Breakout Session & Panel Speakers

Josh McManus

Chief Operating Officer, Rock Ventures LLC

Josh McManus leads operations at Detroit-based Rock Ventures LLC, the organization that serves and connects entrepreneur and Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman and majority owner of the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert’s Family of more than 100 companies, as well as his investments, real estate purchases and community activities. McManus joined the Rock Ventures team in 2015.

McManus’ experience includes more than 20 years as a serial social and business entrepreneur. An innovator in entrepreneurial development, talent attraction and retention, placemaking and cultivating emerging leadership, McManus’ work focuses on creating opportunity and prosperity in post-industrial American cities. His work has taken him around the world for exploration and study and he’s helped build companies and community projects in Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Akron, and Detroit.

An insatiable reader, proud father, and prolific beard grower, McManus often says that he’s “living the dream” and he truly believes it. Nationally, he is a Marshall Memorial Fellow and a Next American Vanguard. Locally, he has helped in the formation of a variety of organizations and has served on a variety of institutional boards.

McManus is a regular public speaker with emphasis on informed urban action, talent attraction and retention, innovation and entrepreneurial development. His thoughts have been featured by Forbes, Fast Company, The Economist, Entrepreneur, GOOD, USA Today, The Huffington Post and even Garden and Gun.

 

 

Sean McNamara

Head of Strategic Growth, Enso.co

As Head of Strategic Growth at Enso.co, Sean’s charter is to help enso scale with soul. He’s constantly on the lookout for opportunities to accelerate social impact for enso, its partners, and clients. With 18+ years of strategic planning, brand building, and business development experience, he has architected campaigns for some of the world’s largest and most-respected brands, including Google, Whole Foods Market, AT&T, Microsoft, Sony, HBO, Walmart, and Moet & Chandon. Sean previously served as Partner, Chief Strategy Officer at Omelet, where he helped grow the agency more than 500% in under than five years. Prior to Omelet he held strategy, client service, and business development roles at Y&R and Grey in New York, and at MZ in Los Angeles. He holds a BA in Latin American Studies from Colgate University.  Learn more about Sean at his website www.SeanMMcNamara.com

 

 

Jessica Lawson

Co-Founder, Mariposa DR Foundation

Innovative non-profit co-founder and leader, Jessica is known for her ability to envision and realize successful outcomes in complex situations. Jessica has broad-based expertise in development issues and management with a proven ability to inspire passion and performance in people. She has built and led a stable nonprofit from scratch focused on poverty alleviation, women and girls’ rights/education, service-learning travel, and international volunteer programs. Jessica is a collaborative relationship builder adept at establishing and strengthening connections with all stakeholders. Also an experienced fundraiser, driving campaigns with deep understanding of best practices in donor stewardship. Jessica is a multicultural professional with knowledge gained from living and working in the Dominican Republic for +5 years.

 

 

Barrett Ward

Founder, FashionABLE

Barrett Ward is the founder & CEO of fashionABLE, a company creating sustainable business opportunities in Africa, especially for vulnerable women and women-run businesses. The fashionABLE line includes scarves and leather goods.

While living in Ethiopia, Barrett and his wife Rachel saw firsthand how extreme poverty forced too many young girls and women to make awful choices for money. When speaking to these women, they told him they wanted an opportunity to earn a living, not to be given charity, so he created a business that would give them a job. The images of young women roaming the streets for income motivated him to start fashionABLE, and as the company diversifies the ways they work with women, this core business continues to grow.

Prior to fashionABLE, Barrett was the founder of the Mocha Club. Mocha Club is a community of people giving up the cost of a few mochas a month to fund development projects in Africa. They work in five main project areas: Clean Water, Education, Economic Freedom, Orphan Care, and Healthcare. The community-based website allows members to start a team and invite friends to join them in giving up the cost of a few mochas a month to support their chosen project.

Barrett is a graduate of Indiana University and currently resides in Nashville, TN with his wife, and 3 beautiful daughters.

 

Rachel Taplinger

Sr. Manager, Corp. Social Responsibility, Revlon Inc.

Rachel Taplinger is a sustainability professional, passionate about making a global impact in her career and using business as a force for good. Rachel recently joined Revlon to launch their Corporate Social Responsibility efforts,  and prior served as a Manager of Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability at The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC). She supported the establishment of the company’s first-ever sustainability function with a focus on developing a comprehensive strategy that accounts for the environmental, social, economic and governance impacts. Collaborating across functions, regions and brands, she led the production of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 sustainability report. Most recently, she led the team in developing an energy strategy and established a 2020 net zero greenhouse gas reduction goal to help mitigate the company’s climate change impact.

