Environmental Leadership Chronicles

Environmental Leadership Chronicles is brought to you by the California Association of Environmental Professionals. We interview leaders in the environmental industry to share information about their career development beyond the technical work. This podcast is for anyone who is interested in any and all things within the environmental profession.

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Tuesday Apr 25, 2023

Corinne Lytle Bonine and Konnie Dobreva join the podcast to discuss the launch of the new AEP Mentorship Program.
The AEP Mentorship Program offers an opportunity to be both mentee and mentor at the same time and has been designed to provide maximum flexibility and opportunities for our members. The AEP Mentorship Program consists of both programmed and at-will opportunities. The at-will option will allow mentors to search our member database for potential mentors who have designated themselves to be interested in mentoring. The programmed option will guide either 1-1 Mentor/Mentee pairs or peer groups on a 9-session curriculum together. AEP knows that business is better with diverse teams and strongly believes that mentoring can be too.
Learn more here: https://www.califaep.org/mentorship_program.php

Monday Apr 17, 2023

In this episode, we feature Mikey Knab, Director of Policy at Climate Action Campaign. Mikey is a values-driven professional with over 15 years of leadership level experience in both non-profit organizations and for-profit companies.
He’s skilled at building teams, program and operation management, policy advocacy, strategic communication, and fundraising. He started working as a dishwasher when he was 15 years old. He worked his way up through all positions in restaurants, eventually working as Director of Operations for the Meza Family Restaurant Group, which he helped expand from one small unit in the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego to three units. Under Mikey's leadership, these units became certified Surfrider Ocean Friendly Restaurants, California State Senate Small Business of the Year award recipients, plastic-free and zero-waste champions, and San Diego Workforce Partnership Employer of the Year winners.
Mikey believes in an equitable and just world where all can thrive, and that is not possible without bold action to address the climate crisis as you’ll hear from him in this episode.

Wednesday Apr 12, 2023

In this episode, Corinne Lytle Bonine joins as a guest co-host and we feature Julie Johnstone, Associate Director of Design with Great Ecology. Julie is an accomplished landscape designer with 10 years of experience with a dual Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from Cornell University. Julie’s project experience includes master plans, feasibility studies, K-12/Higher Ed campuses and site design, park and trail planning/design, and commercial campus landscapes. Her current focus is on developing landscape designs and master plans which simultaneously address diverse community needs while promoting ecological balance and restoration. She has designed and implemented public participation strategies for comprehensive plans, waterfront master plans, and recreation feasibility studies. Julie uses her background in psychology, planning, and landscape design to promote cohesive and collaborative teams. While the practical elements of design and planning are at the forefront of her mind, Julie has a keen eye for design and enjoys conceptual design iterations – which she discusses in this episode.

Thursday Apr 06, 2023

This episode is a panel featuring Bill Halligan, Matt Klopfenstein, and Kristin Blackson discussing their work with the AEP Legislative Review Committee. 
Bill Halligan is Senior Director and Senior Environmental Counsel with Harris + Associates. Bill has prepared hundreds of environmental documents for a diverse range of projects throughout California. As a member (and former chair) of AEP’s Legislative Review Committee, Bill works directly with the State Legislature and AEP’s lobbyist on proposed legislation related to CEQA.  
Matt Klopfenstein is a partner at CalAdvisors and represents clients in legislative and regulatory arenas. He specializes in technology, energy, environment, water, transportation, and local government policymaking. Matt serves as the Legislative Policy Director and Lobbyist for AEP. 
We welcome back Kristin Blackson, Vice President of Environmental Planning with WSP and co-chair of the AEP Legislative Committee. Kristin has successfully advocated for revising and creating CEQA legislation that benefits practitioners—and the public—throughout California. She shares her expertise as a professor for the UCSD Extension CEQA Certificate Program.  
The Legislative Committee provides analysis, prepares comment letters, and conducts direct lobbying on legislative bills relating to CEQA. Bill, Matt, and Kristin discuss CEQA policy related to topics such as housing, noise ordinance, and sports.

