Welcome to iSpark Disruptors Climate and the Investor which will highlight disruptive innovation and opportunities in climate investing. Enjoy our world class speakers and the usual great Spark music, culture and networking opportunities. A special thanks goes out to our partners for their support of the program!
(New York / EDT)
!Spark Founder Jim Wiandt welcome remarks.
(New York / EDT)
Lightning Intros – Round 1
Lightning Intros are 5-minute teasers to Round 1 topics. Afterwards, choose your own adventure by following your favorite speaker(s) into a 30-minute moderated breakout for a deeper discussion. Feel free to attend more than one.
(New York / EDT)
David Ryan Harris
Spark Radio Musical Interlude: David Ryan Harris
(New York / EDT)
At the end of our Lightning Intros, you get to go deeper with our speaker(s). Select your preferred topic and feel free to attend more than one.
(New York / EDT)
Networking Rooms and Topical Sponsor Breakouts
(New York / EDT)
Dan is Chairman of SparkChange. He is the former founder and global head of BP’s environmental markets division, a $175m a year business with 22 staff members across 4 continents. He is a leading expert in the clean energy sector with 15+ years leadership experience, and provides access to the specialist knowledge and global network required to access regional carbon markets successfully. Dan received a Bachelors degree and two Masters degrees from the University of Cambridge in Natural Sciences (2003), Biological Science (2004) and Management (2005) from the university’s Judge Business School. He is a former board member of the International Emissions Trading Association.
Chairman of the Board & President
As Governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen helped establish the state’s largest conservation effort since the dedication of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, saving 127,000 acres in the Cumberland Plateau. As mayor of Nashville, Bredesen founded the Land Trust for Tennessee, which has protected more than 126,000 acres to date. As a businessman, Bredesen founded Silicon Ranch, one of the largest Independent Power Producers in the country. A big believer that there are lots of ways of getting things done, Bredesen recently also launched Clearloop to do just that—leveraging the private sector to accelerate the greening of the U.S. grid, starting with the communities getting left behind.
Tim Buckley has 25 years of financial markets experience, specializing in equity valuation, including as a top-rated analyst and as co-founder and managing director of Arkx Investment Management.
Pearl Charles has been playing music since she was 5 years old. At 18, she formed country duo The Driftwood Singers with Christian Lee Hutson, singing and playing guitar and autoharp. At 22, she joined garage rock band The Blank Tapes as drummer. After two fun-filled years immersed in the rock and roll lifestyle, she decided it was time to pursue her own songwriting, and began developing the songs that formed 2015′s eponymous debut EP. Drawn to poppy hooks and catchy choruses, Charles draws on what she loves about the 60s, 70s and 80s while developing her unique style as a solo artist. In 2018, Pearl released debut album, Sleepless Dreamer, which Rough Trade described as “The best country-pop we’ve heard in years” and Buzzfeed called her “A modern June Carter meets Lana Del Rey.” With the recent release of the follow up, Magic Mirror, she leans into furthering her own brand of country-disco.
Vanessa Fajans-Turner is the Executive Director of BankFWD and a Principal with Investable Oceans. She has previously worked as the Managing Director for SDG Financing for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Associate Director of the Avatar Alliance Foundation, and as a producer for Seasons 1 and 2 of National Geographic’s Emmy Award-winning documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously. She is currently a VC fellow with Alumni Venture Group and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has an MA in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins-SAIS and a BA from Harvard.
Honeytree Investment Management
Paula co-founded Honeytree Investment Management with Liz Simmie in 2018. Paula is involved in all aspects of the business including portfolio management, investment research, client service, and administration. She brings over 20 years of experience in the investment industry and a wealth of knowledge in ESG and impact investing.
Prior to founding Honeytree, Paula was Vice President, Business Development at MSCI Canada where she was responsible for ESG analytics, index, and research sales. Her extensive experience in ESG data began in 2004 at Sustainalytics as Director, Institutional Relations, developing the Canadian Institutional ESG market and overseeing the institutional relations team.
Paula has been a regular speaker at conferences as well as to board and investment committees on the subject of ESG and responsible investment. Prior to joining Sustainalytics, Paula held various institutional and retail investment management roles.
She is a Board member of Syrinx Concerts Toronto, and manages her late father’s musical legacy. Paula has been playing and performing violin with various groups for 25 years and is an avid chess player. She coaches soccer at SC Toronto, and is a Mentor at the University of Toronto. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.
Jon Hale, Ph.D., CFA, is director of ESG Strategy for Morningstar, Inc., focusing on the company’s ESG initiatives and thought leadership. Previously, Hale was head of sustainability research for Morningstar Research Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc., where he directed the company’s research initiatives on sustainable investing, beginning with the launch of the Morningstar Sustainability Rating™ for funds in 2016. Hale first joined Morningstar in 1995 as a mutual fund analyst, and has held several roles throughout the company. He rejoined Morningstar in 2001, after working for Domini Social Investments, LLC for two years.
