Planet Forward Board Members

 

Bruce Brandfon - Board Chair

photo_1.jpgBruce Brandfon joined Publicitas in December 2012. Publicitas, a Swiss based multinational company, is the global leader in media representation and consulting. With offices around the world, the company supports leading media companies across their multichannel portfolios. Brandfon leads the sales, marketing and consulting team in North America to develop integrated advertising and marketing solutions for clients in digital, print, broadcast and out of home media.

Prior to joining Publicitas, from April-December 2012 Bruce was Vice President of Sales for the Philadelphia Media Network, publishers of The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com. From 2001 to 2012 he was Vice President and Publisher of Scientific American. While there he was instrumental in launching Scientific American Mind and EARTH 2.0 as well as SA Custom Media and building scientificamerican.com into a successful element in the brand’s portfolio. From 1995 to 2001 he was Advertising Director of Newsweek, with responsibility for the development of Newsweek’s advertising strategies and the day-to-day management of the sales operations. Prior to Newsweek, Bruce spent 17 years at Time Inc. where he worked in ad sales management for Fortune as Washington DC Manager and New York Advertising Director.

Brandfon received his B.A. with honors from the University of Virginia where he was an Echols Scholar and attended graduate business school at Fordham and Columbia. Brandfon is an Advisory Board Member of Verdant Global, and served on the Board of Junior Achievement of New York. He is an Adjunct Professor of Media Studies at Westchester Community College and has lectured at the University of Mississippi, Kenyon College, the University of Virginia, and the NYU Graduate School of Journalism.

Brandfon is married, has two sons and lives in Ossining, N.Y.

Decker Anstrom

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Decker Anstrom serves on the Board of Directors of Discovery Communications, as well as on the boards of several national nonprofit environmental groups (the National Environmental Education Foundation — where he is currently Chair of the Board; Island Press — where he earlier served as Chair; Climate Central; and Planet Forward), and a nonprofit educational group, the Institute for Educational Leadership (which he formerly Chaired).

During 2015-2016, Anstrom, who lives in Washington, D.C., served as U.S. Ambassador and Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC15), held under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union. WRC’s, which convene every 34 years, are treaty-level conferences involving more than 150 countries that consider international and regional spectrum allocation and regulatory issues that support satellite, mobile, aviation and other wireless services.

Anstrom also served as the U.S. Ambassador and Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC12) during 2011-2012.

He joined The Weather Channel Companies as President/CEO in 1999 and retired as President of Landmark Communications and Chairman of The Weather Channel Companies in late 2008, following Landmark’s sale of The Weather Channel to NBC. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Comcast Corporation from 2001-2011. Prior to his positions at Landmark, Anstrom had a long career in public service and in the communications industry.

Anstrom received a BA degree from Macalester College (St. Paul. MN) and attended the Woodrow Wilson Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University for one year.

Jerry Bloom

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Jerry Bloom is chair of Winston & Strawn LLP’s energy, project development, and finance practice group. Mr. Bloom assists clients in structuring, financing, and developing energy infrastructure projects, including renewable, combined heat and power, and fossil-fuel generation. He has assisted in the development and operation of energy projects in the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, and China.

Mr. Bloom accompanied California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on his trade mission to China to promote the integration of alternative energy into China’s resource plans for meeting its rapidly expanding demands for energy. In 2011, the Daily Journal named Mr. Bloom among its first-ever, top-25 clean-tech lawyers in California. He has been recognized for his work in energy litigation in the 2011 Legal 500.

Mr. Bloom received a B.A. in Psychology in 1974 and an M.A. in Counseling in 1976 from George Washington University. He received a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law in 1980. He also serves on the Advisory Board at George Washington University’s Solar Institute.

Julie Borlaug

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Julie Borlaug is Assistant Director of Partnerships for the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture. She is the granddaughter of Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize winner and “the father of the Green Revolution.” Since the passing of her grandfather, Julie has worked to continue his legacy through developing agricultural partnerships between public, private and philanthropic groups to further the Borlaug legacy and expand upon his mission to feed the world’s hungry.

Julie received her BA from Texas A&M in International Studies and Political Science in 1997 and her MBA in Nonprofit Management from the University of Dallas in 2004. Prior to joining the Borlaug Institute, Julie worked in the nonprofit sector and has worked for organizations such as the Salvation Army and the American Cancer Society as Development of Director.

