SXSW ECO Mentor Sessions



Blake Burris

Wednesday October 9th 10:45am – 11:45am

Blake is Chief Hacktivist for the global Cleanweb movement and hackathon series, which he and Sunil Paul launched in 2011 and has since mushroomed into communities and events in a dozen cities throughout North America and Europe. Since 2005, Blake has organized grassroots technology events like Barcamp, he was a founding organizer of iPhoneDevCamp, has produced several Facebook Developer Garages and is the first recipient of Facebook’s fbFund in 2008. Blake has been fascinated by alternative energy since reading about Amory Lovins’ passive solar home in Popular Science and building his first solar hot dog cooker in the 4th grade.


Kirk Coburn

Wednesday October 9th 10:45am – 11:45am

Kirk is an entrepreneur and start-up advocate who has founded three successful companies. Before relocating back to Houston to lead SURGE, Kirk created and was CEO of Chief Outsiders (acq. 2010), and he launched The PGA TOUR Network on SiriusXM (acq. by SIRI) and founded Pure Golf, a leading new media provider of sports and outdoor programming. Kirk received his MBA and BBA in finance and accounting from the University of Texas at Austin.


Jay Coen Gilbert

Monday October 7th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Prior to B Lab, despite having no game, Jay co-founded and sold AND 1, a $250M
basketball footwear and apparel company based outside Philadelphia. Jay led AND
1’s product and marketing and was AND 1’s CEO during its period of most rapid growth and decline.

Jay is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, President of the Board of the
Philadelphia chapter of KIPP Philadelphia Schools, a growing cluster of high performing public charter schools, and a former Board member of Investors’ Circle and Social Venture Network, leading national networks of social entrepreneurs and early stage social investors.
Jay grew up in New York City before heading west to Stanford University,
graduating with a degree in East Asian Studies in 1989. Prior to AND 1, Jay worked
for McKinsey & Co and several organizations in NYC’s public and non-profit

Between AND 1 and B Lab, Jay enjoyed a sabbatical Down Under and in Monteverde, Costa Rica with his yogini wife Randi and their two children, Dex, 14, and Ria 12. They live in Berwyn, PA.


Jed Davis

Tuesday October 8th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Jed Davis is Director of Sustainability for Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Vermont’s historic dairy farmer cooperative that dates back to 1919. Jed has a lifetime involvement with agriculture and cooperatives and over two decades of service in the cheese world. Born and raised on a six-generation family farm in Central Massachusetts, Jed received his Bachelor of Arts and Masters degrees from Dartmouth College. He moved to Vermont in 1991 to begin working at Cabot and has since held a variety of marketing, sales and operations positions. In 2008, Jed was named Cabot’s first Director of Sustainability and his efforts now center on helping Cabot achieve its own understanding of “Sustainability” – “living within our means and ensuring the means to live” – from cow-to-creamery-to-customer.


David Dietz

Wednesday October 9th 10:45am – 11:45am

David is the founder of - an online retailer for stylish sustainable fashion. He is also currently a contributing writer for the Huffington Post Impact section where he writes about his experiences as an entrepreneur and creating social impact through business.

Prior to Modavanti, David covered the unrest and revolutions in the Middle East for and his own personal blog David reported on uprisings and political movements from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain and contributed to reports for Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and the Huffington Post.

Besides his interests in the Arab world, entrepreneurship and sustainable fashion, David loves sports and enjoys playing golf, tennis and skiing.


Michelle Erickson

Tuesday October 8th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Michelle Erickson is Principal of Erickson Strategies, a boutique consultancy delivering leading-edge solutions in program design, training, and communications. A founding member of Climate Interactive and the architect of Citi’s award-winning Sustainable IT program, Erickson specializes in sustainability at the intersection of social media, technology and innovation.


Gil Friend

Tuesday October 8th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Gil Friend is president & CEO of Natural Logic, Inc., helping companies design, implement and measure profitable sustainability strategies. Recent clients have included such companies as Arizona Public Service, Coca Cola, eBay, Hewlett Packard, Levi Straus & Co, Steelcase, SunPower, US General Services Administration and many others. He serves on the boards of Open Data Registry, Inc., and Ecological Building Network, and the advisory boards of CleanFish, Green World Campaign, Green Chamber of Commerce and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and was twice named one of the Bay Areas movers and shakers in cleantech. Friend has served as Adjunct Faculty at Presidio Graduate School, and visiting faculty at California College of the Arts. He holds an M.S. degree in systems ecology from Antioch University, and is a seasoned practitioner of “The Natural Step” environmental management system.


