|Jason is an experienced non-profit executive, strategist, and social entrepreneur who has led the creation of several successful initiatives focused on harnessing the innovative capacity of the private sector for public good. As SPLC's first President & CEO, Jason managed its launch and early development from 2012 through 2017. He continues to provide leadership to the Council in his current role as Board Chair. |
Previously, as the first President & CEO of GreenBlue (2003-2010), he grew multi-stakeholder sustainability initiatives in a number of sectors, including the Sustainable Packaging Coalition for packaging and CleanGredients for chemical products. Since 2010, Jason’s consultancy, TRUTHstudio, has provided strategy, visualization, and facilitation support to organizations working in the public interest, including the the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the World Wildlife Fund, and the World Resources Institute, and numerous private foundations. Each engagement has focused on developing effective, long-term sustainability strategies that connect a specific action plan with larger objectives.
Immediate Past Chair
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)
|Joan Namahana Kerr is PG&E’s Director of Supplier Diversity and Sustainability. During her time at PG&E, Joan has successfully headed the initiative to include LGBT firms in the company’s supplier diversity program, the first utility in the country do so. PG&E’s Supplier Diversity Program has garnered some of the top recognitions in the country, including those given by the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, Black Enterprise Magazine and Vetreprenuer Magazine. |
Joan has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the utility industry. At AT&T (formerly Pacific Bell and SBC), she served as Executive Director of Supplier Diversity Programs where she led the creation of a best-in-class program. Joan has received multiple prestigious awards and recognition for her work in Supplier Diversity, including the first ever NMSDC 2014 Trailblazer Award. In 2013, Joan was inducted into the WBE Hall of Fame for her tireless work advocating on behalf of women business owners. Currently, in addition to the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, she is on the board of directors of the National Utilities Diversity Council, the Western Region Minority Supplier Development Council, the Cal Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, The Institute for Supply Management’s Supplier Diversity Group and serves as the Treasurer of WEConnect International.
|Chris is the Director of Higher Education Programs at Altenex, working with colleges and universities across North America to help the higher education sector catalyze the transformation of America's electricity supply to clean and renewable sources. He is also a founding board director of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, and serves on the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) STARS Steering Committee. Previously, he worked at the American University, where he was Director of Sustainability from 2009 to 2015. He was responsible for all sustainability functions, including the university's commitment to achieving climate-neutrality by the year 2020. Chris continues to teach about energy, climate, carbon markets and sustainable purchasing in the Sustainability Management program at AU's Kogod School of Business.|
MGM Resorts International
|A global expert in sustainable purchasing, Yalmaz Saddiqi was the Founding Chair of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council. Yalmaz is Vice President of Corporate Sustainability at MGM Resorts International. He is responsible for leading a range of environmental sustainability initiatives for the company, including green conventions, food waste reduction, waste management, sustainable purchasing and communications. He will also develop an advanced sustainability strategy framework for MGM Resorts, including metrics and targets, project accountability and roles, and reporting strategy.|
Prior to joining MGM Resorts, Yalmaz was Senior Director, Sustainability at Office Depot, where he set strategic direction and helped integrate a series of social and environmental sustainability programs into the global organization. During his ten years with Office Depot he helped the company grow sales of environmentally preferable products from $1.2 Billion to $3.2 Billion, reduced carbon emissions by over 40%, and reach a ranking of #1 greenest large retailer America in Newsweek magazine's green rankings for three consecutive years.
|Ben Jarrett is the North American Sustainability Leader at Kimberly-Clark Professional, where he leads business development and innovation centered on Sustainability. Specifically, he focuses on dynamic supply chain improvement, post-consumer waste strategy and green energy projects. Prior to his current role, he developed the Sustainability Strategy for Kimberly-Clark Professional’s North American Industrial Business.|
Ben holds a BA in Classical and Medieval Studies from Bates College and received his MBA from Goizueta Business School. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Katie and their spoiled West Highland Terrier, Kanye Westie.
