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Meet Our Keynote Speaker

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Kristin Baja, Director of Direct Support & Innovation, Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN)

Kristin Baja (‘Baja’) is Director of Direct Support & Innovation at USDN and is responsible for helping cities identify strategic ways to advance climate resilience planning and implementation and building their capacity to take proactive action. Baja focuses her time on supporting members and partners in working at the nexus of resilience, mitigation and equity while also helping center equity in their climate and sustainability work. She helps facilitate deeper relationships between local governments and stakeholders while helping to identify and shift focus to more collaborative and transformational action. Prior to USDN, Baja served as the Climate and Resilience Planner with the City of Baltimore's Office of Sustainability where she led the city's climate and equity work. She holds a Masters of Urban Planning and a Masters of Science from the University of Michigan. She is also an Aspen Global Change Institute Fellow, is an EPIC-N board member, and serves on several local and international advisory committees. In 2016, she was recognized by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change for her work on climate and equity.

 
 
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Mayor Aftab Pureval
City of Cincinnati, OH

Mayor Pureval is the 70th Mayor of the City of Cincinnati. As Mayor, he has made equitable economic growth a top priority of his administration, as well as a comprehensive reform and improvement of public safety, affordable housing, and environmental action. Formerly serving as the first Democrat to be elected Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in over 100 years, he revolutionized the courthouse, ending the nepotism while adding more online services and opening an award-winning Help Center. He paid every employee a living wage of $16 an hour and became the first countywide officeholder in Ohio to offer paid family leave.

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Mayor Jeffrey J. Mims, Jr.
City of Dayton, OH

Mayor Mims joined the Dayton City Commission in 2014, with a distinguished history of public service, and was elected Mayor of Dayton in 2021. After retiring from Dayton Public Schools with more than 35 years of service, he served on the Ohio School Board. He was elected President of the Dayton Education Association for six terms and is past president of the Dayton Board of Education. His diverse work within the district included garnering support for equitable funding of Ohio's public schools, and his efforts helped pave the way for Ohio's New School Facilities Program. For the past 40 years, Jeffrey Mims has committed to making the city of Dayton and the Dayton Public Schools strong partners in developing a "Champion City and School District" and improving the quality of life for Dayton citizens through education.

Mayor Sharetta Smith
City of Lima, OH

Mayor Smith is a Lima native with roots in the community extending across five generations. She has had a career in public service as a lawyer, judicial magistrate, Lima’s Chief of Staff, with additional private sector experience managing global purchasing and logistics contracts. As Chief of Staff, Sharetta developed smart solutions for entrenched problems in local government, including designating three of Lima’s most blighted census tracts as Opportunity Zones to spur economic development, leading to a solutions-driven community-wide conversation about the future of housing. Influenced by her collaborative leadership style, Lima experienced a renewed focus on neighborhood and downtown revitalization, youth development, improvement of government operations, and strengthened relationships with public and private partners. In 2021, Sharetta was elected to serve as the 59th Mayor of the City of Lima - the first woman, and the first African American mayor in the city’s 190 year history.

 
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Matthew DiBona
GIS Analyst, Cincinnati Park Board

With over 15 years in arboricultural, urban forestry, and natural resource management, Matthew’s comprehensive background in the green industry has allowed him to leverage the knowledge gained to implement GIS solutions for the City. He graduated with a bachelor's in Natural Resource of Conservation from the University of British Columbia, and a master's in Urban Sustainability and Resilience from Xavier University. He enjoys getting outdoors and traveling to new places, home, and abroad in his free time.

Crystal Courtney
Division Manager of Natural Resources, Cincinnati Park Board

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With over ten years of experience in natural resource management, Crystal is a municipal leader overseeing the care of Cincinnati's urban canopy, park forests, trail system, right of way beautification, and environmental education programming. Crystal and her staff work to enhance the integrity of Cincinnati's natural resources through collaboration fellow city departments and community-based organizations. Through a recent partnership with Groundwork Ohio River Valley, Crystal is building Cincinnati's green industry youth-to-work program to implement natural resource elements of Cincinnati’s Climate Safe Neighborhoods Plans. The core focus of this work is to build an environmentally just, climate resilient city, in which Cincinnati’s most at risk neighborhoods have equitable access to greenspaces and ecosystem services.

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Sarah Morgan
GIS Manager, Groundwork Ohio River Valley

Sarah Morgan, Groundwork’s GIS manager, manages fieldwork mapping, data collection, and assists with the Climate Safe Neighborhoods program. Her background includes an urban canopy AmeriCorps VISTA and food insecurity research with the University of Louisville’s Trager Research Institute.  Passionate about the intersection of community health & the built environment, she holds master's degrees in both Community Planning and Social Work.

