The Women in Sustainability event focuses on raising awareness of the climate issues women are mitigating every day. Through a gendered lens, it will explore the challenges and opportunities within the field of sustainability. The event will highlight an impactful and diverse group of women working in the sustainability space. It will provide a spotlight to the roles of women in sustainable finance, water, and development. #WIGAxClimateWeek #ClimateWeekNYC


Date: Thursday, September 27, 2018

Time: 5.00 – 8.30 PM

Location: Room 4102, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016 USA





5:00 - 5:30   Registration
5:30 - 5:40   Welcoming Remarks
5:40 - 6:10   Panel 1: Perspectives on Sustainability from Women in Academia

  • 'Trellises, Not Ladders: Pathways to Sustainability' (Laxmi Rmasubramanian, Associate Professor, CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College)

  • ‘Just Soil: Participatory Research for Mitigating Soil Pb Exposure' (Sara Perl Egendorf, PhD Student, CUNY Graduate Center and Brooklyn College)

  • 'Water Connects! Crossing Boundaries for Actionable Science' (Jennifer Cherrier, Professor, CUNY Graduate Center and Brooklyn College)

6:10 - 6:50   Panel 2: Perspectives from Women in the Field
6:50 - 7:20   Questions from the audience, moderated by Laetitia De Marez

7:20 - 7:30   Closing Remarks
7:30 - 8:30   Networking Reception

Sarabeth Brockley,

Partnerships Coordinator, Business for Social Responsibility


Sarabeth applies her background in sustainable development and stakeholder negotiation to drive strategy for the Government and Foundations team at BSR. Through business insights, she supports cross-sector partnership development for BSR’s engagement with the private sector on the SDGs.

Prior to joining BSR, Sarabeth worked as technical consultant for United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in the Division for Sustainable Development. Here, she focused on climate change and water inputs to the Paris Agreement, UNFCCC resiliency frameworks, the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), the UN Water Mandate, and SDG 6 and 13 for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Laterally, she has consulted on the social dimensions of climate change and stakeholder management of various INGOS including Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL), Climate Action Network- International (CAN-I) and CARE’s women in climate programming.

Sarabeth also has extensive fieldwork experience researching and implementing climate change resilience and water management projects internationally in El Salvador, Peru, India, Turkey and Jordan.

In her personal time, she produces an award-winning video series called Climate Countdown, which documents the people behind social, legal, and economic developments on climate change. Sarabeth holds an M.A. from the Lehigh University in Environmental Policy Design and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Moravian College. She is an RPCV from Peru (2011–2013) and speaks Spanish and English.

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg,

Director, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)


Prior to joining the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development program, Wanjiru founded and served as Executive Director of Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator that invests in high-achieving young women from under-resourced families, who are passionate about driving change in their communities.
Wanjiru also served as an assistant professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco and a lecturer in International Relations at Hekima College, a constituent college of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Her academic research and teaching interests centered on African politics, gender, international relations, ethnicity, and democratization, and the role of technology in social activism.
Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg has received widespread recognition for her work investing in women, including being honored as a White House Champion of Change, named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African magazine, recognized as a Ford Foundation Champion of Democracy, awarded the United Nations Intercultural Innovation Award, and named one of Kenya’s Top 40 Women Under Age 40 among others.
She is a member of the Malabo Montpellier Panel; a high-level panel of independent experts that supports African governments and civil society identify and implement policies that enhance agriculture, food and nutrition security across the continent. Kamau-Rutenberg also sits on the Board of Twaweza, East Africa’s largest public and policy engagement platform, and the African Democratic Institute, which works to enhance democratic values across the continent. Born in Kenya, Wanjiru holds a PhD and a master's degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, and a BA in Politics from Whitman College, Washington, U.S.A.

Vlada Kenniff,

Director of Sustainability,

New York City Housing Authority


Vlada Kenniff oversees the implementation of the NexGeneration NYCHA Sustainability Agenda and its Sustainability Programs. The Sustainability Programs team designs and manages initiatives in areas ranging from water conservation, stormwater management, and waste reduction to renewables and resident-led programs.

The team works in close partnership with NYCHA departments, as well as NYC and State sister agencies. She was formerly the Managing Director of an Integrated Water Management group in the New York City Department of Environmental Protection where Vlada managed a Demand Management Program designed to reduce NYC water demand by five percent. This program included measures such as fixture retrofits, system optimizations, public-private partnerships, and water reuse.

Before that, she lead the development of the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan. Vlada is a graduate of the Urban Planning Master’s Program at Pratt Institute and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from Long Island University.

Laetitia De Marez,

Senior International Climate Finance Expert and Policy Analyst, Climate Analytics


Laetitia De Marez is Director of the NYC branch of Climate Analytics, an international non-profit climate science, and policy institute, supporting science-based policy to prevent dangerous climate change and enable sustainable development in most vulnerable countries.

Laetitia is a highly experienced policy analyst, active in the UN Climate negotiations since 2003, specializing in climate action financing and enhancing ownership of beneficiaries through capacity building. As senior adviser to countries delegations and global organizations, Ms. De Marez has been involved in important high-level diplomatic meetings and international deal-making.

