The WRISE Leadership Forum is an experience like no other.
2019 WRISE Leadership Forum Details
February 19-21, 2019 | Denver, CO
Kimpton Hotel Born
The WRISE Leadership Forum is a unique experience, combining professional development with tools to advance renewable energy. Join professionals from across the country as we discuss current renewable energy trends and policy issues; all while gaining valuable tools to enhance your career and build your companies and organizations.
The Leadership Forum is also a great way to network with leaders from various sectors in renewable energy, like transmission, utilities, and development; all of which will be represented at this event.
The Leadership Forum is a can’t miss event. Check out our new attendee toolkit to help make the case to attend this year’s conference.
General Admission Tickets to the 2019 Leadership Forum have SOLD OUT. We are at the physical capacity for the venue. We expect a limited number of additional tickets to become available and encourage those interested in attending to add themselves to the waitlist.
Please note if you are a speaker or sponsor who has yet to register and need assistance please email us at events[at]wrisenergy[dot]org
Key registration deadlines – register early and get the best prices!
|by 1/11||by 2/15||or after 2/15|
|* WRISE General Member – ($35 level)||$600||$675||$750|
|* WRISE New Entrant, RE Professional, or Leadership Circle Member – ($75, $125, $500 levels)||$525||$600||$675|
Thanks for your interest in volunteering for the WRISE Leadership Forum, February 19-21, 2019 in Denver, CO. We are no longer accepting any volunteers at this time. We look forward to seeing you at the Forum!
WRISE Leadership Forum 2019 (Exact times and details subject to change)
The Future is Now
Stay tuned for detailed updates coming in the months ahead.
Ed Collier, with the Wind Portrait Project, will be on site taking professional headshots.
TUESDAY, February 19, 2019
12:30 PM – Registration Open (lunch on your own)
1:00 PM – General Session: Welcome Speaker
Kathleen Staks, Director of External Affairs, Guzman Energy
1:30 PM – Structured Networking and Small Group Sessions
3:00 PM – Snack Break
3:15 PM – Principles in Practice Breakout Sessions (1 of 3)
Principles in Practice are a unique part of the Leadership Forum. You will have the opportunity to select your preferred sessions during the registration process. There will be 3 opportunities for Principles in Practice over the course of the forum.
Markets and Policy Track
Current State of Energy Policy
Vanessa Tutos, Director – Government Affairs, EDP Renewables
Financing and Contracting Structures
Ja Kao, President, Onyx Renewable Partners, LP
Jennifer Martin, Partner, Stoel Rives LLP
Electricity Markets: Changes on the Horizon
Betsy Beck, Director – Electricity Markets and Transmission Policy, AWEA
Amy Westervelt, Affiliate Engagement Manager, Energy Web Foundation
Storage including Hybrid Technologies
Victoria Fleming, Project Director – Origination, NextEra
Logistics and Construction of Wind
Maria Iredale, Director of Transportation, Vestas
Silvia Schuhmann, Senior Project Manager, Vestas
Professional Development Track
Negotiation Skills for Women
Amy Jaffe, Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment and Program Director – Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations
5 Ways to Be a Better Boss
Carol Neslund, Principal, PartnerPath
Deane Ilukowicz, Senior Vice President – Global Human Resources and Corporate Responsibility, TPI Composites
Diversity Equity Inclusion Track
Anna Bautista, Vice President of Construction and Workforce Development, GRID Alternatives
Irasema Garcia, Director of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, GRID Alternatives
Wanda Lee-Stevens, Manager – Talent Acquisition, GRID Alternatives
Corporate Efforts/Unconscious Bias
Jessica Booker, Founder/CEO, The Booker Group LLC
Open Conversation/Women of Color Experiences
Raheleh Folkerts, Senior Director of Marketing, 7X Energy, Inc.
Elizabeth Kaiga, Director – Renewable Energy, CohnReznick
Tasha McCarter, Manager, Development Project Engineering, Sunpower Corporation
4:00 PM – Long Break (dinner on your own)
5:00 PM – Evening Welcome Reception (heavy hors d’oeuvres)
7:00 PM – Live Taping of Watt it Takes Podcast
Emily Kirsch, Co-Founder and CEO, Powerhouse
Terry Jester, CEO, SolPad
WEDNESDAY, February 20, 2019
7:30 AM – Registration Opens (breakfast provided)
8:30 AM – Welcome and Opening Remarks
8:45 AM – Structured Networking Session
9:45 AM – Industry Trends
Meghan Nutting, Executive Vice President of Policy and Communications, Sunnova Energy Corporation
Sadzi Oliva, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission
Paula Glover, President and CEO, AABE
Brooke Trammell, Regional VP, Rates & Regulatory Affairs, Xcel Energy
10:45 AM – Morning Break
11:00 AM – Keynote
Colette Honorable, Partner, Reed Smith LLP
12:00 PM – Networking Lunch (lunch buffet provided)
1:30 PM – Principles in Practice Breakout Sessions #2 (See offerings above)
2:30 PM – Principles in Practice Breakout Sessions #3 (See offerings above)
3:15 PM – Afternoon Networking and Snack Break
4:00 PM – General Session: Wise Women Panel and Q&A
George Hershmann, President and CEO, Swinerton Renewables
Julie Blunden, EVP Business Development, EVgo
Sandhya Ganapathy, Head of Investments, M&A, EDP Renewables
Sheri Hickok, General Manger – Global Product Development, GE Renewable Energy
5:00 PM – Closing Session and Individual Reflections
5:30 PM – Evening Networking Reception – Offsite at the Alliance Center (heavy hors d’oeuvres)
THURSDAY, February 21 2019
7:30 AM – (breakfast on your own)
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
– Local Denver Energy Tour(s) — detailed options to be announced soon
– Onsite Workshop for WRISE Chapter Leaders
12:00 PM – Departures (lunch on your own unless provided as part of your tour)
The Leadership Forum draws leaders from across the industry.
