Carmen Busquets
 

Carmen Busquets

Co-FOUNDER

A philanthropist, investor, humanitarian and sustainability advocate, Carmen Busquets’ career first began in the luxury fashion industry and has now spanned over three decades. She started with her own fashion boutique in her hometown of Caracas, Venezuela in 1990, aged 25, the first of its kind in Latin America to house international designers. in the late 90s, Carmen made history in the online fashion space when she became the first co-founding investor in Net-a-Porter after meeting with Natalie Massenet. She subsequently founded CoutureLab, a project that supported emerging global creatives, and has since mentored and invested in founders with disruptive ideas to create a diverse group of companies and start-ups, that through technology and sustainability, contribute to a new economy. Her portfolio focuses on disruptive models such as pre-ordering platform Moda Operandi, and rental companies such as Armarium and VillageLuxe, that work towards easing over-consumption and slowing down consumerism. Carmen’s dedication to charitable causes and educational initiatives sees her collaborating with a host of global bodies, world leaders and non-profit organizations. Among these are WWF, the Bhutanese government and Royal Family, the Bhutan Nuns’ Foundation, Latin America-focused groups PACUNAM and Glasswing, sustainability consultancy Eco-Age, the Oslo Freedom Forum, the charitable app Elbi, founded by Natalia Vodianova, and the Fashion Trust arm of the British Fashion Council which supports emerging fashion talents.  

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“The 1% Rule: If only a small percent of our population evolves to be more conscious, we can change the world.” Carmen Busquets.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Livia Firth

Co-FOUNDER

Livia Firth is the Founder and Creative Director of Eco Age Ltd.

As an Oxfam Global Ambassador, Livia has travelled to Ethiopia, Kenya, Bangladesh and Zambia, connecting with the people at the beginning of the supply chain. She is also a founding member of Annie Lennox’s ‘The Circle’, a powerful women’s advocacy group.

Livia is a UN Leader of Change and has also been recognised with the UN Fashion 4 Development Award.

In 2014, Livia was awarded the Rainforest Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sustainability and the Honorary Award of the National German Sustainability Foundation.

Livia currently resides in London with her husband Colin, two children, one cat and four fish.

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Livia Firth
 
 
 
Donna Karan
 

Donna Karan

Fashion icon and humanitarian Donna Karan’s desire to address people, not just dress them, led the designer to establish The Urban Zen Foundation in 2007. Having traveled the world for inspiration, this lifelong yogi, mother and grandmother is dedicated to adding the missing link – mind, body and spirit – to healthcare and education, while preserving and learning from the wisdom of ancient culture.  Urban Zen embraces a holistic ‘past, present and future’ approach to philanthropy, using creativity, connection and collaboration to achieve its goals. Forever inspired by the philosophies of her late husband, Stephan Weiss, Karan has incorporated his “connecting the dots” art theory into her philanthropic approach. At Urban Zen, Karan embodies this connecting the dots philosophy through her partnerships with established organizations such as the Clinton Foundation, Grief and Nomad Two Worlds.  In fact, the Clinton Global Initiative was Karan’s inspiration for Urban Zen to bring like-minded people together in a place and space – the Urban Zen Center – to affect change with forums and lectures, as well as educational and fundraising exhibits. These events serve as a platform for connecting and collaborating with aligned organizations such as the David Lynch Foundation, NASA, V-Day, Bent on Learning and the Acumen Fund.

Inspired by the illness of her husband Stephan Weiss, as well as close friends suffering with disease, Karan founded the groundbreaking Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) Program, which integrates eastern healing modalities with western science, with over 100 certified therapists working today. The evolution of the UZIT Program has lead to esteemed partnerships with UCLA, Beth Israel Medical Center, Kent State University and YogaWorks. For Karan, Haiti is where Urban Zen’s health, education and cultural initiatives come together. After its 2010 earthquake, Urban Zen launched Hope, Help & Relief Haiti in collaboration with leaders in music, fashion, film, finance and art. Today, Karan works tirelessly alongside The Clinton Global Initiative to develop and support sustainable opportunities in Haiti by bringing artisan products to a global market.

