Speakers


The Croatan Forum will be a collaborative conversation including all participants. Speakers at the Croatan Forum will include:

Matt Aitken

Kharmika Tillery Alston

Joanne Bauer

Melissa Beck

Laura Benedict

John Steven Bianucci

Omar Blayton

DEANNA BRATTER

Sharlene Brown

Jeff Conant

Felicia Davis

Alice DonnaSelva

Christi Electris

Ivan Frishberg

Vicky Garcia

Sada Geuss

Bill Harrington

Nathan Horst

Joshua Humphreys

Chris Ito

Sandi Kronick

Rick Larson

David LeZaks

Henry McKoy

Sandra Mikush

Jessica Norwood

Mark Regier

Natalie Reitman-White

David Sand

James Sills, III

Meredith Storton

Elizabeth Umlas

Craig Wichner

Bernard Worthy

Mary Ellen Zellerbach

Speaker Bios


Matt Aitken

Croatan Institute

Matt Aitken is a Fellow at Croatan Institute. Previously, he served as an ORISE Research Fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he used the MARKet ALlocation (MARKAL) model to carry out economic analysis of the U.S. energy system. Aitken received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Colorado, where his research focused on applications of lidar and computational fluid dynamics to wind energy. He also holds a B.S. in physics from the University of North Carolina and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from North Carolina State University, where he was a Dean’s Fellow.

Kharmika Tillery Alston

Self-Help Credit Union

Kharmika Alston is Self-Help’s Food System Finance Fellow, a dual appointment with Duke University’s World Food Policy Center. She joined in December 2017 where her role is to provide technical assistance to food entrepreneurs of color that are expanding access to healthy foods in low-income communities. Previously she worked at the United States Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer serving in Mexico and the Netherlands. Kharmika holds a Master’s of Public Policy from Duke University and a Bachelor’s from UNC at Chapel Hill. She’s also a licensed North Carolina real estate broker and manages LiveLoveDurham.com, where she curates relevant information on real estate and community.

Joanne Bauer

Rights CoLab; Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights

Joanne Bauer is Co-Founder and Principal of Rights CoLab, and Senior Researcher of the Business and Human Rights Program at Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights.  She is also Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University where she teaches Business and Human Rights and a year-long Business and Human Rights Clinic. 

From 2006 -2012, Bauer was Senior Researcher at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, where she led the Centre’s Asia work, and also specialized HIV/AIDS, women's human rights, and access to medicines globally. From 1994 to 2005 Bauer was Director of Studies at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs (New York), where she founded the Carnegie Council’s research programs on human rights and environmental values.  She also directed the Council’s fellows program, providing off-site fellowships for early career scholars and mid-career professionals. She was the Council’s Director of Japan Programs from 1991 to 1994 and before that held positions in banking, government affairs, and media.

Bauer is Vice Chair of the Board of Inclusive Development International and on the Advisory Boards of Accountability Counsel, Route2 and several initiatives in the Business & Human Rights field.  Since 2011 she has been a Research Affiliate with the Human Rights Institute of the University of Connecticut, and from 2016-2017 was appointed Senior Fellow at Melbourne University Law School.  She  co-founded and leads the Business and Human Rights Teaching Forum, a network of over 300 professors and trainers teaching business and human rights at over 200 institutions in 35 countries.

Bauer is the Co-editor (with Daniel A Bell) of The East Asian Challenge for Human Rights (Cambridge University Press), Editor of Forging Environmentalism:  Justice, Livelihood and Contested Environments (Routledge), and author of numerous articles.   Her current areas of work are: shareholder advocacy; the human rights responsibilities of financial institutions; benefit corporations/certified B Corps and other alternative business models; National Action Plans on business and human rights; multi-stakeholder initiatives; business advocacy for civil society; technology for business and human rights; and quantifying the business costs of company-community conflict.  She is the co-author (with Elizabeth Umlas) of two articles on B Corps and human righs:  “Do B Corps Respect Human Rights?” (Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2017) and Making Corporations Responsible:  The Parallel Tracks of the B Corps Movement and the Business and Human Rights Movement (Business & Society Review, 2017).

