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It Pays to be Nice Speaker Biographies

Katie Arkema
Katie Arkema
Science Coordinator and Postdoctoral Ecologist
Natural Capital Project

Katie Arkema is an ecologist with the Natural Capital Project, an innovative partnership among Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund aimed at aligning economic forces with conservation. The vision of the Natural Capital Project is a world in which people and institutions recognize the services provided by the earth’s ecosystems as capital assets, appreciate the vital role they play in supporting human well-being, and incorporate the intrinsic and economic value of natural capital into decision making.

Arkema coordinates the development of a set of bioeconomic models for mapping and valuing the services provided by terrestrial ecosystems (e.g., carbon storage and sequestration, freshwater for irrigation and drinking, and crop pollination). She is also working on a new set of models for quantifying services that flow from coastal and marine environments (e.g., coastal protection, tourism, and recreation).

Before joining the Natural Capital Project in 2008, Arkema completed her doctoral research at UC Santa Barbara in marine ecology. Arkema studied underwater forests of giant kelp in Southern California, which are homes to numerous economically and ecologically important marine species. While at UC Santa Barbara, she co-chaired and secured the first long-term funding for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE). Founded in 2001, WiSE promotes equal opportunity for women and girls and works to improve their career advancement. Arkema has a BA in ecology with a minor in Latin American studies from Princeton University. She welcomes questions about the Natural Capital Project, her research, and WiSE at karkema@stanford.edu.

Julie Trell
Julie Trell
Head of Global Integrated Philanthropy
Salesforce.com Foundation

Julie Trell joined the Salesforce.com Foundation in July 2000. The foundation was launched in 2000, less than a year after the launch of parent company Salesforce.com, a U.S.-based provider of on-demand customer relationship management solutions.

From its inception, the Salesforce.com Foundation used a unique model of integrated philanthropy—one designed to grow with the company. The 1/1/1 percent model disseminates the financial and intellectual wealth of the organization to those most in need:

  • 1 Percent Equity: Using one percent of founding stock to offer grants and monetary assistance to those in need, especially to support youth, technology, and employee-inspired volunteer projects.
  • 1 Percent Product: Facilitating the donation of Salesforce.com licenses to nonprofits, helping them to increase their data management and overall operating effectiveness and focus more resources on their core mission.
  • 1 Percent Time: Finding meaningful activities for Salesforce.com employees to use their six paid days off a year to devote to volunteerism and promoting a culture of caring.

Trell oversees the time and equity portions of the foundation model. She is engaged with activities involving global employees and supporting their requests to make a difference in their community, including matching donations, Dollars for Doers, Community Action Team grants, volunteering, as well as building relationships with nonprofits and sharing this model with like-minded businesses (www.sharethemodel.org).

Leveraging her experienced education background, Trell developed and delivers the Salesforce.com Foundation signature youth entrepreneur program, BizAcademy, which offers a hands-on program for at-risk youth to experience the business world, network with employees and partners, and participate in challenging internships. She recently spent a year in Asia developing programs and further incorporating the integrated philanthropy model to the Salesforce.com offices and extended communities.

Prior to joining the foundation, Trell was a middle school technology specialist, developing curriculum and coaching teachers on how to integrate technology effectively. She has a BA from Emory University and a master’s degree in early childhood development. She was also named Apple Distinguished Educator in 1998.

Ophelia  Basgal
Ophelia Basgal
Vice President, Civic Partnership and Community Initiatives
PG&E

Ophelia Basgal has held this vice president position since September 2005. She is directly responsible for managing the company’s $18.7 million charitable contributions program, which includes the award-winning Solar Schools Program and several other signature projects such as the Solar Habitat Program. She also oversees the employee volunteerism program for PG&E’s 20,000 employees and community engagement programs and partnerships with community-based organizations. Prior to joining PG&E, Basgal served as executive director of the Alameda County Housing Authority for 27 years, managing an annual budget of more than $90 million and was a nationally recognized leader and frequent speaker on the nation’s housing and community development policies and programs. She served on the bipartisan Congressional Millennial Housing Commission and was a member of several national housing organizations.

Basgal’s many professional and community affiliations include current terms on the board of retirement of the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association, a $5 billion public pension fund at which she recently completed a term as chair; the Corporate and Diversity and Inclusion Committees of the Council on Foundations; the Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Leadership Council; the California Supreme Court Historical Society, where she serves as vice president; and the advisory board for the University of California Puente Project. Her previous board affiliations include the Oakland Museum of California Foundation; Merritt Community Capital Corporation, a tax credit equity fund; and the advisory council to the National Housing Conference’s Center for Housing Policy. She also served as a member of the State of California’s Commission on Judicial Performance.

Basgal has been recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the most influential Hispanics in the San Francisco Bay Area; by Mexican American Community Services Agency, Inc. as the most influential Hispanic in the Silicon Valley corporate category; and by Girls Inc. of Alameda County with a 2007 Smart Leadership Award. She has a BA with distinction from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in social welfare administration from UC Berkeley.

Stephen  Bushnell
Stephen Bushnell
Senior Director
Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company

Stephen Bushnell is responsible for the development of innovative new products, services, and information for emerging industries. Bushnell is a graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, with a BS in management. He joined Fireman’s Fund in 2004, bringing more than 30 years of insurance industry experience, having held underwriting, marketing, and management positions in a number of companies.

Bushnell recently developed the first green building insurance coverage program in the industry. He also contributed to the Ceres report, “From Risk to Opportunity: How Insurers Can Proactively and Profitably Manage Climate Change,” which gained national media attention. He has spoken on the unique risks of green buildings at several conferences, including NeoCon (2006, 2007, 2008), Greenbuild (2006 and 2007), Ceres, Green$ense, and BOMA International.

Debora Bonner
Debora Bonner
Program Director, Corporate Social and Environmental Advisory Services
Environmental Resources Management

Debora Bonner is a partner in Environmental Resources Management’s supply chain and sustainable business solutions practice area.

Except for a much enjoyed and valued sojourn at the Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College between 2003–05, she has spent the better part of the last 15 years of her professional life focused on strategic and operational planning, performance improvement, and organizational development in the high technology, consumer products, and oil and gas sectors.

Her primary focus is helping clients realize business value by integrating systematic management of environmental and social risks and opportunities into core and supporting operations, processes, and practices across the business value chain.

Ms. Bonner received an MBA and BA in environmental studies from Mills College. She also received a BA in industrial/ organizational behavior from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Forrest Hill
Forrest Hill
Senior Portfolio Manager
Harrington Investments

Forrest Hill is the senior portfolio manager at Harrington Investments, where he specializes in socially responsible investing and shareholder advocacy. Hill is currently working with the Calvert Foundation to develop a Community Development Fund to help provide resources and opportunities for affordable housing and economic development to the Bay Area’s underserved populations.

Hill has a PHD in biological oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He spent seven years as a research scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Institute of Theoretical Dynamics at UC Davis, quantifying the effects of habitat destruction on species diversity. He has published 15 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals on topics ranging from physiology and genetics to mathematical ecology and marine biology.

Prior to becoming an investment advisor, Hill spent several years as an environmental consultant on endangered species issues, with a focus on the restoration of salmon populations in California streams. He has also worked as a science advisor for several government and tribal agencies, including the California Department of Fish and Game, the Sonoma County Water Agency, and the Nez Perce Indian tribe. In 2006, he was the Green Party candidate for California Secretary of State. He currently serves on the board of Share First Oakland, a nonprofit corporation that distributes nutritious food to Oakland’s most vulnerable people.

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Last Updated: 7/31/13