Jessica Norwood is the executive director of the Emerging ChangeMakers Network, a US based organization dedicated to working with inspiring leaders and innovative ideas that end economic inequality. A leading social entrepreneur in her region, Jessica supports strengthening social enterprise and social investing as a way to build community resiliency. Jessica is a past member of the board of directors for the Highlander Research and Education Center, a former Emerging Leaders Fellow at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, and the Political Power Fellow with the Hip Hop Archive at the Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.
Read about Jessica’s journey to Localism and her passion for changing how capital works to support communities. Changing Capital: Building Interconnection and Assets in the Black Belt
Nova Covington, Founder and CEO of Goddess Garden Organics hails from the Pacific Northwest where she grew a deep appreciation of the wilderness. That appreciation eventually grew into Goddess Garden after a foray into corporate America. When the door opens at Goddess Garden and the sound of a rolling backpack hits our ears, we always know that Nova is in the building. She can often be found taking care of her two daughters, doing yoga, and, of course, enjoying the great outdoors of Colorado.
You can read more about Nova in a recent interview for Inc Magazine.
Ross J. Beaty is a geologist and resource company entrepreneur with over 41 years of experience in the international minerals and renewable energy industries. Ross founded and is Executive Chairman of Alterra Power Corp., a mid-sized clean energy company with geothermal, solar, hydro and wind power operations in BC, Iceland and Ontario.
Ross is also President of the Sitka Foundation, one of Canada’s leading environmental foundations, patron of the Beaty Biodiversity Center at UBC and Director of a number of environmental NGO’s, including Panthera and the Pacific Salmon Foundation. He is a past President of the Silver Institute in Washington, D.C., a Fellow of the Geological Association of Canada, the Society of Economic Geologists, and the Canadian Institute of Mining, and a recipient of the Institute’s Past President’s Memorial Medal. In 2015 Ross was inducted to the Resource Hall of Fame. In 2016 Mr. Beaty received the Vancouver Aquarium’s North Medal for Ocean Conservation and the Alumni Award of Distinction from UBC’s School of Law.
To read more about Ross’s journey from “Miner to Missionary” here is a recent article about him in BC Business.
Alfa Melesse Demmellash was born and raised in Ethiopia. She came to the United States at the age of twelve with a keen interest in poverty alleviation and conflict resolution. Alfa graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 2003, where she majored in Government. During her time at Harvard, her interest in conflict resolution brought her to Rwanda. Recognizing the role economic poverty played in fueling conflicts, Alfa turned her focus to economic empowerment as a strategy to achieve peaceful societies. Named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2015, Alfa co-founded Rising Tide Capital in 2004 to empower underserved urban entrepreneurs in northern New Jersey to start and grow successful businesses. RTC’s signature program is the nationally-recognized Community Business Academy – an intensive business training program coupled with year-round consulting and management support, which equips entrepreneurs to better operate their small businesses.
CEO of Cienega Capital. Prior to joining Cienega, Esther founded Commons Stock, an impact-focused due diligence consulting firm. Clients included high net worth individuals, foundations, and investment advisors. She has 15 years of experience in mission-based financial services ranging from microfinance to risk capital investments. Esther also serves as a Board member at New Resource Bank, Nutiva, and City Fresh Foods, as well as an Advisor to Kitchen Table Advisors. Esther has also served as the Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at RSF Social Finance, and oversaw all lending activity from 2007-2011, which resulted in a tripling of the loan portfolio, and the development of a mezzanine debt fund. Prior to joining RSF, Esther was a senior consultant for ShoreBank Advisory Services, where she provided strategic and capital planning advice for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), particularly small business and affordable-housing loan funds. She also trained lenders internationally in small business lending practices, and underwrote Program Related Investments (PRIs) for private foundation clients.
Impact investor, activist, and philanthropic funder in regenerative agriculture. Her work focuses on rebuilding soil health and sequestering carbon in soil to mitigate climate change and create healthier people and planet. She is the owner and manager of the Paicines Ranch, a 7600-acre ranch in central California. There, she and her team employ a regenerative asset management system. This means using all available forms of capital – human, natural, investment, and philanthropic to affect change in the agricultural system. Prior to becoming a rancher, Sallie spent almost 25 years as an engineer, COO, and high-tech entrepreneur. She is the managing member of Cienega Capital, an impact investing firm, and the president of the Globetrotter Foundation, a family foundation. She has served on a variety of for-profit and non-profit boards, including Holistic Management International, Sierra Cascade Nursery, Agrarian Trust, and Estancia Beef.
Nikki Silvestri is the Co-Founder and CEO of Silvestri Strategies, a project design and management firm working to support thriving communities, economies, and natural environments. As the Co-Founder of Live Real and former Executive Director of People’s Grocery and Green for All, Nikki has built and strengthened social equity for underrepresented populations in food systems, social services, public health, climate solutions, and economic development. A nationally recognized thought leader, her many honors include being named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2014.
Matthew Stinchcomb is Etsy’s VP of Values & Impact. In this role he oversees the stewardship of the company’s mission and values, and works to maximize the positive impact Etsy can have in the world. He firmly believes that business can be a powerful force for social, ecological, and cultural transformation. He has worked in digital media since 1997, and at Etsy since its earliest days spending years cementing the online, million-member marketplace as a mission-driven company. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Benedikta and young son, Francis.
Caleb is of the Eh Cho Dene/Dunne-Za First Nation from Northeast BC. He is a graduate of UVic Law with a concentration in Environmental Law and Sustainability and his work focuses on unconventional energy development, the energy/water nexus and the intersection of Aboriginal and environmental law in Canada. He is the subject of the documentary film Fractured Land.
Carol Segal is the co-founder of Crate and Barrel, the housewares, furniture and home accessories retail chain with more than 170 locations. Carol opened the first location with co-founder and husband Gordon Segal in 1962 in Chicago. In addition to her active founding role, Carol is also founder of Foodstuffs Inc., Chairperson of the Board of Governors of Rush University, Trustee of Rush University Medical Center, Trustee of Chicago Theological Seminary, Trustee Emeritus of Bates College, and Life Trustee of Illinois Institute of Technology. She sits on the board of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lincoln Park Zoological Society and Crow Canyon Archeological Center.
David Karr is co-founder of Guayaki, a caffeinated and sparkling drink made from certified organic Yerba mate grown for potency, vitality, clarity and well-being. From “seed to shelf” Guayaki takes into consideration all aspects of sustainability which is reflected in its growing practices, supplier relationships, product packaging and life cycle. David also heads up marketing for his company and is responsible for the look and feel of the brand. He’s worked hard to introduce people to the mate culture and the rich experience of drinking yerba mate.