We’re pleased to announce this year’s lineup of speakers.
2019 WRISE Leadership Forum Keynote
Colette D. Honorable
Colette is a member of Reed Smith’s Energy and Natural Resources Group resident in the Washington, D.C. office. Colette is a highly regarded policy maker in domestic and international energy sectors.
Nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the US Senate, Colette served as Commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from December 2014 to June 2017. At FERC, Honorable focused on various issues including reliability oversight of the bulk power system and wholesale markets, integration of renewables and energy storage, and enforcement matters. Colette joined the FERC from the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC), where she served since October 2007, and led as Chairman from January 2011-January 2015.
During her tenure as Chairman of the PSC, Arkansas led the South and Southeast in comprehensive energy efficiency programs, and electric rates were consistently among the lowest in the nation. Both state and federal regulatory appointments culminated in nearly ten years of regulatory experience in key leadership roles.
Colette is past president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; a former as chief of staff to the Arkansas Attorney General and as a member of the governor’s cabinet as Executive Director of the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board; and formerly had a successful career in law.
Colette is a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution for their Energy and Climate Initiative; a Senior Fellow with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a member of the Global Advisory Board for the Energy Futures Initiative; an Ambassador for the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Initiative, an effort co-led by the U.S. Department of Energy and the MIT Energy Initiative formed under the auspices of the International Clean Energy Ministerial. A native of Arkansas, she is a graduate of the University of Memphis and received a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law.
2019 WRISE Leadership Forum Speakers
Vice President, Construction
Anna Bautista is Vice President of Construction for GRID Alternatives, the nation’s largest non-profit solar installer. GRID develops and implements rooftop and community solar projects that serve under-resourced communities. Through a people-first, community-based training and service-learning model, GRID strives to make solar technology, savings, and careers accessible to those most impacted by underemployment, pollution, and climate change.
In addition to driving installation standards of safety, quality, efficiency, and client care, Anna led GRID’s two major workforce diversity programs: RISE (Realizing an Inclusive Solar Economy), an initiative launched in 2015 aimed at increasing diversity in the solar industry; and the Women in Solar Program, launched in 2014 to provide pathways to technical careers for women and highlight the voices of women of color in the industry. Anna is also an executive sponsor of GRID’s internal work to advance equity and leadership throughout the organization and build a culture of inclusion that supports and retains a diverse group of employees that represent the frontline communities GRID serves.
Anna has over 13 years of solar experience as a site supervisor, trainer and educator, project manager, designer, and installer. She is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) as a PV Installation Professional and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the recipient of the 2017 C3E (Clean Energy Education and Empowerment) Advocacy Award presented by the Department of Energy and the MIT Energy Initiative.
Director of Electricity Markets and Transmission Policy
American Wind Energy Association
Betsy Beck is the Director of Electricity Markets and Transmission Policy at the American Wind Energy Association, a national trade association representing over 1,000 companies in the wind industry. Betsy leads policy development and advocacy to promote the expansion and efficient utilization of the electric transmission grid and supports the development of market rules and operations that enable the fair treatment of utility-scale wind and solar resources in electricity markets. She works with regulators, legislators, grid operators, and other stakeholders to promote policies that will pave the way towards achieving a lower cost, cleaner, more reliable, and smarter grid.
Betsy joined AWEA in 2016 and has previously worked at the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
She is a native of Des Moines, Iowa, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a certified GARP Energy Risk Professional.
Executive Vice President of Business Development
Julie Blunden is the Executive Vice President of Business Development at EVgo. She brings more than three decades of executive experience to EVgo, growing rapidly expanding companies in new energy markets through senior roles at SunPower, Green Mountain Energy, KEMA Xenergy, and SunEdison, as well as serving as Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of ClimateWorks Foundation.
