Innovating for the Future: Hear from the Leaders Combatting the Climate Crisis

Tuesday, June 8th 2021

As our world faces the effects of climate change, we are in the midst of incredible transformation, unlike anything humankind has gone through before. Experts say that five core sectors of the economy will be disrupted: energy, transportation, materials, agriculture, and communications. This disruption has the potential to unleash the greatest prosperity humanity has ever known. Join us to hear from the women at the forefront of this innovation, rethinking everything from regenerative agriculture to carbon capture. This unique session will consist of a fireside chat with Hunter Lovins followed by a panel with Catherine Von Burg and Erica Mackie, moderated by Priya Clemens.

Hunter Lovins

L. Hunter Lovins is President of Natural Capitalism Solutions. NCS helps companies, communities and countries implement more regenerative practices profitably.

A professor of sustainable business management at Bard MBA, and Fordham University, Hunter was named a Master of the De Tao Academy in Shanghai. A founding mentor of the Unreasonable Institute, she teaches entrepreneuring and coaches social enterprises around the world. She is the Chief Impact Officer of Change Finance, an impact investing firm, and founder of the Colorado Regenerative Recovery Coalition. A Board member of SimpliPhi Power, she has worked in energy, climate policy and resilience for 45 years.

A consultant to industries and governments worldwide, including International Finance Corporation, Unilever, Walmart, the United Nations and Royal Dutch Shell, as well as sustainability champions Interface, Patagonia and Clif Bar, Hunter has briefed heads of state, leaders of the numerous local governments, the Pentagon, and officials in about 30 countries, as well as the UN, and the US Congress.

Hunter has written 16 books, including the recently released A Finer Future: Creating an Economy in Service to Life. which won a Nautilus Award. She has won dozens of awards, including the European Sustainability Pioneer award, and the Right Livelihood Award. Time Magazine recognized her as a Millennium Hero for the Planet, and Newsweek called her the Green Business Icon.

Catherine Von Burg

Catherine Von Burg is a Founder and the President & CEO of SimpliPhi Power, a technology company that designs and manufactures non-toxic, efficient, and enduring energy storage and management systems that seamlessly integrate solar, wind, generator, or any other power generation source – in conjunction with or independent from the grid.

Catherine’s career spans a diverse portfolio of strategic planning, policy development, executive management, and multidisciplinary team building in the fields of biomedical engineering and research, health and human services and environmental conservation. Committed to the transformation of the power grid and creating universal access to clean energy by leveraging distributed energy storage solutions, she has published white papers and spearheaded national program, policy and business-driven initiatives with organizations such as Pew Charitable Trusts, Rockefeller Institute, Columbia University, NY March of Dimes Foundation, John Hopkins School of Biomedical Engineering, Wilderness Education Association and First 5 Commission of California.

In 2017, representing SimpliPhi, Catherine was nominated to participate in an exclusive entrepreneur program hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the Unreasonable Group. Global business leaders were carefully selected as being the best positioned to solve each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations. SimpliPhi’s energy storage and management solutions were chosen to represent UN SDG No. 9, ‘Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure’. Collaborators and mentors in this program included USAID & the World Bank, among others.

Catherine graduated from Columbia University in New York and holds a Master’s degree from University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy.

Priya David Clemens

Priya David Clemens is currently the host of KQED Newsroom, the long-running television weekly news series, Clemens is a veteran journalist with more than 15 years of television news experience working for a variety of national and local outlets, including CBS News, NBC News and KTVU.

Her background in broadcast journalism is wowing. At NBC/MSNBC she embedded as a campaign reporter covering Vice President Dick Cheney’s bid for re-election and Dick Gephardt’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for President. Clemens served as a producer and news associate for NBC Weekend Nightly News, Dateline, Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and News with Brian Williams. At CBS, she was a national correspondent, reporting for CBS Evening News and The Early Show and anchoring for the CBS Weekend Early Show news desk.

She has an impressive local news resume as well. As a general assignment reporter covering breaking news for Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU, she covered a multitude of stories and has also been a journalist at media outlets in Portland, Birmingham, Alabama, Santa Barbara and Orange County.

Clemens has also spent time on the other side of the camera, as the Director of Public Affairs for the Golden Gate Bridge and the founder of a boutique San Francisco production company.

Born in Chennai, India, Priya grew up in Virginia, California, Brussels and London, and currently resides in the Bay Area. She earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Westmont College and her master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California, where she graduated with honors.

Erica Mackie

Erica is the CEO and co-founder of GRID Alternatives, a national leader in making renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities. She started the organization with co-founder Tim Sears in 2001 while working as a professional engineer implementing large-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for the private sector. Using a unique people-first model, GRID Alternatives trains and leads teams of job trainees and other community volunteers to install solar electric systems exclusively for low-income families and communities. Every project generates “triple bottom line” results: measurable, long-term financial benefits for low-income families struggling to keep up with monthly expenses; real-world, hands-on experience for local workers in the growing field of solar installation; and environmental benefits by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and building support for solar power as a practical solution for all of our communities. Ms. Mackie has received numerous awards for her leadership of GRID Alternatives, including the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2008, the New Leaders Council Energy Leadership Award in 2009, the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award in 2010, the US Green Building Council’s Green Building Super Hero Award in 2010 and the 2013 Clean Energy and Empowerment Award from C3E. She speaks regularly at solar and energy-related conferences such as PV America and Solar Power International on renewable energy access and gender diversity in the solar industry.