Julie joined the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture as External Relations Manager 2006 to work alongside her grandfather where she successfully raised funds for an endowed chair in International Agriculture in honor of her grandfather.  In 2012, Julie transitioned into her new role as Associate Director of External Relations in order to champion her grandfather’s legacy and lend a voice to his desire to see more successful collaborative partnerships between the public and private partnerships in order to ensure the continuation of breakthroughs in international agriculture. 

Lydia Botham

Lydia BothamLydia Botham is Vice President of Land O’Lakes Foundation and Community Relations. The Land O’Lakes Foundation is the charitable arm of Land O’Lakes and donates 2 percent of the cooperative’s pretax earnings to organizations focused on alleviating hunger, advances in education and community building. In her Community Relations role, Lydia helps grow Land O’Lakes reputation as a leading agribusiness cooperative through sponsorships, other corporate reputation initiatives, and new programming such as the Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders for Food Security fellowship. Lydia has an undergraduate degree in Food Service from Iowa State University and a Master’s degree in business communication from the University of St. Thomas. Lydia serves on the Board of the Northern Minnesota Region for the American Red Cross and Julia Child’s Kitchen Cabinet at the National Museum of American History.

Kate Brandt

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Kate Brandt leads sustainability across Google’s worldwide operations and products. In this role, Kate coordinates with Google’s data centers, real estate, supply chain, and product teams to ensures the company is capitalizing on opportunities to strategically advance sustainability and circular economy.

Previously Kate served as President Obama and the Nation's first Chief Sustainability Officer. In this capacity, she was responsible for promoting sustainability across Federal Government operations including 360,000 buildings, 650,000 vehicles, and $445 billion annually in purchased goods and services.

Prior to the White House, Kate held several senior roles in Federal Government including Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy, Director for Energy and Environment in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, and Energy Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy.

Kate received a Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar. She graduated with honors from Brown University.

James L. Buizer

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Jim Buizer is Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and Director of Climate Adaptation and International Development in the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona, where he also holds faculty positions in Arid Lands Resource Sciences, and the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Global Change. In addition to his service on the Planet Forward Board, he serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Council for Science and the Environment, as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Second Nature, Inc., on the Board on Global Strategies of the American Meteorological Society, and on the Task Force for the Global Framework for Climate Services of the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

From 2003-2011, Jim was Science Policy Advisor to Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael M. Crow, and Executive Director for Strategic Institutional Transformation in the Office of the President, where he led the conceptualization, design and initiation of a number of academic programs, including the Global Institute of Sustainability and its School of Sustainability, launched fall 2006. He also served as founding Director of the ASU Center for Integrated Solutions to Climate Challenges, and maintains his affiliation with ASU as a “Senior Sustainability Scientist.”

Prior to ASU he was Director of the Climate and Societal Interactions Office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where he was responsible for providing vision and leadership of NOAA’s integrated, multidisciplinary research and applications grants program positioned at the climate and societal interface. He led the establishment of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) program. Jim received his degrees in Oceanography, Marine Resource Economics and Science Policy from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. He is a native Spanish speaker.

Jim Finkelstein

100322032e-L_0.jpgJames H. Finkelstein is a Professor in the George Mason School of Public Policy. He has held a variety of administrative positions including serving as Vice Dean of the School of Public Policy, Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and the founding Associate Director for the university's Prince William Campus. Prior to joining Mason, he was Dean for Research, Development, Governmental Affairs and Planning at New York University's School of Education, Health, Nursing and Arts Professions. He has been a research administrator in the College of Education at The Ohio State University and as the special assistant to the Vice President for University Communications and Development. He started his career as an elementary school teacher in Cincinnati, Ohio.

His principal areas of interest and research have been in education ranging from the adoption/implementation of technology to qualitative research methodologies to higher education. His current research focuses on executive compensation in higher education, the role of university presidents serving on corporate boards.

He is an active member of a variety of professional associations including the American Educational Research Association. He has served as a consultant to numerous government agencies and private sector firms. He was the founding North American editor of the journal AI & Society published by Springer and is a member of its editorial board. He was a founding member of the board for both the Institute for Educational Transformation, Inc., the C.R. Williams Early Childhood Center and the Lugano Academy for the Electronic Arts. He served as an executive producer of the public affairs series, Sesno Reports, which aired on PBS affiliates nationwide.

He has served on the boards of directors for the International Eye Foundation and the International Psychotherapy Institute.

Francesco Fiondella

Francesco FiondellaFrancesco Fiondella manages IRI’s communications team and oversees the institute’s strategic communications and media relations.

He holds masters degrees from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as well as a bachelor of science from Brown University, where he studied environmental science.

