The National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM) is the largest professional association for corporate environment, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability decision-makers. We are dedicated to empowering our members to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces, and promote global sustainability.
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Key Practice Area - Leadership Development - NAEM's Women's EHS & Sustainability Leadership Roundtab
Key Practice Area: Leadership Development

NAEM's Women's EHS & Sustainability Leadership Roundtable

April 14-16, 2015

NAEM's Women's EHS & Sustainability Leadership Roundtable gives corporate EHS&S leaders the opportunity to Connect, Share and Grow. The program agenda was developed by a committee of corporate environment, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders to create a dynamic community of female leaders and to cultivate personal leadership skills through targeted learning sessions and discussions.

This unique event provided focused learning, while helping corporate EHS and sustainability women leaders strengthen and expand their professional networks. The event also offered take-away’s and development in skills such as leading and advancing complex business initiatives, maximizing your full potential, reducing your stress while increasing your productivity, engaging men as allies in the workplace, changing your organizational impact, and creating, cultivating, and sustaining vitality at work.


Download the presentations from NAEM's Women's EHS & Sustainability Leadership Roundtable. This content is available to NAEM members only; you must be logged in as a member to view it. If you are not an NAEM member and wish to join the Association, please contact NAEM at


Destination Chief Sustainability Officer: Revelations from an Uncharted Journey
From her arrival at the University of Virginia four decades ago with plans to study law yet graduating an architect, today Beth Heider finds herself Chief Sustainability Officer of one of the largest development and construction companies in the US. How did that happen? Beth will reflect on leadership lessons along her uncharted (and sometimes unchartered) journey and share her optimism for the destination, a regenerative future.

  • Elizabeth Heider, Chief Sustainability Officer; Skanska USA Inc.

Leading and Learning from Complex Business Initiatives - A Roadmap for Success
You are in a role to advance initiatives that will position your company to become a thought leader in your industry, form future regulation, or advance business objectives. Leading such an effort is complex. It requires strategic alliances, issue framing, clear communication, and collaboration among a wide variety of business partners. Come learn the importance of getting it right from the start and avoiding common pitfalls from senior executives who've gone through the process.

  • Gretchen Hancock, Leader, EHS Governance; General Electric Co.
  • Carol B. Cala, Vice President, Corporate Energy, Environment, Safety and Health; Lockheed Martin Corp.
  • Drena Howard, Director, Global Retail EHS; The Estée Lauder Co.'s Inc.

Special Luncheon Presentation: Realize Your Full Potential
Have you ever wondered why some individuals achieve tremendous success in life while others put forth great effort and still fail to maximize their talents or reach their full potential? Do you aspire to do better, be better and achieve more in every aspect of your life? The path that will change your future starts with believing in yourself. You have more in you than you think you have. Learn how to use it to change every aspect of your life.
Lionel L. Nowell III is a successful business executive and author of "You Are Better Than Your Best: The Secrets to Achieving a Successful and Happy Life...It All Starts With You." He is a retired senior vice president and treasurer of PepsiCo Inc., and currently serves as a director on the boards of American Electric Power, Bank of America and Reynolds American, Inc. All the proceeds from his book go to providing college educations to students who otherwise could not afford it.

  • Lionel L. Nowell, Board of Directors; Bank of America and American Electric Power (Bio)

Sustainable Leadership: Cultivating Vitality at Work
Leading today's organizations requires getting more done across time and distance, often under intense cost pressure. This creates both personal and organizational stress that can undermine productivity when it is needed most. Years of searching for “work-life balance” have resulted in little measurable improvement and the cult of “busy-ness” continues to consume us. This engaging, interactive session custom-designed by the global leadership consultancy, Conversant, will take a closer look at how to create, cultivate, and sustain vitality in organizations—those precious moments when we revel in a job well-done, feel energized and engaged by our work, and are proud to be part of a dynamic, successful team.

  • Jennifer Simpson, Chief Innovation Officer; Conversant

Managing the Corporate Ecosystem: Lessons Learned in Internal and External Stakeholder Management
Women working in the EHS and sustainability fields have an increasingly complex corporate ecosystems to navigate. Tensie will share lessons learned from 30 years of experience working with corporate internal stakeholders (from the C-suite to procurement to HR to sustainability) corporate supply chain partners, communities, NGOs, and governments. She will provide insights in how to engage and manage those relationships and highlight trends and innovations in corporate sustainability.

