Warming = Droughts = Armed Conflict
Global Head of Product Innovation
Natalie is a technology product leader who is passionate about creating positive social impact and addressing climate change.
She is currently the Global Head of Product Innovation at ThoughtWorks, a technology consulting firm with a mission to better humanity through software that works with Fortune 500s, startups and NGOs in every industry to design, launch and scale meaningful digital platforms, products and services. During her time at ThoughtWorks, Natalie has participated as a Women’s Network Board member, Environmental Justice Campaign regional lead, Climate Coalition member, and as part of a small team to spearhead Clean Technology client exploration.
Natalie also co-organizes Products with Purpose, a meetup for social entrepreneurs, product managers, designers and technologists to integrate social and environmental impact tools and strategies into their day jobs.
She holds a BA and BSc in Computer Science from The University of Melbourne and an MBA in Strategy and Sustainable Business & Innovation from NYU Stern School of Business.
Talk Topic: What’s Your Digital Carbon Footprint?
CEO and Co-founder
Rachel is an avid tinkerer and writer and have worked in geochemical and metallurgical engineering labs as well as a content editor at a leading biomimetic solutions database. With degrees in biology, chemistry, and management, she is particularly interested in the sectors of natural infrastructure, the circular economy, and biomimicry. She brought the idea of bridging clean tech and biomimicry to NASA Ames in 2015, and from leading this research project she created a biotech makerspace for youth environmentalists. This eventually became the startup NuLeaf Tech. Rahcel’s team is composed of California natives, and the problem they saw and seek to solve as a business is that most water treatment & recycling solutions are catered to large corporations and municipalities. NuLeaf provides decentralized, all-natural wastewater treatment and recycling units that range from the size of a septic tank to modular units that treat industrial brewery wastewater. With similar nutrient recycling technology, they also provide aquaponic units for residential and office space use.
Talk Topic: Be the CEO Your Parents Always Wanted You to Marry
My Green Lab
Founder and CEO
Allison Paradise is the CEO and Founder of My Green Lab. Under her leadership, My Green Lab has established itself as a pioneer in laboratory sustainability. The organization developed the first nationally recognized standard for laboratory operations, established the first ENERGY STAR category for laboratory equipment, and recently released the first eco-label for laboratory products. Allison regularly speaks at industry meetings and scientific conferences. She holds degrees in neuroscience from Brown and Harvard.
Talk Topic: There is no Why in waste
Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC)
Senior Sustainability Manager
Ruchi has 7 years of experience in sustainability across real estate and consulting sectors, helping companies reduce operating costs and manage climate risks. Currently as a Senior Sustainability Manager at Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) – one of the largest affordable housing developers in San Francisco, she implements energy, water, and waste management strategies for a portfolio of 45 buildings. Under her leadership, TNDC met their water and energy reduction goals ahead of their 2023 schedule as part of the National Better Buildings Challenge.
Prior to TNDC, Ruchi has worked with Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), a non-profit based in Washington D.C. where she conducted energy and water data analysis of over 500 buildings and secured $2.7 million in utility rebates to pursue energy efficiency projects. Before SAHF, she worked at AvalonBay Communities, Inc., a national real estate investment trust (REIT) where she assisted in developing the corporate sustainability program and managed external reporting and stakeholder engagement. Ruchi is a LEED Green Associate, holds an M.S. in Environmental Studies, Sustainability from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and a B.Tech in Biotechnology from Mumbai, India.
Talk Topic: Influencing the Way We Recycle
GE Renewable Energy
Chief Digital Officer – Digital Solar Products
Madhuri is a thought leader with extensive experience in driving digital transformations within the large global organizations, with huge revenue impacts, cost saves and operational excellence. She has a deft in building and leading large global teams to deliver digital products such as SaaS, PaaS, B2B Commerce Platforms, Big data, IoT & AI /ML products for internal and external customers. She currently heads the Digital Solar products portfolio with GE Renewables, based in San Ramon California.
Madhuri has an engineering degree in Electronics and Telecommunications and an Executive management degree. She is passionate about building digital products that offer excellent ROI, scalability and reliability to her customers
Talk Topic: Artificial Intelligence, How it’s Changing our Personal and Professional Lives
American Job Project
Managing Director & Co-Founder
With over 10 years of experience in stakeholder engagement, Mary Collins forms lasting and effective partnerships. She knows how to pull together diverse allies, including academics, nonprofits, business leaders, and policymakers, to build creative collaborations that make ideas a reality.