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Margaret Minzner
Environmental Planner, OKI Regional Council of Governments

Margaret is responsible for managing the Greenspace program, including coordinating the consultation process and implementing the OKI’s Strategic Regional Policy Plan recommendations for conserving natural systems and integrating greenspace into the development process. Margaret holds a Doctorate in Education Leadership from Northern Kentucky University, a Master’s degree in Integrative Studies from the Northern Kentucky University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Skidmore College. She is also a certified Geographic Information Systems Professional.

 
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Doug Bell
Citizen's Climate Lobby

Doug Bell is a member of Citizens Climate Lobby where he has served as Chair of the Cincinnati Chapter and Ohio Coordinator. He has 7 years of experience in the building weatherization industry as an installer.

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Laurie Roche
Bellarmine Chapel at Xavier University

Laurie Roche chairs the Healthy Earth Team, which is one of the social mission committees for St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel, located on the Xavier University campus. The team plans and leads activities designed carry out the Jesuit Apostolic Preference: “to collaborate in the Care of our Common Home.” Laurie is especially active in the team’s community gardening and beautification projects in Evanston and on the XU campus.

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Joanne Gerson
Rockdale Temple

Joanne is the founder and co-chair of Faith Communities Go Green, a collaboration between Green Umbrella and Equasion. She created Kinder-Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo’s first preschool program, and The Super Saturday Program, an enrichment program for gifted children, directing it for ten years. Founder/chair Rockdale Temple’s Environmental Committee, Southwest Ohio NO Frack Forum, and Shomrei Olam - Jewish Environmental Advocates. As Montgomery Planning Commissioner, led revision of Storm Water and Lighting Zoning Codes. As Hamilton County Regional Planning Partnership program committee chair, led effort to change environmental zoning codes in the county. Joanne is blessed with two grandchildren and a loving husband.

Pat Timm, Ph.D.
Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church

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Pat Timm, Ph.D., is a civic leader and nonprofit consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since 1982 Pat has been a faith leader at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church where she convenes the Earth Care Leadership Team. The Team is leading their congregation in Green Faith, Green Learning, Green Living, and Green Justice. During her career as a Public Policy Mediator and Consensus Facilitator, Pat was the Director of the Ohio River Way, the Licking River Greenway, the Metropolitan Growth Alliance, and the Hamilton County Environmental Priorities Project (HCEPP). Green Umbrella was founded by HCEPP. Pat lives in the Madisonville community of Cincinnati where she has served on the boards of the Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation and the John P. Parker Local School Decision-Making Committee.

 

Oliver Kroner
Sustainability Manager, City of Cincinnati

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Oliver Kroner is the Sustainability Manager for the City of Cincinnati. His work focuses on climate science and urban policy, including energy, transportation, waste, and food systems. He leads collaboration of government and community partners to advance and track the sustainability, equity, and resilience strategies of the Green Cincinnati Plan. He is a published researcher, and has presented at over 100 conferences, events, and keynotes, including the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, ICLEI World Congress, National League of Cities, Project Drawdown, GreenBuild, and more. He has served on numerous non-profit boards and committees focused on sustainability and community development, including the US Green Building Council, Mill Creek Alliance, Cincinnati 2030 District Working Group, Northside Community Council (President), and the Urban Transition Alliance. He is a graduate of Miami University and Northeastern University, and a proud AmeriCorps alum.

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Margaux Roberts
Roselawn & Bond Hill Community Organizer, Groundwork Ohio River Valley

Margaux Roberts is a native of Cincinnati and a lifelong advocate for her city and community. Her advocacy and passion for children's education, social justice and her 31 years as a local volunteer led her to creating On the Gaux Enrichment, chairing Bond Hill's Beautification Committee for 3 years and later joining the Roselawn and Bond Hill Climate Advisory Group as a participant and now Community Organizer through the Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership, led by Groundwork. In her spare time when Margaux’s not trying to save the world, she’s a singer, actress, violist, and a two time winner of Miss Congeniality.

Savannah Sullivan
Climate Policy Director, Green Umbrella

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Savannah brings more than a decade of experience to launch Green Umbrella's Policy Impact Area. Most recently she was a Climate and Community Resilience Analyst for the City of Cincinnati, where she led climate, equity and community engagement efforts. Savannah 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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Jessica Roncker
Graduate Student Researcher, University of Cincinnati

Jessica Roncker is a graduate student in the University of Cincinnati master’s program in Community Psychology and a member of Dr. Carlie Trott’s Collaborative Sustainability Lab. Her community work, funded by UC’s C3 grant, focuses on climate justice organizing and climate adaptation planning at the neighborhood level and is in partnership with Groundwork Ohio River Valley, Green Umbrella, and the City of Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability. Other research interests include the psychology of communication, moral foundations theory, social cohesion, and the social psychology of political difference.