  • Tensie Whelan; President; Rainforest Alliance

Success Factors: Career Profiles of Women Leaders
This session will explore the skills and strategies current female corporate leaders have developed to advance to the heads of their teams and organizations. Hear what these leaders have learned along the way and the skills and attributes that have been pivotal in their success.

  • Suzanne Fallender, Director Global Women and Girls Program; Intel Corp.
  • Lisa French, Technical Director Guidance and Practice; International Integrated Reporting Council
  • Cheryl Roberto, Associate Vice President, Clean Energy; Environmental Defense Fund
  • Kathrin Winkler, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer; EMC Corp.

Custom Red Shoe Movement Event for NAEM
Expect to be energized and inspired! The session begins with an insightful luncheon keynote by Mariela Dabbah, Founder and CEO of the Red Shoe Movement called “Women Supporting Women for Career Success”. Mariela will lay the foundation for the afternoon with a discussion of how subconscious predeterminations influence your career, the power of language to create new realities well- aligned with your mission, ways to engage men as allies, and how to leave a legacy and change your organization's culture.
Following the presentation, participants will engage in two rounds of Mutual Mentoring Circles for meaningful conversations around topics of their choice, most relevant to their career needs. Attendees will come away from the session with an increased awareness of what women in positions of power must do to change their organization's culture, a sense of empowerment in their own knowledge and value, and specific answers to questions relevant to their career challenges.

  • Mariela Dabbah, Founder & CEO; The Red Shoe Movement
  • Susan Landon, Consultant; Red Shoe Movement
  • Annerys Rodriguez, Consultant; Red Shoe Movement

Speaker Bios

Carol Cala, Vice President, Corporate Energy, Environment, Safety and Health; Lockheed Martin Corp.
Carol Cala is the Corporate Vice President of Energy, Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) for Lockheed Martin Corporation. Carol oversees the ESH organization and Chairs the ESH Leadership Council that sets ESH corporate policies and direction. She evaluates the Corporation's ESH performance and provides leadership in establishing initiatives to improve corporate-wide performance; this includes Lockheed Martin positions on emerging regulatory and legislative ESH issues, and the Corporation's interface with public stakeholders on ESH issues.

Previously, Ms. Cala was the Vice President of Quality Assurance at Hasbro Inc. She was responsible for leading the regulatory compliance, product safety and reliability processes for the Girls, Boys, and Preschool categories of the Hasbro toy portfolio. Additionally, Carol was responsible for Quality Standards Management, New Product Development Support, Chemistry Lab Management and Product Environmental Sustainability.

Prior to Hasbro, Ms. Cala was the Director of Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability at Eastman Kodak Company, where she was responsible for the global regulatory & social compliance system of their $6B Consumer Digital Business. Carol enabled compliance and ‘beyond compliance' activities for new product development of Kodak's strategic and diverse digital product portfolio: digital picture frames, cameras, printers, and photo specialty products including photofinishing systems.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Cala served in several roles at Kodak including R&D, Manufacturing, Customer Service, and Marketing for digital, media, and traditional photographic products. The majority of her career has been focused on supporting regulatory compliance and environmental sustainability for business units, and she has received several business leadership recognitions including being named a finalist for the Jane Lanphear Legacy Award and receiving a Kodak Diversity Award.

Ms. Cala has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Chemistry and a Master's of Science degree in Professional Studies: Environment and Business Management from Rochester Institute of Technology and has completed Executive Development programs at Smith College and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Ms. Cala is a member of the Board for Sandia National Laboratories, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Mission Ready Sustainability Initiative (MRSI), and serves on the Chief EHS Officers' Council Executive Committee of The Conference Board. Previously, Carol served as Vice Chair of the Board of Director's for Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), Washington, DC, and was Co-Chair for the Foundation Board of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County, Rochester, New York.

Cheryl Roberto, Associate Vice President, Clean Energy; Environmental Defense Fund
Cheryl Roberto leads the national EDF Clean Energy Program. Through regulatory reform and new utility incentives, among others, the EDF Clean Energy Program aims to help modernize our outdated energy infrastructure, accelerate the deployment of cutting-edge, clean technologies into the nation' electric system and break down the regulatory and financial barriers to broad-scale adoption of renewable energy, energy efficiency and other innovative ways to generate, distribute and use energy. Prior to joining EDF, Cheryl served as the Commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) from 2008 to 2012, where she was the lead commissioner for PUCO's partnership with the United States Department of Energy combined heat and power pilot project. She was also Co-Chair of the 2012 National Electricity Forum, which centered on envisioning a intelligent, interactive and resilient electric grid.