Melissa Beck

The Educational Foundation of America

Melissa Beck is Executive Director of The Educational Foundation of America (EFA). Founded in 1959, EFA is a family foundation with assets of $190M that supports a range of organizations through national grantmaking and impact investing activities. EFA makes grants in four program areas: climate, creative placemaking, democracy, and reproductive health. Prior to joining EFA, Melissa was CEO of Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT), a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing access to justice for children and families throughout New York State. Before LIFT, she worked on criminal justice reform on a national and local scale. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Melissa was a litigator, working as a prosecutor in the Brooklyn DA's Office and as a criminal defense attorney. Melissa has been an Adjunct Professor of Nonprofit Management at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and an Adjunct Professor of Women’s Studies at Fordham University. She is the author of numerous articles on nonprofit management and social justice issues as well as a playwright. She sits on the Leadership Council of the Support Center on Nonprofit Management and on the Steering Committee of the Active Owners Working Group at Confluence Philanthropy. A graduate of Hampshire College, Melissa received her JD from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and holds a certificate in nonprofit management from the Columbia Business School.

Laura Benedict

Self-Help Venture Funds

Laura Benedict is President of Self-Help Ventures Funds and leads Self-Help’s Development, Policy and Impact team. She joined Self-Help staff in 1989 and has worn many hats as the organization has grown into the US’s largest nonprofit community development financial institution, with $2 billion in assets and operations in North Carolina, California, Chicago, Florida and Washington, DC.

Prior to assuming her current role in 2012, Laura spent most of her time on Self-Help’s commercial lending team, as its leader from 2002-2010, and helped pioneer the field of lending to nonprofits. In 2010, she took a leave of absence from Self-Help to accept an Ian Axford Fellowship in Public Policy that took her and her family to New Zealand. As an Axford Fellow, she promoted community development finance “down under” and published Social Lending: A Tool for Grant Makers, an Opportunity for Communities.

Before joining Self-Help, Laura worked at Catalyst, a New York-based, international non-profit women’s organization and taught English in China. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina.

John Steven Bianucci

Iroquois Valley Farms

Mr. Bianucci's focus is maximizing Iroquois Valley Farms social & environmental impact and communicating its powerful story of leadership in creating a strong and healthy agriculture for all. Previously, he has been instrumental in re-branding, marketing, sales and product development at a leading media software company and as an entrepreneur has co-founded, published and edited three publications. Computer User magazine was the country’s first regional computer publication, publishing monthly for 24 years. John Steven graduated from Harvard College. He and his wife, Marina, reside in Wilmette, Illinois. 

Omar Blayton

Sunwealth

Omar is an executive with extensive experience structuring, developing, and managing renewable energy projects, both nationally and internationally. Prior to joining Sunwealth, Omar was Managing Director of Project Finance at Innova Energy Partners, focusing on investments in the renewable energy and energy efficiency spaces. Before that, Omar was Vice President of Structured Finance at Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a leading commercial and industrial solar developer. There, he led all financing efforts and assisted with the company’s construction, business development, corporate operations, and legal divisions. Earlier in his career, Omar was a Vice President with Reznick Capital Markets Securities and an associate in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Leveraged Finance Group, where he managed leveraged buyouts, strategic acquisitions, and corporate refinancing. Before entering finance, Omar was an attorney with Reed Smith LLP serving as an investment management advisor to one of the nation’s largest mutual fund companies. Omar holds a JD from Columbia Law School, an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School, and a BA from Cornell University. 

Deanna Bratter

Danone North America

Deanna Bratter is the Director of Sustainable Development for Danone North America, the largest public benefit corporation and the largest Certified B Corporation in the world. Deanna drives the company sustainability strategy and programs to support the interconnectivity between the health of people and the health of the planet, and works to amplify the positive impacts of sustainability within business.

Deanna oversees the organizations nature and sustainability focus areas including commitments to solving climate change, advancing sustainable and regenerative agriculture, managing water sustainably, restoring natural ecosystems, improving packaging, and supporting people and communities. 

Prior to Danone North America, Deanna led Corporate Sustainability for WhiteWave Foods where she began in 2005 and was instrumental in driving WhiteWave’s sustainability initiatives, public CSR/ESG reporting and helping the company create a values-driven culture. 

Deanna integrates her passion for making the world a better place through leadership, education and innovation with her dedication to transforming the sustainability ambitions of business into meaningful results. 

