Earth Institute Advisory Board
The Earth Institute Advisory Board provides counsel, expertise, insight, strategic thinking, innovative ideas and networking to the Institute. The Board also participates in efforts to raise the Institute’s visibility and resource base. It meets quarterly in New York City and its Founding Chair is David Emil.
Quick Links: Steven Berkenfeld | Howard W. Buffett | Daniel Ding | William B. Eimicke | David Emil | Steven Fulop | Catherine McVay Hughes | Nina Sun | Curtis S. Probst | Donna Redel | Burton B. Staniar | Kristian Denny Todd
Steven Berkenfeld is a managing director in the investment banking division of Barclays. His current roles include chairing the Equities Commitment and Fairness Opinion committees, co-heading the firm’s Cleantech initiative, leading the banking effort for emerging industrial technology companies, and serving as a senior advisor to the Industrial Group and the M&A Group. He also is chair of Barclays Investment Bank’s Reputational Risk Committee.
Prior to joining Barclays in 2008, Berkenfeld spent more than 21 years at Lehman Brothers, where, among other roles, he served as chief investment officer of the private equity division, chaired many of the firm's transaction approval committees and was the global head of legal, compliance and audit.
Prior to joining Lehman Brothers, Berkenfeld was an associate at the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, engaged primarily in mergers and acquisitions and leveraging buy-outs.
In addition to serving on BSR’s board of directors, he is chairman of the board for the Sierra Club Foundation and a member of the board for Green City Force. He is also the sponsor of the Employment Sustainability Initiative on Employment and Technology at the ILR School of Cornell University, and is actively engaged in various projects relating to the “Future Of Work.”
He holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.S. from Cornell University.
Howard W. Buffett is a lecturer at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, where he teaches management techniques for improving the effectiveness of foreign aid and global philanthropy. He previously served a two year term as the Executive Director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Prior to that, Buffett served in the U.S. Department of Defense, overseeing agriculture-based economic stabilization and redevelopment programs in Iraq and Afghanistan. He received the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award – the highest ranking civilian honor presented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the request and approval of the Combatant Commanders. Before that, Buffett was a Policy Advisor for the White House Domestic Policy Council where he co-authored the President’s cross-sector partnership strategy. Buffett earned his BA from Northwestern University, and his MPA in Advanced Management and Finance from Columbia University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and on advisory boards for the Aspen Institute and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Buffett co-authored the New York Times Bestselling book 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World, which examines global agriculture and food systems challenges. He is from Omaha, Nebraska, where he operates a 400 acre conservation-based farm.
Zhiyao (Daniel) Ding is a graduate of Columbia University, with both a Bachelor's degree in economics (GS 2013) and a Master's degree in international affairs (SIPA 2014). He is a member of the advisory board of I&F Real Estate Development Group, based in Shanghai, China. During his time at Columbia, He also worked at the Picker Center for Executive Education of SIPA. He joined Terrapin Asset Management, LLC in 2015, where he is involved in asset management. The Ding family remains highly involved with Columbia University, where his younger brother is currently completing his studies.
William B. Eimicke is the founding director of the Picker Center for Executive Education of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. The Picker Center runs the School's Executive MPA program, university partnerships, and non-degree professional training programs. He has served as a management consultant to numerous government and private organizations, including the City of Indianapolis, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the San Francisco Giants and the New York Racing Association. Eimicke served as the Deputy Fire Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Policy from 2007 through the spring of 2010. Eimicke previously served as housing "czar" of New York State for Governor Mario Cuomo, managing the state's six housing management, finance, and regulatory agencies. He also provided housing policy and management consulting services to Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review. Eimicke previously served as director of fiscal studies for the New York State Senate, assistant budget director of the City of New York, and deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
David Emil is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University Law School. He joined the law firm of Willkie Farr and Gallagher after graduating from law school. In 1979 he was appointed Assistant Counsel to Governor Hugh L. Carey. After leaving the Governor Counsel’s office he returned to Willkie Farr and Gallagher before becoming Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel to New York State Department of Social Services under Governor Mario Cuomo in 1982. In 1988 Mr. Emil was appointed President of the Battery Park City Authority where he served until 1994. After leaving the Battery Park City Authority Mr. Emil was an operator of the Rainbow Room Restaurant and an owner of Windows on the World, as well as other restaurants.
