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Dr Thomas Jacobson, JD, MCP, FAICP

Director, Center for Sustainable Communities

Dr. Tim Wandling

Faculty Fellow, Center for Community Engagement

Academic Partnerships: How Can Students Help Solve Real Sustainability Challenges in the Community

Main Hall
Sonoma State seeks to engage students and faculty with local governments, NGOs, and businesses to design real-world, practical solutions to the sustainability challenges they are facing. Students gain valuable practical experience that boosts their academic success and builds their resumes. Local organizations and businesses get access to a more highly trained workforce. Despite the immense advantages, two recurring challenges to these kinds of partnerships are that: (1) sustainability challenges are inherently interdisciplinary, while universities are structured into disciplinary silos, and (2) project needs and timelines do not always fit neatly into academic structures or schedules. One way that SSU is bridging the divide is through programs that regularly seek out sustainability challenges and assist in “crosswalking” those challenges into academic programs. Claudia Luke, Director of the Center for Environmental Inquiry, will interview leaders of four SSU programs that regularly seek to engage students, faculty, and community members in sustainability projects. Through Q & A, we will encourage discussion about ways to enhance these efforts to expand opportunities for student learning and support for regional sustainability projects.

Aligned Growth Partners

Global Advisors to Boards of Directors and Management

Aligned Growth Partners is a highly acclaimed team of former senior corporate and emerging growth company executives, each possessing decades of domestic and global business experience. We work directly with boards of directors, management, business owners, and private equity and venture capital firms.

The complementary expertise and operating and organizational experience of our partners enables us to work with client companies to create and execute highly innovative, sustainable strategic plans, organizational excellence imperatives and operational execution plans, solidly framed with essential alignment, execution and accountability that enhances your business culture and your growth. Our commitment is clear: We deliver results beyond your expectations.

The Culture of Sustainability at Sonoma State University

10:55 - 11:20 AM
Main Hall
Sonoma State University Director of Sustainability Paul Draper will describe the mission of the Sustainability Executive Committee (AKA SustainableSSU) with particular consideration of curricular and co-curricular student engagement. Educational administration leader Stan Nosek, Vice President for Administration at Sonoma State University will talk about his work facilitating teamwork between faculty, students and the community and empowering them to create a culture of sustainability. And Claudia Sisomphou, current Sonoma State student and AS Senator of Sustainability, will inspire us with how the campus has embraced sustainability as one of its core values since she's been here.

Carolyn Pistone

President and Managing Director

Susan Price

Development and Events Manager

Ted M. Tiffany

Associate Principal, Director of Sustainability

421 Group

Planning + Strategy + Development
Social Media

421 Group is a boutique consultancy that offers planning, strategy, and development services to help innovative cannabis organizations succeed.

Our experienced consultants are skilled in supporting the kinds of core business needs that come into play throughout a company's evolution: organizational design; branding and marketing; leadership development; and public affairs.

We also offer high-level strategy meetings for entrepreneurs interested in entering the industry. Learn more at https://421.group.

Contact Information
Craig Litwin
(707) 861-8421

Greening Your Organization from Within

3:10 - 4:00 PM
2nd Floor - Alexander
Our presentation includes a description of 10 different programmatic options to help your workforce to create and achieve organizational and personal goals toward sustainability at work, in the community, and in their personal lives. Meeting for just one hour (weekly or bi-weekly and usually a lunch hour), staff begin designing and applying ecologically sound plans of action...the very first week.

What Could Possibly Go Right? Planning for Positive Risks

1:30 - 1:45 PM
Interview Stage
Positive risks are things that could go unexpectedly right. These are more than nice things that might happen. These are potential opportunities that, if you are poised to take advantage of them, could mean the difference between mild and wild success for your venture.

Amy Rider

Principal Consultant

Paul Draper

Director of Sustainability

Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority

Efficient buildings, clean energy, alternative transportation and conservation/adaptation.
Social Media

The Regional Climate Protection Authority, RCPA, was formed in 2009 to coordinate countywide climate protection efforts among Sonoma County’s nine cities and multiple agencies. The RCPA fosters collaboration, helps to set goals, pools resources, formalizes partnerships, and works across silos. The RCPA aims to create local solutions to complement State, Federal, and private sector actions – all showing that a better future with lower emissions is possible.

Contact Information
Brant Arthur
Santa Rosa

Zero Net Energy: Self-Powered Properties

1:00 - 2:00 PM
2nd Floor - Alexander
Buildings that consume net zero energy (and the codes which requires them to) are closer than you might think. The California Energy Commission adopted the goal to achieve zero net energy building standards by 2020 for homes and 2030 for commercial buildings in its 2007 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR). Join us to learn what to expect and discuss how these changes may impact your business. The session presented by the Redwood Empire Chapter of the US Green Building Council.