Sharlene Brown

Partnership for Responsible Financial Inclusion

Sharlene Brown is the executive director of the Partnership for Responsible Financial Inclusion. Previously, she served as national director of Oikocredit-USA, where she raised investment capital and provided development education on microfinance and social performance to investors with more than US$35 million in assets. Ms. Brown also worked with the Grameen Foundation, a member of the Partnership for Responsible Financial Inclusion, as a senior program officer for their Social Performance Management Center, where she oversaw projects for microfinance institutions in sub-Saharan Africa and Middle-East/North Africa. She has also worked in the socially responsible investment marketplace as a business development manager for Domini Social Investments, and as research associate for the Social Investment Forum.

Ms. Brown holds a bachelor’s from Wellesley College and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Jeff Conant

Friends of the Earth

Jeff Conant directs Friends of the Earth’s international forests program. The program’s primary campaign, “Landgrabs, Forests and Finance” pressures institutional investors and consumer brands to recognize and address the material risks associated with rainforest destruction. Recent successes include supporting CalPERS to expand its ESG policies to recognize deforestation, biodiversity, and land rights as material investment risks, and pressuring several multinational consumer brands to cancel contracts with abusive palm oil suppliers in Guatemala.

Jeff has worked on issues of international development justice for two decades, including advocacy for climate justice at the U.N. and other global arenas. With International Accountability Project he co-authored a Community Guide to the Environmental and Social Safeguards of the Asian Development Bank; and with Hesperian Health Guides he co-authored A Community Guide to Environmental Health, a grassroots manual published in over a dozen languages. Jeff is also author of A Poetics of Resistance, about Mexico’s Zapatista movement, and translator of Wind in the Blood: Mayan Healing and Chinese Medicine.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University and a Master’s from New College of California.

Eric Darrisaw

Omniresearch Group

Bio coming soon 

Felicia Davis

HBCU Green Fund & Clark Atlanta University

Felicia M. Davis, Coordinates Sustainability for Clark Atlanta University and is a member of the CAU Sustainability Council. She supports the CAU team approach to sustainability with a focus on campus-wide engagement.  A staunch advocate for measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency retrofits, green building and an array of sustainable practices, she founded the HBCU Green Fund to help finance green projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She is a member of the leadership team for the NSF funded Science Education Resource Center InTeGrate Geoscience program advancing interdisciplinary teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future and co-leads the HBCU Geosciences Working Group.  She serves on the boards of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation & Convener of the Clayton County Black Women’s Roundtable, Green 2.0-an initiative dedicated to increasing racial diversity in environmental leadership and the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper an environmental advocacy organization with almost 7000 members dedicated solely to protecting and restoring the Chattahoochee River Basin. She began her environmental career working on air quality and climate justice as the Georgia Airkeeper director and subsequently served as the first director of Mothers & Others for Clean Air when it was housed within the Georgia Conservancy.  She is an Environmental Leadership Program Senior Fellow, IGEL Fellow and Center for Whole Communities Member.  Air of Injustice Report, she also produced the MSI Green Report, Sustainable Campuses-Building Green at Minority Serving Institutions, and the 2014 HBCU Green Report. Her favorite question is, “if we get it right what will it look like?”

Alice DonnaSelva

Intentional Endowments Network

Alice DonnaSelva is a Principal of the Intentional Endowments Network, joining the team in February 2018 after serving on the IEN Steering Committee and Executive Committee for 3 years. As a member of the Executive Committee she provided an investment consultant’s perspective, helped produce the Hampshire College Case Study and spoke at several IEN forums, events and webinars. Prior to joining IEN, Alice was an investment consultant at Prime Buchholz, an investment consulting firm focused primarily on endowments and foundations that was one of the founding members of IEN. She has 17 years of investment industry experience.

While at Prime Buchholz, Alice served as Chair of the firm’s Mission Investing Committee and served on each of the four asset class committees at various times during her career there. During her time as Chair, Alice worked with the 13 person Mission Investing Committee to expand the approved list of mission aligned investment options in every asset class and to produce a number of thought pieces on the history and process of mission aligned investing. She also initiated key relationships with third party providers of ESG data and with ESG thought leaders such as PRI and IEN. She also encouraged and assisted in the development of sustainable investment products by a variety of asset managers. In her consultant role, she provided investment policy statement guidance and asset allocation and implementation advice to endowments, foundations, and other types of clients. Prior to becoming a consultant at Prime Buchholz, Alice served as a consulting analyst and investment analyst for seven years.

