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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
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

Benita is the Chief Communications & Advocacy Officer at Nest, where she oversees the organization’s marketing initiatives, the Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft in market, brand marketing partnerships and strategic sourcing initiatives. She joined Nest in 2019 as the Chief Programs Officer.

Benita started her career while a senior at Yale University, when she co-founded and served as the President of Mercado Global – a fair trade social enterprise connecting women artisans in Guatemala to wholesale markets in the US. Building upon her love of textiles, she served as the Founder & CEO of Le Souk, the first online platform to connect textile mills & leather tanneries in 17 countries directly to a global community of designers and sourcing specialists.Throughout her career, Benita has been named an Echoing Green Fellow, the North American Laureate by the Cartier Women’s Initiative, a Levi Strauss & Co Collaboratory Fellow and most recently as one of the top 10 individuals transforming retail according to LinkedIn.

Benita Singh
Chief Communications & Advocacy Officer
[email protected]

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 Dearwester
Chief Strategy & Partnerships Officer
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

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
Senior Director of Maker & Artisan Development
[email protected]

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 Research and Worker Wellbeing
[email protected]

Nicole is the Director of Makers United. Focusing on the goal of building a more inclusive and thriving Makers Movement, she works closely with key stakeholders in cities across the U.S. to support and empower makers who face greater barriers to expanding their market reach or accessing business development services. Nicole has held various roles in the non-profit sector—both domestically and internationally—for more than ten years. Prior to Nest, she spent four years at Cancer and Careers managing program initiatives to help cancer patients and survivors in the U.S. navigate employment challenges. In addition to studying abroad in Namibia, she has worked with CMMB in Zambia and Concern Worldwide in Uganda designing and implementing health, development and poverty reduction programs.

Nicole received her B.A. in African American Studies from Oberlin College and her Master’s degree in Public Health, with a concentration in International Health and Development, from Tulane University. She is passionate about health and economic equity, traveling, caring for her growing collection of plants and home design projects.

Nicole Franklin
Director of Makers United
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

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 Creative & Content
[email protected]

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 Relations
[email protected]

Harlem native, Renée T. Billy has many years of Sales & Marketing experience, garnering over $40MM in revenue during her career. Renée has worked with Fortune 500 companies and ground-breaking entertainment brands such as Time Inc.’s Life Magazine, Simon Property Group, Honey Magazine, Complex Magazine and The Source. Most recently, Renée shared her talents with non-profit, Figure Skating in Harlem as VP, Strategic Partnerships.

 In addition to her corporate and non-profit experience, Renée feed her entrepreneurial calling and founded Billy Hendrix which provided a myriad of Concierge services including Styling, Personal Shopping, Home Organizing and more. Her client roster included high-net wealth individuals, notables and celebrities while also working with TV networks such as ABC, BravoBET, HBO, and VH1 for styling projects. Her other company BHX Management provided brand management, sponsorship, and strategic marketing. Clients included Media/TV Personality and Author, Bevy Smith to launch her motivational speaking series, Life with Vison and Award-Winning Journalist and Media Personality, Emil Wilbekin’s Native Son 


Since Fall 2019, Renée has been a contributor to 201 Magazine as a Bergen Beauty, where she regularly contributes Beauty tips. For the last three years she also serves as a Personal Shopping Affiliate (PSA) for luxury online retailer Net-A-Porter.  


Renée holds a B.A. in Business Management from Marymount Manhattan College. Renée currently resides in New Jersey’s Bergen County with her husband Michael and daughter Dru. 

Renée T. Billy
Director of Corporate & Institutional Philanthropy
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

Marta is very excited to join Nest as the Director of Finance, responsible for Nest’s controlling and accounting operations. She supports the creation and maintenance of our Annual Operating Budget, leads all financial reporting, annual audits, and all on-going bookkeeping work. She also acts as the Human Resource lead, and the liaison with external vendors, service providers and auditors.