In 2001 after the attacks of Sept. 11th Mr. Emil was a co-founder of the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund.
In 2007 Mr. Emil was appointed by then Governor Eliot Spitzer in his current capacity as President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
In 2011 Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed him as a senior consultant to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
In 2013 Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed him as Director of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation.
In 2014 Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed him as Director of the New York Convention Center Development Corporation.
In addition to his work on the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, Mr. Emil was a Member of the New York City Housing Development Corporation, a Member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Montefiore Medical Center for 10 years, and has also served as a board member of the Poetry Society of America as well as other charitable and educational boards.
Mr. Emil lives in New York City with his wife Jennifer Crichton and has two adult children.
On May 14, 2013, Steven Michael Fulop was elected the 49th Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey. During his time as Mayor, Steve has shown what smart, progressive leadership can accomplish – and opened a new chapter for Jersey City. Under his leadership, Jersey City became the first city in the state – and the 6th city in the country – to ensure paid sick leave. Steve has pioneered new ideas for helping prisoners re-enter society; he’s passed legislation to protect small businesses; encouraged more to open shop; made Jersey City one of the greenest towns in the nation. He’s undertaken sweeping public safety reform; the JCPD is now seen as a model for diversity around the nation. And he’s led the city to record economic development that’s benefited families of all income levels. All without raising taxes.
He grew up in a Jewish family in Edison, New Jersey, the son of Romanian immigrants. His mother was the daughter of Holocaust survivors and worked in an immigration services office helping others gain citizenship. His father owned a delicatessen nearby in Newark, where Steve worked behind the counter as a teenager. Steve graduated from Binghamton University in 1999 and spent time abroad studying at Oxford University in the UK. After college, he joined Goldman Sachs, the investment banking firm, working in Chicago and later in Manhattan and Jersey City.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Steve was working in lower Manhattan when he saw the first plane strike the Twin Towers. A few weeks later, he decided to put his career at Goldman Sachs on hold and join the United States Marine Corps. Steve's Reserve Unit deployed to Iraq in January 2003. There, Steve served as part of the 6th Engineer Support Battalion. He traveled to Baghdad during the early weeks of the war. In 2006, Steve completed his service to the Marine Corps Reserve with the rank of Corporal. After his service in Iraq, Steve returned to Goldman Sachs, leaving in early 2006 to take a position at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. That year, he also completed both his Master’s in Business Administration at the New York University Stern School of Business and his Masters in Public Administration at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
Steve first tried his hand at politics running for Congress in 2004. He lost. But the next year, Steve ran for the Jersey City Council, and was elected. He served as a councilman for eight years before becoming Mayor. Steve is an avid runner and triathlete. He competed in the 2012 Ironman Championship in NYC to raise money for veterans. Steve completed his latest – though not last – Ironman triathlon in September 2014.
Catherine McVay Hughes served 19 years on Manhattan Community Board One (CB1), more than half that time as Chair or Vice-Chair, and after 9/11 she also chaired its World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee for seven years. Previously, she worked for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) as a legislative advocate and Director of the Fuel Buyers Group.
She has been a leader in caring for the community by working with diverse community and labor groups, elected officials and governmental agencies at City, State and Federal levels. After Superstorm Sandy, she was appointed Co-Chair of New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program for Southern Manhattan and is a founding member of CB1’s "Manhattan Tip" Resiliency Task Force and a member of the NY/NJ Metropolitan Storm Surge Barrier Working Group. She was also appointed to the CERES Presidents Council, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, The Trust for Governors Island and WTC Scientific Technical Advisory Committee. She also served on the Downtown Alliance Board of Directors, The Battery Conservancy Board of Trustees, Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and US EPA WTC Expert Technical Panel.
McVay Hughes has a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (1987) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Princeton University (1982).