Alice began her investment career as a research and client service associate at Whitegate Investment Counselors, a fee-only registered investment advisor where she earned her Series 65 license. Before beginning her investment career, Alice followed her passion for learning and sharing knowledge as a teacher of English and Math to middle and high school students. Alice earned her B.A.A.S. in English Education from the University of Delaware and is a member of CFA Institute/Boston Security Analysts Society.

Christi Electris

Croatan Institute

Christi Electris is a founding team member at Croatan Institute. She has done consulting and research on a variety of environmental and social issues, including projects on energy, climate, agriculture, well-being, sustainability indicators, and corporate redesign. A computer scientist and quantitative policy analyst by training, she has designed policy scenario analyses with environmental and social impacts, including the most recent update of Tellus Institute's global sustainability scenarios. She has also designed place-based scenarios in recycling and solid waste management, job creation, and energy efficiency, and developed cost modeling exercises. Since 2009, Electris has been a member of the team tracking trends in sustainable and responsible investing for US SIF Foundation. Recently, in a major report for the Rockefeller Foundation, she analyzed company practices and policies in worker equity at large public and private food and agriculture companies, and she helped to develop a new framework for social and environmental impact investing across asset classes, known as Total Portfolio Activation. As part of the Ford Foundation-funded WealthWorks rural development program, she has developed and conducted several trainings on crowdfunding to support new investment into place-based rural value chains.

In addition to Croatan Institute, Electris continues to be affiliated with Tellus Institute, where she has been an associate since 2007. She has worked as a researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and a research assistant at MIT's Global System for Sustainable Development group, Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, and Sloan School of Management.

Ivan Frishberg

Amalgamated Bank

Ivan Frishberg leads sustainability banking for Amalgamated Bank. Frishberg works across the bank on a range of treasury management, investment and lending products designed to serve sustainability goals and the goals of our clients in the energy, climate and environment communities. Ivan has more than 25 years of public interest advocacy, organizing and policy experience. Previously he was Senior Advisor and Climate Change Campaign Manager for Organizing For Action, a senior advisor to the Climate Action Campaign, a multi-year national coalition effort to defend the Clean Air Act and support new federal policies on climate and public health. Most recently, Frishberg directed the State Climate Hub – facilitating coordination of state level efforts to implement the Clean Power Plan - and worked with the Climate Briefing Service on the intersection of US Climate Advocacy and the recent international climate negotiations. He is a member of the Design Team for the 2 Degree Lending Network, which seeks to align bank lending with the Paris Climate Agreement and sits on numbers boards for state and national advocacy organizations in addition to serving on the Board of DC Water, the public water and sewer utility for Washington, D.C.

Donna Gambrell

Appalachian Community Capital

Bio Coming Soon

Vicky Garcia

Latino Community Credit Union

Vicky is the Senior VP of Strategic Initiatives and Risk Management at Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), where she is responsible for the evaluation and control of risks inherent to the organization. Additionally, she works on the strategy, vision, and implementation of special projects. Vicky has served in various capacities with LCCU since 2001, including VP of Operations, managing the lending program, product development, operations and compliance.  Vicky joined the credit union after 8 years at Citibank Colombia. She has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sada Geuss

Trillium Asset Management

Sada Geuss is an Investment Manager at Trillium Asset Management, the oldest investment advisor exclusively focused on sustainable and responsible investing (SRI).  She works with individual and institutional investors to develop strategic investment plans that reflect their risk, return and impact objectives.  Prior to joining Trillium in 2015, Sada was an Investment Analyst at Deutsche Bank, where she spent over ten years providing investment advisory services to individual, family office, and institutional clients, including manager selection and ongoing due diligence.  Sada received her B.A. in Environmental Studies, with a concentration in Policy and Management, from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation.  She is a member of Women Investing in a Sustainable Economy (WISE), Investors’ Circle-Social Venture Network (IC-SVN), and the Boston Club, a women’s leadership organization that focuses on promoting the advancement of women to significant and visible leadership roles.  Sada is passionate about food systems and rural economic development.

