Keynote, James Redford

James Redford writes, produces and directs for Film and Television. Prior to completing HAPPENING: A Clean Energy Revolution for HBO, James’s other HBO films include TOXIC HOT SEAT, THE BIG PICTURE: Rethinking Dyslexia, MANN V. FORD and THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS.

James is the Co-founder and Chair of The Redford Center, a non-profit media entity that engages people though inspiring stories that galvanize environmental action. Among many of it’s functions, the center’s documentary film projects include WATERSHED, FIGHTING GOLIATH and THE ART OF ACTIVISM. James lives in Marin County California. His interests include playing lead guitar for Olive and the Dirty Martinis as well as yoga, skiing, surfing and cycling.

Founder, Will Steger

A polar explorer, educator, and eyewitness to the effects of climate change, Will has accomplished the most significant polar expeditions in history. He led the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply in 1986, the 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland in 1988 (the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history), and led the first dogsled traverse of Antarctica in 1989–1990.

Will established Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy in 2006 (formerly the Will Steger Foundation). Will joined Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary, and Roald Amundsen in receiving the National Geographic Society’s prestigious John Oliver La Gorce Medal for “Accomplishments in Geographic Exploration, in the Sciences, and Public Service to Advance International Understanding” in 1995.

Will holds a Bachelor of Science in geology and Master of Arts in education from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, in addition to five Honorary Doctorates.

MN is Still In Benefit Luncheon

Governor Mark Dayton

Mark Dayton is Minnesota’s 40th Governor. For most of the past 40 years, Mark has served Minnesotans. He has worked throughout our state to help businesses locate or expand and create jobs, to improve government services, to better fund our public schools, to support our servicemen and women, to help Minnesotans get the health care they need, and in many other ways to create a better Minnesota.

Jacob Frey, Mayor of Minneapolis

Jacob Frey is the 48th Mayor of Minneapolis, a former Minneapolis City Council Member, a civil rights attorney, an advocate for social justice, and a proud resident of the greatest city in America. Jacob grew up in northern Virginia and went to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA for a degree in government.

In 2013, he successfully ran for City Council in Minneapolis’ 3rd Ward. He is proud to have delivered on his campaign promises over the past four years. Under his leadership, the 3rd Ward has accounted for more than 65 percent of all growth in Minneapolis, affordable housing is funded at record levels, we have a new community-based school that is winning awards, we’ve seen record numbers of small business openings, and we’ve implemented substantial green space improvements that add value to public spaces.

Nicole Rom, Executive Director at Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

Nicole has been the Executive Director since the organization was established in 2006, which has included starting and sustaining the organization by providing visioning and development activities for the organization and its programs. Prior to Climate Generation, Nicole managed the education programs for the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office in Ann Arbor, MI. Nicole taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in environmental education and climate change at the University of Michigan and Hamline University. Nicole was an Environmental Educator with the U.S. Peace Corps in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2 years. She received her M.S. in Environmental Policy, Behavior, Education and Communication from the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Bates College.

Leadership on Climate Action Business Workshop

Janet Brown, Associate Director of Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

Janet Brown has been part of the Climate Generation team since November 2007. Janet holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration and worked in marketing and sales for six years with Northwest Airlines. As the Associate Director, Janet helps manage a diverse development plan while also providing oversight for communications and operations. She has a passion for working with business leaders and Climate Generation’s green STEM career initiative. Janet is a Climate Leader with the Climate Reality Project. She currently serves on the board of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and previously served on the board of directors for the Minnesota Environmental Fund for five years, including serving on the Executive Committee as President. Prior to Climate Generation, Janet worked on environmental issues for 18 years.

Eliza Clark, Director of Sustainability and Environmental at Andersen Corporation

Eliza Clark is responsible for developing and advancing programs that measurably reduce environmental impacts across the company’s value chain and engage employees in making a positive impact in their community. Eliza leads a variety of initiatives that span the organization, including\ operations, employee engagement, communications, supply chain and marketing. Previously, she held manager-level sustainability roles at Ecolab, Paydirt and GreenMark. Prior to joining the sustainability field, Eliza worked in public affairs as an Account Supervisor at Tunheim Partners. She is a founding member of the MN Sustainable Growth Coalition and serves on the Board of Directors for Environmental Initiative. A LEED Accredited Professional, Eliza holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Minnesota Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from Denison University.

Dominique Conseil

Dominique Conseil is an innovating global business leader and strategic advisor who places business at the leading edge of socio-environmental responsibility by integrating business and competitive socio-environmental strategies with organizational processes and culture. At the helm of Aveda Corporation for seventeen years, Conseil proved a business can dramatically grow its top and bottom lines while simultaneously enhancing socio-environmental responsibility.