Chris Garvin

Monday October 7th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Chris Garvin is an accomplished practitioner and active voice in the sustainable design community. Since moving to New York in 1998, he has specialized in environmental architecture and materials research, while serving on numerous advisory boards and in organizations that advocate for sustainability in design. An integral contributor to Terrapin’s development, Chris was named a Partner in 2008. He serves as a project lead for many of Terrapin’s consulting engagements while also actively involved at COOKFOX Architects, where he is a Senior Associate. His interests include high-performance design at both the building and community scale, zero energy communities, biomimicry, biophilia, and data analytics.


Daniel Goldfarb

Tuesday October 8th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Daniel is an expert in cleanweb, energy markets and cleantech startup trends. As a partner and the lead on finding new investments at Greenstart, Daniel reviews hundreds of companies every year. His work keeps him at the center of the quickly evolving landscape of technologies, business models, and markets of digital cleantech. Prior to Greenstart, Daniel was Program Director at Americans for Energy Leadership, a clean energy think tank and advocacy group in Washington D.C. that pushed for greater federal investment in cleantech R&D. Daniel serves as an expert applicant reviewer on the Department of Energy’s Sunshot Incubator Program, and his writing has been published in the New York Times and the National Journal, among other outlets. Daniel holds a BA in Political Science and English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis.


Peter Haslam

Tuesday October 8th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Peter Haslam has been a consultant to the NIA for several years, and is now their Public Policy Adviser. He has over 25 years experience in the energy sector and an extensive knowledge of Whitehall and the wider parliamentary process. Prior to becoming a consultant in 2005 he was British Energy's Director of Government Affairs for 9 years. During his career at BE, Peter developed and implemented the company's public affairs strategy at the Scottish, Westminster and European levels. Prior to this, his roles included Public Affairs Manager at Nuclear Electric plc and Head of the Parliamentary Section at the Central Electricity Generating Board. Before joining the electricity industry in 1986 Peter was a career civil servant in the Department of Energy, including spells as private secretary to two Government Ministers.


Paige Hill

Monday October 7th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

On a practical level Paige Hill's cultural studies background, community advocacy experience and urban planning focus paired with her love for food and respect for her body quickly pointed her to a deficiency in our western urban culture. Where 80+% of our population currently “lives”, less than 1% of our food is produced. The economic, social and environmental ramifications of this are beyond the scope of this short explanation of “who she is”, but the copious amounts of related information instruct and inspire everything about how Paige makes decisions and her intense dedication to bring not only food production back to our cities, but to bring a food culture back to our communities.


Rob Hopkins

Wednesday October 9th 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Rob is regarded as the originator of the Transtion process and the co-founder of the Transition Network. He is author of ‘The Transition Handbook: from oil dependence to local resilience’, which has been published in a number of languages, and which was voted the 5th most popular book taken on holiday by MPs during the summer of 2008, and more recently of ‘The Transition Companion: making your community more resilient in uncertain times’, published in October 2011. He publishes the blog, recently voted ‘the 4th best green blog in the UK’. He was the winner of the 2008 Schumacher Award.


Daniel Katz

Monday October 7th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Daniel Katz is the Board Chair and former executive director (1986-2000) of the The Rainforest Alliance. Mr. Katz is the Environment Program Director at The Overbrook Foundation, where he directs the Foundation’s environmental giving in the areas of international biodiversity conversation and sustainable consumption and production. Within the Foundation, he is working on the development a new initiative – the Council for 16000 – designed to increase communication and sense of community within the environmental movement.


Nicolas Keutgen

Tuesday October 8th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Nicolas Keutgen is Americas director of Schréder, a 4th generation family-owned outdoor lighting company present in 40 countries around the world.

Throughout his career Nicolas has been living in 10 countries around the world assimilating languages and local customs.

