Keynote Speakers

Doug Shipman, Atlanta City Council President

Doug was elected the President of the Atlanta City Council in December 2021 and assumed office January 2022.

Doug has led an array of organizations including the Woodruff Arts Center, BrightHouse Consulting and as Founding CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Doug has served in a number of civic roles including President of the Emory Alumni Board (2014), Trustee for the Carter Center, Harvard Alumni Association Board Member and numerous other volunteer leadership roles. He has lectured at various institutions including the CDC, Duke University, Bard College and TEDx anytime online.

Doug attained degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Divinity School and Emory University

Specialties: Organizational startup, fundraising, board building, public-private partnerships, public presentations, senior leadership.

For Profit: Focus on consumer goods, travel and tourism and industrial goods. Specific knowledge of corporate strategy, Sales force design, organization change and marketing.

Academic study: domestic public policy, campaigns and elections, racial, ethnic and religious conflict, freedom struggles and religion. 

John Loudermilk, Chief Executive Officer, Birla Carbon

John Loudermilk is President and Chief Executive Officer, Birla Carbon, based at the Company headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

John joined the Carbon Black Business in 2005 as Director of Global Operations. In 2008 he was appointed Vice President of Global Operations with responsibility for global manufacturing facilities along with corporate engineering, quality, and six-sigma. He subsequently took responsibility for the North America business and has led the Technology and Strategy efforts for the Company during his tenure. In January 2016, John assumed additional responsibility for the Europe and Africa region of Birla Carbon. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in September 2017 and was responsible for all aspects of the Company’s business operations globally. He assumed the role of President and CEO in August 2021.

Over his nearly 30 years of experience in the chemical industry, he has also held a variety of leadership positions within Monsanto and Solutia Inc. with responsibilities across Business Management, Manufacturing, Procurement, Sales, and Supply Chain.

John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Howard Sharfstein, Co-founder and President of the Kulshan Carbon Trust

The Earth is running a fever and we are all feeling the heat. Beyond the headlines that report extreme weather events, we find widespread climate disruption and declining biodiversity. Acute summer climate conditions are changing how many people live, work, and think about their future. At the enterprise level, these alarming climate trends will change facility operation, risk management, supply chains, and measures of sustainability. 

The time is now to translate your company’s Net Zero commitments into generational goals that foster climate resilience and promote climate restoration. 

Every topic at this sustainability leadership summit reflects a wicked problem without an easy solution. My remarks unpack these challenges and propose a holistic, sustainability-minded, community-based strategic response.  I’ll share how advancing Kimberly-Clark’s sustainability agenda and brief academic career shaped my current capstone project of co-founding the Kulshan Carbon Trust and launching The Carbon Conservancy™. We’ll discuss how companies can build trust and imbed the principles of a just transition into decarbonizing food, fiber, and forestry supply chains. 

Join me as we discuss how win/win stakeholder engagement and regenerative natural climate solutions that yield measurable carbon plus biodiversity eco-credits can build climate resilience and meet your company’s Net Zero commitments.

Blake Longstaff, SVP & CFO, IHG Americas

Blake Longstaff is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Americas for IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG).  Blake joined IHG in 2018 and has been based in both Atlanta, GA and London, UK.  Prior to his current CFO role, Blake led the Americas Investment Analysis (IA) and Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) teams.  Blake also has experience in IHG’s Capital Investments & Transactions (CIT) team, where he was successful in driving strategic growth initiatives and unlocking value across IHG’s global efforts – including the $300 million acquisition of Six Senses in 2019.

Prior to joining IHG, he spent 12 years working for Goldman Sachs within its Investment Banking Division in New York and Singapore.  While at Goldman Sachs, Blake advised private equity firms, corporates and REITs on various capital raising and M&A activities within the real estate, hospitality, and gaming sectors.

Blake serves on the Board of Directors for Groups360, a technology platform bringing transparency and simplicity to group travel.  Blake is a graduate of Boston College and resides in Atlanta, GA with his husband, Ben.

Drawdown GA Panelists

Dr. Marilyn Brown, Regents’ and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech 



Marilyn Brown is a Regents’ and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy. She joined Georgia Tech in 2006 after a distinguished career at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she led several national climate change mitigation studies and became a leader in the analysis and interpretation of energy futures in the United States. 