Bill Harrington

Croatan Institute

Bill Harrington is a Senior Fellow at Croatan Institute. His work centers on boosting the sustainability of the world financial system with the dual aims of rationalizing economic decision-making and avoiding bailouts. He focuses on the capitalization and regulation of derivative contracts and structured finance.

Bill has evaluated products in the international financial markets since 1987, most recently as a research journalist at Debtwire ABS and before that as a senior vice president and derivatives analyst at Moody's Investors Service (Moody's). He also structured derivative contracts that referenced currencies and global interest rates at Merrill Lynch and analyzed the trading patterns of these indices as an economist at The WEFA Group.

Since 2011, Bill has worked to rectify the under-capitalization of the types of complex finance that started and fueled the financial crisis. He has submitted technical comments to US and European regulators, to US and UK legislative committees, and to rating agencies such as Fitch Ratings, Moody's, and S&P Global. Bill also provided insights regarding Moody's rating practices to the US state attorneys general who settled with the company in early 2017.

Bill has self-financed this advocacy and conducts it entirely in the public domain. He regularly speaks to the press, and his work has been profiled in the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, Bloomberg, Business Insider, ProPublica, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and on the BBC and American Public Media's Marketplace. He places all work on government and other websites and actively engages regulators, market practitioners, journalists, and other parties in on-the-record dialog.

Additionally, Bill serves on the Experts Board of Wikirating.

Nathan Horst

MicroVest

Mr. Horst is the Director of Generation for MicroVest. He is responsible for MicroVest’s global asset pipeline and product development, market strategy, and investment structuring. He joined MicroVest in 2011, previously serving as Investment Officer and Investment Manager responsible for MicroVest’s Sub-Saharan Africa portfolio. He has performed over 35 in-depth due diligences of financial institutions in 15 different countries, resulting in 90 investments worth over $150m. His previous experience includes the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and FINCA International. Prior to this, Mr. Horst spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali where he collaborated with local organizations to design, finance and implement six economic development projects.

Mr. Horst earned an MA in International Finance, Economics and Development in 2010 from Johns Hopkins University SAIS, where he focused on financial sector development in emerging markets. He also holds a BA in English Literature and Composition from Belmont University. Mr. Horst is fluent in English and Bambara, and functional in French.

Joshua Humphreys

Croatan Institute

Josh Humphreys is president and senior fellow of Croatan Institute and co-founder and senior strategist of the Institute's Organic Agriculture Revitalization Strategy (OARS). A leading authority on sustainable investing and an outspoken advocate for resilient rural development, Dr. Humphreys has taught at Harvard, Princeton, and NYU. He has also served as a Fulbright Scholar in Paris, a visiting research associate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, an associate fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, a scholar-in-residence at the Rockefeller Archive Center, an affiliate of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, an associate of the Gunzburg Center at Harvard, an Aspen Environment Forum Scholar, and a fellow at Tellus Institute. Over the last two decades, Dr. Humphreys has advised numerous investors, businesses, nonprofits, foundations, community and labor groups, policymakers and multilateral organizations on sustainability and finance. His insights on trends in endowment management, investor engagement, and impact investing have been widely published and regularly cited in the press. He has served on the advisory boards of Dwight Hall’s SRI Fund at Yale University, the Coalition for Responsible Investment at Harvard, and the Farm-to-Table Working Group of the Just Foods Collaborative.

Chris Ito

Fossil Free Indexes

Chris has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, where he held leadership positions and successfully helped to launch and grow both consulting and asset management businesses.   Prior to joining FFI, Chris was the Head of Portfolio Management at UBP Asset Management, a large fund of hedge funds firm.  He also spent over 15 years at Deloitte where he was a partner and the national leader of the Firm’s Institutional Investment Consulting Practice.   Chris has also consulted and advised numerous startup companies across different industries including financial technology companies.   Chris is a graduate of The Ohio State University and was formerly the Chair of the Board of Directors of The Ohio State University Alumni Association. 

Sandi Kronick

Eastern Carolina Organics

Since founding Eastern Carolina Organics in 2004, Sandi Kronick has been one of the leaders working to build a sustainable organic food system in North Carolina and the southeast region of the US.  Owned through a unique partnership between Sandi and 17 organic farms, ECO has paid hundreds of regional organic farmers over $27M in its 14-year history.  Sandi received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College, and currently serves as the Agribusiness representative and Chairperson of the Limited Resource and Minority Farmer Committee on the Southern SARE Administrative Council of the USDA.  She has given hundreds of workshops about the sustainable food movement; integrity and transparency in the supply chain; as well as on all aspects of the Eastern Carolina Organics business model including financing, marketing, employee engagement, and grower-ownership.