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Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson
Community Outreach Coordinator, Groundwork Ohio River Valley

Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson (she/her) is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Groundwork Ohio River Valley. She has been involved with climate advocacy at both the national and international scale working to center frontline communities in decision-making through policy, research and grassroots organizing. At Groundwork, she leads environmental justice listening sessions with residents,  develops organizational communication and assists climate resilience program management and development. She holds a BA in Anthropology with a focus on ecological relationships and community development. Prior to Groundwork, she was a Sustainability Fellow with the City of Cincinnati leading energy efficiency efforts.

 
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Chris Tavenor
Staff Attorney, Ohio Environmental Council

Chris is the OEC Law Center’s Staff Attorney, supporting the legal and policy teams in their efforts to ensure clean air, clean water, and clean energy for Ohio. He co-leads the OEC’s emerging leaders program, focusing on connecting young professionals in Central Ohio to the environmental movement and efforts to combat climate change. Chris also leads the OEC’s democracy program, and has coordinated the creation of the OEC’s annual Ohio Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
since 2018.

Meeka Owens
City Councilmember, City of Cincinnati

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Councilmember Meeka D. Owens was born and raised in Cincinnati. She is currently the Chair of the Climate, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, one of the first local government committees in the country to prioritize climate change. Her fervent belief that a community cannot be changed until it elects leaders who support its values led CM Owens to run for City Council in 2020. Her goals for the City are to increase safety in our neighborhoods, including from gun-violence; increase support for human services; create quality, affordable housing; provide basic services with efficiency and care; create a more sustainable City; and help the unique arts and culture of Cincinnati to thrive. CM Owens is dedicated towards working with members of the community to achieve real solutions and will always advocate for the people of Cincinnati.

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Jeniece Brock
Policy & Advocacy Director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative

Jeniece LaTrece Brock was born and raised in Akron, Ohio and is currently the Policy and Advocacy Director at the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. She previously served as the Deputy Director of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus. She earned a Masters’ Degree in Health Sciences with an emphasis on Urban Health and Healthcare Administration from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Education and Human Development from Bowling Green State University. Jeniece is an advocate for the design and enactment of policies that improve and protect the well-being of underserved communities.

 
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Olivia Wilmink
Product Manager, Compost Now; CEO/Founder, Better Bin

Since 2019, Olivia has worked to create opportunities for Cincinnati residents to divert their food and organic waste from landfills in order to produce nutrient-rich compost. In 2021, her business, Better Bin Compost, joined forces with CompostNow to continue growing local operations and infrastructure for composting. Early in her career, Olivia gravitated towards understanding waste streams as an opportunity to design beyond the take-make-waste consumption model. Starting with the end in mind, Olivia hopes that CompostNow can be catalysts for someone to start thinking about the stuff they consume and, more importantly, where it ends up when they are done with it.

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Marie Hopkins
Co-founder and Composter, Queen City Commons

With a pitchfork in-hand and passion in-tow, Marie Hopkins started Queen City Commons in 2019 with the goal of building broader composting access and infrastructure in Cincinnati. Since beginning operation, Queen City Commons has collected over 165,000 pounds of food scraps from both residents and businesses. Recognizing the importance of a resilient circular economy, Queen City Commons has partnered with farms and gardens in Hamilton County to compost all the food scraps we collect. From helping more Cincinnatians compost their food scraps, to building healthy soil, to seeing this new resource used to grow food here in town, Marie is energized about the ability of compost to connect us more deeply with each other and with the land.

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Gary Dangel
Food Access Coordinator, Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation

Gary Dangel is the Food Access Coordinator at the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation,
where he leads initiatives to address food insecurity and food justice issues. Since 2014, he has partnered with neighborhood gardeners and volunteer groups to turn blighted, vacant lots into a network of community gardens and foraging orchards called Grow 06. Each one employs sustainable and regenerative practices such as rainwater collection, food waste composting, and installation of native pollinator habitats.

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Julia Marchese
Co-founder and Composter, Queen City Commons

Since July of 2020, Julia Marchese, an academic-at-heart, has been getting their hands dirty with Queen City Commons, a small-scale compost collection service in Cincinnati. Julia brings an enthusiasm and knowledge of community-centered work and alternative ways of living and working to ensure that composting can become a norm in the Cincinnati community. Julia coordinates Queen City Commons’ external communication through social media, and community outreach and engagement, and through these efforts, has substantially increased QCC’s residential and commercial customer base. Julia is passionate about bringing composting to the people through reciprocal relationships, circular economies,  community-centered efforts, and collective and collaborative care.

 
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Joseph Singer
Sustainability Project Leader, GE Aviation

Joe Singer leads sustainability projects for GE Aviation’s commercial products while developing partnerships for GE’s next generation of engine technology. In this role he executes GE’s strategy for reaching net zero emissions in new products by 2050. Joe’s career has touched many aspects of commercial aviation from new product introduction to supporting fielded equipment and services operations. Joe has a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from University of Cincinnati and Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University. His studies have also included a Graduate Certificate in Systems Design and Management from MIT. He is passionate about sustainability and taking real steps in the aviation industry toward decarbonization.

