TEAM

Stubborn Climate Optimists

Global Optimism was founded by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac after
leaving the UNFCCC, having secured the historic, unanimous signing of the Paris
Agreement by 195 countries.

Our work is defined by a spirit of Stubborn Optimism, a mindset based on grit and
determination in the face of difficult systemic changes. We must cut global emissions
by half between 2020 and 2030, eventually reaching net zero by 2050 and this is
undeniably the greatest challenge in human history. But it is also our greatest
opportunity. We work to inspire and catalyse stubborn optimists around the world, to
rise to the next level of our abilities, because it’s necessary to do so, and because
together, we can.

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES

FOUNDING PARTNER

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES

FOUNDING PARTNER

Christiana Figueres is a Costa Rican citizen and was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010 until 2016.

During her tenure at the UNFCCC Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and NGOs to jointly deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, in which 195 sovereign nations agreed on a collaborative path forward to limit future global warming to well below 2C. For this achievement, Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy.

Ms. Figueres is a founding partner of Global Optimism Ltd., a purpose driven enterprise focused on social and environmental change. She is currently the Convenor of Mission 2020, Vice-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, World Bank Climate Leader, ACCIONA Board Member, WRI Board Member, Fellow of Conservation International, and Advisory Board member of Formula E, Unilever and ENI.

TOM RIVETT-CARNAC

FOUNDING PARTNER

TOM RIVETT-CARNAC

FOUNDING PARTNER

Tom is a Founding Partner of Global Optimism and works across the portfolio of engagements and initiatives. He has spent 20 years working at the intersections of international diplomacy, energy policy and climate change in business, non profit, financial services and international institutions.

Prior to co-founding Global Optimism, Tom was Senior Advisor to the Executive Secretary at the UN Climate Convention where he focussed on the political strategy towards achieving the landmark Paris Agreement in December 2015. Before this he was President and CEO of CDP North America, an entity that utilizes the financial markets to drive greater disclosure of climate change related risks and opportunities in the operations of listed companies. Currently more than 7,000 companies report climate information to CDP, which is then reflected back to investors for use in valuation and asset allocation decisions. Tom also held other roles at CDP, including founding the Cities Program and serving as Director for the first global process to support disclosure by cities.

Earlier in his career Tom held roles at Dyson and also spent two years as a Buddhist monk. Tom has held or continues to hold Advisory positions at the Clinton Global Initiative, NY Stock Exchange, Leaders’ Quest and the Global Impact Investment Network.

Tom holds a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Economics from the University of Bath and an MSc in Systems Science from Plymouth University. He is married with two children and lives in London .

MARINA MANSILLA HERMANN

Chief of Staff to Christiana Figueres

MARINA MANSILLA HERMANN

Chief of Staff to Christiana Figueres

Marina is Chief of Staff to Ms. Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and Convenor of Mission 2020. In this role, Marina supports Ms. Figueres across all her engagements and in the broader global effort to peak greenhouse emissions by 2020.

Previous to this role, Marina spent eleven years at Ashoka managing its strategy to transform education in Europe, bringing together social innovators, educators, thought leaders and influencers with the ultimate goal of reinventing learning as an experience that enables every child to become a changemaker. During her years at Ashoka, she mentored hundreds of young social innovators and supported the launch of dozens of environmental ventures globally.

Marina has been involved in the UN Climate Summits (COPs) since 2004, advocating for young people to be recognized as a key stakeholder in the negotiation process. She is also the founder of Fundación TierraVida, an Argentinean-based NGO working to unleash young people’s potential to drive environmental sustainability in Latin America. Through her work with TierraVida, she has been named a British Council Climate Champion (2011), a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum (2013) and a Global Good Fund Fellow (2014).

Earlier in her career, Marina worked for more than a decade with Peace Child International, as a consultant for a GEF/UNDP wetlands conservation project and served as a youth advisor to UN Environment (2003-2007).

Marina has been trained by former vice-president and Nobel Peace Prize Al Gore as part of his Climate Reality Project. She currently serves as Faculty of Amani institute’s Social Innovation Management Programme. She holds a BSc. in Environmental Sciences, an MA. in Environment and Development from King’s College London and an Executive MBA from ESMT Berlin.

SHARON JOHNSON

Strategic Communications and Engagements

SHARON JOHNSON

Strategic Communications and Engagements

Sharon brings more than two decades of strategic communications, movement building and campaigns experience to Global Optimism’s work. She has consulted to FTSE500 CEO’s, driven programmes for global philanthropic foundations and built civil society campaigns across climate change, gender equality, digital inclusion, human rights and access to justice. She has designed and implemented global advocacy campaigns, including leading work that helped to define the transformational long-term goal for net zero emissions by 2050 and ensure it was embedded into the landmark Paris Agreement.

Prior to joining Global Optimism, Sharon was Director of Campaigns for The Elders, a group of former world leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela, where she led their efforts to inspire and build collective courage and action around the world in a range of advocacy areas including universal healthcare, climate change, access to justice, peace and human rights.

Sharon lived in Sydney, Australia from 1996 until 2001, leading strategy for a global portfolio of well known brands, during a period of rapid globalisation and digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific region. Witnessing the notable impacts of climate change on industries from agriculture to retail during this time activated her commitment to shifting practices to those that are more sustainable and equitable.

Sharon began her career creating marketing initiatives and campaigns in Africa, with highlights including the ANC’s first election campaign in South Africa, and the launch and growth of MTN, Africa’s largest cellular phone network. Sharon Johnson was born and educated in Johannesburg, South Africa, and holds degrees from Wits University in Industrial Psychology (Hons) and English Literature.

