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WRISE Leadership Forum

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2023 Forum Program

The WRISE Leadership Forum program delivers annual impact and value by providing content and expert speakers that will share professional development tools to advance renewable energy and the latest in renewable energy trends and policy issues to enhance your career and build value into your company and organization.

Take a look at our FAQ page for additional information on the event and virtual platform.

Wednesday Thursday

Time (CDT) Tuesday, October 10, 2023
12:00 PM
1:00 -
4:00 PM
Identity is as individual as a fingerprint. Discovering and articulating your unique identity can be a joyful journey. It is also key to crafting a strong professional brand, and from that foundation, an elevator or quick description. What are the blueprint elements? The why, how and what of you. The core of who you is articulated in a statement true to you and provides a base of empowerment to your professional and life expression.

In this interactive workshop you will use established models to identify what is true of your unique identity. Through individual and group breakouts you will explore the aspects of your brand, and how you can express it in a succinct and motivating statement. You will get encouragement from your peers and energy from that within you wholly unique to you.

1:00 - 3:00 PM

Glenna Wiseman | Head of Marketing & Communications, Origis Energy
In today’s dynamic business landscape, effective leadership requires more than conventional approaches. Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to harness the power of Intersectionality in your leadership journey. This transformative session delves into the nuanced concept of intersectionality, explores how various aspects of identity-such as race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and more-intersect to shape individual experiences.

Through insightful discussions, activities, and reflection you will learn how to integrate intersectionality into your leadership strategies, how to foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment. You will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges different groups face and how these challenges can impact their professional journey.


-Understand Intersectionality: Explore the foundational concepts of intersectionality, recognize the multi-dimensional nature of individuals’ identities and the unique challenges they face.

-Inclusive Leadership Model: Discover how to lead in a way that emphasizes empathy, active listening, and empowerment to create a supportive workplace for everyone.

-Strategic Implementation: Gain insights into integrating intersectional perspectives into organizational strategies.

1:00 - 3:00 PM

Demetria Miles-McDonald | Founder and CEO, Decide Diversity
Successful engagement with Tribal Nations and Native communities is rooted in a strong understanding of Tribal laws, histories, and cultures. But finding a starting point can be difficult…Do you say Native American or American Indian? Should you engage first or wait for Federal consultation to be initiated? How do you know if your project impacts treaty resources? Do Tribal laws apply outside of the reservation? And why are Tribal lands held in trust anyway?

Learn the answers to these questions and more at a special WRISE workshop on Improving Tribal Engagement. The workshop will cover Tribal histories, the basics of Federal Indian law, and cultural competencies to give attendees a better framework for Tribal outreach and partnership. The workshop will also feature interactive discussions to address frequent issues, as well as new funding and partnership opportunities for your organization or project.
Maranda Compton |
Founder and President, Lepwe

2:00 - 4:00 PM

Adaobi Oniwinde |
Founder, Syntax Ink

1:00 - 2:00 PM

Alyssa Ingelido | Chapters and Membership Manager, WRISE

We know, from research and experience, that decision making directly impacts your organization’s speed, innovation, employee engagement, and success. Too often, decision making is slow, disempowering, and ineffective. But it doesn’t have to be! This session will help executives and team leaders to improve their decision-making with three simple practices that will help you to drive speed even in uncertainty, reduce bureaucracy, empower frontline team members, and enable equity and inclusion.

3:00 - 4:00 PM

Alexis Gonzales-Black |
Empowered Decision Practice Lead, August Public Inc.

1:00 -
4:00 PM

Tours are full.

Come tour the Mid-Intercontinental System Operator (MISO) control room, overlook and observation area in an effort to understand the primary objective of MISO business functions which is to ensure we keep the lights on for more over 45 million customers, operate the power grid and assist with purchasing and selling of electricity.

Foreign Nationals: Due to the sensitivity of the nature of MISO operations, all Foreign Nationals visiting any of MISO’s tour facilities must have a current United States Visa along with the following:

• Name
• Country of Origin
• Date of Birth
• Photocopy of the picture in the passport and copy of a U.S. Visa

MISO must have this information at least two weeks before the scheduled tour to proceed with background checks.

