We have assembled an Advisory Board representing a wide range of ESG expertise from law firms, in-house counsel, climate scientists, IT, corporate governance practitioners, academics, auditors and accounting. Our Board members provide ongoing feedback on the PracticalESG.com experience, marketplace developments and contribute original expert content.
Rhonda Brauer is the President and Founder of RLB Governance LLC, where she provides strategic ESG consulting services to investors, companies, non-profits and NGOs. Most recently Rhonda has served as the Associate Program Director, Climate & Environmental Justice, for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, where she helped to launch and manage their Climate Lobbying Initiative. Previously, Rhonda worked as Director of Corporate Engagement for the New York City Pension Funds. Her NYC initiatives included spearheading the Boardroom Accountability Project 2.0, which focused on board quality and diversity, and engaging companies on a range of ESG issues. Rhonda is a securities attorney and has held roles as Secretary and Corporate Governance Officer for The New York Times Co. and as Senior Managing Director for Corporate Governance at Georgeson, a leading proxy solicitation firm. She began her career with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as a cross-border transactional corporate lawyer in New York and Brussels. Rhonda was on the Board of Directors of the Society for Corporate Governance for four years and volunteers as an Almoner for the Havens Relief Fund Society.
Jeff Civins, senior counsel at Haynes and Boone, LLP, has practiced environmental law since 1975, assisting clients in regulatory compliance, transactions, and litigation. Civins also has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law for over 30 years. He is standing chair of the State Bar of Texas’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section Section’s annual Texas Environmental Superconference–now in its 33rd year. For the past several years, he also has chaired the EarthX Law Advisory Council, which puts on the Law & Nature TV series and an annual symposium. Civins also is a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers and a member of the Advisory Council of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law & Business.
Dr. Donato Calace is the Vice President of Innovation and Accounts at Datamaran. He advises on the prioritization of business-critical R&D projects, understanding and anticipating the competitive landscape. He also engages and cooperates with the academic world. Since 2017 Donato has been in charge of Datamaran’s Technical Advisory Committee consisting of international technical experts in ESG, AI and risk management. He speaks frequently at expert-conferences world-wide.
Recently, he has participated in the invite-only European Commission DG FISMA expert session on materiality (November 2019), and has been invited by ESMA to report to the Narrative Reporting Working Group (NRWG) on Datamaran’s innovative approach to materiality assessments. He is a member of the EFRAG Task Force on reporting of non-financial risks and opportunities and linkage to the business model.
During his PhD, he focused on the relationship between non-financial disclosure and environmental performance; reporting and market value; national culture and non-financial risks reporting. His areas of expertise and research include materiality analysis, ESG integration, and risk management associated to non-financial issues. His definition of materiality for the Encyclopedia of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals edited by Springer has been downloaded more than 1000 times.
Douglas K. Chia is the sole owner and President of Soundboard Governance LLC and Fellow at the Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance.
Mr. Chia was previously Executive Director of The Conference Board ESG Center and continues to contribute to The Conference Board as a Senior Fellow. He is also a Fellow at the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program, Advisor to Foresight BoardOps, and Advisory Board Member of PracticalESG.com.
Before joining The Conference Board, Mr. Chia served as Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Johnson & Johnson. Previously, he served as Assistant General Counsel, Corporate of Tyco International and practiced law at the global firms Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Clifford Chance in New York and Hong Kong.
Mr. Chia has held a number of central leadership positions in the corporate governance field, including Chair of the Board of the Society for Corporate Governance, President of the Stockholder Relations Society of New York, and member of the New York Stock Exchange Corporate Governance Commission. He is currently a member of the Corporate Laws Committee of the American Bar Association, American Law Institute, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and Ascend Pan-Asian Leaders. Mr. Chia has received numerous awards and recognitions in corporate governance and has frequently appeared in the news media, including CNN, NPR Marketplace, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and The New Yorker.
