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Leaders convene in Tahoe City this Oct. 8-10 to better the Sierra Nevada

Three days of extraordinary conversations with active residents, community leaders and business owners and managers
Sierra Business Council

According to the Drought Monitor for California, eighty percent of the state is in “extreme” to “extraordinary” drought and 100 percent of the state is in “severe” drought or worse. More than sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates in the Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada forests and California’s water supply face grave threats due to damaging wildfires, development, contamination from historic mining activities and changes in climate.

The Sierra Business Council’s Peak Innovation conference will address what we – individuals, small businesses, communities and local governments – can do about water shortages and policy at the state level,” said Steve Frisch, president of Sierra Business Council. “Conference registration is not limited to Sierra Nevada residents just as issues impacting our communities are not limited to the region.”

Peak Innovation presents Dr. Peter Gleick, an internationally renowned water expert, to address demand and rational for increasing financial investment in Sierra ecosystems. In a National Geographic science blog, he recently repeated the common question, “Why, if the California drought is so bad, has the response been so tepid?" Dr. Gleick will be moderating two Peak Innovation panels during Sierra Business Council’s 20th anniversary conference. He will facilitate discussion about leveraging investment in the Sierra Nevada. The first panel addresses innovative private financing strategies with Jeremy Sokulsky from Environmental Incentives, Jenny Kassan from Cutting Edge Capital and David Groves from Private Capital for Public Good. The second, featuring Mark Nechodom from the California Department of Conservation, Kerri Timmer from Sierra Business Council and Jonathon Parfrey from Climate Resolve, will examine creative ways to increase public funding in Sierra ecosystems and address topics related to investing in the health of Sierra forests, wetlands, and waterways.

The focus of Peak Innovation includes sharing proven, cost-effective strategies. In addition to Dr. Gleick, Peak Innovation brings together leading sustainable business leaders to inspire and inform one other from Oct. 8 – 10 in Tahoe City.

“For Sierra Nevada communities to thrive,” says Steve Frisch, SBC’s President, “We must be proactive in advancing triple bottom line initiatives that create opportunities for the region while simultaneously building economic, environmental and community capital.”

Peak Innovation will provide action steps that businesses and government entities can embrace on the path towards sustainability. For example, one panel will showcase the bottom-line economic, environmental and social benefits of achievable sustainable business practices: Business owners and managers will have the opportunity to discover strategies that can cut expenses while building customer loyalty and contributing to the Sierra’s environmental health. Participants will learn about models that reduce negative impacts on the environment and contribute to employee well being while saving money and increasing profits in a panel co-moderated by Richard Eidlin, Co-Founder and Policy Director of the Washington D.C.-based American Sustainable Business Council and Kristin York of the Sierra Business Council. Patagonia’s Elissa Loughman will discuss what it takes to become a B Corp and how to kick start a culture of triple bottom line planning with an emphasis on how to get started. In addition, Truckee-based Joanna Walters from Sierra Cost Management will share case studies on how small companies are saving money by significantly reducing waste costs through recycling and employee education.

Non-profit organizations and agencies will also be addressed. In another panel, also part of the “Cultivating innovation and building scale” track, attendees will hear how leaders are defining and fostering unique versions of triple bottom line innovation. Stacy Caldwell, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation’s CEO, who recently filmed “Innovation at 6,000 Ft.,” showcasing creative solutions to food security and distribution in the Sierra, will moderate a panel with Reno’s Rebecca Gasca from The Burning Man Project, Don Macke from the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship and San Francisco-based Sally Bingham from Interfaith Power and Light.

On Oct. 10, all conference attendees will gain insights during a keynote talk by CNN Crossfire host Van Jones and begin creating a better Sierra through a highly interactive workshop facilitated by SBC staff.

Peak Innovation strives to meet Zero Waste guidelines. Conference sponsors include Northern California Regional Council of Carpenters, Carpenters 46 Northern California Counties Conference Board, Northern California District Council of Laborers, Smart Cities Prevail, PG & E, mPower Placer, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Coso Operating Company, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency California Tahoe Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Pacific Industries, Morgan Family Foundation c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Truckee Donner Land Trust. Additional support is provided by Capital Public Radio, Carmel Gallery, Clif Bar, Granlibakken, Tahoe Trips & Trails, Stella at The Cedar House, Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Squaw/Alpine, and Spiral Internet.

Registration, including all meals, networking opportunities, plenary sessions and panel discussions, costs $599. Discounted lodging at Granlibakken is available for conference attendees.


About Peak Innovation

SBC’s 20th anniversary conference brings together business leaders, entrepreneurs, active residents, acclaimed writers and science gurus.Conference highlights include learning how small companies are cultivating triple bottom line results, gaining insights on scaling investment in the Sierra to improve the health of our ecosystems, finding inspiration in a keynote by Van Jones, CNN’s Crossfire co-host and NY Times bestselling author, and hearing from celebrated writer Terry Tempest Williams as well as Farm to Table dinners, a film festival and choice of guided hikes and tours.

When: Wednesday, Oct. 8-Friday, Oct. 10

Where: Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge, Tahoe City, CA


More information: and (530) 582-4800

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