Accessibility: MISO is wheelchair accessibility friendly. We have specific doors for our handicapped guests and staff, but I’m not sure if ramps are in the buildings.

Learn more here.

2:00 - 3:00 PM

From its perch on Hennepin Island and straddling the Mississippi River, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) is a unique and world-class research space for all things water… and then some. Since 1938, this aesthetically challenged building nearly adjacent to the Saint Anthony Falls has taken advantage of the natural 50-foot drop in the river to research and teach all things fluid mechanics, with a special emphasis on the environment, energy, and renewable energy. “The scope of the research in the lab is very wide and includes atmosphere, oceans, lakes, rivers, and groundwater,” says Lian Shen, director of SAFL and professor in mechanical engineering. “We are looking at environmental issues including pollution, plus renewable energy—wind energy and hydrokinetic energy—and more. There are a lot of processes in the Earth’s surface related to fluid flows, and that is what we try to address.” SAFL is an interdisciplinary fluid mechanics research lab and educational facility under the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Learn more here.

2:00 - 3:00 PM

Come tour the Captiol Region Watershed District's new LEED Gold-certified headquarters. The new office facility uses green building principles, including rooftop solar and energy-saving practices, to conserve natural resources and create a healthy workplace. The building includes a state-of-the-art rainwater harvest and reuse system. All the roof water is collected and directed to a 3,000-gallon cistern in CRWD’s lobby and re-used for toilet flushing and irrigation. Numerous clean water features define the site such as rain gardens, stormwater tree trenches, permeable pavements, and underground infiltration. These, in combination, reduce urban runoff and contribute to cleaner water in the Mississippi River while adding habitat and greenspace to this formerly industrial site. In addition, a new pocket park with a water feature, native plantings and an interactive educational exhibit were added to the corner of Thomas Avenue and Aldine Street to create a green oasis in the city.

Learn more here.

3:00 - 4:00 PM

Constructed on land previously used for livestock enclosures and row crop agricultural production, the Corcoran Community Solar Garden restores the site's natural hydrology and ecological function. Environmental scientists and engineers applied low-impact design strategies to address both site restoration and energy production goals. The design included sustainable stormwater practices like vegetated swales, native grasses, and pollinator friendly seeding. Landscape architects designed a visual screening plan that provides an aesthetic buffer for adjacent residential homes and public roadways.

Learn more here.

Sponsored by Arevon Logo

2:00 - 4:30 PM

5:30 -
7:00 PM

Dine-Arounds are full. Additional dine-around options to be announced.

Experience the true flavors of North America, featuring decolonized ingredients and the foods of Mni Sota Makoce, Land Where the Waters Reflect the Clouds.

Learn more here.

420 South First Street
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Contemporary Southern by Chef Justin Sutherland, activist and winner of Iron Chef.

Learn more here.

173 Western Ave N,
Saint Paul, MN 55102
The most authentic dining experience for Ukranian, Russian, and European comfort foods and classics.

Learn more here.

371 Selby Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Step into the rich and flavorful world of Ethiopian cuisine by visiting an Erta Ale Ethiopian restaurant. Immerse yourself in the aromatic spices and authentic dishes, each with a unique and rich history.

Learn more here.

308 Prince St. E. Suite 140,
Saint Paul, MN 55101
The Oceanaire Seafood Room was established in 1998 with one mission: to provide guests with the Ultra-Fresh Seafood Experience™. Featuring seasonal and sustainable seafood that is flown in fresh daily, our chef-driven menu proves seafood can be truly exceptional.

Learn more here.

