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Conference 2012 Speaker Bios
Insights that Shape Your Environment
Each year we bring you leading speakers who frame the big picture themes facing business. The speakers inspire, inform and help us envision the future course for business in society.
Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation
A national leader in the power industry, Don Brandt is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE:PNW), an energy holding company based in Phoenix. He is also chairman of the board and chief executive officer for Pinnacle West’s primary subsidiary, Arizona Public Service Company (APS) – Arizona’s largest electric utility. APS provides retail electricity service to more than 1.1 million Arizona homes and businesses.
In 2009, Mr. Brandt was elected to Pinnacle West’s board of directors and promoted to his current positions. Before assuming his current responsibilities, Mr. Brandt held several leadership positions with the company, including APS president, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
Prior to joining Pinnacle West in 2002, Mr. Brandt achieved 20 years of power industry experience. He served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Ameren Corporation, a St. Louis-based energy company. Prior to Ameren, he was at Price Waterhouse & Co., where he provided audit and consulting services to Fortune 500 public companies.
A recognized industry and community leader, Mr. Brandt serves on the boards of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Edison Electric Institute and Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited. In addition, he sits on the boards of the Nature Conservancy in Arizona, the Phoenix Symphony and the Heard Museum. A certified public accountant, Mr. Brandt earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from St. Louis University.
Edward Z. Fox
Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Arizona Public Service Company
Ed Fox is vice president and chief sustainability officer for Arizona Public Service Company (APS), Arizona’s largest electric company. Based in Phoenix, APS serves more than 1.1 million customers and is one of the fastest-growing investor-owned electric utilities in the United States.
Mr. Fox oversees the company’s strategic efforts to incorporate sustainable practices into core business operations, as well as the company’s environmental and safety programs. He is also responsible for Facilities Management and Transportation.
Prior to joining APS in 1995, Mr. Fox served as director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. An attorney, Mr. Fox has had private law practices in Phoenix and Tucson, and previously held the position of assistant attorney general for the state of West Virginia.
Mr. Fox actively participates in many community organizations including Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, the University of Arizona Eller College of Management National Advisory Board and the Arizona Brain Injury Association Advisory Board. Mr. Fox earned a Juris Doctor degree from West Virginia University. He holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration degrees from American University.
Americas Director of Environmental Sustainability, Ernst & Young
Leisha John is the Americas Director of Environmental Sustainability for Ernst & Young, a global professional services organization providing audit, tax, transaction and risk advisory services. In her role, Ms. John works with the firm’s leaders to develop and implement strategies to minimize Ernst & Young’s impact on the environment. Her current focus is measuring and reducing Ernst & Young’s carbon footprint, applying best practices in sustainability to the organization’s business processes and infrastructure, and engaging employees in adopting more eco-friendly ways of working.
Named to this position in 2008, Ms. John’s background in strategy, innovation and large-scale strategic implementations, coupled with her passion for “all things green,” makes her particularly well-suited for this role. Previously, Ms. John was the CEO of Ernst & Young’s Global Shared Services center in Bangalore, India. Prior to relocating to India in 2004, Ms. John was the Director of Strategy and Innovation for the US National Tax Compliance practice where she led the design and execution of strategic initiatives that transformed tax compliance service delivery.
Ms. John began her career with Ernst & Young in 1983 providing tax consulting and compliance services to high net-worth individuals and businesses in the real estate, law, financial services, and not-for-profit sectors, as well as companies in emerging and strategic growth markets.
Ms. John is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 25 years of experience at Ernst & Young. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Montana and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs. Ms. John is also a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - Accredited Professional). She is based in Miami, where she also volunteers with the U.S. Green Building Council, serving as Treasurer and co-Chair of the Green Schools Committee.
Global CEO, Havas
Honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, David Jones has distinguished himself as an industry visionary and proponent of corporate responsibility and social change. He is the youngest global CEO in the history of advertising, heading both Havas and Euro RSCG Worldwide.
He was the driving force behind Kofi Annan’s Campaign for Climate Justice, one of the most successful cause campaigns in history with 18 million people signing up as climate allies, and is co-founder of One Young World, described by CNN as the “junior Davos,” a nonprofit organization that provides brilliant young people with a global platform through which to effect positive change.
