The perfect team — collaborative, informed, experienced, and by golly, even a little bit fun.
Barbra Anderson has 30 years of corporate experience with global airline, car rental and technology companies. Her executive-level expertise has been in corporate responsibility, marketing, customer service, human resources, purchasing, and multi-stakeholder collaboration, most recently as Director of Global Corporate Responsibility for Sabre, and Executive Director of the Sabre Foundation. Barbra established business-focused social, environmental and responsible travel solutions that won awards around the world.
She has achieved measurable results by developing award-winning global environmental and social innovation initiatives, such as “voluntourism” programs, social impact solutions, and responsible travel product suites. She led the development of programs such as Math Can Take You Places, Travelocity’s Travel for Good, and Sabre’s Passport to Freedom travel industry initiative to end human trafficking. These programs were noted by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Transportation, and White House as brave and innovative. She partnered with the UN World Tourism Organization and Marriott to roll out the “Responsible Traveler” campaign to raise awareness to fight several forms of trafficking.
Barbra was appointed to the U.S. State Department’s Stakeholder Advisory Board, a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, and she served on the Corporate Citizenship Leader Forum at The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College. At American Airlines, Barbra led Purchasing department colleagues to win Purchasing Magazine's "Medal of Excellence," a first for a service company. Her car rental experience includes operations management at DFW Airport with Budget, as well as marketing, advertising, and leadership of regional community locations and a reservation call center with Hertz.
An author on customer service, speaker and board executive, Barbra is a collaborator who focuses on possibilities. She holds a Bachelor’s in Marketing from Florida State University, and a Master of Arts in Global Sustainability: Sustainable Tourism, from the University of South Florida, Patel College of Global Sustainability. Barbra is certified as a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate, she holds an Advanced Certificate from the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, and has trained in the International WELL Being Institute’s WELL Building Standard.
Barbra is an innovative thinker with strong leadership, communications and relationship-building skills. In her mission to help make people and places better, she's passionate about bringing disparate stakeholders together to inspire and achieve impact. Download Barbra's full bio here.
Janet C. Hall is a graduate of the University of South Florida College of Business-Finance. Her experience includes management roles in business, entrepreneurship, production, manufacturing, communications and sales, as well as human resources, Environmental Health & Safety, and sustainability data management, with corporate experience at Apple and within Xerox’s Public Sector group.
Janet works with publicly held, global and private corporations across a number of industries, non-profits and government entities. By educating leadership on the relevance of macro-trends specific to their mission, assessing current practices, identifying risks and collaborative opportunities, she provides step-by-step guidance for setting the course to a sustainably-focused future.
Janet is a self-described "data geek" who uses quantifiable and industry-driven sources from which to derive an organization's risks and opportunities. Janet's passion includes educating large and small companies about their organization's impacts relative to global mega-trends, and how each impact one another. Through customized workshops, qualitative inventories of current practices, and implementation of sustainability committees, Janet provides step-by-step guidance to all sizes of organizations. Her experience includes:
- Executive Leadership Workshops and Corporate Sustainability Reports
- Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories using the GHG Protocol
- CDP Climate Change and CDP Supply Chain Reporting
- EcoVadis and EcoDesk Supplier Sustainability Responses
- RFP/RFI Supply Chain Questionnaires
- Trained in and applies principles of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI G4) and the International WELL Being Institute’s WELL Building Standard
Giving back to her community, Janet is an active board member of the Sustany Foundation, where she developed and implemented the Sustainable Business Program, assisting organizations in need of sustainability direction. Organizations who benefitted from this guidance achieved results in energy reduction, increased waste diversion and cost savings. Additionally, the relationships between departments were strengthened as they learned how each of their functions impact other departments and the overall balance of the economic, environmental and social characteristics of the organization. Janet is also Chair of the Sustainability Committee of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.
As a process-driven, visionary thinker she is able to create sustainability practices that benefit profitability, manage natural resource use, and positively impact individuals and community. Janet enjoys helping businesses and their employees flourish by capitalizing on their economic, environmental, and social opportunities, which underlies her overall mission to create a healthier planet and thriving future for all. In her personal time, Janet is a professional vocalist with two Tampa Bay area bands. Download Janet's full bio here.
Sustainable Tourism Specialist
Xiaomin Liu (刘晓敏) is from Xi’an, China. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Global Sustainability from the University of South Florida, Patel College of Global Sustainability, with a dual concentration in Sustainable Tourism and Renewable Energy. In addition to her graduate degree in global sustainability, she has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Sociology from Xiangtan University in Hunan, China.