50 South 6th St,
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Wednesday, October 11, 2023
8:00 -
9:00 AM
9:00 -
9:15 AM
9:15 -
10:15 AM

Join us for a Conversation with Donna Wilson, President of Strategic Intersections, LLC and recently retired from Johnson & Johnson - Head of DEI Multicultural Marketing. Donna spent the majority of her career working for some of the most iconic Fortune 100 brands creating transformational business strategies and organizational shifts to increase market share. She leveraged her extensive experience transforming underserved communities by transitioning from community development to a business focus on global diversity equity and inclusion. Be prepared for an authentic conversation on how she navigated a successful career while always designing her next moves.

Moderator:Doseke Akporiaye | Executive Director, WRISE

Donna Wilson   Donna Wilson | President, Strategic Intersections, LLC | President, Stanford University

10:15 -
10:20 AM

Sponsored by EDP Renewables Logo

10:20 -
10:55 AM
Reset! Be prepared to reset your vision for yourself with a Vision Board. If in person, you'll be provided with an 8x8 poster board, question prompts that allow you to focus on your vision for self and career, and art tools/magazines! Join us for an open forum session to discuss a wide range of topics from wind to solar and storage. Our panelists will provide a quick overview of their expertise and then we’ll open it up to any and all questions you might want to ask. Questions could be about anything you want to learn more about or have always been curious about including but limited to technology, market trends, challenges facing the industry or even our panelists favorite renewable/sustainability related podcasts. Feel free to come up with questions on the spot, have a few already in mind or just listen into the discussion. There are no dumb questions here!
As part of our intention to Reset, Recharge, and Reconnect, WRISE invites you to take a walk through the University of Minnesota campus with fellow conference goers. The 1.5-mile roundtrip guided walk will begin/end at the hotel reception. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to enjoy fresh air and get to meet new colleagues. Each session will have three groups, each having a guide and a maximum size of 15 people.
10:55 -
11:00 AM
11:00 AM
-12:00 PM
Level up your communication. Gain strategies to communicate with confidence for greater impact and recognition in your organization.
Hema Gupta |
Director of Procurement, Onyx Renewables

Stephanie Judge |
Head of Energy SaaS, NextEra Analytics
Kristen Bradford |
Supervisor of Science at NextEra Energy Resources

Welcome to WRISE’s session on community building and community engagement before and during project development. This topic will seek to answer questions such as: How does a developer undergo meaningful community engagement that goes beyond consultation and into collaboration and ownership? What is a cooperative and how does it apply to solar development, ownership, and O&M? How do you build consensus for large-scale renewable energy projects among a diverse array of stakeholders? Is 100% community ownership feasible and how?
Sarah Salem |
Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships, GRID Alternatives
Kara Herrnstein |
Partner, Energy and Utilities, Bricker & Eckler LLP
Juli Schroeger |
Environmental Scientist, Offshore Wind, VHB
Andrea Johnson |
Executive Director, Green Empowerment
Sam Frick |
Community Engagement Manager, Pivot Energy

This is all about developing, building and operating onshore plants. This session will cover key attributes of the technologies, cost considerations, benefits, challenges, and connections of these technologies.

Sponsored by

Allen Overy Logo

Kristen Priddy |
Vice President, Environmental Finance, US Bank
Tasha McCarter |
Vice President of Project Engineering, RWE Clean Energy
Joo Yong |
Head of Section, DNV
Lynn Appollis-Laurent |
Principal Engineer Natural Power, Energy Storage

As renewable energy scales, developers are entering new communities and states. This expansion has caused tension and transition for neighbors. The dynamics were ripe for nefarious individuals and competing industries to create and spread misinformation about technologies and projects. How can we combat these messages and build coalitions to support projects? This session will cover the origin of renewables misinformation, strategies to combat the influx of fake news, and how to get ahead of the problem before it takes hold.
Jen Bristol |
Senior Director of Communications, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
Mary Grikas |
Vice President, Head of Marketing & Communications, Americas, Lightsource bp
Steffanie Dohn |
Director of State and Regulatory Affairs, SOLV Energy
Lindsay Smith |
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications, National Grid Renewables
Zoe Folsom |
Public Affairs Associate, Encore Renewable Energy