Born in the Belgian countryside, his passion for nature was initiated early in his childhood. This passion towards nature led him to participate in in several nature preservation associations during his youth. And it is the long-term vision and sustainability aspects of family businesses as well as the concrete involvement in reduction of energy waste, which drew him to join Schréder after spending almost a decade working for a French multinational.

Strongly inspired by his family values, Nicolas tries to put a particular emphasis on the service to the less privileged. A latest example of this service being a tiles project in the Sao Paulo metro involving teaching human rights to children from the city's slums. He is a strong believer in social entrepreneurship uniting business, sustainability and social justice.

His other passions, Art and Entrepreneurship, drew him to participate to the establishment of Arts Incubators in Budapest and Sao Paulo, as well as the Centre for Contemporary Architecture (CAC/2) in Santiago de Chile.

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Chris Kocek

Wednesday October 9th 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Chris Kocek is the Founder & CEO of Gallant, a strategy and design studio dedicated to helping purpose-based brand build a better world. Prior to starting Gallant, Chris worked as a strategic planner at advertising agencies in NYC and Austin, developing nationally recognized campaigns for a number of Fortune 500 brands and highly respected nonprofits, including AARP, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Hyatt Hotels, Ace Hardware, John Deere, and The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. In addition to guest lecturing at the University of Texas at Austin, Chris is a public speaker whose talks on creativity and innovation have been featured at strategic symposiums around the country as well as TEDx.


Clay Langdon

Wednesday October 9th 10:45am – 11:45am

Clay Langdon is a planner and creative strategy director, who is currently the Strategic Director at McGarrah Jessee here in Austin. With nearly 20 years experience in research, planning and analytics, he brings a holistic perspective to brand development. Clay is a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business, and a strategic adviser to Biomimicry Texas.


Amy Larkin

Tuesday October 8th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Amy Larkin is the author of Environmental Debt: The Hidden Costs of a Changing Global Economy. In the book, she connects the environmental and financial crises -- both causes and solutions. Amy is an award-winning entrepreneur, environmental activist and consultant who has launched cultural institutions, and co-founded one of the first affinity-marketing businesses. She has worked with Greenpeace for 30 years as a Board member, advisor, and from 2005 - 2012, Director of Greenpeace Solutions.


Tim Mohin

Wednesday October 9th 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Tim Mohin joined AMD as the Director of Corporate Responsibility in December 2009. In this role, Tim is responsible for the development of AMD’s corporate responsibility strategy, oversees the company’s responsibility programs, and heads AMD’s cross-functional corporate responsibility advisory council.

Tim is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and the author of the 2012 book Changing Business from the Inside Out: A Treehugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations.

Prior to joining AMD, Tim started up and led Apple’s Supplier Responsibility program. Before Apple, Tim was at Intel for 12 years leading the company’s environmental and sustainability functions.

Tim started his career with the US government. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency he led the development of the toxics provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments. Later, Tim was senior legislative staff for the Chairman of U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works where he contributed to a variety of national environmental policies; notably the Environmental Technology Act of 1993.

Tim serves on the board of directors of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, Net Impact and The Green Grid.

He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from the State University of New York and a Masters degree in Environmental Management from Duke University.


Julie Montgomery

Tuesday October 8th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Julie F. Montgomery is the Director for Innovation and Learning at InterAction. InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based NGOs working on relief and development overseas. She currently leads InterAction’s NGO Aid Map, an online mapping initiative. During her tenure at InterAction, she has worked on e-learning, training, publication management, graphic design, and numerous gender mainstreaming initiatives. She holds an MA in sociology from the University of Florida.

InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), with more than 190 members working in every developing country. Members are faith-based and secular, large and small, with a focus on the world’s most poor and vulnerable populations. The U.S. public, foundations and others support the efforts of our membership via funding totaling more than $13 billion a year, according to 2009 estimates. InterAction’s funds come from dues and generous grants from others, such as foundations. Using its collective voice, InterAction seeks to shape important policy decisions on relief and long term development issues, including foreign assistance, the environment, women, health, education and agriculture. Members are at the forefront in responding to humanitarian crises and disasters worldwide and InterAction acts as a hub in these efforts.