Mr. Chia received an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College and a J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Chia is a Trustee of the Historical Society of Princeton. He lives with his wife and four children in Princeton, New Jersey.
Tamara Close is a Managing Director and Head of ESG Integration for KKS Advisors, a leading, independent, global advisory firm. She has over 20 years of combined experience in capital markets and ESG strategy. She is based in Montreal and works with investment management firms to advance their ESG integration practices across both risk and value frameworks. She has held various investment management positions for the Bank of Montreal and Credit Lyonnais in the global derivatives and foreign exchange markets and was previously the head of research and risk for a start-up fixed income asset management firm in Montreal. She previously held senior management roles within the risk and public markets investment groups of PSP Investments. In 2017, she founded an independent capital markets strategy and ESG advisory firm, Close Group Consulting, that focused on ESG integration practices for asset managers and asset owners.
Tamara holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification and is a council member of the Canadian Advocacy Council for CFA Societies Canada. She earned a Master of Science degree in Finance from the John Molson School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from McGill University.
Sarah E. Fortt is counsel at Vinson & Elkins LLP. Sarah has spent a decade working with organizations, small and large, public and private, in navigating their relationships and communications with key stakeholders, including their investors, regulators, employees and communities. She regularly works with boards on managing their approaches to corporate governance, crisis management, succession planning and board education. She is the mind behind the creation of V&E’s ESG Taskforce, a novel cross-functional team that works to provide companies with end-to-end solutions for navigating non-financial risks and opportunities, including those relating to climate change, human rights and corporate culture. Sarah is the consistent corporate governance voice across V&E’s corporate governance approach, which includes working with companies across multiple industries in times of calm and in times of crisis as well as during key strategic transactions. Sarah has created a unique perspective on and approach to corporate cultural wellness that connects an in-depth understanding of leadership, governance, the ethics and compliance functions, employee incentives and initiatives, and corporate risk and crisis management. She regularly works with clients on crisis preparedness and response, including in the context of shareholder activism and cyber and data security breaches. Sarah has a sophisticated understanding of incentive structures and how they tend to function across various levels of an organization given an organization’s strategies, goals and “sacred cows.” She regularly helps clients create consistent, effective and meaningful stakeholder communications (both required and voluntary). Sarah is also an experienced securities lawyer with a background in executive compensation.
Daniel Goelzer is a retired partner in the law firm of Baker McKenzie. He is a member of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and advises a Big Four accounting firm on audit quality issues. He prepares a bi-monthly newsletter, Audit Committee and Auditor Oversight Update, which focuses on regulatory issues affecting audit committees. From 2002 to 2012, Dan was a member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and served as Acting PCAOB Chair from August 2009 through January 2011. From 1983 to 1990, he was General Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Goelzer is a CPA and a lawyer. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin (BBA 1969; JD 1973).
Michael Littenberg is a senior partner at Ropes & Gray. As part of his practice, for more than 30 years, Michael has been active in advising leading public and private companies on ESG, corporate social responsibility and business and human rights compliance matters, and he is widely viewed as one of the leading practitioners in this emerging area.
Rob Main, CFA, is managing partner and COO at Sustainable Governance Partners (SGP). Rob specializes in strategy development, board related matters, investor engagement, and executive compensation. He is a thought leader in the industry and a frequent participant on panels and roundtables. Rob was previously the Head of Investment Stewardship for the Americas and Asia at Vanguard. His responsibilities included company engagement, ESG research, proxy voting, and policy development. Rob played a leadership role in analyzing and evaluating contentious and complex situations, including proxy contests and mergers & acquisitions. He earned a B.S. from the University of Richmond, and an M.B.A. from Villanova University, where he graduated as part of both the Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Societies. He is a CFA charterholder and is a member of the CFA Society of Philadelphia. He currently serves as adjunct faculty in Villanova University’s M.B.A. program and has guest lectured at Harvard University, Drexel University, and at Villanova’s Charles Widger School of Law. Rob previously served on the Corporate Governance Advisory Council of the Council of Institutional Investors (CII). Rob lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and three children. He enjoys reading, racquet sports, and is active in the Unionville youth sports community.