This session will cover a few emerging technologies such as long duration storage, hydrogen, advanced grid technologies, virtual power plants. Discuss how to determine when a technology is hype vs here to stay. Panelist will share stories on why we need women leading in emerging areas and the benefits and risks of pursuing a career in emerging tech.
Anastasia Mayr |
Vice President, Climate Finance, Enhanced Capital
Julia Song |
Co-founder and CTO, ESS
Violeta Rabanal |
Senior Director – Head of Corporate Development, Mitsubishi Power
Janette Freeman |
Business Development Director, FabTech Solar Solutions

12:00 -
1:00 PM
1:00 -
2:00 PM

Abigail Ross Hopper   Abigail Ross Hopper | President and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

2:00 -
2:45 PM
2:30 -
4:00 PM

Sponsored by Norton Rose Fulbright Logo

2:45 -
3:00 PM
3:00 -
4:00 PM
The Inflation Reduction Act provides various economic opportunities for existing and potential players within the renewable energy industry, especially for small to medium sized businesses to grow and provide good-paying jobs. From R&D tax credits to supply-chain incentives and clean energy accelerator funds, there are opportunities for businesses to leverage on, as new entrants or existing players.

From founders and C-suite positions to entrepreneurs and skilled labor, women comprise only 25% of workers in the energy sector and 32% of the renewable energy workforce, despite representing 46.8% of the U.S. workforce overall. At the same time, the clean energy sector is exploding due to massive investment from both the public sector (IRA, etc.) and private sector.

The case for women founders and business owners is even more challenging. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), only about 11% of energy sector company founders are female, with only 2% of venture capital going to women-led companies. This is despite the fact (PEW Research) that women are more likely to consider climate change as a serious threat compared to men and act on it!. The National Cleantech Survey showed that only 10% of cleantech founders were women and that 19% of companies had at least one-woman founder.

Here are some additional stats that make it pertinent for us to act now!

According to DigitalUndivided's biennial Project Diane study, which looked at the state of black women founders in the United States, since 2009, businesses led by this cohort have raised $289 million of the total $424.7 billion raised during this period -- or just .0006 percent of the pie. “Out of $85 Billion in VC Funding Last Year, Only 2.2 Percent Went to Female Founders. And Every Year, Women of Color Get Less Than 1 Percent of Total Funding. Not only that, under 3% investment professionals at VC firms are black or Latinx.” “A Stanford University survey in 2016 found that roughly 1 percent of all Latinx-owned businesses launched between 2007 and 2012 in the United States fundraised with venture capital or angel investments.” “A 2016 study conducted by Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association found that just 2 percent of investment professionals are black, 1 percent are Latinx and 15 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander.”

While we are seeing some traction in the representation of ALL women within the renewable energy and sustainability industries, we are still a far cry from where we should be. WRISE has always and will continue to push for a more equitable renewable energy industry through creating access and opportunity for ALL women; including BIPOC and excluded genders, by Creating Opportunities that increase representation, Building Community through fostering Networking Opportunities and Promoting various Forums for the exchange of Ideas.

This panel discussion therefore aims to explore: How we can change the systems and culture in the industry to ensure women of color and excluded genders are set up to thrive, particularly in light of the above statistics.

The opportunities within the Renewable Energy Industry which women can explore?

What specific opportunities does the IRA create for women and people from income qualified communities?

How can we increase the number of women founders entering the renewable energy industry?

How can women transition to founders from being employees within the renewable energy industry? Why is it important to have more women founders within the renewable energy industry?

