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Women, Climate and Sports

Presented by The Sheen Center and Sport and Sustainability International

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 @ 4:00PM

Admission Free

The United Nations Framework on Climate Change promotes a “gender-responsive climate policy” urging representation of women in all decision-making related to climate policies. Similarly, the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals also focus on promoting gender equality. With this in mind, Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI) is partnering with the Archdiocese of New York’s Sheen Center for Thought & Culture during the United Nations’ Climate Week in NYC for a discussion with five of the most influential sustainability advocates in the world, all of whom are women promoting climate action throughout the world by using the powerful platform of sports. Collectively, these extraordinary women have changed sports while advancing the urgently needed cultural shift towards responsible environmental stewardship, and in so doing they have broadened the reach and relevance of the environmental movement.

Participants in this discussion will include Kathy Behrens, President, Social Responsibility and Player Programs, NBA; Lauren Tracy, Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives and Sustainability at the USTA,  Ama Ruth Francis, Climate Law Fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, Jennifer Hershey, Co-Founder Broadway Green Alliance and Vice President for Operations, Jujamcyn Theaters, JoAnn Neale is President and Chief Administrative Officer of Major League Soccer, and Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, Chairman and Founding Director of Sport and Sustainability International.

Kathy Behrens is President, Social Responsibility & Player Programs for the National Basketball Association and oversees all programs that coordinate league and player social responsibility efforts, promote youth basketball development, support player growth and education, and enhance the marketing opportunities for current & former players. Behrens joined the NBA in September 2000 as Vice President, Community Relations, overseeing all of the NBA’s public service initiatives, community outreach and employee volunteer programs. She later worked as SVP of Community & Player Programs, and EVP of Social Responsibility & Player Programs. Prior to joining the NBA, Behrens served as Executive Director of New York Cares, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes volunteers to help NYC’s neediest residents. A native of the Bronx, Behrens graduated from the University of Hartford and serves as a member of the university’s Board of Regents. She currently lives with her husband and twins Matthew & Maureen in Westchester County.

Ama Ruth Francis is a 2018-2020 Climate Law Fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. Ama focuses on developing legal solutions to disaster displacement and climate migration at the Sabin Center. She also analyzes and supports the implementation of adaptive measures in small islands and least developed countries, and researches topics related to international climate law. Since joining the Sabin Center, Ama has presented at the World Bank, the United Nations, and at multiple universities, including Columbia University. Ama graduated from Yale Law School where she was an active member of Yale’s Environmental Justice Clinic, a student director of Immigration Legal Services, founder of Clarity & Community, and led New Directions in Environmental Law. She has interned at Earthjustice, Islands First, and Dominica’s Ministry of Health and Environment. Ama has also represented Dominica at the United Nations climate conference. A native Dominican, Ama is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated from Harvard University.

JoAnn Neale serves as President & Chief Administrative Officer, where she leads Strategic Planning, Human Resources, Administrative, Information Technology, Social Responsibility and Player Engagement for Major League Soccer.  Neale is responsible for the strategic oversight of all aspects of the Human Resources Department, including employee relations, talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion, succession planning, benefits, talent development, compensation, human resources information systems, culture and core values.

Dr. Allen Hershkowitz is an environmental scientist, writer, lecturer and strategic sustainability advisor. For 26 years he served as a Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and in February of 2019 he was appointed Environmental Science Advisor to the New York Yankees.  He serves as the sustainability advisor to many professional sports leagues and teams, is Chairman and Founding Director of Sport and Sustainability International, and he co-founded and served as President of the USA-based Green Sports Alliance. Sports Business Journal has listed him as one of “The 50 Most Influential People In Sports,” and Worth Magazine listed him among “The 60 Most Powerful People in Sports.”  Dr. Hershkowitz also co-founded the Broadway Green Alliance, the Environmental Paper Network, and serves on the Wharton Business School’s International Global Environmental Leadership Program Advisory Board. He is a Strategic Advisor to the International WELL Building Institute, the South Pole Group, the Sonoma County Center for Agriculture’s Sustainability Advisory Board, and numerous other organizations.

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