For Karan, her vision lies in the union of philanthropy and commerce, an idea she first cultivated through Seventh on Sale, the CFDA AIDS benefit, as well as Kids for Kids carnival for Pediatric AIDS, and Super Saturday, the annual Hamptons tag sale, Donna founded with Liz Tilberis to benefit Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Similarly, Urban Zen is in part supported by the Urban Zen brand and stores, where you will find artisan objects of desire and cultural treasures, as well as the Karan-designed Urban Zen label of clothing and exclusive handmade Balinese furniture.  For every problem, says Karan, there is a creative solution - especially when it comes to the issues that touch us all.

 FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“Create, Collaborate, Communicate, Change. Philanthropy meets commerce – this is conscious consumerism and that is what Urban Zen is all about.” Donna Karan.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Lucy Siegle

Lucy Siegle is a writer and TV presenter specializing in environmental issues and ethical shopping and lifestyles. She is an authority on the environmental and social footprint of the global fashion industry through her book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing out the World  and as producer of The True Cost, the Netflix feature documentary. She also co-founded the Green Carpet Challenge with Livia Firth.

Over 14 years she honed her expertise as the Observer and Guardian’s eco agony aunt, and is well known on TV as a reporter and presenter on BBC1’s The One Show, reporting on the problem of single use plastic since the show began. In January 2018 she began hosting a weekly segment on the show dedicated to turning the tide on plastic and travelled the length and breadth of the UK in pursuit of solutions.

Lucy Siegle
 
 
 
Celina De Sola
 

Celina De Sola

Celina De Sola is co-founder of Glasswing, a non-profit social enterprise that addresses the root causes of poverty, violence, and migration. Glasswing designs and implements innovative public education, health, and economic opportunity initiatives that convene and catalyze multiple actors in response to priorities that are set by communities themselves. And since 2007, Glasswing has expanded into 12 countries, mobilizing 100,000 volunteers and over $60MM, directly impacting over 1 million people.

Celina has over 20 years experience in social change, having worked as an international development consultant; a resource specialist for Latino immigrants in the US; and in leading responses to complex humanitarian crises and natural disasters in over 20 countries worldwide. She is a member of the inaugural class of Obama Fellows; is an Ashoka, LEGO Reimagine Learning, and Schwartz Social Impact Fellow; as well as a Tallberg Global Leader. Celina also serves on the Inter-American Foundation's Advisory Council. She holds Masters degrees in public health and social work from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Marianne Hernandez

For the past four years, Marianne Hernandez has dedicated herself full-time to non-profit efforts in sustainable conservation and the arts, currently serving as President of the Board of Fundación Patrimonio Cultural y Natural Maya -Pacunam (Guatemala), Director of the Board of Cifo Foundation (Miami), and Director of the Latin American Board at the Guggenheim Museum (New York).

As Pacunam’s President, Ms. Hernandez has led private sector efforts to contribute with the Guatemalan Government in the development of a strategy of conservation through sustainable development for Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO biosphere reserve that represents 20% of Guatemala’s territory, 60% of its tropical forest, and is home to over 1,200 Maya archaeological sites. 

Prior to these non-profit initiatives, Ms. Hernandez had a twenty five-year career in international corporate finance, spending the first decade as an investment banker based in New York City. She acted as head of Lehman Brother’s investment banking efforts for Colombia and Venezuela during her last two years,  before transitioning to the corporate side, joining a Central American conglomerate of companies in the agro-industrial and energy sectors, as a financial advisor to the Board.

Ms. Hernandez  graduated from The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania (1988), with a dual degree in Finance and Political Science. She resides between Miami and Guatemala City.

