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Founding Story

Rebecca van Bergen, Founder and Executive Director of Nest graduated with her Masters Degree in Social Work the same year that Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Having grown up with a great-grandmother and grandmother who were quilters and sewers, Rebecca was drawn to craftsmanship as a means of self-expression and opportunity. Following her passion to turn craft, the second largest employer of women globally, into a means to correct the gender and income imbalance in our world, Rebecca founded Nest at age 24.

More than 11 years later, Rebecca’s leadership, determination, and enthusiasm continue to propel Nest forward.

Rebecca is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Ashoka Fellow, Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory Fellow, Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow, Cordes Fellow, and GLG Social Impact Fellow. When she is not traveling the world with Nest, she enjoys spending time enjoying the power of making with her husband and two children.

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Leadership and Team

Rebecca van Bergen is the Founder and Executive Director of Nest, a nonprofit building a new handworker economy to advance global workforce inclusivity, women’s wellbeing beyond factories, and cultural preservation. She graduated with her Masters Degree in Social Work from Washington University in 2006, the same year that Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microfinance. Following her passion to turn craft, the 2nd largest employer of women globally, into a means to correct the gender and income imbalance in our world, she founded Nest at age 24.

More than 12 years later, with no background in the fashion and home design industries, Rebecca leads an organization that is partnering with brand leaders such as West Elm, Target, Patagonia, PVH, and Eileen Fisherto improve transparency, social wellbeing, and economic opportunity for handworkers who include both artisans and less skilled manual laborers. In December of 2017 at the United Nations, Rebecca led Nest to launch the Nest Standards for Homes and Small Workshops, delivering the industry a standardized tool for improving rights and wellbeing for the world’s estimated 300 million home- based workers (ILO). The program is accompanied by a Nest Seal, designed to let consumers know that the products they shop have been ethically handcrafted. In 2018, Nest’s work reached a population of 160,000 handworkers across 92 countries, driving both social and economic impact.

In 2017, Rebecca joined the distinguished class of World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and was selected by Ashoka as an honored Ashoka Fellow. In 2016, Nest received Ashoka and C&A Foundation’s Fabric of Change Award. She is a Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory Fellow, Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow, Cordes Fellow, and GLG Social Impact Fellow. In 2015 and 2016, Rebecca received complimentary Clinton Global Initiative membership. She is regularly quoted in international media outlets including Fast Company, The New York Times, WSJ, Quartz, ELLE, Glamour and more. She has been spotlighted by the New York mayor’s office as an NYC Catalyst and has also been honored as a PBS Changemaker, a CNN Young Person Who Rocks, and one of the White Houses’s Top 100 Entrepreneurial Enterprises led by a young person.

Rebecca Van Bergen
Founder & Executive Director
rebecca@buildanest.org

As Nest’s CFO/COO, Chris oversees all of Nest’s programming, including direct-to-artisan business training and mentorship of over 500 artisan businesses across 90+ countries, strategic initiatives to solve for universal sector challenges, as well as partnerships with pioneering brands. He directs all financial activities for the Nest organization including annual budgeting and auditing, as well investment of assets.

A member of the Nest team since 2011, Chris has helped spearhead Nest’s ethical compliance program, and has worked to guide the organization through years of exponential growth and impact.

The first decade of his career was spent rooted in the arts sector as a performing musician and orchestral administrator. As a Classical Trumpet player, Chris made steady appearances with ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra and St. Louis Symphony, and served as the Director of Development & Marketing for the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.

Chris received an Executive MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at NYU, specializing in Global Business, Strategy, and Leadership, holds music degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern University, and a degree in Psychology from the University of Rochester. In addition to his lifelong love of the arts and international development, Chris is an avid cook and proud father of two amazing children.

Christopher Van Bergen
Chief Financial & Operating Officer
chris@buildanest.org

Benita Singh
Chief Programs Officer
benita@buildanest.org

Ashia is the Chief Strategy & Partnerships Officer, leading Nest’s development programs by channeling the power of partnership to mobilize funding, resources, and industry efforts to advance handworkers worldwide. Joining Nest in early 2015, Ashia led the development of Nest’s revenue generation strategies, implementing key revenue streams that have lead to organization’s growth and ability to scale impact.

Ashia is deeply committed to equity, inclusion, and cultural/environmental preservation. Prior to Nest, Ashia spent 4 years at the National Audubon Society overseeing all major fundraising and partnerships initiatives across NY State. There she launched the first young patrons program to engage millennials in conservation, created the WIC Field Internship Program to support women in science based careers and served on Audubon’s diversity committee, ensuring programs were reaching diverse communities and constituents. Before Audubon, Ashia worked for the Rockefeller family overseeing high profile initiatives and collaborations including the National Rachel Carson Award, the Human Rights Symbols Campaign, and a grassroots Brownfield Remediation program.

Ashia holds a dual degree in Anthropology and International Development from Dartmouth College where she studied the intersection between community structures, organizational systems and intangible heritage. Ashia has led trips to Poland, Belarus and Ukraine to restore cemeteries destroyed after WWII. She previously lived and worked in Brazil and spent time studying indigenous culture and craft in New Zealand.

Ashia Sheikh
Chief Strategy & Partnerships Officer
ashia@buildanest.org

Sasha is delighted to join Nest as Chief Marketing Officer, bringing a deep-rooted commitment to promoting environmental and social responsibility, cultural preservation and female entrepreneurship.

Prior to joining Nest, Sasha led global marketing and communications efforts at start-ups, growth stage companies, advertising agencies and multi-billion-dollar organizations including H&M, Nike, SOREL and HAVAS.

Sasha received her master’s degree from Reed College, where she studied sustainability across the business of fashion. Having an early penchant for travel, Sasha  conducted her undergraduate study at Bard College, Lacoste College of the Arts and the University of California, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Nature and Culture.

Sasha’s writing has appeared in various publications including National Geographic, the Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and The Journal of Cloth and Culture.

Sasha enjoys exploring the outdoors and sharing time with family and friends.

Sasha Wallinger
Chief Marketing Officer
sashaw@buildanest.org

Laura A. Hughes, MPH, is a curious learner, change-maker, and persuasive leader with high emotional intelligence.  She is the Principal and Founder of Gusto Partners, LLC, which specializes in stakeholder and relationship leadership that creates diverse and inclusive environments for iterative learning, social change and leading cross-sector collaboration.  Hughes has led numerous projects including the strategic alignment of corporate and philanthropic partners to layer focused investments to dramatically influence the trajectory of a neighborhood and achieve measurable gains for children and families in the Cody Rouge neighborhood of Detroit.  Additionally, she served as program officer with The Skillman Foundation and as the Executive Director of the Ruth Ellis Center, a homeless and runaway shelter dedicated to the needs of LGBTQ youth.

Prior to her role with Gusto Partners, LLC, Laura served as the Vice President of Communications & Community for a woman-owned, $500 million IT and business services corporation with 3,000 consultants and 32 offices in the U.S. and Europe. There she specialized in workforce development for the City of Detroit, talent attraction and retention, and led international branding, marketing, communications, and community investment strategies. Laura has built her career on tri-sector leadership, community engagement, proof of concepts, and working with high heeled and grassroots organizations to scale proven models.  She believes in cultivating a deep understanding of and working with communities to respond to community needs. Laura earned a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in Anthropology from Brown University and her Master in Public Health, Health Behavior Health Education, from the University of Michigan.  She was a 2016 German Marshall Fellow.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Jewish Fund, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and Friends of the Children-Detroit.

Laura Hughes
Program Design Strategist
laura@buildanest.org

Sara is Director of Artisan Compliance and Programming at Nest where she has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Nest’s Artisan Advancement and Ethical Compliance Program, as well as Nest’s other Global Solutions projects which aim to address common challenges faced by artisans globally such as wastewaster management, providing living wages, and technology solutions for supply chain transparency. Sara previously worked as Nest’s Program Manager at its flagship project in Varanasi, India, where she has resided for 3 1/2 years consulting closely with artisans on the ground, allowing her to deeply understand the cultural, economic and logistical challenges they face, as well as to develop practical, sustainable solutions that support the long term growth of their businesses in an ever changing global marketplace. Prior to working with Nest, Sara served as a Small Enterprise Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa, where she consulted with several micro-enterprises including artisans and a micro-finance organization on basic business skills, marketing and internal systems development.

Sara graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a degree in Arts Management and a concentration in Marketing. She is also an avid photographer and traveler.

Sara’s career began with a keen interest in the cross section of art and business and an appreciation for entrepreneurship. At the age of 16, she began an internship with an independent record label, Righteous Babe Records, founded by folksinger and social activist Ani DiFranco. She spent 9 years with the business, eventually becoming Executive Assistant and Venue Manager for the company’s multi-use venue housed in a restored 19th century church. Prior to working with Nest, Sara served as a Small Enterprise Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa, where she consulted with several micro-enterprises including artisans and a micro-finance organization on basic business skills, marketing and internal systems development.

Sara graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a degree in Arts Management and a concentration in Marketing. She is also an avid photographer and traveler.

Sara Otto
Sr. Director of Compliance & European Lead
sara@buildanest.org

Shalini combines her dual interest in program implementation and research in her role at Nest. She is closely involved with the implementation of Nest’s Ethical Compliance program and conducts trainings and assessments with artisan businesses onsite. Alongside, she is developing a comprehensive data management and analysis system for Nest’s program data. In this capacity, she works with the team to improve data collection processes and leverage new analytical software and tools to streamline data accessibility and visualization. She also has a keen interest and focus on measuring individual worker data to highlight the positive impact of Nest’s programs on worker wellbeing.

Shalini graduated with a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University, specializing in Epidemiology and Global Health. Her past work experiences span a blend of research, policy, and advocacy work across diverse sectors including nutrition, child health, and women’s empowerment, all from a global lens. She is passionate about applying data and evidence-based solutions to drive advancements in international development. In her spare time, Shalini enjoys playing the piano, tennis, and learning new languages.

