PRESENTERS + PANELISTS
We’re bringing world-class entrepreneurial talent to our Hudson Valley backyard to inspire, engage and provoke. Each brings to SVI Hudson Valley an extraordinary story, a brave journey, a fresh take.
Chief Storyteller / Triple Bottom Why
Marissa is a publicist, marketeer, and brand builder with a passion for championing new ideas and connecting people. Building on the work of Simon Sinek, Marissa's "Triple Bottom Why" philosophy brings her client's "why" into alignment with their organization and audience. Identifying "why" also highlights values, supporting the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. From Fortune 500 companies to Series B startups, Marissa's clients have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC World, Bloomberg, Fast Company, and Forbes, among others.
Marissa recently served as Vice President, PR & Marketing of MissionHUB, a network of Impact Hub coworking campuses and SOCAP Conference for impact investors. Previously, Marissa co-founded Green Spaces NY, acquired by MissionHUB, and Flockd, powering productivity and connectivity for innovation.
Marissa frequently speaks about marketing and PR, for startups and social innovators, via Investor's Circle, Skillshare, Parsons School of Design, and NYU Reynolds, among others. Marissa graduated from Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with degrees in public relations and marketing. She serves on the boards of Green Map, Zoological Lighting Institute, Ecodeo, Toilets for People, NYU Stern's Annual Conference of Social Entrepreneurs, and acts in independent film.
Executive Director / New Economy Coalition
Jonathan has spent over 30 years working to transform the power of business from a destructive force of accumulation into a healing force honoring the interconnectedness of all people and our earth. He co-founded Equal Exchange, Oké USA and Belmont-Watertown Local First. He has consulted with people and organizations all across the trade justice movement. He is the author of numerous articles and is a frequent speaker at colleges and events, is a board member of the Coffee Trust and an emeritus board member of Root Capital.
Jonathan is a lifelong vegetarian foodie and a huge fan of his local Watertown, MA library, where he lives with his partner Ora Grodsky, an organizational development consultant. He has two inspiring daughters.
Jonathan will also be a Case Study panelist.
Case Study Panelists
Bottom Line Business Services
Board Member / Re>Think Local
An award-winning certified business advisor, Myriam has over 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur. She currently helps entrepreneurs find peace of mind by providing constructive and creative feedback to help them make knowledge-based day-to-day business decisions and increase their bottom line, while keeping an eye on the broader long-term goals.
She is passionate about using her creativity in helping a business grow, whether it is reviewing a profit and loss statement to help with cash flow issues, discussing marketing and pricing strategies to increase revenues, or reviewing organizational charts to improve workflow. Myriam has helped thousands of entrepreneurs do feasibility analyses, often leading to successful endeavors and at other times, the numbers exposing the hurdles of starting or expanding a business. She has an MBA from Syracuse University.
President/CEO / New in Town
With a degree in Economics from Cornell University, a Masters in Brand Management from the University of Georgia and 20+ years in client service at the helm of New In Town, Inc., Melissa is a creative and innovative leader in the fields of business development, grassroots visioning, idea innovation, strategic marketing and collaboration. She is a partner in Dance Xross Fitness, an emerging community-based fitness company and the creator of a start-up retreat + tourism enterprise called Inner Woodstock. Most recently, she is working on an interactive game show concept around local crowdfunding.
Along with her workshops on marketing, collaboration and localism, Melissa has been a featured speaker at the Re>Think Local Wellness Conference at the Omega Institute, the National SHAPE America Convention, the ECA Worldfitness OBOW Conference and the Etsy Impact Workshop Series. A master networker and community advocate, Melissa is active in the Hudson Valley, NY, where she serves several organizations around sustainability, fitness and wellness, localism and women’s networking. She is also a nationally ranked snowboarder.
Executive Director / New Economy Coalition
See bio above under True Confessions.
President & Founder / Field Goods
Field Goods is a subscription food delivery service that brings locally farmed fresh fruits and vegetables to individuals at their workplace and community pick-up locations. Donna founded Field Goods in 2011, and in just 4 years the company has grown dramatically, delivering produce to over 7,000 customers at more than 500 locations throughout the Hudson Valley as well as Westchester and Fairfield, CT counties.
Donna has worked in start-up food, Internet, consumer health and publishing companies and has experience in marketing, management, sales and business development, financing and accounting. She began her career as an investment banker at Bankers Trust Company and later joined Times Mirror as Vice President of Business Development for Mosby, the medical publishing company. After leaving Times Mirror, she worked with former Mosby senior executives to start 3V, now StayWell, one of the country’s largest consumer health information and services companies. In the late 1990s, Donna was SVP of Marketing & Business Development at Bigstar.com, an e-commerce company.
In 2005, Donna joined Sahale Snacks, a Seattle-based start-up natural food manufacturing company, as VP of Business Development. She was a key senior team member responsible for growing revenue from under $1 million in 2005 to double-digits by 2008. She was also integrally involved in securing venture capital funding in 2008. The company was sold to the J.M. Smuckers Company in 2014.
She earned her MBA from Columbia Business School and BA in Economics from Mount Holyoke College.
Donna was a Case Study presenter at the inaugural SVI Hudson Valley in 2014.
Founder/CEO / On Belay Business Advisors
Co-founder + Board Member / Re>Think Local
Co-producer / SVI Hudson Valley
Ajax is a well-known and respected serial social entrepreneur/CSR evangelist/ trusted generalist business advisor/global connector of confidential business transactions. He has turned his abundant creativity, talent and positive energy to building organizations and a community that expresses a deep commitment to being conscious of the triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity.
