7 Women Trailblazers Working in Environmental Sustainability


Written by Chante Harris, Associate Vice President, Capalino, and member of the Energy, Environment + Sustainability group that assists innovative companies looking to enter and grow in the New York market.

March 1st marked the first day of Women’s History Month, which recognizes the great contributions women have made to our nation. As an activist, I’ve always been inspired by the marine biologist and environmentalist Rachel Carson. Author of the ground-breaking Silent Spring, Carson is often recognized as the stimulus for today’s environmental movement. Just as Carson brought attention to some of the biggest environmental concerns in the 1960s, there are many great women today who are identifying and tackling ecological issues, in an effort to make our cities more sustainable and green.

In honor of this month’s celebration of women, here are a few pioneering women in environmental sustainability, both in and out of New York:

  1. Amanda Weeks: Amanda Weeks is the Co-founder of Industrial/Organic, an organic waste solutions provider that offers infrastructure-as-a-service to the waste industry. The company converts food scraps into high-value resources, in a distributed facility model. The mission of Industrial/Organic is to recover the resources spent on food that is wasted, and reuse them to create a more sustainable system for food and other consumer goods. Previously located in Brooklyn, Industrial/Organic recently received a seed round of funding  to open up a waste processing facility in Newark.
  2. Lauren Gropper: Lauren Gropper is the Founder & CEO of Repurpose. Spending her career focused on sustainability, Repurpose was born through her dream to create an everyday product that could impact millions of people. Realizing the devastating effect single-use plastics were having on the environment and the fact that no alternatives existed for the consumer, Repurpose decided to manufacture its own. The company’s mission to reduce the amount of plastics in our environment and offer guilt-free, renewable alternatives.
  3. Lynn Jurich: Lynn Jurich is the CEO and Co-founder of of SunRun, the nation’s largest dedicated provider of residential, solarstorage and energy services in the United States. Recognizing that upfront costs were a huge barrier to making solar mainstream, Sunrun allows homeowners to pay for the power, not the panels. Today with more than $3 billion in installed solar systems across 22 states and the District of Columbia, Sunrun is revolutionizing how consumers get electricity. Lynn was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2013 and Forbes’ Women to Watch in 2015.
  4. Tessa Cook: Tessa Cook is the Founder of OLIO, a free app that connects neighbors with local shops and cafes so that surplus food can be repurposed. This can be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from a baker, or the groceries in someone’s fridge when he/she plans to leave town.
  5. Megan Nunes: Megan Nunes is the Founder of Vinsight, an application that aggregates geospatial data, weather data, and ground sensor-based data to provide the wine industry with analytics on what is happening ‘on the vine’. Vinsight’s goal is to improve yield and revenue for grape growers, while providing ultimate insight and transparency to all areas of the value chain. After almost a decade-long career in the satellite industry, she turned her tech knowledge back home.
  6. Emily Kirsch: Emily Kirsch is the Co-founder and CEO of Powerhouse, an Oakland based co-working space and seed fund that houses and invests in intelligent energy entrepreneurs who build software-enabled solutions for the clean energy industry and incubators dedicated to solar startups. Powerhouse supports entrepreneurs building a future powered by clean energy. Powerhouse and its companies have contributed to the installation of more than 500 MW of solar in the US in 2014. Emily previously worked with Van Jones, former advisor President Barack Obama, to launch and lead the Green Jobs Corps, the Climate Action Coalition, and Oakland Solar Mosaic.
  7. Deepti Sharma: Our client, Deepti, is the Founder and CEO of FoodtoEat, a mission-driven company that teaches the owners of local food businesses, many from immigrant communities, to use technology to engage with customers and increase sales. FoodtoEat’s platform provides an infrastructure for small restaurants that have limited access to the customers that major brands serve. The company is helping sustainably-minded companies meet their social impact goals in New York City by making it easier to support diverse business owners.

With its 80×50 goals focused on sustainability as well as innovation incubators such as Urbantech NYC, Grand Central Tech, URBAN-X, and others, New York City continues to position itself as a hub for innovation. I look forward to seeing women continue to play a pivotal role in this movement.

For more information on how Capalino can help your company develop a sustainable business strategy, or enter and grow in the New York market, contact Chante Harris at chante@nullcapalino.com or 212.616.5851.

Energy, Environment + Sustainability Services

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