What are some of the specific barriers for women founders in the clean energy industry and how can these be overcome?
Dana Clare Redden |
Founder, Solar Stewards
Sarah Steiner |
Vice President Investment Banking, Lazard
Chéri Smith |
President & CEO, Alliance for Tribal Clean Energy; MIT Indigenous Communities Fellow

The number of jobs required for the US to reach its decarbonization goals by 2035 is staggering. Yet simply adding jobs isn’t enough. Creating a just energy transition will require our industry to approach job growth in a new way. Join us for this panel discussion on how clean energy employers can work with established groups, such as trade unions, to establish workforce development paths. The panel will discuss how taking lessons learned from workforce development in other industries will help scale at speed. And modifying these same lessons will create a more inclusive talent pool.
Aubrey Newton |
Director, Northwest Laborers’-Employers Cooperation and Education Team (NW LECET)
Pagan Poggione |
Program Director, Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)
Heidi Bergin |
Head of Talent Acquisition, Americas Region, Global Talent Acquisition, People & Culture, Vestas
Chante Condit-Pottol | Business Development Executive, Wind Energy, Mortenson

Offshore wind will transform the renewables landscape in the U.S. over the next two decades. Join us for a discussion with leaders on the forefront of the U.S. offshore wind industry to reflect on accomplishments, challenges and opportunities to scale the industry.
Jessica Dealy |
enior Advisor, Offshore Wind, NYSERDA
Kelly Kneeland |
Development Manager, Vineyard Offshore
Jocelyn Brown-Saracino |
Offshore Wind Energy Lead, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Lisa Magged |
Senior Associate, Orrick
Tershara Matthews |
Offshore Wind Policy Leader, WSP USA

Thanks to ESG goals, more corporations are measuring their impact on the planet and the communities they touch through their operations and across their supply chains. Corporate energy customers have begun to give preference to renewable energy projects that do more than save money or carbon. This session explores the trends in purpose-driven project development and showcases the ways in which projects can invest in social equity, resilience, and environmental sustainability to make a tangible difference in the geographies where they are located and beyond.
Ornella Nicolacci |
Director, Transaction Acceleration Group, Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA)

With the Annual Leadership Forum being held in Minneapolis, let’s talk Minnesota - a state brimming with natural resources and a rich history of its land and tribal settlement. Join WRISE and fellow speakers to cover topics such as Minnesota’s land history and land rights, controversies around various energy projects and the role of indigenous knowledge and climate activism in protecting Minnesota’s natural environment. We will also be discussing the pathway of Minnesota’s own energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables, and how natives of the area and indigenous peoples are facilitating that transition.
Meg Nyberg |
Principal, Amurleo Energy
Angela Piner |
Sr. Vice President, Power Business Development Director, HDR
Ellen Anderson |
Climate Program Director, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

We're all here because we're excited about the future of renewable energy, but how do we bring more people into the movement? Education remains a powerful tool at all levels of the industry as well combat disinformation, move constituents to political action, and inspire careers. In this session, we'll hear from three organizations brining renewable energy into K-12 classrooms, collegiate fellowships, and community adult education. Learn how these groups are turning academic interests into clean energy career pathways and climate anxiety into collective action.
Rozina Kanchwala |
Lauren Friedman |
Solar Ambassador Program Manager, RE-volv
Remy Pangle |
Executive Director, REpowering Schools
4:00 -
4:30 PM
4:30 -
5:30 PM
The current federal administration has enacted some of the most progressive climate policy in the nation's history. In this session we'll cover what the major milestones for clean energy have been (including and beyond the IRA), what the industry can do to sustain momentum, and where to turn if there are to be changes after the 2024 election.
Jessica Lawrence-Vaca
| Vice President, Government Affairs, SOLV Energy
Nakhia Crossley |
Director, Government Affairs, ADT Solar
Meghan Nutting |
EVP of Government & Regulatory Affairs, Sunnova Energy Corporation
Maggie Kristian |
Regulatory Policy Manager, National Grid Renewables
Alyssa Edwards |
Senior Vice President, Government Relations and Environmental Affairs, Lightsource bp

Join us for a round robin to collaborate on what is most pressing within project development & sovereignty and regulations on native land.
Chéri Smith |
President & CEO, Alliance for Tribal Clean Energy; MIT Indigenous Communities Fellow
Katrina Mora |
Member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Nation
H Trostle |
Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Indian Country Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Penina Sara-Lynn Harding |
Instructor & Indigenous Researcher, University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)
Tressa Lange |
Environmental Consultant, Merjent
Wendy Huff |
Board of Directors, Seneca Holdings
Maranda Compton |
Founder and President, Lepwe