Julie is the Board Chair of CalCEF Catalyst and Board Member of CalCEF Ventures, and founder of her own consulting practice. She formerly held a position as the Executive in Residence for the Global Energy Management Program at the University of Colorado Denver’s Business School.
Julie earned an engineering and environmental studies degree from Dartmouth College and an Masters of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Founder & CEO
The Booker Group LLC
Jessica Booker is the Founder & CEO of The Booker Group LLC, a human-centric diversity and inclusion consulting firm. Jessica utilizes detailed diversity data coupled with emotional intelligence awareness in order to help organizations design and implement inaugural diversity programs. She is also an expert in fine-tuning existing diversity and inclusion initiatives for organizations that have programs and processes in place.
Before the Booker Group LLC, Jessica Booker served as Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Sunrun. There she managed diversity and inclusion recruitment programs, public policy diversity outreach, diversity training and development nationwide. Jessica Booker also sat as the Interim Global Talent Acquisition Director at PepsiCo and as a Sr. Talent Acquisition Partner/Diversity Leader at Coca-Cola leading diversity and inclusion initiatives. Her career path has included being an Executive Recruiter at Lucas Group where she spearheaded diversity and inclusions programs for Fortune 500 consumer-packaged goods companies. Jessica Booker looks forward to helping others make diversity and inclusion integral parts of business.
Executive & Leadership Coach
Artemis Coaching, LLC
Elisa Canova is the founder of Artemis Coaching and works with clients on a global basis that are successful, intentional, driven, thoughtful, and have a sense that something more is available, that there is a gap between who they are and who they want to be. Her clients set the bar high, and she works with them to expand their horizons to create new possibilities and get into action to make them a reality.
Known for integrity and a deep commitment to her clients and their success, Elisa’s background includes over 20 years in management consulting with expertise in strategic analysis, creating competitive advantage, and improving operational efficiency. She has advised clients from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to help them maximize business performance, and leverages the full range of her experience when working with coaching clients.
Elisa holds an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia, a BA in Psychology from Oberlin College, and is a graduate of the Newfield Network coach training program and the Newfield Body and Movement advanced coaching and leadership program. Elisa holds PCC and NCC certifications and is an avid fan of continual learning. She loves the great outdoors, exercise, meditation, reading, international travel, and last but definitely not least, being with her family.
Head of Permanent
Alex Cohen is the Head of Permanent at Piper Maddox, one of the fastest growing Cleantech staffing partners in the US.
Alex is an expert in recruiting for the Energy Sector, with ten years of international recruitment experience and a particular passion for renewable energy. He has partnered with some of the most dynamic, exciting Renewable Energy companies in the USA and internationally, helping them to attract the best talent to build highly successful, market-leading teams. Alex has spent the last 5 years building an unparalleled network of Renewable Energy professionals and companies and has played a leading role in developing the strategic direction of business for Piper Maddox.
Victoria Fleming has over 16 years of energy industry experience. She joined NextEra in 2013, and has held positions with profit and loss responsibility for wind assets, business development for distributed generation, and origination for large scale wind and solar projects under development.
Prior to joining NextEra, Ms. Fleming worked in sales and marketing at energy startups in Silicon Valley; Pacific Gas and Electric where she negotiated acquisition and power purchase agreements for utility-scale renewable energy projects; and Navigant Consulting where she was a Senior Consultant focused on California regulatory and legislative policy. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley.
Senior Director of Marketing
7X Energy, Inc. (7X)
Raheleh Folkerts is the Senior Director of Marketing for 7X Energy, Inc. (7X), a leading utility-scale solar development company, and brings more than 15 years of experience in corporate and non-profit marketing, communications, and public relations.
Raheleh’s primary focus is to help drive business results for 7X. She develops and implements the strategic marketing and communications plans to achieve 7X’s corporate goal to deliver lowest cost of electricity through utility-scale solar.
Prior to joining 7X, Raheleh was the Marketing and Communications Director for Renewable Energy Systems (RES) in the Americas where she drove the strategy, development, and execution of the marketing and communications plans to help increase growth from 592 MW to over 10 GW and expand the company’s solution offerings from wind to four more technologies.
Before working at RES, she worked for a publishing company as well as an educator association in Texas. She has a BA in English from Wheaton College in Massachusetts
Head of Investments, Mergers and Acquisitions
Sandhya Ganapathy heads Investments, Mergers and Acquisitions for EDPR globally and is a member of EDPR Group’s Investment Committee. Sandhya spearheads the acquisition and asset monetization processes for EDPR in addition to leading evaluation of all investment and capital deployment activities.
Based in Houston, she has been with the company for 7 years. Prior to that, she spent more than a decade in investment banking in New York, Dubai and Mumbai.
Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity
Irasema Garcia has spent her entire career working in the non-profit sector. With 20 years of experience as a trainer and curriculum developer, much of Irasema’s career has been spent developing management, leadership, life skills; and equity, inclusion and diversity education. She is continuing this work as the Director of Equity, Inclusion & Diversity (EID) at GRID, where she is working on an organization-wide EID strategy.
