Meet Our Green Panelists

We’re assembling a panel of Colorado’s foremost sustainable business leaders to discuss how their changing the game for the environment. The four panelists will answer sustainability questions from our moderator (Michael Davies, owner of Davies Media Design), as well as questions directly from the audience during our Q&A Session. Read about our current panelists for the August 3rd Boulder Green Forum below!

Heidi VanGenderen

Chief Sustainability Officer, University of Colorado Boulder

As the Chief Sustainability Officer, Ms. VanGenderen is in charge of “driving a campus-wide vision for sustainability in support of the university’s aspiration of becoming a national model of excellence in the arena. One of her first orders of business will be to develop a sustainability council that will lead creation of CU Boulder’s strategic sustainability vision and develop policies that help fuel sustainability across the campus.”

Prior to recently winning this newly created position at CU, Heidi VanGenderen was the Director of External Affairs in the Office of Congressional & Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. She also served as the Director of Public Engagement while at the Department of Energy.

Ms. VanGenderen has worked on energy and climate issues in the non-profit, public, academic, and private sectors as an organizer, writer, researcher, and public speaker for the majority of her professional career. She served as Director of National and Regional Outreach for the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) where she was part of the policy team. Prior to ACORE, she served as a Senior Energy Advisor for the Worldwatch Institute.

 

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A Colorado native, Ms. VanGenderen previously served as Colorado’s first gubernatorial climate advisor, where she oversaw the creation of the state’s first Climate Action Plan. Ms. VanGenderen helped establish Colorado’s citizen-initiated renewable energy standard. As a Senior Associate, Ms. VanGenderen worked closely with the Wirth Chair in Environmental and Community Development Policy at the University of Colorado’s Graduate School of Public Affairs for eight years where she focused predominantly on energy and climate change. She also served as Deputy Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project, a private initiative focused on developing policy recommendations on climate and energy security. A graduate of Carleton College (currently the 7th best liberal arts college in the nation), Ms. VanGenderen is also a 2009 alumna of the Chevening Fellowship program, focusing on finance and investment in a low-carbon economy.

Irene Vilar

Founder, Americas Latino Eco Festival and Americas for Conservation + the Arts

Irene Vilar is an award winning author and Guggenheim fellow, publisher, environmental activist, and founder and executive director of the Colorado based non profit Americas for Conservation + the Arts 501(c)(3). Vilar serves on the advisory council of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry as well as on the boards of the Latino Alliance for Literacy Advancement and the Jaipur Literary Festival. She is also a member of the Denver Foundation Environmental Affinity Group (EAG).

Vilar has been an active public speaker for multicultural literacy, reproductive and mental health, environmental justice, and access/equity issues in connecting communities to the outdoors. Since the publishing of Vilar’s first book in 1996, she has given numerous academic lectures and workshops on writing, reproductive health, and environmental justice. Vilar gave the keynote at the 2010 National Convention of State Senators and Legislators Hispanic Caucus on Latino Mental Health, “Severe Depressive Disorder: Overcoming Adversity and Stigma”. Vilar is also a member of the Oxford Union Debate Society and a recipient of the Community Builder 2016 Love This Place Award from the City of Denver Office of Sustainability.

Bill Long

Chief Financial Officer, Snooze an AM Eatery

Bill Long serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Snooze, a rapidly growing breakfast and brunch concept based in Denver, CO, where he is better known as “Dollar Bill”. Mr. Long has twelve years of experience leading accounting and finance functions within the restaurant industry including previous roles as Vice President of Finance for Noodles & Company (NASDAQ: NDLS), Senior Director of Corporate Finance for Bloomin’ Brands (NASDAQ: BLMN) and Acting Chief Financial Officer of Outback Steakhouse, South Korea. Mr. Long has an MBA from the University of Tampa and a BS in Finance from the University of Colorado.

Snooze is a Gold Level member of the Environmental Leadership Program, as well as a Certifiably Green Denver and Climate Wise company.

Andrea Sanders

Founder, Be Zero

Be Zero is a non-profit headquartered in Boulder that focuses on zero waste education. Andrea’s background in environmental conservation spans over 20 years, with its start as a member of the Marine Mammal Care Team at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, where she assisted with sick, injured, and stranded marine mammals and taught education programs to the aquarium vistors.

From there she went on to the Central Florida Zoological Park & Botanical Gardens. Here, she was a Lead Zoo Educator and Educational Animal Assistant Keeper. During her time there, she developed and shared education and conservation programs for grades K-12 and facilitated the Zoo’s Green Team, which created conservation educational projects for staff and public. Andrea also worked briefly at the Denver Zoological Park. There she hosted guest interactions through animal education and conservation discussions. Highlighting animal care, stories, and vital conservation programs specifically in the Toyota Elephant Passage.

Last summer, Andrea was invited to speak at Tedx Aruba’s September 2016 event. At Tedx, she shared her take on the question, “What if we all made less trash?” with an audience of 500 individuals and broadcasted live to the Dutch Embassies.

Panelists from Previous Events

Pete Maysmith

Pete Maysmith

Executive Director | Conservation Colorado

Sarada Krishnan, Ph.D.

Sarada Krishnan, Ph.D.

Director of Horticulture & Center for Global Initiatives | Denver Botanic Gardens

 

 

Lindsay Arell

Lindsay Arell

Sustainable Programs Manager | Colorado Convention Center & Red Rocks

Andrea Sanders

Andrea Sanders

Director & Founder, Be Zero

Matt Hamilton

Matt Hamilton

Sustainability Director | Aspen Skiing Company

Turner Wyatt

Turner Wyatt

Executive Director | Denver Food Rescue

 

 

Corey Odell

Corey Odell

Sustainability Coordinator | Odell Brewing

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