Institute Board


Cynthia Hester, Board President

Director, Customer Reference Program, VMware

Cynthia Hester is a senior marketing professional with over twenty years experience in global marketing, strategic planning, communications, and business development primarily in the high technology arena. As a senior level manager, she has developed and implemented global strategic marketing plans, including advertising, marketing communications, third party relations, events and public relations. Cynthia has managed multi-million dollar budgets and cross functional internal/external teams during the course of her career. Learn more


Janine Benyus

Partner & Co-Founder, Biomimicry 3.8

Janine Benyus is a natural sciences writer, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including her latest − Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. She co-founded the world’s first bio-inspired consultancy, bringing nature’s ideas to the design table and board room of 250+ companies including Nike, HOK, GE Procter and Gamble, Levi’s and General Mills; and an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting the study of biomimicry. In 2011, Janine and her co-founders combined staffs and administration services into a single entity, to create Biomimicry 3.8. In addition to her biomimicry work, Janine teaches interpretive writing, lectures at the University of Montana, and works towards restoring and protecting wild lands. She has received several awards including the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Design Mind Award, the 2011 Heinz Award, Rachel Carson Environmental Ethics Award, and the Lud Browman Award for Science Writing. Learn more


Alex O’Cinneide

Alex O’Cinneide is CEO of Gore Street Capital where he manages significant capital on behalf of institutional investors for renewable investments. Beside his role in Gore Street he acts as a Senior Advisor to Kleinwort Benson Bank in London and a Senior Advisor to Paladin Capital Group in Washington DC, serves on the Investment Committee for SDCL (a global energy efficient fund), serves on the Investment Committee of IndoChina Capital (an Oryx Corp Asia Renewables fund) and is partner in Aqal Capital, a leading impact investment firm. Alongside those commercial activities he also serves on the board of the NGO Educate Girls Globally and the NGO thirst4water. Learn more


David Oakey

Owner, David Oakey Designs

David Oakey founded David Oakey Designs in 1985 and leads global efforts in sustainable or “smart design” by learning from nature. Oakey challenges industrial designers, architects, teachers, and students to take action and impact change today. He has been featured in Business Week, Fast Company, Interior Design magazine, The New York Times, Green Futures magazine, I.D. magazine, and Smithsonian magazine. Learn more


Duke Stump

Principal, Northstar Manifesto

Duke Stump is the principal and chief architect of The Northstar Manifesto, a dynamic culture and leadership studio focused on cultivating and nurturing bonfires with soul—positive systemic change-makers who are out to transform the world and have a great time along the way. Prior to creating The Northstar Manifesto, Duke worked as a brand builder for more than 20 years, most recently as the chief marketing officer for Seventh Generation and prior to that as a senior executive for NIKE. Learn more


Ashok K. Goel, Vice Chair of the Board

Professor, Computer & Cognitive Science, Director, Design & Intelligent Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology

Ashok Goel is a professor of computer science and cognitive science in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. He is director of the school’s Design & Intelligence Laboratory (DILab)and a co-director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID). He serves on the advisory board of the Bioinspired! digital newsletter. Ashok recently co-chaired two workshops on Computer Aids for BioInspired Design sponsored by the US National Science Foundation. He is co-editing a volume on Computational Methods and Tools for Biologically Inspired Design to be published by Springer in late 2012. Learn more


John Elkington

Executive Chairman, Volans Ventures

John Elkington is the founding partner and executive chairman of Volans (2008 to date) also co-founder of SustainAbility (1987-2008, where he remains a non-executive member of the board) and of Environmental Data Services (ENDS, 1978), John Elkington is a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development.John has written or co-authored 18 books, most recently The Zeronauts: Breaking the Sustainability Barrier, published May 2012. The Zeronauts spotlights a new breed of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and policy-makers who are pushing towards zero in such areas as population growth, pandemic risk, poverty, pollution and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The book explores ways in which corporations, citizens, cities and countries can tackle the civilizational challenges at the intersections between demography, consumerist lifestyles, natural resource availability, and climate change. Learn more