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Meet the Presenters

Sustain Dane is thrilled to announce the line-up of distinguished presenters at the 2017 Badger Bioneers Conference on Wednesday, November 29 at the Gordon Dining & Events Center at UW-Madison. Register now!

Live Keynote Presenters:

Video Keynote Presenters:

Badger Bioneer Interviewers:


Head Facilitator:


Keynote Presenters

“Equity is not an abstract concept; it is something that leaders and communities live, breathe, and feel to their core… I am on a journey to infuse this soul into my own collective impact work." -Dr. Michael McAfee


Michael McAfeeMichael McAfee leads PolicyLink executive and program teams in strategic planning, policy development, policy campaign strategy, capacity building, and programmatic design and implementation at the local, state, and national levels. He came to PolicyLink in 2011 as the inaugural director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink. Under his leadership, PolicyLink has emerged as a national leader in building cradle-to-career systems to ensure that children and youth in our nation’s most distressed communities have a pathway into the middle class. His partnership with local leaders in more than 60 communities contributed to significant improvements in the educational and developmental outcomes for children and helped attract public and private investments that exceed $1 billion. Through the 2015 authorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Promise Neighborhoods program is now a permanent federal program.

Before joining PolicyLink, Michael served as senior community planning and development representative in the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While at HUD, he managed a $450 million housing, community, and economic development portfolio where he partnered with local leaders to create more than 3,000 units of affordable housing and 5,000 jobs and ensure access to social services for more than 200,000 families. He also served as the lead instructor with HUD’s Leadership Development Program. He is most proud of personally ensuring the successful matriculation of more than 168 senior executives through the Leadership Development Program and providing fundraising, leadership, management, and organizational development technical assistance to more than 1,000 persons and 800 grassroots faith- and community-based organizations. His partnership with the White House and HUD's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has resulted in nonprofit organizations accessing more than $1 billion in federal resources.

Michael believes that every American deserves access to opportunities that give them a fair shot at succeeding in life. He is an Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellow, Aspen Institute Ideas Scholar, and Leap of Reason Ambassador. He served in the United States army, completed Harvard University's Executive Program in Public Management, and earned his doctor of education in human and organizational learning from The George Washington University. He is an avid off-road hiker and practitioner of Bikram yoga.



"Climate justice... is a chance for us to really prioritize people over profits, where people can get some dignified work in a world where our demographics don't define our destiny, where my zip code doesn't determine how long I get to live. It's about fighting for a future where our families are protected and where our humanity is expanded." -Vien Truong

Vien TruongVien Truong is a policy expert and movement builder who has been a key architect to building an equitable green economy. She is Chief Executive Officer of Dream Corps, which includes Green For All, a national initiative that puts communities of color at the forefront of the climate movement and equality at the center of environmental solutions. She leads the vision and strategy for Green For All, a national initiative that puts communities of color at the forefront of the climate movement and equality at the center of environmental solutions. Green For All created the country’s first Green Jobs Act (2007), which was signed into law by President George W. Bush, and has advised on state policies across the country. It has since passed over a dozen state policies, created nationally recognized local programs, and formed collaborations with celebrities, artists, clergy, elected officials, businesses and civil rights leaders.  
Vien has developed numerous energy, environmental, and economic policies and programs at the state, federal and local levels. She has advised on billions of dollars in public investments for energy and community development programs. Most recently, Vien co-led a coalition to pass and implement California's landmark Senate Bill 535 (de Leon), a law that created the biggest fund in history for the poorest and most polluted communities -- to date it has reinvested over $800 million in disadvantaged communities most harmed by fossil fuel pollution. She also co-led Charge Ahead California, which will place one million electric vehicles to California in 10 years, especially ensuring that low income communities most impacted by pollution will benefit from zero tailpipe emissions.
She is a board member of US Climate Action Network, Clean Energy Works, and MegaPhone Strategies. She previously led The Greenlining Institute’s Environmental Equity program, Chaired the City of Oakland’s Planning Commission, and taught New Business Practicum at UC Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law. Vien recently received the White House Champion of Change award for her work on climate equity. Vien has also received numerous congressional, state, regional and local awards for her work advocating on behalf of those most vulnerable to climate change.
Vien is a first-generation resident of Oakland, where she continues to live and invest in. She holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.