As we climb the corporate ladder or take on new responsibilities at work, sometimes we're faced with a small voice convincing us that we're over our heads. "It's just a matter of time before someone finds out that you don't belong here," it may say. In this session, we address how can we combat feelings of inadequacy and thrive as competent, confident professionals.
Chelsea Stone |
Vice President, Service Commercial, North America, Vestas
Angela Piner |
Sr. Vice President, Power Business Development Director, HDR
Elizabeth Kaiga |
Chief Commercial Officer, North America, DNV
Tasha McCarter |
Vice President of Project Engineering, RWE Clean Energy
Leanne Russell Fate |
Director Origination, Ambient Fuels, LLC

Across the country, examples are popping up where thinking creatively in decentralized approaches like solar-plus-storage and microgrids is translating into savings for ratepayers, increased reliability, and enhanced resilience in the face of extreme weather conditions. Microgrids are supporting military installations and first responders, schools and hospitals, emergency shelters and wastewater treatment plants. This panel will illustrate DG/microgrid stories from all across the country showing ways in which these systems have—and increasingly will—serve to bring power back to the people.
Samantha Reifer |
Director, Strategic Alliances, Scale Microgrid Solutions, LLC
Nicole Bloom |
Project Manager - Strategic Initiatives, GRID Alternatives Headquarters

Working in the climate space can be exciting, challenging, and exhausting! If you’re having a hard time finding the right balance between being realistic about our planet and overwhelmed by the problems, you’re not alone. This session will help you recharge your batteries, shift your perspective, and find ways to stay hopeful. Join us as we swap ideas on how to stay grounded, sane, and dare we say, excited, about the future.
Diana Rhoten |
Managing Director, Purpose Venture
Ankita Ajith |
Associate, Purpose Venture Group
Alissa Jean Schafer |
Managing Owner & Director, Copper Stamp Strategy LLC
Maria Reyes |
Deputy Director, Commission Shift
Victoria Johnson |
Global Equity Director, HDR

6:00 -
7:30 PM

Orchestra Hall - 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Sponsored by Mortenson Logo

Thursday, October 12, 2023
8:00 -
9:00 AM
8:00 AM -
4:30 PM

Sponsored by Norton Rose Fulbright Logo

9:00 -
9:15 AM
9:15 -
10:15 AM

Peggy Shepard   Peggy Shepard | Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice

10:15 -
10:20 AM

Break sponsored by Longroad Energy Logo

10:20 -
10:55 AM
Reset! Be prepared to reset your vision for yourself with a Vision Board. If in person, you'll be provided with an 8x8 poster board, question prompts that allow you to focus on your vision for self and career, and art tools/magazines! Join us for an open forum session to discuss a wide range of topics from wind to solar and storage. Our panelists will provide a quick overview of their expertise and then we’ll open it up to any and all questions you might want to ask. Questions could be about anything you want to learn more about or have always been curious about including but limited to technology, market trends, challenges facing the industry or even our panelists favorite renewable/sustainability related podcasts. Feel free to come up with questions on the spot, have a few already in mind or just listen into the discussion. There are no dumb questions here!!
As part of our intention to Reset, Recharge, and Reconnect, WRISE invites you to take a walk through the University of Minnesota campus with fellow conference goers. The 1.5-mile roundtrip guided walk will begin/end at the hotel reception. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to enjoy fresh air and get to meet new colleagues. Each session will have three groups, each having a guide and a maximum size of 15 people.
10:55 -
11:00 AM
11:00 AM-
12:00 PM
As renewable energy technologies cheapen and project proposals increase, let’s talk project and climate finance! How do we ensure that projects are adequately funded with enough capital to support long-term operations and genuine community well-being? From intergovernmental banks, grants, blended finance models, cost-sharing methods, asset managers and IPPs, aggregation models, and RECS and carbon offsets - join WRISE to discuss various parts of and methods to accelerate project financing as well as financing trends in the renewable energy, DER, and grid resiliency sector. Women are innovative leaders who can reinvent the wheel to guarantee more streamlined access to adequate capital for both developers and communities.
Bari Wien |
Director, Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance, Wells Fargo
Erica Reidy |
Director of Investments, Leyline Renewable Capital, LLC
Zoe Berkery |
Chief Operating Officer, CleanCapital
Lydia Li |
Senior Vice President, Investments, Arevon Energy