Prior to Nest, Marta worked for over 30 years providing accounting and finance services to a wide variety of organizations – from the banking industry to private post-secondary education.  Her most recent engagement was for a small food-rescue nonprofit organization, where she developed her passion for supporting the work performed by philanthropic groups.  She works from her home in Arizona and enjoys being close to her 2 adult daughters.  Her outside interests include architecture, compulsive reading, baking, and relaxing with her cats.

Marta Druckman
Director of Finance
[email protected]

Becky is grateful to be part of the Nest family as the Manager of Compliance. In this role, she partners with small and artisan businesses to ensure that they can demonstrate their commitment to hand worker wellbeing through the Nest Ethical Compliance Standards. She is dedicated to ensuring that in her work, every hand worker can be heard and every business can thrive.

Prior to Nest, she was a global health program evaluation consultant with extensive experience in data collection, analysis, and visualization. She graduated in 2018 with a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, concentrating in Health in Humanitarian Contexts and International Program Evaluation. She enjoys the challenge of measuring and communicating the impact of complex programs so that organizations have the information they need to act on their goals and objectives. She has collaborated with organizations in a variety of global contexts, including large corporations, multinational organizations, small non-profits, and academic institutions. In her free time, she loves finding peace in the outdoors with her husband and dog.

Becky Romasco-Kelly
Manager of Compliance
[email protected]

Sasha is the Manager of Artisan Capacity Building, 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 Capacity Building
[email protected]

Ratasha Smith is Nest’s Communications Manager. She is passionate about community, equity and amplifying diverse voices through storytelling. Prior to joining Nest, Ratasha led Communications at the The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Ratasha also interned at New Haven City Hall in the communications department of the Mayor’s office. Ratasha earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Southern Connecticut State University.

Ratasha Smith
Communications Manager
[email protected]

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
Brand Partnerships Manager
[email protected]

Lizzie is the Partnerships Manager at Nest where she works closely with the partnerships team to provide project management and support for philanthropic and brand engagement initiatives.

Prior to working with Nest, Lizzie launched her career in the non-profit sphere, where she spent over seven years at the Global Give Back Circle, managing a leading education and mentorship program for at-risk girls in Africa and Asia. She went on to study Jewelry Design and CAD/CAM, and learned the ins-and-outs of the jewelry industry working in purchasing and pre-production.

In 2017, she combined her love of jewelry and desire to create employment opportunities in Kenya, and launched a social-enterprise working with artisan entrepreneurs in Nairobi.

Lizzie has a heart for helping and empowering women, and a great appreciation for craft and creativity. She holds a B.A. in Strategic Communication from Miami University of Ohio and a Certificate in Jewelry Design and CAD/CAM from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). In her free time, she enjoys traveling, baking, and spending time outdoors.

Lizzie Lahey
Partnerships Manager
[email protected]

Leti Bueno is a nonprofit professional currently working in development and fundraising with Music to Life, a nonprofit that brings musicians and activism together. She is a strong community advocate in Texas and focuses her passion on arts and music, ethical trade, immigration, and WOC led entrepreneurship. Leti is also co-founder of The Giving Circle Gang, with friends and family, supporting immigrant and refugee advocacy initiatives around the nation. She brings with her several years of nonprofit experience, working with international and local nonprofits, along with her work in youth leadership development. Leti is originally from San Antonio but now happily resides in Austin w/her two dogs, Xochitl and Snoopy.

Leti Bueno
Grants Manager
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

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

Teia Wallington
Makers United Team – Detroit, MI

Michelle is an advocate and creative community catalyst in Puerto Rico, where she served on the Council for the Creative Industries and founded Puerto Rico Diseña, a project to mentor and support design sector development and local maker success.

Most recently, she served as the creative lead for the opening of Puerto Rico’s first design museum, MADMi, where she developed the museum’s brand identity, website, visitor experience design and curated the museum shop for it’s opening.

