As president, Irene’s responsibilities include formalizing the USGCC’s vision on energy initiatives, interfacing with key influencers, stakeholders and policymakers, as well as leading the business community toward full participation in the green revolution.
“Working with the USGCC is a continuation of my life long passion for protecting the environment,” said Stillings..”I have always believed that doing positive work in the community is good for business. I am pleased to join the team that works with small and large companies, helping them design more sustainable practices.
Irene has over 35 years of energy industry experience ranging from Vice President of Marketing at New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, Vice President of Business Development at ConneXt, Inc. (a software company that supplies the energy industry), as well as Director of Customer Care at Navigate Consulting, Inc. These experiences served her well as the former executive director of the non-profit California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), an organization devoted to creating a sustainable energy future. Through her leadership, the CCSE became a statewide resource in California for business, municipalities, and residents alike.
She has received numerous awards and accolades from sources such as the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the California State Senate and San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Stillings is currently a board member of the National Marketing Executives Conference, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), San Diego Regional Sustainable Partnership, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee, and represented CCSE on the Energy Working Group of SANDAG (City of San Diego Sustainable Energy Advisory Board).
Stillings received her bachelor’s degree, Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Rochester and has her master’s degree from Syracuse University.
As the CEO of the U.S. Green Chamber, David Steel’s uncompromising commitment to the environment has helped skyrocket the formally locally-based Green Chamber of San Diego into a nation-wide organization.
With vast experience in the green arena, David understands the importance of providing the community with the resources and networking opportunities of like-minded individuals and businesses.
“I’ve been moved for many years by the state of our planet and have been committed to creating an organization that can make sustainable business practices practical, beneficial, and easily accessible under the Green Chamber,” explained David. “Already, I’ve seen immense success and growth in these areas, extending from our eco-hub, home base in San Diego to cities across the country.”
David also serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of SmarterLight.com an earth-friendly LED lighting company that helps individuals and corporations easily replace their current lighting with top of the line, next phase, environmentally gentle LED lighting solutions. He is also a founding board member and CFO of Conscious Humanity, a 501©3 committed to spreading peace and personal empowerment to all people. Previously David served on the board of directors for the San Diego Entrepreneurs Organization.
David’s passion and experience in these fields has helped the U.S. Green Chamber reach a number of ambitious goals as he continues to expand the organization’s reach.
Jim Bunch is an entrepreneur who has both founded and participated in start-ups in technology and personal development. He serves on the Transformational Leadership Council along with leaders in the personal development industry.
He has been called the “ultimate life coach and entrepreneur” with over 13 years of experience in professional speaking and presentations. Jim has worked with Xerox, Pitney Bowes, Frito Lay, Century 21, ReMax, Prudential, and many other companies and individuals to help them realize their potential.
In 1999, while still in college, Jim, along with his business associates and friends, built Bamboo.com (now Ipix.com), a virtual tour website. Bamboo was once a tiny start-up and is now a highly successful market leader.
Jim launched two personal and business development companies, The Ultimate Game of Life, an online game-like experience that brings happiness, health, and wealth into people’s lives, and CoachGenie.com, an online technology resources for entrepreneurs.
When Jim is not out inspiring change, he spends time with his wife and son or plays beach volleyball near his home in Del Mar.
Sarah Hardwick is the founder and CEO of Zenzi Communications, an integrated marketing and public relations firm specializing in consumer insights and media relations. Her high energy and passion have fueled Zenzi’s growth into an award-winning agency known for its ability to combine proven strategies with new tactics that create successful campaigns to drive media coverage, customer engagement and ultimately sales results.
Under her leadership, Zenzi has successfully increase awareness for clients including Nestle, Chiquita, Hilton, Torrey Pines Bank, Dreyer’s/Edy’s Fruit Bars, Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB), Shea Homes and now the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce.
“Communicating may be a fundamental aspect of my business, but when you’re faced with an issue as critical as sustainability, the urgency and passion to drive awareness only grows,” said Sarah. “What began as a grass roots movement years ago has inspired everyone from small businesses to large corporations to aspire to be socially responsible today. The U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce has formed to lead the charge into a greener future, and I am proud to be a part of such a progress organization that’s empowering people to come together under the banner of sustainable business.”