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Maggie Pryatel
Manager, Environmental Compliance, CVG Airport

Maggie Pryatel serves as the Manager of Environmental Compliance for the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).  Maggie manages day-to-day environmental operations and assists with managing environmental development projects as part of the Planning & Development department. Most recently Maggie has accepted a leadership role to champion developing CVG’s first Sustainability Management plan.  Prior to joining CVG, she earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Cincinnati and an M.S in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech.

Andrew Ritch
Partner & Chief Revenue Officer, Donovan Energy

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Mr. Ritch joined Donovan Energy in 2020 and oversees the company’s sales and marketing efforts. Prior to joining Donovan Energy, he spent 17 years at Duke Energy Corp. in a variety of roles within the company’s supply chain, finance, investor relations and strategy teams. Most recently, he held responsibility for devising and executing strategy for renewable energy assets within the Company’s Midwest regulated businesses (Duke Energy Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana). Previously, he was an Associate at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. where he held responsibility for private banking, asset custody and investment advisory relationships in the Middle East (Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, UAE). Mr. Ritch is responsible for oversight of the firm’s business development and sales strategy, including collaborating on, developing, and executing integrated sales initiatives that differentiate the firm’s practices and services in the marketplace. He is also responsible for efforts to identify and grow new revenue opportunities.

Naashom Marx
Senior Manager, Strategic Innovation, CVG Airport

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Naashom Marx is Senior Manager of Strategic Innovation at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), a top 10 cargo airport in North America and Skytrax’s Best Regional Airport in North America for 2020. Her innovation role focuses on four pillars: Clean, Transport, Secure and Connect. In this role, she helps lead change at the airport, working with colleagues and business partners to reinvent the airport experience. With a master’s degree in community planning and economic development from the University of Cincinnati, she has worked for NGO’s in Bangladesh and Uganda, served as the Director of the Kentucky Innovation Network, as Business Development Manager for the City of Covington, KY, Vice President of Business Growth and International Trade at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and most recently as Director of BigCo Connections at Cintrifuse, where she worked with complex organizations to innovate with emerging technologies.

 
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Elissa Yancey
President & CEO, A Picture's Worth

Elissa is a lifelong learner, leader and educator. Her background in journalism and education has led her on a rich career journey through corporate and nonprofit America. An experienced writer and editor, she has served in top roles in and outside of academia. She co-founded A Picture’s Worth to marry her passions for creative disruption of outdated systems, equity, community engagement and story-building. At its core, APW fosters responsible story-gathering practices that apply in journalism, nonprofit, education systems and beyond.

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Viann Barnett
Director, Anna Louise Inn / Off The Streets

Viann is Managing Director of both the Anna Louise Inn and the Off The Streets Program at Housing, Education and Recovery Cincinnati. She is also Vice President of the Board of A Picture's Worth and was featured in its 2020 podcast season, Strong Women. Since 2006, she has helped serve well over 1,200 women, finding them secure housing, connecting them to mental health, medical, substance abuse and other direct services. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Her personal victories include her triumph over chronic homelessness, substance abuse and sexual exploitation.

 
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Mathew Roberts
Director of Marketing, Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC)

Mat Roberts serves as the director of marketing for SOPEC — Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council — a public service organization serving the sustainable energy needs of 21 member communities and political subdivisions across Ohio. Mat graduated from the Ohio University Scripps School of Journalism with a focus on environmental sociology and climate change in 2014. Since then, he’s been a dedicated advocate for innovative public policy, environmental sustainability, and resilient local economies. Mat enjoys outdoor exploration, playing and watching sports, and spending time with family and friends.

Sarah Conley-Ballew
Director, Rural Action Sustainable Energy Solutions (SES)

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Sarah Conley-Ballew serves as director of Sustainable Energy Solutions at Rural Action, a keystone nonprofit working to create a more just and sustainable economy in Appalachian Ohio. Her work focuses on catalyzing clean energy development in coal country through smart policy and planning. She was the founding director of UpGrade Ohio in 2015, successfully reducing energy use in Athens County by 3% over a two-year period, resulting in $5M in collective savings. She was a SolSmart Advisor in 2017, preparing local governments for smart solar development. Sarah serves on the Green Energy Ohio board of directors the City of Athens Environment and Sustainability Commission. She has a Master of Public Administration from Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. When Sarah isn’t working tirelessly to help coal country transition to clean energy, she spends time with her husband and three outrageously cool kids on her Athens County homestead farm.

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Jacob Richard
AmeriCorps VISTA, Rural Action Sustainable Energy Solutions (SES)

Jacob Richard serves at Rural Action through their AmeriCorps program as the Sustainable Energy Solutions VISTA. He helps with capacity building in the Appalachian Ohio region with a focus in clean energy initiatives such as Solarize Appalachian Ohio and Appalachian Clean Transportation. He is passionate about helping communities and individuals make the transition to clean energy. Jacob has a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics, Statistics and Analytics from Miami University. 