Her career spans multiple sectors and disciplines from strategic communications, to international development, to the cultural and creative industries and design. She leads her own consulting practice focused on creativity and social impact and is the co-author of Orange Economy: Innovations and Trends in the Creative Industries in Latin America and the Caribbean (2017) that showcases companies and innovators that are agents of change.

She has served in a regional capacity with responsibility for the Latin America and the Caribbean region through her work for the Inter-AmericanDevelopment Bank and for media giants HBO and Discovery Channel. She has presented her work at the World Design Forum, eMerge Conference for the Americas and the Animus Summit.

Michelle co-founded Proyecto 85, a non-profit organization where she currently serves on the Board of Directors that promotes gender equity in Puerto Rico’s elected political positions through training and research.

Michelle Perez-Kenderish
Consultant, Makers United Puerto Rico

LaKenzise Mayberry is a consulting project manager supporting Nest’s Market Access Initiative with The Gee’s Bend Quilters in Alabama. LaKenzise is a passionate human resources professional with ten years’ experience engaging business professionals in learning and organization development experiences designed to help them learn, grow, and thrive professionally. She uses her background in social work and positive psychology to create safe and inclusive training spaces where participants can unlock their potential, understand their strengths and values, and overcome self-imposed limitations.

Prior to beginning her career in human resources, LaKenzise worked in nonprofit organizations, such as Cool Girls of Atlanta and Girls Scouts of North Alabama, focused on recruiting and training diverse volunteers and developing innovative and empowering programming for girls from underserved populations.  

LaKenzise holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Social Work with a minor in African American Studies from the University of Alabama. When she is not working, she is sewing, helping people organize and declutter, traveling, reading, and enjoying quality time with her family and friends.


LaKenzise Mayberry
Project Manager, Gee's Bend

When I was a small child I would play underneath my grandmother’s quilting frame which covered most of the living room”. Her grandmother, Malissa Pettway, her mother, Tinnie, and aunt, Minnie, were all accomplished quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

Although Claudia says she had no special training, with these quilters in her family, it goes without saying that she would be blessed with talent of her own, so she is fourth-generation Gee’s Bend quilter.

Claudia artistic ideas follow the Gee’s Bend style that comes from the heart, but when “energized” she uses brighter colors. She works early in the morning with fabric all around her. The Black Belt influence that is most rewarding and enjoyable to Claudia is the freedom of feeling and expressing herself with “no rules or judgments, just you and your materials and being able to use what you have and make something of value.”  Although her art keeps her busy she is a wife and a mother of four (2 boys and 2 girls). Her daughter, Francesca, is following in her footsteps as a fifth-generation Gee’s Bend quilter and artist.

As CEO of That’s Sew Gee’s Bend, Claudia has worked with quilters in her community through marketing and promoting.  She has taught privately through workshops, and been a guest-speaker and presenter at universities . Her works have travelled nationally and internationally through galleries and museums.

Claudia’s inspiration for her work is recognizing that beauty is all around you…and all we need to do is pay attention.

Claudia Pettway Charley
Community Manager, Gee's Bend

Mary Margaret Pettway is a third-generation Gee’s Bend quilter, Nest Community Organizer, and board chair of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.

Gee’s Bend quilt makers and their quilts are descendents of craft as storytelling, generational memory, resilience and beauty. The following are Mary Margaret’s  own unchanged words describing her craft:

“My mother was Lucy Pettway. My grandmother was Mary Ann Pettway. I grew up in Gee’s Bend Alabama. Boykin, now.

I didn’t just learn to quilt, I was made to quilt. My mother used to have a little clique. They would leave home and go to whoever’s house had the quilt. It would be about 5 or 6 of them sitting around, just quilting and talking. They would finish either that day, or early morning the day after. And then it would be time to go to the next house. Me, I like to work by myself—I’m what my mother used to call, “particular about my stitches.”

My favorite thing about quilting is the end result. You take materials, put them together and the colors just work! Nature has the best palette. And when you’re done, when you hang that quilt up or spread it out on a bed, it looks so pretty! You just want to touch it!”