Shalini Suresh
Director of Compliance & Data Analytics
shalini@buildanest.org

Amanda is the Director of Brand Strategy and Artisan Production at Nest.  Amanda works closely with Nest’s brand partners and its supply chain in adopting sustainable practices to allow for successful brand and artisan partnerships.  With her extensive production background, Amanda helps guide brands on the nuances of the handcraft producing population. In 2015, Amanda engaged in a six-month fellowship in Swaziland, where she consulted on the artisan businesses’ production processes from design concept, pricing strategies, to production efficiencies. Prior to her role at Nest, Amanda worked in the luxury accessories and footwear industry for ten years, leading the development and production at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Diane von Furstenberg, and Maiyet in New York City.  She has extensive international experience in the sourcing and production landscapes with fashion’s leading manufacturers and suppliers. Amanda graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S degree in Textiles and a concentration in Business.  She enjoys yoya, mountain hikes, and dumpling-making.

Amanda Lee
Director of Brand Strategy & Sourcing
amanda@buildanest.org

Lindsey brings a decade of experience in nonprofit management and organizational capacity building to the Nest team with expertise in nonprofit governance, process improvement, financial accountability, and social impact reporting frameworks. Previously, Lindsey led CSR engagement for a nonprofit in Russia and was part of the leadership at Charity Navigator where she developed an improved methodology for evaluating financial health and nonprofit effectiveness. Lindsey has consulted for Intentional Futures and GLG Social Impact working with high-performing NGOs and social impact leaders on evaluation frameworks, industry trends, and organizational growth strategies.

Lindsey holds an M.A. in International Development and a B.A. in Communications from Duquesne University, with certifications in Intercultural Relations from Duquesne and Program Strategy and Evaluation from Stanford University. She serves on the boards of The Ihangane Project and the Mary J. Heerdt Charitable Trust and is a member of NYC Sustained Global Impact Community of Practice and Women Investing for a Sustainable Economy (WISE-NYC).  When she’s not building logic models or writing proposals, Lindsey enjoys ceramics, amigurumi, and is an amateur vintner.

Lindsey Struck
Director of Artisan Programs
lindsey@buildanest.org

Meghan is the Director of Artisan Marketing at Nest where she works closely with Nest’s global network of artisan business leaders and members of the Nest Artisan Guild. Meghan is instrumental in creating exposure opportunities for artisan voices and stories, cultivating artisan engagement with Nest’s programming and open-access resources, growing the Artisan Guild, and creating unique artisan awareness initiatives. Meghan first joined Nest on the Partnerships Team where she managed Nest’s Co-op community, events and donor outreach.

Meghan holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Bard College and an M.A. in Merchandising from LIM College. Prior to working with Nest, she began her career in international education programming, before working in experiential travel marketing where she launched award-winning artisan crafts and culture travel campaigns. Meghan’s work has taken her around the world and she has called India, Africa and China home at different times. She is an avid climber, adventure traveler and gardener.

Meghan Black
Director of Artisan Marketing
meghan@buildanest.org

Julia is the Director of Corporate Partnerships at Nest, working with the partnerships and development teams to cultivate corporate and brand relationships. She is responsible for helping brands create a human-centric supply-chain through Nest’s fee-for-service offerings, including the flagship Ethical Handcraft program. Julia’s support for women and marginalized communities began in childhood and has driven much of her professional life. As a long-time supporter and volunteer for Nest, Julia joined the team in mid-2019.

Julia began her career at the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, DC, where she worked with partner organizations and supervised the logistical coordination of conferences and events. In 2009, Julia joined the team of Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia University, where she provided high-level administrative and strategic support for his work. Following Columbia, Julia served as Director of the Pacific Forum Young Leaders Program in Honolulu, leading teams of young policy professionals and elevating their ideas to inclusion in senior-level publications and conferences. She also created an online networking hub to provide opportunities for additional meaningful connection among members. Before joining Nest, Julia served as a member of the inaugural in-house admissions team for the prestigious Schwarzman Scholars program, where she fostered international partnerships and mobilized her network in search of the next generation of global leaders.

Julia has a Master’s degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Asian Studies from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT.

She is passionate about food and loves to cook, eat, and serve with her family and friends.

Julia Cunico Gardner
Director of Corporate Partnerships
julia@buildanest.org

Ashley is Nest’s Director of Institutional Giving. In this role she cultivates institutional relationships and manages the organization’s grant portfolio to advance Nest’s efforts to ensure artisans and handworkers are fairly represented socially and economically around the world. Ashley joined Nest from Charity Navigator where she created multichannel content to help American donors make more informed and impactful giving decisions, and helped build the organization’s fundraising program.

Ashley earned a degree in Political Science and Gender Studies from Calvin University and, after graduating, completed a term of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA working with older adults and homeless veterans outside of Portland, Oregon.

Outside of work Ashley enjoys hiking and spending time outside or in the pottery studio.

Ashley Post
Director of Institutional Giving
ashley@buildanest.org

Marika Shiga is the Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Nest where she works with Nest’s community of supporters to mobilize necessary philanthropy and partnerships to carry out Nest’s mission. Before joining the team in 2016, Marika worked in special projects for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, raising funds for their support of human rights defenders and hosting socially responsible investing conferences across the US that encouraged the financial community to invest in alignment with human rights priorities. Prior to moving to New York, Marika completed a Master’s Degree in International Development Studies as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. While there, Marika conducted research in the deep south of Thailand,  writing her master’s thesis on the potential for civil society and community development to enhance conflict transformation and peace-building in the region’s violent ethno-political conflict. Prior to that, while completing her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies-Political Science at UC San Diego, Marika also lived in Mexico and Argentina, where she completed coursework for a minor in Latin American Studies.

Marika Shiga
Director of Engagement & Partnerships
marika@buildanest.org

Sasha is the Manager of Artisan Programs, covering implementation of Nest’s programming activities including Professional Fellowships and Artisan Sourcing. Together with the Director of Artisan Engagement & Fellowships, Sasha is connecting artisan businesses and fellows to ensure effective collaborations, and developing program metrics to map their social impact.

Sasha holds a B.A. in Law and a B.A. in Studio Arts from Hunter College, with personal practice in natural dyeing, weaving and printmaking. Throughout her career she has wed her background in art with her experience in business, including teaching, working for a nonprofit gallery, and leading an artisan business, dotta project. Working with artisans in Eastern Europe, Balkans and Central Asia, Sasha gained a nuanced and practical understanding of cross-cultural communication, supply chains and textile production. Sasha is passionate about the connection between social, creative and the spiritual facets of “handmade.”  She loves hiking and appreciates natural world.

Sasha Bromberg
Manager of Artisan Programs
sasha@buildanest.org

As the Manager of Finance and Administration, Amelie is responsible for Nest’s controlling and accounting operations. She manages the monthly accounting closing and the production of financial budget reviews, monitoring of bank transactions, and maintaining a system of controls over accounting transactions and internal procedures. She also helps with human resources, technology and administrative needs liaising with all outside vendors for the organization.

Prior to Nest, Amelie worked more than 10 years in audit and corporate finance in France and in the US, bringing her expertise in accounting rules and regulations and her analytical mind to Nest. As a French native, she graduated from French University with a major in corporate finance. She moved to New York with her husband 8 years ago and has called New York her new home. She works part time for Nest and is grateful to be raising her son in a bi-cultural environment. She is deeply inspired by the human body and has studied and practiced Shiatsu and yoga for many years.

Amélie Decaix
Manager of Finance & Administration
amelie@buildanest.org

Kendal is the Partnerships Manager at Nest. Kendal spearheads philanthropy and partnership projects to achieve Nest’s mission of a circular handicraft economy. Kendal studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) and decided to use her knowledge and expertise to advocate for sustainable and artisan made goods. She began her career working closely with artisan women in Cambodia at a zero-waste brand, tonlé. Kendal then went on to work for a fair trade and B-corp, Raven + Lily, streamlining projects, managing retail stores, and overseeing production. Kendal made the move to New York and Nest in mid 2019. Kendal also enjoys hiking, travel, and collecting house plants.

Kendal Stone
Partnerships Manager
kendal@buildanest.org

Nico was born and raised in Guatemala City, Guatemala. He first moved to New York City in 2014 to study sports management at St. John’s University. As an avid soccer fan and former player, his aim is to implement the core values he learned from playing team sports, while maintaining his love for competition and improvement.

Having been exposed to the world of artisanal crafts from an early age, Nico understands the struggles that artisan groups face in an industry that is rapidly growing and constantly changing. Aside from his passion for sports, Nico has also recently taken up woodworking and cabin-making as a hobby, receiving courses in Brooklyn where he also lives.

Nico Gonzalez
Programs Associate
nico@buildanest.org

As Nest’s Project Manager and Graphic Designer, Brenda creates graphic design, marketing and communication materials which support all team members in their communications with artisans, donors, Board members, brands, corporations, foundations and the media. She works part-time from her home office in Ohio. In her “first” career, Brenda worked as an Information Systems Business Analyst for Bridgestone/Firestone and Time Warner Cable. Following early retirement after 30 years in IT, she went back to school, studying graphic design and photography. She started as a volunteer for Nest in 2011 and formally joined the team in 2017. Brenda graduated summa cum laude from Baldwin-Wallace College, with a major in history and a minor in political science. She has a deep love for dark chocolate, Adobe Creative Suite and her amazing grandchildren.

Brenda Gottsabend
Project Manager & Graphic Designer
brenda@buildanest.org

Autumn Sanders Foster has worked with Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and non-profits, helping them grow their businesses by understanding their customers. She launched Quire Consulting in 2017 to provide clients access to ethnographic research and design strategy that brings real people into the center of the design process. She leads clients through experiences with end-users to develop effective, scalable solutions to the challenges clients face. She has worked with clients across a range of industries including education, arts, health care, retail, human resources, CPG, consumer electronics, and food.

Autumn sees community engagement as essential to her work and role as a citizen. She serves on the board of Space One Eleven, a contemporary art gallery and center for arts education. She joined the Birmingham YMCA’s marketing advisory team in 2018. She also teaches tennis to elementary students through Better Basics. Autumn holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University (Athens, OH) and master’s degrees in design management and graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA).