Swift and bold action is necessary to both efficiently and equitably build out clean energy infrastructure. In this process, tools like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other permitting laws are critical to assess the health, economic, and environmental impacts of decisions, and to ensure that infrastructure built addresses climate change by reducing emissions and is climate resilient. However, some legislative proposal at federal and state level could enable the built out of dirty fossil fuel infrastructure, hinder government transparency and accountability, and replicate the same failures of our current energy system overburdening already vulnerable populations. This panel will explore key components that a permitting reform should include to enable the responsible siting of new clean energy infrastructure.
Paula Garcia |
Senior Bilingual Energy Analyst & Energy Justice Lead, Climate and Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
Dana Harmon |
Owner and Principal, Juniper Advisory Group
Alicia Oller |
Vice President, Director of Onshore Wind, Tetra Tech, Inc.
María Belén Power |
Undersecretary of Environmental Justice & Equity, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Annika Colston |
Founder and CEO, AC Power

Wanda Lee Florestine | Director, Outreach, GRID Alternatives
Esther Morales | Executive Director, CELI (Clean Energy Leadership Institute)
AnneMarie Graves | Senior Director, Head of Midwest Region, Vestas-American Wind Technology, Inc.
Lauren Haller | Senior Legal Counsel, Pattern Energy
Laura Phelan | Vice President, Strategy and Leadership, American Clean Power Association (ACP)

Mangement is one of the most critical factors for employee satisfaction, moving into leadership roles often requires people management, not every company devotes extensive training for people managers - so maybe it's a management 101, or maybe it's a session to encourage management training at your company?
Kathryn Meyer |
VP of Development, GridStor
Maureen Ochola-Hill | Director of Transmission, Lightsource bp
Jennifer Lee | Associate General Counsel, First Solar
Sarah Herman | Director of Business Operations, Nova Clean Energy
Rande Patterson | Senior Environmental & Permitting Specialist, Ørsted

Interested in advocating for renewable energy in your community? If yes, then this is the session for you. Join us as we share best practices around advocating for solar on the state and local levels. From coalition building to applying legislative and regulatory tactics, this session will outline foundational steps you, your community and/or your organization can advocate for renewable energy.
Brandy Hyatt |
Education Manager, Access + Equity, Vote Solar

In recent years, the pandemic, sweeping changes in legislation, and other world events have deeply impacted the lives of all employees, but especially those who identify as BIPOC, women, non-binary, and transgender. This panel will discuss how HR professionals and people managers are partnering within their organizations to support employees in a fair and inclusive way while navigating a rapidly changing landscape.
Carousel Gore |
EEO Officer, CEC to the session
Taylore Jarvis

12:00 -
1:00 PM
1:00 -
2:00 PM
Need some objective advice for your career or work challenge? Join a roundtable of participants where you will give and receive advice from fellow WRISE leadership conference attendees! The Peer Advice Roundtable is intended to support you with diverse and objective solution options so you may go out and be your best!
2:00 -
2:05 PM
2:05 -
2:40 PM
Join us for a fun, interactive networking event that fosters solutions-finding in a networking setting. There’s an opportunity to continue discussion points from the previous large networking session or you can start fresh with new topics!
As part of our intention to Reset, Recharge, and Reconnect, WRISE invites you to take a walk through the University of Minnesota campus with fellow conference goers. The 1.5-mile roundtrip guided walk will begin/end at the hotel reception. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to enjoy fresh air and get to meet new colleagues. Each session will have three groups, each having a guide and a maximum size of 15 people.
2:40 -
2:45 PM
2:45 -
3:45 PM

Project Development is a unique field of work within the energy industry. Developers are typically found on the road, sitting at dinner tables, meeting with County supervisors, and hosting community open houses. Life on the road interfacing with the public is a difficult job but can have unique challenges for women, especially if they decide to have a family. This conversation is intended to provide a space to discuss those challenges, suggest support that organizations can provide to women in the Development role, and celebrate the triumphs of women in industry broadly.

