3rd Annual Design for Freedom Summit
Tuesday, March 26, 2024 | 10 am – 6 pm
registration opens at 9 am
Join us for the 3rd annual Design for Freedom Summit — a momentous day of action and awareness. Hear from leading experts across sectors who are working to eradicate forced and child labor from the built environment.
Since holding the first annual summit in 2021, Grace Farms has welcomed more than 800 attendees representing industry professionals and university students united in the fight against forced labor in the building materials supply chain.
panels • roundtables • tours
jazz breakfast • cocktail reception
Sharon Prince, CEO & FounderWe are not just in agreement that forced labor in the building materials supply chain is unethical and immoral. We are in agreement that now is the time for action and true market transformation to design and build more humanely.
Registration and Breakfast
Jazz with Marcus G. Miller & The Hummingbirds
Sharon Prince, CEO & Founder, Grace Farms
Featured Speaker | Lisa Kristine
Humanitarian Photographer & Activist; Founder of Human Thread Foundation
- Fiona Cousins, Director, Americas Chair, Arup
- John Schultz, EVP & Chief Operating and Legal Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- Hind Wildman, Director of Communications and Development, Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture
- Moderated by Sharon Prince, CEO & Founder, Grace Farms
Realizing the Just Transition
- Leonardo Bonanni, CEO & Founder, Sourcemap
- Tim Conway, VP Sustainability, Shaw Industries
- Renata Parras, ESG Counsel, Paul Hastings
- Moderated by Nora Rizzo, Ethical Materials Director, Grace Farms
Grace Farms Foods
Adam Thatcher, CEO & Co-Founder
Lunch, Architectural Tours, and Nature Walk
- Kimberly Kelly, Director of Horticulture, Grace Farms
- Toshihiro Oki, Architecture Advisor, Grace Farms
Breakout Sessions | Roundtables, Conversations, and Presentations
Inside Out | Navigating Interior Sourcing in Pilot Projects
- Jane Abernethy, CSO, Humanscale
- Chloe Bendistis, Assistant Director Sustainability Practice, The Sheward Partnership
- Tim Conway, VP Sustainability, Shaw Industries
- Jessica Murray, Interior Designer, Cushing Terrell
Insights from the Harriet Tubman Monument Pilot Project
- Nina Cooke John, Principal, Studio Cooke John
- Edward Bartholomew, Principal, Bartholomew Lighting
- Jamie Devenger, Chief Innovation Officer, Q-Tran
- Sarah Billington, Chair and UPS Foundation Professor
of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford
- Dr. Michael Crosbie, Critic and Professor of Architecture, University of Hartford
- Patricia Saldaña Natke, Founding Partner, UrbanWorks; Adjunct Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture; Teaching Assistant Professor at UIUC School of Architecture.
- James Slade, Founding Partner, Slade Architecture; Visiting Professor, School of Architecture, Pratt Institute
- Kathy Taylor, Dean of Collins College of Business, The University of Tulsa
Meet the Material Experts
- Annie Bevan, CEO, mindful MATERIALS
- Luke Johnson, Sustainability Specialist, Nucor
- James Kitchin, Director of Engineering and Performance & Provenance, MASS Design Group
- Amy Musanti, Director of Sustainable Building Solutions,
- Fernanda Pedroso, CMO, Polycor
- Jonsara Ruth, Co-Founder & Design Director, Healthy Materials Lab
Supply Chain Mapping Technology
- Leonardo Bonanni, Founder and CEO, Sourcemap
- Jared Gilbert, Associate Partner, COOKFOX
- Shawn MacDonald, CEO, Verité
- Raphael Sperry, Associate Principal, Arup
Adapting for Climate Futures
- Ina Dajci, Ph.D. Student, Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture
- Dr. Christine J. Kirchhoff, Associate Professor, Penn State
- Dr. Timon McPhearson, Professor of Urban Ecology and Director of the Urban Systems Lab, The New School
- Annabel Short, Founder, It’s Material
From Proposal to Practice | Navigating to ‘Yes’
- Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner, BIG
- Jennifer Downey, Director, ESG, Turner Construction
- Steven Garcia, Associate Principal, SHoP
- Leslie King, Attorney at Law, Construction, Carlton Fields
- Nat Oppenheimer, Senior Principal, TYLin | Silman Structural Solutions
- Ann Rolland, Partner, FXCollaborative
- Claire Weisz, Founding Principal, WXY architecture + urban design
- Moderated by Sharon Prince, CEO & Founder, Grace Farms
Pilot Project Announcements, With Every Fiber Exhibit
The Financial Case Against Forced Labor
- Preeti Bhattacharji, Head of Sustainable Investing, JP Morgan Chase
- Maha Khan, Financial Sector Lead, Financing Against Slavery & Trafficking, United Nations University
- Dave Wildman, Global Head Facilities, Sustainability Ops, and MEP Infrastructure, Bloomberg
- Moderated by Karen Kariuki, Senior Program Officer, Grace Farms
Featured Speaker | Nasreen Sheikh
Modern Slavery Survivor, Visionary Leader, Author, Founder of the Empowerment Collective Foundation
Sharon Prince is the CEO and Founder of Grace Farms Foundation. Prince commissioned Pritzker Prize-winning SANAA architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa to design Grace Farms, which has become widely known as a global humanitarian and cultural center located in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Foundation’s interdisciplinary humanitarian mission is to pursue peace through nature, arts, justice, community, faith, and Design for Freedom, a new movement to eliminate forced labor from the building materials supply chain.