Video Keynote Presenters


“Radical Inclusion: Cities, Technology and the Power of Inclusive Thinking”

Dr. Victor Pineda, Ph.D., is an urban planner, social entrepreneur, speaker, and globally recognized disability rights advocate. He is the President of World Enabled and of The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), the leading international organization dedicated to the promotion of accessibility of the built and virtual environments. He is also a presidential appointee serving the US Access Board. (#inclusionmatters)

Due to a neuro-muscular condition, Victor Pineda stopped walking when he was five. By high school, he needed a machine to help him breathe. This life experience shaped his work and passions, and he became a leading global human rights advocate, scholar and expert on inclusive urban development. He'll share the groundbreaking work cities, technology companies and universities are doing to re-imagine urban spaces and unlock our collective potential.

Performance of Provocative Indigenous Comedy

Dallas Goldtooth, of Dakota and Dine ancestry, is the national “Keep It In The Ground” Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, a co-founder of the 1491s comedy group, and a digital media producer. A nationally known public speaker, activist, performer, and event MC, Dallas has traveled widely across Turtle Island (aka North America) sharing stories, entertainment and knowledge.


Badger Bioneer Interviewers

Bria Browninterviewing Badger Bioneer Aaron Perry - Before arriving to Madison, WI about a year ago, Bria Brown, spent her entire life (warmly) in the southeast. Bria is the founder of B. Brown Productions LLC, the Membership Manager at Community Shares of Wisconsin, and an online content creator.  She’s passionate about social justice, creating video, making people laugh, and any opportunity that can merge all those passions.

Leslie Orrantiainterviewing Badger Bioneer Project Green Teen - Leslie is the Director of Community Relations at UW-Madison, serving on behalf of the Chancellor as the point-of-contact for city and county relations, overseeing the UW South Madison Partnership, and facilitating meaningful relationships between campus and community across research, outreach, and service. Originally from CA, Leslie has resided in the Madison for more than 10 years, been deeply engaged in the community and has worked to grow educational access and opportunity for all. 

Rachel WernerRachel Wernerinterviewing Badger Bioneer Natasha Smith - Rachel Werner is the assistant editor of BRAVA, a magazine created by women for women. She's previously contributed print, photography and video content to Madison Magazine, Spectrum, Hobby Farms and Urban Farm Magazine while keeping up her side gigs as a fitness instructor, health coach, and a 2016-2017 national WomenRide4Change Ambassador. Follow her adventures around the country on Instagram @therealscript


Mark Richardson is President of Unfinished Business and CEO of GigBlender. Mark is a Chicago-area native with 25 years of experience creating new business models. His latest entrepreneurial effort -  GigBlenderTM - is a company on a mission to help organizations build a better workforce with each new hire. Mark is, by nature, a connector of people and a team-builder as was evident during his tenure at the Urban League where he previously served as Vice President of Economic & Workforce Development. Mark's passion for Diversity & Inclusion started as a youth and has now grown to drive his work in both corporate and civic arenas.

Head Facilitator

Gregg Potter is a writer, activist, public speaker, and the founder of Project Kinect. Potter, a Wisconsin native, recently returned to Madison after spending more than a decade on the west coast and abroad. His life has been focused on offering his tools and gifts to others. In 2014, Potter received his Masters in Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service in Arkansas. The experience catapulted him into a new reality of tangible ways he can create meaningful change. From tornado relief in Alabama, to working with corporations to become more effective in their communities, to fighting for human rights of the marginalized in South Africa, Potter strives to be an effective tool for other people doing social good. Project Kinect was created because of an unfulfilled need that Potter frequently encountered from individuals and organizations. These groups continuously have great ideas but needed tools, insight, and resources to accomplish them. This solution process begins by accepting all definitions of positive social change, is applied with collaboration, and is completed when an endeavor is executed and fully owned by the creator. That is the equation for the success Gregg Potter and Project Kinect have had. His hope is that we can all accept each other, work together, and take responsibility for ourselves to create real sustainable change that benefits everyone.