Don’t miss our incredible lineup of speakers!

Conference Speakers:

Visionary Leaders from Across the Country

Schedule | Workshops | RegistrationField Trips | Sponsorships | Scholarships

 

Don’t miss our incredible line up of speakers at Choosing to Lead! Prepare to be inspired as you hear their powerful stories of advocacy and how they’ve chosen to lead for the world around them.


Lunch Time Keynote Address: Paul Greenberg
Paul Greenberg is the James Beard award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller and Notable Book Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and American Catch: The Fight for our Local Seafood. His most recent book, The Omega Principle: Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and Healthier Planet, is an eye-opening look at how the multi-billion dollar omega-3 industry is affecting our ocean sustainability and, ultimately, our health.

A regular contributor to the New York Times’ Opinion Page, Magazine, Dining section, and Book Review, Greenberg lectures widely on seafood and ocean sustainability. His 2015 TED talk has reached over a million viewers and he has also lectured for Google, the United States Senate, the United States Supreme Court, Harvard University, Brown University, Williams College, Yale University and many other educational institutions.

Closing Keynote: Angelou Ezeilo 

Angelou’s love for the environment stretches far back to spending summers in upstate New York as a little girl. After a brief stint of practicing law, her work as a Legal Specialist for the New Jersey State Agriculture and Development Committee led Angelou to a career as an environmentalist.

As a Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land (TPL) in both its New Jersey and Georgia offices, Angelou acquired land for preservation and worked on the New York/New Jersey Highlands Program, Parks for People-Newark, the New York/New Jersey Harbor Program, the Atlanta Beltline and the 20 County Regional Greenspace Initiative.

While at TPL, Angelou realized the disconnect between the land being preserved and the education of people about that preservation—particularly as it related to our next generation. This was the impetus for the Greening Youth Foundation. Under her leadership, the Foundation has taken up the charge of providing environmental access to underrepresented children and young adults through its Public School Initiative, Youth Conservation Corps, Urban Youth Corps and West Africa programs.



Workshop Leaders and Panelists: Full Speaker List Coming Soon!

Megan Mayhew Bergman, Journalist and Author: Megan Mayhew Bergman  is the Director of Middlebury’s Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, and formerly served as the Associate Director of Bennington College’s MFA program. She has published two books of fiction, Birds of a Lesser Paradise and Almost Famous Women, and writes a column for The Guardian on the American south and climate change. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Best American Short Stories, Tin House, Oxford American, and elsewhere. 

Dr. Bertice Berry, Sociologist and Author: Sociologist, Bertice Berry, PhD. is a best-selling author and award winning lecturer. She has been named Comedian of The Year, Lecturer of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year. She has published 11 best-selling books has won numerous awards for both her writing and presentations. Berry has had her own nationally syndicated television show and has hosted, interviewed and made numerous appearances on television and radio, including a variety The Tonight Show, Oprah Winfrey,  Crossfire, 20-20, NPR, PBS, Comedy Central and CNN. Berry has used her unique talents as a writer and ghost writer on a wide range of topics including race and gender issues, diversity, loves, slavery and the abolitionist movement, servant leadership, and transformational leadership. Berry her doctoral degree from Kent State University at the age of 26 and still sees her most fulfilling achievement and role in life as that of mother to her 5 adopted children. Berry believes that every one of us has been given a unique purpose and it is our obligation to find it and use it to improve first our own self and then for those we live and work with.

“If you ain’t dead, you ain’t done,” a character in one of Berry’s novels says.

Hannah Bonvechio, Youth Advocate: Hannah started her Trash for Turtles project in 2013 after meeting an injured green sea turtle at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center named Mahi. Through various fundraising efforts, including selling reusable bags of her own design and writing a children’s book Threatened Animals from A to Z, she has been able to raise over $6,500 for sea turtle conservation and marine debris efforts in Georgia. She has organized over 50 clean up events, started a recycling program in her elementary school, and continues to spread her message through her Earth Inspired Kids blog and community presentations. Hannah is now raising money for sea turtle and shark tagging efforts in Georgia.

Chandra Brown, Influence Advocacy LLC: Chandra is a seasoned advocacy and communications strategist. She lucked into her dream job, fresh out of grad school. As a Riverkeeper in rural Georgia for nearly 10 years, she connected people and policy. In 2011, she began consulting for an array of conservationists, public interest law firms, and foundations. She helps her clients develop strategies to influence policy and shape public discourse. Chandra uses a mix of technological savvy, research skills and good old-fashioned ground truthing to develop and implement winning advocacy campaigns.

Kristy Burja, One Hundred Miles: 
A deep love for the environment led Kristy to a degree in Biology at Florida Gulf Coast University. Kristy has taught science and environmental education as both a Peace Corps member stationed in Kenya and in North Carolina as an AmeriCorps member.  Following these experiences, Kristy assumed several environmental education positions across the southeastern US. Kristy attended the University of Florida for graduate studies where she focused on environmental education, tropical conservation, and sustainable development.

