2020 Featured Speakers

Stay tuned to learn about more speakers joining us for SVI 2020


Valerie Red-Horse Mohl

Executive Director, Social Venture Circle

Of Cherokee ancestry, Val is the Executive Director of Social Venture Circle, which builds and serves communities of informed impact investors and business leaders to make social, economic, and environmental change.

She is also the owner/founder of Red-Horse Financial Group, Inc., and has more than 30 years of in-depth experience in the financial services and investment banking industry with a unique expertise in the tribal government sector.  Val has raised and structured over $3 billion in capital for tribal nations and holds seven FINRA registrations.  She is also the owner/founder of Red-Horse Native Productions, Inc., a film and television production company primarily focused on bringing important social impact documentaries to the screen for which Val produces, writes and directs.

Val was inducted into the NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Hall of Fame in 2008.  She was recently appointed to the Board of Stanford University’s Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity and will be teaching a Stanford course on Entrepreneurship for Race and Social Equity in 2019.  Val earned a B.A. with Cum Laude honors from UCLA, has been married to former NFL football player Curt Mohl since 1982 and the couple has three children: Courtney (Stanford ‘07), Derek (California Lutheran ‘12) and Chelsea (Stanford ‘20).


Scott Hawthorn

Co-Founder & CEO, Native Shoes

Scott Hawthorn is a Vancouver based creative entrepreneur, and Co-founder and CEO of Native Shoes. Previously, Scott spent 10 years in Tokyo working in the corporate world, before returning to Vancouver as an entrepreneur to pursue new creative ventures. In 2009, he co-founded Native Shoes as a featherlight, animal-free and purpose-led footwear brand in which style sits hand-in-hand with substance. Scott is also a co-founder and board director for DBR – a non-profit institute for design education, innovation and systemic change – and a board member at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Past Speakers


Akaya Windwood

Principal, WiseBridge

Akaya Windwood is a Principal at WiseBridge, a global transformative advising, training, and consultation group. She is the former President of Rockwood Leadership Institute, and is a partner in the Opportunity Collaboration, which convenes an international conference that brings together leaders working to end poverty. She is on faculty for the RSF Social Finance Integrated Capital Institute and directs the Mycelium Fund, which makes small grants to non-profit organizations based on generosity and interconnectedness. She is one of Conscious Company’s 30 World Changing Women of 2018, and has been a featured speaker at the Stanford Social Innovation Institute, the Aspen Institute, and the New Zealand Philanthropy Summit conferences. She received an Ella Award from the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and is deeply committed to working for a fair and equitable global society while infusing a sense of purpose, delight and wonder into everything we do. Akaya lives in Oakland, CA where she reads science fiction and relishes growing enormous squash in her garden.


Julian Giacomelli

Co-Founder, Crudessence and RISE Kombucha

Julian marries tried and true legacy business practices with a multiple bottom-line and highly collaborative approach, deeply informed by buddhist and yogic philosophies.

In 2009, he co-founded progressive food ventures Crudessence and RISE Kombucha, starting with seed investment and strategic input. He served as Crudessence’s CEO/Chairman from 2010 to 2013 and President/Chairman at RISE Kombucha from 2016 to mid-2019. He is a founding board member of Montreal based Esplanade, a pioneering cross-sector incubator/accelerator for social ventures.

Julian is a regular speaker on topics including culture, sustainability and impact focus. What’s on his mind these days is how to step-up business as a force for good by fostering more non-dual, regenerative and collaborative mindsets.


Shainoor Khoja

Founder and CEO, Better Business Enterprise (BBE)

Shainoor Khoja is a global change maker and a serial entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of Better Business Enterprise (BBE) and the Gulf lead for The Global Partnership for Education, a World Bank affiliate tackling the issue of out of school children and strengthening educational systems globally. Shainoor also spearheads Foundation Holding’s focus on value healthcare and education as their Chief Impact Officer. Shainoor is currently independently tackling the issue of aging through her own start-up Thrive-Community.com.

