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The Ocean Plastics Summit has attracted industry-leading advisors, practitioners and corporate leaders with real expertise in the fields of sustainability, ocean health and plastics. In developing the Summit, we’ve drawn on some of the most respected experts in the industry to ensure the best possible programming and experience.

Meet the team:


DR. MIKE BIDDLE, Managing Director, Evok Innovations

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Dr. Biddle started MBA Polymers over 20 years ago – literally from his garage. He grew MBA to the world’s leading multi-national company recovering plastics from end-of-life durable goods, such as computers, electronics, appliances, automobiles and now household waste. He and his team raised over $150 million in investment from angel, strategic, venture and private equity investors to eventually build out MBA processing capacity to over 300 million lbs/yr in Europe and China.

Before founding MBA Polymers, Mike worked for General Electric, Cummins Engine Company and Dow Chemical. Mike received a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Louisville and a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He was also a Sloan Fellow at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, graduating with an MS in Management Science.


MICAELA BULICH, Operating Advisor at CD&R; Formerly Supply Chain Director at GE, SABIC, Dupont; Board of Advisors, A.W.E.S.O.M.E

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Micaela has more than 30 years of experience as a strategy and execution leader of supply chain organizations in large, global and complex businesses. As vice president of global supply chain for GE Renewable Energy’s onshore wind business, she was in charge of supply chain strategy, sourcing and global procurement, planning, manufacturing, logistics, and environmental health and safety.

She also served in several other roles at GE businesses. Prior to joining GE, she spent 10 years at DuPont in supply chain and engineering roles. Her career began at United Technologies Sikorsky Aircraft as a flight controls engineer.

VALERIE CRAIG, Deputy to the Chief Scientist & VP, Operating Programs, National Geographic Society


Valerie develops and leads programs that translate the vision of the National Geographic Society into positive impact for the planet. Valerie joined National Geographic in 2011, supporting the Society’s ocean programs and Explorers, and leading the Lindblad-National Geographic Grant Fund. Her previous work includes TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, where she documented Japan’s role as a market for IUU salmon from Russia, produced the first analysis of US imports of coral and reef-associated species, and investigated existing and potential methods for monitoring illegal trade of tuna products. She has also worked with SeaWeb’s Seafood Choices Alliance, engaging actors across the seafood industry and ocean conservation community to find and create opportunities to make the seafood marketplace more sustainable. Valerie has a Masters in Environmental Management from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a Bachelor’s in International Relations from UC Davis.

BRIDGET CROKE, VP, External Affairs, Closed Loop Partners


Bridget leads external affairs including investor partnerships, industry partnerships, communications and special projects at the Closed Loop Partners. Bridget has been been working on sustainability, circular economy and turning waste into value for 20 years through organizations including Fair Food Project of Philadelphia, Recyclebank and Purpose before Closed Loop Partners.

APRIL CROW, Investors Relations and External Affairs, Circulate Capital

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As a globally recognized Sustainability leader, April has worked more than two decades throughout the value chain from manufacturing to customer and stakeholder management in a wide range of roles in Sustainability, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, and Quality.  She helped with the launch of Circulate Capital and leads Investors Relations and External Affairs.

Previously, April served as Senior Director, Environment & Sustainability for The Coca-Cola Company providing leadership for the company’s environmental platform. 

BRENDAN EDGERTON, Manager of Circular Economy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development


Brendan is the Manager of Circular Economy at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in Geneva, Switzerland. Since arriving at WBCSD in 2015, he has managed the delivery of the Practitioner Guide and the 8 Business Cases to the Circular Economy and contributed to the Environmental Priorities for Business in the Circular Economy and the CEO Guide to the Circular Economy.

Brendan also contributed to the development and launch of Factor10, WBCSD’s circular economy program. This program launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2018 with over 30 members, spanning across 16 industries and claiming over USD $1.3 trillion in annual turnover.

DR. JOHN R. EHRMANN, Co-founder and Senior Partner at Meridian Institute


John is a recognized leader in the field of facilitation and consensus building, with expertise and experience in environmental and natural resource issues, energy and climate change, health policy, science and technology, and the economic and social challenges associated with developing sustainable practices for communities and industries. Author of numerous articles on collaborative decision making. John holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Natural Resource Policy and Environmental Dispute Resolution.

DR. MARCUS ERIKSEN, Director of Research, Co-Founder at 5Gyres Institute


Marcus is an environmental scientist, educator and author committed to building stronger communities through art, science, adventure and activism.  His books chronicle rafting adventures down rivers and across oceans, and highlight his experience as a veteran of war and a scientists for conservation. 

He is the co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute, studying plastic pollution worldwide, and more recently co-founded LEAP LAB, a science center demonstrating the path toward urban resilience.