Since opening, Grace Farms has garnered numerous prestigious awards for contributions to architecture, environmental sustainability, and social good, including the AIA National 2017 Architecture Honor Award and the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize.
For her work launching Design for Freedom, Prince was recognized by Fast Company as one of the Most Creative People in Business 2022 for “cleaning up construction” and the AIA NY and Center for Architecture recognized her with the NYC Visionary Award.
As Humanscale’s Sustainability Officer, Jane guides the strategic vision and ambitious goal of having a Net Positive impact. Jane implements this vision by guiding the product development effort to create the most sustainable products possible; and by working with the manufacturing facilities to instill sustainability as fundamental way of operating.
Humanscale has been recognized as the first manufacturer to achieve the complete Living Product Challenge, is a founding member of the Net Positive Project, a founding member of the NextWave initiative and a collaborator helping to develop the Design for Freedom toolkit. Jane is on the board of directors for the mindful Materials, and Vice Chair of BIFMA’s Sustainability Committee.
Edward Bartholomew is the principal of Bartholomew Lighting, a Black-owned design consultancy based in Cambridge, MA. He has more than thirty years of experience designing sustainable, inspiring, and award-winning architectural lighting systems. His extensive project list includes memorials, corporate headquarters, parks, and non-profit facilities.
Edward is an invited speaker on lighting technology, energy efficiency strategies, and social justice at regional, national, and international conferences. In addition, Edward co-teaches lighting design to architecture students at Rhode Island School of Design.
Edward has an MFA in Architectural Lighting Design (1995) from Parsons School of Design. He is a professional member of the International Association of Lighting Designers and is a LEED Accredited Professional. Edward serves on the IES Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Respect (DIER) committee. In addition, Edward is a founding member of Black United In Lighting & Design (BUILDup) and LightJustice.org -a lighting social justice resource & forum that advocates for lighting equity.
Chloe Bendistis, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is a licensed architect with over 15 years of experience working closely with architects, owners, and contractors providing sustainable design consulting services. Chloe is currently the Assistant Director of the Sustainability Practice at The Sheward Partnership, LLC, an architecture and sustainability consulting firm located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Beyond LEED, Chloe assists clients with various sustainable design recognition programs, including WELL, Fitwel, ENERGY STAR, BIFMA Level, Design for Freedom, and the Living Building Challenge.
Kai-Uwe Bergmann is a Partner globally at BIG, bringing his expertise to proposals around the world, including work in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Working out of the New York office, Kai-Uwe coordinates with BIG’s five international offices, helping lead work in over 40 different countries. Licensed as an architect in the U.S. (sixteen states) and Canada (one province), Kai-Uwe most recently contributed to the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (the BIG U), a resiliency plan that will protect 10 miles of Manhattan’s coastline. Additionally, his work expands to the exhibition and publication of BIG’s literary portfolio by way of Hot to Cold, Yes Is More, Formgiving, and the newest Culture book. He complements his professional work through teaching assignments at Pratt Institute and Georgia Tech. Kai-Uwe is also an AIA Fellow and past board member of the Van Alen Institute, and participates on numerous international juries and in lectures globally on the works of BIG.
Annie Bevan is a sustainability collaborator, facilitator, and visionary. Annie doesn’t just want to talk about sustainable impact, she wants to facilitate action to create large scale change, using sustainability as a strategic business enabler. She does this in her role as CEO of mindful MATERIALS.
mindful MATERIAL’s mission is to reverse the embodied impacts of the built environment by driving the use of regenerative and restorative building products that meet an industry-aligned framework for health, sustainability, and resilience.
mindful MATERIALS furthers its mission through a global cross-sector collaboration hub which has developed the Common Materials Framework, which is digitized through its Portal and connected to industry tools, resources, education, and advocacy for the greater benefit of all.
Preeti is the current Head of Sustainable Investing for JP Morgan’s US Private Bank. She has a decade of experience stewarding sustainable investments, and works with clients and advisors to incorporate sustainability in their portfolios. She served as an assistant director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing and a research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations.
Preeti has also completed projects for ImpactAssets, Center4, the NYC Department of Small Business Services, and the Rachel Maddow Show.
Sarah Billington is Chair and UPS Foundation Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford. Professor Billington received her B.S.E. in Civil Engineering & Operations Research with high honors from Princeton University in 1990. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study civil engineering at the ETH-Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in 1991. She received her M.S. (1994) and Ph.D (1997) in structural engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Billington was Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University from 1997-2002. She joined the Faculty at Stanford University in 2003.
She has twice been a visiting professor in the Computational Mechanics group in Civil Engineering at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, first in 1998 and most recently for the 2008-2009 academic year.. Billington received her B.S.E. in Civil Engineering & Operations Research with high honors from Princeton University in 1990. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study civil engineering at the ETH-Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in 1991.