Kristin Lang

Croatan Institute

Kristin Lang is an Associate at Croatan Institute, where her areas of expertise are sustainable food systems and international development.

Prior to joining Croatan Institute, Lang worked with Oxfam America's Private Sector Department on its food justice campaign and helped to develop the indicators for the Behind the Brands scorecard. She also spent time in Mexico City working with Oxfam Great Britain to create a workshop for rural youth interested in social enterprise. She has served as a consultant for the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, DC, and Value for Women, a social enterprise focused on engaging young, female entrepreneurs. She began her career at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (formerly the Social Investment Forum), where she worked with the International Working Group and Board of Directors, as well as on event planning.

A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, Lang enjoys travel and has also spent time living abroad in London, Vienna, Dublin, Mexico City, and Freiburg, Germany. She currently lives in Durham, North Carolina. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and backpacking, trying new vegetarian recipes, and attempting urban gardening.

Rick Larson

Natural Capital Investment Fund

Rick is Senior Vice President & Director of Strategic Initiatives for Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund), TCF’s green business lending arm. Rick has worked with NCIFund since 2007, when he opened the NC operations of NCIFund.

Rick manages NCIFund’s strategic initiatives and impact measurement efforts, assists NCIFund’s President with fundraising and outreach, and originates loans in the Southeast. He has led investments in enterprises in the following sectors: agriculture and local foods; logging; recycling; limited resource farmers; and eco-tourism.

Rick has over 25 years of experience in community development and business finance, focused on supporting rural entrepreneurs, green businesses, and social ventures. He has worked with a mission-driven venture capital fund; run a nationwide entrepreneurship education program for rural youth and adults; and worked in manufacturing. He earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA from Amherst College. He teaches Impact Investing and social venture finance at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Michael Lear

AllianceBernstein

Bio Coming Soon

David LeZaks

Delta Institute

David LeZaks is the Regenerative Food Systems Lead at Delta Institute where he manages a portfolio of projects that focus on restoring soil health and producing nutrient-dense food. David is a strategic planner and systems thinker who designs disruptive infrastructure that will unlock substantial capital flows into the regenerative agriculture sector. Before joining Delta Institute, David led the Agricultural Innovation Prize at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. David holds a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources, a M.S. in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Michigan State University.

Dee McDougal

Black Wall Street

Bio Coming Soon

Henry C. McKoy, Jr.

NC Central University

Henry McKoy is currently a Faculty member and Director of Entrepreneurship at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina within the School of Business.  He also serves as the Managing Director of the Eagle Angel Network, a part of the Triangle Venture Alliance.

Henry is a seasoned professional in community and economic development, policy, government, finance, corporate, and nonprofit leadership.  He is the former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the state of North Carolina as part of the cabinet of Governor Beverly Perdue.  In Commerce, he oversaw Community Development as the top community economic development professional in the state of North Carolina.  His division, with more than 100 employees, managed a community development portfolio of over $1 billion dollars in investments across hundreds of projects in 100 counties for low-moderate income communities (urban/rural) in areas of infrastructure, affordable housing, construction, nonprofit engagement, human services, energy efficiency, development, and small business. 

McKoy has won many awards and honors, including being named Raleigh News and Observer’s Tarheel of the Week (2010); being selected as a William C. Friday for Human Relations (2003-05) of the Wildacres Leadership Institute; a Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill (2016); an Aspen Institute Scholar (2016); and a LEAP Global Nonprofit Ambassador (2016).  His work was featured in the 2014 book, Hope’s Daughters: A Helping a Day of Wisdom and Hope.

Sandra Mikush

Just Transition Fund

Sandra Mikush is a co-founder of the Just Transition Fund, an initiative launched by the Rockefeller Family Fund and Appalachia Funders Network in 2015. The Just Transition Fund seeks to build robust, resilient communities that embrace a new energy economy. JTF is dedicated to helping coal-dependent communities build diversified new economies characterized by environmental sustainability, equity and energy resilience.