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“Global warming is not a global theoretical problem, but a concrete set of local actions, related to people and their living. A coalition of sustainable localized initiatives is the answer.” Marianne Hernandez.

Marianne Hernandez
 
 
 
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Cameron Saul

Cameron Saul co-founded BOTTLETOP in 2002; with a mission to empower artisans with livelihoods and young people with health education through the creation of sustainable luxury fashion accessories. BOTTLETOP began through a design collaboration with the British luxury fashion house Mulberry, founded by his father Roger Saul.

Saul launched the music side of BOTTLETOP through the ‘Sound Affects’ album series in 2005 and the contemporary art side through the ‘Full Circle’ program in 2009.  BOTTLETOP has gone on to collaborate with brands including Narciso Rodriguez and DKNY and has partnered with the Rio 2016 Olympics and BAFTA. The brand is worn by fashion industry luminaries including Emma Watson, Anna Wintour, Candice Swanepoel and Gigi Hadid. 

BOTTLETOP launched its first London flagship store on Regent St in December 2017; the world’s first zero waste 3D printed store made from waste and ocean plastic. Today it produces collections with artisans in Brazil, Kenya, Nepal and Bali.

The BOTTLETOP FOUNDATION supports health education projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Brazil and the UK.

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Paula Mendoza

Paula Mendoza is a Colombian designer, the founder and creator of New York-based brand Paula Mendoza Jewelry. Her recognizable circular designs are not only a trend in her jewelry, but also in the way she has run her business for more than 16 years. In terms of aesthetics, Paula utilizes the circle as a prominent component in each of her collections. For her the circle is representative of the balance between cause and effect, as well as the shape of femininity. From the beginning, Paula has worked with Colombian artisans to bring her designs to life. It is these artisans who she first started working with that continue to be part of the Paula Mendoza circle – creating an intimate family whose handcrafted work, not only established this brand but has created an ethos of social responsibility for the country of Colombia and added to its richness.

Despite her inherent creative drive to design, Paula studied social communications. Realizing this was not the platform she wanted to utilize to express herself, she opened her first Atelier in Bogota, Colombia in 2003. A year later she moved to Washington, DC and established private clients among whom her circular designs quickly gained popularity. With a desire to take her designs to new heights, she studied Jewelry as Sculpture at the Corcoran Art Institute. Because of this course, Paula’s designs became ergonomic and form functioning to the body. Mixing the unparalleled craftsmanship of the Colombian artisans and her innovative approach to design won the attention of retailers and the media. Upon establishing New York as her headquarters six years ago, her brand has made it to the most reputable retailers worldwide such as Net-A-Porter, Saks, Harvey Nichols and Bergdorf Goodman. Her jewelry’s presence and popularity have increased through celebrities and bloggers using her eye-ˇcatching pieces. Such popularity has lead the brand to be featured in countless publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, InStyle, W Magazine, as well as landing a cover on Allure this year, establishing the jewelry’s recognition.

From the beginning, Paula consciously decided to have her country not only as source of inspiration but as the source of production. Every material found in her pieces is locally sourced as well as conflict free. This ranges from the gold that is used to plate the pieces to the raw emeralds that symbolize Colombia’s richness. Paula’s jewelry is recognized as not only physically sustainable but economically sustainable since the brand provides jobs to over 40 artisan families.

It is because of this economic sustainability that Paula has been recognized by her country’s president Juan Manuel Santos as one of the 100 Top Colombians changing the face of the country. This award acknowledges Paula’s sustainable fashion and the philanthropic energy that encompasses the essence of her and her brand. The DNA of the brand is not only a symbol for social responsibility, but it is Paula’s outlet to demonstrate that kindness and success are not mutually exclusive. For the brand has proven that an entrepreneurial spirit and respect for others can still create art with meaning. Because of all that embodies the brand, Paula was just recently named Creative Director of Cano Jewelry – the oldest most respected jewelry brand of Colombia with more than 100 years of tradition.