She received her M.S. (1994) and Ph.D (1997) in structural engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Billington was Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University from 1997-2002. She joined the Faculty at Stanford University in 2003. She has twice been a visiting professor in the Computational Mechanics group in Civil Engineering at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, first in 1998 and most recently for the 2008-2009 academic year.
Leonardo Bonanni is the founder and CEO of Sourcemap, the leading provider of software for supply chain mapping, traceability and transparency. Sourcemap is used by major manufacturers and brands to trace products back to the raw material origins and ensure that social, environmental and operational standards are in place every step of the way. Leo is an advocate for supply chain transparency, he has testified to the US Senate Finance Committee on traceability technology to prevent forced labor and has been named among the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics by Ethisphere. He is a frequent lecturer on supply chain transparency, has taught sustainable product design at MIT and Columbia, and holds a PhD and Masters from MIT.
As Vice President of Sustainability at Shaw Industries, Tim Conway has changed the company’s attitude toward sustainability- namely that this goal is a collective responsibility.
Tim is focused on the positive effects that sustainable flooring products have on our buildings, and more importantly, the people that occupy and live in the spaces we design.
Tim has worked closely with sustainability leaders within the industry and team at Shaw to reengineer products and supply chains, driving the sustainability movement forward- both for the brand and the industry. For
over 10 years, Tim has been at the forefront of educating and promoting Shaw’s Cradle to Cradle certifications, Declare Labels, HPDs, and EPDs.
His significant product contributions include spearheading the company’s
reclamation program, introducing Biobased resilient flooring, eliminating coal fly ash, among others.
Fiona Cousins is Arup’s Americas Region Chair, an Arup Fellow, and a member of the Arup Group Board. Before becoming Americas Chair she served as the Deputy Chair of the Digital Executive and the Automation Leader for the firm. She is a mechanical engineer by profession and has worked on a wide range of award-winning projects including the US Embassy in London and Fulton Street Station in New York. She also practices as a sustainability consultant to establish clear and decisive direction for sustainable and resilient outcomes. Under Fiona’s leadership the Americas will focus on delivering Arup’s vision of a more sustainable and equitable built environment and providing client-centered services.
In 2019, she was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson to the New York City Advisory Board for Local Law 97. She is a Fellow of CIBSE and a LEED Fellow. She was honored with AIA NY’s Award of Merit in 2017. She was the chair of USGBC in 2016 and is currently a Vice President of CIBSE.
Michael J. Crosbie, PhD, FAIA, has made significant contributions in the fields of architectural journalism, research, teaching, and practice.
Having served as an editor at Architecture: The AIA Journal, Progressive Architecture, ArchitectureWeek.com, and is editor-in-chief of Faith & Form, a quarterly journal on religious art and architecture, he is also a frequent contributor to Architectural Record and writes about architecture and design for the Hartford Courant.
While he has appeared as an architectural expert on The History Channel, he is also the author of more than 20 books on architecture (including five books for children) and has edited and contributed to more than 20 others. Crosbie’s work is also frequently featured on CommonEdge.
Additionally, he has served as an adjunct professor at Roger Williams University and Catholic University and has lectured and served as a visiting critic at architecture schools in North America and abroad, including the University of California (Berkeley), the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and the Moscow Architectural Institute.
Crosbie is a registered architect in the State of Connecticut and has practiced with Centerbrook Architects & Planners and Steven Winter Associates.
Ina Dajci is a Ph.D. student at Yale CEA, where her research revolves around the future of architectural design culture using transdisciplinary approaches that prioritize enhancing biodiversity and devising innovative systems for integrating living behaviors into design criteria. She earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture from The City College of New York, CUNY, with a minor in Art History. During her academic journey, Ina developed a keen interest in interdisciplinary research and a strong commitment to humanitarian causes. Ina has actively engaged in numerous research projects at the intersection of Art and Architecture, one of which is “The Architecture of Displacement.” In this project, she conducts in-depth research alongside Afghan refugees to investigate and address unsustainable housing practices for displaced individuals. Her primary focus lies in addressing climate change and recognizing it as the most critical design problem of our time. Her overarching goal is to confront substantial challenges within the built environment by placing social and environmental justice at the forefront. Ina advocates for an architecture that enriches all aspects of life, extending its impact beyond humans to encompass the diverse range of species, ecosystems, and genes on Earth. In her research endeavors, Ina strives to contribute to the development of novel approaches to design with ecological awareness, countering the detrimental effects of non-renewable energy sources, unethical consumerism, and unsustainable agricultural practices that have exploited emerging economies, leading to humanitarian crises such as food insecurity, mass displacement, human rights violations, and climate change.
Jamie is a lighting professional with 13+ years’ experience, including lighting design, sales, product development, and manufacturing.
She found lighting design as a profession during her time at The Pennsylvania State University from which she holds both a Bachelor’s and Master of Architectural Engineering.
After a summer internship with Fisher Marantz Stone in New York City, she returned full time upon graduation. During her nearly nine years with the firm, she designed and managed projects across a comprehensive portfolio of market sectors, including commercial, museum, hospitality, historical, residential, retail, and themed environment.