Kathryn Meyer |
VP of Development, GridStor
Shanelle Montana |
Vice President of Development, Lightsource BP
Claire Dittrich |
Project Developer, Nova Clean Energy
Sarah Oblon |
Associate Director of Development, EDP Renewables North America

Recent developments in project finance, demand from state policymakers, and incentives in the IRA have expanded opportunities for energy equity in renewables. But how can developers reach previously overlooked communities with dignity and respect? This session explores the best practices for outreach, messaging, and engagement so that everyone is part of the transition to a clean energy future.
Utopia Hill |
Chief Executive Officer, Reactivate
Crystal Green |
Associate Director of Energy and Climate Equity, DNV Energy Insights USA Inc.
Anna Toenjes |
Senior Director of Business Development, Sol Systems, LLC
Crystal Pruitt |
External Affairs Lead, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind

Now that the Inflation Reduction Act has been signed into law for over a year, join us to build on WRISE’s previous webinar discussions and highlight what’s next for developers, projects, and communities with the IRA moving into the rest of 2023, 2024, and beyond. This webinar will cover guidance received from the IRS, such as domestic content adders, requirements for energy and LMI communities, apprenticeship rules, energy storage, comparing the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC), tax credit transferability, and other related topics. Bring your questions!
Sierra Jackovics |
UN, Energy Policy, and Project Manager, Mana Pacific Inc.
Abigail Campbell Singer | Senior Director and Head of Climate and Infrastructure Policy, Siemens
Elizabeth Crouse |
Partner, Perkins Coie LLP
Sage Briscoe |
Director of Federal Policy, Rewiring America

Becoming more resilient to climate threats is becoming top of mind for developers and owner/operators of utility-scale renewable energy facilities. The increase in extreme weather events is affecting how operators are needing to adapt to these events over the anticipated 30+ year lifespan of these projects. As a result, renewable energy developers today are thinking about climate risk during the development phase and are making difficult decisions on how and whether to proceed with investments due to these risks. This session will not only speak to climate risk during the development to operational life cycle but will also explore new technological solutions that are being studied to help make our facilities more resilient to weather extremes.
Angela Piner |
Sr. Vice President, Power Business Development Director, HDR
Anne-Marie Griger |
Permitting Manager, RES
Rachel Petry |
O&M Strategy & Support Manager, Southern Power
Nisha Thirumurthy |
Founder & CEO, Vybe Energy, LLC

Women make up roughly a third of renewable energy workers globally (IRENA) - siginificantly more than in the oil and gas industry - but representation varies by sector and position. In the US only 4.7% of wind technicians are women (Zippia) and gender diversity in construction roles is similarly low in solar and other technologies. Consequently, women are even further underrepresented in in-the-field construction leadership roles. This summer, WRISE hosted a webinar in partnership with National Women in Roofing to discuss the joys and challenges of being a women in the male-dominated construction space. During this session we'll take that conversation further to focus on the experiences of women in construction leadership roles, their professional pathways, and what companies can do to foster more inclusive leadership.
Amanda Bybee |
CEO, Amicus O&M Cooperative
Molly Williams |
Director of Residential Operations, Co-Owner, Namaste Solar Electric, Inc.
Tonya Hicks |
President and CEO, Power Solutions Intl
Anna Bautista |
Vice President, Construction, GRID Alternatives
Sara Hambleton

3:45 -
4:30 PM
4:30 -
6:00 PM

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View our 2022 program here >>