Irasema holds a Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis on Organizational Development and City Planning and earned her Bachelor’s in Social Sciences with minors in Ethnic Studies and Psychology.
Paula R. Glover
President and CEO
American Association of Blacks in Energy
Paula R. Glover is President and CEO for the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), a national energy trade association that represents all sectors of the energy industry. Mrs. Glover leads a 2000-member association with 40 chapters nationwide. The association’s focus is to represent the voice for African Americans and other minorities on energy policy, regulations, and environmental issues.
Mrs. Glover directs the Association’s strategic plan, business development and policy positions. She represents the organization before energy industry executives and national and state policy makers. She is an industry thought leader for issues around diversity and inclusion. Her work on international energy issues underscores the importance of energy to improve the quality of life for people throughout the African Continent. The association under Mrs. Glover’s leadership has partnered with the US Department of Energy on its Minorities in Energy initiative as well as business development programming for minority entrepreneurs. She has also testified before Congress about the impact of policies on underserved communities. Ms. Glover’s has more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, including 15 years in both electric and natural gas distribution companies where she has worked in government affairs, regulatory affairs and economic development.
In March 2014 Ms. Glover was appointed to the National Petroleum Council by U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz. In June of 2017 she was voted onto the Board of Directors for the Alliance to Save Energy. Mrs. Glover is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Maryland Energy and Sustainability Center at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Mrs. Glover received her B.S. in Marketing Management from the University of Delaware. She is the recipient of the Bring It Home to Hartford Award; the Clarke Watson Chairman’s Cup and the Platinum Achievement Award from the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program at Fort Valley State University. She is a 2003 graduate of Leadership New Haven and has contributed to articles on work life balance in Take Pride magazine.
George W. Hershman
Senior Vice President and General Manager
Swinerton Renewable Energy
George W. Hershman is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Swinerton Renewable Energy (SRE), a division of Swinerton Inc., one of the largest general contractors in the country.
George began his career at Swinerton in 1997 as a Project Manager, working on a diverse set of projects ranging from a Los Angeles Airport runway tunnel expansion to a $150-million renovation of the Los Angeles Zoo. In 2006, he was promoted to San Diego Division Manager of Swinerton Management & Consulting. In this capacity, he oversaw construction management assignments for municipal and education clients throughout the San Diego region. In response to the growing demand for renewable energy, Mr. Hershman took on the task of building Swinerton’s presence in the Renewable Energy Sector in 2008. Since starting the group, he and his team built SRE into one of the largest Engineering, Procurement and Construction and Operations & Maintenance firms in the Country.
In 2014, SRE formed a stand-alone plant management group called SOLV to enhance plant operations through specialized analytics and customized services. Both the EPC and SOLV teams are consistently ranked in the top five (5) among industry leaders in annual solar company rankings. SRE has performed over 3.5GW of EPC work and SOLV group manages over 4.5GW of solar and wind assets. This includes projects throughout the United States and Canada.
With over 30 years of construction experience, George has become a recognized expert and industry leader in the engineering, construction and management of solar power plants. Mr. Hershman is an elected Executive Committee member and sits on the Board of Directors of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Senior VP of Global Human Resources and Corporate Social Responsibility
Deane Ilukowicz joined TPI Composites in February of 2016 as the Vice President of Global Human Resources and was recently promoted to Senior VP of Global Human Resources and Corporate Social Responsibility. Deane has strong experience in building human resource organizations, leadership development, organizational effectiveness, associate retention strategies, creative benefit design and performance accountability in global environments.
Prior to joining TPI she was the Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness at TransUnion, Chief Human Resources Officer for Hypertherm, and held senior level roles at other financial services institutions and manufacturing companies. Deane also served as a Trustee for the Community College System of New Hampshire and provides free HR Consulting to nonprofit organizations.
Ms. Ilukowicz has an MBA from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor’s degree in Social and Behavioral Science from the Johns Hopkins University.
Head of Transportation
Maria Iredale is the Head of Transportation at Vestas Americas where she leads the team responsible for all turbine component transportation logistics for North America, including long-term shipping, rail, and truck agreements. In 2018, her team transported over 10,000 components across the U.S. and Canada.
She previously served as a Director of Transportation Execution for North America.
Prior to joining Vestas, she was Head of Transportation for Evraz North America (formerly Oregon Steel Mills).
She has extensive experience in high-volume complex industrial transportation, shipping and logistics, and commercial and industrial scale project development and execution.
Maria holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Director – Renewable Energy
Elizabeth Kaiga is a Director within the Renewable Energy Practice at CohnReznick LLP, where she leads business development initiatives. She has over 15 years of energy industry experience that includes power utilities, oil & gas, and renewable energy.