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

"You get what you put out there." Paula Mendoza.

Paula Mendoza
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Alejandro Calderon

Alejandro Calderon is the founder of Mutual Empathy, a company which focuses on managing an ecosystem of collaborators with the objective to create strategic synergies, and bring ideas into transformational and high impact projects mainly around climate change, and the creative and circular economies. He has more than 15 years experience in the financial sector with J.P. Morgan (Paris, Geneva, London and New York) and Morgan Stanley (New York).

Alejandro is co-founder and strategic collaborations at ValueSkies, a development company with a pipeline of projects in the waste and renewable energy sectors which looks to transform 50% of Colombia’s municipal solid and agricultural waste into liquid energy, with total investment of around $3.5bn. He also founded Looking for the Masters, with the objective to invest in the creative economy with Colombian jewelry designer Paula Mendoza, and the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise (Aspen Institute), focusing first on Ethical Fashion, which will work with artisans and indigenous people looking to invest horizontally in their communities to emphasize the value of ancestral technics, promote cultural heritage and provide sustainable economic development to these communities.

A native from Colombia, he is also leading a multi-stakeholder coalition with the objective to spur the impact investing ecosystem with a Blended Finance approach, looking to fill the gap of financing the peace consolidation process in that country, estimated at over $60bn.

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“I believe a country’s development can be measured by the investment a government makes in Arts & Culture. The private sector needs to jump in and see this as a transformational opportunity to invest (not only as philanthropy). The Creative Economy generates over $2.25 trillion of annual revenues and employs more people aged 15-29 than any other sector. We need to open our eyes and invest in the future.” Alejandro Calderon.

Alejandro Calderon.jpg
 
 
 
Sharon Chang
 

Sharon Chang

Sharon Chang is a Future Architect, an expert generalist armed with a unique collection of building blocks to construct positive change in the world. Her work focuses on reframing the relationship between capital, creativity and impact through carefully calibrated collaborations. A philanthropist, entrepreneur and investor in transformational ideas and technologies, Sharon is also trained as an artist, designer and architect. She uses the combination of these talents, experiences and resources to imagine and build a more beautiful future.

Early in her career, at the nexus of Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Sharon established a powerful perspective on how to cross pollinate dramatically different cultures to guide the creation of hybrid fields. Her wide-ranging endeavors challenge and rebuild the systems that govern our everyday activities. From a film that inspires gender equality to a fashion brand that drives conscious consumption; a smart city operating system to a fair-trade apparel factory in West Africa, all her projects challenge the status quo and delve into life-changing subjects with a gentle touch of optimism. 

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“Transform yourself to transform the world.” Grace Lee Boggs.

 
 
 
 
 

Amy Christiansen

Amy Christiansen is a social worker who spent 20 years in the non-profit sector working and living in New York, the Middle East and London before becoming a social impact entrepreneur. She views luxury business as an opportunity to create systemic social change.

Amy founded Sana Jardin, the world’s first socially conscious luxury fragrance house which sits at the intersection of social impact, luxury and the economic empowerment of women. Sana Jardin is also the force behind the Beyond Sustainability™ movement, which powers tangible and measurable impact for low-income women through commerce rather than charity, by giving them tools to upcycle floral waste into their own line of products. nationally, Sana Jardin has been featured in VogueThe New York Times Harper’s Bazaar and retails at Harrod’s, Harvey Nichols and Liberty.

 Amy holds a bachelors and master’s in social work and worked previously at the Robin Hood Foundation in New York and as a direct practice social worker in Chicago. She has served as an advisor to the Clinton Foundation whose mission is to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence and The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women which works to empower women entrepreneurs in low and middle-income countries.  She currently sits on the Advisory Board of NEST, a non- profit committed to the advancement of global artisans, is a Trustee for the Elisa Sednaoui Foundation which creates innovative arts education for youth in Egypt and Italy and is a member of the The Fashion Trust which is a British Fashion Council charitable initiative that offers business support to British based designers through financial grants, mentoring and funding to provide traineeships to graduates. 