She transitioned to the manufacturing side of the industry in 2019 when she joined Reggiani USA, where she oversaw the operation of sales and marketing in North America.
Jamie joined Q-Tran in 2021 as a Regional Sales Manager for the northeast market. She was promoted to Chief Innovation Officer in 2024. Her deep understanding of the market and expertise in lighting design and performance are crucial to continuing Q-Tran’s legacy of groundbreaking product innovations.
Jamie’s expertise and creativity have earned her industry-wide recognition, including being named one of the recipients of the 40 Under 40 Lighting Awards in 2021.
She is LC certified and also a LEED AP BD+C, focusing on sustainability in all endeavors.
Jamie currently resides in Hoboken, NJ, where she enjoys lots of walks with her tow year old twin boys and mini Australian shepherd.
As director of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) at Turner Construction company, Jennifer brings her background in architecture and passion for innovation, to the purpose of advancing the industry with a focus on people and the planet. After beginning her career in architectural practice in Virginia and New York, Jennifer shifted her focus to advancing virtual design and construction and innovation in the construction industry. In her current role in ESG, Jennifer leads efforts to define, measure, and deliver a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future for our people, clients, partners and their workers, and the environment.
Jared is Associate Partner and Director of Communications and manages the studio’s external relations, marketing, and business development activities. His research, writing and speaking interests are at the intersections of sustainability, architecture and urbanism, and spirituality and social justice. His writing for COOKFOX includes “The Fifth Façade: Designing Nature in the City” and “Toward the Future City: An Ethical Design Philosophy for Urban Habitats.”
His recent speaking engagement included sessions at Greenbuild and at NESEA’s BuildingEnergy conferences on the topics of social equity, supply chains transparency and architectural practice. Jared currently serves on the Design for Freedom Working Group on behalf of COOKFOX.
Nina Cooke John’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Dwell, NBC’s Open House, the Center for Architecture’s 2018 exhibition, Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture and PBS NewsHour Weekend.
Born in Jamaica, Nina has always been inspired by the creativity she witnessed in her homeland: the art of people transforming everyday hardships and limitations into innovative solutions through multiple spheres of life. She imbues the spirit of transformation and innovation into every design project, from the structure of a home’s interior to the streetscape of a city block.
Nina began her professional career designing houses in Connecticut, Arizona and Virginia with the architecture firm Voorsanger and Associates. She went on to work on large cultural institutional projects like the New York Botanical Gardens master plan, the Clinton Library and the Biltmore Theater at Polshek Partnership (now Ennead).
Karen has spent the last twenty years building a career in the philanthropic, not-for-profit, and private sectors – leading innovative solutions at the crossroads of the respective fields. Her broad-based experience and deep expertise have given her a passion for creating social impact, driving change, and delivering results.
Prior to becoming Grace Farms Foundation’s first West-Coast based Senior Program Officer to expand awareness about Grace Farms Foundation’s work and Design for Freedom, a new movement to eliminate forced labor in the building materials supply chain, Karen was the Foundation’s Community Initiative Director, leading the Foundation’s focused work fostering inclusive communities with a focus on gender and racial equality and food equity.
Maha is Financial Sector Lead with the Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) initiative, a project based at United Nations University Centre for Policy Research. Hailing from Pakistan, Maha has over 15 years of experience spearheading and managing multi-million-dollar research and strategic operations programs in 15 countries across Asia, Africa and the US, focusing on sustainable finance and technology for good.
Prior to joining UNU-CPR, Maha led the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) at Accion FinTech data initiatives that bridge the information gap between financial service providers, investors, and donors.
Leslie practices all aspects of construction law. Her clients include residential and commercial owners, contractors, and she has extensive experience representing design professionals, including architects, engineers, landscape architects, and interior designers. She has handled numerous mediations, arbitrations, and litigation matters in state, federal, and tribal court, as well as many significant appeals.
Notably, Leslie was named the 2020 Connecticut Law Tribune “Attorney of the Year” for her victory on behalf of the city of Hartford in a significant, contentious, and complex jury trial that lasted more than four weeks. She served as lead attorney for Hartford for all disputes arising out of the construction of a minor league baseball stadium, including the termination of the developer and contractor. She also negotiated a takeover agreement with the surety, requiring completion of the stadium with a new contractor. In July 2019, Leslie won the high-profile jury verdict in which the fired developer and contractor sought $90 million in damages for an alleged wrongful termination. Not only did the jury find no wrongful termination, but it also awarded damages to Hartford. Leslie also was successful in post-verdict motions concerning the development of parcels surrounding the ballpark, enabling Hartford to move forward with a new developer. Leslie continues to represent the city of Hartford in the appeal arising out of the baseball park litigation.
Leslie regularly presents at the American Institute of Architects Connecticut chapter on legal issues affecting design professionals, and she has lectured at the Yale School of Architecture’s professional practices seminar. She previously served as a member of the board of trustees of Preservation Connecticut, which is dedicated to preserving the state’s historic architecture and neighborhoods. Leslie also is a member of the Grace Farms Foundation Architecture and Construction Working Group, which is working to raise awareness of forced labor in construction supply chains around the world.