Ajax has deep experience leading and advising organizations in a wide variety of industries, from fitness to pharma, retail to manufacturing, clean tech to e-commerce. Some highlights: doubling one company’s gross revenue while more than doubling profits, personally generating 70% of a startup manufacturer’s revenue, award-winning marketing programs, building highly regarded world-class teams and industry-changing strategic thinking.
Ajax is an accredited associate of The Institute for Independent Business and a longtime member of the Social Venture Network. As a former world-class rock climber and adventure athlete he understands commitment, drive and vision.
Founder / Terra Nova Facilitation And Consulting
President / SageArts
Colette is a seasoned Leadership Development specialist with 20 years experience in leading workshops for global corporations such as McKinsey, WPP, J&J as well as smaller organizations such as The Robin Hood Foundation, BALLE, New Island Capital and Earthjustice. Her organizational consulting and coaching firm, Terra Nova, provides consulting services, leadership development and coaching to social entrepreneurs to support them in building their leadership and aligning their people behind their mission. She has a MBA from NYU, is a Gestalt Psychotherapist and is a Certified Integral Coach. In 2014 Colette launched a local nonprofit arts organization called SageArts, which gives elders an artistic platform to share their life wisdom with the community.
Yoga + Meditation Instructor / Resonant Heart Yoga
A yogi, seeker, movement-junkie and devout student of the mind-body connection, Amy is a New York-based instructor known for her expressive and authentic approach to the art of awareness. With extensive training in both the Integral and Anusara methods of hatha yoga, Amy offers her skills to a diverse range of students in a variety of settings: NYC Public Schools, NYU and Fordham, New York Foundling Community Services, Spuytin Duyvil Preschool, corporate events, public parks, yoga studios and private homes.
She’s a staff member of the Lineage Project, which brings mindfulness-based practices to vulnerable youth throughout NYC. Amy also leads regular “homemade” yoga retreats in the Hudson Valley and a series of workshops called Visioning for Change (with her partner Scott Tillitt), a unique, profound way to map your future by combining awareness-based practices and community building with strategic visioning exercises.
She is also a singer-songwriter and will be performing around the bonfire Saturday evening. (See music bio below.)
Founder / Antidote Collective + BEAHIVE
Co-founder + Board Chair / Re>Think Local
Co-producer / SVI Hudson Valley
Equal parts strategist, publicist, marketer, social entrepreneur, nonprofit leader, and writer, Scott has 20 years of experience and a broad perspective promoting ideas, products and services in various culture-shaping (and sometimes suffocating) worlds — advertising, media, interactive design, photography, technology, television and fashion.
Some years ago, catalyzed by 9/11 and an ongoing process of spiritual and social awakening, he broke the trance of an increasingly cynical consumer culture and started applying his corporate-honed skills to social impact. He has an insatiable interest in transforming failed systems, in big ideas and the behaviors that drive people, what resonates with them, and how to engage them.
In his new incarnation, he's worked with innovative nonprofits, foundations, citizen groups, social entrepreneurs and thinkers at the intersection of progressive issues, media, arts and culture, socially responsible business and big ideas. These have included media for the Dalai Lama and publicity for Phil Donahue’s anti-war film Body of War, PR for healthcare "whistleblower" Wendell Potter and groups like Rainforest Action Network, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and Bard Center for Environmental Policy, branding for Rippel Foundation, strategic communications for the Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation, and creative naming development for American Express and global visual rebranding support for Coca-Cola with Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide's famed design and innovation division Brand Integration Group (BIG). He's helped clients on both US coasts and places in between, in Europe, and down under in Australia.
Scott is the co-founder and board chair of Re>Think Local and founder of the social venture BEAHIVE, collaborative spaces for work and community inspired by the coworking and Localism movements. He was the lead producer of TEDxLongDock in June 2013, a day-long event of stimulating and inspiring talks exploring the intersection of the creative economy and entrepreneurship and their impact on community vibrancy and economic development in the Hudson Valley.
Glen proudly brings his deep musical, energetic and artistic connection with all things social and visionary to SVI Hudson Valley. He is an award-winning singer-songwriter, a beloved Posi (positive music) Artist, a versatile performer in many musical styles (on vocals, harmonies, bass, percussion, guitar, keyboards and ukulele), and an accompanist to numerous talented vocalists. In an effort to nurture and inspire social change, he performed in concert more than once with A Few Good Men — a jazz ensemble comprised of three formerly-incarcerated men from Sing-Sing prison with another special guest, the director of Deutsche Bank New York on drums.
Outside of social-change-related events, Glen brings his creative curricula and legendary sing-alongs to SummerSongs, entertains at conferences, parties and retreats, and venues and house concerts across the US.
Contemporary folk chanteuse Amy Soucy writes evocative songs exploring the kaleidoscope of human experience (dreams, longing, human folly, forgiveness and healing) and sings them in a voice that's been called "powerful," "comforting," and "angelic." Her debut album This River, co-produced with guitarist Stephen Murphy, has been grabbing listeners on Folk and Americana radio, landing among the top Folk albums of 2015 on both the International Folk DJ Chart and Roots Music Report (the #1 independent music chart in the world).
Amy’s lifetime of colorful singing experiences (musicals, jazz, opera) include collaborations with an array of artists like powerhouse singer-songwriters Penny Nichols and Sloan Wainwright, Japanese gypsy-folk band Kagero, Broadway leading man Tom Wopat, and Comedy Central artist Stephen Lynch. After 20 years in NYC's creative cauldron, Amy relocated last summer to folk music Mecca, Beacon, NY.
She's also a yoga and meditation instructor and is leading movement and mindfulness Saturday and Sunday mornings. (See yoga bio above.)