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed
 
 
 
Gally Mayer
 

Gally Mayer

Gally Mayer was vice president for business development activities at Jerusalem Venture Partners for many years, working closely with its founder Erel Margalit. In this capacity, she also worked closely with portfolio companies, forging relationships with leading partners and customers in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

Previously, Gally was the vice president, chief of staff and right-hand person to the president and CEO of StarMedia Networks, a leading internet company for Spanish and Portuguese speakers during the dotcom era. Prior to that, she was an investment banker at Bear Stearns and UBS, where she served as vice president responsible for new business origination and transaction execution for Latin America. As an investment banker, Gally also worked for Violy, Byorum and Partners.

Gally is engaged in a wide variety of philanthropic activities and is currently a board member of Urban Zen Foundation, Donna Karan's not-for-profit organization. She helped Donna create the Urban Zen Foundation as a 501C3. Gally is also a board member of the Latin American Board for Georgetown University and the CRUSA foundation in Costa Rica, as well as a board member of the Many Hats Institute. She is also involved in organizations where the primary focus is the improvement of educational systems in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market.

Mrs Mayer was involved in one such projects as the US Hispanic task force for the Bush administration. She was acting as a Senior Consultant to the Gartner Group in an effort to create a better collaboration between the private and the public sectors in educational related issues.

Gally was one of the founders of CDI Americas, a partnership between the Inter-American Development Bank, Microsoft, CDI Brazil, and the Cielo Foundation (previously known as the StarMedia Foundation) to create information technology and citizenship schools throughout Latin America. 

She also participated in the development of the dot force, a task force created by the Clinton administration to help bridge the digital divide by presenting the problem and potential solutions at a G8 Meeting. The effort involved a three-way collaboration between the public sector, the private sector and non for profit organizations.

Gally holds a B.A./B.S degree in international business and finance from Georgetown University.

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Robert Swan, Author.

 
 
 
 
 

Jag Gill

Jag Gill is the Founder & CEO of SUNDAR, which is building the digital supply chain for the modern, responsive and sustainable fashion industry. 

Jag founded Sundar after a decade-long finance career where, as a senior executive working as trusted advisor to some of India’s leading apparel industrialists, she uncovered a paradox:  the opacity, complexities and inefficiencies of the fashion supply chain was at odds with the fast pace of consumer demand for on-trend fashion.  This became the white space from which Sundar was borne. 

Apparel retail is broken.  It takes between 12 and 18 months to get a product to market, and 60% of that time is spent mostly in “pre-production” activities - the discovery and sourcing of textiles, trim, accessories, components and suppliers.  The consumer is digital but the supply chain is analogue.  Sundar is borne out of the industry demand for faster speed-to-market, near daily demand for new product and the requirement for sustainability and transparency in sourcing relationships.

Jag is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was awarded the New York City Economic Development Corporation Venture Fellowship in 2016.  Sundar was incubated at MIT, and is institutionally backed at the seed stage by leading investors including NEA, the world's largest venture capital fund, Silicon Valley and Hong Kong venture funds and notable angel investors.  Sundar is also an alumni of the New York Fashion Tech Lab, the leading fashion-tech accelerator, and was part of the inaugural class of the Fashion for Good program founded by Kering and the C&A Foundation with a focus on sustainability.

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’” Martin Luther King.

Jag Gill
 
 
 
Valeria Hinojosa
 

Valeria Hinojosa

Social entrepreneur. Influencer. Vegan. Yogi. Risktaker. Valeria Hinojosa worked in the Private Banking Industry as a VP for almost 5 years until she switched it all to start WaterThruSkin - Miami’s blog about a lifestyle with a conscience. Since then, she's been traveling the world visiting the most exotic eco-friendly, and soul-enriching places not only to acquire a vast knowledge of different cultures, green design and plant-based cuisine, but also to promote new sustainable and ethical brands, products and hotels she works with. In the past 4 years since WTS’ inception, Valeria and her team have reviewed and promoted over 300 brands and hotels worldwide.'