Dr. Christine J. Kirchhoff, an Associate Professor with the School of Engineering Design and Innovation at Penn State. Dr. Kirchhoff has expertise in climate science for decision making, for a conversation exploring climate futures, nature-based solutions, and the power of place to inspire climate-positive action.
James has a background in structural and civil engineering and deep expertise in designing with healthy, natural, and non-conventional materials. He has also led research and policy change around building materials and embodied carbon. James strives to minimise the footprint of the built environment through intimate knowledge of place and process, and to maximise the maker’s handprint through collaboration. As lead of the Performance & Provenance department at MASS, he is committed to imagining, advocating and implementing regenerative practices.
Lisa Kristine is an International humanitarian photographer specializing in indigenous peoples and social causes. Through her work, Lisa wishes to encourage a dialogue about the beauty, diversity and hardship of our inter-locking world. The more meaning born in the images, the deeper that dialogue may be. Lisa Kristine aims to enhance her viewer’s awareness and engage them in a visual journey that is also a questioning of our existence. She wants to welcome them into the exploration of our mysterious existence with a spirit of importance, astonishment and hope.
For more than thirty years, Lisa Kristine has explored the globe, looking for the peoples, cultures and places that time forgot, creating indelible and unforgettable images. She brings the distant and the ancient and the rare into clearer focus. Best known for her evocative and saturated use of color, her fine art prints are among the most sought after and collected in her field.
Shawn is CEO of Verité and previously led Verité’s research, program, and policy work. Verite promotes workers’ rights in global supply chains through research, consulting, and policy advocacy. He has spent more than 25 years advocating for effective labor policies through civil society advocacy. He has worked for a variety of civil society organizations in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe and has broad international and domestic experience in labor rights, corporate social responsibility, and social entrepreneurship.
Dr. Timon McPhearson is Professor of Urban Ecology at the New School, Founder and Director of the Urban Systems Lab, and research faculty at the Tishman Environment and Design Center. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a Contributing Author to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES), and a member of the World Economic Forum Global Commission on BiodiverCities.
In 2019 he was awarded the Sustainability Science Award and the Innovation in Sustainability Science Award by the Ecological Society of America and again awarded the Sustainability Science Award in 2023. In 2020 he was named an NYC Climate Hero by the NYC Dept. of Transportation and Human Impacts Institute and appointed by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to the NYC Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) in 2020. In 2020, McPhearson was awarded the 2022 Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity as a member of the IPCC and IPBES.
His research takes an interdisciplinary systems approach to advancing urban climate change adaptation, environmental justice, and resilience. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed journal articles in top scientific and interdisciplinary planning journals.
He is founding Associate Editor of Nature’s npj Urban Sustainability journal, Associate Editor of Ecology and Society, and on the editorial board of Nature-based Solutions, Urban Transformations, BioScience and other journals and book series. His work is widely covered in the press including in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, and New York Times Magazine, among others. He has testified before the European Commission and serves as advisor to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, UNDP, UN HABITAT as well as IUCN and ICLEI urban sustainability initiatives.
Marcus G. Miller is the first Music Director for the Foundation. He began studying saxophone at age nine and developed a passion that put him on stage at 13. With gifts extending beyond music, he graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Mathematics. After a short stint at a major hedge fund he moved to New York City to pursue music. He soon developed a reputation as a versatile and virtuosic player, while studying music production and engineering under Grammy-Winning Engineer “Bassy” Bob Brockman (Notorious B.I.G, Herbie Hancock, D’Angelo).
Marcus has performed at the Obama White House, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In addition, he has worked with jazz giants ELEW and Jazzmeia Horn, as well as major artists like Jon Batiste, The Fugees and Madonna.
Marcus maintains his interest in mathematics and physics by giving talks that highlight the relationship between math and music. He has been featured at two TED talks at The National Museum of Mathematics, and was invited to be the inaugural artist in residence with the Brown University Physics Department in 2022.
Jessica Murray (IIDA, NCIDQ), is an interior designer with Cushing Terrell. Alongside her design colleagues — Jill Lee (IIDA, NCIDQ, WELL AP, LFA), Jessica Earp (IIDA, NCIDQ, RID, LEED Green Associate, LFA), and Elna Albano (IIDA, NCIDQ, LFA) — they lead the firm’s Social Environmental Interior Designers (SEID) group for the firm. Their mission is to reduce the environmental footprint of each project through a foundation of responsible, environmentally sound, and socially aware design. The team focuses on specifying healthy materials, conserving resources, reflecting local identity, and promoting social equity.
Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, Jessica went on to spend five years living in Australia before settling in Kalispell, MT. Along her travels, she took a several year break from her design career to work with non-profit organizations with a primary focus on combating forms of exploitation and slavery of women & children in Southeast Asia. This played a huge role in informing her empathetic and human-focused design ethic over her 10+ year career.
After learning about Design for Freedom’s work, it immediately felt like an important partnership for the Cushing Terrell SEID team. After crafting an external outreach program to extend awareness of the issue to manufacturing partners, engaging in a pilot project was a logical next step.