Mary Margaret Pettway
Community Organizer, Gee's Bend

Hello, my name is Jade Pettway. I am 27 years old. I was born and raised in Gee’s Bend, Alabama. I am the Shipping and Fulfillment Coordinator in Gee’s Bend. I support the packaging and shipping for many of the quilters’ Etsy shops as well as other projects. I am also a photographer. My true passion is with the camera. Finally finding something that you love doing is not work–it is true pleasure. Seeing the world through the camera lens is looking at the world through new eyes. Seeing it clearly after trying to see through a fog.

Jade Pettway
Shipping and Fulfillment Coordinator, Gee's Bend

Glenn is leading the development of the second edition of Nest’s State of the Handworker Economy Report focused on makers in the United States.

Glenn is a consulting economist who applies microeconomics to guide decisions by regulators, including transportation, environmental protection and fisheries management; courts, including class certification, unjust enrichment, and antitrust liability; and international competition commissions for merger review. He researches the role of innovation, information and technology on the organization of production and markets. Additionally, he teaches Law and Economics as an Adjunct Professor at Occidental College and the University of Southern California. Glenn holds a B.A. in Economics, UC Davis, M.A. in Economics UC Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. Economics, UC Santa Barbara.

Glenn Mitchell
SHE Report Consultant
[email protected]

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

Tracey is a proven marketing professional with over 15 years of combined experience in the cable, retail and insurance industries. From a functional perspective, her varied work experiences range from entrepreneur, leading a full-service marketing agency to Consumer Marketing Director of a publicly traded media conglomerate. For the last three years, Tracey has worked as Brand Acquisitions Marketing Lead for Aflac, a fortune 500 company. In this role she is responsible for leveraging consumer, brand and industry insights to support discovery, evaluation and selection of new Aflac business acquisitions contributing to $300MM in acquisition portfolio. Prior to Aflac, she led consumer marketing as 360° Brand Director at BET, a VIACOM CBS company. Tracey’s marketing acumen tows the line between marketing as a science and the business of developing the best creative work. A superb communicator with insightful expertise, her passion is in helping companies to build brand visibility and leverage business acumen to generate solutions for complex issues that build impact.

Tracey Austin-Grooms

Heather is Vice President of the Winn Family Foundation, which focuses on education, particularly in STEM fields, healthcare, women’s economic advancement, and environmental initiatives.

Prior to shifting her time solely to philanthropy, Heather ran a weaving studio out of her home which gave her an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges makers face. It was the intersection of her love of craft, running a small business, and the opportunity to support women through economic empowerment that drew her to Nest.

She lives in Austin, TX with her two children and husband.

Heather Bowman

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.


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Carmen Busquets

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 served as board member and ultimately 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

Amanda Tucker is Target’s new Vice President of Responsible Sourcing and Sustainability. Amanda joined Target in March 2021. Amanda is passionate about using the power of global brands to make the world a better place, and it was that passion that led to her decision to join Team Target. Amanda has broad experience in leadership development, corporate responsibility and sustainability. A certified professional coach, Amanda mentors and coaches students as a course facilitator for the LEAD program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Prior to her work with Stanford, Amanda held a variety of senior roles in sustainable manufacturing and sourcing during a 21 year career at Nike, including as the GM for Vietnam and Italy. Amanda also worked in Switzerland for the International Labor Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, and at the U.S. Council for International Business in New York City.

Amanda’s undergraduate degrees are in Political Science and Public Policy (Stanford University). Her graduate degrees were obtained from Institut d’Etudes Politique de Paris, the College of Europe (Brugge, Belgium), and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

In her spare time, Amanda enjoys cycling, skiing, running, climbing, and training her agility dog Ella. She is a music lover and serves on the Board of the Oregon Symphony.