Autumn Foster
Makers United Program Lead – Birmingham, AL

Poonam Narotam, a consultant and project manager with Gusto Partners, has been a social-sector consultant in the city of Detroit for four years. With an understanding of human-centered design methodologies and a passion for storytelling, she helps mission-driven organizations develop inclusive and sustainable strategies to accelerate their impact.

After earning a Bachelor of Science at the George Washington University, Poonam moved to Detroit as a 2016-2017 Challenge Detroit Fellow and has since worked with a breadth of Detroit-based organizations across various sectors, including Focus: HOPE, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Hannan Center, Belle Isle Conservancy, MACC Development, Beaumont Health Systems, and more. She is thrilled to be working with Makers United and Nest to bring an innovative and empowering program for artisans to the city she now calls home.

Poonam Narotam
Makers United Team – Detroit, MI

Teia Wallington, a consultant with Gusto Partners, is the founder of Love Publicity, a creative public relations agency headquartered in Detroit, Michigan that helps clients across many sectors, including lifestyle, hospitality, retail and nonprofit, by engaging traditional, digital and social public relations strategies to produce innovative publicity campaigns.

For over 10 years, Teia diligently helps people and brands grow through public relations and business development. She spends most of her time developing relationships with key media outlets to secure feature stories, reviews, and interviews online, print, podcasts, radio, and television landing notable placements including CNN, ESPN, Marie Claire, The Knot, Sophisticate’s Black Hair, Black Enterprise, Windy City Live, Essence, Uptown Magazine, Crain’s Detroit Business, Eater, DBusiness, Madame Noire, and Oprahmag.com.

Teia Wallington
Makers United Team – Detroit, MI

Monti believes that community engagement and community-led policies have the potential to develop conducive change. She serves on the State Board for the Missouri Women’s Political Caucus as the VP of Communications. She joined the Ambassador Board of Generate Health, in hopes of bringing more awareness to infant mortality in the black community. Over the years she has consulted small businesses and nonprofits with community engagement strategies, political organizing, and brand consulting. She is the founder of Black and Brown Leadership in Politics, which is a political space to amplify the voices of progressive local leaders.

Montrinaa Hill
Makers United Team - St. Louis, MO

Angela is an educator and quilt maker from St. Louis. She spent the first 10 years of her career as a classroom teacher but now serves as a library media specialist for the Hazelwood School District. She has a passion for teaching and connecting people to the information and resources that can help them uplift and empower their lives. She is also a prolific quilt maker and teacher who conducts workshops on quilt design and techniques.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is also a graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis Neighborhood Leadership Academy. She is a member of the Beyond Housing 24:1 Community Land Trust and a past-President of Citizens for the Advancement of Normandy (CAN). When she is not connecting people or sewing, Angela enjoys learning to speak Spanish, spoiling her cat, and practicing yoga.

Angela Turner
Makers United Team - St. Louis, MO

Danielle has worked at the intersection of philanthropy, education, and regional coalitions for the past nine years, and began her own consulting practice in 2019 where she focuses on strategic planning, research, effective grantmaking, and building cross-organizational systems that improve the social sector. Previously, Danielle worked with the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation where she designed and managed strategic program investments to support students in St. Louis’ largest urban public school system, facilitated innovative program design among district leadership, principals, and classroom teachers, developed a report to inform the district’s decision to return to elected school board leadership after years of state control, and developed infrastructure to support school-community partnerships in the school district. Danielle has also held positions at the United Way of Greater St. Louis, where she supported the back-office operations of the Ferguson Commission, and at the Gateway Center for Giving, where she supported regional foundations in making their grantmaking more coordinated and informed.

Danielle graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with honors earned through a thesis on the role of school culture in charter schools, is a Coro Fellows alum, and holds an MBA from Saint Louis University. In her free time, she is renovating an old home in St. Louis with her husband and enjoys knitting with her (now virtual) knitting group, hiking, and wrangling an abundant garden of native plants

Danielle Wallis
Makers United Team - St. Louis, MO

Board of Trustees

Jim Brigham joined the Nest board in 2012 and became Chairman in 2014.  He is Chairman of Warson Capital Partners LLC, an investment banking firm based in St. Louis. Prior to joining Warson Capital, Jim was Managing Director of HealthpointCapital LLC, a New York-based private equity firm investing in the orthopedic device industry. In 1985 Jim moved to St. Louis to become fourth generation CEO of his family’s business, Diagraph Corporation, a manufacturer of industrial product identification systems, which he sold to Illinois Tool Works in 2001. From 1982-84 Jim was Director of Strategic Planning for Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. He served as Chairman of the New York City Public Development Corporation from 1981 to 1985 and Budget Director of the City of New York from 1978 to 1981, the first term of Mayor Ed Koch. Jim began his career in investment banking with J.P. Morgan from 1969–1977. He has a BA from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Jim is a director of Vertebral Technologies, Inc, Minnetonka, Minnesota, and a past director of Menasha Corporation, Appleton, Wisconsin, and Sunnen Products Company, St. Louis. He has served as trustee of numerous not-for-profit organizations in St. Louis, including Forsyth School (President), Cardinal Ritter College Prep, the St. Louis Zoo Foundation, the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri Endowment, North Side Community School (a high-performing charter school), and in New York, including the New York Botanical Garden, the New York Shakespeare Festival, and the Gracie Mansion Conservancy.

Jim Brigham, Chair

Pioneer luxury fashion entrepreneur, early backer of e-commerce, and humanitarian Carmen Busquets’s work has always been a platform for supporting craftsmanship, heritage and technology, and has thrived as a ‘laboratory’ of disruptive ideas that continue to generate.

Since Carmen’s entry into the industry in 1992, approximately 10,000 jobs have been created from her investments. The current portfolio of investments and causes upholds the philosophies, vision and principles that have motivated Carmen as an investor, mentor and entrepreneur. It is an umbrella company and communication platform that supports luxury fashion, craftsmanship, and creative entrepreneurship in the form of e-commerce businesses and venture capital funds that focus on a similar philosophy of disruptive ideas.

Carmen has backed entrepreneurs including Imran Amed of the Business of Fashion, Lauren Santo Domingo of Moda Operandi, Chris Morton of Lyst, Frederic Court of Felix Capital, Chad Byers and Seth Berman of Susa Ventures, Michelle Goad of PS Dept, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson of Glamsquad, and Jose Neves of Farfetch. While some of these investments are still active, her initial capital has multiplied given the most recent valuation rounds in all of these companies.

Carmen has increasingly focused her efforts on charitable causes and educational initiatives, collaborating with a host of global bodies, world leaders and nonprofit organizations. Among these are the WWF, the Bhutanese government and Royal Family, the Bhuatn Nuns’ Foundation, Latin American-focused non-profits PACUNAM and Glasswing, sustainability consultancy to Eco-Age, the Oslo Freedom Forum, the charitable app Elbi founded by Natalia Vodianova.

Carmen strives to contribute to a future of innovative ideas and new levels of consumerism where sustainability will be of utmost importance, quality will prevail over quantity and craftsmanship and individuality are celebrated. The aim is that her investments, companies, causes and content will inspire many more disruptive ideas, founders, entrepreneurs and investors.

 

Learn more

 

Carmen Busquets
Luxury Fashion Entrepreneur, Humanitarian, and CoutureLab Coalition Founder

Marty Cordes is Co-Founder of the Cordes Foundation, which she created with her husband, Ron, in 2006. She directs the Foundation’s philanthropic and gender-lens investing work advancing economic opportunities for women. In addition, Marty serves on the board of Nest, an organization building a new handworker economy that connects global craftspeople, brands, and consumers in a circular value chain. Previously, Marty enjoyed a career in the banking industry and served in several volunteer leadership capacities with social service organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her former board roles include Freedom from Hunger, Grameen PrimaCare and Ripple Effect Images.

Marty Cordes

Brendan Cullen is responsible for identifying and supporting Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Entrepreneurs. Brendan co-manages the Foundation’s East Coast office in Boston.

Before joining Draper Richards Kaplan, Brendan served as Vice President of Growth and Innovation for Education Pioneers, a national non-profit with a mission to identify, train, connect, and inspire a new generation of leaders to transform US public education. Brendan managed an aggressive national expansion strategy, piloted and scaled new programs and raised growth capital. Brendan also served as the first Managing Director of Education Pioneers Bay Area program where he recruited, selected and trained over 100 Fellows for education leadership positions in districts, charter management organizations and local education non-profits.

Prior, Brendan was the Project Manager for the New York City Department of Education’s Empowered Schools Initiative pilot and was the Director of the Scholars Program for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) in New York. Earlier in his career, Brendan was a Founding Campus Director for Citizen Schools in Boston and a middle school Language Arts teacher in Baltimore with Teach For America.

Brendan previously served on the boards of Matchbook Learning and Welcoming America and currently serves on boards of Last Mile Health, MyAgro, Stir, Future Project, Wishbone, and ICivics. Brendan is an Alumnus of the Coro Community Leadership program in San Francisco. He received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Cornell University.

Brendan Cullen

Ivanka Mamic is an experienced senior sustainability professional with over 17 years’ experience in the sector. She is currently Senior Director for Responsible Sourcing at Target where she leads global teams working on social and environmental matters relating to Target’s manufacturing supply chain. Prior to this, she worked for the International Labour Organization providing technical leadership and advice on the ILO’s CSR related activities including the ILO/ IFC Better Work programme. Ivankaholds a PhD from University of Cambridge, UK, together with a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Queensland, Australia. Ivanka’s work on CSR has been published in several books as well as in leading journals and she has undertaken collaborative research on CSR with leading academics from Columbia University, Harvard University and Sydney University and others.

Ivanka Mamic

Julie fell in love with the work of Nest while serving as its Director of Outreach from 2011 –2015. Over her five-year tenure at Nest, she started Nest’s Professional Fellowship Program and also focused on Nest’s Monitoring & Evaluation efforts. Julie has taken a step down from day-to-day projects at Nest in order to care for her family that includes three young children.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, Julie brings ten+ years of finance and transactional experience. She worked in real estate investing at Spear Street Capital in San Francisco and investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York and Los Angeles. Though a native Texan, Julie lives in San Francisco with her husband, three children, and one dog. She loves artisanal crafts and talents, travel, music, yoga, & the arts.

