The Sustainability Speaker Series is supported by a generous grant from Nancy Eccles and Homer Hayward Family Foundation.

Fall 2014 Events

Building Coastal Resillience with Business Partners in Re-Insurance and Engineering

Michael W. Beck
Lead Scientist, Global Marine Team - The Nature Conservancy
October 1, 2014
McGowan 102

Mike is the lead marine scientist for The Nature Conservancy and also works as a research associate at the Institute for Marine Science and has an adjunct appointment in the Department of Ocean Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He works on the interface between marine science and policy on marine spatial planning, habitat restoration, and coral reef conservation in temperate and tropical regions. His work increasingly focuses on developing decision support approaches to build coastal resilience and on the links between disaster risk reduction, climate adaptation, and environmental restoration.

Mike serves on an advisory committee of the National Academy of Sciences and Marine Hydrokinetic Energy) and on NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (Ecosystem Science and Management work group). He was a Fulbright Fellow and an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sydney. In 2012, he was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation to promote green infrastructure as a strategy for adapting to climate change and to support ecosystem recovery to help make communities less vulnerable to current coastal hazards.

Changing Farmer Behavior: Case Studies in Sustainable Supply Chain Management

Heather Bessette
Sales and Marketing, Lotus Foods
October 2, 2014
5 pm- 6 pm
McGowan 102

Heather (MBA/MAIEP '12) works as a marketing and sales co-ordinator for Lotus Foods in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work mainly involves researching sustainable supply chain options and practices for companies and develop effective marketing strategies. She was previously employed as the Associate Marketing Manager at ROSEN Inc. During her time at MIIS, Heather worked as a Sustainability Coordinator (Graduate Assistant), helping to monitor and coordinate energy efficiency and carbon offset projects to achieve the institute's 2016 Carbon Neutrality Goal and also worked as a Project Assistant for Practical Small Projects, which supported the installation of small-scale solar projects in rural Mali.

Risk, at the Center of Markets, Enterprise and International Security Policy

Amit Sharma
Co-Founder, Empowerment Capital
October 23, 2014
8:00 a.m. -9:30 a.m.
Casa Fuente 452

The understanding and management of risk has significantly impacted geo-political and international economic events in the 21st century, and continues to influence commercial enterprise, policy and development institutions and the financial markets.  This discussion will explore how 1) the tools of international economics and finance were leveraged to combat international security threats, 2) the nature of financial innovation and risk has influenced international security and development objectives, and 3) how global businesses, capital markets participants and governments must collaboratively manage a more complex “risk paradigm.”  We will explore the nature and evolution of risk within the context of the markets, as tools for policy and how a more holistic understanding of risk may be leveraged to  protect global financial/economic integrity, enhance commercial resiliency, and address pressing development challenges.

 For more information on Amit Sharma, please check out his bio here:


Supply Chain Transparency and Life Cycle Thinking

Dr. Michael S. Brown
Co-Founder, Brown and Wilmanns Environmental
October 27, 2014
6 pm- 8 pm
McGowan 100

Dr. Michael S. Brown has worked in sustainability and environmental management for 30 years, leading efforts to establish trailblazing programs in industry and government. He initiated and directed the Environmental Assessment Program at Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company recognized for its state-of-the-art environmental practices, and he has worked with numerous clients in apparel and footwear manufacturing, retail, mail order, and personal care and food products, along with public-sector and nonprofit organizations. His work in state and local government agencies resulted in the development of innovative technical assistance programs for businesses, ranging from manufacturers of high-tech components and biomedical devices to auto body shops and dry cleaners.

Dr. Brown focuses on creative approaches that provide measurable improvements in environmental and sustainability performance as well as bottom-line benefits, integrated with an appreciation for the diverse needs of different business organizations. Mike received his M.R.P. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University, specializing in environmental health policy. He has taught industrial ecology at UC Santa Barbara, written and spoken extensively on cutting-edge sustainability practices, and is co-author of the book Workers at Risk. He serves as an Assistant Editor for the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

Business Models for Energy Access

Dr. James L. Koch
Professor of Management, Santa Clara University
December 9, 2014
12 pm- 2 pm
McGowan 102

Dr. James L. Koch is founding director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society, and professor of management at Santa Clara University. He received his MBA and Ph.D. from UCLA. From 1990-96 he served as dean of the Leavey School of Business. In 1995 the school achieved its first national recognition from U.S. News and World Report as the 12th ranked part-time program in America.

From 1981 to 1990, he was the founding director of Organization Planning and Development at PG&E, where his department was the recipient of the National Excellence Award for contributions to organizational development from the American Society for Training and Development. Prior to that he was associate professor of management and director of the MBA and Ph.D. programs at the University of Oregon.

Dr. Koch serves on the editorial board for Health Care Management Review. His research and consulting focus on socio-technical systems and high performance organizations. His current work examines information technology and organizational change, social capital, and the psychological sense of community, and the role of technology in improving the quality of life in developing nations.

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