He is the first director with a corporate background appointed to the Coalition of Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) board, where he is valued for his perspective on creating a globally sustainable economy while driving growth. He serves as an Advisory Board member of Climate Generation.

Steve Dixon, CFA, Principal, Investment Manager at Birchwood Financial Partners

Working with individuals to manage their portfolios, Steve Dixon takes a long-term, disciplined approach with a bias toward protecting against downside risks. He believes it’s a mistake for any financial professional to think they have all the right answers. He focuses on diversification and making sure Birchwood clients are in a position of not having to react to what’s going on in the markets. Whether the markets are going up or down, Steve strives to establish portfolios that create a stable path.

Steve volunteers with BestPrep, a statewide nonprofit organization that seeks to prepare Minnesota students in grades 4-12 with business, career, and financial literacy skills. He works with both their residential summer program, Minnesota Business Venture, which is the same camp he attended as a teen that first got him interested in a financial career, and with the in-school Financial Matters Initiative program.

Adam Fetcher, Vice President of Environmental Impact & Policy for Askov Finlayson

Askov Finlayson is a growing outdoor clothing brand based in Minneapolis. Adam leads an innovative, climate-focused mission to Keep the North Cold, including the company’s Give 110% business model, which is based on a commitment to climate accountability. He previously served as Director of Global Communications at Patagonia, where he played a lead role in helping to lead an iconic company into a new era of environmental activism, customer engagement, and growth. Adam was formerly Press Secretary for the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Obama administration and Deputy National Press Secretary for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, in addition to several other political roles. A graduate of Carleton College, Adam is co-chair of Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, which leads the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.

Jeff Hanratty, Applied Sustainability Manager at General Mills, based in Minneapolis

Jeff is accountable for the company’s greenhouse gas footprint and creating a path to reduce it, the company’s water footprint, and collaborating with others to see sustainability improvements in priority watersheds and integrating eco-design into the go-to-market process for their products. He began his career at General Mills in 1999. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in environmental, health and safety management from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Alexis Ludwig-Vogen, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Best Buy Co., Inc.

In this role, Alexis oversees the company’s environmental strategy and programs, including advancing sustainable products, reducing carbon footprint, and complying with environmental laws and regulations. Prior to Best Buy, Alexis was a manager at Accenture in business process and technology consulting. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. Currently, Alexis serves on the board of the Minnesota Land Trust and resides in Mendota Heights with her husband and three daughters.

Judy Poferl, Senior Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Executive Services at Xcel Energy

Judy PoferlJudy Poferl serves as Senior Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Executive Services for Xcel Energy, one of the nation’s largest energy companies. An industry leader with over three decades of experience, Poferl is a driving force behind Xcel Energy’s clean energy strategy. The company is a national leader in wind energy and the recipient of a Climate Leadership Award from the EPA for its successful efforts to reduce carbon emissions while keeping bills low.

Poferl is an active community leader who currently serves on the board of directors of the Greater Twin Cities United Way. She also serves as trustee for the College of St. Benedict and the Science Museum of Minnesota and is a member of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from the College of St. Benedict and a Master of Arts degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Natasha Scotnicki, Senior Director of the Ceres Company Network

© Leise Jones Photography

In this role, Natasha is responsible for corporate outreach, special partnerships and managing relationships with a portfolio of Ceres member companies, primarily from the technology sector. Natasha works directly with member companies to facilitate ongoing stakeholder engagement and help strengthen their sustainability disclosure and performance. She also leads specific projects related to The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability, a framework building a sustainable business strategy by 2020.

Prior to joining Ceres, Natasha worked in sales management at CNET Networks in San Francisco, where she sold international marketing solutions to U.S.-based technology clients.

Natasha graduated cum laude from Duke University with a bachelor of arts in History and Spanish.

Stephanie Zawistowski, Senior Policy Advisor on energy and environmental policy to Governor Mark Dayton.

Stephanie has over ten years of experience on these issues in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining the Dayton Administration in 2016, Stephanie was an environmental policy advisor to former Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. She also worked in environmental sustainability for Best Buy, and helped launch the BlueGreen Alliance, a national coalition of environmental and labor organizations working to promote the clean energy economy. Stephanie holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

In the Media:

Minnesota officially joined the We Are Still In climate declaration during our event. Read the success story here.

Listen to James Redford and Will Steger interview with MPR’s Climate Cast on climate change and clean energy in Minnesota.

Tim Nixon of Thomson Reuters and Nicole Rom, our executive director, highlight the opportunities and successful examples of renewable energy taking hold in Minnesota.


Special thanks to Drawnwell, LLC, photographer Steve Niedorf, and Margaret Winchell, as well as to our sponsors who made the event possible!

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