About the 2016 Business Conference

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

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8:00-8:45 - Networking Breakfast

An opportunity for attendees to meet informally and begin discussions before the day.

8:45-9:30 - Opening Keynote Address: Alignment of Corporate & Community Values

Michael Phillips, opening keynote
Chairman and CEO
Federal Way Asset Management

Michael Phillips joined Federal Way Asset Management in April 2014.  Michael previously spent over 25 years with Russell Investments, serving as Chairman from 2002 to 2008 and Chief Executive Officer from 1993 to 2003. He initially joined Russell’s London office in 1981, becoming Managing Director in 1982. In 1986, he moved to Russell’s corporate headquarters in the United States to serve as Director of International Consulting. He became President of Russell in 1990.

In 2006, Michael was appointed by the White House to be a US representative on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and served as Chairman of the ABAC Finance and Economics Working group in 2007 and 2008. He is also immediate past chairman of the non-profit 20-20 Investment Association.

Prior to joining Russell, Michael served as an investment analyst and portfolio manager at Barclays Investment Management Ltd. in London from 1971 to 1981, where he was responsible for managing internationally diversified pension fund assets. He also taught investment courses at City of London Polytechnic School of Business Studies.

Michael graduated with honors in law from University College, London in 1970, becoming a fellow in 2002.

9:45-10:45 - Research Presentation: Challenges & Opportunities for Equitable Economic Development

Ali Modarres, Ph.D. Professor and Director of Urban Studies, University of Washington Tacoma

11:00-Noon - Panel Discussion: Economic Growth and Community Impact

In a robust business growth economy, how does a socially responsible business engage in "sustainable" growth? What is business' role in ethical community development: driver, navigator, or passenger?

  • Irene Plenefisch, Government Affairs Director, Microsoft Corporation
  • Steve Schwartz, CSR Marketing Manager, Tableau Software
  • Brooke Steger, General Manager, Uber
  • Moderated by Kevin Hagen, Director Corporate Responsibility, Iron Mountain 

Noon-1:30 - Keynote Luncheon Address: Why Biology Is Good for Business

Elisabet Sahtouris, M.S., PhD is an evolution biologist, futurist, professor, speaker, author and sustainability consultant to businesses, government agencies and other organizations. She is a US and Greek citizen who has lived in the USA, Canada, Greece, Peru and Spain while lecturing, doing workshops and media appearances in Europe, North, Central and South America, the MidEast, Asia and Australia/New Zealand.

Elisabet received a B.F.A. from Syracuse University, an M.S. from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from Dalhousie University in Canada. She held post-doctoral research grants at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and at Massachusetts General Hospital, taught at the Mass. Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Massachusetts and the Bainbridge Graduate Institute´s MBA program. She currently holds the Elisabet Sahtouris Chair in Living Economies at the World Business Academy, Santa Barbara, California and is a Professor in Residence at Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii.

She has been a science writer for the NOVA-HORIZON TV series, (WGBH Boston/ BBC London), a UN Consultant on indigenous peoples, was invited to China under the auspices of the Chinese National Science Organization, is a Fellow of the World Business Academy and an advisor to Ethical Markets. She was a regular columnist for Mitsubishi ex-CEO Tachi Kiuchi’s newsletter The Bridge, published in Tokyo for the Japanese Parliament and business leadership and co-convened two international symposia on the Foundations of Science in Hokkaido, Japan and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Elisabet participated in two invitational dialogues with HH the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India and in the Vatican, Rome, and is one of the people identified as Cultural Creatives in the book of that title by Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson. She is a member of the Evolutionary Leaders and a founding member of Rising Women; Rising World.

1:30-2:30 - Breakout Roundtable Discussions

These moderated roundtable discussions will engage attendees in discussing hands-on strategies for advancing CSR initiatives within their firms.

  • Community Engagement Strategies and Successes - Laura Waters, Corporate Solutions Engineer, MicroEdge
  • Employee Engagement Strategies and Successes  - Mark Horoszowski, Co-founder, Moving Worlds
  1. What do employees want? Some research from Net Impact
  2. What leads to engagement? Watch Drive, Surprising Science of What Motivates Us
  3. Can social good create measurable benefits to the bottom line? 7 research backed reasons your company will benefit by being more responsible
  4. What is an example of a world-positive employee engagement strategy? Using stretch experiences to create social good
  5. Can purpose really engage employees? Deloitte research says yes
  • How to Turn CSR Naysayers into Your Allies - Kevin Wilhelm, CEO, Sustainable Business Consulting

2:45-3:45 - Panel Discussion: Role of Corporations in Civic Engagement

What is business' role in building and sustaining livable communities where their employees, customers, and stakeholders can all live and thrive? How does business best engage in this important discussion of housing, wages, and gentrification?