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Sam Redfern
AmeriCorps VISTA, Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC)

Sam Redfern is an AmeriCorps VISTA with SOPEC, happily serving 21 communities and political subdivisions all across Ohio. A former graduate of Ohio University's College of Fine Arts, he is happy to have the opportunity to give back and serve his fellow Ohioans through national service. Sam himself is a big fan of theatre, gardening, and rollerblading next to the Hocking River.

 

Angela Mazzi
Partner & Health Architect, GBBN Architects

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Angela Mazzi is a full time practicing architect and firm partner at GBBN Architects known for her research and designs that promote well being. Research on socio-cultural contexts provides perspective on how culture reflects in architecture and user experience. Angela is Past President of the American College of Healthcare Architects, serves on the AIA Cincinnati Board, the Advisory Committee for the Institute for Patient-Centered Design, and was an Advisory Board member for Arizona State University’s Healthcare Design Program in its initial years. Her research linking wellness to design has been published in many healthcare journals and presented at national and international conferences. She is a peer reviewer for Health Environment Research and Design (HERD) Journal and Academy of Architecture for Health Journal. She is also the founder of Architecting, a community for those who want to be advocates for a better world.

Megan Mazzocco
WELL AP, Sustainability & Wellbeing Director, Spring Architecture

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Megan Mazzocco is the Sustainability and Wellbeing Director at Spring Architecture in Westport, Connecticut. Her work is advancing collective health in the built environment and linking individual wellbeing to sustainability. Megan has 14 years editorial experience in the fashion, paper and interior design industries; writing with a focus on sustainable systems and wellbeing. After a decade as Senior Editor for Architectural Products, Net Zero Buildings and Architectural SSL Magazines, Megan became fascinated with the built environment’s impact on collective health outcomes and began reporting from the intersection of place and wellbeing as the A+D Yogini. In an ongoing effort to link design and wellbeing, she collaborates with GBBN Principal Architect, Angela Mazzi on a movement called Architects as Healers: Buildings as Medicine to broadcast how design practices impact health.

 
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Marie Inanli
Facilitator, Drawdown Solutions

Traveling abroad opened Marie’s eyes to the disproportionate resource use and waste creation in the US. Since then she has tried to walk lightly upon the Earth and engage with others in caring for Mother Earth. As a board member of the Pachamama Alliance of the Cincinnati Area she has facilitated workshops based on Project Drawdown.

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Susan Vogt
Pachamama Alliance of the Cincinnati Area

Susan is a national speaker and writer on environmental sustainability, simple lifestyle, family, and spirituality. Her latest award winning book is Blessed By Less, Clearing Your Life of Clutter by Living Lightly. She is a Board member of the Pachamama Alliance of the Cincinnati Area and the Green Umbrella Education and Lifestyle Working Group. Susan writes the popular blog Living Lightly and weekly ECO-TIPS that go out to over 1,000 educators, leaders, and ministers. Her current specialty is reducing single use plastics.

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Susan Fox
Faith Communities Go Green

Susan has been a registered Landscape Architect and Horticulturist for over 30 years. She is also a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church in West Chester, OH, and Faith Communities Go Green.

 
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Joe Flarida
Executive Director, Power a Clean Future Ohio

Joe is the Executive Director of PCFO, an expansive coalition of organizations that works with cities and municipalities in Ohio to develop community-driven carbon reduction strategies. PCFO empowers local governments and community members by providing tools and resources to implement climate action plans and clean energy policies that are achievable, measurable, equitable, and economical. Joe previously worked as staff in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. In 2019, he returned to Ohio after completing a fellowship in Germany serving as a Robert Bosch Fellow, where he examined Germany’s energy transition and consulted for the German Energy Agency and InnoEnergy.

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Melanie Nutter
Principal, Nutter Consulting

Melanie Nutter is the Principal of Nutter Consulting, a consultancy providing strategic planning services to advance smart and sustainable city goals and has served over 30 municipal, nonprofit and foundation clients on projects ranging from sustainability program design to technology roadmaps. Nutter is the former Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment where she helped San Francisco achieve an 80% waste diversion rate and reduce its carbon emissions to 14.5% below 1990 levels.  From 2005-2010, Nutter served as the Deputy District Director for the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Melanie serves as the Lead Technical Consultant for PCFO.

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Tara Brown
Manager of City Solutions, Institute for Market Transformation

Tara Brown is IMT’s Manager of City Solutions. Tara began her sustainability career in corporate sustainability program management. Prior to IMT, Tara Brown was responsible for integrating sustainability principles and goals into all projects and programs for the City of Edina. In the newly created role, she acted as a resource and partner to all City departments on conservation and sustainability matters, lead stakeholder engagement work, and created policies and programs to meet the City’s sustainability goals. Tara is on the PCFO Technical Team and helps PCFO communities with energy efficiency strategies. 