LA DJ, Tastemaker, !Spark FIrestarter
He manages Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and producer Kita Klane.
Gabriela Herculano is the CEO and co-founder of Clima Investments, a London-based green fintech that aims to redefine climate change investments, by shedding the light on the companies that can enable carbon avoidance. Gabriela brings to Clima over 20 years of experience in investment management, having worked at GE Capital underwriting equity investments predominantly in the renewable energy space in Europe. She holds an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School.
Sylvia Jablonski, Chief Investment Officer of Defiance ETFs. Sylvia manages Defiance’s retail and institutional investment research, capital markets and thematic ETF model portfolios. Mrs. Jablonski is a recognized pioneer in the ETF industry. Acknowledged as a top expert in the ETF space, Sylvia is frequently featured on CNBC, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. Prior to joining Defiance, Sylvia was Managing Director at Direxion, advancing ETF education and strategy throughout the global financial industry, including the United States, Asia and Mexico. Sylvia is a graduate of Boston College from where she received a B.S. She also holds an MBA from Fordham University. Sylvia is FINRA Series 7,3,55, 63 and 24 licensed. She also holds Hong Kong LE Papers 1 and 2.
The Wall Street Journal
As the Editor, Frontier Markets at the Wall Street Journal, Dan Keeler coordinates the Journal’s coverage of the world’s frontier markets. Launched in early 2014, WSJ’s frontier market coverage brings together a broad range of news and analysis, providing readers with a deeper understanding of some of the world’s most dynamic and fast-growing economies. Prior to joining the Journal Dan was the Editor and subsequently Editor-at-Large of Global Finance magazine, where he steered the magazine’s coverage toward corporate responsibility and emerging markets. He is also founder of New York’s FM Network, a group that hosts gatherings of finance professionals focused on smaller emerging market.
Climate Bonds Initiative
Sean Kidney is CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative, an international NGO, working to mobilize global capital for climate action. Projects include a green bond definitions and certification scheme with $34 trillion of assets represented on its Board; working with the Chinese central bank on how to grow green bonds in China; market development programs in Brazil, Mexico, ASEAN and Africa; and market tracking services for the green bonds industry. He is a member of the European Commission’s Platform on Sustainable Finance, and was a member of its predecessors, the 2017 EU High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance and the EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. He is also a member of green finance committees in China, India, Mexico and Kazakhstan. Sean is also a Professor in Practice at SOAS University of London.
Earth Equity Advisors
Pete Krull is CEO and Director of Investments at Earth Equity Advisors in Asheville, NC. He is an expert on sustainable, responsible and impact investing.
He was selected to the 2018 Investopedia 100 list and has earned the Chartered SRI Counselor® designation. He has been quoted in Bloomberg, Money Magazine, Forbes, Investor’s Business Daily, Investor’s Business Daily, and Investment News.
The firm, founded in 2004, is a four-time Best for the World B Corporation, and was selected for the 2021 Real Leaders 150 list.
He lives in a solar house in Asheville, NC and drives a Chevy Bolt EV.
Shaila Leekha is the COO and co-founder of iClima Earth, a London-based green fintech that aims to redefine climate change investments, by focussing on the companies that enable carbon avoidance. Shaila brings more than 20 years of professional experience across the private, public and multilateral sectors, including her most recent role at Fitch’s ESG division. She spent most of her career in project finance, financing infrastructure and energy projects globally, including at GE Capital in London and IFC in Washington, DC. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves on two international charitable Boards at CGD Europe and Nutrition International.
The New Climate War
Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).
Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth’s climate system.
Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA’s outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. He made Bloomberg News’ list of fifty most influential people in 2013. In 2014, he was named Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and received the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education. He received the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication from Climate One in 2017, the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018 and the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union in 2018. In 2019 he received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and in 2020 he received the World Sustainability Award of the MDPI Sustainability Foundation. He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2020. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is also a co-founder of the award-winning science website RealClimate.org.
Dr. Mann is author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, numerous op-eds and commentaries, and five books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy , The Tantrum that Saved the World and The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet.
Bill McKibben is founder and senior adviser emeritus of 350.org. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He’s gone on to write many more books, and his work appears regularly in periodicals from the New Yorker to Rolling Stone. He serves as the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he has won the Gandhi Peace Prize as well as honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities. He was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the alternative Nobel, in the Swedish Parliament. Foreign Policy named him to its inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers.McKibben helped found 350.org, the first global grassroots climate campaign, and has organized on every continent, including Antarctica, for climate action. He played a leading role in launching the opposition to big oil pipeline projects, and the fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has become the biggest anti-corporate campaign in history, with endowments worth more than $15 trillion stepping back from oil, gas and coal. He stepped down as board chair of 350 in 2015, and left the board and stepped down from his volunteer role as senior adviser in 2020, accepting emeritus status. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, where he spends as much time as possible outdoors. In 2014, biologists credited his career by naming a new species of woodland gnat—Megophthalmidia mckibbeni–in his honor.
