PSX | Opening & Closing Sessions
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Opening & Closing Sessions

PSX opening and closing sessions are the perfect bookends to three days of intense learning. These sessions provide insight, inspiration, and motivation to achieve your professional goals.

Opening Session: A Holistic Approach to Address Climate, Health, and Equity in the Built Environment

Tuesday, October 17
8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET

Heather HenriksenManaging Director, Office for Sustainability, Harvard University

Heather Henriksen is Harvard’s Chief Sustainability Officer and the founding Managing Director of the Office for Sustainability. Launched in 2008 to address the climate crisis and advance sustainable development, the Office for Sustainability works with researchers, building operators, and project teams to ensure University buildings are sustainably designed, constructed, and operated. During her keynote address, Heather will use Harvard Healthier Building Academy (HHBA) as a case study to address climate, health, and equity in the built environment, with a focus on the supply chain. She will specifically explore how Harvard has worked with manufacturers and project teams to scale this important work. This Keynote will serve as a roadmap for product stewards and help suppliers have a competitive advantage when it comes to removing toxic substances and carbon from the supply chain, which reduces harmful impacts on human and planetary health.

About Heather Henriksen

Heather Henriksen has served as Harvard University’s chief sustainability officer since 2008, advising the President and senior leadership on Harvard’s university-wide sustainability strategy and policy. She leads the Office for Sustainability which ensures the University achieves its sustainability priorities and commitments including overseeing the comprehensive Sustainability Plan (co-created with faculty and students) and the University’s Climate Action Plan (to be fossil fuel-free by 2050 and fossil fuel-neutral by 2026), which builds upon the 2016 achievement of Harvard’s initial science-based climate goal.

The Office for Sustainability is on a bold mission to find solutions to critical and systemic world problems, such as climate change, by addressing them first on a smaller scale in our own backyard. To that end, the Office for Sustainability has expanded its multi-disciplinary partnership with staff, faculty and students to use the campus as a test bed for piloting and sharing innovative solutions to real-world sustainability challenges. Nationally recognized as a leader in healthier buildings and materials, Henriksen is spearheading an effort informed my faculty and research, and in partnership with business and non-profit leaders, to address the use of chemicals of concern in common building products, as well as more broadly addressing health, climate and equity in the supply chain and built environment.

Henriksen lectures in courses throughout Harvard College and the professional graduate schools, and speaks nationally and internationally on sustainability. She is on the Board of Directors of the International Living Future Institute and is an emeritus board member of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative. She serves as Advisory Committee Co-chair of the International Sustainable Campus Network. She advises the Higher Education Working Group of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission and is a member of Ivy+ Sustainability Council. Henriksen holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Closing Session: Creating An Effective ESG Strategy – From Zero To Execution

Thursday, October 19
10:45 a.m.-Noon ET

Kathy Varol, Former Head of Global Purpose Strategy for Adidas; Expert in Purpose Strategy, CSR and ESG

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) continues to grow in importance every year. A thoughtful ESG strategy can attract top talent, boost business performance, ensure regulatory compliance, and future-proof your company.

In this keynote, through captivating stories and real-world business examples, Varol will reveal a step-by-step process that will help your company set the ESG gold standard for your industry.

About Kathy Varol

Kathy Varol started her career as a bright-eyed idealist, joining the Peace Corps straight out of college. Along her journey, the idealist combined with her inner strategist, creating a catalyst for good. Now Kathy has 20 years of experience in brand marketing, strategy, and impact, working at established brands like adidas, MillerCoors, and Microsoft. Kathy is a sought-after Purpose Strategy Expert, and CSR & ESG consultant who has spoken and led workshops around the globe. She shares her knowledge with audiences on how to embed a purpose into their company in order to transform their culture, their business, and impact the world.

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