University of Vermont

School of Business Administration

2015/2016 SEMBA Advisory Board

The SEMBA Advisory Board is made up of individuals that work in corporations that have a commitment to sustainability and of individuals that have a long and successful career as entrepreneurs. Some members of our Advisory Board represent the iconic Vermont Brands, while others represent new and exciting firms. Some members come from government agencies and non-profits and others lead firms in the venture capital and private equity worlds. All the members of the Advisory Board are committed to sustainability and to the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates SEMBA's curriculum.

This terrific group of individuals will play an important role by being in the classroom, developing cases, judging "pitch" competitions, arranging and hosting practicums, and mentoring students. We are grateful for their leadership, support, energy, and commitment to make SEMBA one of the best programs in the world.

Laura Asiala

Laura Asiala is the Vice President, Public Affairs at PYXERA Global. Passionate about the power of business to solve-or help solve-the world’s most intransigent problems, she leads the efforts to attract more participation of businesses to contribute to the sustainable development, through their people and their work. Ms. Asiala’s thirty year career in international business include roles in finance, marketing, business development, HR, branding, and communications, and corporate social responsibility. Prior to joining PYXERA Global, she was the Director of Corporate Citizenship for a multi-national specialty materials manufacturer where she led the development of the company’s international corporate volunteer corps as well as other citizenship strategies. Her responsibilities included the oversight of the company’s public-private partnerships, the most significant of which was the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves with the United Nations Foundation and the US Department of State. In addition to her business experience, Ms. Asiala has significant experience in the not-for-profit sector as well. She is an active board member of Net Impact, a community of more than 60,000 student and professional leaders creating positive social and environmental change in the workplace around the world. She serves on the organizing committee for the launch of IMPACT 2030, a private-sector led collaboration with the United Nations mobilizing corporate volunteers around the world. She has a Masters of Science in Organization Development from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelors of Arts in Economics from Alma College. She writes for the online magazine, New Global Citizen. You can follow her on twitter @LauraAsialaCSR.

Jeff Bernicke

Jeff oversees all business operations and administrative areas of the company. He is responsible for setting NativeEnergy’s strategic direction, leading its growth efforts, and managing its sales and project teams.

Jeff has over 20 years of experience in business development, strategy, and finance in renewable energy, cleantech, and manufacturing industries. Prior to NativeEnergy, Jeff held senior positions with GE-AES Greenhouse Gas Services, DTE Energy Resources, and the Environmental Capital Network (precursor to Cleantech Venture Network). Jeff holds an M.B.A. with distinction and an M.S. in resource ecology from the University of Michigan and B.S. degrees in business and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife Veronica, three sons, and various cats and dogs in Shelburne.

Valeria Budinich

Valeria Budinich is a social entrepreneur, author and organizational strategist specializing in high-impact business/social entrepreneurship.

As a Global Leadership Group Member at Ashoka, she founded “Full Economic Citizenship”, a global initiative that has enabled over 50 hybrid business models in housing, small farmer agriculture and health. In 2012, she received the “Harvard/McKinsey M-Prize” for management innovation for her pioneering work in enabling Hybrid Value Chains & Systems. In its new phase, this work is focused on spreading a new vision of leadership and collaborative entrepreneurship designed to scale social impact and wealth creation for the good of all.

Valeria has worked extensively on entrepreneurship in emerging economies. Prior to Ashoka, she served as the Chief Operating Officer of Appropriate Technology International – a group specialized in transforming small producers’ economies. Valeria was also the founding VP of ‘Endeavor’ for Latin America and the co-founder of a pioneering Seed Investment Capital Fund launched in partnership with local angel investors in Chile.

Valeria serves in the Advisory Boards of the Lemelson Foundation and Leapfrog Investments. She is the author, alongside Oliver Kayser of Hystra, of “Scaling Up Business Solutions to Social Problems” (Palgrave, 2015).