Madhuri Pavamani is the ESG Practice Attorney for the Sustainability & ESG Advisory Practice at Paul, Weiss. She has advised leading companies in the private equity, transportation, technology, and insurance industries on their public disclosures, corporate governance practices, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Prior to joining the ESG practice, Madhuri was a senior staff attorney in Paul, Weiss’s litigation department, where she focused on regulatory and employment investigations and anti-trust matters. A graduate of Barnard College and Brooklyn Law School, Madhuri was a recipient of the Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship and an editor for the Journal of Law and Policy. She is also a published poet and a certified yoga instructor.
Sophie Waskow Rifkin is Director of Corporate Research and Engagement at the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, where she leads work with companies on the Center’s Return on Sustainability Investment (ROSI) methodology. She is also an adjunct professor at NYU Stern, teaching coursework in sustainability strategy. Sophie has over 14 years of experience working with organizations to grow and implement sustainability programs. As a member of the advisory services team at BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), Sophie worked with consumer sector companies to develop and implement sustainability strategies. She previously served as project manager at the George Washington University where she helped launch the university’s inaugural sustainability program, and began her career in sustainability at the consulting firm, SustainAbility. She holds an MPA from George Washington University and an A.B. in English from Brown University. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Pembroke Center Associates Council of Brown University.
Christine Robinson is a senior manager at Deloitte & Touche LLP. As a former financial statement auditor, Christine is a CPA that has spent the last 9 years working with various clients on sustainability materiality assessments, data processes and controls, reporting, assurance, supply chain initiatives, and impact investing. She has worked with clients on disclosures using leading standards and frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), UN Principles for Responsible Investing (UN PRI), Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She holds SASB’s Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) credential.
Puvan J. Selvanathan is Founder of Bluenumber, a 501c3 and public benefit corporation, delivering Digital Equality and Data Equity. He was formerly a UN Special Rapporteur on Business and Human Rights for the UN Human Rights Council (Geneva) and Head of Food & Agriculture at the UN Global Compact (New York). Puvan is an Architect by profession, with an MBA and a doctorate in Corporate Sustainability. Before joining the UN, Puvan was Chief Sustainability Officer at a Malaysian diversified conglomerate and helped set global standards to certify commodities including sustainable palm oil. Bluenumber is a rights-based digital identity, with data and property rights, for local communities, global networks and supply chains.
Angie Snavely is the Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary at The Toro Company (TTC) where she has oversight for a variety of legal areas, including mergers and acquisitions, Corporate Secretary and Board of Director matters, securities law, corporate finance, and the ethics and code of conduct program. She recently expanded her legal responsibilities to include oversight for TTC’s intellectual property team. With the support of TTC’s Board and Executive Leadership Team, Angie was instrumental in the development of the formal sustainability initiative at TTC and has continued to lead the effort over the last four years, including as the Chair of its Sustainability Committee. Angie led the team that developed TTC’s internal sustainability strategy, designed its cross-functional and division Sustainability Committee and broader Sustainability Pillar Teams of Product, Process, Planning and People, and publicly launched TTC’s first formal sustainability initiative, Sustainability Endures, and first Sustainability Report. Angie is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute her time, talents, and passion to such an important and impactful endeavor and considers it a great privilege to work with, and learn from, the passionate and talented individuals advancing sustainability both internally at TTC and in the broader external sustainability professional network.
Dr. Mark C. Trexler founded the first business climate risk consultancy in the United States in 1991, working with companies around the world on all aspects of the evolving climate change problem, from Boards of Directors on down. He was most recently Director of Climate Risk at the global risk management firm of DNV based in Oslo, Norway. He has extensive legal and expert witness experience on climate change and energy topics, and is the co-developer of The Climate Web, a knowledge management solution for climate risk decision-support.