Julie Meyer

Louise was an undergraduate at Barnard College and received her MBA form The University of Virginia, Darden School of Business. Upon graduation from business school, Louise joined the First Boston Corporation in Investment Banking where she was primarily focused on structured products within the corporate finance group. Louise eventually made a career switch to executive recruiting, and helped build a boutique firm into a major player in the global retained financial services search sector. Eventually, Louise left to work with a client, McCown DeLeeuw, in the private equity arena. At McCown DeLeeuw, Louise was in charge of all aspects of recruiting, both for internal positions as well as for executive level positions externally on behalf of portfolio companies. In her most recent position, Louise worked as COO at Eleni’s New York, a custom gifting business with both a retail and internet presence.

Louise is a mother to four children and lives in Bronxville, New York. Since moving to Bronxville in 2002, Louise has been an active member of the community, serving on various boards and school committees. These positions include, the Reformed Church Nursery School Board, the PTA Board, Co-Chairing “Staging Our Future” and “The Final Act” to build a new auditorium, as well as various other positions. Louise is currently a member of the NPC Committee (Non-Partisan Committee), which is responsible for the nomination and election of school trustees. Additionally, Louise was an active member of the Jackson Hole Land Trust whose mission is to preserve open space and critical wildlife habitat throughout Teton County.

Louise Parzick

Nicole has spent most of her life in the midst of chalk dust and athletic tape. Her gymnastics career includes competing in three World Championships, captaining her Stanford Women’s Gymnastics team, and inventing a skill on the uneven bars named under her Czech surname, Pechancova. Her parents immigrated from the Czech Republic in 1986. At age 12, she left home in New Jersey in pursuit of better training and at 16 became a member of the Czech National gymnastics team, where she has dual citizenship. Nicole graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering —Architectural Design focus. After working for multiple design and architecture firms in the Bay Area and Indianapolis, her passion for business lead her to pursue an MBA at Indiana University, Class of 2017. Nicole currently works as an associate producer for NBC and ESPN gymnastics events, including the 2016 Olympics. She enjoys being part of the Indianapolis community through her continued work with the Indiana Sports Corp Finance Committee, as founder of Behind the Colts Bench, an organization supporting and empowering the spouses of NFL Colts players, and through independent interior design and real estate projects.

Nicole Pechanec Luck

Tracy Reese is an American designer whose signature rich, daring colors and unique prints are crafted into joyful, feminine clothing and accessories for the modern woman. Tracy Reese’s design philosophy is rooted in a commitment to bringing out the beauty in women of all shapes, sizes and colors.  Tracy Reese creates fresh designs perfect for the confident, sophisticated woman. Her distinct point of view has also made her a celebrity favorite.

Tracy Reese launched her namesake fashion brand in 1998 in New York City and over the past twenty plus years, she has expanded to include three sub-brands (Plenty, Frock! And Black Label), brick-and-mortar stores in NY and Tokyo and partnerships with stores from Barney’s and Nordstrom to Anthropologie. In 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama wore a custom Tracy Reese gown to the DNC.  Other notable fans of the brand include Sarah Jessica Parker, Tracee Ellis Ross and Oprah Winfrey.

A member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 1990, Tracy Reese serves on its Board of Directors.  Tracy also serves on the board College for Creative Studies Fashion Accessories Design Program. Tracy is a champion for many organizations and social causes including Planned Parenthood, Jackets for Jobs, Garden of Dreams, Bottomless Closet and Hearts of Gold. She is an advocate for HIV/AIDS charities and served on the AIDS Fund Committee for the New York Community Trust for five years. She is also part of the Turnaround Arts program through the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities as the Turnaround Artist for Barnum School in Bridgeport, CT.

Tracy Reese is evolving and has pivoted toward a more sustainable path. Tracy recently moved her design studio to her hometown, Detroit, plugging into the resurgence happening there while actively participating in plans to make Detroit a modern, sustainable garment production hub. Tracy is president of the board of ISAIC, the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center, a Detroit based, industry shifting factory and Institute anchored in human-centric manufacturing. Tracy is also working to build an artisan studio in Detroit creating economic opportunities for women in under-served communities.

In 2019, Tracy launched Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese, a responsibly designed and produced collection. Part of HFF’s mission is to create positive social impact by empowering women and young people through arts programming in public schools and collaboration with local artisans in Detroit.

Tracy Reese has been a dominate force in the contemporary fashion industry for twenty years. Now, in a world with an increasingly fragile natural ecosystem, she’s laying a path to dominate — sustainably — for the next twenty.

Tracy Reese

Hall W. Rockefeller is an art critic and historian. She is the founding editor of less than half, a website which seeks to address the imbalance of representation of women in the art world. It includes exhibition reviews and interviews with practicing artists, as well as tours and lectures.

She is a graduate of Yale College, where she wrote her senior thesis on the folk art collection of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, one of the three female founders of the Museum of Modern Art, and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where she wrote her Master’s dissertation on the pioneering modernist weaver Anni Albers, who she counts among her favorite artists. (Others include Eva Hesse, Robert Motherwell, Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, and John Singer Sargent.)

She is a contributing writer for ThoughtCo., an education-based website, where she writes short biographies on female artists.

Hall also serves on the Next Gen Advisory Board for Rockefeller Capital Management.

Hall Rockefeller

Heather is a textile designer living in Austin, TX with her husband and daughter. She makes handwoven home goods and sells antique rugs. Her interest in weaving, textiles, ethical fashion and the preservation of global textile traditions led her to follow and support Nest. Heather studied Design at the University of Texas and her interest in textiles developed during her studies abroad in Europe and her travels throughout South America. She moved to New York after graduation where she worked as a design assistant, pattern maker and seamstress before opening her own bridal design studio in Brooklyn. After years of designing and constructing wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, she wanted to explore how fabrics were made, so she bought a loom and taught herself to weave. Soon her business evolved into home textiles. Heather moved back to Texas in 2014 right before her daughter was born and continues to weave.

Heather sits on the board of the Winn Family Foundation which supports environmentalism, women and children’s health, and education with special emphasis on American technological and entrepreneurial world leadership.

Heather Winn Bowman

Advisory Board

Alex Bellos is the President of West Elm, the fastest growing brand within the Williams- Sonoma, Inc. portfolio. In his role, he is responsible for the merchandising, product development, inventory management, creative services, visual merchandising, brand finance and operations of the brand. In particular, he is focused on driving the Responsible Retail movement, identifying and facilitating opportunities for economic empowerment among communities where West Elm operates.

Prior to his current role, Bellos led Rejuvenation, another Williams-Sonoma portfolio brand. Over the course of three years, Bellos expanded the brand from a small lighting and house parts manufacturer into a lifestyle brand for the home, increasing market share and providing outstanding quality, value and service to its customers.

Assuming the role of West Elm President in June 2017 was a homecoming for Bellos, who returned to the company after serving as Vice President, Strategy and Development for the brand from 2010 to 2013, where he led strategic projects, global expansion, and operations. Bellos, holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

Alex Bellos

Allison Whipple Rockefeller is deeply committed to the communication of American heritage, history, and values, being especially interested in the role of nature and our natural resources in shaping American history and the American character. She is the founder of National Audubon’s “Women In Conservation”, a program building a nationwide community of women in the environment sharing knowledge, fostering relationships, building political influence, celebrating achievements and assisting girls and young women to explore the world of conservation. Allison presides over the centerpiece of Audubon’s Women in Conservation, its prestigious Rachel Carson Award, one of the most coveted national awards for American women working in the environment.

Allison has been a lifelong conservationist with a deep-seated love for nature and the American landscape. Connecting all Americans, especially young people, to nature is   a passion. Allison’s work has focused on parks and open space across the national, regional and community level. She served as the first alumna Board Chair of the Student Conservation Association which has placed over 75,000 student volunteers in America’s National Parks; has served under four governors as Commission Member for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; and is a longtime Board Member of the Central Park Conservancy’s Women’s Committee. Allison is also founder of Cornerstone Parks, the “Pumps-to-Parks Initiative”, a program designed to create     a network of small parks and community centers from over 150,000 abandoned gas stations blighting towns across the United States.

Allison’s most recent work includes an effort to add information about our national  parks and public lands to the U.S. citizenship exam, introducing new immigrants to American environmental stewardship; and co-authoring Ten Principles of Conservation, a campaign aimed to reduce severe public partisanship over the environment by emphasizing shared values.

Allison is also working on the Human Rights Symbols Campaign, an awareness campaign aimed at educating mainstream American citizens about the top ten global human rights issues. The Human Rights Handbook and its ten Human Rights Symbols intend to engage and mobilize young people to express global citizenship with human rights activism.

In March 2013, Allison Rockefeller served as keynote speaker at the White House Women In The Environment Summit hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency. Allison was the 2013 recipient of Audubon New York’s Thomas Keesee, Jr. Conservation Award and was honored as a 2012 Distinguished New Yorker by the Museum of the City of New York where she served as Trustee for 20 years.

Allison Whipple Rockefeller

Amanda is an activist and Cofounder of the hybrid luxury ethical fashion retailer, MAISON- DE-MODE. The concept, born in 2012, fuses pop-up brick & mortar experiences alongside a seamless online boutique, specializing in unique ready-to-wear, fine jewelry, accessories and home goods. She is a member of the Executive Board of The Humane Society of the United States, Founder of Friends of Finn, an organization dedicated to stopping the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills as well as on the Advisory Board of the NEST foundation. Hearst is also Special Projects Editor of Town & Country magazine and has also worked as Marie Claire’s Associate Market Editor.