Elizabeth has developed and implemented innovative energy industry and client development growth strategies for national and global professional service firms. Prior to joining CohnReznick LLP, Elizabeth held similar positions within the Energy & Utilities Practice at ICF Consulting, Arthur Andersen LLP, and Marsh & McLennan.
Elizabeth is an advisory board member of the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), and a leadership council for the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). She is also on the Solar Power International Education Committee, that drives content for the largest solar power conference in the United States.
As a strong supporter of diversity and inclusion initiatives, Elizabeth has been actively involved with Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE, formerly WoWE) in various capacities and currently leads the Houston chapter. Elizabeth holds a Master of Arts Degree in Global Marketing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.
Ja Kao, President of Onyx, has over 15 years of finance and legal experience as an investment banker and tax lawyer, structuring and placing complex financial instruments and structuring and executing M&A transactions across sectors, including financial services, media, telecom, energy (both traditional and renewable), consumer products and industrials.
Prior to joining Onyx, Ja worked at The Blackstone Group, where she was a Managing Director on the Structured Solutions team of Blackstone Advisory Partners. While at Blackstone, she led the renewable energy investment banking practice, covering wind, solar and other technology companies. Ja structured multiple tax equity financing transactions for solar and wind projects. Prior to The Blackstone Group, Ja was a tax associate at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling, LLP in New York and worked on complex M&A, capital markets, cross-border finance and private client matters.
Ja received a JD, cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center and a BA with a major in Economics from Brandeis University. Ja serves as Chairman of the Board of Assessment Review for the town of Pound Ridge, NY and serves on the Board of Directors and Treasurer for the not-for-profit group, Internationals Network for Public Schools.
Founder and CEO of Powerhouse
Founder and Managing Partner of Powerhouse Ventures
Senior Consultant and Energy Storage Specialist
Ruth Lind is a Senior Consultant and Energy Storage Specialist at Piper Maddox. As Piper Maddox’s Energy Storage team lead, Ruth partners with her clients to take their unique message to the market and deliver a quality recruitment process.
Ruth has a proven track record building strong relationships with senior leaders and delivering top industry talent to every search process. Her in-depth knowledge of the industry across both technical and commercial roles allows her to provide talent that specifically matches the niche needs of each individual company. She uses innovative research practices to provide a tailored service, offering creative and collaborative recruitment solutions to achieve her client’s specific business requirements.
Stoel Rives LLP
Jennifer Martin is a practicing partner at Stoel Rives LLP and Co-chair of the firm’s Energy team. She represents energy clients in the negotiation of development-related agreements and advises on regulatory compliance related to deal structuring and implementation. In particular, clients have come to rely on Jennifer for her extensive experience with matters involving many aspects of developing, selling, or acquiring renewable assets, including negotiation and diligence of power purchase and sale agreements, interconnection and transmission arrangements and fuel supply agreements.
Jennifer’s experience also extends to corporate renewable transactions, including advising on structuring such transactions under various regulatory regimes and negotiating different types of retail supply arrangements to implement corporate sustainability goals. In this regard, Jennifer has advised clients on virtual power purchase agreements, direct access supply agreements, green energy tariff transactions and purchases from and investments in renewable energy projects. Her clients include owners, investors, developers, and corporate buyers.
Before joining Stoel Rives, Jennifer was a judicial clerk at the Minnesota Supreme Court (1999-2000); an summer associate at Stoel Rives (1998); a research assistant for Professor David Baldus at the University of Iowa College of Law (1997-1999); and clerk for the Circuit Court of Cook County (1993).
Manager, Development Project Engineering
Tasha is a tech enthusiast and a renewable energy project development manager with SunPower Corporation. Her experience includes designing and developing utillity scale Solar generation plants and distributed generation micro-grid systems using various technologies. She envisions a world where individuals will become independent power producers enabled by the power of Blockchain, IoT, and edge computing.
Tasha is passionate about issues that impact women and people of color. She is the Director of the Austin Chapter of Black Women in Science and Engineering (BWISE), an organization focused on bridging the leadership gap for black women in STEM. In addition to her work with BWISE, she the Co-Founder of #WI, an Austin, Texas based startup focused on building an ecosystem that connects top talent from diverse backgrounds to Austin’s most innovative companies. In her spare time, she is a Professional Mentor with TECHWomen, a Global STEM initiative of the US Department of State.
Tasha is a graduate of Tuskegee University where she received her BS in Electrical Engineering. She went on the receive her MBA from Michigan State University. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in six US States and a certified Project Management Professional.
Executive Vice President of Policy and Communications
Sunnova Energy Corporation
Meghan Nutting is the Executive Vice President of Policy and Communications at Sunnova Energy Corporation, a leading U.S. residential solar and storage services provider. In this role, she works closely with company and industry leaders, nonprofits, state and federal policymakers, and regulators to craft and implement policies that provide a more stable, sustainable business environment for solar electricity generation.