Jones is the creator of the Social Business Idea and author of the best-selling book “Who Cares Wins: Why Good Business is Better Business”, published in December 2011 by Pearson/FT Publishing. He also worked closely with David Cameron and the U.K. Conservative Party from 2007 up to and including Cameron’s election as prime minister in 2010.
As Global CEO of Havas, Jones is responsible for all creative, marketing, media and design companies throughout the network of more than 16,000 people. He is a member of the Facebook Client Council and was inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Hall of Achievement in 2005. Jones was voted one of the two top executives of the decade by readers of Adweek, was nominated as one of CR Magazine’s 2011 Responsible CEOs of the Year and was named to the “40 Under 40” lists of both Crain’s New York Business and Advertising Age.
Executive Director, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, Ernst & Young
Brendan LeBlanc is a leader in Ernst & Young LLP’s United States Climate Change and Sustainability Services practice. In this role he oversees the development and implementation of climate change and sustainability assurance competencies throughout the United States, extending to clients through the firm’s core services: assurance, advisory, tax and transaction advisory services.
Previously, Mr. LeBlanc was the founder and CEO of LeBlanc & Associates, a niche CPA firm focused on corporate social responsibility assurance services. In this capacity, he issued the first reasonable assurance opinion on a sustainability report in the US in 2008. Mr. LeBlanc served on the advisory board of the UL Environment 880 Standard – Sustainability for Manufacturers and was instrumental in the development of the verification procedures for the ULE Sustainability Program.
Prior to forming LeBlanc & Associates, Mr. LeBlanc was a partner with an internal audit consulting firm, a director of finance for Fidelity Investments and an assurance manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). With PwC he served global investment advisors, and fund servicing organizations on an 18-month secondment to Luxembourg.
Mr. LeBlanc is a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Sustainability Committee, and the sub-committee on Integrated Reporting. He received a BA in Accounting from Gordon College. He is a certified internal auditor and a certified public accountant licensed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
James E. Nevels
Chairman, The Hershey Company
Business and civic leader James E. Nevels, chairman of The Hershey Company board of directors, will provide a boardroom perspective on corporate citizenship that includes the company’s commitment to its farmer outreach work in Ghana as part of its “CocoaLink: Connecting Cocoa Communities” program.
Mr. Nevels is also chairman of The Swarthmore Group, an investment advisory firm he founded in 1991. He has more than 25 years experience in the securities and investment industry. From 1984 until 1991, he was vice president of Prudential-Bache Securities and Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. At Smith Barney, he was responsible for analyzing and structuring taxable and tax-exempt fixed income credits in transactions totaling more than $750 million.
Mr. Nevels practiced law from 1978 through 1984 as counsel in bond transactions with the law firm Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll in Philadelphia, where he specialized in taxable, tax-exempt and government-assisted finance.
In December 2001, the governor of Pennsylvania appointed him chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission to oversee the turnaround of the financially distressed Philadelphia School System, the seventh-largest school district in the United States. Mr. Nevels was appointed by President Bush to the Advisory Committee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and served a three-year term, 2004-2007. He served as chairman of the committee from 2005 to 2007.
Mr. Nevels also served as a member of the Board of Tasty Baking Company, the Board of Trustees of the Gettysburg Foundation, the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, the Board of Berea College, the Board of St. Joseph’s University, the Board of the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities, the Board of Visitors for Temple University-Fox School of Business and Management, the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and the Advisory Board of Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship.
In addition to The Hershey Company Board of Directors, Mr. Nevels is currently a member of the Board of the Hershey Trust Company, Milton Hershey School, The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In addition, he serves as Member of Council and Vice President of The Pennsylvania Society.
He is an honors (cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) graduate of Bucknell University, and holds an A.B. degree in political science and philosophy, an M.B.A. degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Mr. Nevels recently received a Doctor of Public Service degree from Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, as well as St. Joseph’s University.
Mr. Nevels has also received a plethora of awards including the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia Atlas Award (2003), The Philadelphia Tribune: “One of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African Americans” (2004), Musser Excellence in Leadership Award (2004), Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Award of Excellence (2005), American Jewish Committee Civic Achievement Award Recipient (2005), Emma Sloat Rendell Education Award (2007) and the Bucknell University Humanitarian Service Alumni Award (2009).
