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Our 2020 speakers

will virtually dazzle you
Verónica de la Cerda – Partner and CEO TriCiclos

Verónica de la Cerda

Partner and CEO TriCiclos

Verónica is the CEO of TriCiclos, BCorp dedicated to designing and implementing circular economy solutions, to reduce waste generation and manage more sustainably products’ life cycles. Before working in TriCiclos, she was a Partner at MOV Investimentos, an Impact Investing Fund based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Verónica holds a Bachelor Degree in Industrial Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile, and a MS in Management Engineering from the Politécnico de Torino, Italy. She also holds an MA in International Studies from the Lauder Institute and an MBA from The Wharton School, both in UPENN, USA.

Shloka Nath

Head, Sustainability and Special Projects, Tata Trusts

Shloka Nath is Head of Sustainability and Special Projects at the Tata Trusts. Shloka leads the organization’s climate, energy and environment work, implementing and funding sustainable and scalable solutions that help both people and nature thrive through India.

Shloka is also the Executive Director, of the India Climate Collaborative, an India-led platform founded in 2018 by a group of philanthropies interested in continuing to accelerate India’s development, while also exceeding its climate goals.

She is Vice President, on the Board of the Bombay Natural History Society, founded in 1883, it is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.

Prior to this, Shloka co-founded and was Managing Partner, Sankhya Women Impact Funds, India’s first women’s investor funds that focused on early stage enterprises impacting women.

She is also the author of a book on Wildlife in India and a Senior Advisor to the World Wilderness Congress.

Shloka is an active angel investor in social enterprises and has mentored organisations across sectors.

She has spent over a decade in print and broadcast journalism with the BBC in London, New Delhi Television, and Forbes with a special emphasis on sustainability and financial inclusion.

In 2010, Shloka was nominated for India’s highest awards in journalism for her reportage on microfinance in India. In 2014, Shloka served as Campaign Manager for Meera Sanyal, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Candidate for Mumbai (South), for India’s General Elections. Shloka has a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a BSc in Government from The London School of Economics and Political Science.


Bianca Dragomir

CEO of the Valencian cleantech cluster AVAESEN

Bianca Dragomir is on a mission to instill purpose, speed and scalability in cluster leadership to meet climate goals. Replacing the status quo with open, entrepreneurship-driven ecosystems, she is leading a new generation of clusters across Europe and beyond. 

Bianca was awarded “European Cluster Manager of the Year” by the European Commission for her work as CEO of the Valencian cleantech cluster AVAESEN in Spain. An Ambassador to 2500 clusters, she advises the European High-Level Industrial Roundtable ‘Industry 2030’ on developing a smart, innovative and sustainable industrial strategy for the future of Europe with funding of €1 Trillion.

Like a ripple effect, Bianca launched the first EIT Climate-KIC cleantech start-up accelerator in Spain and expanded it to 12 EU countries. She created Spain’s first Smart Cities Think Tank — linking governments as ‘problem owners’ with businesses and VCs as ‘solution providers’ to co-create greener cities — and quickly replicated it in other regions.

Michael Liebreich

Founder and Senior Contributor to Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Michael Liebreich is Chairman and CEO of Liebreich Associates, but he is perhaps best known as Founder and Senior Contributor to Bloomberg New Energy Finance – the world’s leading provider of information and research on clean energy and transport.

He is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College, a member of the UK Department for International Trade’s Capital Investment Advisory Board and most recently joined Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL) as a Senior Adviser. In Sept 2020 Michael was honoured to accept an invitation to join as an Advisor to the UKs Board of Trade and he is also a member of the  IEA’s Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency, an independent panel focusing on key policy actions that can be undertaken by countries around the globe.

Until recently he was a long-standing board member of Transport for London and a member of the high-level group for the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

Aldith Hunkar

Aldith Hunkar

Moderator, media coach, journalist

Aldith Hunkar is a multimedia journalist, with 25 years of experience in mainstream media and over 14 years in journalism for Dutch TV news outlets. She started her television career in 1994 as a children’s news presenter and in 2000 she was working as the first camjo (camera journalist) in the Netherlands for the regular news. Since 2007, Aldith has worked as an independent journalist. She moderates (international) conferences, leads debates, writes, and creates audio/visual productions emphasizing equal rights, equal opportunities and social cohesion. Aldith is an independent thinker, loves traveling and has an open mind and an adventurous spirit.