Prior to working at Sunnova, she served as the Director of Policy and Electricity Markets at SolarCity for nearly five years. She has also worked as a legislative director for New York State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal and as a press secretary for former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. Meghan has held policy positions at the World Bank; the British Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; as well as a number of environmental organizations. In these positions, Meghan has worked on, advocated for, and impacted a significant number of energy and environment-related issues and policies. She has been named one of the #Solar100 thought leaders in the U.S. and one of the Denver Business Journal’s top women in energy for 2018. She received her BA in Biology from Cornell University and her MPA from Princeton University.
Sadzi Martha Oliva
Illinois Commerce Commission
In 2017, Sadzi Martha Oliva was appointed by Governor Bruce Rauner and confirmed by the Illinois Senate to the Illinois Commerce Commission. She is the first Latina to serve as Commissioner in the State of Illinois.
In this role, Commissioner Oliva balances the interests of consumers and utilities to ensure adequate, efficient, reliable, safe, and least-cost public utility services; regulates the commercial activities related to investor-owned electric, natural gas, water and sewer companies, and enforces regulations for trucking, towing, motor carriers and railroad safety.
She is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Committees on Water and Critical Infrastructure and Chair of the Subcommittee on Supplier and Workforce Diversity. She serves on the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Advisory Council, Financial Research Institute (FRI) Advisory Board, Gas Technology Institute (GTI) Public Interest Advisory Committee, National Utilities Diversity Council (NUDC) Board of Directors, as Treasurer for the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC) and as Illinois’ representative on the Organization of MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) States (OMS) Board of Directors.
In June 2018, Ms. Oliva participated on a Peer Review on Renewable Energy Integration and Smart Grids in Panama with other Central American regulators sponsored by the Power Sector Program, Bureau of Energy Resources, U.S. Department of State and organized by NARUC.
In October of 2018, Ms. Oliva participated in a Partnership Exchange with the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission on Stakeholder Engagement and Public Communications in Jakarta, Indonesia. Ms. Oliva co-authored an article published in Utility Dive on October 19, 2018, titled “Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers: A Surge in Consumer Protection Standards in Illinois.”
Prior to joining the Illinois Commerce Commission, Ms. Oliva was General Counsel for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Previous positions held by Ms. Oliva within IDFPR include Ethics Officer, Administrative Law Judge and Chief of Medical Prosecutions. She also worked at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as the Chief Administrative Law Judge.
Early in her career, Ms. Oliva served as an Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Special Prosecutions Bureau, where she prosecuted financial crimes. Ms. Oliva was Chair of the Illinois Governor’s Office Administrative Hearings Review Committee that organized and presented the Chicago Bar Associations Annual Administrative Law Conference and continuing legal education seminars related to Administrative Hearings. She was also the co-chair of the Rules Subcommittee for the Illinois Department of Central Management Systems’ Bureau of Administrative Hearings Pilot Program and helped draft the Model Rules of Practice in Administrative Hearings.
Ms. Oliva is a member of the Cuban American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois. She has volunteered for the Chicago Coalition for Law Related Education, Lawyers in a Classroom and is currently participating as a mentor for the International Confederation of Energy Regulators Mentoring Program.
Sadzi was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University, School of Law, her B.A. from DePaul University, and is a graduate of the Academy of the Sacred Heart. She is a busy hockey mom and resides in Chicago.
General Manager for Global Product Development
GE Renewable Energy
Sheri Hickok currently serves as General Manager – Global Product Development at GE Renewable Energy where she is responsible for the development and execution of an industry leading platform strategy and product portfolio for GE’s onshore wind turbine business. Sheri also has the pleasure of serving as an independent director on the board for Newmont Mining Co.
Sheri joined GE in 2017, and most recently oversaw the launch of GE Renewable Energy’s industry-leading Cypress onshore wind turbine platform, as well as the launch of the best-selling 2.5-116 turbine.
Prior to joining GE, Sheri served as Executive Chief Engineer – Autonomous Partnerships & Fleets at General Motors where she led the program strategy and execution of GM’s first autonomous vehicle fleet. During her 22-year tenure at General Motors, Ms. Hickok held various positions including Chief Engineer – Next Generation Full-Size Trucks, and Executive Director – Global Supplier Quality & Development. She also led operations at GM’s Global Noise and Vibration Center and served as Chief Engineer on the Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS. Sheri joined GM in 1995 as a co-op, and progressed through a number of roles within the company, with a strong focus on leadership, technology, program execution, supply chain, quality and strategic program development.
Sheri holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University, Master’s degree in Engineering from Purdue University, and Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. She has also attended executive education programs at Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard.
In both 2015 and 2016, she was named to the Motor Trend Top 50 Influencers in the Auto Industry list. In addition, in 2015, Sheri was also named within the Automotive News Top 100 Women in the Auto Industry and has been recognized by Fortune Magazine, Kettering University, and the Detroit Free Press. Externally, Sheri is a member of the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders and is a three-time DAVOS Panelist on Urban Mobility, The Future of Production, and Women in Tech.