General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Brad Smith leads Microsoft's Department of Legal and Corporate Affairs (LCA) as general counsel and executive vice president. The department has just over 1,000 employees and is responsible for the company's legal work, its intellectual property portfolio and patent licensing business, and its government affairs and philanthropic work. He also serves as Microsoft's corporate secretary and its chief compliance officer.
Since becoming general counsel in 2002, Mr. Smith has overseen numerous negotiations leading to competition law and intellectual property agreements with governments around the world and with companies across the IT sector. He has helped spearhead the growth in the company's intellectual property portfolio and the launch of global campaigns to bring enforcement actions against those engaged in software piracy and counterfeiting, malware, consumer fraud, and other digital crimes. As software has migrated online and into a computing "cloud," one of LCA's current principal goals is to help establish the legal foundation for this next generation of technology.
Mr. Smith has played a central role in ensuring Microsoft fulfills its corporate responsibilities. In recent years Microsoft has consistently ranked in the top 2 percent of the S&P 500 for corporate governance scores. During Mr. Smith's tenure, the company's citizenship programs have reached almost 300 million people in 120 countries through technology training programs that help individuals develop the skills needed to obtain jobs. Mr. Smith has also helped advance several significant diversity and pro bono initiatives, both within Microsoft and in the broader legal profession. He currently co-chairs the board of directors of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and serves as chair of the Pipeline Committee of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
Mr. Smith also serves as Microsoft's senior executive responsible for the company's corporate citizenship in Washington state. He has served as chair of the Washington Roundtable, a leading Washington state-based business organization. In 2010 he chaired Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire’s Higher Education Funding Task Force, and in 2011 he helped advocate successfully for adoption by the Legislature of the Task Force's recommendations, including tuition-setting authority and increased accountability for the state's public universities and for the nation's first private-public funded endowment to enable more students to attend college. During the past year, Mr. Smith and his wife, Kathy Surace-Smith, co-chaired the annual campaign for the United Way of King County, the country's largest United Way campaign.
Before joining Microsoft in 1993, Mr. Smith was a partner at Covington & Burling, having worked in the firm's Washington, D.C., and London offices. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and received his law degree at the Columbia University School of Law. He also studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mr. Smith has written numerous articles and commentaries regarding international intellectual property and Internet policy issues, and has served as a lecturer at The Hague Academy of International Law. He can be followed at http://twitter.com/#BradSmi.
Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Dell
Trisa Thompson, vice president of Corporate Responsibility for Dell, who holds responsibility for the company’s global giving and sustainability, will share the story of Dell’s commitment to creating positive change through global philanthropy and corporate sustainability.
Previously at Dell, Ms. Thompson served as vice president, Legal, for the Global Operations, Marketing and Product Groups, and was a member of the legal team for 12 years. She was the founding co-chair of the Women’s Networking Group, W.I.S.E., at Dell, and also serves on the PRIDE Executive Board. She is also a member of the Global Giving and Sustainability Councils.
Ms. Thompson joined Dell in June 1998 from the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth, Shaw. Ms. Thompson was a partner with Seyfarth in its Government Procurement Law practice. She specialized in federal, state, and local procurement law and litigation. She joined Seyfarth directly out of law school in 1986.
Ms. Thompson graduated with honors from The National Law Center, George Washington University in 1986. She received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Boston University in 1983, where she majored in mass communications.
Outside of the office, Ms. Thompson has served on the Annual Campaign Committee for the United Way in Central Texas for several years in different roles, and is a past chair of the Women’s Giving Network and a member of the Community Forum. She is a founding and former member of the Austin/San Antonio Chapter of the Texas General Counsel Forum. Ms. Thompson also serves on the Advisory Board for Law and Technology News, the Capital Campaign Board for Zachary Scott Theatre, and is a past president of the Board of that organization. In addition, she is the chair of the Board for KLRU, and formerly served on the Board for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on the board of I Live Here, I Give Here, an Austin organization promoting philanthropy in Austin. Ms. Thompson was a 2005 finalist for the Profiles In Power award from the Austin Business Journal and the 2008 recipient of the United Way’s Volunteer of the Year Award.