Amy Musanti joined ASSA ABLOY in 2007 and currently serves as the Director of Sustainable Building Solutions where she supports the firm’s opportunities creating products and solutions that deliver energy efficiency for the commercial and institutional construction industry. She is a Certified Sustainability Manager and LEED Green Associate and is a member of the Connecticut Living Building Challenge Collaborative, the USGBC Connecticut chapter, and NYC Urban Green Council.
Patricia Saldaña Natke is Founding Partner of UrbanWorks and as President oversees design excellence for every project. Her extraordinary record of public service imbues the firm with a strong civic ethic.
A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, Pat has served as Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Facilitator at Archeworks, and as a Masters in Architecture Thesis Advisor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at the IIT College of Architecture and Teaching Assistant Professor at UIUC School of Architecture.
Prior to founding UrbanWorks, she worked in design positions for several award-winning Chicago architectural firms.
Among her professional accomplishments, Pat chaired the National AIA Diversity Committee for the American Institute of Architects. Pat was recently listed in in the “2014: 50 Chicago Designers” by New City, one of the five Emerging Designers by Crain’s Chicago in 2014, and in Crain’s 2020 and 2021 Notable Women in Construction. In 2018 Pat was elevated to the AIA’s College of Fellows in the Design Category. In 2022 she received the Arquitectos Society of Hispanic Architects Legacy Award.
Toshihiro Oki, an architect and active member of the Design for Freedom Working Group, develops and conducts programs and tours that offer unique insights into the architectural choices that informed the River building’s distinct look and award-winning design. As a member of the Working Group, he also provides an informed perspective to not only industry professionals but to the public at large on how buildings, homes, and landscapes can be designed and built with materials less at risk of forced labor.
He established his office in New York after working for several years at the Japanese architectural office of SANAA / Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa (Pritzker Prize 2010) to build the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City and the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion in Ohio. Since 2009, he has been working on his own independent projects. Oki is licensed to practice architecture in New York and has taught architecture studio at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Princeton University Graduate School of Architecture.
Architecture should raise the human imagination beyond the conventional everyday. This requires an unconventional process. The experience of bridging the cultural gap of international teams, clients and locations has led to the focus of thinking globally and acting locally. Every project has a unique set of conditions that requires both an open perspective and a focused process. In order to expand the possibilities, each project team is assembled from a trusted group of associates, engineers and builders based on the project’s specific needs. This creates a dynamic team structure that can efficiently focus on the design and finding its subsequent reality. Such flexible partnerships and conditions help lead to unanticipated paths of new thinking and possibilities
Nat Oppenheimer leads TYLin’s Buildings Sector and has extensive experience in the areas of new construction, renovation, and historic preservation. He is principal in charge for much of the firm’s institutional, private residential, and educational work. Nat is a board member of the Architectural League of New York. Since 2013, he has been an active participant of the Industry Advisory Group for the US Department of State Bureau of Overseas Building Operations. He is also part of the Grace Farms Design for Freedom initiative.
Renata Parras is Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Counsel at Paul Hastings and is based in the Firm’s New York office. She is responsible for managing, coordinating, and advancing the Firm’s ESG strategy, including global pro bono initiatives and other social impact initiatives. Her practice focuses on immigration, human rights and human trafficking law as well as supporting social enterprises and social impact initiatives throughout the world. Renata is also co-lead of the firm’s ESG Risk and Compliance and Business and Human Rights practices.
Prior to joining Paul Hastings, Ms. Parras was a Deputy Chief Counsel with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where she led teams of attorneys in immigration, human rights, and national security litigation. She also coordinated high-profile investigations and interfaced with international agencies on cross-border matters.
Fernanda, a seasoned international leader, brings over 15 years of expertise in the building materials industry. As Chief Marketing Officer at Polycor, a world-leading natural stone quarrier, she blends strategic acumen with compassionate leadership. Her career, spanning Brazil, the United States, and Canada, reflects a relentless commitment to leading teams, guiding strategic decisions, and excelling in customer-driven innovation.
Currently at the helm of Polycor, Fernanda oversees a corporation dedicated to maintaining a transparent chain of custody for all its natural stones. Under her leadership, Polycor not only maintains its industry leadership but also establishes new benchmarks for ethical and sustainable practices. Fernanda played a pivotal role in the deployment of the Natural Stone Sustainability Standard, and Polycor is on track to achieve Carbon Neutrality by the end of 2025.
Nora is the first Ethical Materials Director of Grace Farms Foundation, focusing on the Design for Freedom movement. She serves as Ethical Material Advisor on Design for Freedom Pilot Projects and led the development of the Design for Freedom Toolkit.
She previously spent over a decade as Director of Sustainability for Fusco Corporation and has dedicated more than 15 years to creating change in the built environment through her sustainability and social equity work. She is on the Board of Directors for mindful MATERIALS and the CT Green Building Council.
Jonsara Ruth is co-founder and Design Director of Healthy Materials Lab (HML) at Parsons School of Design, where she is an Associate Professor and Founding Director of the MFA Interior Design program. At HML, Jonsara co-leads a team of dedicated researchers transform design and material practices toward healthier, sustainable futures with the goal of improving the health of underserved communities. Drawing from over a decade of leading design teams in the furniture industry, Jonsara brings an understanding of manufacturing, supply chains, labor practices, and a penchant for democratic design to her roles at HML and Parsons.
