Cool City Challenge – Team

David Gershon 

David has overall leadership responsibility for Cool City Challenge. He is co-founder and CEO of Empowerment Institute. David has spent four decades designing and implementing second order change solutions around many critical planetary issues. He has spent the past three decades applying this expertise to climate change. He is author of twelve books, including the award-winning Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World and the best-selling Empowerment: The Art of Creating Your Life as You Want It. Based on this transformative social change experience, he has architected a global grand strategy called “Reinventing the Planet.” Cool City Challenge is a part of this larger strategy.

Miranda Clendening

 Miranda is Director of Operations for Empowerment Institute’s Center for Reinventing the Planet. She is in charge of operations for the Cool City Challenge. Her skillset incudes non-profit leadership, whole system community design, partnership development, technology integration, and large-scale event management. As former Executive Director for Unify she brought tens of millions of people together around the world in multiple unitive events. She is passionate about second order change, climate and regeneration initiatives.

Sue Lebeck

Sue is the Cool Block Platform Director responsible for design and management of the Cool Block platform through which individuals engage in the program. She is responsible for onboarding and supporting Cool City Challenge cities in use of the platform including customization around local resources. A smart city innovation specialist, Sue integrates technology, sustainability, psychology, media and collaboration to create high performance solutions. Formerly, Sue founded InnovatingSMART, a media initiative which celebrates and supports sustainability-driven innovators.

Mo Lovegreen

Mo is the Moonshot Climate Action Plan Director responsible for the carbon neutral neighborhood strategy. She is the is former Director of Sustainability at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) where she served in this role for 25 years. She was the architect of UCSB’s carbon neutral by 2025 initiative, the first carbon neutral plan in the UC system and the most aggressive in the country. Mo subsequently guided all ten campuses down this path. She has also consulted to numerous cities and institutions on the development of carbon neutrality initiatives.

Carlen Young

Carlen is Chief Technology Officer for Empowerment Institute Center for Reinventing the Planet. He is responsible for designing and managing the technology to support the scaling and knowledge exchange for Cool City Challenge. Carlen is passionate about community psychology, empowerment and second order change solutions. He applies these passions to increase personal agency and planetary well-being through designing social impact web and app platforms. As a psychology researcher with the University of California, Santa Cruz, Carlen spent a decade researching community building strategies and tools. 

Advisors

Jim Keene 

Jim supports outreach to local governments. As Palo Alto City Manager, he helped it become the world’s first city to achieve 100 percent carbon neutral electricity and pioneered the Cool Block program. Jim has served as Western Director for International City/County Management Association and as a Board Member of Institute for Local Government.

Sandra Slater

Sandra supports the training of cities participating in Cool City Challenge. She is Program Manager for Cool Block in Palo Alto, responsible for recruiting, training and coaching Cool Block leaders and developing strategic partnerships with local organizations. Sandra serves on the City of Palo Alto’s Sustainability/Climate Action Plan Advisory Committee. 

Stacey Lawson

Stacey supports the financing strategies for Cool City Challenge. She has deep expertise in renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate resiliency financing.
In her various board, leadership and philanthropic roles, Stacey has been an advocate for climate solutions, the clean energy economy and climate justice across California and the nation.

Kerim Baran

Kerim supports clean tech strategies for Cool City Challenge. He is the founder of SolarAcademy, a social learning platform for the solar industry. Prior to SolarAcademy, Kerim co-founded CivicSolar, a leading national solar equipment distributor. Kerim serves as an investor and advisor to early-stage clean energy companies.