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2024 Theme: From Vision to Action

We find ourselves at a critical juncture for collective action as we work to address the global and local impacts of the climate crisis. We can and must bring the energy and spirit of collaboration to implement solutions that advance mitigation, adaptation, and climate justice.

Last year’s Summit theme focused on imagining visionary and inspiring possibilities that inform, empower, and motivate our actions to create a more vibrant, equitable, and thriving region. This year, building from a place of hope and renewed resilience, we will focus on aligning our collective efforts to move from vision to action.

The climate challenge and new opportunities invite us to chart the course for a great future together. With the right combination of planning, persistence, and partnerships, the future we envision is within our grasp. Climate action is occurring at all levels of government, business, academia, non-profits, advocacy groups, and within our neighborhoods. Across all systems and actions, there is a role for everyone to make an impact!

The Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit serves as a spark for connecting and learning together, deepening our resolve, and celebrating collaborative climate solutions as we each find our place in the movement to secure a resilient, equitable, and thriving future.

7:45 am   Breakfast Networking

8:30 am   Welcome Remarks 

8:45 am   Keynote Speaker

10:00 am Break/Expo

10:30 am Morning Breakout #1

11:30 am  Morning Breakout #2

12:30 pm Lunch

1:00 pm  Plenary Panel

2:00 pm  Break/Expo

2:30 pm  Afternoon Breakout #1

3:30 pm  Afternoon Breakout #2

4:30 pm  Performance Showcase

5:00 pm  Networking Reception

                & Poster Session

2024 Keynote Speaker: Jacqui Patterson

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Jacqui Patterson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chisholm Legacy Project: A Resource Hub for Black Frontline Climate Justice Leadership. The mission of the Chisholm Legacy Project is rooted in a Just Transition Framework, serving as a vehicle to connect Black communities on the frontlines of climate justice with the resources to actualize visions.
Before launching the Chisholm Legacy Project, Patterson served as the Senior Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program for over a decade. During her tenure, she founded and implemented a robust portfolio that included serving the state and local leadership whose constituencies consisted of hundreds of communities on the frontlines of environmental injustice. She also led a team in designing and implementing a portfolio to support political education and organizing work executed by NAACP branches, chapters, and state conferences.
Since 2007, Patterson has dedicated her career to intersectional approaches to systems change. Her passion for social justice led her to serve as coordinator and co-founder of Women of Color United, Senior Women’s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid, Assistant Vice-President of HIV/AIDS Programs for IMA World Health, Outreach Project Associate for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Research Coordinator for Johns Hopkins University, and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica.

Jacqui Patterson was recently named one of TIME Magazine's 2024 Women of the Year for her revolutionary approach to climate justice.

Grand Ballroom 

The Resilience of a Vision:
A Journey in Youth Activism

There is a certain inextinguishable vision that young people have for their planet, and subsequently a certain resiliency to sustain that vision. This 5 minute short talk will explore how activists of all ages can hone that same youthful resilience by hearing from two student activists of Cincinnati Public Schools on their journey in launching and growing the Electrify CPS Campaign. While aiming to engage CPS in adopting sweeping policy changes that will push them to electrify and adopt renewable energy, they discuss the challenges and choices they have made to keep alive their vision for a sustainable and environmentally just future. This 5-minute short talk will take place during the morning remarks. 

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Audrey Symon

Co-Founder and Co-President - Sunrise Movement Walnut Hills

Audrey Symon is co-founder and co-president of Sunrise Movement Walnut Hills, a CCL National Youth Action Team member, and a student leader of the Electrify CPS Campaign. She has long been engaged with climate advocacy and loves seeing the strength of youth voices and inspiring the young people in her community to act. With a particular interest in the intersection between public policy and climate change, she hopes to use her voice to enact the necessary changes needed in government to tackle the climate crisis. Audrey is currently a Junior attending Walnut Hills High School.

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Sophie Krumm

Member - Sunrise Movement Walnut Hills

Sophie Krumm is passionate about the outdoors. She channels that passion through running in both Walnut Hill’s cross country and long distance track and field team but also as a leader in Sunrise Movement, a club focused on fighting the climate crisis through policy change. Her favorite outdoor activity is hiking and you can catch her hiking at the Cincinnati Nature Center where she is also a volunteer. Besides outdoor activities, she is also part of Walnut Hills High School’s award-winning Ethics Team and works as a student helper, violinist, and peer tutor. But the most important activity in her life is not her work or sports but her screenplay which she writes to shed light on the struggles that lonely people feel, to inspire inclusion in any community.

Plenary Panel
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Grand Ballroom

From Vision to Reality: 
Mobilizing a Culture of Collaborative Climate Action

Mitigating climate pollution and adapting to the changing climate requires fostering cross-sector collaboration, strengthening community and systems-level action, and making equity a shared value. When moving from aspiration to actuality, it is essential to build a shared culture of change and create pathways for different groups to converge and interact on collaborative goals.