Jonsara founded Salty Labs, a design collective, to experiment and implement designs that embody circularity with healthy, low-carbon materials and strategies, working closely with local artisans to create interiors, furniture, and experiences.
She is the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2022 Women in Architecture Innovation Award from Architectural Record with Alison Mears and, together, they co-edited the seminal publication “Material Health: Design Frontiers”, released in 2023. Jonsara serves as an advisor and expert in material health and design, including for the Sustainable Furnishings Council. She holds a Master of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.
Ann (Annie) Rolland, FAIA, LEED AP, is Partner at FXCollaborative, a New York City-based architecture, interiors, and planning design firm. Annie co-leads the firm’s Cultural and Educational practice, instrumental in its development from the practice’s inception. She is inquisitive and optimistic by nature. With a keen blend of analytical and organizational skills, Annie uncovers possibilities, unlocks potentials, and maximizes outcomes. Annie is a registered architect in New York and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Architecture degrees and is a member of the school’s National Council. An activist for what she believes in, Annie is a frequent speaker and active member of the design community. She serves on the advisory boards of several organizations including Non-Traditional Employment for Women (NEW), Grace Farms Foundation’s Design for Freedom Workgroup, and the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF).
Nasreen Sheikh is a survivor of Modern Slavery, and a visionary leader committed to ending modern slavery through survivor-led initiatives. Her profound journey interwoven with her roles as the founder of the Empowerment Collective Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending modern slavery, and Local Women’s Handicrafts (LWH), a women’s social business venture in Nepal. Her emphasis on a transparent global economic system, and supply chain transparency, corporate engagement, and modern slavery legislation, these are important steps toward ending modern slavery.
Nasreen’s life story embodies courage and hope, having emerged from the harrowing shadows of modern slavery. Her personal history illuminates the urgency to solve this complex issue, motivating her to take a transformative stand. Empowerment Collective, recognizing the power of survivors in leading the solution with a profound belief in their strength and resilience, Nasreen envisioned an organization that places survivors at the forefront of innovative solutions to this global crisis. Nasreen establishment of Local Women’s Handicrafts,The Social business venture provided a platform for marginalized women, fostering economic independence through traditional craftsmanship. Nasreen’s belief in the potential of women, coupled with her unwavering commitment to preserving cultural heritage, shaped LWH into a thriving safe space for women artisans.
Nasreen’s philosophy advocacy revolves around empowering survivors and individuals with lived experiences of modern slavery to take autonomous roles in leading solutions and spreading awareness. She firmly believes that their firsthand knowledge and resilience are indispensable in crafting effective strategies and initiating societal change.
Nasreen emphasizes community-centric approaches that prioritize the voices and leadership of survivors through education, awareness, and economic empowerment.
Nasreen Sheikh’s tireless efforts to champion survivor-led initiatives, recognizing them as the catalysts for a future free from modern slavery. Her commitment and transformative vision continue to inspire change-makers globally.
Annabel is Principal at It’s Material, a consultancy focused on economic transformation and accountability, through research, facilitation and strategic advice. As an IHRB research fellow Annabel provides guidance to the built environment programme.
Annabel has two decades of experience on business, human rights and climate change, at the international and local city level. Her work has focused on emerging areas of human rights, creative approaches to strategy and campaigns, and sectors with major social and environmental implications such as finance, technology, energy, real estate, and infrastructure. She wrote IHRB’s 2019 foundational report “Dignity by Design: Human Rights and the Built Environment Lifecycle” and developed and led the built environment programme between 2019 – 2022, including its project on just transitions in the built environment.
Previously, Annabel was Deputy Director of ALIGN (Alliance for a Greater New York), which advocates for bold climate action, good jobs and social justice in New York City. From 2003-2017, Annabel was Intl. Programme Manager then Deputy Director with Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, where she helped build the organisation and its global presence, and was responsible for the Asia, Middle East and labour rights programmes.
Annabel has an MsC in International Development from University of London; certificate in International Human Rights Law and Practice from London School of Economics; postgraduate diploma in Periodical Journalism from City University; and an MA in Spanish and French from Edinburgh University.
James Slade FAIA, IIDA, LEED-AP is a principal of Slade Architecture, co-founded with his partner Hayes Slade in 2002. With built projects in the United States, England, Korea and China, their work has been recognized internationally with awards, exhibitions and over 300 publications. His awards include a NYC Design Excellence in Public Architecture Award, Progressive Architecture (PA) Awards, AIA Awards, Interior Design Best of Year (BoY) Awards, Architectural Record Design Vanguard (2000), Architectural Record/Businessweek Award, FX Award, the Architecture League of New York’s 2010 Emerging Voices and 2000 Young Architects Award. His work has been exhibited at MoMA, the National Building Museum, Deutsches Architekturmuseum, the Swiss Institute, the Architecture League of New York, AIA Center for Architecture, the Venice Biennale and other national and international venues.
James currently teaches graduate students at Pratt Institute has taught in the past at Parsons, Syracuse University, Columbia/Barnard, and other schools.