Fiondella has worked as a science communicator for more than 15 years, using his writing and photography to convey how some of the world’s most vulnerable people struggle with the realities of climate, and what scientists are doing about it.

He is especially interested in ways to bring science into the public sphere through collaborations with artists, photographers and other cultural messengers. In 2016, he worked with painter Michelle Rogers to organize IRI’s first visiting artist. He has served as a judge and panelist on “Concorso Cambiamenti Climatici – The Grand Challenge” an international climate-art contest organized by the University of Venice.

Fiondella is also the co-creator of the 2014 Climate Models, a crowdfunded project that turned climate scientists into fashion models as a way to spark public engagement and interest in science. In 2014, he helped build a partnership among the International Center of Photography and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to bring climate scientists into ICP’s gallery space to lead public tours and give presentations about their work. He also spoke about the important role photographers play in communicating science.

Before joining Columbia, Fiondella worked as an information graphics editor and staff writer at The Wall Street Journal.

Betty Hudson

Betty Hudson

Betty Hudson is an award-winning communications industry leader with more than four decades of experience in every aspect of corporate and strategic communications, including consumer, employee, financial and cause related marketing, as well as brand and communications management. Having retired as Chief Communications Officer of the National Geographic Society at the end of 2015, Hudson now consults with business leaders, nonprofit organizations and for profit entities on an array of communications issues.

Hudson is a member of the AFLAC Board of Directors, serving as a member of the company’s Finance and Investment Committee, and chair of the Sustainability Committee. She is co-chair of the Washington Chapter of Women’s Corporate Directors, an international organization of more than 3,000 women serving on more than 5,000 corporate boards worldwide, and is a member of the WCD global advisory council. 

Active in community affairs, Hudson serves on the board of trustees of the Kakenya Center for Excellence (a school for Maasai girls in Kenya, She is a past president of the New York Women’s Agenda and the Montclair Board of Education in Montclair, New Jersey, a former chairman of the Inova Fairfax Children’s Hospital Quality Committee. She is also a former board member of the Inova Health Care Services board and the Associates Board of Directors of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Rob Kaplan

Rob KaplanRob Kaplan works to prove that creating business value and a passion for protecting the environment can peacefully co-exist. As Managing Director of the Closed Loop Fund, an innovative platform for impact investing, sustainability, and the circular economy, Kaplan oversees strategy and new business model development, as well as day-to-day operations. The Fund aims to scale recycling through zero interest loans to cities and investments in waste companies.

Prior to joining the Fund, Kaplan served as Director of Sustainability for Walmart Stores, Inc. where he was responsible for packaging, customer engagement, and integration with the Consumables business, including personal care and household cleaning. He led the creation of the Sustainability Leaders shop on Walmart.com to help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions online, built a unique collaborative initiative with competitors called the Beauty & Personal Care Innovation Accelerator, and co-founded The Closed Loop Fund. Kaplan previously led Walmart’s cross-functional efforts to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas from the supply chain.

Kaplan’s career has always been fueled by his passion for sustainability and social issues. Before joining Walmart, he helped lead corporate responsibility and brand strategy for Brown-Forman Corporation, which produces and markets spirit brands such as Jack Daniel’s. Kaplan developed marketing strategies to engage consumers, improve social and environmental performance, and advance business objectives.

Kaplan received his MBA from the Haas School where he studied marketing, corporate responsibility, and social entrepreneurship. Prior to graduate school, he was State Communications Director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California and a political consultant for M&R Strategic Services in Washington, D.C. Kaplan received his undergraduate degree in political communication from the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, where he learned perception is reality. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

Melissa Keeley

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Dr. Melissa Keeley is Assistant Professor, Geography and Public Policy and Public Administration, at the George Washington University. Her research on urban sustainability examines the intersection of urban ecology, engineering, and environmental policy and planning. Dr. Keeley’s active research interests are clustered around several themes, including urban sustainability policy, green infrastructure, green building certification, and transnational policy adaptation. Dr. Keeley’s research directly led to the addition of the Green Area Ratio in Washington, D.C.’s new zoning rewrite. She regularly consults to governmental agencies, such as the EPA and HUD, and advises decision-makers in cities, including Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Dr. Keeley has received numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship. She previously worked as a stream restoration ecologist in Philadelphia, and then at the Berlin Environmental Ministry and the Ecologic Institute of International and EU Environmental Policy. Dr. Keeley received her doctorate in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin and was a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

Rick Leach

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Rick Leach serves as president and CEO of World Food Program USA, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that shapes U.S. public policy and generates resources for the United Nations World Food Programme. 