CYRILL GUTSCH, Founder, Parley for the Oceans

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Cyrill is the founder of Parley for the Oceans, an organization that aims to find innovative and practical solutions to address the problems that plague our environment—over-pollution, over-fishing, and estuary deterioration. He raises awareness for his cause, one collaboration at a time.

KEEFE HARRISON, CEO, Recycling Partnership


Since 1998, Keefe has been working across sectors to build stronger recycling programs – first at the collegiate, then the state, now the national level. Formerly she served as a technical assistance team member for the North Carolina Recycling Office, the communications director for the Association of Plastics Recyclers, a project consultant for EPA via Booz Allen Hamilton, and as a senior consultant at RRS where she led the team that built The Recycling Partnership model.  A nationally recognized author and speaker on environmental topics, Keefe has also spent time studying reindeer husbandry in Finnish Lapland, tagging green sea turtles in Costa Rica, and now raising a family in beautiful New Hampshire.

YARROW KRANER, Founder and CEO, HATCH Global and H360


Yarrow is the Founder of HATCH and H360, an Aspen Institute Fellow, and named 2015 top 100 creatives in the U.S. by Origins. As a Filmmaker, he has directed projects for Richard Branson, The Rock, P Diddy, and international brands. Yarrow founded HATCH, a network of influencers accelerating progress on solutions for global challenges. In 2016 Yarrow founded H360, an A.I. / machine learning platform as the ultimate engagement and collaboration engine. The platform is designed to unleash the potential of communities, corporations, and other organizations while, creating a "Network of Networks" by match-making resources for collaborations to improve the world.  Yarrow is featured in the book Talent for Humanity, has led think tanks with Intel, Hasbro, Ernst & Young, given talks at TEDx, Vivatech, EarthX, Day One, and Business Innovation Factory Summit (BIF).  

NICK MALLOS, Director, Trash Free Seas® Program, Ocean Conservancy


Nick is Director of the Trash Free Seas® Program at Ocean Conservancy. Nick oversees Ocean Conservancy’s work on marine debris which include the annual International Coastal Cleanup, its international plastics initiative and the Trash Free Seas Alliance® (a co-operative group of businesses, conservationists and scientists focused on reducing plastic inputs into the ocean by 50% by 2025).

JULIA NOVY- HILDESLEY, Professor of the Practice and Executive Director of Change Leadership for Sustainability Program, Stanford University

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Julia is Professor of the Practice and Executive Director of Stanford's Change Leadership for Sustainability Program, which includes the Sustainability Science and Practice Interdisciplinary Masters degree. Her research and teaching focus on business strategies, leadership approaches and cross-sector partnerships that spur global development and align systems with the goal of intergenerational well-being. The Change Leadership Program explores the mindsets, knowledge and tools leaders need to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and resilient society. These include understanding complex systems, leading organizational change, and innovating in complex systems at scale in order to shift sub-optimal status quo orientations toward sustainability. 

SUSAN RUFFO, Managing Director of International Initiatives at the Ocean Conservancy


Susan leads the organization’s global efforts to promote a healthy ocean, on issues such as ocean acidification, marine plastics, and climate change.  Previously, Susan led the Vibrant Oceans portfolio for Bloomberg Philanthropies, supporting simultaneous reform of local and industrial-scale fisheries and development of financial strategies to ease transition to sustainable fishing.  From 2011 to 2015, Susan served as Associate Director for Climate Preparedness at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  There she led development and implementation of the climate preparedness pillar of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and worked with state, local, and tribal leaders to better prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change.  

ERIN SIMON, Director, Sustainability R&D, World Wildlife Fund

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Erin works to drive positive change across industries by leading WWF’s packaging and material science program. Key to conservation is the overall protection of the planet’s natural resources, and packaging plays a vital role in that.

Through her efforts, she works with business and industry to help them make informed, sustainable material choices for their products and packaging. Her work focuses on the major commodities that go into packaging, which come in many different forms and materials, and how to integrate sustainability into the decisions and trade-offs that must be evaluated across a product’s lifecycle.

Erin works with companies to strategically address their packaging work streams by focusing on developing transparency in the supply chain for the major packaging materials and pursuing strategies that reduce the environmental impact of these materials through responsible sourcing.

Prior to joining WWF, Erin worked at Hewlett Packard for 10 years as a packaging engineer responsible for the design and implementation of laser jet printer and media packaging. Her expertise is in material science, design innovation, procurement, manufacturing, logistical and point of purchase aspects of packaging.