Amanda Tucker

Advisory Board

Abrima Erwiah (based between Accra and New York), with actress and activist Rosario Dawson, is the co-founder of Studio One Eighty Nine, an artisan produced fashion lifestyle brand and social enterprise that has recently won the prestigious CFDA Lexus Fashion Initiative for Sustainability. The brand is made in Africa and produces African and African-inspired content and clothing. The brand currently operates a store in NY and Accra (Ghana), an ecommerce site, a manufacturing facility in Accra, and supports various community led projects in Africa and in the USA. Studio 189 works with artisanal communities that specialize in various traditional craftsmanship techniques including natural plant based dye indigo, hand-batik, kente weaving and more. Studio 189 focuses on empowerment, creating jobs and supporting education and skills training.

Erwiah teaches an undergraduate BFA course called “Systems & Society” at Parsons School of Design at the New School.

Erwiah believes that fashion can be an agent of social change and her mission is to to do work that contributes to society, that has sustainable impact, that is innovative and strategic. Erwiah is a luxury goods industry executive with experience in sustainable development, global sales and marketing, production, operations, digital, general management and international development. She has worked in luxury goods, fashion, accessories, beauty as well as in the agriculture sector. She has worked with corporations, NGOS and governments. She has worked as an advisor to the United Nations International Trade Center Ethical Fashion Initiative and has worked as the Global Associate Communications and Marketing Director as well as the Worldwide Social Media Director at Bottega Veneta (Kering Group). Additionally, she has held various positions at luxury brands including Hermes/John Lobb, Cesare Paciotti and Bureau Betak. She has worked and traveled extensively internationally and has lived in New York City, Milan, Florence, Kampala and Accra. She is fluent in English, French; proficient in Italian and understands Spanish.

She developed a master’s at NYU Gallatin studying the economic impact of luxury goods in Africa and wrote her thesis at NYU Ghana. She graduated with a bachelor of science in finance and international business from NYU Stern School of Business.

She was appointed marketing mentor for Afripads in Uganda through the Kering Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights. She supports various organizations including V-day, the Lower East Side Girls Club, Fashion Revolution USA, 14plus foundation, the High School of Fashion Industries committee, Shine on Sierra Leone, etc

She has also recently joined Vanity Fair and One Young World’s list of people leading the charge towards achieving the UN’s 17 SDGs. She was featured in Nike’s campaign celebrating Women entrepreneur’s. She is the recipient of various awards including the Martin Luther King Jr Social Justice award from Upenn, the MOCADA Social Justice award, the Design Miami Visionary award, the Filming On Italy Social Justice award, the Africa-America Institute Entrepreneur Impact Award, the international women of power sankofa award and more.

She is a published author. She has guest lectured at various universities and spoken at various conferences including Harvard, NYU, Upenn, RISD, Radford University, Google, CFDA, IMG, Estee Lauder, One Young World and more.

Abrima Erwiah

Agathe is Head of Human Rights at Chanel, responsible for driving social progress within the company’s supply chains, reinforcing its expertise and providing insights on emerging issues related to human and labour rights.

Agathe has 13 years experience as a Corporate Social Responsibility expert. In her previous role within Chanel, she was Responsible sourcing director for Fragrance & Beauty, overseeing design of fair-trade and sustainably-grown plant-based supply chains, and operation of Chanel’s agroecological farms in different ecosystems across the world. She was also  Fragrance & Beauty’s representative on the board of the CHANEL Foundation, which advocates for gender equality and the advancement of women and adolescent girls as agents of change in society.

Prior to joining Chanel, Agathe was Program Director at Pur Projet, a social business developing environmental and community impact programs. She also spent eight years within Sustainability Services at Deloitte, designing strategies for businesses, foundations and NGOs. In 2012 she established Deloitte’s Business and Human Rights advisory practice, and conducted assessments in several countries in Africa and South-East Asia, engaging with vulnerable workers to evaluate the risks posed to human and labour rights in rural and informal environments.