In 2017, Valeria also founded WTSConnect the first conscious blogger agency with a reach of over 22 million worldwide consumers focused on sustainability and ethics.

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“You have one life. Be raw. Be you. Risk it all when it comes to your dreams. Treat this earth as your temple and every living being as your equal. Accept equality as the only language and pass it down to your future generations. Choose love and make it your everyday mantra.” Valeria Hinojosa.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Petra Nemcova

Petra Nemcova is a supermodel, philanthropist and entrepreneur. Co-founder of All Hands and Hearts-Smart Response, founder of Happy Hearts Mexico, Happy Hearts Indonesia and Happy Hearts Czech Republic.

Petra currently graces campaigns and is a global brand ambassador for Chopard, Mercedes and Tumi. Her major breakthrough was in 2003 as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover girl. As a model, Petra has achieved international success, working with brands such as Max Factor, Pantene, Clarins, La Perla, Clinique and Victoria’s Secret.

Petra founded her charity, Happy Hearts Fund, in 2005 with a mission to rebuild safe, resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters. Since its inception, she has been involved on a daily basis. Her initial work in an executive capacity has helped establish the structure, vision, and strategy that positioned HHF for long-term success. Petra has been the key motivation and drive behind the cause of rebuilding schools for children forgotten after natural disasters due to lack of sustained response. Her self-understanding of the power of Mother Nature helps her connect with those in need of aid, empowerment, and hope after their lives have been shattered, as she was blessed to survive a near death experience in the 2004 Tsunami. “We can’t control nature, but we can control the actions we take.”

In the Fall of 2017 Happy Hearts Fund merged with All Hands Volunteers to create All Hands and Hearts - Smart Response in order to efficiently and effectively address the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. All Hands and Hearts arrives early for first response and stays late to rebuild schools and homes in a disaster-resilient way. It has rebuilt 214 disaster resilient schools, serving over 105,000 children in 11 countries and helped more than 1,181,000 community members in 18 countries around the world.  

Petra's entrepreneurial spirit was materialized in 2013 when she launched the international luxury home décor brand, Be The Light New York by Petra Nemcova (BTLNY) with co-founder and branding expert, Christian Hosford. Inspired by her life of traveling to fascinating countries, BTLNY brings treasures from travels with elements of playful luxury to enrich homes and lives. 10% of all proceeds from BTLNY go to rebuilding schools with Happy Hearts Fund.

 Petra is also a renowned public speaker and the author of “Love Always, Petra” which she wrote to help children affected by the Tsunami with 100% of the proceeds being sent to support Thai children. She serves on the advisory board of the acclaimed Glamour’s Women of the Year Fund. Petra has received several accolades from organizations for her philanthropic work including The United Nations, Women Together, Glamour Woman of the Year, and Do Something. In 2017, Petra was appointed by the UNISDR as a Disaster Risk Reduction Champion and Tsunami Awareness Advocate.

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“The best way to live your life is to be the light which keeps uplifting people and the planet. There are countless ways to share your light.” Petra Nemcova.

Petra Nemcova
 
 
 
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Anabel Maldonado

A fashion journalist with a research science background, Anabel Maldonado is the founder of The Psychology of Fashion. The first fashion psychology platform to examine why we wear what we wear and industry issues through the lens of psychology, its content explores the human side of sustainability, and how mindfulness and self-awareness can offset over-consumption. A luxury brand consultant, Anabel has worked with a number of emerging and established luxury brands, and her opinion features have been featured in publications that include The Business of Fashion and Marie Claire. 

FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA:

“If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.” Arabian Proverb.