Carolyn Cooke

Bio to follow

Cairn Cross

Cairn CrossFresh Tracks Cairn Cross is the co-founder and managing director of FreshTracks Capital a venture capital firm focused on Vermont companies and entrepreneurs which has invested in 24 companies during its 12 year history. Cairn has an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University (1987) and a BS from Montana State University (1980) and is a graduate of the American Bankers' Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking (1994). He has spent most of his career financing startup and growth companies in Vermont as a banker and then as a venture capitalist. Cairn presently serves as a board member of NativeEnergy, Budnitz Bicycles, Mamava, Vermont Teddy Bear and Faraday. During spring semester he teaches BSAD 138 in the undergraduate school of business and Financing Innovation in the SEMBA program.

Nick Donowitz

Robert MacDonaldHeliae Nick Donowitz is the Director of Corporate Development & Strategy of Heliae Technology Holdings, an algae technology company. Mr. Donowitz delivers over a decade of experience in clean technology strategy, business development, and entrepreneurship. He began his career in economic and international development, spending two years living on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas working for the Cape Eleuthera Institute-Island School, a sustainable development, technology transfer and education group involved in renewable power and biofuel production, aquaculture and sustainable agriculture, and education. Since then, Mr. Donowitz has worked on a number of technology ventures ranging from vehicle electrification infrastructure, carbon sequestration, and low-cost water purification technology. Before joining Heliae in 2010, Mr. Donowitz worked for a division of Mars, Inc. called Symbioscience where his work focused on strategic supply chain projects in raw feedstock-sourcing regions in Sulawesi, Indonesia. He holds Master of Business Administration and Master of Environmental Management degrees from Duke University and an English degree from Davidson College.

Joe Fusco

Joe FuscoCasella Joe Fusco is a vice president of a Casella Waste Systems, Inc. He is an advisor to the company's chairman and chief executive officer on organizational and leadership development, human performance, brand strategy, public affairs, business and market trends, and corporate communications. He's also a teacher and coach to over 200 mid- and senior-level managers and numerous work teams. He speaks frequently to companies and organizations on leadership development, organizational and problem-solving culture, business and cultural trends, economic development, corporate responsibility and sustainability, and life/work balance. He's been engaged as a speaker by groups and companies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Project Management Institute, GreenFiber, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Green Mountain Power, Vermont Golf Course Superintendents Association, and the Vermont Community Development Association.

He's a member of, and co-chair of, the Board of Advisors for UVM's Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA. He is currently a trustee of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, and serves as a member of the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council. Joe is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and is the former chair of the Vermont Economic Development Strategy steering committee.

Prior to 1995, Joe was an Albany, N.Y.-based political and corporate communications consultant serving political candidates, state-level political parties, lobbyists, public affairs advocacy groups and corporate clients (energy, software, retail) throughout the northeastern U.S. He has also held several staff positions in the New York State Legislature. He received a B.A. from the University at Albany (SUNY).

John Gardner

John Gardner was named Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Novelis Inc the world’s leading aluminium rolled products and aluminum recycling company, on January 1st 2011. He is a member of the Global Executive Committee. He is responsible for driving sustainability across Novelis’ operations in 11 countries and 11,600 employees. Novelis supplies premium aluminum sheet products throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

John Gardner has served for more than 25 years with Novelis, and has held a variety of senior roles throughout the company including positions within sales and marketing, operations, recycling and corporate affairs. Most recently, John was Vice President, Human Resources and Communications for Novelis Europe.

Mr Gardner, a UK national, has a Master of Science from the Warwick Business School and a BA degree. He has served as Chairman of the European Aluminium Association Packaging Group and of the OEA Aluminium Recycling Association.

Al Hammond

ALLEN HAMMOND is a member of the Leadership Group at Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs, where he heads its global health activities. He is also a serial entrepreneur (6 start-ups), an expert in market-based solutions to poverty, and a global leader in base of the pyramid (BOP) business strategies. Dr. Hammond is also the principal author of The Next 4 Billion, a landmark study of BOP markets and has published extensively in the scientific, policy research, and business literature, including articles in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Harvard Business Review, and Innovations. He has served as a consultant to the White House science office, to several U.S. federal agencies, to the United Nations, to a number of major corporations, and to several private foundations. He holds degrees from Stanford and Harvard Universities in engineering and applied mathematics.