Agathe holds an MBA from the French business school ESSEC, with a specialization in social entrepreneurship. She is board member of Human Resources Without Borders, an NGO dedicated to preventing the risks of child labour, forced labour, and indecent work in globalized supply chains. She is also involved with the NGO Utopia, which provides temporary emergency housing to migrant families in Paris.

Agathe Derain

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 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.

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

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

Brittany Watson Jepsen is the founder and creative director of The House That Lars Built (Lars), a craft and design lifestyle site and shop focused on artful living. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Martha Stewart, House Beautiful, Vogue, Domino Magazine, Le Monde, and more. She is the author of Craft the Rainbow and My Life in Color as well as various coloring books. She has licensed work with various clothing and homewares companies.

The House That Lars Built started as a class project in 2008 while studying interior design at Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC and later textile design in Copenhagen, Denmark. After interning at Jonathan Adler and interior designer Celerie Kemble in New York City she had the pleasure of working on projects for companies like Tiffany and Co. An opportunity to travel to a small village in the mountains of Nepal in 2011 photographing and writing about an architecture project led her to meet dozens of enterprising women artisans. This furthered her interest in the handmade economy. She later moved back to Copenhagen where she began working on Lars full time and later back to the states where the blog grew into an 8 person company and shop now based in Provo, Utah.

She has garnered an audience and community of people who like to be inspired and make things with her hands. She believes that there is a creative project and time frame for every person and she’s on mission to show people how to do it.

Brittany Watson Jepsen

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

Where World Tradition Meets Luxury Fashion

Elizabeth Muir is passionate about working at the intersection of fashion and international development, a crossroad where traditional cultures meet modern day.

While Elizabeth has more than 15 years of experience in client delivery at top businesses and organizations including Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), The World Bank, and Marriott, she has also successfully developed, transformed, launched, and modernized numerous consumer brands worldwide. Clients have widely ranged from Fortune 100 companies to the US Government to musicians signed to major record labels to consumer brand start-ups to companies based in Afghanistan wanting to enter Europe’s luxury market by way of Milan.

A ‘brand whisperer,’ she makes brands look and sound like they should be competing on the world stage, and has established market linkages between producers and brands so that they could. The launches that she designed and produced for Afghan companies and for a US-led African business initiative resulted in global press coverage in more than 400 online, print, and television outlets in addition to social media with a reach of 17 million people and trending on Twitter.

Aware that partnerships between the private, non-profit, and public sectors are a powerful way to achieve results, she formed strategic partnerships with companies (including Levi’s, Bono and Alli Hewson’s EDUN, Aveda, Gibson Guitars), non-profits, and music celebrities to leverage brands to raise awareness for United Nations Association (UNA) Fashion Fights Poverty’s eco-ethical fashion campaigns for which she produced multiple fashion photo shoots and catwalk segments for the fashion shows promoting how working with producers in developing countries can be a solution to economic development.

Entrepreneurial, Elizabeth founded her own award-nominated fashion social enterprise for which she developed and managed the end-to-end supply chain from concept to distribution. She loves immersing herself in local culture, exploring bazaars, finding gems in time-honored crafts, and creating sophisticated products that are a fusion of traditional and modern. She purposefully integrated into the supply chain craft-based artisans and a women-run factory (NGO) in fragile and developing countries to preserve crafts and simultaneously provide income generation and economic development opportunities for them to help lift them out of poverty.

Her designs have been requested for over a dozen industry events, including celebrity gift bags for the Radio Music Awards, American Music Awards, and Country Music Awards as well as US Presidential Inaugural Balls and on the catwalk at Miami Fashion Week and UNA Fashion Fights Poverty. Her work has been featured in media worldwide including The Washington Post, Miami Herald, OK Magazine, Grazia, Reuters, NBC, Fox, Voice of America, and more. She was a top 10 nominee (out of 100+) for the LL Cool J-hosted Fashion Delivers Pay It Fashion Forward design awards in New York, an honor highlighting up-and-coming design industry leaders with a positive influence on the community, as well as a nominee for Fashion Group International’s Fair Trade Design Award. She has designed for and wardrobe styled music artists, including those signed to Universal Music Group, Curb Records, and Virgin Records.