Amanda Hearst

Amber Valletta is a fashion icon who has worked with some of the most prestigious names in the fashion world and graced countless magazine covers over the course of her modeling career. After moving to Los Angeles, Amber found success as an actress, and has transitioned seamlessly between modeling and acting over the last 12 years. Her screen credits include “Hitch”, “What Lies Beneath”, and “The Spy Next Door”, along with television roles on ABC’s hit show, “Revenge,” ABC’s “Blood & Oil” and TNT’s “Legends.”

Raised in Oklahoma, Amber never lost touch with her American Midwest roots, even as she travelled the world as an in-demand supermodel. She has always devoted much of her time to promoting and encouraging environmental sustainability. Recently, Amber spoke at the Sustainable Brands Conference San Diego 2015 where she introduced herself as a “valued influencer”—a creative connector whose experience and lifestyle matches their principles. Valued influencers simply speak about what matters to them and demonstrate it out in the world with how they live, and how they spend their time and resources.

As a valued influencer, Amber co-founded A Squared Films, whose first project, Driving Fashion Forward, featured a series of documentary shorts for Lexus’ L-Studio on the subject of fashion and sustainability. “Growing up, all of my enjoyment and entertainment came from being in the natural world,” she explains. “It only makes sense, especially with a child of my own now, to do what I can to protect our world.”

Doing what she can sparked an entrepreneurial spirit within Amber, and eventually led to the launch of Master & Muse. In partnership with Yoox.com, Master & Muse by Amber Valletta became the premier online store for responsibly made fashion—offering stylish, cutting-edge fashion, created and produced by some of the most socially responsible designers working today. The company’s name is inspired by the many Masters and Muses with whom Amber has worked over the years, as well as by the many roles she has had the privilege of playing as a model, actress, activist, and businesswoman. Embarking on her latest adventure, Amber was reminded of the words of Philosopher/Muse Aristotle: “Where the needs of the world and your talents meet, therein lies your vocation.” Amber is thrilled to have arrived at that very point in her life and career. She serves as a mentor for the CFDA + Lexus Fashion Initiative. She is a Juror on the H&M Global Change Award 2015. And, serves on the advisory boards for Cradle-to-Cradle’s Fashion + as well as Nest.

 

Amber Valletta

Amy Christiansen is the founder of the socially conscious, luxury fragrance house Sana Jardin.

Sana Jardin was built on the principles of a circular economy; their alternative business model enables women in the supply chain to become micro-entrepreneurs by upcycling the waste products from perfume production.

The brand’s Beyond Sustainability™ model empowers the floral harvesters with the skills and materials they need to increase their wages through commerce, not charity.  The model is based on “flower recycling” within a circular economy and illustrates that luxury business can be used to drive social change. The local women develop and sell their own products – candles and orange blossom water – from the waste of the perfume production, receiving 100% of the profits.

Sana Jardin contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, to empower women (goal 5), promote sustainable economic growth with full, productive employment (goal 8), and ensure sustainable production practices (goal 12).

Sana Jardin launched in 2017 and now retails in eighty luxury retailers globally including Harrods, Net-A-Porter, Liberty, Galleries Lafayette and Harvey Nichols. The brand has been featured widely in the press including the New York Times, Vogue, The Financial Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Forbes.  Amy is considered a thought leader in the sustainable luxury space and has delivered talks at a variety of conferences including Google, Cosmetic Executive Women, and the Costa Rica Sustainable Fashion Summit.

Prior to founding Sana Jardin, Amy had a career that spanned twenty-five years in the non-profit sector in the US, Middle East and Europe.  She began her career as a direct practice social worker (MSW) where she provided outpatient psychotherapy to low-income children and families on the West Side of Chicago at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s family planning clinic, a domestic violence shelter and a public school.

Amy then shifted her focus to address economic inequality on an institutional scale through posts at the New York City based Robin Hood Foundation, The Clinton Foundation and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, where she worked to empower women economically by supporting female entrepreneurs in developing countries through mobile technology, enterprise development and mentoring programmes.

Amy holds a Master of Social Work (summa cum laude) from Loyola University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Social Work (cum laude) from Illinois State University.

Amy is a Board Member of the Elisa Sednaoui Foundation whose mission is to provide both creative learning experiences for children and professional development training for adults in Egypt and Italy. She is also a Georgetown University Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security.

Amy is a Founding Trustee of the London based Responsible Fashion Accelerator Foundation which helps fashion designers develop sustainable collections and a mentor to BIPOC small business founders.

www.sanajardin.com

Amy Christiansen

Andrew is an internationally recognized director focused on telling stories for a better tomorrow. His experience includes a broad range of work that spans narrative and documentary storytelling for both commercial and film projects. After studying cinematography at the Los Angeles Film School he went on to co-found Untold Creative, a hybrid filmmaking studio where he currently serves as the creative director. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post and speaks regularly on the power of storytelling as a tool in the ongoing fight for human rights around the world. Andrew lives in LA with his wife Emily and their four children.

Andrew Morgan

Ashley has focused her personal and professional pursuits on girls’ and women’s empowerment in developing and developed countries. A native Californian, she completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University in Philosophy and Visual Arts. Following five years in the fashion industry in various capacities, she pursued her Masters in Business with a focus on Entrepreneurship at INSEAD in France and Singapore. There she incubated a social venture focused on girls’ empowerment which became True Girl, an organic bath and body product line for pre-teen girls that encouraged girls to respect and care for their bodies. Equally as compelled by women’s studies, she gained a Masters in Science in Gender, Development, and Globalization at London School of Economics. Now living in London, Ashley leads the research team within Adjaye Associates. This unit explores the relationship between design, social and economic development, and the built environment.

Ashley Shaw-Scott Adjaye

As Vogue India’s Editor-at-Large, responsible for planning, visualizing and ideating fashion features for the ultimate style bible, Bandana Tewari has one of the most enviable jobs in Indian fashion. Her ringside view of the rapidly evolving industry coupled with her signature ability to take the long view in every commentary has made her one of the nation’s foremost authorities on fashion.

Bandana writes comprehensively on fashion. Her pieces have appeared in well-regarded publications such as The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, US Vogue, UK Vogue, Wallpaper*, and Tank, in addition to several leading Indian journals. She has scripted and hosted 50 episodes of ‘Simply Style’, India’s first primetime TV show on fashion, and hosted two seasons of the first fashion webisodes in India on www.lfwtv.com.

In 2006, she was named fashion journalist of the year at the Fashion awards in Mumbai. She has been featured in Industrie magazine’s guide to the most powerful figures in fashion for 2012.

A columnist for the Business of Fashion, she is also a member of the BoF500, which is  a professional index of the people shaping the global fashion industry. For BoF, she has written extensively on a variety of topics from indigenous ‘made-by-hand’ economies of India and Indonesia, to transgender and LGBTQ representation in fashion.

A regular attendee at international fashion weeks, Bandana commissions fashion stories, and presents fashion forecasts and analysis within the context of popular culture, state- of-the-economy and consumer behaviour. She believes that fashion is not a linear phenomenon. And to understand the significance and impact of fashion, we  need to approach it as a social anthropologist. She has been a longstanding champion of indigenous industries of handloom and made by hand.

She has written a book called “A Little Guide to Italy” which has been translated into two Indian languages and Italian.

“Her insightful commentary informs and educates Indian consumers and global luxury brands alike about each other’s heritage and culture.”—Business of Fashion.

Advisory Committee member—MoMA 2017 exhibition titled “ Is Fashion Modern”. Advisory board member—NEST

Advisory member—Eco Chic Design Awards

Expert panellist—H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award

Global Change Agenda (Copenhagen Sustainable Fashion Summit)

 

In December 2017, she, along with award-winning documentary film-maker Andrew Morgan of The True Cost and New York Times Fashion Director Vanessa Friedmen, will be speaking at the United Nations, New York on The New Handworker Economy.

2017: Jury-Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2017 SKO I-SKOOL™ Denim Design Award competition

2017: Panellist, Sustainable Fashion Movement Talkshow, Jakarta Fashion Week

2016: Speaker—Conde Nast International Luxury Conference on Mindful Luxury held in Oman. Topic “Gandhi and Fashion”

2016: Panellist—Copenhagen Fashion Summit. Topic ‘The Power of Media” 2015: Speaker—Fashion Forward Talk, Amazon India Fashion Week

2014: Speaker—India Unlimited- Indo-Swedish Conference, Stockholm

2014 Speaker—Lakme Fashion Week. Topic “Game of Threads- Disruptive Thinking in Fashion”.

2014: Speaker—United Nation’s Young Changemakers Conclave, India.

Bandana Tewari

Cakmak has extensive experience in forging strong partnerships as a business strategist and sustainability expert for some of the largest, most prestigious retail companies and luxury brands in the world.

With his expertise in the field of sustainable design, he is focused on guiding the academic programs into a new era where an emphasis on socially conscious and transformational design formulates the educational approach and training of the next generation of venerable creators.

Cakmak has facilitated successful collaborations for over a decade with a wide range  of stakeholders including suppliers, retailers, NGOs, governments, and media to drive positive, ethical industry change.

Prior to joining Parsons, he worked at Swarovski Group as the company’s first Vice President of Corporate Responsibility where he established global programs fostering environmental stewardship. Under his leadership, he implemented best practice industry standards across all business functions, including raw material sourcing, supply chain management, crystal manufacturing, jewelry assembly, and retail operations. In addition, he led the Swarovski Waterschool Initiative’s education program that reached over 2,500 schools worldwide.

Previously, he acted as General Manager of MADE-BY Benelux in the Netherlands advancing fashion sustainability practices for brands such as H&M, Tommy Hillfiger, Acne, Primark, Ted Baker, and G Star among others. Prior to that, Cakmak spearheaded innovation-driven sustainability strategies as the first Director of Corporate Sustainability for Kering luxury brands under the Gucci Group umbrella; including Gucci, Bottega Venetta, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Sergio Rossi, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, and Boucheron. His career in the fashion industry began at Gap Inc. where he served as the Senior Manager of Social Responsibility in their San Francisco and London offices for 8 years.