State of Minnesota
|Betsy Hayes is the Chief Procurement Officer of the State of Minnesota. Betsy has 20 years of public procurement experience with the state's Department of Administration, Office of State Procurement. In her role, Betsy is responsible for directing the state's central procurement office that acquires goods and services in excess of $3 billion annually. This includes state executive branch purchasing, as well as cooperative purchasing managed on behalf of Minnesota's local units of government and customers from government organizations across the country. Betsy is a graduate of Cornell College in Iowa and received her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Betsy is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and is a recipient of its Public Attorney Award of Excellence for In-House Agency Counsel.|
Billy Linstead Goldsmith
Fair Trade USA
|Billy came to Fair Trade Campaigns from an eight year career in the grassroots environmental movement. He recruited, trained and developed hundreds of grassroots leaders and facilitated campaigns on national, statewide, and local campaigns. He has mobilized fence-line communities, organized public hearings and other local actions to hold polluters accountable. Upon traveling with his wife, Rachel to Venezuela, Billy was inspired to focus his career on international justice and embraced the opportunity to contribute to the Fair Trade movement as the first full-time National Coordinator for Fair Trade Campaigns. In just over 8 years since taking on the role, Billy has grown the program from less than 20 community-based efforts to nearly 300 local campaigns, including the launch of Fair Trade Colleges & Universities in 2010, which has grown to over 100 campuses across the country raising awareness among the campus community and securing commitments to sourcing Fair Trade products.|
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
|Johanna Kertesz is an Environmental Specialist at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, where she has worked since 2008 on sustainable purchasing and integrated solid waste management policy, planning, and technical assistance. She currently coordinates the State of Minnesota’s Sustainable Purchasing Program, assisting the state with making purchases that demonstrate the highest level of environmental, social, and economic responsibility.|
Johanna holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and San Francisco State University, and never imagined that her marine ecology training would lead her to a rewarding career in sustainable government purchasing in a landlocked state.
SPLC provides me with the community and resources I need to make the State of Minnesota’s sustainable purchasing program grow and thrive. Being on the Board of an organization whose mission I believe so strongly in is incredibly rewarding.
|Lynne is a Ph.D. Corporate Scientist, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and has been part of the Ecolab team for over 30 years. Her experience includes product development, as well as, project and program management. She joined the first team trained as Ecolab Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Black Belts, and was the project leader on several significant process improvement projects. After the LSS work, Lynne joined the team that defined and deployed the current Ecolab Corporate Sustainability group. It defines the global corporate Sustainability strategy, and develops resources and supports Ecolab business units tools and training around the Ecolab corporate sustainability initiatives. Her role on the team is focused on Product Responsibility initiatives.|
|Tim is leading work on a global responsible sourcing program for Microsoft’s 25,000+ indirect spend suppliers. Tim is a seasoned Microsoft sustainability leader with deep procurement experience. He has a proven track record of impact achieved by applying business acumen, innovation, and collaboration. Tim is passionate on creating business value while achieving positive corporate governance, social, and environmental impact. He continues to lend his expertise to numerous industry groups focused on advancing sustainability. Prior to Microsoft Tim had a distinguished banking career in the public sector as a regulator and in the private sector as the CEO of a financial institution. Tim’s specialties include sustainable procurement; sustainable supply chains; sustainability and corporate responsibility; sustainability reporting; ESG risk management; strategy. He holds a MS in finance from the University of Wyoming; and a MS certificate in Ethics from the University of Washington.|
Industrial Economics, Inc. (IEc)
|Dr. Anastasia O'Rourke participated in the founding of SPLC as a member of the Green Products Roundtable Advisory Committee, the SPLC’s founding Board. From 2014-2016 she was Chair of the Board of SPLC. Anastasia has 16 years of experience in sustainability research and consulting, and is Special Consultant with Industrial Economics. Inc, a Cambridge MA firm active since 1981. She specializes in sustainable purchasing, products, standards, ecolabels, and technologies. Anastasia holds a B.A. (Hons, 1st Class) from Sydney University, an M.Sc. in Industrial Environmental Management from Lund University Sweden, and a Ph.D. in environmental management and finance from Yale University.|
President & CEO (ex officio; non-voting)
|As President & CEO, Sam leads SPLC’s strategy, program delivery, partnerships, and fundraising. Sam has led SPLC’s engagement with Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, universities, and NGOs since recruiting the Council's founding members in 2013. As a trusted advisor, Sam provides members with executive support for implementing strategic sustainable purchasing programs that drive innovative business practices throughout supply chains. In his prior role as Director of Outreach & Operations, Sam created SPLC's membership program and created the in-person and virtual collaboration spaces that enable SPLC’s vibrant community of sustainable procurement leaders to network, share best practices, and execute projects together. |
Prior to his work with SPLC, Sam was instrumental in growing the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), whose Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System provides guidance and recognition to institutions of higher education for sustainability leadership. Sam created and oversaw the green purchasing program for Duke University & Health System while working as the university's Environmental Sustainability Coordinator. He got his start in responsible supply chain work in 1999 while helping Duke University develop programs to eliminate sweatshops from its licensed apparel supply chains. As an entrepreneur, Sam has experience marketing renewable energy and organic food.