Tuesday Dec 20, 2022

In this episode, Corinne Lytle Bonine joins as a guest co-host as we feature Shane Coopersmith, an environmental influencer known as Sustainable Shane.  
Shane grew up surfing in Carlsbad, California where his love for everything sustainable started at a very young age. Everything from beach cleanups to volunteering at local environmental organizations to just planting his own garden were his passions & purpose to protect our planet. Shane wanted to be part of something bigger and he went on to study Sustainable Design at UC Berkeley. At Berkley, he had some serious brain blasts and Sustainable Shane began to evolve. 
Today, Shane spends his days in San Diego as a Sustainability Guru. He is a high school Horticulture teacher where he is able to share his love of our planet with the future generation. He created Sustainable Shane to help spread awareness about sustainability and share tips on how to live a happier, healthier, eco-friendly lifestyle! 
Connect with Shane:

Friday Dec 16, 2022

In this episode, we feature Dr. Cindy J. Lin, the CEO and Co-Founder of Hey Social Good, a social impact tech company working to revolutionize social good for people, planet, and profit.
Dr. Lin is an ecologist, environmental engineer, environmental and data scientist, and expert on the environmental impacts of land use and human activities on ecological habitats. She previously worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she designed national environmental standards, worked on cutting edge research, implemented policy to address environmental pollution and sustainability, and managed multiple government and private entities to meet environmental standards. She was the US Regional Expert on the Clean Water Act, Expert Scientist with the U.S. Applied Climate Change National Work Group, Water Adviser at the U.S. Embassy, Beijing, and US EPA's Top Science and Policy Advisor on the US-China Team.Hey Social Good’s Social Good SaaS platform uses data analytics and machine learning to rapidly verify environmental and social practices adopted by private and public companies. The company makes it easy for businesses to meet company goals and new policy directives to credibly and transparently demonstrate their social impact footprint.
Hey Social Good verifies the environmental and social practices of public and private companies, and award medal rankings to sustainable and ethical companies. The platform’s 200+ decision points data model considers a company's social and environmental impact and how they link to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The data-driven information on social good companies help businesses adopt social good practices and consumers shop with purpose. 
A quick note: our co-host, Laurel, is on family leave and returning to the podcast next year. We will have guest co-hosts joining the podcast over the next few months.

Tuesday Nov 15, 2022

In this episode, we feature David Hodgins, the founder and CEO of Sustento Group and Executive Director of the Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge. 
With more than a decade of experience in project development, program delivery and policy implementation, David Hodgins is a recognized leader in the sustainable real estate field. He began his career with the Clinton Climate Initiative, where he led private sector project development for three years. Building on the perspective he gained through that work, he founded sustainability services company Sustento Group in 2011, which serves as program manager for the Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge. 
David has worked with a diverse set of clients, from federal, state and local governments to global lenders, investors and asset managers, utilities, advocates, national labs and affordable housing developers. He has contributed to the development of a range of industry standards and resources, including the Department of Energy’s Asset Score Audit Template, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Energy Performance Contracting Toolkit and several ASHRAE standards. 
A sought-after speaker and recognized leader in the sustainable real estate world, David holds an MBA and a master’s in real estate development from the University of Southern California, as well as a bachelor’s in business economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). 

Thursday Sep 29, 2022

In this episode, we host a panel with members from AEP’s Climate Change Committee – Michael Hendrix, Jennifer Reed, and Rich Walter. The Committee consists of leaders of climate action planning practices from consulting firms and agencies that have lead many of the local GHG reduction planning efforts across California. The Committee focuses on advancing the professional practice of local climate action planning through periodic publication of white papers and conference presentations, as well as interaction with state, regional and local agencies. The panel discusses why they joined the climate change committee, the contributions they have made and how the committee has impacted their careers and lives.
Michael Hendrix a leading California climate change scientist and climate action planner with over 26 years of experience. He has authored or provided technical oversight of 72 climate action plans throughout the United States.  He is the recent recipient of the AEP "Professional Achievement Award” – and is current Chairperson for the AEP Climate Change Committee where he provides leadership within AEP on the issues of climate change risks, adaptation, resiliency, and analysis of greenhouse gas emissions.
Jennifer Reed leads Dudek’s air quality services team and has over 15 years’ experience. Jennifer specializes in air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, health risk assessment, and energy technical analyses. In addition, Jennifer teaches an air quality and GHG emissions course for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, is an active member in AEP’s Climate Change Committee, and has demonstrated success in relaying technical analyses in a way that is easy to understand.
Rich Walter has 30 years of experience in environmental planning, compliance, permitting, and mitigation. Rich leads the ICF Climate Action Planning practice which has developed climate action plans, GHG inventories for hundreds of communities across the U.S., general plans, and studies of adaptation to sea level rise. He is key author for the AEP white papers on climate action planning and the California Air Pollution Control Officer’s Association white papers on CEQA and Climate Change and on Climate Change and General Plans.

