WWOTF 2021 Speakers

Our 2021 Who Will Own the Forest event features leading voices in timberland investing. Meet the speakers below.


Episode 1: Investing Big in Carbon: Can Forests Compete?

Mark Wishnie

Chief Sustainability Officer and Head, Landscape Capital
BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group

Mark Wishnie is Chief Sustainability Officer and Head, Landscape Capital, at the BTG Pactual Timberland Investment Group. Mark is responsible for sustainability across the firm’s $4 billion global timberland portfolio and leads the firm’s climate-focused investment practice. Mark joined BTG from The Nature Conservancy, where he led the Global Forestry & Wood Products program and a portfolio of initiatives aimed at delivering on the massive climate mitigation potential of forests and the broader forest economy. Prior to his work with TNC, Mark co-founded and served as Managing Director of Equator, LLC, a timberland and environmental commodity investment company, co-founded and directed the Native Species Reforestation Project (PRORENA), a joint research program of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Yale University, and served as Program Director of the Yale Tropical Resources Institute. Mark’s research has been published in journals such as Forest Ecology and Management, Conservation Biology, New Forests and The Annual Review of Anthropology. Mark holds a BS in Forest Management from the University of Washington and a Master of Forest Science from Yale University.

Peter Kelly

Vice President
Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Peter Kelly is a vice president in Goldman Sachs Asset Management, based in San Francisco, where he is a member of the Imprint team leading climate impact investing. Previously, he worked at Imprint Capital. Prior to that, he worked in the carbon offset market and as an analyst of climate and energy policy for EcoSecurities, DNV GL, The Climate Trust, and the Oregon Department of Energy. He holds a BA in Economics from Pomona College.

Matthew Potts

Professor & S.J. Hall Chair in Forest Economics
University of California, Berkeley

Matthew has a broad, interdisciplinary background with formal training in mathematics, ecology, and economics, and more than two decades of experience in resources management issues in low- and middle-income countries. His interdisciplinary lab focuses on the co-production by human and natural systems of ecosystem services and natural pathways for carbon sequestration.

Ryan Ramsey

Principal
StepStone Group

Ryan Ramsey is a member of the infrastructure and real assets team at StepStone Group in Sydney, Australia. His focus is on agriculture and forestry investments.

Prior to joining StepStone, Ramsey was a specialist advisor in the KPMG Direct Investments business that merged into StepStone in 2016. Before that he was a strategy and corporate development executive with Elders Limited where he focused on corporate transactions and strategic business initiatives.

Ramsey received a Bachelor of Commerce (First Class Honours and Medal) and a Bachelor of Finance from the University of Adelaide. He also has a graduate diploma of applied finance & investment from FINSIA.

Tracy Buran Evens

Principal
TimberLink

Tracy, along with her partner Gary A. Myers, owns TimberLink LLC.  Her firm has served a diverse group of clients in North America, Europe, and the Southern Hemisphere since 2002, collectively representing over US$10 billion committed to global timber investments.  As an independent advisor to institutional investors, Tracy brings a unique and conflict-free perspective to the complexities of the asset class.  In short, her firm’s primary goal is to help investors achieve their timberland investment objectives through independent advice. 

Tracy has over 27 years of industry experience including 7 years in key positions with Forest Investment Associates (FIA), one the first timberland investment management organizations (TIMOs).  While at FIA, she was instrumental in the development of the NCREIF Timberland Index, a quarterly measure of timberland investment performance.  She earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Georgia State University and B.A. in Economics from Wake Forest University.


Episode 2: Developing Paths to Equity

Mavis Gragg

Director of the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Project
American Forest Foundation

Mavis is a seasoned attorney and conservation professional with nearly two decades of experience in real estate, conflict resolution, estate planning, and probate. Mavis serves as the Director of the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Project at the American Forest Foundation. Prior to this role, Mavis founded the Gragg Law Firm, PLLC in which she assisted her clients in estate planning, estate administration, and heirs property matters. Drawing from her experience, in 2020 Mavis co-founded HeirShares, which is developing an app designed to empower landowners to manage complex heirs property ownership.

Mavis was serves as the Chair of the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority and serves on the Board of Directors for Triangle Land Conservancy. With her sister, Mavis co-founded Black Women Drone and the Gragg Family Fund. A native of Black Mountain, North Carolina, Mavis is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.A., Industrial Relations) and Pepperdine University School of Law (Juris Doctor and Master of Dispute Resolution).

Dãnia C. Davy, Esq.

Director of Land Retention and Advocacy
Federation of Southern Cooperatives

Dãnia serves as Director of Land Retention and Advocacy at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund the largest and oldest cooperatively-owned organization whose membership includes black farmers, landowners and cooperatives. After double concentrating in Community Health and Africana Studies at Brown University, she completed her academic journey at University of Virginia School of Law. Dãnia has written extensively on heir property, Black land loss, racial disparities in maternal mortality, racial disparities in the criminalization of mothers, and disparities in healthy food access for low-income and communities of color. 

Dãnia began her legal career as a Skadden Fellow at the NCABL Land Loss Prevention Project implementing a project she designed which provided community education and estate planning services to improve Black farmers’ access to legal services in the rural South. She developed the documentary – “Our Land, Our Lives: The North Carolina Black Farmers’ Experience” and served on the inaugural North Carolina Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council. She has lectured and facilitated workshops at conferences on the local, state and national level on equity issues facing rural, Black America.

