Kate Gordon (moderator)
Partner, Sustainability Practice | RIDGE-LANE Limited Partners
Kate Gordon is an internationally recognized expert on the intersection of clean energy and economic development. She wears a number of hats including Partner on the sustainability team of RIDGE-LANE Limited Partners; Senior Advisor at the Paulson Institute; and non-resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. Gordon is perhaps best known for her work as the founder and director of the “Risky Business Project,” co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer, and focused on the economic risks the U.S. faces from unmitigated climate change; she continues to represent the project in public and private forums across the U.S. and internationally. A prolific writer, Gordon is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal as one of the paper’s “Energy Experts.” She is currently at work on a book focused on the economic transition of communities built around fossil fuel extraction.
Earlier in her career, Gordon served as Senior Vice President at the Center for the Next Generation, a non-partisan think tank based in San Francisco, where she worked on California policy development as well as large-scale national communications and research projects; Vice President for Energy and Environment at the Washington D.C.-based Center for American Progress; and Co-Executive Director of the national Apollo Alliance (now part of the Blue Green Alliance).
Gordon serves on the non-profit board the American Jobs Project; she is also a member of the Sustainable Investing Advisory Board at Brown Advisory. She earned a joint degree in Law and City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley (where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law), and an undergraduate degree in American Studies from Wesleyan University.
CEO & Co-Founder | Beneficial State Bank
Kat Taylor works in service of restoring social justice and environmental well-being. Currently, she serves as Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) whose mission is to bring beneficial banking to low-income communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. The bank’s revolutionary ownership mandates that any distributed profit be invested in the low-income communities it serves and environment upon which we all depend. Kat is also a Founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation (TKREF), dedicated to inspiring a sustainable food system through ranching, training, tours, research, and school food and garden programs. TKREF owns the social enterprise LeftCoast GrassFed, raising humanely cattle and other livestock for the benefit of people and the planet. Kat serves and has served on many non-profit boards including the Harvard Board of Overseers, Ecotrust, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, ProPublica, CuriOdyssey, Insight Prison Project, KQED and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She graduated from Harvard College and earned a JD/MBA from Stanford University.
Founder & CEO | re:focus partners
Shalini Vajjhala is Founder & CEO of re:focus partners, a design firm dedicated to developing integrated resilient infrastructure solutions and innovative public-private partnerships, including the RE.invest Initiative and the RE.bound Program. Prior to starting re:focus, Shalini served as Special Representative in the Office of Administrator Lisa Jackson at the US EPA, where she led the US-Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of International & Tribal Affairs, and Deputy Associate Director for Energy & Climate at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She joined the Obama Administration from Resources for the Future, where she was awarded a patent for her climate adaptation mapping work. Shalini received her PhD in Engineering & Public Policy and B.Arch in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. She is currently a non-resident senior fellow with The Brookings Institution and a co-founder of The Atlas Marketplace.
Executive Director | California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank
Teveia Barnes was appointed by Governor Brown as the Executive Director of the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) on July 12, 2013. IBank’s mission is to finance infrastructure, economic expansion, clean energy and water projects and to promote small business in the State of California through the Small Business Finance Center. Ms. Barnes is dedicated to IBank promoting a healthy climate for job creation and retention, contributing to a strong economy and improving the quality of life in California communities. IBank’s statutory powers include the authority to issue tax exempt and taxable revenue bonds, make loans and provide credit enhancements for a wide variety of infrastructure, clean energy, water and economic expansion projects to state and local governments, universities, schools and hospitals. As IBank approaches $40 billion in infrastructure and economic expansion financings, IBank continues to be motivated to assist state and local municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals meet the financing challenges faced by infrastructure, clean energy, water and other projects throughout California.
Prior to joining the IBank, Ms. Barnes was commissioner at the California Department of Financial Institutions where she was the chief state regulator of depository financial institutions responsible for the licensing, examination and supervision of such financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, savings associations, trust companies, foreign banking organizations, and money transmitters. Barnes was a partner at the law firm of Foley and Lardner LLP for over 7 years with finance and regulatory experience primarily representing banks and other financial institutions. Ms. Barnes was executive director and general counsel at the Bar Association of San Francisco from 2001 to 2003. Barnes worked at the Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association from 1986 to 1999 in multiple positions, including associate general counsel and senior vice president, where she was a member of the Policy Committee and represented BancAmerica Securities Inc. and the Investment Management, Real Estate, Corporate Trust and Commercial Divisions of Bank of America.
Ms. Barnes has been active long in professional and civic affairs. She served as executive director and volunteer lawyer at Lawyers For One America promoting the increase of diversity and pro bono legal services in the legal profession as part of President Clinton’s One America initiative. She served on the boards of directors for the U.S. Bank Advisory Board of Northern California, Rice University, On Lok, Inc., American Conservatory Theatre and Hospice by the Bay. Ms. Barnes earned a Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law in 1978 and received her BA degree in economics, political science and German studies from Rice University in 1975, where she was an Arthur B. Cohn Scholar.
Co-Founder and Managing Director | The Lightsmith Group
Sanjay Wagle is co-founder and Managing Director of The Lightsmith Group. He has over 20 years of experience in investing, company management, and government focused on clean energy, resources, and climate. Sanjay’s investing experience includes eight years in venture capital and growth equity. He was the first Principal in the CleanTech Group at VantagePoint Capital Partners, which invested over $1 billion in 25 companies in electric vehicles (most notably Tesla Motors), solar, storage, smart grid, green building, water, and sustainable agriculture. Earlier in his career, Sanjay served as an Investment Officer at the International Finance Corporation, where he led financings of private sector transport, power, and water infrastructure projects in developing countries.
Sanjay has served in senior executive roles with several sustainable technology companies, including: Diamond Foundry, a technology company making flawless, jewelry-grade diamonds in an ethical and sustainable manner; Ubiquiti Networks (Nasdaq: UBNT), a publicly listed global technology company where he co-led the launch of a new worldwide solar business; Soligent, the largest US solar distributor with over $200 million in revenues, where he led the acquisition and integration of Soligent’s #2 competitor; and TerraVia (Nasdaq: TVIA), a biotechnology company converting plant-based feedstocks into tailored, high-value food oils.
In the first three years of the Obama Administration, Sanjay served as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), overseeing the implementation of $15 billion in programs for clean energy and climate, including investments in renewable energy, electric vehicles, battery manufacturing, industrial efficiency, and biofuels. Sanjay also helped in the formation of DOE’s advanced research agency (ARPA-E) and served as the agency’s first Associate Director for Commercialization, founding and running a “technology-to- market” program to commercialize high-risk, high reward energy technologies funded by the agency. Sanjay holds a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.