Bhakti Mirchandani,

Managing Director, FCLTGlobal


Bhakti Mirchandani is a Managing Director at FCLTGlobal, a nonprofit that works to encourage a longer-term focus in business and investment decision-making.  Prior to FCLTGlobal, Bhakti pioneered micropensions at Women’s World Banking, co-founded the Global Microentrepreneurship Awards (later Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards), sourced and marketed one of the first microfinance CLOs at Lehman Brothers, led the first microinsurance investment in India at Unitus Capital, built North America coverage for global development organizations at Barclays, and was Director of Strategy and ESG at OWS Capital Management. Bhakti’s financial transaction experience spans the capital structure and stages of investment.

Bhakti is an advisor, board member, or investment committee member of multiple impact investment organizations: ACCION Venture Labs; Upaya Social Ventures; Contact Fund; and MicroVest Capital Management Enhanced Debt Fund.  She is Co-Chair of the Term Member Advisory Committee at the Council on Foreign Relations; a contributor to Forbes, Nonprofit Quarterly, and the Journal of Political Risk; and an adjunct professor at Columbia. Bhakti holds a BA, MBA, and MPA from Harvard.  

Perspectives from Women in Academia

Sara Perl Egendorf,

PhD Student, CUNY Graduate Center, Advanced Science Research Center, and Brooklyn College


Sara Perl Egendorf (aka Perl) is a doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, Advanced Science Research Center, and Brooklyn College. She conducts research on urban soil contaminant and nutrient cycling, and is interested in the potential for urban soils to promote environmental and social justice.


As co-founder of the Just Soil project and the Legacy Lead coalition, she works in partnership with scientists, city agencies, non-profit organizations, composters, gardeners, and young people to both study and apply best practices for systemic contaminant mitigation, waste reduction, greenhouse gas sequestration, food justice, and access to STEM knowledge and skills.

Jennifer Cherrier,

Professor and Departmental Chairperson, Brooklyn College—CUNY​


Jennifer Cherrier is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College—The City University of New York as well as the departmental Chair. Her nearly 30yrs of research expertise are the cycling of carbon and nitrogen in freshwater and marine environments with a more recent focus on water resource sustainability and ecosystem-based approaches for offsetting the human impacts on aquatic systems.


She is the inventor of a novel hybrid 'blue' technology (eco-WEIRTM, patented) that augments green infrastructure to maximize stormwater runoff related pollutant removal and also allows for water storage and reuse.  Jennifer is currently leading several projects in NYC one of which is the Citywide Stormwater Resiliency Study ( funded through the NYC DEP and Mayor’s Office. She is a Stanford Woods Leopold Leadership Fellow for Sustainability as well as a National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science Kavli Alum.   

Laxmi Ramasubramanian,

PhD, AICP, Deputy Director of the Institute for Sustainable Cities at Hunter College


Dr. Ramasubramanian is an architect and urban planner. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College and a member of the doctoral faculties in Earth and Environmental Sciences and Environmental Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Dr. Ramasubramanian is an expert in the areas of participatory planning, and Geographic Information Science. Laxmi examines how advanced digital technologies facilitate participatory planning and community empowerment.


She recently completed a project examining community resilience in vulnerable NYC neighborhoods affected by Superstorm Sandy. The author of two previous books, Laxmi is currently working on a new book about the future of sustainability movement in the United States. Supported with funding from the National Science Foundation, she is co-leading a series of workshops aimed to empower women in academia working in the area of geospatial sciences.


Women in Global Affairs (WIGA), New York City Chapter, emerged from its sister in Washington, D.C. in March 2017. WIGA NYC is all about women empowerment and mentoring therefore we aim to grow a global network to support each other and make an impact across the industry. We are striving to help ambitious women to become tomorrow's successful leaders. We bring intelligent young women together both with their counterparts from across the country and with role models who wish to help mentor a generation of up and coming leaders.

A Special Thank You

We would like to extend our appreciation and say a special thank you for the Graduate Center of City University of New York (CUNY) for kindly giving us this opportunity to host our event at their premises. During this special partnership we would like to attract your attention to two of their Graduate Programs that are aligning with the Sustainability notion and Women in Sustainability event in particular:  Earth And Environmental Sciences that offers a Ph.D. Program and Center for the Study of Women and Society that offers both MA and certificate programs.


The Center for the Study of Women and Society: Since 1977, the Center for the Study of Women and Society has promoted interdisciplinary feminist scholarship. The focus of the center’s research agenda is the study of the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and nation in societies around the world.
The Center co-sponsors with the Women's Studies Certificate Program and MA Program in Women's and Gender Studies intellectual exchange symposia and lectures—among scholars within CUNY as well as with visiting scholars. The Center also seeks to collaborate with grassroots and professional organizations.

Earth and Environmental Sciences Program:
From its inception in 1983, the Ph.D. Program in Earth and Environmental Sciences has identified itself with "promoting teaching and research in the study of the earth." With faculty in atmospheric sciences, environmental sciences, geography and geology, the Earth and Environmental Sciences Program at the Graduate Center spans a broad array of subjects focusing on the earth, its environments, human activities, and the linkages between them. Our students have the unique opportunity to study both the physical and human environments 
simultaneously or to focus on specific subjects within the program's specializations. Today, the faculty has a strong commitment to education and research in Geography and Environmental and Geological Sciences.


Please find more information on Graduate Center here.