Carrie Norton

Monday October 7th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Carrie is founder and CEO of Green Business BASE CAMP, a global entrepreneurial education company serving early stage green business and cleantech entrepreneurs and corporate intrapreneurs. Carrie’s strategic career choices have offered perspectives in sustainable business and entrepreneurship, including roles at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Garage Technology Ventures and Idealab. Most recently, Carrie spent 8 years as an executive in the commercial solar power industry, where she served early-adopting clients including Google, Sony, and British Telecom among others.


Cara Pike

Monday October 7th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Cara Pike is the founder and director of The Resource Innovation Group’s Social Capital Project and Climate Access, a network for those engaging the public in the transformation to low-carbon resilient communities. Her work includes creation of the Ecological Roadmap, Climate Communications Behavior Change – A Guide for Practitioners, and other widely used publications and toolkits. Cara advises government agencies and nonprofit organizations including the Obama Administration, the state of Oregon, British Columbia’s Ministry of the Environment, the city of Seattle, World Wildlife Fund, National Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, and others. She is currently serving on the engagement and communication working group of the federal National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee. Cara serves on the boards of Resource Media and the Hollyhock Educational Foundation.


Lisa Pike Sheehy

Monday October 7th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Lisa Pike Sheehy is the Director of Environmental Initiatives for Patagonia. She oversees the implementation of the company's international environmental grants program and campaigns to publicize environmental issues and mobilize citizens. Her work is focused on increasing environmental activism for Patagonia employees and customers through broad reaching annual campaigns. Before joining Patagonia, she was the Program and Membership Director for the Environmental Grantmakers Association, consisting of over 250 member foundations around the world. She has also worked with the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and Sierra Club on their Public Lands Team. Currently she serves on the boards of the Outdoor Industry Conservation Alliance, the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation and 1% for the Planet. Lisa has a master's degree in Environmental Policy from Tufts University.


Emily Reichert

Monday October 7th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

As CEO & Executive Director, Emily Reichert sets Greentown Labs’ strategic direction, focusing on increasing the organization’s impact on clean and energy efficient technology commercialization through entrepreneurship. She also directs Greentown’s efforts to engage new partners, to expand recognition and educational programs for clean technology entrepreneurs, to leverage the local community of investors, universities, government agencies and NGOs striving to build our clean energy future, and to maintain greater Boston’s competitiveness in clean technology nationally and internationally. Prior to Greentown Labs, Emily was the Director of Business Operations at the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, where she helped grow the company from an angel-funded start-up to a sustainable contract R&D business with a mission to minimize environmental impact of chemical processes and products. She has over fifteen years of experience serving in R&D, business development and operations leadership roles. Emily holds a PhD in physical chemistry and earned an MBA from MIT.


Andrea Robinson

Wednesday October 9th 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Andrea Robinson is the Founder and Director of ARC Sustainability, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) and large-scale green event consulting firm. ARC Sustainability specializes in the design, implementation and management of CSR programs, GRI Reporting and environmental audits, communications and marketing campaigns, and partnerships between business and non-governmental organizations. Over the course of her more than two decades in the environmental and entertainment fields, Andrea has been a pioneer in the green events industry and has created sustainability and CSR plans for some of the worlds largest events including the 350,000-person Electric Daisy Carnival, the 300,000-person 2008 Democratic National Convention and Vice President Al Gore’s global Live Earth Concerts, with over 2 billion people participating worldwide. Andrea has extensive media experience and has appeared on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’, CNN, ABC, NBC, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and featured as a cover story of the Wall Street Journal. She is currently in development on a new eco entertainment show.


Rebecca Silver

Monday October 7th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Rebecca Silver is the Publicist for the Sierra Club, the country’s largest and most effective grassroots environmental organization. She oversees publicity efforts for Sierra magazine, Sierra Club Outdoors and other youth, outdoor and branding initiatives. Prior to joining the Sierra Club, Rebecca worked at a boutique NYC public relations agency, focusing on health and wellness books and magazines. Rebecca received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Delaware and is currently enrolled at New York University pursuing a Master’s degree.