Sarah has been honored with numerous awards including San Diego Metropolitan’s “Top 40 Under 40,” Stevie Awards’ “Best Young Entrepreneur” and one of the city’s “Most Admired CEO’s” from San Diego Business Journal. In addition to serving on the board of the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, Sarah is also aboard member for the San Diego Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the Keep A Breast Foundation.
Craig Nelson – Director
Currently SVP & Regional Manager for Pacific Mercantile Bank, Craig has over 25 years in the banking and financial services industry. Starting his career in corporate banking, Craig got the technology bug – eventually becoming Technology Practice Leader for MARSH and later founding the San Diego Technology & Life Sciences office of Comerica Bank.
The deflating of the dot.com bubble brought Craig back to commercial banking but his passion for technology remains. He serves on multiple technology award selection committees and served two terms as President of the San Diego MIT Enterprise Forum.
Pacific Mercantile Bank’s commitment to the Not for Profit business segment runs deep in the San Diego community, where Craig serves on the Charitable Organization Banking Group and NFP task force.
Craig has personally served as President, Chairman or Director of several non-profit and community organizations including the SDSU Aztec Athletic Foundation, American Lung Association of San Diego-Imperial Counties. He currently serves as Chairman of the Budget & Finance Commission for the City of Solana Beach.
Steve Bender – Director
Steve grew up in an environmental family. Not only was his father winning awards for water conservation in the 60s, but he was also raising organic beef in Kansas well before they called it organic. Steve moved to a house on the Back Bay almost two decades ago and has been involved in many different environmental organizations. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Board at University of California, Irvine for their Sustainability Leadership program and is a founding member and President of the Orange County Green Chamber.
He founded the Green Buyers Broker Organization, which helps homeowners install solar panels and green products for their homes utilizing rebates and incentives from realtors and government organizations. In addition, he sits on the board for Orangewood PALs and the Bacchus Doc in a Box. This group is working with a local high school to design and build a mobile medical center to ship to South Africa in 2011. He is the past president of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is a volunteer for the American Cancer Society.
Steve joined the NBC Board in 2009 as co-chair of the Donor and Community Relations Committee and chaired the Rebranding Committee in 2010, resulting in a name change to the Newport Bay Conservancy. His priorities for the Bay include education and restoration.
Courtland Weisleder- Director
Courtland Weisleder is the founder of Greener Dawn, a company that provides services to Solar Installers, Energy Auditors, and Home Performance Contractors nationwide. Educating homeowners on the value of Energy Efficiency and Solar Installation is Greener Dawn’s focus through their numerous websites including www.mygreenerdawn.com.
Courtland founded Greener Dawn in pursuit of his belief that alternative energy, renewable energy and clean technology can define and build a brighter future.
“In September 2008 with the economy faltering, I began focusing on clean technology, green building, and sustainability practices,” explains Courtland. “Now fast forward to 2010 and it appears that the Green Revolution could become a dominant economic stimulus for the United States. San Diego has the opportunity to become the preeminent clean tech city; the Green Chamber is the perfect conduit to bring together local businesses with a thirst for maximizing green business opportunities. I am proud to be a founding member of the Green Chamber of San Diego.”
He was named to the 35 Green Entrepreneurs under 35 by San Diego News Network as well as a Metro Mover in 2010 by the San Diego Metropolitan Magazine.
Julien Brant – Director
Julien Brandt is the founder and CEO of OrganikSEO.com, a green friendly online marketing company that is dedicated to helping sustainable and environmentally conscious businesses increase their online exposure via social media and local search optimization. The company was founded in 2008 when Julien decided to combine his interest in online marketing with his passion for environmental awareness. His office is located on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, CA.
“I feel very blessed to have found a way to incorporate my personal passion into my business and the Green Chamber’s values and goals are closely aligned with my own. Not only do I get to work with like-minded companies and organizations, but I have the satisfaction of being part of an organization that promotes and helps these businesses succeed! To top it all off, I get to help the Green Chamber (and others) become even more green as they shift away from print to online marketing, a more environmentally friendly and sustainable form of marketing.”
In addition to his work he also serves on the advisory board for Cedros Works, and the communications committee for the SDRSP (San Diego Regional Sustainability Partnership). Julien is also the “San Diego Online Marketing Examiner” for Examiner.com and offers his time and know-how to assist charities and social justice organizations, such as NRDC (National Resource Defense Council) and Shap.info (Sustainable Comprehensive Humanitarian Assistance and Planning).