Shelby Buso, US Green Building Council: Shelby has been with USGBC since July 2016. Previously she managed the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge as the Director of Sustainability for Central Atlanta Progress. Shelby holds a Juris Doctor and Masters of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. Her undergraduate studies were at Wake Forest University.

SFC (RET) Truck Carlson: Truck Carlson is a native Georgian and a Veteran of 30 years in the military.  He spent 8 years in the Marine Corp and 22 years in the Army.  He was a Stinger Missile Operator in the Corps, and a Behavioral Health Specialist in the Army.  He served in Desert Storm/Shield, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Truck currently is the Program Coordinator for Veterans For Clean Water for the Savannah Riverkeeper. His program conducts weekly water sampling of the Savannah River at 22 different points from May until the end of September.

Emily Cedzo, Coastal Conservation League:
 Based in Charleston, SC, Emily directs the Land, Water & Wildlife program at the Coastal Conservation League. Her work includes a broad portfolio of issues that touch on water quality and quantity, beach and marsh management, wildlife protection, habitat conservation, resilience, and more. Prior to her time at the Conservation League, Emily obtained her Master of Environmental Management and certificate in Community-Based Environmental Management from Duke University’s Nicholas School. She received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Emily has worked with Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, North Carolina Sierra Club and North Carolina Sea Gran

Stephanie Chewning, One Hundred Miles: Stephanie is currently the Coastal Education Coordinator at One Hundred Miles. Her love for the ocean started at a very young age on the beaches of Stone Harbor, New Jersey searching for and collecting shells with her Nana. This childhood passion never stopped, and perused her interest in the outdoors by pursing a degree in Marine Science from American University in Washington D.C. After college, Stephanie spent time teaching grade school student’s environmental science in Florida, California, and Georgia.  Ultimately settling on the Georgia Coast, she worked at Driftwood Education Center on St. Simons Island as the Program Director and then with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as a Naturalist on Sapelo Island.

Dorinda Dallmeyer: At the end of 2018, Dorinda G. Dallmeyer retired after 48 years at the University of Georgia. She holds three degrees from UGA — B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology and a J.D. As a UGA staff member, she conducted research in marine biology and reef ecology, served as associate director of the Dean Rusk Center for International Law, and directed UGA’s Environmental Ethics Certificate Program. Since 2001 she has focused her research and writing on Southern environmental history. In 2005 the Southern Environmental Law Center presented her with the Phillip Reed Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing about the Southern Environment. Among her current projects is a forthcoming documentary on naturalist William Bartram.

Hamilton Davis, Southern Current LLC: Hamilton is the Director of Regulatory Affairs for Southern Current LLC, a leading solar developer in the residential, commercial and utility-scale markets with over 400 megawatts of installed system capacity currently providing power to customers across the Southeastern United States. Hamilton earned a B.S. from Clemson University and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law. His current focuses include multiple state and federal utility proceedings related to avoided costs, integrated resource planning, interconnection, rate design, and PURPA. Prior to joining Southern Current in March of 2018, Hamilton spent a decade working on clean energy policy and regulatory issues for the SC Coastal Conservation League.

Megan Desrosiers, One Hundred Miles: Megan Desrosiers is the founding President/CEO of One Hundred Miles, Georgia’s coastal advocacy organization. Megan spends her time working in local communities, on regional collaboration projects, and lobbying in Atlanta. Megan also serves on the leadership team of the Georgia Water Coalition and an advisory board of local experts for sealevelrise.org. Before becoming coming to Georgia’s coast, Megan spent 10 years at the Coastal Conservation League (CCL) in South Carolina. She was instrumental in efforts to conserve land in the Ashley River Historic Corridor and on Johns Island. She also worked to establish the organization’s first climate and energy and agriculture program agendas. Megan has worked through the years to help start up organizations form and become sustainable coastal advocacy partners in Georgia and South Carolina. In addition to forming One Hundred Miles, she worked with a team to start GrowFood Carolina, South Carolina’s first local food hub, and collaborated with a group of diverse leaders to initiate Charleston County’s Greenbelt Program.

Jessica Diaz, Coastal Conservation League: Originally from Columbia, SC, Jessica Diaz graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Genetics and Plant Biology.  She joined the Coastal Conservation League in February 2012 as the Sales and Marketing Manager for GrowFood Carolina, and works closely with chefs and farmers to bring local farm products to restaurants in the Lowcountry.  She also serves on the Board of Directors of Slow Food Charleston as the Chair of the Ark of Taste Committee.  Jessica is a DHEC Certified Mushroom forager and enjoys cooking at home with all of the fresh, local produce she gets to take home from the farms.