Tharlyn Fox

LEAP Manager
Deere & Company

Tharlyn Fox serves as the LEAP Manager at John Deere in Moline IL. She leads the LEAP Coalition efforts and initiatives for the organization.  The LEAP (Legislation, Education, Advocacy and Production Systems) Coalition includes John Deere, the National Black Growers Council and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.  Its mission aims to help eliminate the barriers created by heirs’ property.   

In her role as LEAP Manager, Tharlyn serves as an advocate for racial equality and equity and invests in opportunities to advance social and economic change for Black farmers. Tharlyn’s unique brand as a collaborator and leader is a dynamic combination as she builds the network of partnerships for the coalition.

Tharlyn has also worked over 13 years in Supply Management with John Deere before being appointed in her current role.  She serves as the Chair for the Black Employee Resource Group and she was the former John Deere Chair for the National Black MBA Association. Previously, she served on the Supplier Diversity Council as the Strategic Supplier Growth Lead.  Most recently, Tharlyn was the recipient of the 2020 Region 4 Diversity & Inclusion Award.  

Tharlyn is currently a Doctoral candidate (Leadership and Innovation) at St. Thomas University.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems from the University of Detroit Mercy. 

Tom Martin

President and CEO
American Forest Foundation

Tom Martin is President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation.  Formerly, he served as the Chair of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) senior management groups, crafting their agendas and building an effective management team; as President and Member of the Board of Directors of Earth Force, Inc., the nation’s largest young people’s environmental and citizenship education and action group; and as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Audubon Society, where he managed day-to-day operations, including line supervision for all management units including 320 staff and a $42 million annual budget.  As Director of the National Audubon Society’s Everglades System Restoration Campaign, he directed the multi-disciplinary team effort to restore the Everglades’ ecosystem.  As a partner with Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, P.C., Tom co-chaired the firm’s environmental practice area representing clients on a broad range of issues including permitting, environmental remediation, lender liability and related issues. Tom is currently a member of the Northland College Board of Trustees.  He has served as Board Chair of the Natural Resources Council of America; Chair and Founding Member of the Great Lakes Protection Fund, a $100M public endowment to fund Great Lakes research and demonstration projects; Chair of the Great Lakes Commission, an 8‑state, regional government organization; as a member of the Governor’s Commission on a Sustainable South Florida; and as Vice President of the Council of Great Lakes Governors.  Other honors include being invited to The White House Forum on History, Civics and Service; a National Invitee to the Presidents’ Summit on America’s Future; and a National Finalist for the Hesselbein Management Fellowship.


Episode 3: Implementing ESG Strategies: How Two Leading TIMOs are Responding to the Challenge

Chris Larson

(Formerly) Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer
New Island Capital

Until recently, Chris was the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of New Island Capital where he directed portfolio strategy and company operations while nurturing our investments in forestry & agriculture. In past roles, Chris was involved in community-based watershed restoration in rural northwestern California and supported the launch of Cambridge Associates’ Mission-Related Investment program. Chris completed a BS at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and an MBA at the Yale School of Management. Chris operates a small farm in Marin county focused on organic vegetable and fruit production.

Jim Hourdequin

Managing Director and CEO
The Lyme Timber Company

Jim joined Lyme in 2005 and leads the Company’s investment and business strategies. Over the past 16 years, he has managed the acquisition of over 1.8 million acres of timberland throughout the US and Canada. With a background that combines forest ecology and small business, Jim has led Lyme’s focus on making timberland and supply chain investments that combine conservation and climate outcomes with sustainable timber harvesting.  Prior to Lyme, Jim co-founded Long View Forest Inc., a logging and forestry services business based in Vermont, where he remains involved as an owner and member of the management team. He serves on the Board of the National Alliance of Forest Owners and the Finance Committee for the Montshire Museum of Science. He was a founding board member of the Center for Woodlands Education, publisher of Northern Woodlands. Jim earned an M.B.A. with Distinction from the Harvard Business School and a B.A. cum laude in Biology from Dartmouth College.

Radha Kuppalli

Managing Director, Impact and Advocacy 
New Forests

Radha Kuppalli leads New Forests’ Impact & Advocacy group. She has primary responsibility for positioning New Forests as the world’s leading asset manager providing forestry- and land-based investment solutions through New Forests’ impact strategy, reputation, and brand. Radha has oversight of the sustainability, communications, and markets research functions at New Forests and leads the advocacy and thought leadership strategy for the company. She is a director of the Board of New Forests Pty Ltd, member of the company’s Executive Committee, and a member of all Investment Committees. Radha has been with New Forests since 2006. She is also a Non-Executive Director of Timberlink Australia and a Non-Executive Director of Greening Australia, including chairing Greening Australia’s investment committee. Radha’s 20-year career has been focused on driving capital markets toward investing in climate change solutions and sustainable development. Radha has an MBA from Yale University’s School of Management and a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is on the Advisory Board of the Center for Business and Environment at Yale University and is an associate of the Yale World Fellows Program.


Episode 4: Innovation and Disruption: An Update on the Dynamic Mass Timber Sector

Karim Khalifa

Director of Buildings Innovation
Sidewalk Labs

Karim has spent his career in the design and construction world, most recently leading the global hotel innovation and design team at Marriott, where he launched the company’s first innovation lab/collaborative design space (The Underground). While at Marriott, he also led the LEED Volume Build program for hotels and launched Marriott’s global modular construction initiative.

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