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Making Change Speaker Series: Building public will for the public commons: two decades of observations from the front lines

November 5, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

The Institute on the Environment is thrilled to announce a brand new Fall 2018 Speaker Series titled “Making Change: Organizations and Sustainability”.

Our third talk on Monday, November 5th at 10 a.m. will feature Amy Skoczlas Cole, Managing Director, The Water Main, American Public Media | Minnesota Public Radio, presenting on “Building public will for the public commons: two decades of observations from the front lines“. This hour long talk with Q&A will take place in the Learning & Environmental Sciences Bldg’s Room R-380.

Live stream available here.


Amy Skoczlas Cole is passionate about social innovation at scale. Over the course of a 25 year career spanning Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and foundations, Amy has worked to reimagine the systems that deliver clean water, sustainable food, and clean energy to society. Currently, she leads the Water Main, American Public Media Group’s groundbreaking new effort to redefine Americans’ relationship with this most vital of resources. Before joining APMG, Amy was the founder of a strategic advisory firm focused redefining the relationship between people, planet, and the global economy. As part of this work, she served as the founding chair of the MN Sustainable Growth Coalition, a group of over 30 global businesses and organizations collaborating to drive a circular economy, regenerative and sustainable by design. She previously served as Pentair’s vice president of social responsibility, and led the Pentair Foundation’s award winning programs focused on safe water and the water-food-energy nexus. Before moving to Minnesota, Amy was eBay’s most senior sustainability executive, creating an industry leading data center sustainability strategy and engaging the company’s 95 million customers in making more sustainable purchases. These efforts were recognized with eBay being named to Newsweek’s Top 100 Green Companies and World’s Most Ethical companies lists.

Amy started her career at Conservation International, where she forged some of the earliest collaborations between environmentalists and the private sector. Over the course of 13 years, Amy was a leader in CI’s efforts to design and build best environmental and social practices across key industrial sectors, including global agriculture, forestry, energy, mining, and the built environment. This work took her to threatened ecosystems around the world, from the cloud forests of Mexico to the savannahs of Africa and included a 2 year posting in Brazil. Amy is a frequent speaker and presenter, and is the author of numerous articles and blog posts on social innovation and sustainable development, including co-editor of Footprints in the Jungle, published by Oxford University Press. Amy holds an MBA from George Washington University and a BA from Vanderbilt University. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development, the co-Chair of the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition, and on the expert advisory board for Ensia magazine from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Environment. She lives in Deephaven, MN, and when she’s not at work, you can find her on beautiful Lake Minnetonka with her husband, two children, and mischievous dog.


The Series Context:

With the private sector producing more than 60% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and the largest corporations generating over $2 trillion in annual ‘externalities’ to society in the form of emissions, freshwater use, pol­lution, waste and land-use change, new sustainability-centric organizational models will likely need to dominate production and consumption systems within the decade.

To provide the IonE Community (students, researchers, faculty and staff) some insight into how organizations are thinking and acting in this direction, we present a new Fall 2018 speaker series “Making Change: Organizations and Sustainability”. This series offers students and scholars an opportunity to interact with leading corporate and organizational leaders actively pursuing sustainable transitions in the areas of energy, water, food, materials and communication. Please join us in exploring the major trends, catalysts and barriers affecting some of the most influential regional, national and global organizations’ sustainability efforts.


November 5, 2018
10:00 am - 11:00 am


R380 – Learning and Environmental Sciences
1954 Buford Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55108 United States
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