Claudia Harner-Jay

Claudia Harner-Jay is a senior program officer at PATH, a leading global health innovator and international nonprofit organization, based in Seattle, Washington. She manages public-private partnerships to solve global health problems and creates strategies to increase access to innovative health technologies in low-resource settings around the world. Claudia has spearheaded a variety of new initiatives while at PATH. She led the commercialization efforts on the US$ 25 million Bill & Melinda Gates-funded Safe Water Project, and PATH’s collaboration with Merck for Mothers to increase access to life-saving maternal health innovations for women. Currently Claudia leads Innovation Countdown 2030, a PATH-led initiative to identify high-impact innovations that can transform global health by 2030. Before joining PATH, Claudia worked as a business development manager at Monsanto Company developing the market for agricultural products in Mexico for small farmers in low resource settings. Prior to Monsanto, she worked at the Harvard Center for International Development with coffee farmers in Central America where her findings and recommendations led to a US$50 million World Bank loan for the coffee industry in El Salvador. Claudia also worked for Nike, Inc. as a marketing associate, and for UBS in Zurich as a banker, where she simultaneously earned a Swiss Banking Diploma. She holds an MBA and MS in environmental policy from the University of Michigan and a BA in international affairs from the University of Puget Sound. She is fluent in both Spanish and German.

Amit Kapoor

Dr. Amit Kapoor is President & CEO of India Council on Competitiveness; Honorary Chairman at Institute for Competitiveness, India and Editor-in-Chief of Thinkers (Magazine). He is the chair for the Social Progress Imperative and Shared Value Initiative in India and sits on the board of Competitiveness initiatives in Mexico, Netherlands, Italy & France. In addition to being advisor to Thinkers50 and participant with the Global Solutions Network. He is an affiliate faculty for the Microeconomics of Competitiveness & Value Based Health Care Delivery courses of Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School and an instructor with Harvard Business Publishing in the area of Strategy, Competitiveness and Business Models. He has been inducted into the Competitiveness Hall of Fame which is administered by Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School. Amit is a Ph.D. in Industrial Economics and Business Strategy and has received the Ruth Greene Memorial Award winner for writing the best case of the year, by North American Case Research Association (NACRA). He has been invited by Kennedy School of Government & Harvard Law School, Harvard University; Pennsylvania State University, Stanford University, World Economic Forum to present his views on various issues and themes like strategy, outsourcing and economic development. Amit is the author of India City Competitiveness Report, India State Competitiveness Report, India Manufacturing Competitiveness Report, India State Sustainability Report, Livability Report et al. He is also been a columnist with IANS, Business Insider, Hindu Business Line, Mint, Financial Express, Outlook Business & Governance Now in addition to penning down academic pieces. Based on his work three awards have been constituted within the country titled “State Competitiveness Awards” by Mint & Hindustan Times wherein the Chief Ministers are awarded; City Competitiveness Awards by ABP wherein City Heads are awarded and “Institute for Competitiveness ¬Mint Strategy Awards” wherein the corporates are awarded for their strategic acumen. He chairs the jury and curates Porter Prize in addition to curating events like Competitiveness Forum, Thinkers 50 (India) etc. He tweets @arthsastra and @kautiliya.

Ali Kenney

Ali Kenney is the Director of Global Sustainability at Burton Snowboards. She has 8+ years of experience at Burton in numerous positions including in Finance and as the Product Manager of Snowboards. Ali built Burton’s Sustainability department from the ground up, and reports directly to Burton co-owner and president, Donna Carpenter. Ali drives the global sustainability strategy and platform for Burton's portfolio of brands - covering social responsibility and human rights in the supply chain, sustainable chemicals management, sustainable sourcing and country risk assessment, sustainable product and packaging strategy, and improving Burton’s overall impact on the environment and community. She spearheads many innovation and growth opportunity projects for Burton with outside groups, including exploratory projects with students from Tuck and the UVM MBA program.

Ali has extensive international experience and has traveled and/or worked in over 40 countries, mostly in Asia and Europe. She currently serves on the Sustainability Advisory Council for the Outdoor Industry and is also on the Board of Directors of Vermont Parks Forever. Ali is very active in local government and has served on the Winooski Development Review Board and chaired the city Environmental Board for many years.

Prior to Burton, Ali played semi-professional ice hockey in Denmark and Canada and then coached college hockey at Bowdoin and Brown. Ali received a BA in International Relations- Political Economy of Development from Brown University and an MBA from the University of Vermont. Outside of work, Ali plays whenever she can and has a long list of favorite activities, including snowboarding, backpacking, cycling, surfing, standup paddleboarding, yoga, beach volleyball, gardening and chasing around her four crazy chickens.