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Hallie Neuhaus
Policy & Government Affairs Manager, Clean Fuels Ohio

Hallie serves as the Policy & Government Affairs Manager at Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO). In this role, Hallie assists with the implementation of DOE grants and policy work at the state and local level. Additionally, she handles fleet data analysis for CFO’s consulting program. Hallie first joined Clean Fuels Ohio as a program assistant in March of 2019 and primarily worked as technical support around the consulting and certification programs as well as various DOE.  is on the PCFO Technical Team and helps PCFO communities with energy efficiency strategies. projects. Hallie holds a Master of Public Administration from The Ohio State University and is based out of Columbus, OH. Hallie is on the PCFO Technical Team and helps PCFO communities with transportation electrification strategies. 

 

SHORT TALKS

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Brandon Reynolds
Founder & CEO, B the Keeper

Brandon is the founder of B the Keeper. He and his team work with businesses and landowners to install pollinator habitats that reduce carbon emissions, increase curb appeal and protect key pollinators in urban areas. Brandon is on a mission to empower the average person as a changemaker for sustainability in the places where we live and work.

Rebeca Arbona
President & Chief Truth-Teller, BrandTrue

Rebeca is a brand strategist with almost 25 years of experience. She regularly lends her expertise in strategic naming, brand creation, and storytelling to innovators in the sustainability space to help them maximize their impact. Prior to founding BrandTrue, formerly Tapestry Strategy, Rebeca served as an Executive at both Brandtrust and Interbrand.

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Rebeca Arbona
President & Chief Truth-Teller, BrandTrue

Rebeca is a brand strategist with almost 25 years of experience. She regularly lends her expertise in strategic naming, brand creation, and storytelling to innovators in the sustainability space to help them maximize their impact. Prior to founding BrandTrue, formerly Tapestry Strategy, Rebeca served as an Executive at both Brandtrust and Interbrand.

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Rhiannon Hoeweler
Director of Strategic Impact, Madtree Brewing Company

Rhiannon joined the MadTree Brewing team in September 2020 as the Director of Strategic Impact -- a brand new role for MadTree. She coordinates the brewing company’s efforts around their 1% For The Planet membership, MadTree's B Corporation certification, and their sustainability efforts. Prior to MadTree, she spent 11 years working for the Cincinnati Zoo as the VP of Visitor Experience, Strategy and Fun.

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Kevin Kushman
CEO, Electrada

Kevin serves as CEO of Electrada, launched in 2020 to meet the growing demand for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Cincinnati. Kevin’s 20+ years in the energy technology and utility space includes CEO and CFO roles with energy tech software firms such as Integral Analytics, Blue Pillar, and Current Group. He was also part of the founding leadership of Cinergy Ventures’ $200 million corporate venture fund, and co-founder of CleanBridge Energy Partners.

 
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Mona Jenkins
Cooperative Food Justice Coordinator, Co-op Cincy

Mona is an educator and organizer who graduated from the University of Cincinnati, where she studied Educational Foundations for Social Change. She actively works with community members to address neighborhood-specific issues related to health, gender, housing, and education. As the Cooperative Food Justice Coordinator for Co-op Cincy, Mona works with residents to address food insecurity within their neighborhoods through equitable, community-centered approaches. Mona is also the Co-Founder of Queen Mother’s Market Cooperative, a worker and community-owned grocery store opening in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Walnut Hills. 

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Mary Delaney
Executive Director, Community Matters

Mary Delaney is the Executive Director of Community Matters where she leads a dynamic team in creating a thriving and more just community in Lower Price Hill. Mary’s expertise is in bridging social work, community organizing, and community development. Her professional experience spans a broad range including - community organizing, social enterprise, tax credit financing, and organizational leadership. Mary  serves on the board of directors for Leadership Council for Nonprofits, Human Services Chamber of Hamilton County, Cradle to Career Cincinnati, and the Ohio Community Development Corporation Association. 

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Tony Staubach
Food Waste Diversion Coordinator, Hamilton County R3Source

Tony Staubach is an energetic educator, entertainer, and environmentalist who uses thought-provoking stories and queries to spark flames and stimulate passion. He strives to inspire peace by helping good people do great things. Tony earned his MS in Public Policy from Drexel University (’11) and his BA in Education from Wilmington College (’07).

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Maddie Chera
Director, Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council

Maddie is the Director of the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council at Green Umbrella, where she works with partners to build a food secure community through collective impact. Maddie brings over a decade of domestic and international experience as an educator, researcher, and nonprofit team member to her work. Maddie earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Indiana University Bloomington, with a focus on food and the environment, and her BA in Humanities with a Peace & Justice Studies concentration from Villanova University.

