|Leticia Colon de Mejias is a motivational speaker, the CEO of the nationally awarded company, Energy Efficiencies Solutions, Chair of the nonprofit, Efficiency For All, Policy Co-Chair of the National Building Performance Association, a Commissioner for the state of Connecticut Commission on Women, Children Elderly Latino & Puerto Rican Affairs, and founder and President of Green Eco Warriors a nonprofit which works to "Create a Culture of Sustainable Thinkers." She has published an award-winning children's book, and several books on environmental leadership and sustainability, as well as a line of educational science-based graphic texts (comic books) that feature diverse superheroes and align with national science standards. She is the recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy award for work with at risk and minority populations, National Tony Woods Building Scientist of the Year Award, Minority Small Business of the Year Award, U.S. Department of Education Award, and a two-time Capital Workforce Partners Employer of the Year Award. Her companies have provided energy efficiency assessments and upgrades to over 12,000 households and completed full energy efficiency retrofits in over 10 million square feet of multifamily housing. Through her nonprofit, Green Eco Warriors, she has provided climate change and energy education to over 30,000 young people and families. In 2019, Leticia was called to congress to testify on an energy workforce plan The Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act of 2019. Prior to working in building science, she was a manager at Hartford Healthcare and developed several nationally awarded workforce models. Her businesses are located in Windsor, Connecticut.
Presentation Title: Efficiency is Efficient: An Equitable Path to a 100 Percent Clean Energy Economy
Presentation Themes: How to put equity and workforce development factors, for low-income communities and communities of color, at the forefront of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. Policies and procedures for ensuring that historically under-represented and vulnerable communities will benefit directly from energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives.
|Wanjiku (Wawa) Gatheru (Class of 2020), is a UConn senior majoring in environmental studies with minors in global studies as well as in urban and community studies. She is among 32 people across the country who was elected to the American Rhodes Scholar Class of 2020 to initiate postgraduate studies, beginning this fall, at the University of Oxford in England. Wawa was a 2019 Truman Scholar and a 2019 Udall Scholar, the first student in UConn’s history to win those illustrious honors in the same year. She has also received several other prominent plaudits during her time as a UConn student, including the McCullough Leadership Award, a 2020 Grist 50 Fixer, 2020 Young Futurist by the Root, and member of Connecticut Magazine’s 40 under 40 list. She is the proud daughter of two Kenyan immigrants and grew up in Pomfret before spending a year in Thailand as a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Scholar of the U.S. State Department.
At UConn, Gatheru has served as vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and as the student co-chair of the 2019 University-wide Metanoia, pursuing the theme of “Youth for Change.” She was a lead organizer in Connecticut’s first Youth Climate Lobby Day, a United Nations Global Health Fellow, a UConn@COP23 delegate at the UN’s 23rd annual International Climate Summit, a founding member of the President’s Council on Race and Diversity at UConn, and played a critical role in the successful implementation of UConn’s environmental literacy general education requirement. Wawa was an intern at UConn’s Office of Sustainability for two years and also completed sustainability internships with the City of Hartford, the Sierra Club, and the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network.
Presentation Title: Changing Conservation Conversations: The Future of Environmental Leadership
Presentation Themes: The environmental movement is at a crucial crossroads. We have only 10 years to create climate policy that works to both decarbonize our economy and center equity.
|Mackey Dykes is the Vice President of Financing Programs at Connecticut Green Bank, which he joined in 2012, and for which he leads the Commercial and Industrial Programs. Through programs such as C-PACE, he helps commercial and industrial building owners, non-profits, schools and hospitals access affordable capital for clean energy projects. Before taking over the Commercial and Industrial portfolio in 2016, he served as the Green Bank’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In that role, he helped lead the transformation, development and implementation of the Green Bank’s clean energy financing mission, as well as ran its day-to-day operations. He serves as the Connecticut Green Bank’s representative on the state’s GreenerGov Steering Committee, and as an advisor to other state agencies and institutions on its Renewable Energy Subcommittee. Prior to joining the Connecticut Green Bank, Mackey was the White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of Energy. He has also held leadership positions in several political campaigns. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Vanderbilt University
Presentation Title: Solar Energy: An Affordable Solution Today for a Carbon Neutral Future
Presentation Themes: Solar energy is an essential component of a carbon neutral future and is readily available at competitive prices for all. Mackey will discuss methods, financial mechanisms, incentives, programs and general advice for installing or acquiring solar energy.