Members of BCL's Advisory Board have all made a commitment to:
- Provide ongoing guidance on goals and strategy
- Help engage individuals, companies, and other organizations in BCL activities
- Co-create, collaborate and participate in BCL activities
- Act as an advocate for BCL when and where convenient and appropriate
Richard has worked at the intersection of business, public policy and advocacy for thirty years. His experience spans the private, public and nonprofit sectors, working domestically and internationally, on sustainable economy and energy issues.
Richard has a played a key role in building the responsible and progressive business movement. He is a co-founder of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), a national coalition of business organizations and businesses committed to building a vibrant and sustainable economy. For eight years (2009-2017), he served as the Vice President for Policy, directing issue campaigns on climate change, environmental, high road workplace, social justice and economic development issues. He directed ASBC’s efforts on Capitol Hill, White House, federal agencies and state legislatures, and worked with a wide array of groups from the left and right. He led ASBC’s federal and state advocacy work calling for a price on carbon.
From 2005 to 2009, Richard served as the Business Outreach Director for the groundbreaking, multi-stakeholder Apollo Alliance advocating for federal and state legislation.
Richard worked in the solar energy industry for ten years (1995-2005); first at the ‘bleeding’ edge and then at the leading edge, advocating for state and federal legislation and regulations to create new markets. In 2008, he co-directed the Colorado Clean Tech for Obama campaign. Two years earlier, he crafted gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter’s ‘New Energy Economy’ strategy. Richard led training seminars for Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship from 1995-2000.
From 1990 to 1994, Richard consulted to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) and helped launch the U.N. Environmental Finance Initiative. While at UNEP, he was responsible for engaging multinationals in the 1992 Earth Summit. While in New York City, Richard worked for the city government as a senior policy analyst.
Since 2009, Richard has been teaching as an adjunct faculty at the University of Denver on Environmental Policy and Sustainability.
Laura Madden has worked in public policy, advocacy, government and political affairs in Washington, DC for 30 years. In 1987, as majority staff for Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, she was involved in oversight and legislation on nutrition and food policy, food safety, pesticides, conservation and rural development programs. She also served as senior staff in the House of Representatives. Laura is a government affairs professional, and her work has always sought to achieve consensus solutions and alliance with community, business and nonprofit stakeholders.
In 2010, Laura took the lead on federal government affairs for the Consumer Specialty Products Association, a consumer products trade association for 230+ member companies. Today, as an independent consultant and entrepreneur, Laura has created Phoenix Consults LLC to continue building alliances with high integrity and high impact private and nonprofit/social enterprise--and to catalyze community and economic opportunity through innovative partnerships and services--toward a more socially/economically just, environmentally sustainable, and spiritually fulfilling future.
Mike Mielke is the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Sr. Vice President, Environment & Energy. In this capacity, he works to advance state and federal policy specifically related to climate change mitigation and adaptation; corporate environmental sustainability; water quality, supply and governance; and hazardous and solid waste. Mike is also the Executive Director of the California Climate Breakthrough Initiative, a nonpartisan 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public on climate change.
Mike Mielke moved to Silicon Valley in 2008, after living in Washington DC for more than thirteen years. He and his wife Cary live in Redwood City with their son Joshua. Mike and his family greatly enjoy spending time hiking the Bay Area’s many scenic trails in search of the next awe-inspiring vista.
Mike’s life’s work involves promoting stronger and more sustainable businesses and communities. He has held jobs in the non-profit, government, and private sectors, including posts with a number of consulting firms, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the National Estuary Program. His direct experience encompasses assignments in the developed and developing world, where his work required close collaboration with business, non-profits, local and national governments, and bi- and multi-lateral donor organizations.
Prior to joining the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Mike was the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Sustainable Business Network of Washington, a nonpartisan not-for-profit dedicated to working with companies and local governments to advance the principles of corporate social responsibility. Prior to running SB NOW, Mike worked as an international development consultant, serving in posts such as Afghanistan, Thailand, Egypt and all across the southern Caribbean.
Mike holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy, with a specialization in Ecological Economics, and a B.S. in Environmental Science. Mike is also a board member with Sustainable Silicon Valley.
After a successful career as a financial services executive, Zina Spezakis started her next career in clean energy technology. She has coupled her passion for environmental causes with her interest in helping grow companies sustainably and profitably. Driven by a strong sense of urgency for environment, she is focused on helping and investing in clean-tech start-ups and sustainable business practices. She is currently on the board of directors of Ecolectro, a Cornell startup in clean energy and on the board of Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and Citizen’s Climate Education. Zina has a demonstrated record of accomplishment in investment management, operations, business creation, resource planning, budgeting, risk management, strategic planning, and media appearances. With over 20 years of experience, she worked in asset management in a variety of roles including trading, portfolio management, operations and distribution, servicing retail and institutional investors in both traditional and alternative investments. She has led and grown investment advisers throughout most of her career. Previously, at MA Capital Management, Zina was part of team that brought alternative investments to the retail space. At Allianz Global Investors, she was Chief Operating Officer (Managed Accounts) and Director of Risk Management and Operations (US retail), responsible for approximately $130 Billion in assets. She has also worked at PIMCO Funds, Morgan Stanley Private Client Services and Chase Private Banking. Zina earned her MBA in Finance and Business Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago School of Social Sciences. She also has dual undergraduate degree from Cornell University in Economics and Government and is a Charted Financial Analyst.
Joel Stone’s participation and engagement with BCL is driven by his long-term commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability using industrial biotechnology to offer solutions and he notes, “I think the BCL platform will allow all industries and governments to engage interactively to identify a unified pathway for maintaining an environment that our children and grandchildren can feel safe in for generations to come.”
Joel is the President of ConVergInce Advisers, and serves as Executive Vice President of Lee Enterprises Consultants, the world’s premier bioeconomy consulting group. As Executive Vice President, he serves as the practice Leader of the Renewable Chemicals, Anaerobic Digestion/Biogas, Water Treatment, and Bioethanol groups. He has been a long-term visionary and respected leader in commercialization of industrial biotechnology. ConVergInce Advisers is focused on delivering “Visionary & Innovative Solutions,” including commercialization assistance for advanced technology clients in renewable chemicals, biochemicals, biofuels, and agricultural and biobased ingredients for food and consumer products. Joel is the former President of Green Biologics, Inc., where he led the development of the commercial platform of the company in North America for renewable n-butanol and acetone for use in the renewable specialty and performance chemical markets. Previously he led Osage Bio Energy in establishing new product and business opportunities and ushering BioRefining to the forefront of biofuel facilities. Joel has served as the Chief Operating Officer for both AS Alliances Biofuels, LLC and Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation.
Joel's accomplishments included the planning, construction, and startup of three 100 MMGPY fuel grade ethanol plants. He served as Vice President of Operations for Opta Food Ingredients, a developer and manufacturer of functional starch, protein, and fiber ingredients, and earlier in his career, he served as Director of Manufacturing for Genencor, a biotechnology developer and manufacturer of food and industrial grade enzymes.
Joel holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic University and an MS in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He serves as a Board Advisor for the Biorenewable Deployment Consortium and serves on the GC3 Startup Network Steering Committee. He has also been selected to the Biofuels Digest Top 100 in Bioeconomy: #58 in 2015, #59 in 2014.