Martin worked at McKinsey for 20 years, most recently as Director of the Center for Business and Environment, particularly focusing on water management, circular industrial systems and ecosystem preservation. Previously he served as a leader of McKinsey’s Transport and Infrastructure Practice and as managing partner in McKinsey's Munich Office. He is an initiator of the 2030 Water Resources Group and a long-time strategic advisor to the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. He has a background of geology and economics, is professor at the University of Innsbruck and author of the book “A Good Disruption – Redefining Growth in the Twenty-first Century”. He is a father of six, an organic farmer and an avid alpinist. Together with Jeremy Oppenheim, he is a founder and managing partner of SYSTEMIQ.  

JIM SULLIVAN, Head, Global Sustainability Innovation Accelerator, SAP


Jim is responsible for ensuring SAP’s vision to ‘help the world run better and improve people’s lives’ empowers our customers to solve some of the world’s biggest economic, environmental and societal issues via SAP’s collaborative network and technology solutions. Prior to joining SAP, Jim was part of the executive management team at Clear Standards where he was responsible for strategy and advisory services. Formerly Director and acting Branch Chief at US EPA, Jim is an internationally recognized expert on policies and measures to combat climate change. Prior to his service at EPA, Jim worked at Skadden, Arps.

Jim is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Climate Change Officers and sits on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Brands. He represents SAP on the Corporate Advisory Council of The Sustainability Consortium and various technical workgroups of the World Resources Institute. Jim holds a M.Sc. from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Brown University.

JOHN WARNER, President and CTO, Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry

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A recognized leader in the field of facilitation and consensus building, with expertise and experience in environmental and natural resource issues, energy and climate change, health policy, science and technology, and the economic and social challenges associated with developing sustainable practices for communities and industries. Author of numerous articles on collaborative decision making. Holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Natural Resource Policy and Environmental Dispute Resolution.

TENSIE WHELAN, Director, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business; Former CEO, Rainforest Alliance


Tensie joined New York University Stern School of Business in November 2015 as Clinical Professor of Business and Society. She leads the School’s efforts around issues of business and sustainability, driving research and coursework on natural resource-based challenges including climate change, water scarcity, biodiversity loss, poverty and unsustainable development.

Professor Whelan also launched Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business, whose mission is to ensure current and future business leaders develop the knowledge and skills to embed sustainability in core business strategy so they can reduce risk; create competitive advantage; develop innovative services, products, and processes; while building value for society and protecting the planet.

ANDREW WINSTON, Author, “The Big Pivot” and “Green to Gold”

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Andrew is a globally recognized expert on how companies can navigate and profit from humanity’s biggest challenges. Andrew’s first book, Green to Gold, was the top-selling green business title of the last decade, selling over 100,000 copies in seven languages. Inc. Magazine included Green to Gold on its all-time list of 30 books that every manager should own.

His latest book, The Big Pivot, has been selected among the "Best Business Books of 2014" by Strategy+Business magazine. The book provides a practical roadmap to help leaders build resilient, thriving companies and communities in a volatile world. He is also author of the Harvard Business Review Magazine cover story, “Resilience in a Hotter World.”

As founder of Winston Eco-Strategies, Andrew’s views on strategy have been sought after by many of the world’s leading companies, including Boeing, HP, J&J, Kimberly-Clark, PepsiCo, PwC, and Unilever.visor: Boeing, HP, J&J, Kimberly-Clark, PwC, and Unilever.

JEFF WOOSTER, Global Sustainability Leader, Dow

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Jeff is the global sustainability director for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. In this role, he collaborates with the entire value chain to promote and improve the sustainability value of plastic packaging. He is the past president of AMERIPEN, and is on the Board of Directors for GreenBlue. He serves on the steering team for the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance signature initiative on marine debris and as Co-Chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Roadmap to Curb Ocean Waste (ROW) initiative. Additionally, Wooster serves as chair for American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division Packaging Team and is a member of the Flexible Packaging Association’s Sustainability Task Force.

LAUREN YARMUTH, Director of Circular Economy, IDEO

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Lauren is a systems thinker inspired by the potential embedded in complex issues, curious people, and new capabilities. Trained as an architect and seasoned as an entrepreneur, Lauren is skilled at unlocking new perspectives and designing for widely beneficial outcomes. Her work is grounded in regenerative design principles with an emphasis on global food systems and the built environment.

Lauren has been a leader in the sustainability industry since the early 2000’s. As a creative and strategic advisor to her clients and project teams, Lauren pushes the edges to help drive meaningful innovation and gain alignment around fundamentally better solutions to specific business challenges. She is also a passionate educator and public speaker, exploring provocative and disparate ideas to invite personal connection and new ways of thinking about value-adding processes.

Prior to IDEO, Lauren co-founded a prominent global sustainability consultancy which she ran for nearly a decade. She also served as long-standing faculty at Columbia University where she taught a masters-level course on sustainable technologies. Lauren holds a degree in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design.