Click on a year to jump to the list of TWIG speakers and presentations:
January: Allie Omens, Construction and Demolition Reuse and Recycling Associate with Metro Nashville Public Works
Allie Omens presented on construction and demolition (C&D) waste reduction activities in Metropolitan Nashville, including the reuse and recycling platform, Tennessee Materials Marketplace (an online platform for businesses and organizations that want to reduce their waste in Tennessee). Allie's background is in waste reduction/circular economy systems and public policy.
February: Gina Latendresse, American Pearl Company Inc.
Gina Latendressee from American Pearl Company discussed the history of pearls and her forty-five years of experience in the pearl industry, both for cultured and natural pearls. Gina studied at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and completed her Graduate Gemologist and Graduate Jeweler certifications. In 1991, she was appointed President of American Pearl Company, Inc.
March: Holly Baird, Milepost Consulting, SPC
Holly Meadows Baird, a sustainability and engagement strategist at Milepost SPC, shared three bright spots from her 2020 experience. Her story included the challenge and opportunity of personal resiliency while daring to lead, overcoming disruption through professional determination and a newly minted rapid strategic planning process, and finally crafting a crystal-clear focus on sustainable outcomes achieved through behavior change and Community-Based Social Marketing.
April: Dorie Bolze, Harpeth Conservancy
Dorie Bolze has served for 20 years as the first Executive Director and has been the President and CEO of the Harpeth Conservancy since 2017. She has over 30 years of work experience in the field of conservation policy and biology related to water quality, river restoration, sustainable development, wildlife conservation, energy efficiency, marine fisheries, protected area management, and international wildlife trade. She will share her experience working with the Harpeth Conservancy and how to successfully advocate in Tennessee.
May: Laura Zapata, Clearloop Corporation
Laura Zapata is a co-founder of Clearloop Corporation, a Nashville-based startup that helps companies reclaim their carbon footprint and expand access to clean energy in the United States by building solar projects that clean up the grid. Laura immigrated from Colombia with her family and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. Laura graduated from Dartmouth College and is now working to help companies of all sizes take tangible climate action and ensure that the environmental, health, and economic benefits of new solar projects reach American communities otherwise getting left-behind.
June: Mary DuBose, CAESER
Mary DuBose has worked at CAESER (Center for Applied Earth Science and Engineering Research) at the University of Memphis for eight years and is currently the Associate Director of Geographic Analysis. Through her role at CAESER, Mary gets the opportunity to advocate for geographic analysis as an important way to address environmental and societal issues. Her talk covered the importance of geographic and environmental education in helping to create a community of informed and engaged citizens. She discussed educating K-12 students as well as adults in the Memphis area on where their water comes from and how it's supplied to them, with the goal of ensuring aquifer sustainability for future generations.
July: Alanna McKissack, Executive Director, Keep Knoxville Beautiful
Alanna has been the Executive Director of Keep Knoxville Beautiful, the local Keep America Beautiful affiliate for Knox County, since 2018. She is constantly seeking ways to combine both her passions of community engagement and environmentalism. Originally from Georgia, Alanna moved to Knoxville in 2011 to attend The University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.Her talk covered how litter prevention, waste reduction, and beautification can be used as a community improvement mechanism.
Link to Alanna's TWIG presentation
August: Ashley Brailsford, Our Joyful Learning Community
Ashley is a long-time educator and nature enthusiast who launched Our Joyful Learning Community to help nature-connected organizations transform their programs to be more culturally relevant and inclusive by honoring culture, exploring well-being, and inspiring joy. She spoke about black adventuring in nature and how nature-connected organizations often have a difficult time engaging culturally and racially diverse people in their programs. Her presentation discussed strategies and tools for creating culturally relevant nature education programs.
September: Heather Lose, Tennessee Conservationist Magazine
Heather Lose is the editor-in-chief of The Tennessee Conservationist magazine and the art director for Tennessee State Parks, where she uses her skills to not only advocate for a greener world, but to create it. Heather discussed how she redesigned an almost 85-year-old publication into the most environmentally friendly magazine possible, how one company is manufacturing beautiful 100% post-consumer recycled paper with help from a landfill, and how UV light can actually be beneficial in the print world.
October: Ana Schwager, Southwest Airlines
Ana Schwager serves as Community Outreach Lead for Southwest Airlines, where she is responsible for strategic outreach to national, state and local nonprofit and business organizations that positively impact communities served by Southwest Airlines. Ana shared her Southwest story, insight into the Company Culture and Southwest’s Repurpose with Purpose program, a global sustainability initiative that upcycles items such as leather seat coverings and transforms them into new products.