Blue Horizon Capital
John Mitchell is a Partner on Blue Horizon Capital’s Investment Committee and Head of Thematic Strategy. He has 25+ years of industry executive management experience and is a former President of Lithium & Advanced Materials for Albemarle Corporation. He has sector experience in energy materials, utility infrastructure, and industrial gases and has a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Drexel University.
Prior to becoming chief investment officer and director of research at ETF Trends, Dave Nadig was managing director of ETF.com.
Climate & Capital Media
Blair Palese is Climate Editor for Climate and Capital Media. In 2009, she cofounded 350.org Australia and was its CEO for 10 years. Previously, she was a communications director for Greenpeace International and Greenpeace USA, head of international public relations for the Body Shop, editor-in-chief of Greenpages magazine, and worked at Washington Monthly and ABC.
Sylvia Panek has worked in socially responsible investing for fifteen years, starting at Green America and continuing at US SF – The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. After more than a decade advancing and educating financial professionals on sustainable and responsible investment practices, she joined the financial advisory firm Natural Investments, LLC.
Sylvia serves on the board of 350 Chicago, a climate change advocacy group demanding divestment from fossil fuel companies by institutions and individuals. She also participates on the board for Envest Microfinance, a domestic fund extending microfinance credit in developing countries overseas.
Sylvia attended Illinois State University, graduating with honors to achieve a dual bachelor’s degree in International Business and Marketing in 2004. She completed a Sustainability MBA at Marylhurst University in 2014.
Ritholtz Wealth Management
Bary Ritholtz is the Chairman & Chief Investment Officer of Ritholtz Management and the creator of the popular financial blog The Big Picture. He is also host and creator of Bloomberg’s “Masters in Business” podcast. Ritholtz was named one of the “15 Most Important Economic Journalists” by the Daily Beast, as well as one of the :25 Most Dangerous People in Financial Media” by the Huffington Post.
David Ryan Harris
You’ve either got soul or you don’t. David Ryan Harris most definitely does. The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist has built an impressive catalog of soulful stories that instantly captivate. “Soulfulness comes from telling stories in the most honest and direct way that you can,” he says. “People relate to what you’re saying when you sing from the heart.” That’s exactly what Harris has done throughout his near three-decade career. Whether it be in early bands such as Follow For Now, Brand New Immortals or over the course of six full-length solo albums, he tells stories that resonate. He’s carried this same spirit while producing, writing and/or performing with the likes of John Mayer, Dave Matthews, India.Arie, Cassandra Wilson and Guy Sebastian—with whom he co-wrote the RIAA platinum-certified “Battle Scars.”
Honeytree Investment Management
Liz is a Portfolio Manager and Chief Compliance Officer of Honeytree Investment Management and is a strong proponent of quantamental investment strategies. She is involved in all aspects of the business including client service and administration.
Prior to founding Honeytree, Liz worked at Bristol Gate Capital Partners in a client-facing portfolio management role and oversaw the launch of the firm’s first ETFs in 2018. Before returning to Bristol Gate, Liz worked at RBC Wealth Management as an Investment Advisor. Liz originally joined Bristol Gate in 2011 as an analyst, working on portfolio analytics, research and institutional client relationships. Prior to joining the investment industry, she worked for Ipsos in a quantitative research role where she built custom research models for Fortune 500 company’s advertising and concept testing.
Liz is an avid sport enthusiast, an NCCP Level III Coach, and committed sports governance and leadership volunteer. She is a former board member of the Red Door Family Shelter, the Junior League of Toronto, and the Canadian University Synchro League. Liz lives in Toronto with her husband and three children.
Matthew Tilleard is co-founder and co-Managing Partner of The CrossBoundary Group, an innovative investment firm that unlocks private capital for sustainable development. It employs over 80 investment professionals across offices in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lagos, Dakar, Bamako, Washington DC, Dubai, London and New York City. CrossBoundary Advisory provides investment and economic advisory services across a range of developing countries and has also developed innovative mechanisms to attract investment in fragile states affected by conflict. CrossBoundary Energy is the first dedicated investment fund for commercial and industrial solar in Africa. It is now one of the largest distributed solar utilities in Africa with over 50MW of projects under construction or operation across Africa. CrossBoundary Energy Access is a blended finance facility backed by the Rockefeller Foundation and private investors to unlock project finance for distributed solar-storage mini-grids for the rural electrification of over 170,000 people.
