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Cara Mertes is director of Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative, a global effort that supports emerging and established filmmakers whose work addresses the most urgent social issues of our time. JustFilms also supports key organizations that explore and sustain the art of contemporary-issue, nonfiction storytelling. The initiative seeks to expand networks and resources for the community of independent filmmakers around the world and to increase the artistry and impact of their stories. Throughout her two-decade career, Cara has championed the artist’s role in society and embodied the power of independent filmmaking to raise awareness on issues of critical importance. Before joining the foundation in 2013, she was director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund.
Marco Gorini specializes in strategy, finance and negotiation. In the last 20 years, he was a business partner in different projects, including a microfinance operation in Rio de Janeiro, a consulting firm targeted at small and medium enterprises and the company VoxCred S/A, a private label credit card operator intended for commercial companies. At the consulting firm, he dealt with the health, education, legal and finance sectors, focused on liability recovery, investment planning, expansion projects and project financing. At VoxCred, he worked for three years as CEO and managed the planning, implementation and development of a credit card used by customers of the Tenda Atacado Group. As of 2008, after jointly leading the negotiations during the acquisition of VoxCred by that Group, he took office as the Group’s CEO and coordinated the integration process of the new business unit to this organization and was then responsible for defining the strategic guidelines, as well as coordinating the credit operatio
Enterprise Community Partners
Abby Jo Sigal is senior vice president of Innovation for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. She provides strategic leadership across the organization for innovation, business development, knowledge management and impact strategies. She co-leads the cross-organizational Innovation Team and oversees Enterprise’s Knowledge Impact and Strategy (KIS) Team. Previously, Abby was vice president and market leader, coordinating all Enterprise activities in the New York office to provide the highest quality service to partners and customers. Prior to taking on that role in September 2007, Abby served as a vice president for Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., working on strategic initiatives and overseeing deal transactions.
Skoll Global Threats Fund
Annie Maxwell is the Chief Operating Officer of the Skoll Global Threats Fund. She joined the organization after serving as a White House Fellow in the Office of Vice President Biden where she focused on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. From 2002 to 2009, Annie was with Direct Relief, serving most recently as Chief Operating Officer. Direct Relief is a privately funded nonprofit that through humanitarian assistance improves the quality of life for people affected by poverty or disasters. From 2005 to 2006, Annie was seconded to the United Nation's Office of the Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, led by Special Envoy President Bill Clinton where she served as Partnerships and Outreach Officer. Annie received her Master's in Public Policy and B.A. in English and Political Science, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Michigan. She was captain of the university's Division I volleyball team.
Author and Speaker
Friends of the Earth-Middle East
Gidon Bromberg speaks regularly on water, peace and security issues. He has presented before the UN Commission for Sustainable Development, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the EU Parliament and the advisory meeting to the UN High Level Panel on Security. In 2007, he was invited to join the prestigious EastWest Institute's International Task Force for Preventive Diplomacy. In 2007 he was awarded a Fellowship at Yale University on global leadership and was invited by Yale University in 2009 to serve as an Advisory Board Member for the World Fellows Program. Mr. Bromberg is an attorney by profession and previously worked in public interest environmental law. He holds a Bachelor of Economics and a law degree from Monash University in Australia. He completed a master's degree in international environmental law at the American University in Washington D.C. and has published over twenty academic papers and publications on Middle East environmental policy and water security issues.
Rainforest Foundation US
Suzanne Pelletier has been the Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation US since April 2009. Suzanne leads the Rainforest Foundation’s work to partner with indigenous peoples in Central and South America to help them assert their rights and conserve their forests and natural resources. Suzanne comes from the National Audubon Society where she served as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for twelve years. Suzanne has an MBA from Columbia Business School, a Master’s of Environmental Studies from the Yale School of Forestry and a BA from Fordham University.
Director of Human Progress Initiatives
Paul leads HP’s Human Progress Initiatives. He and the team focus on how technology improves the way we live and work through innovative and collaborative problem solving, solution development, and implementation. Paul evangelizes individual and organizational commitment to positive social contribution, which the company’s founders, Bill and Dave, rooted deeply in HP’s culture and values. He played an integral role in HP’s embrace of Social Innovation and the company’s transformation from a traditional CSR model in late 2009, including architecting and implementing the global health strategy with a talented, agile start-up team. He is an First Movers alumni fellow in the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, and he sits on the Millennium Campus Network’s Board of Directors and the mHealth Alliance’s Partnership Board. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from University of South Dakota. He lives in Ireland with his wife and 3 children.
House of Lords
Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens is a British sociologist who is known for his theory of structuration and his holistic view of modern societies. He is considered to be one of the most prominent modern contributors in the field of sociology, the author of at least 34 books, published in at least 29 languages, issuing on average more than one book every year. In 2007, Giddens was listed as the fifth most-referenced author of books in the humanities.
Andrew Kassoy co-founded B Lab in 2006. B Lab is the non-profit 501(c)3 organization that certifies, promotes, and supports B Corporations™. It also develops long-term capital markets and policy initiatives to accelerate growth of this emerging sector of the economy that unites the sustainable business and social enterprise movements. Before leaving the private sector to form B Lab with two long-time friends and college mates, Jay Coen Gilbert and Bart Houlahan, Andrew spent 16 years in the private equity business; as a Partner at MSD Real Estate Capital, an affiliate of MSD Capital, the $12 billion investment vehicle for Michael Dell; and before MSD, as Managing Director in Credit Suisse First Boston's Private Equity Department, a founding partner of DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners, and President of its international business. Andrew is dedicated to growing innovative for-profit and non-profit models for social change.
Founder and Director
Business Fights Poverty
Zahid has 20 years’ experience in business and international development, and is an expert in developing platforms that bring together the worlds of business and international development. Zahid is the Founder and Director of Business Fights Poverty, the world's largest community of professionals passionate about harnessing business for social impact. Business Fights Poverty connects practitioners to the latest knowledge and peer insights, and to a vibrant community of stakeholders in business, government and civil society - helping them deliver their innovations at scale. Its goal is to strengthen the ecosystem for businesses fighting poverty, so that it is more common for those developing profitable innovations with social impact to succeed at scale. Zahid is also the Founding Director of Business Action for Africa. He has worked in business and government, and has an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge. He lives in Spain with his wife and two daughters.