Cheryl currently serves on the Executive Group of the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action network (SEEAction) and received the Inspiring Efficiency Leadership Award from the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance in January 2013. In addition to her experience as PUCO Commissioner, Cheryl was the head of the City of Columbus, Ohio Department of Public Utilities. During her four-year tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of municipal distribution utilities, she managed a team of over 1,300 employees, directed a successful water quality environmental initiative and completed the first restructure of utility rate models in two decades.

Cheryl holds a B.A. in Political Science from Kent State University, a J.D. from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a Certificate of Completion, Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education.

Drena Howard, Director of Global Retail Environmental Affairs; The Estée Lauder Co.'s Inc.
Drena Howard is the Director of Global Retail Environmental Affairs and Safety at The Estée Lauder Companies. She leads EHS training, education and communication initiatives for the ever- growing global retail channel. “I have the challenge of making safety sexy”, she says.

Drena's diverse experience includes international auditing, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, hazardous waste management, shipping, and sustainability. She is a Certified Safety Professional and holds a Master of Environmental Management and Master of Public Health from Yale University. In 2014, she was awarded the ‘Rising Star of Safety' by the National Safety Council.

Elizabeth Heider, Chief Sustainability Officer; Skanska USA Inc.
Elizabeth Heider is the Chief Sustainability Officer for Skanska USA supporting the development, design and construction of high performance green/LEED projects throughout their lifecycle. Her 35-year career encompasses all phases of design and construction from master planning through project closeout as architect, construction manager, cost manager and VE facilitator. She has presented papers on cost, value, eco-efficient building, and program management at some 100 international conferences.

Ms. Heider founded Skanska USA's Green Council which marshals all of Skanska's sustainable preconstruction and construction capabilities nationwide, encourages and supports training and technical competency, coordinating sustainable expertise and information. In addition to leading Skanska USA's eco-efficient building initiatives, Ms. Heider remains involved at the project level, participating in projects ranging from the Energy Optimization Curriculum for the United Nations School and value management work on the United Nations Renovation, both in New York City and pre-construction support of Skanska's largest Living Building, the Oregon Sustainability Center.

Heider was one of ten women named a "pioneer in green building" by the Green Economy Post and one of “the most powerful women in sustainability” by Green Building & Design magazine. Heider is also a Fellow at the American Institute of Architects and from 1999 to 2004 she was an Adjunct Professor at The Catholic University of America. She is an alumna of The University of Virginia and its Graduate Program in Venice, Italy

Gretchen Hancock, Leader, EHS Governance; General Electric Co.
Gretchen leads a globally-distributed team of EHS audit leaders that have responsibility for designing and implementing a risk-driven, compliance & management systems-based audit program in GE's operations. The team was created in late 2014 as part of GE's migration to an EHS shared service, and Gretchen and the team are responsible for driving business-focused outcomes that assure compliance, identify and mitigate risk, and ensure continuous improvement in GE's operations.

Formerly Gretchen had responsibility for driving simplification in GE's EHS programs and supporting efforts in legal simplification. She is a FastWorks coach and supports teams that are working through transactional processes to drive speed and agility. She led GE's migration to an EHS shared service operation.

Gretchen has also held responsibility for global company-wide energy and greenhouse gas emissions inventory and reduction programs under Ecomagination. In addition to these programs she also provided strategic direction and planning for the corporate EHS team. She managed EHS professional development & training activities.

From 2003 to 2006, Gretchen led air, transportation, and chemicals reporting compliance at GE Aviation. She provided hands-on assistance at facilities worldwide on issues including aircraft engine test cell permitting and compliance, implementation of hazardous materials transportation security rules, and compliance around complex chemical reporting regulations. Prior to 2003, Gretchen was the environmental program manager for GE's Aviation Services business, and joined GE as a site EHS manager in Goleta, California.

Prior to joining GE, Gretchen was a senior compliance auditor at Environmental Strategies Corporation (now a part of WSP). She led audit programs for numerous corporate clients of at operating facilities worldwide, both as part of standard compliance audit programs and also as part of acquisition and divestiture activities. She also gained experience in remedial investigations and feasibility studies, including human health risk assessment, while at ESC.