Xiaomin worked with Ecotourism Australia, a nonprofit sustainability certification organization in Australia. Her primary task was to help design and construct an online certification toolkit, based on Wordpress, for applicants to use to understand the certification process and to obtain related information and resources. She also assisted the Certification Manager with collecting information, updating social media, translating documents and reviewing data for their certification database.
For the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, in St. Petersburg, Florida , Xiaomin served on its Sustainability Task Force, where she focused on developing the internship program and sustainability strategies. She volunteered for Sustainability Leaders, a sustainable tourism website, as a Research and Editorial Assistant, and further its development. Xiaomin was also a Marketing Assistant for Solheimar Ecovillage in Iceland.
Those experiences have helped her to gain important skills in oral and written communication, teamwork, and leadership as well as deep knowledge of how to apply sustainability science to help businesses and consumers make decisions with the Earth in mind. Providing translation services, Xiaomin is fluent in Mandarin and English, and is currently located in China.
Ericka Leigh McThenia
Sustainability and Restaurant Food Waste Expert, and Composting Queen
Ericka Leigh is a native Floridian and had always been an environmental enthusiast. With her early career working in restaurants, she developed an affinity for the food and agriculture system. The beginnings of her environmental career mostly dealt with food waste and composting.
While working in restaurants, Ericka had the opportunity to develop and manage initiatives relating to recycling, composting, food waste minimization, and food security.
Among her restaurant experiences, Ericka worked at SideBern’s, sister restaurant of the famous Bern’s Steak House, mavericks in fresh, organic and farm-to-table. There she organized, educated and trained over 25 staff members about an oyster shell-recycling program she implemented, where she diverted 700 pounds of oyster shells from a landfill in nine months. She also worked with Ed Chiles, owner of the Chiles Group, at his Anna Maria Island restaurants on a waste management project focusing on composting, which would help make the restaurant farm-table-farm, closing the loop on the supply chain.
Ericka did her thesis project with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Lima, Peru. She was there for six months working in a school on a food security and school gardens project. She created a curriculum for a workshop to educate and equip children with the tools necessary to ensure their food security for the future, with the dual objective of creating intersectoral and interinstutional cooperation between local and national government entities.
Ericka has demonstrated initiative and leadership through an array of projects with success educating people about current pertinent issues. She has a genuine passion for making our community and the planet a better place, and an equal passion about food waste minimization, increasing composting efforts, and ways to make the food system more sustainable. She is focused on team building, community outreach and fostering community relations, and sustainable development. She is working with a garden start-up company and managing the Cycle Project, which focuses on collecting food waste from restaurants and using that compost to establish new community gardens.
Ericka received an MA in Global Sustainability from the University of South Florida, Patel College of Global Sustainability. With a BA in Theatre Arts, Ericka is a Jane of all Trades. Her array of interests helps her to look at problems and challenges in a more holistic manner and to think outside the box.
Sustainability Energy and Water Specialist
Adit Patel is a graduate of the University of South of Florida (USF), with a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy. Adit also possesses a Masters of Arts in Global Sustainability, with a research concentration in Sustainable Energy and Energy. While completing his Master’s degree, Adit held various positions at the university, local, and national levels.
Adit has extensive interdisciplinary collaboration experience working with engineers, environmental scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs within the public, private and government sectors. Adit’s analytical skills have significantly helped USF and his other clients streamline their data analysis to reduce costs and minimize wasted time. As a Sustainability Analyst for Sarasota County Government, Adit evaluates local energy use and is conducting a greenhouse gas emission inventory.
With a focus on supporting organizational initiatives, Adit possesses a strong aptitude to generate internal and external sustainability dialogue to increase stakeholder involvement. His keen eye for efficiency and organization enables him to be highly proficient at evaluating technical information and formulating universally understood reports.
Adit’s experience includes:
- Greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories: Clean Air-Cool Planet Campus Carbon Calculator, and Energy Star Portfolio Manager
- Sustainability reporting: ClearPath software administered by ICLEI USA (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives)
- Mickey Leland Energy Fellow 2015 with the U.S. Department of Energy
- Higher education
- Adjunct Instructor - developed and taught an undergraduate “Water and Society for Sustainable Development” course
- Teaching Assistant for Social Entrepreneurship
- Sustainability Fellow for the USF Office of Sustainability
- Student Proposal Representative for the USF Green Energy Council
- Developed and instructed “Water and Society for Sustainable Development” course
- Project management that addresses sustainability gaps and ensures significant return on investments
- Public speaking to address water and energy sustainability challenges and solutions to overcoming these challenges including presenting, including at the:
- 16th Annual National Conference and Global Forum on Science Policy and the Environment with the National Council for Science and the Environment
- USF Research that Matters Sustainable Food Conference: People, Policy and Practice
In addition to speaking English, Gujarati and Hindi, Adit’s passion for preserving the environment and enriching his community will help propel any organization to achieve their sustainability goals.