Michael J. Venuto is an ETF industry veteran with over two decades of experience in the design and implementation of ETF-based investment strategies. He is Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Toroso Investments, LLC. Previously, he was Head of Investments at Global X Funds where he provided portfolio optimization services. Before that, he was at Horizon Kinetics where his responsibilities included new business development, portfolio management, private equity, and strategic initiatives.
Twitter handle: @Michael_Venuto
Jim Wiandt is a pioneer in the world of Exchange Traded Funds, a published author and entrepreneur. Wiandt is the founder of ETF.com and from 2002-2015 also published the Journal of Indexes, ETF Report and IndexUniverse.com. Alongside of this, he created the successful series of ‘Inside ETF’s’ conferences, which are the largest ETF-focused events in the world.
State Street Global Advisors
Brie Williams is a Vice President of State Street Global Advisors and Head of Practice Management for the Global SPDR Business. She manages an innovative team utilizing behavioral finance insights to enhance strategic thinking, create growth programming and produce practical results for wealth management firms and financial advisors. Her award-winning team of practice management strategists is responsible for thought leadership, coaching and consulting techniques. The team develops educational tools and resources to help practitioners achieve their business goals while delivering a client-centric experience. Brie is a highly regarded speaker at industry conferences and is the author of several articles related to wealth management practices.
Prior to joining State Street Global Advisors, Brie was a Senior Vice President at Putnam Investments where she was responsible for brand strategy and U.S. retail intermediary mutual fund product marketing. She was a member of the senior global marketing team and served as a strategic partner to global distribution divisions, including investment product and portfolio management teams.
Brie’s professional background includes a career in global marketing communications and consumer research, where she managed accounts in the retail, packaged goods and health care industries for valued brands that we all know and love, including Frito-Lay, McDonald’s, and Target. Her work on Vonage earned her a Bronze Effie for marketing effectiveness.
Brie holds a BA from Southern Methodist University and an MA from Emerson College. She has also earned the FINRA series 7 and 63 licenses. Brie is also a member of the Professional Women’s Network at State Street and represents Women in ETFs on their Speaker’s Bureau.
Raye Zaragoza is a galvanizing presence, a self-assured artist making music to fight for, represent, and celebrate those left too long outside the spotlight. Known for tenacious feminist anthems and fearless protest folk, her stage presence teems with determined morale. As a Japanese-American, Mexican, Indigenous woman, Zaragoza spent much of her early life trying to assimilate with the world around her, to meet punishing standards of beauty synonymous with just one color of skin—and not her own. This rightful confidence radiates across Woman in Color, Zaragoza’s sophomore album out now on Rebel River Records, her own independent label. The album delivers powerful missives about embracing one’s own identity and discovering the power behind it, all across brisk, emotive, compelling folk melodies. Once deemed “one of the most politically relevant artists in her genre” by Paste Magazine, Raye Zaragoza now offers an intimate exploration of coming into her own, in a country where for many, simply existing is political.
Linda H Zhang, Ph.D, is founder of Purview Investments in New York, specializing in climate resilience and impact investing through exchange-traded funds. Linda is the PM for low-carbon ESG ETF, ticker ECOZ. Previously, Linda was a portfolio manager at Blackrock, MFS, and Charles Schwab. She’s a contributor to Bloomberg, a conference speaker, and a research publisher. She is a senior advisor to Fintech firm SoFi and a co-founder of Women in ETFs.
Cathy Zoi joined EVgo as CEO in 2017 and has led the company’s growth and its establishment as the preeminent public fast charging network in the US. Zoi came to EVgo as a distinguished executive with decades of experience in the clean energy, investing, and policy communities.
She has held numerous CEO and senior executive positions in the energy industry, government, academia and non-profit sectors. She was President and co-founder of Odyssey Energy, a distributed generation software company she continues to chair. She was founding CEO of Frontier Power, a rural electrification company incubated by SunEdison. Zoi was an energy investor at Silver Lake and Bayard Capital, a board member for Ice Energy, SES, and Pacific Solar, and a management consultant at ICF and Next Energy. She served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary and Acting Under Secretary at the Department of Energy, where she oversaw more than $30 billion in energy investments. Zoi was also the founding CEO of both the Alliance for Climate Protection, established and chaired by U.S. Vice President Al Gore; and the Sustainable Energy Development Authority, a $50m fund to commercialize clean energy technologies in Australia. In the early 1990s, Zoi was Chief of Staff for Environmental Policy in the Clinton White House and she pioneered the Energy Star program while at the U.S. EPA. Zoi was also an adjunct professor and Precourt Energy Scholar at Stanford University, where she taught and did research between 2012 and 2017. Zoi has a B.S. in Geology from Duke University and an M.S. in Engineering from Dartmouth.