 

Amanda Markovic
Principal, GBBN

Amanda is driven by design’s power to transform experience and empower communities in urban centers, the workplace, and academia. Her passion for libraries has led to award-winning renovations for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Knoxville and a reimagining of the Cincinnati Public Library, Deer Park Next Generation Library. Her passion for equitable development has guided her community-centered approach to Bridging the Gap’s 5th & Dinwiddie, a mixed-use, Passive House project in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood. A great communicator who facilitates productive discussions among multiple project stakeholders, Amanda’s desire to connect everyone to good design has led her to become a leader in the American Institute of Architects Blueprint for Better Communities (B4B) initiative.

Lann Field
Vice President of Development, 3CDC

Lann Field joined 3CDC in 2008 after earning her Masters in Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to attending UC she received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Tennessee, and a graduate diploma in Alternative Design Studies from Archeworks, a multidisciplinary design school in Chicago. Her current role at 3CDC encompasses all aspects of real estate development including project planning, financing and construction management. During her tenure, Lann has overseen or worked on projects totaling over $500 million, highlighted by the mixed-use, mixed-income Mercer Commons ($68 million) and Willkommen ($51 million) projects. 

Tim Westrich
Vice President of Affordable Housing, Urban Sites

As Vice President of Affordable Housing at Urban Sites, Tim works with nonprofit leaders on creating a vision for their real estate project, whether they're serving a goal of neighborhood revitalization, serving a senior population, or serving a family population. He finds the best financing programs available for their project, and then oversees their real estate project from start to finish. Working closely with nonprofit partners, Tim manages all aspects of complex development projects, including feasibility analysis, applying for financing, executing due diligence, and closing. He has significant experience in Historic Tax Credit (HTC) financing, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) financing, HUD affordable housing programs, and state and local financing programs. An expert in collaboration, Tim works with a wide range of partners, including community leaders, architects, attorneys, contractors, among others.

Tiffany Broyles Yost
Director of Sustainability and Resilience, GBBN

As Vice President of Affordable Housing at Urban Sites, Tim works with nonprofit leaders on creating a vision for their real estate project, whether they're serving a goal of neighborhood revitalization, serving a senior population, or serving a family population. He finds the best financing programs available for their project, and then oversees their real estate project from start to finish. Working closely with nonprofit partners, Tim manages all aspects of complex development projects, including feasibility analysis, applying for financing, executing due diligence, and closing. He has significant experience in Historic Tax Credit (HTC) financing, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) financing, HUD affordable housing programs, and state and local financing programs. An expert in collaboration, Tim works with a wide range of partners, including community leaders, architects, attorneys, contractors, among others.

 

Ryan Hoffman
Senior Principal & Director of Building Optimization Practice, HEAPY

Ryan’s passion for HEAPY’s purpose to build a sustainable, well, and more resilient society stems from a desire to ensure the next generation will enjoy a comparable quality of life. Ryan firmly believes in the connection between business culture and strategy.  He has a deep passion for developing rising stars through HEAPY’s Leadership Committee and daily mentoring of colleagues, embracing an approach built upon personal awareness. Leading with off-the-charts optimism, Ryan is known for bringing a “sky is the limit” approach. He guides inspiring conversations and elevates projects with a focus on energy and carbon emissions reduction, environmental sustainability, and building optimization. His commitment and creativity improve project outcomes and lead clients to new levels of innovation and performance.

Daniel Lessing
Client Leader, BHDP Architecture

Daniel Lessing, LEED AP, CEM, is a Client Leader for BHDP Architecture, supporting both the Discovery & Science and Industrial markets as well as leading the firm’s sustainability efforts. He has over 17 years of experience in plant and environmental engineering, project planning, and construction management. As a global-minded professional, he is well-versed in the creation of highly technical and sustainable buildings. Daniel is an experienced sustainability leader who leads the 2030 Energy Impact Team with Green Umbrella and Cincinnati 2030 District, the regional sustainability alliance of Greater Cincinnati.

 

Mollie O’Neil
Director of Community Partnerships in Conservation, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Mollie O’Neil is the Director of Community Partnerships in Conservation at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden where she focuses on coexistence. She earned her Master of Arts in Zoology from Miami University’s Project Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program, a global network of premier organizations working to co-create new solutions to the vital social and ecological issues of our time. While in graduate school, she saw first-hand that along with good data, relationship-building and collaboration are core components of successful initiatives. She works with community members, partners and Zoo staff to co-develop programs and projects  to ensure people and wildlife thrive.

Mark Fisher
Vice President of Facilities, Planning & Sustainability, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Mark’s role at the Zoo is diverse, including overseeing the development and execution of the Zoo’s  master plan, leading the visioning efforts and supporting the operations of the Zoo’s 800 acres of farmland in Warren and Clermont counties, supporting a large team of employees that maintain the Zoo’s grounds and infrastructure, and being ever present in the Zoo’s neighborhood of Avondale, working to heal old wounds and establish authentic relationships with the people that call Avondale home. Mark is also the driving force behind the Zoo's nationally recognized sustainability movement. By implementing the most aggressive green building program in the nation, along with producing dramatic reductions in natural resource consumption, the Zoo has transformed itself from an organization that barely had a recycling program, to becoming the greenest Zoo in world.