WFP USA educates Members of Congress, the administration, and other government officials about international hunger issues and specific policies that could improve U.S. government efforts to address global hunger. 

Over the last 20 years, Leach has developed and directed campaigns for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Alliance for Representative Democracy and World Wildlife Fund that continue to improve millions of lives across the world. A lawyer by training, he served on the foreign policy staff for the U.S. House of Representatives' Select Committee on Hunger before going on to serve in the Clinton Administration, where he created and oversaw a Presidential campaign to increase the U.S. childhood immunization rate. 

Lance Pierce

Lance Pierce

Lance Pierce is President of CDP North America and has responsibility for strategy and delivery across the range of CDP programs in the United States and Canada. Based New York. Pierce joined CDP from Ceres where he was executive director and chief operating officer. Prior to this he was the director of the climate and energy program for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and a former consultant to global companies, UN agencies, and international development organizations.

 

David Rain

David Rain

David Rain is an urban and population geographer with interests in human settlements, mobility and development. He directs the Environmental Studies program at the George Washington University, where he also serves as an associate professor. David teaches and conducts research on urban geography, Geographic Information Systems, Africa, human resources to environmental change, diffusion of geospatial science and technology, challenges to governance, and health and environment in the development world. Some of his other interests include natural and human-designed environments, global health applications, geospatial analysis, food and agriculture, water, transportation, census mapping and statistics. He has worked with the United Nations and the humanitarian response community on estimating populations at risk from natural hazards and complex humanitarian crises. He is the author of a book with the UN Statistics Division on geospatial infrastructure and censuses.

Charles W. Richardson

Charles Richardson

Charles W. Richardson, Jr. currently serves as Dean of the School of Business and Associate Professor of Marketing, at Claflin University. He previously served as Sustainability Chair and Associate Professor in the Marketing Department at Clark Atlanta University, where his teaching duties included courses in Consumer Behavior, Marketing Strategy, Multicultural Marketing and Sustainability Marketing.

Dr. Richardson earned his doctorate in Marketing and International Business from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. His previous education includes a M.B.A. in Marketing (New York University, Stern School of Business), a M.S. in Operations Research & Statistics (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), a B.S. in Mathematics (Pratt Institute), and Masters Certificates in Finance (Wharton School of Business) and Project Management (Stevens Institute of Technology).

Dr. Richardson’s research interests include Consumer Social identity, Cross Cultural Consumer Purchasing Behavior, Green Business Models, Ecopreneurship and Marketing’s Role in Sustainability. His research has been presented at an extensive array of conferences, and published in numerous journals in the Marketing and International Business disciplines.

Prior to his service in academia, Dr. Richardson spent significant time working in the private sector, primarily with AT&T, accumulating extensive knowledge and experience in international strategy, global alliances and ventures, mergers and acquisitions and transition planning and change management.

He is a lifetime member of the National Black MBA Association, a past president of the Ph.D. Project’s Marketing Doctoral Students Association and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Omicron Delta Epsilon Honor Societies. He also holds certifications in Quality Assurance, Integrated Planning in Higher Education and Practice of MBTI Step I and Step II Instruments. He served as an ACE Fellow during the 2013-2014 academic year.

His community involvement includes serving on the board of directors of the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and the Greening Youth Foundation.

Amit Ronen

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Amit Ronen is the Director of the GW Solar Institute and a Professor at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University. In this capacity he focuses on the economic, technical, and public policy issues associated with the development and deployment of solar energy.

He graduated from Pomona College with a BA in Science, Technology, and Society in 1995. He later went on to earn a MA of Public Affairs, Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy in 1998.

Ronen has worked as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Department of Transportation and a Policy Analyst at the Department of Energy. He was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Senator Maria Cantwell for 10 years before joining the GW Solar Institute.

Christopher M. Schroeder

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Christopher M. Schroeder is a leading entrepreneur and investor in interactive technologies and social communications. He is Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of HealthCentral, the highest quality collection of condition and wellness-specific interactive experiences focused on people finding and sharing real-life experiences related to their health needs. Backed by Polaris Ventures, Sequoia Capital, TheCarlyle Group, Allen & Co., and IAC/Interactive Corp (IAC), HealthCentral also manages the leading condition-specific health online advertising network.