Sandra formerly served as deputy director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, where she led the Foundation’s efforts to advance Appalachia’s economic transition and managed the foundation’s move toward 100% mission investing. Sandra was a member of the founding executive committee of Mission Investors Exchange and a founding member of the Appalachia Funders Network.

A North Carolina native and graduate of Duke University, Sandra lives with her husband in the NC mountains, where she enjoys hiking and kayaking.

Tom Mitchell

Cambridge Associates

Bio Coming Soon 

Jessica Norwood

Runway Project

Jessica is founder of the Runway Project. She is also the executive director of the Emerging ChangeMakers Network, an organization dedicated to working with inspiring leaders and innovative ideas that end economic inequality. As a leading social entrepreneur in her region, she supports strengthening social enterprise and social investing as a way to build community resiliency. Jessica previously spent years in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, as a political fundraiser and consultant, raising millions of dollars for various campaigns. 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.

Allison Pyburn

Debtwire ABS

Bio Coming Soon 

Mark Regier

Everence

Mark A. Regier is Vice President of Stewardship Investing for Praxis Mutual Funds and Everence Financial, a leading provider of faith-based financial products in the United States and a ministry of Mennonite Church USA. Mark has been involved in the field of ethical and socially responsible investing at Everence for more than 20 years. He oversees the company’s work in socially responsible investing (including investment screening, ESG integration, proxy voting, corporate engagement and community investing). In addition, Mark works with products and programs throughout Everence to strengthen their creative integration of faith and finances.  In 2015, Mark assumed leadership of the sales and marketing efforts for the Praxis Mutual Funds.

Mark has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the US Social Investment Forum, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Partners for the Common Good, the International Working Group (USSIF), The Isaiah Fund for Disaster Recovery Investing, and the Highland-Good Steward SRI hedge fund. In 2006, Mark received the SRI Service Award, the US social investment industry’s highest honor.

With over 25 years of service to the church and a background in ethics and theological studies, Mark is often a resource to national and international media and organizations on faith-based and community investing issues.

Natalie Reitman-White

Organically Grown Company

Natalie Reitman-White is the VP of Organizational Vitality and Trade Advocacy at Organically Grown Company, the Northwest’s largest distributor of organic produce. Since 2005, she has worked with cross-departmental teams to integrate sustainable practices across the organization. In 2008, Fast Company Magazine called Natalie a “leading executive making the food supply cleaner, greener, and healthier”. She founded and served as the Executive Director of the Food Trade Sustainability Leadership Association (FTSLA), a nonprofit business association focused on education, research and collaborative problem-solving across the organic food supply-chain to develop innovative sustainable business models. She has been on the faculty for the Institute for Sustainable Environment at the University of Oregon and had served on numerous advisory boards throughout the organic food sector. She holds an M.S. in Environmental Sociology from the University of Oregon.

David Sand

Community Capital Management

David Sand is the Chief Impact Strategist of Community Capital Management. He has more than 35 years of investment management experience and is a trailblazer in the socially responsible/impact investing arena. In 1994, he co-founded Access Capital Strategies and served as its president and chief investment officer from 1994 to 2010. In this capacity, he pioneered the development of market-rate, fixed income impact investments for institutional investors. He then worked as a consultant to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s), non-profits and social enterprises. David serves on the following boards: New York Advisory Board for Enterprise Community Partners, Croatan Institute, and AERIS®: The Information Service for Community Investors. He is also a former board member of U.S. SIF: The Forum for Sustainable Investment.

David received his A.B. in American History from Princeton University and an M.P.A from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He holds FINRA licenses: Series 7 & 63.

Mari Schwartzer

NorthStar Asset Management

Bio Coming Soon 

James Sills, III

M&F Bank

James H. Sills, III – President and CEO of Mechanics and Farmers Bank headquartered in Durham, NC.  M&F Bank has total assets of $260 Million and seven branch locations in 5 major markets within North Carolina.  M&F Bank is the 2nd oldest African American owned bank in the U.S. Mr. Sills’ background includes a unique combination of executive experience within large-scale banking operations, community banks and government organizations.  He has over 30 years of Banking and Technology Management experience.  Mr. Sills received a BA from Morehouse College and MPA from the University of Pittsburgh.   Mr. Sills also serves on the following Boards: North Carolina State Chamber of Commerce, Durham County Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Bankers Association, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Durham Tech Foundation Board, (DDI) Downtown Durham, Inc., ICBA Minority Banking Council.