Kirsten Dunlop

CEO at EIT Climate-KIC

Kirsten Dunlop joined EIT Climate-KIC in January 2017, from Suncorp Australia, where she was Executive General Manager Strategic Innovation. At Suncorp Kirsten founded and led a bespoke division focused on managing and responding to strategic risk through innovation, transforming core business and industry models from within. Prior to roles in Second Road, KPMG and Suncorp, Kirsten worked in the UK and Italy for 15 years.

Frank Heemskerk

Frank Heemskerk

Secretary General at European Round Table for Industry - ERT

Frank Heemskerk (Haarlem, The Netherlands, 26 July 1969) was appointed as Secretary General of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) on 1 January 2019.

The ERT is a forum of some 50 European industrial leaders of multinational companies aiming at promoting the competitiveness and growth of Europe’s economy ( ERT Members are either Chief Executive Officer or Chair of the Board of major European companies covering a wide range of industrial and technological sectors.

Frank Heemskerk also is a visiting lecturer in Geo-Economics at Leiden University, faculty of Governance and Global Affairs.

From 2013 to 2018, Frank Heemskerk was Executive Director at Board of the World Bank Group, representing the Dutch Constituency of Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Montenegro, The Netherlands, North Macedonia, Romania and Ukraine. He was chair and vice-chair of the World Bank Group Audit Committee (2014-2018).

Mr Heemskerk was (from 2011 to 2013) member of the Managing Board of Royal HaskoningDHV, an independent, engineering and project management consultancy with 7,000 staff members and 100 offices worldwide. He was responsible for Group Finance and IT and in charge of the business lines Water, Buildings and Infrastructure.

Mr Heemskerk served from 2007 to 2010 as Minister for Foreign Trade of the Netherlands. During this period, he was also responsible for the Post, Telecom&IT, Consumer Policy, Tourism, SME’s and the Better Regulation agenda.

From 2003 to 2006, he was member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands, where he was spokesperson for the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) on financial supervision, economic affairs and health care reforms.

Virginijus Sinkevičius

European Commissioner

Virginijus Sinkevičius is the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries at the European Commission.

Previously he was a Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and Minister of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania.

In 2018, he was awarded for The Best Solution for Better Business Environment of the Year by association Investors’ forum and Blockchain Leadership at #SWITCH! Tech Awards. In 2019, he received the Partnership Leader 2018 award for Innovation reform and development of startup ecosystem from the Lithuanian Business Confederation. In 2018, Virginijus was included in the list of 100 World’s Most Influential Young People in Government by Apolitical.

Suresh Venkat

Independent media consultant and event anchor

Suresh Venkat is an independent media consultant and anchor. Previously, Suresh was Technology Editor with CNBC TV18, India’s pre-eminent business news network.

With over 18 years of media experience, Suresh was with CNBC TV18 for eight years between 2004 and 2012. He is also the creator and former co – anchor of the CNBC TV18’s multi award winning personal technology show, Tech Toyz.

Prior to his stint at CNBC TV18 was programme director and radio presenter at RadioCity 91.1 FM, and a producer with Star TV. Suresh is renowned both for his unique insights into business and his irreverent style as an anchor.


James Burford

Broadcaster & journalist

A decade of broadcasting at the UK’s biggest media companies has brought James Burford to the forefront of the profession. As a TV & Radio Presenter, he is perhaps best known for his exploits at the Premier League – bringing the biggest competition in the world to global audiences. Big-name interviews are his speciality – Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola & Eden Hazard to name but a few. Having also worked with the BBC and Sky, James is a broadcaster for the big occasion. His contributions have been seen by millions around the world – and alongside his obvious passion for sport, he believes wholeheartedly in the fight against climate change, and the need to give a platform to the ideas that could one day revolutionise our approach.

Willem Ferwerda Commonland

Willem Ferwerda

Founder & CEO Commonland

Willem Ferwerda is an international professional and strategic policy maker in ecosystems, biodiversity, agriculture, forestry and land use issues in relation to (local and indigenous) people, business, non profits and government. His focus is to mainstream ecosystems in agendas of farmers, business and policy through learning by doing and up scaling of practical solutions. Hands on & grounded.

Willem Ferwerda is CEO and founder of Commonland as well as Theme Lead Business & Ecosystems for the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Commonland foundation is an entrepreneurial, impact-driven, not-for-profit organization with an international team of business developers and experts in the fields of landscape restoration, finance and communication. The mission is to create an investable large-scale landscape restoration industry. Based on sustainable business models, delivering 4 returns: inspiration, social, natural and financial returns.