Schroeder is an investor and adviser for a series of technology start-ups and funds ranging from news and media, education, social networks and marketing. He is also engaged in exploring more global trends towards entrepreneurship, with a special focus on the developing world and the Middle East. He actively supports the Center for New America Security (CNAS), Business Executives for National Security (BENS) and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations, French American Foundation and American Council on Germany. He is a co-founder of activities through the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) connections between the US and Middle East CEOs.

A veteran of online media, Schroeder has also served as CEO and Publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive and LEGI-SLATE, INC. He was also a partner with Thayer Capital Partners and with the investment bank Salomon Brothers in New York, and served in leading management roles in President George Bush’s 1988 and 1992 election campaigns and on the staff of Secretary of State James A. Baker with then Under Secretary Robert Zoellick.

Jagadish Shukla

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J. Shukla is a University Professor and founding Chairman of the Climate Dynamics Ph.D. program and the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences at George Mason University (GMU). He is President of the Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES). Dr. Shukla has made contributions to the science of meteorology and to the globalsociety through fundamental scientific advances, institution building, and international cooperation in meteorology for the betterment of humankind worldwide. He has made significant contributions to the understanding of the predictability of weather and climate including the Asian monsoon dynamics, deforestation and climate change. His research has established that there is predictability in the midst of chaos and that there is a scientific basis for short-term climate prediction.

In 2008, he was appointed by the Governor of Virginia as a member of the Commission on Climate Change. He was one of the Lead Authors of the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Gore. In 2007, he received the International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize, considered to be the highest prize in the world of meterology. In 2005, he received the Rossby Medal; in 2001, he received the Walker Gold Medal; in 1982 he received the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal of NASA.

He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorology Society, India Meteorology Society and an Associate Fellow of TWAS (the academy of sciences for the developing world). He is the Author/co-author of 200 scientific papers and the Editor/contributor of four books. He has been the Ph. D. thesis adviser for about 20 students at M.I.T., Univ. of Maryland, and GMU. He was instrumental in establishing research centers in India and Italy. He has served as the Chair/member of about 50 national/international panels and committees. In 2008 he was the Chairman of the World Modelling Summit for Climate Prediction.

He founded Gandhi College for education of rural women in the village of his birth in India.

Michael Silberman

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Michael Silberman is the Global Director of the Digital Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace. The "MobLab" exists to transform how campaigns are fought and won, pioneering a powerful new era of people-powered strategies that amplify campaign impact and create positive change. Silberman and his team work with Greenpeace and its allies in 42 countries to envision, test, and roll out creative new means of communicating, organizing, and fundraising online.
 
Silberman serves on the board of Web of Change, a conference he chaired for four years that convenes today's leading thinkers and campaigners at the intersection of technology and social change, and he was most recently a founding Partner at EchoDitto, a digital consultancy empowering NGOs to have a greater impact through the creative use of new technologies. He cut his teeth on digital organizing and campaigning as the National Meetup Director for Howard Dean’s presidential run in 2004, where he led a team that regularly mobilized more than 189,000 local volunteers in over 1,200 cities worldwide.

Scott Spielberger

scott_photo_2010.jpgScott Spielberger is a Specialist Sales Executive at Microsoft. Scott has a background in digital sales, business development, and marketing for start-ups or top tier global organizations. Scott has knowledgeable in developing and monetizing new online applications with deep expertise in social media, digital advertising, consumer and direct marketing, customer acquisition and branding campaigns.

Currently, Scott is a specialist sales executive of the the targeting and exchange Team at Microsoft, although he previously worked as a Senior Manager for Global Alliances at Yahoo and as a Group Director for Strategic Alliances at Organic Inc.

Amanda Staudt is a Senior Scientist in the Climate and Energy Program at National Wildlife Federation, where she provides scientific expertise for NWF’s research, policy, and outreach activities on climate change. A major aspect of her work is to effectively communicate to the general public and key decision makers the latest climate science and impacts. She authors highly accessible reports, engages in media outreach, and makes presentations to diverse audiences. Much of this work has focused on connecting the dots between extreme weather, climate change, impacts on communities and habitats, and available policy and management solutions. Dr. Staudt also co-developed the NWF Eco-Schools USA Climate Change Connections curriculum for students in grades 7-12. These lessons integrate NASA data and resources into a program that helps students learn about science and about improving the sustainability of their schools. An additional focus of Dr. Staudt’s work at NWF is to help develop the intellection and practical foundation for climate change adaptation in the context of fish, wildlife and habitat conservation. Prior to joining NWF, Dr. Staudt was a Senior Program Officer for The National Academies Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. In this capacity, she directed the Climate Research Committee as well as several ad-hoc studies on topics ranging from future research directions in the climate and atmospheric sciences to how weather impacts road transportation. She also authored a 28-page booklet, Understanding and Responding to Climate Change: Highlights of National Academies Reports, a user-friendly summary of climate science, now in its third edition. She holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences and an A.B. in environmental engineering and sciences from Harvard University.

