WCS Talks Virtual Event Series Part 1

Nov. 7, 2020


Kathleen Egan
Co-founder & COO

Kathleen Egan is the CEO and Co-founder of ecomedes, a SaaS platform to reduce costs, energy, health risks, and environmental impact for commercial buildings.  Suppliers subscribe to ecomedes to increase sales and catapult their online selling capabilities.  

Kathleen started her career in NYC in the fashion business then received an MBA at Harvard and moved to the Bay Area.  She became a serial tech entrepreneur, growing seven venture-backed startups with three successful exits.  She was the first business hire at flyswat (Acquired by NBC), an search and navigation web tool. She spent five years at Oracle after the acquisition of ProfitLogic, leading Global Sales Consulting for a $150M business unit.  Most recently, she led Customer Operations and Analytics for Wiser, an e-commerce competitive intelligence solution.

Kathleen is passionate about climate change, oceans, and equality. She sits on the Board of 5 Gyres, a leading plastic pollution NGO.  She produced a documentary about pay inequality in professional big wave surfing called It Ain’t Pretty.  She is an aggressive surfer and skier whenever possible.

She lives at the beach in San Francisco with her husband and five-year-old son, who plans to save the whales. 

Talk Topic: Your skills are needed in the climate change fight. You don’t have to give up capitalism to get in this game.

Karina van Schaardenburg
Opower (Oracle)
Principal UX Researcher

Karina is an avid student of the human experience after living in 8 countries and spending 12 years as a design researcher. Her longtime passion for climate action led her to transition from consumer tech, where she had contributed to design at Lyft, Foursquare, and Twitter, to her current role on the Opower team at Oracle Utilities. She’s endlessly fascinated by the complexities of the utility landscape, and loves talking to utility customers about how they navigate ever-changing rate plans, appliances, and distributed energy resources.  

She’s interviewed participants about experiences spanning physical devices, print, desktop, and mobile. As an early member of several research teams, she’s learned how to set up a practice from scratch and how to work with teams who have never worked with a researcher before. When she’s not moderating interviews, she’s probably rock climbing, DJing or sewing.

Talk Topic: We need more social scientists working on climate change

Denise Hardesty
Principal Research Scientist

Dr Denise Hardesty is a principal research scientist for CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere. A broadly trained ecologist, her work has taken her to all seven continents, studying everything from penguins in Antarctica to hornbills in West Africa, the rainforests of central and South America, and looking at plastic waste along the coastlines in Australia, Asia, North and South America and Africa. For the last decade her work has increasingly focused on plastic pollution, looking at impacts on wildlife such as seabirds, turtles and marine mammals, and examining the sources, drivers and distribution of mis-managed waste.

Denise’s team takes a risk-based approach to addressing biodiversity impacts resulting from ingestion and entanglement, combining empirical evidence with model-based
approaches. Her marine debris work also focuses on gear loss from fisheries, drivers for litter losses into the environment, waste policy effectiveness, and non-point source reduction. Her team’s work addresses the impacts on communities and economies, as well as addressing policy responses and effectiveness. She advocates for the role of science in underpinning policy and decision making, and has served as a scientific expert on a number of international panels.

As recognition of the plastic pollution issue grows, Denise is increasingly asked to provide expert opinion on marine debris related matters to international and domestic governments, industry, fisheries and other stakeholders including the United Nations, G7 and G20 bodies, and the Convention on Biological Diversity, with the aim of to reducing this important transboundary issue. She believes strongly in the contribution of communities, having worked with more than 8,000 citizen scientists over the last few years to help tackle the plastic pollution problem.

Susan Brennan & Debra Moss
Bloom Energy
COO & Head of Manufacturing

Susan brings more than 24 years of manufacturing experience, including automotive vehicle, powertrain and components assembly. Susan has dedicated her career to improving American manufacturing and assuring that the United States maintains a vital manufacturing footprint, especially in areas of key technological advances.

In her time as a manufacturing practitioner, she has always been a strong proponent of sustainability, starting in her first role as the Environmental and Coating Manager with Douglas and Lomason, leading the plant to the State of Iowa’s first ever Waste Minimization award and, most recently, launching the all-electric Nissan Leaf in Smyrna, TN.

Throughout her career, she has maintained that jobs and the environment can have a symbiotic relationship, and that passion drives her as she pursues her role at Bloom. In addition, she has created and supported organizations that encourage young women to pursue careers in math and science as a way to support future generations of technological manufacturing in the United States. Susan holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Nebraska, Omaha and a Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology from the University of Illinois, C-U.

Talk Topic: Clean Energy is a Social Justice Issue

Deepika Nagabhushan
Clean Air Task Force
Program Director – Decarbonized Fossil Energy

Deepika Nagabhushan manages the Decarbonized Fossil Energy (DFE) program at the Clean Air Task Force (CATF). 

CATF is an environmental organization, funded by philanthropy, that pushes change in technologies and policies needed to achieve a zero-emissions, high-energy planet at an affordable cost.

The DFE program develops and advocates for policy aimed at making carbon capture, utilization & storage (CCUS) technologies widely available, globally by mid-century. CATF was the first national environmental organization to aggressively push for the commercialization of CCUS technologies that ultimately resulted in the passage of a federal tax credit for CCUS at up to $50 per tonne of CO2 captured and stored – the first-ever federally legislated price on carbon. 

Deepika has developed analysis and led policy advocacy efforts to advance CCUS technology deployment, federally as well as in California. She led a power sector modeling effort to test impacts of federal tax credits on CCUS deployment. She is currently focused on helping California take advantage of the opportunity that CCUS provides to meet its bold climate goals. She is a regular panelist at CCUS conferences.

Prior to joining CATF, Deepika spent 5 years at Schneider Electric. Deepika holds a graduate degree in Sustainability Management from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Bangalore University in India. She is based in San Francisco.

Talk Topic: Zero carbon energy system

Karin Tuxen-Bettman, PHD
Program Manager
Google Earth Outreach – Google, Inc.

Karin Tuxen-Bettman leads the Google Earth Outreach Program and Project Air View at Google, which works to help nonprofit and public benefit organizations use Google’s mapping tools to address our world’s most pressing problems. Karin has been with Google since early 2008, and has since worked on the Google Earth Outreach team. Her background includes over 20 years working in GIS and remote sensing technologies, which she applied to her PhD in environmental sciences, from the University of California, Berkeley. Several years ago, she founded and now leads Project Air View (g.co/earth/airquality), Google’s effort to map air quality using Google Street View vehicles equipped with air sensors, with the goal of making hyper-local air quality more accessible and useful.

Talk Topic: Environmental insights to solutions: helping cities take action with data