Cakmak is passionate about education and has established projects and partnerships in the US, UK, France, China, Brazil, and India. He played a vital role in the creation of the Sustainable Technology for Future Luxury Scholarship at the University of the Arts London Central St Martins, and the MFA Fashion Design Scholarships at Parsons. He has also lectured widely as a visiting professor at SKEMA Business School in France and China.

 

Burak Cakmak

David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. In 1994 he set up his first office, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision.

He reformed his studio as Adjaye Associates in 2000 and immediately won several prestigious commissions. In Oslo he designed the Nobel Peace Centre in the shell of a disused railway station (completed in 2005). In London his design for the Whitechapel Idea Store pioneered a new approach to the provision of information services (2005). Later projects in London included the Stephen Lawrence Centre, with teaching and community spaces (2007), Rivington Place, an exhibition venue and resource centre (2007), and the Bernie Grant Centre for the performing arts (2007).

Adjaye Associates now has offices in London, Berlin, New York, Accra and Shanghai and is working on throughout the world. In the United States Adjaye was the designer of a new home for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver (2007), two public libraries  in Washington DC (2012), as well as of several innovative residential projects. In 2009 a team led by Adjaye was selected to design the new $360 million Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington DC. Adjaye Associates’ largest completed project to date is the £160 million Moscow School of Management Skolkovo (2010).

David Adjaye

Deborah Palmer Keiser is a seasoned retail executive known for her pioneering work on supply chain stewardship for iconic global brands such as Limited Brands, Gap Inc. and Williams Sonoma, and for boutique innovators like All Saints, Alabama Chanin, and RITUEL, the lifestyle brand she founded and runs. For 30 years, she has held senior strategic and operational roles during times of unprecedented growth, leading product development, sourcing, and production teams, and in directing business development across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Her singular expertise is in building quality products by fostering long-term, strategic relationships across cultures and industries. Before it became a catchphrase, Deborah used principles of sustainability to drive forward her vision of a new paradigm for designing and manufacturing quality goods — one that respects natural resources and human dignity as essential components. Deborah currently resides in Northern California with her husband of 23 years and their teenage daughter.

 

Deborah Keiser

Donna Karan’s desire to address people, not just dress them, led her to establish The Urban Zen Foundation in 2007. This lifelong traveler and yogi, mother and grandmother is dedicated to adding the missing link – mind, body and spirit – to healthcare and education, while preserving the wisdom of ancient culture.  Karan works with established organizations such as the Clinton Foundation, Grief and Nomad Two Worlds. The Clinton Global Initiative was Karan’s inspiration for Urban Zen: to bring like-minded people together in a place and space – the Urban Zen Center – to affect change through collaboration and creativity.

Inspired by the illness of her husband Stephan Weiss, as well as close friends suffering with disease, Karan founded the groundbreaking Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) Program, which integrates eastern healing modalities with western science. The Program has partnerships with UCLA, Beth Israel Medical Center, Kent State University and YogaWorks.

For Karan, Haiti is where Urban Zen’s health, education and culture initiatives come together. Alongside The Clinton Global Initiative, Karan helps develop and support sustainable opportunities as part of The Foundation’s Haiti Artisan Project. Donna works directly with artisans to elevate design, provide vocational education, job creation and raise awareness to the global market as part of her Philanthropic and Commerce model for the Soulful Economy mission.

Donna Karan
Creator of Urban Zen

Ellice Sperber is an embroidery specialist, tracing the art back to her great grandmother, who sold her hand-embroidered fashions from her Los Angeles boutique. Ellice practiced needlepoint as a young girl and later apprenticed in embroidery while performing with the Zadruga Folk Ensemble in Los Angeles, where she worked on the company’s collection of Bulgarian, Serbian and Croatian costumes. Ellice was the Artistic Director of The LA Sign Company (a theater company that blended the talents of hearing and hearing-impaired actors), and, after receiving her BA in Linguistics, enjoyed a career as an American Sign Language Interpreter. While raising her two daughters, Ellice served on non-profit boards in the fields of education and learning, including, Gateway Public Schools, Parents Education Network, Northern California Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, and Northern California International Dyslexia Association.

Ellice has continued to embroider since her days as a young dancer. Finding her passion for the art form continuing to deepen, Ellice began studying with the Royal School of Needlework and achieved a Diploma in 2014. Dedicated to preserving and promoting the knowledge and practice of hand embroidery, she co-founded San Francisco School of Needlework and Design the following year. She restores heirloom embroideries out of her home studio and is writing a book on Pulled Thread Embroidery.

Ellice Sperber

Iliane sits on the board of FilmAid International, a humanitarian agency that uses the power of film to educate, empower and entertain in refugee and slum communities (www. filmaid.org). She is board member of IRC UK (www.rescue.org) and is a trustee of the Children’s Hospital Trust in Cape Town (the Great Ormond Street Hospital of Africa —www. childrenshospitaltrust.org.za). Iliane is also a trustee of an early childhood development centre in Mathare, Nairobi; We the Change Foundation. Iliane is an advisory board member of the Lake Tanganyika Floating Clinic.

Prior to this she was Global Alliances Director at Diageo, after heading Business Development for the Diageo Venture Group. She was eCommerce Business Development Director at Yahoo! Europe, Marketing Manager at Yahoo!UK and was part of the Strategy practice at Accenture in London. She started her career in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble. Iliane is a philanthropist and entrepreneur with a focus on women’s protection and empowerment and Africa.

Iliane was born in South Africa, is a Dutch national and can speak five languages. She lives in London with her husband and sons, and two dogs.

Iliane Ogilvie Thompson

Activist, Educator and Author, Jill Iscol, EdD, is President of the IF Hummingbird Foundation, a family foundation established in 1989. For the past two decades Jill has supported and participated in numerous organizations enabling them to become stable, sustainable and successful, impacting lives around the globe.

Jill’s current endeavor, the Hearts on Fire Visionary Program launched following the release of her nonfiction book, Hearts on Fire: Stories of Today’s Visionaries Igniting Idealism into Action, puts the spotlight on inspiring leaders and the work they are doing to improve the lives of others. The program’s mission—to inspire people of all walks of life to join the social change movement.

As a Democratic Party activist, Jill is a strategic advisor to Secretary Clinton and served as Co-Chair for Hillary Rodham Clinton for Senate’s New York Finance Committee, National Vice-Chair of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President’s 2008 Finance Committee and is currently a member of the Hillary for President’s 2016 Finance Committee.

Jill is a member of the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau and has appeared on MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, PBS’ To The Contrary, at the Milken Institute, TedXWomen and SXSW. Her articles have been published in education journals, on The Huffington Post and The Diplomatic Courier. She been honored by City Year New York, Women’s Campaign International and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Jill is a born and bred New Yorker. She is married and has two adult children.

Jill Iscol

James (Jim) Brett is the CEO of J Crew, the iconic American fashion brand launched in 1983 as a mail order catalogue, which then became a cultural reference point. Six years later, the J Crew flagship store opened in Lower Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, an early example of modern urban place making, and today there are more than 500 locations throughout the USA (including those under the J Crew factory and Madewell banners).

Prior to his role at J Crew, Brett was President of West Elm, bringing that startup homeware retailer to a billion dollar brand with seven consecutive years of double-digit comparable revenue growth. In2015, he launched West Elm Workspace, solution-oriented work place furniture mixing residential aesthetic with commercial durability, winner of that year’s “Best of NeoCon” award, and in 2016, initiated the development of West Elm Hotels, a collection of hospitality venues, each reflecting the culture and architectural heritage of its community, opening 2019.

An advocate for the preservation of traditional handicraft and the power of collaborations, Brett spent six and a half years with Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters, Inc, first as merchandise manager for the multi-channel subsidiary Anthropologie, creating the sophisticated brand identity and merchandise mix that is Anthropologie Home today, and then as Chief Merchandising Officer for the diverse Urban Outfitters brand, generating record sales and productivity despite a challenging retail environment. In addition, Brett has served in various merchandising roles with other leading retailers during his twenty-five year career, including the J.C. Penny Corporation, Inc. and May Company Department Stores.

As an Advisory Board Member, Brett is committed to supporting Nest in helping artisans sustainably develop their businesses. He is active in the Dumbo Improvement District, championing revitalization for one of New York’s earliest industrial neighborhoods, and was the largest individual fundraiser for the 2015, 2016, and 2017 AIDS Walk NYC. He makes his home in Brooklyn, NY.

Jim Brett

Krista’s lifelong interest in textiles began when she started weaving at the age of two. Being the daughter of a Textile Curator gave her the opportunity for much early exposure. While still in high school, she wove for artist Sheila Hicks in her studio in Paris. Krista completed a history degree at Brown University while attending classes in the textile department of Rhode Island School of Design. While at RISD, Krista won awards with both the Japanese Textile Foundation and the Amoco Trace Student Design Competition.

Upon finishing school Krista went to work for her mentor and idol, Jack Lenor Larsen, eventually becoming Larsen’s Director of Design when he retired. His approach of bringing to market both craft from around the world and cutting edge textile technology is a continuing ideal. Krista later worked for mills in both Turkey and India, enjoying a more hands experience with design. Since 2005, she has worked under her own name, Krista Stack Design, continuing to work with both editors and mills around the world. She also creates custom carpets in India and fine art pieces in her Brooklyn studio. She continues to weave on her loom, which serves as a sketchbook of experiments and ideas.

 

Krista Stack

Lisa Jackson brings an expansive background and over two decades of working in philanthropy and the social sector to the Imago Dei Fund (IDF). Most recently, she was Co-Founder and Managing Director of the College for Social Innovation, a partnership between social sector organizations and colleges to provide fully credited, semester-long internships in Boston. Prior to launching this organization, Lisa was the Managing Partner for Portfolio Investments at New Profit, Inc.

As Managing Partner for Imago Dei Fund Lisa works with the Founding Partners to clarify the Fund’s vision and strategy and to build and develop the team. Lisa is responsible for ensuring that IDF’s fiscal, operations, grant management, human resource, technology, and programmatic strategies are effectively implemented across all segments of the organization.

Lisa serves on the national board of College Advising Corps and is a former elected member of the Brookline School Committee. Lisa has a Ph.D. in
Education from Stanford University, and a B.S. in Psychology from Howard University.