April Gallelli
Quality of Life Project Manager, Avondale Development Corporation

After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, April worked as an Inmate Classification Counselor and as a Prevention Specialist with at risk youth in Arizona. Upon moving back to Ohio in 2004, she continued to work with at risk youth through the Dayton Urban League. She then served as the Administrative Outreach Coordinator for the mental health Clinic at Wright Patterson AFB, under a contract  for the Global War on Terror for six years. April then enrolled in the School of Criminal Justice Master of Science program at University of Cincinnati. In 2015, she was hired as a Community Organizer for Avondale Development Corporation and has since been promoted to Project Manager for the Avondale Quality of Life Neighborhood plan. April holds master’s degrees in forensic psychology (Walden University) and criminal justice (University of Cincinnati).

Chelsea Clark
CEO/Founder, The STEM Lab

Chelsea launched “The STEM Lab” after winning the Mortar Judge’s Choice Award, and built her company into a force to help minorities and girls develop the skills necessary for and pathway to high-paying, innovative industries. In 2018, Chelsea was elected to the Forest Park City Council and still serves today. As Chair of the Economic Development Commission, Chelsea has spearheaded initiatives to help small and minority businesses get the access to tools and capital to be sustainable. To continue advocating for people, she plays a number of different roles in the city and county including Trustee on SORTA. Among other awards, in 2020, she received the Black History Month Award from Hamilton County for her commitment to STEM education and political advocacy. She considers her proudest achievement being her brainchild project at Rockdale: the Urban Learning Garden and Solar Greenhouse.

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Tony Staubach
Food Waste Diversion Coordinator, Hamilton County R3Source

Tony Staubach is an energetic educator, entertainer, and environmentalist who uses thought-provoking stories and queries to spark flames and stimulate passion. He strives to inspire peace by helping good people do great things. Tony earned his MS in Public Policy from Drexel University (’11) and his BA in Education from Wilmington College (’07).

 
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Amber Rose Greaney
Project Manager, Indianapolis Office of Sustainability

Amber Rose Greaney is a Project Manager at the Indianapolis Office of Sustainability and Faculty at IUPUI where she teaches Sustainable Management. She oversees the implementation of Indianapolis' Benchmarking and Transparency program, referred to as 'Thriving Buildings'. Amber has a demonstrated history of solving sustainability challenges, recognized through her honors as a 2020 IUPUI Top 5 Graduate Student, a 2019 Top 7 Undergraduate Student, and a 2019 Inspire IUPUI Student. Amber has secured over $41,000 in grants for sustainability projects. She is passionate about creating healthy environments, socially just communities, and resilient economies.

 
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Colleen McSwiggin
Managing Director & Co-founder, Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub

Colleen McSwiggin is the Managing Director and co-founder of the Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub.  A graduate of Miami University (B.A. Microbiology ’94), she was previously the Chemistry Lab Manager and Sustainability Committee Chairperson at Mount St. Joseph University, where she organized electronics recycling events and led the “Beyond the Bin” recycling initiative.  For her sustainability work at Mount St. Joe and in the community, she was awarded the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award by the Sisters of Charity and the Teacher Environmental Award by the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition in 2019.  She is also a member of the Faith Communities Go Green
Facilities Committee.

 
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Sanyog Rathod
President & CEO, Sol design + consulting

Sanyog Rathod is the founder of Sol design + consulting, a Cincinnati-based firm which provides sustainability consulting and design services. His commitment to Architecture spans 30 years. Since the inception of Sol design + consulting, he has devoted his career towards sustainability, affordable housing and green historic preservation. He spearheaded the residential component of the 2008 Green Historic Study by Over-the-Rhine Foundation which explored synergies and conflicts between historic preservations and green renovations. As a LEED Provider and Passive House Consultant, Sanyog has certified over 1,000 residential and commercial projects in over 20 states and globally. Sol certified the largest LEED for Homes project in the world (617 Homes, 2.54 million square feet); certified the first LEED-Platinum multifamily supportive housing project in Ohio; and certified the first Passive House Multifamily building in the State of Ohio.

 
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Alan Wight
Associate Professor, Christ College of Nursing & Health Sciences / University of Cincinnati

R. Alan Wight, Ph.D., is an Associate Faculty member at The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences, where he coordinates their Service-Learning Program and leads the Mt. Auburn Gardens Initiative & Collaborative (MAGIC).  He is also the School and Community Forest Garden Liaison for the University of Cincinnati and teaches Fruit and Nut Production at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.  Alan works with schools and communities to create maps of their food related assets and plant edible forest gardens.  His maps have been featured in Tracing the Ground and are available through The Central Ohio River Valley Food Guide. His current project, Cincinnati’s Foodshed: An Art Atlas – Past, Present, & Future, tells the story of the innovations that have changed the global foodshed.