Sharon is a Trustee and Board member of Namati, the world’s largest grassroots legal empowerment organisation and is an advisor to the co-Presidents of the Club of Rome and the Office of the Founder at The Graça Machel Trust. Sharon lives in London with her husband, where they have raised three nearly grown up children.

LARA RICHARDSON

Executive Assistant to Tom Rivett-Carnac

LARA RICHARDSON

Executive Assistant to Tom Rivett-Carnac

Lara is the Executive Assistant to Tom Rivett-Carnac.

Prior to this role, Lara was the Programme Manager of a small, international charity providing a platform to grassroot initiatives that reduce or mitigate the effects of climate change.

Earlier in her career, Lara was a senior staff member of a children’s charity, focusing on improving outcomes in disadvantaged families. This experience, combined with her interest in sustainable food provision, led her to run projects in Zimbabwe, India and Nepal to improve the health and livelihood outcomes of rural citizens, focusing on community engagement through localised, sustainable agriculture.

Lara has recently completed a BSc (Hons) in Food with Nutrition.

SARA LAW

Senior Advisor

SARA LAW

Senior Advisor

Sara is a Senior Advisor of Global Optimism and directs its collaboration with Amazon on The Climate Pledge.

Sara specializes in private sector and government climate ambition.  She helps them adopt goals aligned with climate science that aid rapid clean energy transition and the development of innovations essential to a zero-carbon future.

Sara has engaged deeply in coalitions that unite people, business, finance and government around the common cause of climate change.  She served as the We Mean Business Coalition’s inaugural Director of Corporate Engagement, and worked with the Science Based Targets Initiative, the ‘We Are Still In’ Coalition, America’s Pledge, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, amongst others.  In 2015 in the lead up to the UN Paris Climate Change Conference, she led the campaign that delivered 500+ companies with strong climate goals – including 100+ with commitments to set ‘science based’ targets.

In 2013, Sara joined CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), the world’s only voluntary environmental disclosure system.  As Vice President and Head of Global Initiatives, she led a team that advocated for actions that would ‘future proof’ the real economy against disruptive climate change, water insecurity and natural resource depletion.

A lawyer by training, Sara has practiced in commercial litigation, human rights and government relations, and held positions with DLA Piper, the Victorian Government and the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne. In the U.S., Sara is active in local bar associations and is admitted to practice law in the State of New York.

PAUL DICKINSON

Co-host of Outrage + Optimism

PAUL DICKINSON

Co-host of Outrage + Optimism

Paul founded CDP in 2000 with an ambition of creating a global economic system that operates within sustainable environmental boundaries and prevents dangerous climate change. CDP represents over 560 investors with assets of over $97 trillion, and it uses this authority combined with the buying power of over 115 large corporations with annual purchases of over $3.5 trillion, to persuade over 8,400 large companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions as well as strategy on climate change, water use and the drivers of deforestation. CDP make most of this data available to the public and service providers like Bloomberg, MSCI and many others. In addition, over 700 large cities and 100 states and regions with aggregate over 1 billion inhabitants report annually on their environmental performance through CDP, which is a charitable organisation operating in 80 counties from nine offices around the world.  

Paul previously co-founded Rufus Leonard Corporate Design and EyeNetwork, which was the largest videoconference booking service in Europe. Previously he had worked in fashion, retail and market research industries.  

He has served as a member of the Environmental Research Group of the UK Faculty and Institute of Actuaries. Paul has authored various publications including the book Beautiful Corporations published in 2000 by Financial Times Prentice Hall. The book introduced the concept of sustainability product marketing which is growing in significance as a force in contemporary commerce.  

Paul is Chair of the Trustees of the NGO ShareAction as well as a Trustee of the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland where he has established a program of seminars and retreats now used by the responsible investment community as well as emerging social businesses. He is an advisor to the NGO Influence Map and is a trustee of the grant making Friends Provident Foundation. 

He is a founder of the insulation company Mitchell and Dickinson. Paul is also an unpaid director, but not a shareholder, in GIKI, a powerful App available in the UK reading 250,000 food and drink barcodes to reveal their sustainability criteria.   

CLAY CARNILL

Producer of Outrage + Optimism

CLAY CARNILL

Producer of Outrage + Optimism

Clay Carnill is the producer of Outrage and Optimism, our weekly Climate Change Podcast.

Growing up, Clay was very involved with his family’s non-profit organizations travelling internationally building orphanages, food security programs, health clinics, and interfaith community centres that invested in vulnerable communities to help break the cycle of generational poverty. His passion for combatting the inequality crisis began here.

Clay graduated from the Recording Institute of Technology at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA and after moving back to Michigan to build a studio and his career, spent 10 years in the industry as a freelance audio and video editor for tv, commercial, documentary, radio, and film.

These freelance audio gigs mostly consisted of Michigan’s eclectic subcultures with a strong root in the automotive industry, but with his additional background as a musician, he spent weekends and summers travelling playing guitar and bass for musical acts across the United States.

One podcasting became a more popular medium, Clay began producing many podcasts and Sirius XM broadcasts out of The Foundation Studio in Detroit, MI. The Foundation Studio is free to the community podcasting studio built to amplify the diverse voices of Detroit.

You can find Clay’s previous work on Hulu, Prime Video, Sirius XM and other streaming services.

 

Notable Previous Work (external inks):

Billion In Change 

The Pretender

Detroit Designs The World

WEEKLY INSPIRATION

Each week join us for a lively conversation with special guests expressing the energy of outrage and the possibility of their optimism to tackle the climate crisis.

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