Meredith Storton

RSF Social Finance

Meredith is responsible for sourcing and evaluating prospective borrowers and strengthening existing relationships within RSF’s Food & Agriculture portfolio. Prior to joining the lending team in 2015, Meredith worked with RSF’s investor clients. She has a B.A. in Economics and History from the University of Virginia and spent her first few years out of school as an AmeriCorps volunteer.

Elizabeth Umlas

Croatan Institute

Elizabeth Umlas is a senior fellow at Croatan Institute. A political scientist by training, she is an independent researcher and consultant with over 16 years of experience in the field of business and human rights. She is currently senior advisor on capital stewardship to two global union federations in Switzerland. In her work with global unions, she has spearheaded investor engagement as a key leverage point in changing corporate behavior in relation to workers’ fundamental rights. She has been based in Switzerland since 2004; her projects are international in scope and her clients have included UN organizations, international NGOs and academic institutions in Europe.

In addition to working with Croatan Institute, Umlas teaches business and human rights at Oxford University and the University of Fribourg. From 2001 to 2007, she was senior research analyst for human rights at KLD Research & Analytics, a leading socially responsible investment (SRI) research firm in Boston. Her work there involved overseeing KLD’s human rights research. Prior to KLD, she was manager of policy research at Oxfam America and before that, a program officer and consultant for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Her recent research examines the “B Corporation” (benefit corporation) and business and human rights movements, the scope for collaboration between the two and the implications for holding corporations accountable for their impacts on human rights. Umlas is a co-founder of Sustainable Finance Geneva, a member of the Amnesty Business Group of Switzerland and a board member of the NGO Media Matters for Women.

Craig Wichner

Farmland LP

Craig founded Farmland LP in 2009 and is responsible for day-to-day management, business strategy and investments. Craig has nearly 30 years experience in real estate management and building companies. In addition to his life-long work helping manage his family’s real estate business, and spending summers growing up on a farm, he has built companies such as Depotech, which developed and continues to produce an FDA-approved treatment for metastatic brain cancer (sold to Skyepharma), and Kindmark, which developed and sold automated employee charitable contribution programs for Fortune 500 Companies (sold to Blackbaud). Craig has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Economics from University of California, San Diego. He served on the board of BN Ranch, Bill Niman’s successor company to Niman Ranch, Inc, which sold to Blue Apron (NASDAQ:APRN). 

Bernard Worthy

LoanWell

As CEO, Bernard Worthy brings a UNC business school education paired with a strong product design and software engineering background to the LoanWell leadership team. Bernard’s product-first mindset guides LoanWell's overall company strategy from a deep well of experience, which includes designing and engineering products with Fortune 100 companies like Forbes and Visa to cutting-edge organizations like Moogfest. He has designed and engineered web, mobile, and virtual reality applications for thousands of users. His extensive tech consulting and development experience is complemented by proven success in management, sales, and executive talent acquisition. Selected to participate in the competitive Macy’s Executive Development Program, Bernard managed 30 employees, was responsible for $4M in annual sales across 5 departments, and delivered the best holiday sales results in the Southeast Region (+31.7%) for that year. He was quickly promoted to recruit executive talent for the same leadership program with a $2.5M hiring budget and was awarded Best Executive Talent Acquisition Results for the year. Bernard was most recently a partner at CrossComm, a mobile and web app tech company, working with clients to leverage the constantly evolving landscape of technology to meet their software and business goals. In this role, he lead the user interface, user experience, and frontend engineering team. Bernard looks to bring his Fortune 100 business management experience and unique technical abilities to help LoanWell create access to capital and wealth generation opportunities in communities all over the world.

Mary Ellen Zellerbach

Martin Investment Management, LLC

Mary Ellen Martin Zellerbach joined Martin Investment Management, LLC in 2003 as a Managing Director. With over 30 years in the investment management industry, Ms. Zellerbach’s experience includes being a founding principal and Executive Vice President of Mellon Capital Management. Ms. Zellerbach graduated from Wellesley College in 1973 with an A.B. in economics and received her MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University in 1976.