Paula Eubanks, Artist: Paula Eubanks is an artist and former art educator at Georgia State living on St. Simons Island. She is truly Georgia-grown—BFA, MFA and EdD from the University of Georgia. She grew up in Jesup and spent a lot of time on the Georgia coast as a child, returning whenever she could. She received a Georgia Sea Grant and has exhibited her work in galleries and museums in the South. Her work is included in museum and corporate collections. This year she produced an exhibition about sea level rise filled with images that imagined historic structures on the GA coast such as Fort Pulaski after sea level has risen considerably.

Jill Gambill, University of Georgia Marine Extension and Sea Grant
Jill Gambill is Public Service faculty at the University of Georgia, serving as the Coastal Community Resilience Specialist for the University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. Jill has a Master of Arts degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney in Australia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Cardiff University in Wales. Jill is co-author of Georgia’s first sea level rise plan, which was unanimously adopted by Tybee Island City Council in April 2016. This project received the National Sea Grant Program’s highest award for outreach in 2014, as well as regional and state recognitions. In 2016, Jill and her project partners received Georgia Trend magazine’s “Four for the Future” Award for their efforts to improve flood resiliency in St. Marys, GA. Jill also collaborated to receive the 2011 CASE National Gold Award for media relations following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Marcus Kenney, Artist: Originally from rural Louisiana, Marcus has lived in Savannah Georgia for 15 years. He earned a MFA from the Savannah College Of Art and Design. Kenney works in many mediums including collage, sculpture, paint, photography and installation. His work has been exhibited in New York, London, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Paris, New Orleans and St Louis. He has been included in numerous group shows, art fairs, and solo exhibitions including a major ten year survey featuring nearly 50 works. His work rests in many private and public collections throughout the world. Kenney has been featured in Art in America, Artpapers, NY Times, South Magazine, Oxford American, New American Painter, Boston Globe, Atlanta Journal Constitution and New York Arts Magazine.

Atiba Mbiwan, The Zeist Foundation: Atiba attended Brown University and graduated with a B.A. degree in Economics and Urban Studies, including a semester at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is also an alumnus of the Education Policy Fellowship Program managed by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Atiba serves on the Board of Directors of the Grant Park Conservancy, Community Farmers Markets and the East Coast Greenway Alliance. He dedicates much of his civic time to the BRAG Dream Team, a statewide youth cycling program in Georgia.

Rev. Kate McGregor-Mosley, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light: Rev. Kate has served as GIPL’s Executive Director since 2014, having previously served as GIPL’s Director for Congregational Support. Kate is an ordained Presbyterian minister, a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur) and previously served on the pastoral staff of Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta. Kate also has directed a Presbyterian environmental organization, Earth Covenant Ministry, which eventually merged with GIPL. She is passionate about caring for God’s creation and bringing other people of faith together in this shared responsibility to steward the Earth in meaningful ways. Recently, she was honored as one of three Power Women in Atlanta by the Solutions Project, highlighting her commitment to securing clean energy for all. Kate lives in Decatur with her husband and three children.

Sean Russell, Youth Ocean Conservation Summit: Sean has dedicated his professional career to empowering young people with the tools and motivation they need to become involved in leadership initiatives. Sean is the founder and director of the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, an annual event held at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, FL which is also modeled in cities across the United States in partnership with conservation organizations. Through this program, Sean works to empower young people with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to address ocean conservation issues in their local communities. After graduating from the University of Florida, Sean has worked with a diverse set of organizations to elevate the roll of youth leadership in the fields of marine science, education, and conservation. Currently Sean serves as the Manager for the EarthEcho Water Challenge, a program designed to connect people around the world to their local waterways through water quality monitoring and equip them with the tools to take action to protect their water resources. Sean also works with SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment on initiatives designed to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders. Learn more about his work at www.seandr.com and follow him @seandrussell.

Abby Sterling, Manomet: Abby works in Georgia and South Carolina on Manoment’s shorebird conservation efforts. She recently earned a doctorate from the University of Georgia, where she studied how habitat and landscape features influence beach nesting shorebirds and chick survival. Prior to her studies, Abby lived on Little St. Simons Island in Georgia, where she worked as a naturalist guide and assisted on a variety of environmental projects, educated visitors about coastal ecology, and explored the Southeastern coast. Before migrating south, Abby grew up in Western New York and attended SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry for her B.S. in environmental biology.

Jonathan Tourtellot, Destination Stewardship Center
Jonathon is the founder, Sponsor, CEO, and Portal Editor in Chief of Destination Stewardship Center. He specializes in sustainable tourism and destination stewardship, as a journalist, editor, and consultant. With the support of his wife, Sally Bensusen, he originated the concept of geotourism as defined by National Geographic: “Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” Jonathan founded and ran National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations for nine years. There he instituted the National Geographic Geotourism MapGuide program and the landmark Destination Stewardship surveys published in National Geographic Traveler, 2004-2010. He now contributes blog posts to National Geographic Voices.