Mary is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley’s Energy & Climate Change Initiative where she researches grid reliability in Mexico. Her work, done in partnership with Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey, pulls together key insights from regulators, stakeholders, and research to assess the changing energy market in Mexico.
With an expertise in offshore wind energy, Mary has presented at conferences around the country and led a course on economic development and advanced energy. Prior to co-founding AJP, Mary worked in international development, agriculture, and conservation biology. In Peace Corps Panama, Mary served as regional coordinator and liaised between the government, volunteers, and local groups, and trained local farmers and youth in sustainable agriculture and professional skills. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech and holds a Master of Public Policy with an emphasis on energy policy and economic development from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.
Talk Topic: California’s Next Big Wave: Innovating the Ocean to Save the Planet
Elizabeth Sluder is a Partner in the Los Angeles office of Morrison & Foerster. She focuses her practice on project finance, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and general corporate advice. Elizabeth is also a renewable energy industry leader, primarily representing developers, sponsors, and strategic and tax equity investors. She represents stakeholders in all aspects of development, financing and M&A of renewable energy projects, and is commended for her practical approach to problem solving. Her in-depth knowledge of renewable energy has led to serving as special counsel for the unsecured creditors committee in the SunEdison, Inc. bankruptcy, as well as advising new market entrants in both tax equity financing and corporate “virtual” power purchase agreements. She was named one of the Top Women Lawyers in California by The Daily Journal (2018) and among the “Top 40 Lawyers under 40” (2017).
Talk Topic: Impact in Renewable Energy
Communications and Marketing
Emmy award-winning news anchor Melinda Davenport is a master of crafting messaging and pioneering new methods to deliver environmental news. Davenport leads communications and marketing for Kairos Power, which is a mission-driven engineering company focused on the delivery of a clean, affordable, and safe energy solution. At WCS Talks 2019, she will be offering her expertise to help women craft their unique stories in cleantech and sustainability.
Talk Topic: Going Live: Communications Lessons from a Broadcaster in Cleantech
Farella Braun + Martel LLP
Lysondra Ludwig has a diverse transactional practice covering each stage of the corporate life cycle. She regularly counsels clients from formation to exit, including providing advice regarding choice of entity, profits interest grants, restructuring and mergers & acquisitions.
Prior to joining Farella, Lysondra had extensive experience in negotiating, structuring, and documenting a variety of transaction types, including securities offerings, mergers & acquisitions, and bankruptcy & restructuring, and tax matters related to project finance, with a focus on renewable energy and infrastructure assets.
At Farella, her practice has focused on the development of tax strategy for a broad range of corporate transactions. These have included everything from selling a wine label to structuring and financing a real estate portfolio.
Lysondra has also advised investment funds that have very specific profit-sharing. Her broad background equips her to arrive at innovative solutions for complex problems. For example, she aided clients gain liquidity from restricted stock grants through the use of prepaid contracts or loan structures to help individual investors meet their strategic objectives in an ever-evolving investment landscape. Lysondra’s responsive, calm and above all, expert involvement in complex transactions provides her clients with the tax expertise they require at critical moments for the business.
Talk Topic: Women Decision Makers and their Impact on Climate Change
(Google Technical Services) Vice President, gTech
Since its inception in 2011, Emmanuel has led gTech and its 4000+ Googlers in their goal to make support and operations a competitive advantage for Google. gTech provides support to all Google users, including consumers, advertisers, publishers, partners, and retailers, as well as the GBO sales teams. And they do this for ~95% of Google’s products — no small feat!
In 2006, Emmanuel joined Google as director of wireless business development for Asia and Latin America. More recently, he was responsible for all sectors of Google’s business development in Asia, overseeing international content acquisition, syndication and wireless partnerships.
Emmanuel and his wife have lived in five countries on three continents and his two kids have never lived in France. They were born in HK, and raised in Japan, Singapore, and now California. For fun, Emmanuel’s an avid sailor and has sailed in a few European races.
Talk Topic: If not us, then who?