Sustainability as a Mainstream Objective of Industries and Associations

9:30 - 10:20 AM
2nd Floor - Sonoma
Sustainability as a best practice is no longer only embraced by individual companies and organizations, it has become a mainstream objective of entire industries and associations. Some entities have developed comprehensive workbooks with criteria, technical guidance and oversight requirements to help make sustainability a uniform standard and ensure compliance through self assessment and third-party audits. At the same time, collaboration has increased among those wanting to expand their understanding and application of ways to implement a sustainable business strategy and incorporate it into their mission, vision and core values. Finally, Investors and those in the financial community are looking for sustainable businesses to fund knowing that the more and more consumers favor, endorse and advocate for enterprises that adhere to sustainable operations and support them with their dollars leading to higher profitability and ROI. This panel will explore all of these trends through the eyes of a trio of subject matter experts working in these fields.

Claudia Sisomphou

Activist in Residence/Senator of Sustainability


Marin's Premier Cowork Space and Entrepreneurship Center in downtown San Rafael, newly opened in March.
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VenturePad is Marin’s premier cowork community and business incubator, opened in March.  Located at 1020 B Street in downtown San Rafael, VenturePad fills a need in Marin County for affordable, accessible and professional coworking space and entrepreneur support services for start-ups, solopreneurs, creatives, freelancers & telecommuters to help them reach their professional & personal goals. Our impact oriented, values-driven community supports you with affordable shared office space, training & expert mentoring.

Get out of the home office when you need to. Upgrade from the coffee shop.  Don't get into a sublet or office lease by yourself, come share our office space, join our coworking community and work around others in a workspace with an open desk or private desk, and meeting rooms. Be a part of something bigger with a mission and a vision that aligns with your values!

Why VenturePad?

•   Professional upgrade from the home office. Get away from distractions, interruptions and the entertainment temptations. Reduce the entrepreneur isolation and loneliness.

•   Time to move beyond the café.  Feeling like a space parasite at your local cafe? Work with a comfortable table & chair optimized for productive work and professional meetings. Get away from the din of food service and constant people traffic. 

•   Have business meetings in a professional setting with conference rooms, private office settings with supper fast Wi Fi, big screens, ergonomic chairs, wonderful natural and task lighting.

•   Wake up with purpose and have a place to go working side by side with driven, smart peers and advisors who will inspire you, help you become more effective and reach your goals faster.

•   Work in a buzzing, friendly downtown neighborhood filled with the best of San Rafael’s restaurants, shops, business and amenities. VenturePad is a short walk to the San Rafael transit center and the new SMART train station, and under 5 minutes to I-101. Parking is plentiful. Walking and biking are do-able and encouraged!

Memberships start at $95/mth. Go to www.venturepad.works

Contact Information
Chris Yalonis
San Rafael

Setting and Achieving SMART Sustainability Goals:

3:10 - 4:00 PM
2nd Floor - Russian
How to use the power of SMART goal setting to help your team and organization set sustainability goals, track performance metrics, assign owners and allocate resources. The session demonstrates, through local examples and best practices, how SMART goals work for sustainability strategy execution. (S - specific, M - measurable, A - agreed upon, R - realistic, T - time-based). Participants will learn: What does sustainability really mean? How do we measure sustainability? How do we get it accomplished in our organizations and communities? How do we influence the views and decisions of others with a business case to adopt these principles and best practices? Always a SEC favorite session, the speaker is Chris Yalonis, a Sonoma State Professor of Sustainability, SEC co-organizer, and founder of VenturePad, Marin’s new cowork community and entrepreneurship center, a carbon neutral and zero waste operation.

Silver Tsunami: Catch the Wave

Silver Tsunami: Crisis or Opportunity
1:00 - 2:00 PM
2nd Floor - Bennett
In 2012 there were 43.1 million over 65 in the US but in the next 15 years our population of over 65-year-olds will grow to 71 million by 2030 in the United States alone and top out at 83.7 million by 2050. The global population over 65 will have tripled from 524 million in 2010 to 1.5 billion in 2050. This expanding demographic can create a crisis or create a great opportunity for business and society. In Sonoma County, this is the year of the Senior. We will explore some myths on aging, along with the challenges, and opportunities in the North Bay that this demographic will create.

Business and Government Efforts to Generate Sustainable Energy

3:10 - 4:00 PM
2nd Floor - Bennett
Technologies promote sustainable energy including renewable energy sources, technologies designed to improve energy efficiency and technologies to transform waste into energy. Costs have fallen dramatically in recent years, and today most of these technologies are either economically competitive or close to being so. Increasingly, effective government policies in California support investor confidence and these markets are expanding supporting the energy transition from fossil fuels to ecologically sustainable systems.

How does Sonoma County Achieve Economic Sustainability?

1:00 - 2:00 PM
2nd Floor - Sonoma
This panel will explore how local businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and residents work together, cooperative-style, to shift hundreds of millions of dollars in buying to locally owned businesses. GO LOCAL has entered its 9th year leading this movement in the North Bay. Three GO LOCAL members; a credit union, solar energy company and a new cannabis company will provide insight into this local economic development mission makes progress.

The Leading Edge of Climate Resilience: Sonoma County in Context

2:00 - 2:50 PM
2nd Floor - Bennett
The North Bay Climate Adaptation Initiative (NBCAI) is a cross-sector coalition of Sonoma County environmental non-profits and governmental agencies working to promote community resilience in the face of a changing climate. Join us for an update on some of the key projects that have established our region as a national leader in preparing for climate risks.
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