  • Racquel Russell, Director, Government Relations and Civic Affairs, Zillow
  • Paul Sacca, Senior Associate, Corporate Responsibility, PwC
  • Laura Waters, Corporate Solutions Engineer, MicroEdge
  • Moderated by Diane Douglas, Executive Director, Seattle City Club

4:00-4:45 - Closing Keynote Address: Cross-sector Collaboration for Sustainable Success

Jens Molbak, closing keynote
Founder of WinWin
Founder & former CEO of CoinStar

Jens has a passion for social entrepreneurship, innovation and venture investing. In 1990, Jens founded Coinstar with the goal of creating a company that could simultaneously benefit the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Coinstar pioneered self-service coin counting kiosks to provide consumers a convenient means to convert loose coins into cash. In addition to counting change, Coinstar kiosks accept donations for charitable organizations including UNICEF, The Red Cross, and WWF. Coinstar also worked collaboratively with the Fed, US Mint, and Royal UK Mint. The company has processed over $40 billion and raised over $80 million for non-profits.

He is also the founder of WinWin, which is focused on new ventures that create synergistic benefits for all three sectors. WinWin is reviewing public sector agencies and departments, seeking entrepreneurial opportunities for innovation and collaboration.

Jens is the owner of Molbak’s Garden + Home. He serves on the Boards of the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, University of Washington Bothell, KeyMe and Town Hall. He is a past trustee of the Lakeside School.

Jens holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University and a B.A. from Yale University. A native of Seattle, Jens is an avid hiker, back country skier, and enthusiast of landscape architecture.

5:00-7:00 - Hosted Networking Reception



Diane Douglas, session moderator
Executive Director
Seattle CityClub

Diane Douglas joined CityClub as its executive director in May 2007. Formerly she was the founding director of Bellevue College’s Center for Liberal Arts and the director of the Bellevue Arts Museum.

Douglas is co-author of Choosing Craft, a social history of the American craft movement since WWII published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009.

Diane is a writer and kayaker and serves on the boards of regional organizations supporting civic engagement and poverty alleviation.

Kevin Hagen, session moderator
Director, Corporate Responsibility
Iron Mountain

Kevin Hagen currently leads Corporate Responsibility at Iron Mountain, the leading document and data management and storage company.  From environmental impacts to community engagement and philanthropy, Iron Mountain is on the path to adopting sustainable business thinking and making the enterprise part of the solution.

Before joining Iron Mountain, Kevin headed up sustainable business strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility at REI, Inc.  This included the process for environmental and social metrics, public reporting, stakeholder engagement, goal setting and prioritization. He also implemented leading efforts on factory fair labor, Product Stewardship and supply chain transparency as well as award-winning community engagement and philanthropy efforts.

Kevin has an MBA in Sustainable Business from Pinchot University, and a BSID in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from Clarkson University.

Mark Horoszowski

Mark Horoszowski is co-founder and CEO of MovingWorlds.org, a global platform that helps people volunteer their expertise with social impact organizations around the world, on their own or through corporate-sponsored programs. Since its launch in 2011, MovingWorlds.org has already helped unleash over 2 million dollars worth of professional skills to social enterprises around the world and is the founder of the term, Experteering

Mark holds a Master's in Accounting and a BA in Business from the University of Washington, serves as a volunteer co-chairing the American Cancer Society's National Volunteer Leadership Team, and is a contributor at Huffington Post Impact.

Ali Modarres, PhD
Professor and Director of Urban Studies
University of Washington Tacoma

Ali Modarres is the Director of Urban Studies at University of Washington Tacoma.

He is the editor of Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning and serves on a number of research and policy advisory boards.

Ali earned his PhD in geography from the University of Arizona and holds master and bachelor degrees in landscape architecture from the same institution. He specializes in urban geography and his primary research and publication interests are socio-spatial urban dynamics and the political economy of urban design.

He has published in the areas of immigration, race and ethnicity in American cities, social geography, transportation planning, environmental equity, urban development and public policy. Some of his recent articles have appeared in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Cities, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research and Anthropology of the Middle East.

Irene Plenefisch
Government Affairs Director

Irene Plenefisch is a Government Affairs Director at Microsoft Corporation's headquarters in Redmond, Washington. In this role, Irene works with the state and local governments in the Puget Sound region on public policy issues that are important to the company’s continued growth in Washington State. 