Community Planning, Asset Building and Workforce Development Expert
Vanitha Venugopal has over thirty years of experience serving communities across the U.S., from New York City to San Francisco. She has held several high-level positions in government, philanthropy and community development, with up to $10 million in annual fiscal responsibilities. Her most recent work has focused on the design and direction of several grant-making programs to build and preserve affordable housing units, workforce development and asset building. Vanitha’s core expertise lies in philanthropy, community planning, asset building and workforce development.
With an undergraduate degree in Architecture from JNT University in India, she was always keenly interested in larger issues shaping communities such as land use and zoning, market and public sector roles in development and assessing community benefits and impacts of projects. She has a Master's in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University, and extensive work experience in planning studies, impact assessment, land use and zoning, master planning and sustainable development.
Vanitha has done extensive work in transit-oriented development, energy efficiency and renewable energy in affordable housing. She was the Director of Community Development and Investment at The San Francisco Foundation for the Pacific Region and the Vice President at NeighborWorks America.
She has built collaborations of funders and community-based organizations and has worked extensively with residents to assist their understanding of development issues to become better advocates for their communities. She forged public/private/non-profit partnerships to advance policy and practice in neighborhoods. She uses integrated, solutions-based approaches to challenges that tap into the creativity and passion of residents and communities. She has a great eye for detail and enjoys empowering people and stakeholders to realize their own aspirations for healthy, strong and sustainable communities.
Vanitha currently serves on the national Advisory Board of the National Coalition for Asian and Pacific American Community Development. She is a co-founding member of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, which provides housing services to South Asians in New York City, and also served for several years on the boards of Habitat for Humanity-NYC and Asian Americans for Equality. Download Vanitha's full resume here.
Business and Community Leader, and Champion for the Marginalized
A native of Savannah, Georgia, Alfonso moved to St. Petersburg in 1974 to attend Eckerd College. Spanning 40 years of business ownership and community engagement, in a wide spectrum of roles and leadership positions, he has been an effective champion for the marginalized. Alfonso is active in faith-based community organizing, working to address the problems and concerns of citizens, which in turn, vitalizes and strengthens communities for all.
Alfonso’s compassion and love for others manifests itself in his work ethic. He is an effective communicator, good listener, and works well alone or with others. His leadership skills equip him to work together with multiple ethnicities and beliefs, to transform communities.
In 1979 Alfonso established Ananias Financial Associates, an insurance and financial services company initially created to offer tax deferred savings plans primarily in the 403(b) market. Licensed in the State of Florida for nearly 40 years, the company has since grown to include Tax, Retirement and Insurance planning.
Alfonso’s community leadership includes:
- Greater Pinellas Point Civic Association – Treasurer
- Upper Pinellas County Ministerial Alliance – Treasurer
- Pinellas WAGES Coalition – Charter Member, Chair, Chair - Hardship Exemptions, Vice Chair
- Congregations United for Community Action (CUCA) – Founding Member, Co-Treasurer
- Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance – Member/Treasurer
- Southeast Region (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina) of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus – Secretary
He has also served his community as a Commissioned Stephen Minister, a volunteer board member with the NAACP, Habitat for Humanity, The Mustard Seed Homeless Shelter, and the St. Petersburg Community Alliance. Alfonso is married and enjoys reading, theatre, fishing and giving back. Download Alfonso's full resume here.
Strategic Communications and Social Media Guru
Brianna Celeste was born and raised in central Florida, right on the cusp of a favorite tourist spot, Disney World. She’s had a knack for strategizing, planning, organizing and writing, but most of all learning.
It’s not about saying something just to say it, it’s about relating it to the appropriate audience. Which is why you’ll find Brianna doing a lot of listening and researching which are two of her many passions; she’s continually trying to understand both sides of the equation and thrives in the creative and collaborative process that accompanies it.
She loves getting involved in the community. In her previous employment, at a performing rights organization, she joined their Community Action Committee which served the purpose of getting involved and serving the local community.
Throughout her university and professional studies, at the University of Central Florida, she specialized in a diverse range of areas, including interpersonal communications, industry research and client relations.
For her Capstone project she wanted to understand the motivational patterns of employees within an organization, so she made that her focus. This study captured data and research both via interviews and outcomes to the implementation of various stimuli which included environmental aesthetics, missions driven, monetary reward, or results oriented.
Brianna has earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies which encompassed marketing, the arts, and behavioral and social sciences. With such a diverse range of focuses, she can strategically communicate content conceptually, visually, and behaviorally.