 

Prior to working at ELC, she spent three years working in education reform at The New York City Department of Education and its nonprofit arm, The Fund for Public Schools. She also worked at Edelman in communications. Rachel has her MBA in sustainability and strategy from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University and a Bachelors in Psychology and Communications from Tufts University.

 

Ryan Derfler

Director of Customer Experience, Geneva Global

As Director of Customer Experience (CX) Ryan helps philanthropists learn how to leverage investments for maximum social impact using Geneva Global’s resources and full spectrum of services. Ryan provides guidance to individuals, corporations, and foundations seeking the next generation of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Prior to joining Geneva Global, Ryan spent eight years in business development for Cityteam International and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, where he built an arts and culture tourism social enterprise. He has served as a consultant to organizations such as Leadership Network and Christians in Commerce to better engage millennials in Silicon Valley. Ryan has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Lebanon Valley College, with follow-on studies in innovative networks, and gamification. He resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Whitney, and two young boys who often try to headbutt him when he leaves for work.

 

Will Anderson

Founder, Salemtown Board Co. and Maple Built

Will Anderson started a skateboard company, Salemtown Board Co. in 2012 trying to address the needs that he heard from his community in North Nashville. The need that was conveyed most clearly was that there were not enough positive after-school activities and that it was disproportionally difficult for young people to get jobs compared to other, higher income parts of the city. For the past five years Salemtown Board Co. has used the skateboard production process to not only hire young men but teach them how to be good employees and connect them with other jobs. In 2016 he and his brother started a non-profit named Maple Built to be able to provide more employment and learning opportunities for the young men of their neighborhood. Maple Built is a six month, woodworking apprenticeship for high school aged young men in North Nashville providing employment, job-training and mentorship. The aim is people focused community development that gives young men the opportunity to discover their potential and have actionable steps for achieving their vocational goals.
He and his wife Erica live right around the corner from the wood-shop in North Nashville.

Greer Tidwell

Director of Environmental Management, Bridgestone  Americas Tire Manufacturing Group

Greer Tidwell serves as Director of Environmental Management for Bridgestone Americas Manufacturing Group (Bridgestone), where he leads environmental performance, compliance, and reputation progress for the company’s tire manufacturing, testing and distribution facilities.

During his tenure with Bridgestone Americas, Tidwell has overseen the implementation of a number of programs and initiatives that contribute to the company’s leadership position in environmental sustainability, including the ISO14001 certification of all of the company’s tire manufacturing facilities. These 14 tire plants employee over 15,000 in six countries and include the first two LEED certified tire plants and the first Underwriter’s Laboratory zero landfilling certified factory in the world. Several Bridgestone plants have certified wildlife habitats used as community educational resources.

Tidwell’s public service experience includes serving as General Counsel for Tennessee’s Department of Environment and Conservation and as Chairman of the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board. His commitment to natural resource conservation and belief in the power of public/private partnerships is shown by his community service record: Board -National River Network;  President – Tennessee Wildlife Federation;  Co-Chair of the Nashville Green Ribbon Council Education Committee; Livable Nashville Natural Resources Committee;  Federal Advisory Council for TVA;  President – Friends of Radnor Lake.

Tidwell has degrees from Baylor University and Tennessee Technological University in engineering, and earned a Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University.  He is a native of Nashville and enjoys fishing, hunting, horse riding, and hiking with his wife and three children.

 

Jeff Gowdy

Founder & Lead Consultant, J Gowdy Consulting

Jeff’s environmental interest started in childhood when he earned the Eagle Scout rank in Clemson, SC. It has continued as an adult as an avid backpacker – he has hiked a majority of the Appalachian Trail. He has volunteered for numerous environmental groups including the Earthwatch Institute and the Appalachian Trail Club. Jeff graduated with honors from The University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering with a concentration in Management Systems. He graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management with a concentration in Strategy and an emphasis in Environmental Management. In 2005, Jeff worked for GreenOrder on the launch of GE’s ecomagination, which is often considered the first, key landmark corporate sustainability initiative in the US. In 2006, Jeff worked for BluSkye on the rollout of Walmart’s Sustainable Value Networks, which is often considered the second, key landmark corporate sustainability initiative in the US. Other key sustainability experiences include work with Home Depot, Bridgestone, Verizon, and World Wildlife Fund.