Jonathon Koch

Bio to follow.

Andrew Mangan

Andrew Mangan is co-founder and executive director of the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development, a non-profit association of businesses launched in 1992 that harnesses the power of collaborative projects, platforms and partnerships to develop, deploy and scale solutions to ecosystems, energy, materials and water challenges.

The US Business Council is one of 65 national business councils worldwide that are associated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment.

Mr. Mangan received a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he also attended the School of International Affairs as an International Fellow. Prior to organizing the Business Council he served as deputy commissioner for natural resources with the Texas General Land Office, worked as a congressional correspondent for the Associated Press, and commercially fished salmon in Southeast Alaska.

Phil Martens

Philip Martens is a true global executive with an extremely broad and accomplished career. He is the former President and CEO of Novelis, Inc which is the worlds leading rolled aluminum company. In this capacity, Mr. Martens led a multi-year transformation of Novelis centered on the global integration of the company which was focused on achieving leadership positions in the Automotive, Packaging, and, Recycling sectors. A visionary goal of having all products made by Novelis contain 80% recycled content by 2020 drove a set of systematic sweeping changes in all aspects of Novelis’s business’s.

Mr Martens was named CEO of the Year in 2013 for his leadership amongst the global metal and mining companies. In 2014 he was named an Automotive All-Star recognizing his contributions to making large scale usage of Aluminum the automotive sector a reality. Novelis was also named the global metals and mining company of the year in both 2013 and 2014.

Prior to being the President and CEO of Novelis, Mr. Martens was the President and CEO, designate of Arvin Innovation a planned multi billion dollar spin out of ArvinMeritor. Earlier in his career Mr. Martens spent almost 20 years with Ford Motor Company most recently serving as Group Vice President for Global Product Development. In this capacity Mr. Martens served on Ford’s Executive Committee and was involved in all aspect of the strategic management of the company. Prior to this role he held leadership positions in Asia and Europe. His varied and extensive career included leading Global Research and Development at Mazda, Chief Engineer of Ford’s European Operations and Chief Engineer of a $1.4 Billion vehicle program.

Mr. Martens currently serves as a Board member for Plexus Corporation and Graphic Packaging International. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta and has been an active supporter of the Make-A-Wish Charity. Mr. Martens has a BSME from Virginia Tech, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and, an honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Lawrence Tech which recognized his extensive contributions to the global automotive industry.

He has been married to his wife, Carol, for over 30 years and together they have three children. He is an avid skier and golfer, and, enjoys his spare time with his family.

Erin Meezan

Bio to follow.

Rob Michalak

Rob Michalak is the Global Director of Social Mission for Ben & Jerry’s. Rob sits on Ben & Jerry’s Global Leadership Team and is the lead advocate at Ben & Jerry’s to keep its Social Mission vigorous and in balance with the company’s Product Mission and Economic Mission. Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission works to create innovative ways that the business can apply its many resources to achieve positive social change in the world and make progress on the company’s sustainable corporate concept of “linked prosperity,” which is the ambition that as the company prospers, its stakeholders prosper too.

“We work to advance our model of linked prosperity by constantly exploring a systems-based approach throughout our entire value chain in designing innovations that can deliver positive social, economic and environmental change,” Michalak said.

Rob has been with Ben & Jerry’s twice. His first role at the company was as its PR Czar from 1989-1998. He came back to the company to serve as its Social Mission Director starting in 2006. Before that, and in between his Ben & Jerry’s days, Rob worked in broadcast media holding a variety of jobs in news, public affairs and independent productions.

Hinda Miller

Hinda Miller Founder of Sultana Group, Hinda just completed 10 years of service in the Vermont State Senate where she championed the creative/ local/ sustainable economy, complementary healthcare, and social change. She currently sits on the board of Keurig-Green Mountain as Chair of the Sustainability committee. Ms. Miller co-founded Jogbra, Inc., in 1977, the original maker of the "jogbra" women's sports garment. The original Jogbra is part of collections at the Smithsonian Institute and Metropolitan Museum of Art. She served as President of Jogbra, Inc., until company was purchased by Playtex Apparel and continued her leadership as President of Champion Jogbra, a division of Sara Lee Corp.