Nina Sun is the founder and President of Sunnybund Consulting (Shanghai) and Sunnybund Education. Nina is an expert in government relations, media relations, and crisis management. She worked as a PR manager at the News Corporation's Shanghai Office and later worked as the CEO of Shanghai Broadcasting and Press Management Company of the Shanghai Media Group. She is also an investor and co-founder of Tsinghua International School and Fudan International School. She is the author of several books, including the Media Bilingual Dictionary, The Crisis Gate, and Out of Crisis Gate. She is currently a Trustee of Barnard College, co-president of Columbia Alumni Association Shanghai, and a member of the Advisory Board for Columbia Global Centers | East Asia. She graduated from SIPA in 2001 and won an Alumni Medal in 2011. She is married to Dr. Zhe Sun, Professor and Director of the Center for US-China Relations at Tsinghua University, who obtained his PhD from Columbia. Their son, Royce, is a rising senior at Columbia College.
Curtis Probst is an innovator in asset finance, energy and sustainability, having participated in over $50 billion of financing for corporate and governmental clients. He is the Co-CEO of New York City Energy Efficiency Corp. (NYCEEC): an innovative public-private-philanthropic partnership with a mission to deliver clean energy financing solutions. He joined NYCEEC in April 2018 after serving on its Board for over three years. Additionally, for four years, he has been a Lecturer at Columbia University on the topic of clean energy finance.
His prior experience includes over three years as a Managing Director at Rocky Mountain Institute, a global energy think tank, leading their sustainable finance practice. Curtis previously worked at Goldman Sachs for over 15 years, most recently as a Managing Director in their investment banking division. Before joining Goldman Sachs, Probst worked at Salomon Brothers for over eight years, most recently as a Vice President in their structured and project finance group.
He has spoken at numerous conferences in the United States, Canada and Europe, and authored or co-authored reports on different energy and financing topics. Curtis received a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary and a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, and a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Stamford.
Donna Redel is currently the CEO and founder of Strategic@50, a global consulting and coaching firm. She has extensive experience managing global organizations. Redel began her career as an investment banker, making history in 1992 when she became the only woman ever elected Chairman of the Board of Commodity Exchange, Inc. (COMEX). She then served as Chief Information and Technology Officer at Prudential Securities for both the international and derivatives divisions. In 2000, she became the Managing Director and Board Member at World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. During her tenure at the Forum, Ms. Redel was directly responsible for the 1000 corporate members and the development of the highly regarded Strategic Partners. Redel oversaw the major portion of the Forum's income base and grew it significantly while expanding diversity.
Ms. Redel has been instrumental in women's issues for over 20 years; she founded the Women's Leadership Initiative at the World Economic Forum, created the Women's Health program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and continues to promote initiatives for women in the workplace and boardroom. Redel also sits on a number of boards and committees, and is an active participant in angel investing and mentoring with both NY Angels and Pivot.World, a social impact platform.
Redel received her BA degree from Barnard College (1974), and holds a MBA from Columbia University Business School (1977) and a JD degree from Fordham University School of Law (1995).
Burt Staniar is Chairman of Knoll, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of furniture, textiles and accessories. Previously, he was Chairman and CEO of Knoll and prior to that, Mr. Staniar held a number of assignments at Westinghouse, including President of Group W Cable and Chairman and CEO of Westinghouse Broadcasting. Before joining Westinghouse in 1980, he held a number of marketing and general management positions at Colgate Palmolive Co. and Church and Dwight Co., Inc. In the mid-seventies he started and subsequently sold a successful direct marketing company, Artcraft Concepts, Inc.
Mr. Staniar is a board member of New York City Outward Bound Schools. Previously, he was a vice chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Business Committee, a member of the board of trustees of Washington & Lee University and a member of the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School.
He holds a bachelor's degree from Washington & Lee University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Kristian Denny Todd has 20 years of experience in strategic and crisis communications; primarily in politics on the national level and in state and federal government. She began her career in 1992 in her home state of Florida as an aide to then-Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Bo Johnson. In 2007, Denny Todd created Maverick Strategies & Mail where she consults with progressive groups and causes including the ONE Campaign, VoteVets and the North Carolina Democratic Party. Denny Todd has also consulted with major US corporations. From 2010-2102, Denny Todd worked with FedEx Corp as an Issues and Crisis Communications Consultant. Among her duties, she developed and directed an education initiative for the corporation. During that time, she directed a team of 30 people across the country and managed a budget of $20 million. Denny Todd is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University in New York City where she teaches at the Picker Center for Executive Education in the School of International and Public Affairs. She teaches organizational and crisis communications. Denny Todd earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State University and her Masters of Public Policy from California State University.