Lydia Thomas

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As former President and Chief Executive Officer of Noblis, Dr. Thomas was responsible for the general management and direction of the company’s overall technical, financial, and administrative activities. Noblis is a nonprofit science, technology and strategy organization working at all levels of government, in private industry and with other nonprofits in areas that are essential to our nation’s well being: national and homeland security, public safety, transportation, health care, criminal justice, energy and the environment, and oceans, atmosphere and space. Dr. Thomas is now a member of the Board of Trustees of Noblis.

Dr Thomas is a member of the following professional organizations: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Associate Fellow); American Society of Toxicology; National Defense Industrial Association; the Teratology Society; and the International Women’s Forum.

Dr. Thomas holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Cytology from Howard University, 1973; a Master of Science in Microbiology from American University, 1971; and a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Howard University, 1965.

Beth Viola

Beth Viola

Beth A. Viola is senior policy advisor with Holland & Knight and co-chairs the firm’s Energy & Clean Technology Team. The primary focus of her practice is working with clean energy technology companies to create sound public policy drivers for their businesses. She works with business leaders and non-profits to advance effective climate change strategies that result in economic and environmental benefits.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Viola served as a senior advisor to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She served as the primary White House liaison on issues of climate change, natural resources and smart growth to elected officials, industry, environmental, religious and labor leaders as well as the media.

Brittany Watts

Brittany Watts

Brittany Watts has a background in Climate Science and Communications. She received her Master's degree from Columbia University in 2015. During her time at Columbia, she was involved in Planet Forward as a student. Her involvement with Planet Forward has evolved over the years as she has written articles for the website, has presented on multiple occasions at the Planet Forward Summit, and now serves as a board member. 

Currently, she is a field consultant with the solar energy company, Solar City. She has also worked on various climate and sustainability related projects with the World Bank, the World Resources Institute, the Center for International Environmental Law, and the New York Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resilience. 

Carol Werner

1d253c8985dc2b2dcb561f4f993479161353955351_l.jpegCarol Werner serves as Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute in Washington, DC - a non-profit education and policy organization. EESI is dedicated to sustainable development, believing that a sound environment and a sound economy go hand in hand. Ms. Werner came to EESI in late 1987 as director of EESI's Energy & Climate Change Program through January 1998 when she was named Executive Director. Ms. Werner has more than 30 years of public policy experience on energy and environmental issues. She has organized dozens of Congressional briefings on science, technology and policy issues and has been a frequent speaker at many conferences and workshops on energy and environmental issues in EESI’s program areas.

Carol serves on the steering committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition, the Environmental Advisory Committee of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and the Policy Committee of the American Solar Energy Society. She also serves on the board of the National Center for Appropriate Technology, the editorial board of BioCycle magazine, the Advisory Board of Planet Forward, and is an Advisory Member of the President’s Climate Action Project (PCAP). She was a member of the Department of Energy's (DOE) State Energy Advisory Board for six years, served on the World Council of Churches Task Force on Climate Change, and was a stakeholder in the DOE/USDA Bioenergy Initiative. Carol also was a member of DOE's Federal Advisory Committee on the Commercialization of Renewable Energy Technologies and was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Network.

Before joining EESI, Ms. Werner served as the legislative director of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, the legislative representative for the National Consumer Law Center, and as a legislative assistant to Rep. Neal Smith (D – IA).

Quentin Wheeler

Quentin WheelerDr. Quentin Wheeler is President of ESF, the College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Before joining ESF in 2014, he was Vice President and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, keeper and head of entomology in London’s prestigious Natural History Museum, director of the Division of Environmental Biology of the National Science Foundation, and professor of entomology in Cornell University. His scientific career has focused on the theory and practice of taxonomy, the role of taxonomy and natural history museums in the exploration and conservation of biodiversity, and the fusion of digital technologies with these goals as cybertaxonomy.

He is author or editor of seven books, including "Letters to Linnaeus," "What on Earth?" and the forthcoming "The Future of Phylogenetic Systematics" (Cambridge University Press). He has named more than 100 species new to science, written more than 150 scientific papers, and authored a column reporting on new species for London’s The Guardian newspaper. He is founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration that each year announces a list of the Top Ten New Species.