Monique Oxender

Bio to follow.

Iqbal Quadir

Iqbal Quadir is a pioneer in creating inclusive ventures in low-income countries. In the 1990s, he founded Grameenphone in Bangladesh; it now has 50 million customers. Subsequently, he helped found bKash; bKash, with 17 million customers, is dramatically improving financial inclusion in Bangladesh. With this inclusive philosophy in mind, in 2005 Quadir cofounded Innovations, an MIT Press journal, and in 2007 he founded the Legatum Center at MIT. The Center has already trained 200 MIT students who aspire to create for-profit enterprises promoting prosperity in low-income countries.

Quadir’s work and thinking has been cited in over 70 books. He has published in the Financial Times,, Harvard Business Review, Science, Nature, Newsweek, and The Wall Street Journal. He holds an MBA and MA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a BS from Swarthmore College. He has received two honorary doctorate degrees and other honors for his work.

Donald Reed

A Managing Director in PwC’s US Sustainable Business Solutions practice, Don has 17 years of experience helping operating companies, asset managers, and financial institutions develop and implement sustainability strategies that create business value by growing revenue, enhancing brands, improving operating efficiency, and managing risks.

He helps asset owners and managers improve risk-adjusted returns by integrating sustainability analysis into their decision-making process across their investment policy, asset allocation, investment selection, active ownership, portfolio management and exit disciplines. Don joined PwC in 2009 with the acquisition of Sustainable Finance Ltd.

Don is co-author of “Resilience: Sustaining the supply chain” published by PwC and "Single Bottom Line Sustainability" published by Ecos Corporation, and author of “Stalking the Elusive Financial Case for Corporate Sustainability” and “Green Shareholder Value-Hype or Hit?” published by WRI.

A Chartered Financial Analyst, Don has an AB degree in Political Economy from Princeton University and an MBA in Finance from the Stern School at New York University.

Antonio Ribeiro

Antonio Ribeiro is the Sales Operations Director for PepsiCo Americas Beverages – Latin America. Antonio was born and grew up just outside Lisbon, Portugal where he studied Economics at the University of Lisbon. In 1989 Antonio moved to the Middle East where in 1991, after Operation Desert Storm, he joined the PepsiCo Franchise Bottler in Kuwait. From 1991 to 1998 Antonio took various sales roles with the bottler and in 1998 moved to PepsiCo first as a third party contractor until 2000 and then as Marketing Equipment Manager for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan until 2002, Customer Operations Manager from 2002 until 2005 and Sales Operations Director since then. Antonio is based at PepsiCo Latin America Headquarters in Miami, Florida.

Dawn Rittenhouse

Dawn Rittenhouse is Director, Sustainabilty for the DuPont Company.

Dawn joined DuPont in 1980 and has held positions in Technical Service, Sales, Marketing, and Product Management within the Packaging and Industrial Polymers business and Crop Protection businesses. In late 1997, she began working in the corporate organization to assist DuPont businesses in integrating sustainability strategies into their strategy and business management processes. She leads DuPont’s efforts at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the United Nations Global Compact.

She is currently is on the Sustainability Council at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, the Corporate Consultive Group Advisory Group of World Resources Institute, is on the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy of Delaware and the Board of Directors of the Delaware Nature Society.

Dawn has a double major in Chemistry and Economics from Duke University.

Dawn lives in Wilmington, Delaware. In her free time she loves sports photography and is a runner.

Maureen Usifer

Maureen received an MBA in Finance from Clarkson University and a BA in Business Administration from Saint Michael's College. Maureen is currently CFO for Seventh Generation, a leading brand of green household and personal care products. As a founding B Corporation, Seventh Generation is certified to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Prior to joining Seventh Generation, Maureen spent over twenty years with Church and Dwight (Arm and Hammer products) responsible for Mergers and Acquisitions and Investor Relations. Maureen also serves on the Board and heads up the audit committee for BlackRock Capital Corporation, a business development company with over $1B in investments in middle-market companies and serves on the Board of Trustees for Saint Michael’s College. Maureen has two sons that are both graduates from UVM.

Last modified October 06 2015 09:44 AM