Lisa R. Jackson

Livia Firth

Mara founded her label in 2000 after graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Serving as President and Creative Director of her privately owned and eponymous company, Mara uses her platform to share an honest and empowering message on the way we live, care for the world, and treat others; hoping to influence the relationship society has with clothing while simultaneously fostering mindful consumption habits. Her strategy centers on sustainable materials, processes, and production in order to improve and extend each garment’s life. Above all, Mara keeps her creative commitment to presenting collections devoted to color, each a celebration of women. Headquartered in New York, where she is an active member of the CFDA, she calls Brooklyn home with her husband, artist Javier Piñon, and their son Joaquin.

Mara Hoffman

Marissa is the founder of Beespace, a nonprofit incubator in New York City helping to identify and launch the next generation of innovative nonprofits. Utilizing the tech incubator model, Beespace provides these organizations with a suite of shared services, office space, and the support of an innovative community to grow their impact. Marissa is a ‘social venture catalyst’. She was a founding sponsor and activist for charity: water and has worn many hats since: identifying new projects, securing funding, photographing ongoing projects in the field, introducing sponsors, as well as raising awareness for other small nonprofits and helping them to scale. She is also a published photographer whose work highlights social injustice in ways that elicit empathy rather than guilt and, she hopes, encourages people to learn and contribute.

Marissa Sackler

Martin is the co-founder of The Punctilious Mr. P’s Place Card Co., a luxury home accessories brand. Mr. P’s is the manifestation of their love affair with ‘town and country’ entertaining— fueled by their creation of The Joy Economy™, a life compass that gives luxury purpose. Martin, who is a 30-year veteran of the fashion industry, served as VP Design, Burberry; Chief Creative Officer, Belstaff; Creative Director, Lands’ End.

Martin is also the founder of OrchisArts, Ltd., an independent consultancy providing one stop, end-to-end creative services to the fashion, interior and art worlds.

He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Parsons School of Design (where he received the Norman Norell Memorial Scholarship), and has served as a member of Parsons’ Board of Governors and on the President’s Board of Alumni Advisors for the New School University. He has been an active member of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) since 1993. Martin and his family live in Old Chatham, in the heart of New York’s bucolic Hudson River Valley.

Martin Cooper

Melissa Joy Manning has created a socially responsible fine jewelry brand featuring unique, modern designs influenced by her passion for travel, art and culture. The line encompasses multiple collections including one-of-a-kind pieces, signature designs and custom, non-traditional wedding jewelry.

After receiving her BA from San Francisco State University, Manning studied traditional silversmithing at the Instituto de Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and European design principles at the University of Barcelona. Today, the San Francisco Bay area native resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Manning purchases her materials, found worldwide, from only trusted suppliers who share her belief in both social and environmental responsibility. Each piece is handmade, to order, in the Melissa Joy Manning California or New York studios, by skilled artisans using traditional, time-honored techniques. The collections feature a mix of precious gems, upcycled stones, conflict free diamonds and 100% recycled precious metals, along with antique tribal and reclaimed charms. Manning’s design development is not only meticulous and detail oriented, but her production is also certified “green” by the State of California.

In 2011, Melissa was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) where she founded and co-chaired the CFDA Sustainability Committee. As the 2012 winner of the Lexus Eco Fashion Challenge and current Advisory Board member of the CFDA + Lexus Fashion* Initiative and NEST, Manning continues to advocate for cumulative change through ethical business and production practices.

The first Melissa Joy Manning store opened in December 2010 in Berkeley, California, followed by a SoHo, New York store in 2014 and Brooklyn, New York store in 2015. At all three locations, over 80% of the space was created using recycled materials, including the jewelry cases and display objects.

Melissa Joy Manning jewelry can be found in approximately 300 high-end boutiques and specialty department stores worldwide, including ABC Carpet and Home, Bird, Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom, Steven Alan, Twist and Ylang23. Her pieces are consistently featured in numerous fashion and lifestyle magazines and websites, films, television programs and commercials. In the last year, Melissa Joy Manning jewelry was featured in over 60 media outlets, including ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, W Magazine, Vogue.com, Refinery29, WhoWhatWear, Bloomberg TV, The New York Times and Forbes.

Melissa Joy Manning

Nadja is a member of the Executive Board at the world’s leading crystal manufacturer, which was founded by her great-great-grandfather Daniel Swarovski in 1895 in Austria. Her career at the family business started in the mid-1990s, when she began showcasing Swarovski’s vast product range to the fashion, jewelry, architecture, lighting and home décor industries, encouraging designers to experiment with crystal’s creative potential. This laid the foundations for a series of collaborative relationships with exceptional design talents which have established her as one of the 21st century’s most significant patrons of design. Nadja is Chairperson of Swarovski Entertainment, and also oversees Swarovski’s Global Corporate Responsibility efforts. Consolidating Swarovski’s long-term commitment to charitable giving, she established the Swarovski Foundation to support projects which foster creativity and culture, meet social needs and promote wellbeing, and conserve natural resources.

Nadja Swarovski

Nancy cares deeply about the well being of others. She is a keen listener and is intensely curious by nature. Nancy loves math, finds beauty in all things and embraces the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi. Her mother was an exceptional seamstress and embroiderer, instilling in her a great appreciation for craft. Nancy is a needleworker, painter, cook and gardener.

She received her BA in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MBA from the University of California at Berkeley. She has served on the boards of the Edgewood Center for Children and Families, the Katherine Delmar Burke School and the Grabhorn Institute, all in San Francisco, where she and her husband Doug live when they are not in Nantucket. In Nantucket, she serves on the Board of the Nantucket Historical Association.

Nancy Abbey

Natalie “Alabama” Chanin is the owner and designer of Alabama Chanin. She has a degree in Environmental Design with a focus on industrial and craft-based textiles from North Carolina State University. After graduation, Natalie worked in the junior sportswear industry on New York’s Seventh Avenue, before moving abroad. For over a decade, Natalie worked as a stylist and costume designer, travelling the globe. In 2000, Chanin returned to her home to begin the sustainable work that has become Alabama Chanin.

Since 2000, Alabama Chanin has expanded to include a family of businesses: the Alabama Chanin collection, The School of Making, The Factory Store + Café, and Building 14 Design

+ Manufacturing Services. All facets work together to create a collaborative community and idea exchange, healthy growth, and a love of quality goods that last.

In 2013, Chanin won the CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge, an award competition that identifies and celebrates the greatest American designers working in the realm of sustainable fashion. Chanin continues to learn and to teach craft traditions, using them to bridge generational, economic, and cultural gaps. Chanin is also a mother of two, an avid gardener, and an enthusiastic cook from her home in Florence, Alabama.

 

Natalie Chanin

Niclas (born in 1970) is the Chairman and owner of a numerous of newly started ventures in both Europe and Africa. He is I.E. Chairman and President of STAPP Africa, a Swedish initiated business collecting heavy metals from nature, improving both the environment and the health situation.

In the last decade Mr. Kjellström-Matseke has been the CEO of the Novamedia/Swedish Postcode Lottery (turnover approx 500 MUSD). Together with the Postcode Lotteries in the UK and the Netherlands, it forms the United Postcode Lotteries, being the third largest private donor in the world donating over 8,5 billion USD over the years to the charity sector. The Swedish Postcode Lottery has under Mr. Kjellström-Matseke ten years as CEO not only showed a tremendous growth in turnover, but also in support to charity organizations such as the Clinton Foundation, Red Cross, Nelson Mandela Foundation, UNHCR, WWF among others.

Mr. Kjellström-Matseke has in addition held senior management positions in various companies and he has been the CEO of Spero, another Swedish lottery company. He also has a background as a Management Consultant at Accenture. Mr. Kjellström-Matseke is a board member of the Kennedy family’s RFK Human Rights, member of the Elders’ Advisory Board, honorary advisory board member of the Aung Sang Suu Kyi ‘s World Freedom Fund and a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network Leadership Council.

Mr. Kjellström-Matseke is a thoughtful speaker expressing the importance of entrepreneurship, sustainability and human rights. He has often spoken at events as The World Economic Forum, or together with business leaders as Richard Branson and Paul Polman. He also performs together with heads of states as Presidents Clinton, President Mandela, the Swedish Primeminister, or with Archbishop Desmund Tutu.

Although born in Sweden, Mr. Kjellström-Matseke has his roots in South Africa, where his grandfather was Founding Member of, and President within the political organization ANC.

Mr. Kjellström-Matseke holds an MBA from the Stockholm School of Economics and Babson College in the US. He also holds a degree in Economics and Social Science from Uppsala University.

Niclas Kjellström-Matseke

For the majority of her life, Pam Baer, has focused on philanthropy and living by the principle “live big, love hard and give back”. Using this principle as her mission she continues to serve her community and beyond with her extensive fundraising and volunteer work.

Pam received her Marketing and Finance degrees from the University of Texas in Austin and soon after graduating moved to New York City. During this time she founded and managed a marketing services firm, developing strategies for her Fortune 500 clients for nearly fifteen years.

After meeting her husband in NYC, they ventured back to his hometown of San Francisco where she has raised four children. Pam is actively involved on boards for multiple organizations including; The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco Education Fund, JVS, Dorot, Technion, The San Francisco Symphony, Glide and Family House. Also in earlier years very involved in her children’s schools either committee or boards.

Pam currently serves as the first lifetime director of the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Foundation after serving over 14 years on the executive board. Pam also serves on The Giants Community Fund board and the Board of Dean’s Advisors(BDA) of Harvard Business School. An advisor to several start-up entrepreneurs in the impact investment arena. It is her life’s journey to living the principle of live, love and give.

Pam Baer

Phoebe has over twenty-five years of experience in business development, marketing and corporate/non profit partnerships. Campbell Associates, the boutique firm she founded in 2002 “married mission to marketplace” via strategic brand licensing between not for profits and major manufacturers and retailers. Collectively these generated millions of dollars in financial support while raising awareness and public engagement for clients’ missions.