Wednesday Sep 28, 2022

In this episode, we feature Tania Treis and Susanne Heim, Co-Owners and Principals of Panorama Environmental, to discuss their leadership approach to running an environmental consulting firm. 
Tania is the Founding Principal of Panorama and specializes in CEQA, NEPA, and permitting compliance. She leads Panorama’s services in solar energy, fire and fuels, and water utility sectors. She is recognized for her strategic insight and creativity in finding solutions for complex projects and programs. Tania’s vision for Panorama has been to create a company that serves clients with a highly focused and intelligent team of professionals who care deeply about their work and bring success to every project, while also being a great place to work. As an owner of Panorama, she oversees the company’s overall business strategy, finances, and information technology. 
Susanne is a Principal and co-owner of Panorama with 20 years of project and program management experience in the environmental field. Susanne has led CEQA, NEPA, and permitting efforts for electric utility, solar, geothermal, water utility, and watershed restoration projects throughout California, Nevada, and internationally. Susanne is recognized for her team leadership and ability to motivate teams to achieve goals. Susanne currently leads Panorama’s services in the geothermal, electric utility, and water resource sectors. Susanne’s role as an owner includes leading company operations and staff development. 

Tuesday Sep 06, 2022

This episode is a feature in our CEQA Series featuring Ethan Elkind. Ethan is the Director of the Climate Program at the UC Berkeley School of Law, with a joint appointment at the UCLA School of Law. He researches and writes on law and policies that address climate change. He previously taught at the UCLA law school’s Frank Wells Environmental Law Clinic and served as an environmental law research fellow.
His book, Railtown, on the history of the modern Los Angeles Metro Rail system was published by University of California Press in January 2014.  He is also a co-host of the weekly call-in radio show “State of the Bay” on the San Francisco NPR affiliate KALW 91.7 FM, airing Monday nights at 6pm, and a frequent guest host on KALW’s “Your Call” morning call-in show.
He received his B.A. with honors from Brown University and graduated Order of the Coif from the UCLA School of Law.

Friday Aug 26, 2022

This episode is the first in our Intergenerational Series featuring Corinne Lytle Bonine and her mother, Nancy Lytle.  
Corinne is a Vice President and the Director of Environmental Planning at Chambers Group, and a Senior Project Manager with over 16 years of experience. She has managed an array of NEPA, CEQA and State Environmental Policy Act projects. Her passion and focus have been on environmental permitting and compliance for utility-scale renewable and low-carbon energy and transmission projects. She served on the Technical Advisory Committee for the County of San Diego’s Comprehensive Renewable Energy Plan and currently sits on both the AEP State-level and San Diego Chapter’s Board of Directors.
Nancy Lytle has over 35 years of experience as a city planner and a community development manager. In November 2014, she retired as Assistant Vice President of Civic San Diego, a nonprofit agency established by the City of San Diego to perform economic and community development in targeted areas throughout the City. Prior to retiring, she worked as a Vice President at the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation, Assistant Director of Planning and Building for the City of Chula Vista, Planning Manager at the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, and Chief Planning Official for the City of Palo Alto. From 2000 to 2004, she was elected to and served on the Palo Alto City Council.
And a fun fact: both Corinne and Nancy graduated from UC Santa Barbara!

Monday Aug 08, 2022

La Mikia has over two decades of experience in leadership development, strategic planning, design thinking, grassroots community organizing, youth engagement, policy advocacy and systems change. A commitment to social justice and racial equity permeates each aspect of her personal and professional life.
​La Mikia supports organizations with developing, implementing, and assessing data-driven strategies, she designs and facilitates leadership development trainings, conducts equity assessments, and moderates important conversations around race, bias, and equity. Her expertise lies in helping companies effectively embed equity, inclusion, diversity, access and anti-racism into their leadership, policies, and procedures so they can best support and retain their people.​An Afro-Latina who was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, La Mikia is a first-generation alumna who has committed her life and career to developing leaders, investing in communities, and promoting equity. She holds Bachelors’ degrees in Ethnic Studies and Urban Studies & Planning from UCSD, dual Master's degrees in Public Policy and Urban Planning, and Certificates in Public Management, Political Management, and the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate from USC, where she serves as an adjunct faculty member at the Sol Price School of Public Policy. La Mikia also teaches Black, Latino and Latin American Relations courses in the Pan African Studies Department at Cal State Los Angeles.

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