Sheri currently resides in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, with her husband, Loren and her two daughters, Ellena and Kendall. She is passionate about her faith, family, health, and making a difference in the lives of others.
CEO of SolPad, Inc., Terry is 40-year veteran of the renewable energy business, focused on executive, technology and operations leadership, process/product development and cost optimization.
She has held executive and technical leadership positions at SunPower, SolarWorld, Silicor and Solaria prior to joining SolPad. She has also worked at Arco Solar, Siemens Solar and Shell Solar. Highlights in her career include numerous patents and publications and being named a Technology Pioneer and one of 15 Women Changing the World by the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2015. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering.
Amy Myers Jaffe
Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment & Program Director – Energy Security and Climate Change
Council on Foreign Relations
Amy Myers Jaffe is the David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment and director of the program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations. A leading expert on global energy policy, geopolitical risk and energy and sustainability, Jaffe previously served as executive director for energy and sustainability at the University of California, Davis and senior advisor for energy and sustainability at Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the University of California, Regents. She was also formerly a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Prior to joining the University of California, Davis, Jaffe served as founding director of the Energy Forum at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and its Wallace S. Wilson fellow for energy studies. She has taught energy policy, business, and sustainability courses at Rice University, University of California, Davis, and Yale University.
Carol Giles Neslund
Carol Giles Neslund is a Principal at PartnerPath. Drawing on her background in both Fortune 500 and small business environments, Carol’s goal is to help organizations create business models that serve all stakeholders – the customer, the company, the stockholders and the employee. Her focus is developing leaders capable of identifying and balancing the needs of each stakeholder group to ensure overall success.
Neslund has more than 30 years’ experience developing and leading successful sales and marketing teams in both the high tech and renewable energy industries. She came to PartnerPath from Westcon where she led the Cyber Security Solutions Practice. Prior to Westcon, she was Vice President & General Manager of the Americas at Enphase Energy. Neslund has also held executive roles at Avaya, Seagate, and McDATA. Neslund holds a Masters in Business Administration and a Bachelors degree in Human Communications, both from the University of Denver.
Senior Project Manager
Vestas American Wind Technology
Silvia Schuhmann is a Senior Project Manager in the Vestas construction team and is responsible for the overall leadership, management and commercial success of wind turbine construction projects. She has recently completed the installation and commissioning of the largest single-phase project built in North America with 300 turbines.
Silvia has worked in technical support and project management positions for different OEM’s for the past 17 years and has managed the installation and commissioning of over 1,400 turbines in the US and Germany.
Silvia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences in Konstanz, Germany and is currently pursuing an Executive MBA through Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Director of External Affairs
Kathleen Staks joined Guzman Energy in February 2019 as the Director of External Affairs, leading stakeholder engagement, legislative and regulatory affairs, and strategic communications. Guzman Energy is a new kind of energy company, designed specifically to help transition communities in Colorado and the West to a cleaner, more affordable energy future. Their platform is designed around customer choice in power supply, reliability, and sustainability.
Prior to joining Guzman Energy, Staks served in the Hickenlooper Administration as the Executive Director of the Colorado Energy Office, working to ensure that Colorado’s energy portfolio benefits Colorado businesses, workers and families by improving the effective use of all of Colorado’s energy resources across all economic sectors. Staks also served as the assistant director for energy and minerals at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, where she developed and implemented oil and gas and mining policy issues across Colorado in coordination with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety, and the Governor’s Office. In addition to her experience at the State, Staks worked at Great Outdoors Colorado as the program director for Parks and Wildlife and Open Space, coordinating and developing policies and grant programs for the benefit of Coloradans through public and private land protection programs.
Kathleen has a law degree from the University of Denver and a journalism degree from Southern Methodist University.
Talent Acquisition Manager
Wanda Lee-Stevens is GRID’s Talent Acquisition Manager, with over fifteen years of recruitment, training and human resource development experience. With a passion for matching talent with opportunity, Wanda leads GRID’s recruiting efforts through an EID lens.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco and is a certified facilitator in Conflict Mediation. Wanda’s latest passion project includes her book, called 50 Years of Assimilation…, written epistolary style as her “dream report” to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., feeling the need to share how Martin’s dream played out in her life and knowing that you cannot have social justice and equity until there is understanding.
Regional Vice President of Rates & Regulatory Affairs
Brooke Trammell is Xcel Energy’s Regional Vice President of Rates & Regulatory Affairs and leads their regulatory strategy in Colorado. Prior to moving to Denver, Brooke was Director of Customer & Community Relations for Xcel Energy’s Texas and New Mexico operations after serving in other roles to manage various regulatory matters in those two states since 2012.
Prior to joining Xcel Energy, Brooke held various technical and managerial roles at PNM Resources, the parent holding company of Public Service Company of New Mexico and Texas-New Mexico Power Company.