Elizabeth attended Vanderbilt University and Université de Paris-Sorbonne. She learned the design and production supply chain hands-on in a work-study role in India normally reserved for design students from Europe’s top fashion schools. She spent several months developing collections at one of the country’s most famous design centers and factories known for preserving tradition in its textiles, home furnishings, and fashion. She has traveled to 49 countries and lived in 8 of them. She speaks multiple languages.

Elizabeth Muir

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. 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

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

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,, Refinery29, WhoWhatWear, Bloomberg TV, The New York Times and Forbes.

Melissa Joy Manning

Nadja is Chair of the Swarovski Foundation, which she established in 2013 to support projects that foster culture and creativity, promote human empowerment and preserve the environment. She also heads up the Swarovski Waterschool, which works across six continents teaching young people the importance of water conservation. Nadja was the first female member of the Swarovski Executive Board, becoming a major patron of the creative industries by supporting emerging and established design talent.

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

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

Patrick Robinson is a celebrated American designer with more than 30 years of experience in the fashion industry. After attending the Parsons School of Design, Robinson worked for Patrick Kelly in Paris and Albert Nipon in New York, before becoming Design Director for Giorgio Armani in Milan. In 1994, he became Senior Vice President. of Design, Merchandising and Marketing for Anne Klein. In 1996, Robinson started his own collection, winning numerous awards and being named one of Vogue’s top 100 rising stars. In April 2003, he became the Creative Director of Perry Ellis Women’s Sportswear and then in 2005 was named Artistic Director for Paco Rabanne. In May 2007, Robinson designed an affordable collection for Target Corporation’s Go International line and became executive vice president of design for Gap Adult and gapbody. In May 2013, Robinson was hired as global creative director of Armani Exchange. 2016 marked the full launch of his Paskho collection. In 2020 Robinson created Paskho Community-Made that employs and empowers displaced US garment workers.

Patrick Robinson

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

Shea Soucie is Principal and co-founder, along with partner Martin Horner, of Chicago- and Naples, Florida-based interior architecture, and design firm Soucie Horner, Ltd. Established in 2000, Soucie Horner, Ltd. is comprised of three distinct business divisions. Soucie Horner Interiors designs highly personalized spaces that define, embody, and enhance each client’s unique idea of living well. Soucie Horner Collections creates custom furniture, lighting, and textiles. SH Studio leverages nearly two decades of experience designing high-end luxury interiors to partner with developers to elevate the built environments in which people live, work, and play.

Soucie is also co-founder of SHIIR Rugs, an artisanal rug company established in 2012. SHIIR Rugs is represented in eleven showrooms across the United States and Europe, including Holly Hunt; Jennifer West; De Sousa Hughes; David Sutherland; ALT for Living; David Adler; Estudio Casa; and Tim Page Carpets in London.

In addition, Soucie is a member of the Leaders of Design Council, dedicated to strengthening the design profession through education programs and networking; a member of the Design Leadership Network; and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization. She is also an Executive Board member of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, which prepares low-income students with the scholarship, discipline, and honor necessary to succeed in college and lead exemplary lives, and also serves as a catalyst for education reform in Chicago. She is a former faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Soucie attended the Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture.

Shea lives in Chicago with her husband and four children.

Shea Soucie

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

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, 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

Brand and Corporate Partners

Ace & Jig
Dana Bronfman
Eileen Fisher
Flying Tiger
Greg Lauren
Isabel Marant
J Crew
Jaipur Living
Loeffler Randall
Marfa Stance
Melissa Joy Manning

Mignonne Gavigan
Ralph Lauren
Rue Gilt Groupe
Ten Thousand Things
The Children’s Place
The House That Lars Built
The Real Real
Tory Burch
Uncommon Goods
West Elm
Williams-Sonoma Inc.