Gretchen received her B.S. in Geology from Dickinson College.

Jennifer Simpson, Chief Innovation Officer; Conversant
Jennifer Simpson is a Global Partner at Conversant where she serves as Chief Innovation Officer. Jennifer has dedicated her life and career to improving lives, strengthening communities, and adding value to organizations. She is responsible for developing innovative customer solutions and keeping our work on the cutting edge of business and science.

A dynamic leader, Jennifer has an impressive track record of engaging multiple stakeholders to produce results and accelerate business success. She specializes in translating organizational vision into practice, and mindfully managing change dynamics to build on and strengthen organizational capacity in times of transition.

Jennifer has developed and delivered high-ROI projects in business areas including: Finance, Human Resources, R & D, Service Operations, IT, Global Operations, and Executive Management in a wide range of Fortune 500 and Global Philanthropic organizations.

Jennifer’s lifework is to create a world where individuals thrive in healthy, rewarding, and successful organizations and communities. Jennifer is author or editor of two books and multiple journal articles and book chapters. Her varied background includes more than twenty years of experience working in and with organizations across the private, public, corporate, and not-for-profit sectors to create more meaningful and effective ways of living and working together; more than a decade of teaching university courses in communication and leadership disciplines; and a lifetime of bridging worlds in a way that capitalizes on the best in organizations to enhance creativity and stimulate whole system learning.

Jennifer holds a B.S. in communication and psychology from Syracuse University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she retains an adjunct faculty appointment.

Kathrin Winkler, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer; EMC Corp.
Transforming corporate mindsets about Sustainability has been both a personal and professional journey for Kathrin Winkler, who is Senior Vice President, Corporate Sustainability and Chief Sustainability Officer for EMC Corporation. As CSO for the world's leader in cloud computing, Winkler provides the vision, strategy and leadership for EMC's global sustainability initiatives. She chairs and collaborates with a virtual cross-functional team comprising EMC's Sustainability Leadership Council to integrate sustainability principles into the corporate culture, the business strategy, and day-to-day operations.

Winkler's passion in such topics as Sustainability in the Cloud, Sustainability Governance Models, and Sustainability as a Cultural Norm, has made her a frequent guest speaker in many forums. In 2010, she appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet to provide insight into how information technology is contributing to energy efficiency.

Winkler founded EMC's Engineering Green Team and its Design for Environment program while Senior Director with the Hardware Engineering Group. Prior to joining EMC in 2003, Winkler held senior positions at Renaissance Worldwide and Digital Equipment Corporation.

Winkler is a Director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), and a member of the Advisory Councils of the Product Stewardship Institute and the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan. In 2014, she was honored with the Anita Borg Institute 2014 Women of Vision Award for Social Impact in recognition of her contributions to innovation, leadership, and sustainability in the field of information technology.

Lionel L. Nowell, Board of Directors; Bank of America and American Electric Power
Mr. Lionel L. Nowell, III is a renowned board member, author, and speaker.

Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Nowell serves on the Board of Directors of American Electric Power Company, Bank of America, Darden Restaurants, and Reynolds American. In 2013, he was selected to the National Association of Corporate Directors Directorship 100, which recognizes the most influential people in the boardroom community.

Author of the self-empowerment book entitled “You Are Better Than Your Best,” Mr. Nowell meticulously guides readers through proven techniques that describe how a successful, happy, and meaningful life is attainable by anyone who possesses the three D's – Desire, Determination, and Dedication.

Mr. Nowell is also a sought after public speaker who over the past 30 years has passionately mentored and assisted numerous people as they pursued, and achieved, their dreams, goals, and ambitions.

Mr. Nowell currently lives with his wife (Denise) in beautiful Marco Island, Florida where he is writing his second book, which is due to be published in the fall of 2015.

Lisa French, Technical Director Guidance and Practice; International Integrated Reporting Council
Prior to joining the IIRC, Lisa served as Technical Director at the Global Reporting Initiative and Principal, Guidance and Support at CPA Canada. Her industry experience includes work at 3M, Metso Minerals and Ford Motor Company. Lisa has also consulted to the International Finance Corporation on investment strategies, training programs and external communications. Lisa has an MBA in Finance and Business & Sustainability from the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto. She holds an Engineering Chemistry degree with an Environmental specialization from Queen’s University, Kingston. Lisa is a licensed professional engineer.