Her research focuses on the design and impact of policies aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of sustainable energy technologies, with an emphasis on the electric utility industry, the integration of energy efficiency, demand response, and solar resources, and ways of improving resiliency to disruptions. Her books include Fact and Fiction in Global Energy Policy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), Green Savings: How Policies and Markets Drive Energy Efficiency (Praeger, 2015), and Climate Change and Global Energy Security (MIT Press, 2011). She has authored more than 250 publications. Her work has had significant visibility in the policy arena as evidenced by her numerous briefings and testimonies before state legislative bodies and Committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

Dr. Brown co-founded the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and chaired its Board of Directors for several years. She has served on the Boards of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance to Save Energy, and was a commissioner with the Bipartisan Policy Center. She has served on eight National Academies committees and is an Editor of Energy Policy and an Editorial Board member of Energy Efficiency and Energy Research and Social Science. She served two terms (2010-2017) as a Presidential appointee and regulator on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public power provider. From 2014-2018 she served on DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee, where she led the Smart Grid Subcommittee.

James Marlow, Southface President

James Marlow is an innovator, business and nonprofit builder, and digital transformation leader.  As Southface president, he works to scale sustainable, cost effective building and development solutions to environmental challenges.  James led software and digital technologies at Computerland, Yahoo!, Lotus Development, and IBM.  He was founder of two energy startups, CEO and Co-Founder of Radiance Solar, and CEO of Clean Energy Advisors.

James is a trustee for The Nature Conservancy, serves on the Georgia Drawdown Leadership Council, and has been part of the Carter Center Board of Councilors, the Georgia Chamber’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, EarthShare Georgia, and more.

ESG Backlash Panelists

Arnaud Brohe, Founder & CEO, Agendi

Arnaud Brohé is a sustainability pioneer and author of the authoritative Handbook of Carbon Accounting (2017). He is a widely-recognized expert in climate strategies and carbon markets. For more than 15 years, Arnaud has led successful and ambitious sustainability and net-zero strategies for clients, including numerous Fortune 500 companies and international institutions.

Arnaud carried out the first carbon audits for the EU Emissions Trading System sites in 2005 and was one of the first consultants to calculate the carbon footprint of complex organizations.

In addition to his role as CEO at Agendi, Arnaud has keynoted at numerous prestigious sustainability events and acts as a lecturer or guest lecturer for several leading universities in Europe and the USA. Arnaud collaborates with G&A Institute to help clients navigate their sustainability journeys, including the vital tasks of addressing their carbon footprint and creating solutions for reducing carbon emissions on a domestic and global basis.

Cigdem Oktem, US Central Region Center for Board Matters Leader, EY

Cigdem Oktem (pronounced “Cheedem”) serves as Regional Leader for EY’s Center for Board Matters (CBM). She has been a trusted advisor and educator for boards and c-suite executives for two decades, researching and sharing leading practices and emerging trends.

In her current role, Cigdem focuses on issues at the top of the board agenda, which for the past few years has included ESG. She has helped directors understand the evolving issues, institutional investor perspectives and reporting aspects of ESG. Cigdem’s past experiences include leading a peer-based learning program for audit chairs of F500 companies and overseeing syndicated research programs for finance & strategy executives

Bryan Kuppe, Director for Sustainability, American Chemistry Council

Bryan Kuppe is a Director for Sustainability at the American Chemistry Council (ACC) with nearly 10 years of experience working with the Association and its member companies on a range of sustainability issues. Bryan’s primary area of expertise are in organizational sustainability strategy, market engagement, and sustainability reporting (ESG) and analysis.

In 2015, Bryan led an ACC Finance Sector Working Group’s engagement effort with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and has remained engaged in the sustainability reporting space as a member of SASB’s former Sector Advisory Groups (SAG), an advisor for SASB update to Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) credential and is a current member of the International Sustainability Standards Board’s (ISSB) Technical Resource Group (TRG).

Biodiversity Panelists

Colleen Corrigan, Ph.D.,  Senior Sustainability Advisor for Pure Strategies.