Shainoor was the Managing Director Roshan Community at Afghanistan’s #1 mobile operator, Roshan for a decade. She has also held positions of Gulf Regional Advisor for Mercy Corps and been the Project Coordinator for AKF to deliver the Multi-Input Crisis Program in Syria during the current crisis.

As a champion for social impact, Shainoor was awarded the 2016 Lewis Institute Community Changemaker Award from Babson College. Shainoor sits on several boards and committees such as the International Development Research Center Canada (IDRC), Canada World Youth, Arab Excellence and she is a Senior Fellow in Social Innovation at Babson College.

Mike Fata

Mike Fata

Founder, Manitoba Harvest Hemp

The founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, Mike guided the growth of the company from its founding in 1998 to a majority sale of Manitoba Harvest to The Compass Group with an enterprise value of $132 million. Mike now supports the ongoing growth of the company as its Founder and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mike will join us at Hollyhock to talk about the journey of building and transitioning this successful and still growing company.


Josh Knauer

Emerging Tech & Business Strategist

Josh has been a social entrepreneur, technologist and speaker/lecturer for the past 25 years, creating and leading successful organizations in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. His ability to spot emerging trends in technology and how they can be used for the betterment of society and the environment have caused him to be considered a leading expert in the field. Josh has raised over $12 million from investors and has successfully sold two of his startups to public companies. Josh was appointed by President Obama to his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He’s been featured in Time, Fortune, Newsweek and Wired magazines, and was even named a New Media Hero by the Utne Reader and one of the Smart 50 by Smart Business Magazine. Josh lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, children, dogs and chickens. When not starting up a new business, he can be found in his garden tending organic and heirloom vegetables or out hiking in the woods.

Nova Covington

Nova Covington

Founder, Goddess Garden Organics

Nova Covington, Founder and CEO of Goddess Garden Organics hails from the Pacific Northwest where she grew a deep appreciation of the wilderness. When her baby daughter, Paige, had allergic reactions to synthetic chemicals in personal care products, Nova and her husband Paul Halter were inspired to create better organic skincare products that were safe for people and the planet.  Goddess Garden was born. In the future, profits from Goddess Garden will go to the foundation we are launching, Protect Our Mother. The foundation’s focus is on protecting coral reefs and cleaning up the ocean.  Nova can also 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 Beaty

Ross J. Beaty

Founder, Alterra Power Corp  & President, Sitka Foundation

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.

Alfa Demmellash

Alfa Demmellash

Co-Founder, Rising Tide Capital

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.

Esther Park

Esther Park

CEO, 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.

Karen Joseph

Karen Joseph

Founder, Reconciliation Canada

Karen Joseph is a proud member of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. She brings more than 20 years experience inspiring diverse partners to collaborate towards achieving effective, positive change. As the eldest daughter of Chief Robert Joseph, Karen founded Reconciliation Canada in 2012 to uphold a dream held by her father to witness thousands of people walking together for renewed relationships. In September 2013, the Walk for Reconciliation brought 70,000 people to the streets of downtown Vancouver to display commitment to transforming relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. Since then, she has championed a series of gatherings across the country, bringing together a diversity of groups and individuals to discuss the progress of reconciliation in Canada.  In 2017, Karen was recognized by BC Business Magazine as one of the Top BC Women of Influence and was recently awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

Karen can speak first-hand to the impacts of inter-generational trauma and the current realities of the Indian Residential School legacy. In the true legacy of Kwakwaka’wakw traditions and culture, Karen holds a lifelong commitment to family and community.

Sallie Calhoun

Sallie Calhoun

Owner/Manager, Pacines Ranch

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

Nikki Silvestri

Founder, Soil & Shadow

Nikki Silvestri founder of Soil & Shadow and 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

Matthew Stinchcomb

VP of Values & Impact, Etsy

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 Behn

Caleb Behn

Eh Cho Dene/Dunne-Za First Nation, Aboriginal & Environmental Lawyer

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

Carol Segal

Co-Founder, Crate and Barrel

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

David Karr

Co-Founder, Guayaki

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.