Irene joined Microsoft in November of 2010. She joined Microsoft with 12 years previous experience in federal health policy and advocacy, working for SonoSite, Inc., a Puget Sound-based diagnostic ultrasound manufacturer.

Irene holds a B.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and an MBA from the University of Michigan.  She lives in Kirkland, Washington with her husband and three children.

Racquel Russell
Director, Government Relations & Public Affairs

Racquel Russell is the Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs at Zillow, the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration, and knowledge around the place they call home. In her current capacity, Racquel creates key public-private partnerships with government and NGOs at the local, regional and national level.

Previously, Racquel led President Obama’s Office of Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility where she focused on numerous issues including affordable housing as well as community and economic development. Prior to joining the White House in September 2010, Racquel held leadership positions for U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Bob Graham as well as for the National Governors Association.

Racquel received her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School and holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Miami.

Paul Sacca
Senior Associate, Corporate Responsibility

Paul Sacca helps lead PwC US’ and the PwC Charitable Foundation's Impact Investing team to optimize how the firm deploys its charitable investments and human capital, and create shared value. Paul has also spent time as a management consultant in PwC's Sustainable Business Solutions group - and environmental/business strategy specialty - and has served some of PwC’s largest nonprofit clients.

Prior to joining PwC, Paul lived in Central America doing economic and community development in rural, agrarian communities.


Steve Schwartz
CSR Marketing Manager
Tableau Software

Download Steve's PPT presentation

Steve is the Corporate Social Responsibility Marketing Manager for Tableau Software, where he works on projects to help nonprofits around the world see and understand their data. Steve is also a co-founder and board member of Upaya Social Ventures, a nonprofit that helps build businesses that create jobs in India’s poorest communities. Prior to the launch of Upaya, Steve promoted the growth of microfinance institutions in India and East Africa as the Public Affairs Manager with the Seattle-based nonprofit Unitus.

He is a former Peace Corps volunteer, having served two years in the West African nation of Benin as a Small Enterprise Development volunteer. Steve began his marketing career in public relations with the New York-based Walek & Associates representing investment banking, financial law, hedge fund, and private equity clients.

Steve holds an M.A. in International Relations and International Communications from Boston University, and a B.A. in History from the University of Western Ontario.

Brooke Steger
General Manager

Download Brooke's PPT presentation

Brooke Steger is a General Manager at Uber, currently overseeing Washington, Oregon, Alaska,  Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

After founding her own start-up while studying Physics at the University of Washington, she went on to work at a handful of local Seattle start-ups including Jott Networks and Off & Away. She spearheaded the launch of uberX across the Pacific Northwest while driving changes at state and local levels to recognize and regulate Transportation Network Companies.

As a Seattle native, Brooke is deeply committed to making the Northwest a hub for innovation while promoting efficient, affordable transportation options and a high quality of life.

Laura Waters
Corporate Solutions Engineer

Laura has asked that her PPT only be made available to attendees who were in her session. Please contact clsr@uw.edu to request a copy.

Laura Waters is a Corporate Solutions Engineer at MicroEdge where she advises corporate clients ranging from Fortune 100’s to medium-sized on their community impact and employee engagement programs.

Laura has her MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School.  More recently she has gone back to teach at Presidio, developing curriculum for and executing the first ever graduate level course focused on sports and sustainability.

Currently, Laura is also advising the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee on their sustainability initiatives.

Kevin Wilhelm
CEO and Founder
Sustainable Business Consulting

Kevin is the world’s pre-eminent consultant in the field of business sustainability and climate change. He is the CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting & Education, a Seattle-based company focused on delivering business value through the integration of sustainable business practices. He is also an acclaimed author, speaker and teacher and has developed a series of online courses and modules around sustainability for both the corporate and academic markets.

Kevin brings over 19 years of experience working with 95+ businesses ranging across 23 different industries from Fortune 50 multinationals to medium-sized businesses. Some of his firm’s clients include Nordstrom, Amazon.com, REI, Alaska Airlines, The North Face, Redbox/Outerwall, Expeditors, Real Networks, Drugstore.com and Brooks. He is the author of two acclaimed books in the field of sustainability: “Making Sustainability Stick: The Blueprint for Successful Sustainability Implementation” and “Return on Sustainability: How Business Can Increase Profitability & Address Climate Change in an Uncertain Economy.”



Many thanks to our 2016 conference sponsors:

Presenting sponsor
Benefactor sponsor

Patron sponsors


Highlights from our 2015 conference