Mariela Dabbah, Founder & CEO; The Red Shoe Movement
A force to be reckoned with when it comes to leveraging the playing fieldfor women and diverse employees at the corporate level, award-winning author, founder of the Red Shoe Movement and Latinos in College, Mariela Dabbah is one of the most sought-after and respected thought leaders in the country.

Author - A best seller on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Nielsen, her award winning books include Find Your Inner Red Shoes, The Latino Advantage in the Workplace, Latinos in College: Your Guide to Success and any others. In 2013 she received the Women and Society Award by LULAC and Cervantes Institute for her contributions to the advancement of the Hispanic community.

Founder & CEO - CEO of the Red Shoe Movement: Women Supporting Women for Career Success (, a global grassroots movement and leadership development platform that helps corporations increase the recruitment, engagement, and accelerate growth of women in their organizations with a sustainable approach. Every Red Shoe Tuesday women wear their red shoes and men wear red ties to work to signal their support for the career development of women.

Founder & CEO - Founder of Latinos in College, the first online/offline all encompassing platform to help Latino students graduate from college. The non-profit organization's website offers resources, tools and connections for Latino students and their families to find, pay and graduate from college.

Speaker - International speaker and always present in the media for her expertise in leadership development, overcoming barriers to success, education and women empowerment Mariela has presented at Procter and Gamble, General Electric, Citigroup, AIG, Exxon/Mobil, HBO, Goldman Sachs, Verizon, JPMorgan Chase, McDonald's, the College Board, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Hispanic Retail 360, National Association for Bilingual Education, The Conference Board, and National Society of Hispanic MBAs, among many other companies, organizations and professional conferences.

Suzanne Fallender, Director Global Women and Girls Program; Intel Corp.
In her current role at Intel, Suzanne manages a set of strategic programs, partnerships, and policy engagements designed to empower millions of girls and women around the world through education and technology. This includes the Intel® She Will Connect program which aims to close the Internet gender gap in developing countries, and programs to inspire more girls to consider studies and careers in engineering and technology fields. Suzanne also leads Intel's strategy around the concept of shared value, including engaging in research and partnerships to identify new opportunities to create and measure both business value and social impact.

Previously, Suzanne led Intel's approach to sustainability reporting (including production of Intel's annual CSR report), managed outreach to socially responsible investors, and worked with business groups across the company to integrate corporate responsibility and sustainability into strategic planning, policies, communications, and employee engagement activities.

Prior to Intel, Suzanne served as Vice President at Institutional Shareholder Services where she managed the firm's socially responsible investing division. Suzanne serves on the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship's Executive Forum and Net Impact's Corporate Advisory Council. Suzanne holds an M.B.A. from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and a B.A. from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

Tensie Whelan, President; Rainforest Alliance
Tensie Whelan serves as the president of the Rainforest Alliance. She has been involved with the Rainforest Alliance since 1990, first as a board member, and then later as a consultant, becoming the executive director in 2000.

Tensie has been working in the environmental field for more than 25 years, during which time she served as the vice president of conservation information at the National Audubon Society and executive director of the New York League of Conservation Voters. Whelan also worked as a journalist and environmental communications consultant in Costa Rica, and was the managing editor of Ambio -- an international environmental journal based in Stockholm. Prior to joining the Rainforest Alliance as its executive director, Whelan worked as a management consultant to nonprofit organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund.

Tensie serves on the advisory boards of Social Accountability International, Unilever Sustainable Sourcing Advisory Board, and Corporate Eco Forum, and is the co-chair of the steering committee of the Sustainable Food Lab. She holds a master’s degree in international communication from American University's School of International Service and a bachelor’s degree in political science from New York University. Tensie's published work includes one of the first books on ecofriendly tourism, Nature Tourism: Managing for the Environment, published in 1991 by Island Press. She has been recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics” by Ethisphere for several years, including in 2011, was the recipient of the Wall Street Journal/WinningWorkplaces “Top Small Workplace Award” for the Rainforest Alliance in 2008, and the James Beard Foundation leadership Award in 2012.

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The NAEM's Women's EHS & Sustainability Leadership Roundtable was presented with special support from our sponsors.

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