John Schultz is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating & Legal Officer for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. In this role, John heads the Operations, Legal and Administrative Affairs organization which comprises a variety of business functions including the Legal Department, Ethics and Compliance Office, Data Office, Global IT, Global Real Estate, Corporate Affairs, and Global Security. He also leads the Services Reliability Engineering (SRE) and Cloud Services Operations teams as well as the Unified Cloud & Platform Experience Office. Prior to his current role, John served as Chief Legal & Administrative Officer overseeing most of the same organizations. Previously, John was appointed general counsel of Hewlett-Packard Co. in 2012 and became general counsel of Hewlett Packard Enterprise when HP separated into two companies in 2015. John joined HP in 2008, serving as deputy general counsel for litigation, investigations, and global functions. Before joining HP, John was a partner in the litigation practice of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, focusing on complex litigation and primarily defending consumer class-action, fiduciary liability, and technology-related commercial litigation. He was previously a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath, where he also specialized in commercial and product liability litigation. John currently serves on the board of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and is chair of National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s Corporate Advisory Council. He also serves on the board of directors of Umpqua Bank, which is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. John holds a bachelor’s degree from Albright College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Raphael Sperry is an Associate Principal at Arup where he is the Americas Region Social Value & Equity Skills leader. He helps lead the west coast Climate and Sustainability team that consults on net positive design for infrastructure and buildings that regenerate energy, water and natural systems. As former co-chair of the USGBC Social Equity Working Group he led the creation of the LEED pilot credit addressing equity in material supply chains. As president of Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility from 2004-2020 he led ADPSR’s successful national campaign to ban the design of spaces that violate human rights in the AIA Code of Ethics. He promotes restorative alternatives to incarceration as board chair of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, a nonprofit architecture and development firm devoted to ending mass incarceration.
Kathy Taylor currently serves as the Dean of the Collins College of Business at the University of Tulsa. In addition to an active securities and franchise law practice, her previous positions include Mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce, Tourism & Workforce, CEO of ImpactTulsa, an education equity nonprofit and Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Dollar/Thrifty Car Rental. Taylor has served as a board member of Sonic Corporation, Bank of Oklahoma, National Car Rental and Dollar Car Rental.
Currently, she is Vice-Chair of the Women Administrators in Management Education (WAME) for AACSB, and on the boards of the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority; the TAUW, 36°N, a basecamp for entrepreneurs; StitchCrew, a business accelerator and the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation. Taylor is the Ship Sponsor for the U.S. Navy, USS Tulsa LCS-16; a founding member of VEST, a network for expanding the pipeline of women in positions of influence; and a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Oklahoma Advisory Committee, co-chaired by former Oklahoma Governors Brad Henry and Mary Fallin-Christensen.
She has been honored by numerous civic and education organizations, including the University of Oklahoma College of Law, the Tulsa Historical Society, the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice.
Adam Thatcher is co-founder and CEO of Grace Farms Foods. He loves adventure but is willing to slow down for a great cup of tea or coffee.
Adam envisioned our model of a nonprofit-owned business after learning about the innovative social enterprise structures possible under the IRS code while getting his MBA at NYU.
Prior to Grace Farms Foods, Adam served as the Director of Operations and Sustainability for Grace Farms Foundation from 2015 – 2020.
Claire Weisz FAIA, is a founding principal of WXY architecture + urban design, WXY is globally recognized for its place-based approach to architecture, urban design, and planning, and has played a vital role in design thinking around resiliency. In 2019 Fast Company named WXY one of the World’s Most Innovative Architecture Firms. Claire was awarded the Medal of Honor from AIANY in 2018 and was honored with a Women in Architecture Award by Architectural Record in 2019.
Dave Wildman leads the Facilities and Sustainability teams at Bloomberg. His teams support multiple groups worldwide to ensure customer and employee experience, system functionality, resiliency and redundancy across Bloomberg’s data centers and offices.
Dave has over 20 years of experience at Bloomberg and is on the board of directors of HEAF (Harlem Educational Activities Fund), an educational nonprofit for the underserved, and is a mentor to Fortune Society fellows – a group that supports the previously justice involved.
As Director of Communications and Development at the Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture (Yale CEA), Hind brings energy, imagination and a rich background to her role. A graduate from the University of Lille and the University of the Littoral Opal Coast in France, Hind is currently pursuing a Master in CSR and Sustainability. She is responsible for the overall communications and contributes to the development of Yale CEA, Hind is guided by one overriding goal: to consistently articulate and promote Yale CEA’s mission to change the DNA of the Built Environment.
Hind’s unique development and implementation philosophy for Yale CEA is to connect industry, academia, and the general public in order to advance built environment systems through research and development, education and innovation. She works with teams across the center and organizations from around the world to form these strong partnerships that advance Yale CEA’s mission and solve critical problems with innovative solutions.
Prior to joining YALE CEA, Hind held a number of positions that provided a strong foundation for her current projects. These include positions at Bloomberg as a news reporter and most recently at Dow Jones as a specialist in the Venture Capital and Private Equity industry with a focus on clean technologies. Whatever the job or organization, Hind develops strategies for articulating complex technical knowledge into tailored messages for a general audience. She has used these approaches, not only to target communications but also to effectively connect with diverse stakeholders.