Brooke holds an MBA with an emphasis in Management from West Texas A&M University as well as a Master of Arts in Economics with a specialization in public utility regulation from and a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business from New Mexico State University.
Brooke and her husband welcomed their first child in May of this year and have recently relocated to Denver from Amarillo. They enjoy team roping and wake surfing and are looking forward to exploring and enjoying the city.
Director of Government Affairs
EDP Renewables North America
Vanessa Tutos is Director of Government Affairs at EDP Renewables North America. She is responsible for developing and promoting favorable legislative and regulatory policy for renewable energy at the state level throughout Texas, the Great Plains, and the Midwest, as well as some parts of the Southeast. She works closely with industry, state, and NGO counterparts to help ensure that wind and solar interests are protected and promoted across the region so that renewable resources can compete on a level playing field in the energy market.
Vanessa has worked in renewable energy since 2005 and currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the growing Houston chapter of WRISE. She received B.A. degrees in Public Policy and Spanish from Rice University in Houston and a Master’s in Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York.
Energy Web Foundation
Member of Affiliate Engagement Team
Amy Westervelt is a member of the Energy Web Foundation’s Affiliate Engagement team, where she works to accelerate the application of blockchain technology across the energy sector. Prior to joining the energy world, Amy worked as a consultant on digital business models for film and television platforms.
Amy will be leading a workshop on Blockchain Energy at the Forum. In this workshop, we’ll demystify the technology of blockchain, discussing what it can do, what it can’t, and why it matters for energy. We’ll learn technology basics, look at promising use cases, and discuss how blockchain can support a clean energy future. Join us as we break down hype and answer your questions about blockchain!
More speaker bios to be posted daily – check back soon!
2019 Leadership Forum Planning Committee:
- Liz Salerno, Board Chair
Priyanka Duvvuru, Stonepeak Partners, Co-Chair
Mallory Lindgren, Westwood, Co-Chair
Sara Rafalson, EVgo, Co-Chair
April Christensen, Invenergy
Frances Cook, Invenergy
Elle Deblieck, Geronimo Energy
Mary Kate Francis, Altenex
Noemi Gallardo, Sunrun
Lauren Glickman, RenewComm
Carrie Hughes-Cromwick, GE Renewable Energy
Rosalind Jackson, Vote Solar
Becca Jaffe, Tesla
Trupti Kalbag, sPower
Kathryn Klement, Phoventus
Becky Long, SEIA
Tasha McCarter, SunPower
Margaret Montanez, Vestas
Kacie Peters, Pivot Energy
Leanne Russell Fate, EDF Energy
Silvia Schuhmann, Vestas
Cari VanAmburg, EDP Renewables
Joyce Yao, Berkeley – Hass
Please reach out to events[at]wrisenergy[dot]org if your organization is interested in being an event partner.
Kimpton Hotel Born
1600 Wewatta St,
Denver, CO 80202
$229 per night
Rates listed above are for single or double occupancy not including applicable state and local taxes.
Resort fee of $20/guest is waived for event attendees registering at the WRISE Rate.
Complimentary WiFi will be available in all event guestrooms.
Book by Phone:
1-800-KIMPTON, please reference “2019 WRISE Spring Leadership Forum” when calling
A limited number of discounted rooms have been arranged for WRISE attendees. The deadline to receive the discounted rate is January 28, 2019. Once the discounted rooms are sold out or after January 28 (whichever comes first), the hotel may continue to accept reservations at the discounted rate on a space-available basis; however, they could be at a higher room rate.
Kimpton Hotel Born
1600 Wewatta Street, Denver, CO 80202
The Kimpton Born is located in the core of the Union Station / Lower Downtown (LoDo) neighborhood at the corner of 16th Street and Wewatta Streets in Denver. Sitting at the end of the platform of the city’s main transportation hub, makes train service between this downtown hotel and Denver International Airport (as well as other parts of town) direct accessible and affordable.
Public Transportation – A-line Service To/From Denver International Airport:
The A-lines departs/arrives at the Union Station platform outside the hotel’s back door
Trains depart every 15 minutes to the airport
Tickets cost $10.50 each way
Carpooling with WRISE Event Attendees
If you will be driving to or from the WRISE Leadership Forum or you are looking for a potential ride, use this event specific site to coordinate ride-sharing: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/hce7y9
Please note: a password is required to access the rider/driver information and will be made available with your registration confirmation.
Overnight parking is available for hotel guests for $48/day with in-and-out privileges.
2019 WRISE Leadership Forum Lead Sponsor:
2019 WRISE Leadership Forum Full Conference Sponsors:
2019 WRISE Leadership Forum Lunch/Reception Sponsors
2019 WRISE Leadership Forum Breakfast/Snack Sponsors
2019 Portrait and Headshot Sponsor
2019 WRISE Leadership General Sponsors
Leadership Forum Sponsorship opportunities still available – email us for details: