2015 EcoHour Speakers

Cynthia Giles; January 2015

Assistant Administrator of the EPA Office of Compliance & Enforcement

Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles leads EPA’s efforts to enforce our nation’s environmental laws and advance environmental justice. Giles has committed EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance to three goals: (1) Tough civil and criminal enforcement for violations that threaten communities and the environment, with a particular emphasis on addressing the problems of communities overburdened with pollution; (2) Next-Generation Compliance: achieve greater compliance and reduce pollution using advanced monitoring and information technologies; and (3) Strong EPA/state/tribal environmental protection: work together toward shared environmental goals.

Giles has more than 30 years of service in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. She prosecuted civil violators of environmental laws as an Assistant United States Attorney in Philadelphia, led the water protection program for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, served as the Director of Enforcement Coordination for EPA Region 3, and before returning to EPA, was the Director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Advocacy Center in Rhode Island, where she advocated for laws and policies to combat climate change and promote clean energy. Giles has a BA from Cornell University, a JD from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MPA from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

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Isabel Hagbrink; March 2015

Senior Communications Officer, Carbon Finance Unit, World Bank

Isabel Hagbrink is the Senior Communications Officer of the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit. As such, she is responsible for all communications, both corporate and project-based, of the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit vis-à-vis external and internal audiences. This includes World Bank stakeholders, both industrialized and developing countries; media; NGOs; indigenous peoples, private sector, governments and others.

Previous to the World Bank, Isabel was the Vice President for Voluntary Markets at MGM International, project development, investment and commercialization firm whose objectives are the identification, design, negotiation, execution and support of projects that contribute to reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. There she was responsible for the origination of greenhouse gas emission reductions projects in the US Voluntary Market and responsible for the relationship with US clients and Morgan Stanley, the main shareholder of MGM.

Before working at MGM International, Isabel spent nine years at the Inter-American Development Bank, where she worked in the Private Sector Department with project finance and in the Office of External Relations where she was responsible for the IDB’s outreach to private sector firms and consultants and had daily public speaking engagements at conferences and to visiting groups.
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Angela Fox; April 2015

President and CEO, Crystal City Business Improvement District

Angela FoxAngela Fox was hired as the first President/CEO of the Crystal City BID in November of 2006. Under her leadership, the Crystal City BID has grown in both size and scope, dramatically changing the way the people see and perceive Crystal City. The Crystal City BID is also become a pioneer in the industry, with many of the programs and methods created by Ms. Fox being adopted by other organizations throughout the region.

Prior to working at the Crystal City BID, Ms. Fox served as Executive Director and CEO for Cultural Tourism DC. While at Cultural Tourism, she expanded the capacity, visibility, viability, and reach of the organization in every area from membership and funding, to program delivery. She either initiated and/or delivered creative and innovative marketing programs including three Heritage Trails, WalkingTown Spring/Fall, Warm Up to a Museum, and Culture Cool.

Though Ms. Fox now works in the non-profit sector, her background is primarily corporate. She has run her own consulting firm providing business strategy, marketing and executive coaching services to individuals, corporations, and non-profits, including ESPN, Bank of America, Association for Education Development, and more. She was also VP for Product and then Strategic Development at Simplexity, and she began her career in the Executive Development Program at Bell Atlantic (now Verizon). While at Bell Atlantic, she launched Bell Atlantic.net, the company’s Internet Access product, and, as CIO for Consumer Services, their first e-commerce application for their consumer base; as well as appearing in two Bell Atlantic commercials and facilitating Diversity Management training throughout the organization.

Graduating from Georgia Tech with Highest Honors in electrical engineering, Ms. Fox has honed a deep and meaningful commitment to her community. She currently serves and has on several boards, including the Arena Stage Corporate Board, Synetic Theater (as Chair), Georgia Tech, and the FotoDC Advisory Board. She is a past chair for the Capitol Fringe Festival and the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s board, which raised more than $9M and built a new theatre during her tenure. She also served on the Arlington Arts Commission. A 28 year, Prius-driving vegetarian, avid traveler, runner, and active yogi, Ms. Fox lives in Arlington and is the proud mom of an amazing 6th grader at Gunston Middle School.
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Kathy Rest; May 2015

Executive Director, Union of Concerned Scientists

As executive director of UCS, Kathleen Rest oversees the organization’s programs and operations, drawing upon a wealth of experience in government, academia, and the nonprofit sector to help guide the organization on issues ranging from climate change to global security. Before joining the UCS staff in 2004, Dr. Rest’s experience includes serving as acting director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the anthrax scare that followed. Throughout her tenure at NIOSH, she held several leadership positions, including the deputy director for programs. Prior to her work in the federal government, Dr. Rest was an associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and an adjunct associate professor at the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health. She has extensive experience as a researcher and advisor on occupational and environmental health issues in countries including Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Dr. Rest was a founding member of the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC), a national nonprofit organization committed to improving the practice of occupational and environmental health through information sharing and collaborative research. She also served as the chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH). Dr. Rest earned her doctorate in health policy from Boston University and her master’s degree in public administration, with a focus on health services, from the University of Arizona. She lives in Brighton, MA, and enjoys spending her free time with family and friends, reading, walking, and improving her Greek.
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Michelle Perez; June 2015

Senior Associate, World Resources Institute

Michelle is a Senior Associate on the Water Team in the Food, Forests, and Water Program. She leads projects on nutrient trading, farm conservation targeting, and the development of field- and watershed-scale nutrient reduction estimation tools. Michelle conducts policy analyses of existing voluntary program approaches to increasing adoption of farm conservation practices. She explores improvements to these approaches including outcome-goal setting, geographic and benefit-cost targeting, and performance measurement. She collaborates with scientific and economic modeling partners to develop field- and watershed-scale tools for use by farmers and policy-makers to achieve cost-effective water quality outcomes. Michelle also collaborates with leading environmental, conservation, and farm trade association groups, university specialists, and federal, state, and regional agency representatives.

Previously, Michelle was a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group where she published reports evaluating federal conservation programs operating in the 10 states bordering the Mississippi River and the six states in the Chesapeake Bay. Before that, she worked for the Alliance to Save Energy on international energy efficiency issues in China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines. Michelle holds a doctorate in environmental policy from the University Of Maryland School Of Public Policy. Her dissertation is a three-state comparative case study of farm nutrient management regulations in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. She has an undergraduate degree in biology from Occidental College. Michelle also serves as Past President of the National Capital Chapter for the Soil Water Conservation Society. Michelle grew up in the Philippines and Nigeria and spent her summers in Greeley, Colorado. She lives in Maryland with her husband, toddler, and their non-fetching pure-bred mutt. When Michelle has “free time,” she enjoys salsa dancing, yoga, gardening, and historical fiction.
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Lisa Garcia; July 2015

VP of Litigation for Healthy Communities, Earthjustice

As the Vice President of Litigation for Healthy Communities, Lisa Garcia charts Earthjustice’s course in groundbreaking and high-impact litigation to protect communities and families from the wide range of pollution issues that confront them on a daily basis. Lisa works to continue and strengthen Earthjustice’s legacy of winning protections for these families and communities. Prior to coming to Earthjustice, Lisa served in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice at the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, a role where she elevated environmental justice issues to the highest levels of the agency. She helped draft and implement Plan EJ 2014, EPA’s roadmap to integrating and strengthening environmental justice throughout its programs, activities, and decisions. Garcia also worked to promote meaningful, working relationships with overburdened, low income, minority and tribal communities, as well as build strong partnerships. She led the Environmental Justice Interagency Workgroup with other Federal agencies—including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce—to address some of the country’s most persistent environmental challenges. Before her role at the EPA, Garcia served as the Chief Advocate for Environmental Justice and Equity at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In that position, she developed statewide environmental justice initiatives to tackle critical environmental challenges, and served as co-chair of the Governor’s Environmental Justice Interagency Task Force. Garcia also served as Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Attorney General, where she represented various state agencies in environmental litigation matters and defended New York’s Brownfields Cleanup Program.
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Talia Buford; September 2015

Labor and Environment Reporter, Center for Public Integrity

Talia Buford is a reporter in the Center for Public Integrity’s Environment and Labor team. She spent three years as an energy reporter for Politico, where she covered natural gas and the Interior Department and authored the daily Afternoon Energy newsletter. Previously, Buford spent five years at The Providence (R.I.) Journal as a legal affairs and municipal reporter. She earned a master’s degree in the study of law from Georgetown University Law Center and studied print journalism at Hampton University. Her work has been recognized by the Rhode Island Press Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Foundation.
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Kathy Baughman McLeod; October 2015

Director of Climate Risk and Resilience, The Nature Conservancy

KathyBMcLeodKathy Baughman McLeod is the Director of Climate Risk and Resilience at the Nature Conservancy. She leads TNC’s global strategy to mainstream the use of natural infrastructure to protect people and communities by reducing the risks of storms and floods. With a particular focus on advancing science, finance and policy in the insurance and engineering sectors, Ms. Baughman McLeod works across four continents and multi-disciplinary teams to scale and implement climate risk reduction solutions.

Prior to coming to TNC, Ms. Baughman McLeod served international clients in mining, energy finance and other natural resource sectors. She was also twice-appointed by the Governor of Florida to the Florida Energy & Climate Commission.

Ms. Baughman McLeod served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to Florida’s elected Chief Financial Officer where
she handled policy development and execution related to the State Treasury and Pension Fund ($150 billion)
and the financial risks and impacts of climate change, including Florida’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund ($26
billion) and Citizens Insurance (1.3 million policies). She worked for The Trust for Public Land in conservation finance for several years on over $6 billion in conservation funding.

She holds an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, where course work took place in Dubai, Delhi, St.
Petersburg, Bangkok, Shanghai and London, an MS in Urban Geography and a BS in International Affairs from
Florida State University. She also holds a certificate in Health Impact Assessment from the University of Liverpool in the UK. She is a 2013 Policy Fellow of the French Foreign Ministry and a Fellow of the Forte Foundation for Women in Business.
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Lauren Shweder Biel; November 2015

Executive Director and Co-founder, DC Greens

Lauren-Biel_DC_GreensLauren Shweder Biel is Executive Director and co-founder of DC Greens. Since its founding in 2009, DC Greens has been recognized as a local and national leader in food systems work, with an emphasis on collaborative solutions that amplify collective impact. Lauren currently serves on the D.C. Mayor’s Commission on Healthy Youth and Schools, and the D.C. Department of Health’s Diabesity Committee. In 2014, Lauren was named a Toyota Mother of Invention at Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit.
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