Diederik Samsom

Head of cabinet or the First Vice-President of the European Commission

Keynote speaker

Diederik is head of cabinet for the First Vice-President of the European Commission. Prior to that he was leader of the Dutch Labour Party, CEO of a green energy company and an avid and prominent campaigner for Greenpeace.

JF Gauthier

Founder & CEO of Startup Genome

 JF Gauthier is a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Startup Genome. He is the world’s leading expert in innovation ecosystem development, having advised—and learned from—more than 100 governments and private-public partnerships across 40 countries. He is an angel investor and has founded five businesses across two continents and three sectors (Tech, Life Sciences and Cleantech), with two exits and one growing at scaleup stage. He previously worked in corporate innovation advising some of the largest Tech and Life Sciences corporations alongside Clayton Christensen and other thought leaders. Harvard MBA. 

Farid Tabarki

Founding Director of Studio Zeitgeist

Farid Tabarki is the founding director of Studio Zeitgeist and a sought-after public speaker, debate moderator and event host. He has been researching the (European) zeitgeist since 2000. Farid is a regular contributor to Het Financieele Dagblad (Dutch Financial Journal). In 2017 his widely acclaimed first book ‘The end of the middle – What a society of extremes means to people, businesses and government’ was published in English.

Recently, Studio Zeitgeist has published the whitepaper The Transformation Playground, Reinventing Business Principles. It presents in-depth analyses of the seven organising principles, which the Studio believes are the most important ones for businesses to put in practice.

Farid received the Trendwatcher of the Year Award for 2012-2013, and since 2013 he became the youngest person on the list of the 200 most influential people in the Netherlands according to Dutch daily morning newspaper de Volkskrant.

Farid sits on various supervisory boards and committees, among others of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and International Theatre Amsterdam. In 2015 he was a member of Platform Onderwijs 2032: commissioned by the Dutch government, the platform presented a vision on Dutch education policy moving towards the year 2032.

Farid presented the parliamentary election edition of MTV Coolpolitics and the television program Dare to Think, from Socrates to Sartre.

Edward Mungai

CEO Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC)

Mr. Edward Mungai is the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC). He leads the team across focus areas and crafts unconventional strategies to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in climate change.

Mr. Mungai has a multifaceted background in business advisory, entrepreneurship, and investment management, having worked with the Danish International Investment Funds (IFU) as an Investment Manager in Copenhagen as well as in Africa where he was the head of the regional office for IFU. Edward holds an Executive MBA as well as a Business Management degree from Moi University, Kenya. He has huge interest in corporate sustainability and has been involved in high level discussions of the topic across Africa and the USA. Edward is a 2016 Eisenhower Fellow and a published author of the book “Impact Investing in Africa”.

Arnaud de la Tour

CEO & Co-founder of Hello Tomorrow

Arnaud de la Tour is CEO and Co-founder of Hello Tomorrow. Prior to that, he completed a Ph.D. in the photovoltaic industry, then worked for 2.5 years in management consulting at the Boston Consulting Group.

Frans Nauta

Founder ClimateLaunchpad

Frans founded ClimateLaunchpad in 2014 as a European competition with 11 participating countries. Amazing things happened and the programme is currently live in 56 countries across the globe.

All Frans’ work is always about innovation & entrepreneurship, with a focus on cleantech. He loves to teach, train and give lectures. He helps his clients to grow the innovation capability of their organization and develop innovation ecosystems.

Not only did he start ClimateLaunchpad, he also set up the EIT Climate-KIC Start-up Accelerator program (around 1.000 startups enrolled and >600 M€ attracted in funding), the Innovation Platform chaired by the Dutch Prime Minister and Knowledgeland (a think tank on social innovation and knowledge economy).

Frans holds an MA in Political Sciences.

Jan van der Tempel

Founder & CEO Ampelmann

Some previous speakers

These great thinkers already rocked our stage (and our minds)

Constantijn van Oranje

Special Envoy TechLeap.NL

Marjan Minnesma

Director Stichting Urgenda

Kevin Kelly

Ireland's Ambassador to the Netherlands

Himanshu Malik

Co-Lead of AGNii and Invest India

Paris Thomas

Co-founder Chrysalis Leap

Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister of Scotland

Dane Boysen

Entrepreneur, former ARPA-e and Cyclotron Road

Puon Penn

EVP/Head of Technology Capital Wells Fargo

Dawn Lippert

CEO Elemental Accelerator & Innovation

Peter Mathieson

Principal and Vice Chancellor University of Edinburgh

Eugene Kandel

CEO Start-Up Nation Central

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