Last year’s plenary focused on imagining visionary and inspiring possibilities that inform, empower, and motivate our actions to create a thriving Midwest region. Building from a place of hope and renewed resilience, we’ll focus on how to align our collective efforts when moving from vision to action. From mobilizing community members to be climate leaders to helping Fortune 500 companies adopt and advance sustainability goals, we’ll discuss ways each sector can help create a resilient society and economy.


Our esteemed panel will share insights, examples, and opportunities of how communities, governments, foundations, and businesses can lead the way together to increase climate resilience, enhance equity, and improve environmental health.

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Naomi Davis

Founder and CEO - Blacks in Green (BIG)

Naomi Davis is the founder and CEO of Blacks in Green (BIG), an environmental justice and economic development organization in the West Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. An urban theorist, attorney, activist, and proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers, Naomi’s heritage forms the foundation for BIG's signature Sustainable Square Mile system, which implements BIG’s 8 Principles of Green-Village-Building and is a whole-system solution for the whole-system problem common to Black communities everywhere. BIG was recently awarded a $10 million grant by the Biden administration to help historically underserved communities across the Midwest tap into federal funds to advance environmental justice and related initiatives.

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Tenzin Dolkar

Program Officer, Midwest Climate & Energy Program - McKnight Foundation

Tenzin Dolkar (Dolkar) is a program officer with the McKnight Foundation’s Midwest Climate & Energy program, where she works to shape and guide the trajectory of the Foundation’s climate initiatives, aligning McKnight’s equity goals. Prior to McKnight, Dolkar served as a climate advisor to the City of Minneapolis through a Natural Resources Defense Council partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. From 2016 to 2017, Dolkar served as a senior policy advisor to Governor Mark Dayton on transportation and agriculture. In 2017, Dolkar was appointed to serve as the State of Minnesota’s Rail Director by Governor Mark Dayton. Dolkar holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in international studies with a minor in social work from the University of St. Thomas.

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Dan Saccardi

Program Director of the Company Network - Ceres

Dan Saccardi is Program Director of the Company Network at Ceres, a global sustainability advocacy nonprofit focused on advancing leadership among investors, companies and capital market influencers to drive solutions and take action on the world's most pressing sustainability issues. The Company Network includes over 50 member corporations spanning major sectors, such as Apple, Exelon, Ford, Gap Inc., PepsiCo, Fifth-Third, and The Walt Disney Corporation. Dan guides the Company Network’s strategy for advancing sustainable business leadership-- including taking action to stabilize the climate, protecting water and natural resources, and building a just and inclusive economy. Before joining Ceres, Dan led sustainability strategy consulting teams at Broadscale Group, GreenOrder, and the Cleantech Group, working across diverse industries, and began his environmental career at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Dan has a BA from Connecticut College and MBA and MPA from New York University.

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Joined by:

Jacqueline Patterson

Founder and Executive Director - Chisholm Legacy Project: A Resource Hub for Black Frontline Climate Justice Leadership
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Savannah Sullivan (Moderator) 

Senior Director of Programs and Climate Strategy - Green Umbrella

Savannah Sullivan is the Senior Director of Programs and Climate Strategy at Green Umbrella. Prior to Green Umbrella, she was a Climate and Community Resilience Analyst for the City of Cincinnati, where she led climate, equity, and community engagement efforts. Savannah brings more than a decade of experience to lead regional climate work in Greater Cincinnati, and has worked with Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute, Rural Action, ACS Green Chemistry Institute, US EPA and City of Oberlin to lead sustainability programs in urban-to-rural and local-to-international settings. She is a proud alum of Public Allies Cincinnati, AmeriCorps VISTA-Ohio and Turner Farm’s Apprenticeship. She received her Master of Public Affairs and Master of Science in Environmental Science from Indiana University’s O’Neill School for Public and Environmental Affairs, and Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Environmental Studies from Oberlin College.

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The Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit is the largest sustainability conference, bringing together 600 passionate and visionary leaders to share inspiring, forward-thinking, and solution-oriented ideas that propel us toward a healthier, more resilient, sustainable, and equitable future.


Join Fortune 500 powerhouses, innovative entrepreneurs, government officials, sustainability directors, academic, non-profit, and community leaders committed to solving some of the region’s toughest environmental problems while creating a positive economic impact.



Give your organization prominent brand recognition as a champion of sustainability by becoming a Summit sponsor! We offer a variety of options that enable you to reach a diverse and dynamic coalition of leaders committed to making our region more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.


Make your commitment early to get the most out of it and be included in all our marketing and event communications.

2024 Audience
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