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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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Graph showing Nest financials


World Economic Forum Young Global Leader

Ashoka Fellow

CFDA Lexus Challenge Advisor

Fabric of Change Award from C&A Foundation and Ashoka

Meet Our Family

Leadership and Team

Rebecca Van Bergen
Founder and Executive Director

Christopher Van Bergen
Chief Operating Officer

Ashia Sheikh
Chief Strategy and Partnerships Officer

Kristin Schneider
Chief Marketing Officer

Sara Otto
Director of Artisan Compliance and Programming

Marika Shiga
Director of Engagement & Partnerships

Amanda Lee
Director of Brand Strategy and Artisan Production

Joellen Nicholson
Director of Artisan Engagement and Fellowships

Amélie Decaix
Manager of Finance and Administration

Brenda Gottsabend
Project Manager and Graphic Designer

Meghan Black
Director of Artisan Marketing

Shalini Suresh
Director of Compliance & Research

Lindsey Struck
Director of Institutional Giving and Impact

Indrani da Silva
Director of Corporate Partnerships

Board of Trustees

Jim Brigham is Chairman of Warson Capital Partners, an investment banking and private equity firm based in St. Louis. Prior to joining Warson Capital, he was Director of HealthpointCapital LLC, a New York-based private equity firm investing in the orthopedic device industry, where he continues to serve as an Advisory Director. From 2006-2008 he was CEO of one of HealthpointCapital’s portfolio companies, BioLok International, a manufacturer of dental implants. From 1983-2001 he was CEO of Diagraph Corporation, a manufacturer of industrial product identification systems, which he sold to Illinois Tool Works in 2001. 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. Jim began his career with J.P. Morgan from 1969–1977. He has a BA from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Jim also 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 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

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

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

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

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. She is board member of IRC UK ( and is a trustee of the Children’s Hospital Trust in Cape Town (the Great Ormond Street Hospital of Africa —www. 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

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, 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 Si-Ahmed is the Los Angeles based founder of Sana Jardin, the world’s first socially conscious fragrance house that works to empower women and has been featured in The New York Times, Vogue and The Financial Times. From 2011 to 2014 Amy served as a governing Trustee for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. She worked closely with Cherie Blair to empower women economically by supporting female entrepreneurs in developing countries through mentoring, mobile technology and enterprise development programs. From 2009-2011 she volunteered her services as a Development Advisor for President Clinton’s Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

In 2007 Amy assisted in the creation of the Arab Forum for Social Innovation (AFSI) through the Institute for Philanthropy in London. AFSI increased the impact of charitable giving for philanthropists of Arab descent through donor education and network building. Before that, she spent three years living in the Kingdom of Bahrain where she advised  a number of Bahrain-based non-profit organisations on development and fundraising strategies. From 2001 until 2003, Amy was the Associate Manager of Major Gifts at the New York City-based Robin Hood Foundation, a pioneer in venture philanthropy that was named by Fortune magazine as one of the most innovative and influential philanthropic organisations of our time.

Prior to Amy’s work in development, she spent five years in a direct practice setting in the field of Social Work. Amy provided outpatient psychotherapy to low-income children and families in Chicago, Illinois at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital, Constance Morris Domestic Violence Shelter and Christopher House. 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 sits on the Board of the Elisa Sednaoui Foundation, whose mission is to curate and deliver creative learning experiences within local communities to empower and engage the next generation of problem solvers through arts, cultural exchange and facilitation of life skills currently operating in Egypt and Italy. She is also a member of the British Fashion Council Fashion Trust which offers business support through financial grants, mentoring and funding to emerging British fashion designers.

Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed

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

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

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

Writer/Director/Producer, Jeffrey D Brown is an Academy and Emmy Award winner. SOLD, adapted from the award-winning book by Patricia McCormick is about a young girl trafficked from Nepal and into sexual slavery in brothel in Kolkata, India.  It is an inspiring story of hope and courage based on true accounts.  SOLD is Jeffrey’s directorial feature film debut.

It stars: Niyar Saikia, Gillian Anderson, David Arquette, Seema Biswas, Susmita Mukerhjee and Ankur Vikal.  SOLD produced Jane Charles and Executive Produced by Emma Thompson has won five international audience awards and two jury awards. It has been subtitled into 15 languages and dubbing into Hindi, Bengali and Nepali.

We use our film to raise awareness as well as funds for our programs. We have re-built 86 school classrooms since the earth quake in Nepal and helped to fund the building of two safe houses for girls rescued from brothels in Kolkata.

In partnership with Nest, we are assisting two businesses to expand: FreeSet in Kolkata and Impulse Social Enterprises in Shillong, North East India. Nest is connecting them with design and business expertise to expand their products into international market and hopefully connect them with international name brands to increase profits.  This will enable these businesses to train and hire more survivors of trafficking.  This is the best way to insure freedom and the freedom of their children bringing an end to the cycle of slavery. 

Also, we have trained 30 survivors of sex trafficking as trainers of a PTSD healing modality called Capacitar.  This is a train the trainer model. We hope to travel these 30 trainers to many safe houses and rescue centers in India and many other countries.