Currently Phoebe divides her time between writing a book on the equestrian sport of three day eventing and working with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to develop a hybrid licensing/cause marketing initiative. She is an advisor to the Curry/Stone Design Prize, Nest, Ideo.org and served on the board of Architecture for Humanity from 2013-2015.

In her free time, Phoebe shares an enjoyment of horses, cooking, art and travel with her husband and two children. She recently adopted a 300-year-old cottage (with similarly aged termites) in rural Connecticut.

 

Phoebe Campbell

Sean Ansett is a sustainability professional with nearly 20 years experience. Sean provides strategic advice to corporations, social enterprise start-ups, UN agencies and non-profit organizations on ethical trade, human rights and environmental sustainability globally through his organization At Stake Advisors. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Board Liberty & Justice Clothing/UNIFORM, Senior Associate/Tutor at the  University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and was Executive Director of the Bangladesh Safety Accord and Chief Sustainability Officer at Fairphone.

Sean Ansett was the Director of Corporate Responsibility at Burberry in London. Previously, Sean was the Director of Global Partnerships at Gap Inc. where he led Gap Inc.’s social responsibility and stakeholder engagement strategy related to labor, environmental and human rights issues. He was the chief architect behind the company’s stakeholder engagement strategy significantly enhanced the company’s reputation.

He has served on several global multi-stakeholder initiatives including the Advisory Board of Social Accountability International, the Global Reporting Initiative’s G3 expert committee, the Ethical Trading Initiative, a founding member of the MFA Forum and UNCTAD’s committee for integrating CSR indicators in financial reporting.

Sean is a regular speaker and writer. He has contributed and is quoted in Bloomberg, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal amongst others. Sean is a returned United States Peace Corps and World Food Program volunteer. Sean has a Masters degree in Sustainability Leadership, University of Cambridge, Wolfson College and a Master’s of Science degree in Business Administration. He is fluent in Spanish.

Sean Ansett

Steven Kolb is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). He oversees all operations for the American fashion industry’s group of 500 designers, and manages CFDA’s membership, activities and philanthropic efforts such as Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, disaster relief and HIV/AIDS.

In his role, Kolb also helped cultivate emerging American fashion talent through programs such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and the CFDA {Fashion Incubator}. Under his guidance, the annual CFDA Fashion Awards has become the preeminent spotlight on American fashion.

Kolb also led the CFDA in the acquisition of the Fashion Calendar, spearheaded the launch of New York Fashion Week: Men’s, and established CFDA’s Strategic Partnerships Group.

Additionally, he was instrumental in creating CFDA’s Health Initiative to address health issues among models.  He also helped develop Fashion Manufacturing Initiative to revitalize   New York City’s garment industry.

Kolb works directly with CFDA Chairwoman Diane von Furstenberg and the Board of Directors comprised of America’s foremost designers. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from New York University.

Steven Kolb
CFDA President and CEO

Susan is a serial connector, cause marketer, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert. She is the founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focusing on the intersection between brands and social good, providing storytelling, partnership creation and visibility to corporations, NGOs and social enterprises. She’s a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Triple Pundit and Forbes and has 25+ years experience in marketing, public relations, and sustainability communications.

 

Susan McPherson

Wen Zhou grew up in the small town of Ningbo China. Her father, a professor, and her mother, a seamstress, taught people in the village how to sew clothes. In 1985, she and her family moved to Chinatown in New York City; she was only 12 years old and did not speak English. Zhou’s background is similar to Lim’s with Chinese immigrant parents; her mother continued to work as a seamstress and her father found work as a dishwasher. Later, with money from after-school jobs in garment factories, Zhou enrolled in marketing and business classes at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology. After landing her first full-time position cutting swatches for a textile manufacturer, she was promoted to sales. At 21 years old, she began the first of her entrepreneurial pursuits with a business selling fabric. At 26 years old, she founded her second business—an offshore clothing production which further cemented her business acumen in the garment industry.

Through a fateful and fashionable meeting in Paris, Lim and Zhou became friends. When Lim was ready to move on from Development, his first line, it took less than a heartbeat for Wen to seize the opportunity. In the Fall of 2005 Wen and Phillip launched 3.1 Phillip Lim, they were both 31at the time.

The company’s vision of designer clothes at contemporary prices opened up the once dormant bridge (entry level designer) market. As president and CEO, of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Zhou has grown the business into a global fashion brand including womenswear, menswear, footwear, accessories and eyewear. She oversees over 100 employees and is one of the most respected leaders in the business.

Wen Zhou

Junior Board

Lindsay Abrams is a Next Gen Philanthropist and mental health advocate. Since 2016, Lindsay has served as the Executive Director of the Bruce C. Abrams Foundation. In addition to her role at the foundation, Lindsay is the Sales & Outreach Manager at The Little Market, a nonprofit fair-trade shop featuring ethically sourced, artisan-made products.

In addition to serving on the Junior Board of NEST, Lindsay serves on the Board of Directors of Indego Africa, which strives to bring women and girls out of poverty by teaching them vocational skills and business training in Rwanda and Ghana. She is also a member of the Young Leadership Committee at The JED Foundation, a nonprofit that exists to protect the emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults.

Lindsay graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2012, where she double majored in Human and Organizational Development (HOD) and an interdisciplinary study in literature and leadership. Following graduation, Lindsay moved to New York City, where she worked in the fashion industry at Rent the Runway and Joie before moving to Los Angeles in 2017 to get her Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship. She graduated with her MA from University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in May of 2019 and has since relocated back to NYC.

Lindsay Abrams

Bennett is the Owner, CEO and Creative Director of Miranda Bennett Studio, a brand dedicated to creating perennial apparel for womanhood since 2013. Bennett began her career in Fashion in 2006 with her first eponymous collection which was designed, cut and sewn in New York City. During her time as an independent designer in New York, she also worked as a stylist for some of the largest retailers in the USA, including Bloomingdales and Nordstrom. She has since relocated to her native Austin, TX, where she re-established her namesake brand as a vertically integrated, zero waste company that champions the use of natural dyes in commercial scale and ethical production in the US by an all woman team.

A graduate of Parsons’s School of Design and Eugene Lang College, Bennett’s thesis and senior collection were rooted in principles of local, maker economies that eschew mass production and the exploitation of workers. In her thesis, she interviewed fashion designer and artist Susan Cianciolo, Christina Hattler of MexChic, and others to identify the nascent roots of the maker movement. Since that time, Bennett’s entire career has been dedicated to ethical manufacturing, local and transparent production models and sustainability through design and materials.

Fans of her work include pop icon Katy Perry, political sensation Wendy Davis, chef & TV personalities Carla Hall and Rachael Ray, and folk artist Patty Griffin. Bennett’s work has been featured in the NY Times, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and Vogue, among others.

A pilgrim of myth, Bennett is often captured by the invisible, underlying thread that connects us all. An awareness of this connection, and that no actions exist in a vacuum, is the foundation of her approach to fashion and environmental stewardship. Learn more about her work here.

Miranda Bennett

Jane is an architect and attorney working for her family’s commercial real estate business in Kansas City, Missouri. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tulane University School of Architecture, her J.D from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, and completed a fellowship in community economic development at U.C. Berkeley’s East Bay Community Law Center. Her interest in cooperative development, particularly women-owned businesses, led her to Nest and its work.

Jane has joined Nest on trips to Guatemala, Peru, and India, has had the opportunity to meet several of Nest’s artisan partners, and hopes to continue to support the organization both at home and abroad through the Junior Board.

Jane Ehinger

Erika has over ten years of experience working in entrepreneurial new business and corporate innovation divisions for leading global media, beauty and CPG firms. As the Head of Strategic Partnerships for the Digital Technology and Innovation Group at Estee Lauder Companies Online, she fosters collaboration between emerging enterprises and large corporations, matching startup agility with corporate ability and expertise. Erika holds a BA in Urban Studies from University of Pennsylvania, MA in Urban Planning from Harvard and an MA in Journalism from NYU.

Erika Parkins

Shivam Punjya is the founder and creative director of behno. He oversees the brandʼs overall social and creative direction and positioning. Punjya founded the brand with the goal of addressing poverty and global health through traditional and non-traditional enterprise channels. Punjyaʼs professional experiences include luxury hospitality conglomerate InterContinental Hotels Group in London to GreatNonprofits.org, a tech-based nonprofit in the Silicon Valley. Upon completing his B.A. in International Political Economy from U.C. Berkeley, Punjya led extensive fundraising campaigns for the overseas branch of Pratham, India’s largest education advocacy nonprofit. Punjya graduated from Duke University with a M.S. in Global Health from the Duke Global Health Institute. During his time at Duke University, Punjya also studied social entrepreneurship at the Fuqua School of Business. Most recently, Punjya also served as the President of the board of Fashion Revolution (USA) where he was previously its Country Coordinator.

Shivam Punjya

Maxandra is an NYC-based designer with experience in both fashion and social entrepreneurship. She started her womenswear career at Oscar de la Renta and designed for Gal Meets Glam Collection. She also co-founded Kora Designs, a sustainably-minded jewelry line working with artisans in developing communities.  Maxandra was born in Singapore and grew up throughout Southeast Asia. She is a graduate of NYU and Parsons Schools of Design.

Maxandra Short Kramer

Founding Board

Ann Vonallmen

David Vonallmen

Alison Sheehan

Kari Erickson Woolf

Lauren Hurst

Molly Carter

Susanna Johnson Bird

Steering Committee

Brand and Corporate Partners

Philanthropic Partners

Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bravo Family Foundation
Bruce C. Abrams Foundation
The Cordes Foundation
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
Humanity United
IF Hummingbird Foundation
Imago Dei Fund
James S. Peterson Foundation
Kastory Family Foundation
MacDonough Foundation
Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

Mauze Family Charitable Fund
MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge
Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation
Newman’s Own Foundation
Oak Foundation
Rung for Women
Same Sky Foundation at Tides
Souls Grown Deep Foundation
Staples Trust
Swarovski Foundation
The Walt Disney Company
Winn Family Foundation

Awards

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