 Colleen works with corporate clients on developing strategies to promote sustainability in company operations, value chains, material selection and natural resources management. Colleen focuses on helping companies set science-based targets for nature to protect and regenerate biodiversity. Her work in this area helps companies understand their impacts and implement strategies, collaborations, and business process changes to mitigate harm to and restore affected ecosystems.

Prior to joining Pure Strategies, Colleen was the founder of Conservation Matters, an organization that consults on biodiversity protection, strategy development, and program delivery with a focus on marine protection, indigenous issues, and environmental governance for clients including National Geographic, UNESCO, and the World Wildlife Fund.

Patrick Ramage, Senior Director, Outreach & Program Collaboration, IFAW 

Throughout more than two decades of public affairs advocacy, Patrick Ramage has advised major companies and trade associations as well as Congressional, Executive branch, and non-governmental leaders on a range of environmental and sustainability issues. Patrick is one of the world’s most quoted and quotable conservation advocates and has been at the forefront of IFAW’s worldwide efforts to protect the marine environment. By forging strategic partnerships and facilitating open dialogues with leading scientists, government officials, industry executives, media representatives, and other target audiences, Patrick is advancing practical solutions to the most urgent threats to animals, people, and the places we call home.

Patrick has led more than a dozen delegations to the International Whaling Commission.  He has represented IFAW at the Artic Council, and the World Trade Organization, and served as an NGO delegate to the UN Conference on Environment and Development, and the UN Conference on Population and Development.  A US Army veteran, Patrick early in his career completed Survival, Evasion, Resistance to Interrogation, and Escape (SERE) training with the British Special Air Service (SAS).

Dr. Cornelia Cho, President at Mushroom Club of Georgia

Cornelia Cho is a practicing pediatrician, mushroom club president, and regular keynote presenter at conferences.

Among Dr. Cho’s expertise and many interests is the realm of the human and planetary microbiomes, including the impact of declining gut biodiversity.  She also speaks to organizations about how the decisions we make for our own personal microbiomes and environments have an effect on the microbiomes around us, including, eventually, the planetary microbiome.

Additionally, she leads individuals and communities in learning how to become unstuck from “counterproductivity” and “that’s the way we’ve always done it”. Through employing a combination of reciprocal resource and connected listening, she helps people untangle themselves from the ways that societal, cultural and historical messages and programming influence both their conscious and unconscious behavior.

Climate Justice Panelists

Anjali Balakrishna, Energy & Environmental Justice Manager, Microsoft

Anjali Balakrishna is the Program Manager for Energy and Environmental Justice at Microsoft, one of the largest global purchasers of clean energy. In her role, she works to embed environmental justice considerations into renewable energy procurement, helping to facilitate a more equitable energy transition. Prior to joining Microsoft, Anjali spent a decade working as a senior leader and program design expert in non-profits and social enterprises across a range of impact sectors, from youth development to women’s empowerment to COVID-19 response.

Anjali has a BA in American Studies from Yale University and a Master of Environmental Management degree in Energy and Environmental Justice from Duke University. She lives in Atlanta, GA with her partner and two rambunctious dogs.  

Rabin Valluri, Consultant, Agendi

As a consultant at Agendi, a pioneering carbon accounting and climate consultancy firm, Rabin works with F500 clients to develop and implement sustainability strategies within their direct operations and throughout the value chain. Rabin brings years of engagement experience from the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice to the table in the form of developing of supplier and employee engagement initiatives to help companies meet their science-based targets. His community-based background brings an on-the-ground perspective to client conversations surrounding transition and scenario analysis under different potential futures of climate change.

Rabin started his career working in the Midwest regional office of the EPA, collaborating with historically overlooked communities throughout Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska, including rural farming communities as well as indigenous populations. Within the Office of Environmental Justice, Rabin was the lead administrator of EJSCREEN, a mapping tool which overlays environmental indicators with census-based socioeconomic data to quantitatively highlight potential areas of concern for environmental justice issues. Following the EPA and prior to joining Agendi, Rabin earned his M.S. in Hydrology and Water Security and worked with the international nonprofit Safe Water Network, developing solutions to bring clean and affordable water supply systems to rural, low-income communities throughout Ghana and India