Jeffrey Brown, the director and co-writer of SOLD is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of sex trafficking survivors in India and Nepal.  We also use the film with non-profits in India and Nepal to spread awareness so girls and families can avoid getting trafficked in the first place.  We have a 50 min PG-13 version of our film which we have shown through many corporate companies such as Google, British Airlines and many others to create awareness and help raise funds for the work you do to address trafficking. 

Jeffrey Brown

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

In 2010 Kristy co-founded Maiyet and has served as its president since. Maiyet is a pioneering luxury brand that incorporates within its timeless collections rare artisan skills from unexpected places across the world. Reviving ancient techniques and showcasing the raw talent of top emerging artisan communities, Maiyet aims to promote sustainable employment in places that need it most. Since its first presentation to the world at Paris Fashion Week in October of 2011, Maiyet has grown to earn its place within 35 wholesale doors globally. The brand is regularly featured prominently in international publications of repute, including VOGUE, ELLE, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Telegraph, positioned as a coveted fashion label and a leader in the movement towards conscious capitalism. Maiyet opened its first store at 16 Crosby Street in New York’s fabled Soho village.

Kristy’s career as an entrepreneur began immediately following graduation from Northwestern University when she started a company in the tech/hospitality space.   As the dotcom bubble burst, Kristy returned to business school, earning an M.B.A in Finance and Entrepreneurship from USC. Having developed an aptitude in fashion by lending her business skills to young fashion designers, Kristy accepted a position with Gap, Inc. following graduation. At Gap, she was able to launch and grow new businesses for the company including leading the Petite business for Banana Republic, where she quickly made her mark by opening up stand-alone stores, restructuring product and fit approach, and tripling business over the course of two short years. Relocating to Tokyo, Kristy led Banana Republic Japan merchandising—a formative experience through which she gained a deep knowledge of the Japanese market and consumer. In Japan, Kristy was instrumental in growing Banana Republic’s market share, and consistently designed and delivered customized product ranges that significantly exceeded sales expectations. Upon returning to the US and seeking opportunities to unite her skills in the fashion world with a desire to ignite social change through business, Kristy took over Gap’s socially conscious Accessories and Product (RED) division, which raises awareness and vital funds to prevent and fight the global AIDS epidemic. Kristy redeveloped the collection focusing intensely on fashioning a more creative and effective business model for Product (RED). Kristy implemented a sourcing strategy through Africa and championed the project’s spirit and ethos within the Gap organization and amongst Gap consumers and industry peers.

Kristy has consulted for global brands including All Saints, Band of Outsiders and Mercado Global, a fair trade company based in Guatemala. As a design consultant for Mercado Global, Kristy worked directly with indigenous artisans, teaching them new techniques and guiding product development for an assortment of fashion accessories sold to Nordstrom and Levi’s. In 2008, Kristy joined Band of Outsiders full time as President and initiated a long-term growth plan that resulted in new product launches, negotiated licensing agreements, and expanded wholesale penetration.

Kristy graduated with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a secondary focus in Fine Arts Painting from Northwestern University. She holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Finance from University of Southern California and attended Otis College of Arts and Design’s Fashion Design Program.

Kristy Caylor

Lauren is the Founder and CEO of FEED, a social business whose mission is to “Create Good Products that Help FEED the World.” After traveling around the world with the UN World Food Programme as a student, Lauren was inspired to create a consumer product that would engage people in the seemingly overwhelming fight to end world hunger. In 2005, she conceptualized the idea for FEED by designing the initial FEED 1 bag which, when purchased, feeds one child in school for one year.

In 2007, FEED was founded. Every product sold has a measurable donation attached to it and, to date, the social business has been able to provide over 87 million meals globally through the WFP and Feeding America. FEED has also supported nutrition programs around the world, providing over 3.5 million children with Vitamin A supplements through UNICEF.

Lauren Bush Lauren

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

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,, 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

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

Paul is the Co-Founder & CEO of Maiyet. Prior to founding Maiyet, Paul was known for pioneering new approaches to human rights protection; he has advised countries around the world on how to facilitate transitions to peace and democracy following periods of mass atrocity and human rights abuse.

During his career, Paul has served as the Executive Secretary of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, co-founded the International Center for Transitional Justice, was an adviser to the Sundance Documentary Film Program, worked as a researcher for the Goldstone Commission, as a department head at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg, and as an associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell   in New York. Currently, he is a member of the Monitor Talent Network and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Fragile States.

In tandem with his other work, Paul serves as Director of New York University School of Law’s Transitional Justice Program, and teaches law both in New York and Singapore.

Paul Van Zyl

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, 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

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

Founding Board

Ann Vonallmen

David Vonallmen

Alison Sheehan

Kari Erickson Woolf

Lauren Hurst

Molly Carter

Susanna Johnson Bird

Philanthropic Partners

  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Cordes Foundation
  • Disney’s Supply Chain Investment Program
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
  • Fabric of Change, supported by Ashoka & C&A Foundation
  • Humanity United
  • IF Hummingbird Foundation
  • Imago Dei Fund
  • James Peterson Foundation
  • Kastory Family Foundation
  • Levi Strauss Foundation
  • MacDonough Foundation
  • Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Michelangelo Foundation
  • Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation
  • Oak Foundation
  • Pond Family Foundation
  • QVC
  • Staples Trust
  • Swarovski Foundation
  • Winn Family Foundation
  • NYU
  • Eco Age
  • Kering Foundation
  • Same Sky Foundation at TIDES