Niyanta Spelman

Tuesday October 8th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Niyanta Spelman is the founder and executive director of Rainforest Partnership. Until 2007, Niyanta owned PPPMC Inc, a public sector oriented management consultancy. Her broad public sector experience includes working for the Legislative Budget Board, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Legislature and the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe. Niyanta was a founding member of Texas Federation of Asian American Chambers of Commerce, and she serves on the board of the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum.


Rick Thompson

Monday October 7th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Rick Thompson is the president and co-founder of Greentech Media, the industry leading digital media and market research firm covering green technologies. Since its founding, Greentech Media has amassed the largest online community of green technology professionals focused on next-generation solutions covering green power generation, distribution and consumption. Prior to founding Greentech Media, Mr. Thompson was a senior analyst with Heavy Reading, the market research arm of telecom media outlet, Light Reading. Earlier in his career, Mr. Thompson held engineering, marketing and executive management at a variety of technology companies including PanGo Networks, Sycamore Networks, Packet Engines (acquired by Alcatel-Lucent) and Fore Systems (acquired by Ericsson). Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.


Mica Vehik

Wednesday October 9th 10:45am – 11:45am

At EDF, Mica employs communications strategies to engage key stakeholders and promote the organization’s Smart Power efforts. Prior to joining EDF, Mica worked for Meridian Solar, Natural Resources Defense Council, Clinton Climate Initiative, GSD&M and the Texas House Economic Development Committee. Mica serves on the board of directors of the Texas League of Conservation Voters and as a mentor for Explore Austin. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and an M.B.A in Social Enterprise from Columbia Business School.


Marci VerBrugge-Rhind

Tuesday October 8th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Marci VerBrugge-Rhind serves as the Director of Corporate Responsibility Communications for Sprint. As the spokesperson and media relations liaison for Sprint’s Good Works, she drives the strategic communications that address the environment and society, sharing Sprint's journey and commitment. With over 20 years’ experience in marketing and communications, her passion for innovation and technology coupled with her CSR expertise yields inspiring, compelling and transparent dialogue with key influencers and stakeholders. Marci is a frequent guest lecturer on the role of corporate responsibility and sustainability in corporate communications and serves on the advisory board of Sustainable Brands. Marci earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Kansas State University.


Charlotte Vick

Tuesday October 8th 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Charlotte Vick is Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Sylvia Earle Alliance. Charlotte hails from Texas and discovered ocean issues early in her career. With 30 years working in the Pacific region on fisheries, coastal management, and ocean technology, five years ago she joined the Sylvia Earle Alliance, Google and hundreds of partners building Explore the Ocean in Google Earth. Serving on steering committees and advisory boards of numerous organizations, coalitions and initiatives, she is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin and loves SXSW Eco.


Bryan Walsh

Monday October 7th 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Bryan Walsh is a senior editor for TIME. He also writes the Going Green column for TIME and and runs’s award-winning environmental blog, Ecocentric. A former Tokyo bureau chief for TIME, Walsh was named senior editor in April 2012 and is based in New York. His most recent cover stories include “A World Without Bees” and “The Future of Oil.” He is on Twitter @BryanRWalsh.


Steve Wanta

Wednesday October 9th 10:45am – 11:45am

As the Global Program Director for Whole Foods Market's foundation, Whole Planet Foundation, Steve is responsible for overseeing a portfolio of microfinance projects spanning 55 countries. Before joining the Foundation, Steve served in the Peace Corps working alongside rural Guatemalan farmers in an effort to improve their livelihoods. Steve is passionate about the principles of Conscious Capitalism to make lasting change in the world and is an active member of Austin's growing Social Entrepreneur scene. 


Daniel Woodroffe

Wednesday October 9th 12:00pm – 1:00pm

As president and founder of dwg., Daniel Woodroffe, RLA has practiced Landscape Architecture for over fifteen years. He has amassed a wealth of urban design, open space, adaptive reuse, infill and green infrastructure experience. Daniel has overseen a multitude of award-winning, sustainable designs nationwide. Daniel is an urban open-space advocate and is currently the Austin Parks Foundation board president. He is a board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance, and is chair of the Congress Avenue WOW Committee. Daniel was honored with the Austin Under 40 Award in Architecture, Engineering and Design in 2013. This award recognizes emerging Austinites for excellence in professional practice and a commitment to community service.