I met our founder, Trammell S. Crow, in Shanghai back in 2009. My graduate studies at Tsinghua University focused on China’s economic development and climate change. My passion for having a positive impact on the planet grew with every breath of Beijing air. Trammell and I stayed in touch over the years, and after moving back to the U.S. he offered me a job to help turn Texas green. Its kind of crazy how far we’ve come. There’s a sense of fate to it all. The world truly is a small place.
2. Tell us about the new Technology & Innovation programs you’re spearheading this year?
We added three legs to the stool: E-Capital Summit, EARTHACK and Smart Texas Revolution. EARTHACK will bring together 1,000+ students forming teams to create prototypes addressing environmental challenges and Smart Texas Revolution is a conference designed to create an aligned smart city strategy across Texas.
I’m most excited by the E-Capital Summit, which harkens back to my graduate studies in Beijing, gazing into the soupy smog and realizing we need to direct a massive wave of capital towards clean tech innovation to combat climate change. The E-Capital Summit is bringing together over 50 early-stage clean tech companies and family offices, foundations and philanthropists from around the country. We hope the relationships forged at the summit ultimately make a dent. I believe the solutions to the planet’s problems haven’t been commercialized yet. Who knows, you just might find the answer in the E-Capital Summit exhibit hall.
3. What does it mean to you to live by the philosophy, “Do well by doing good?”
“Do well by doing good” seems to be the mantra of my generation. We’re all stretched thin by our hyper-connected lives. We only have so many seconds in a day, and a growing tribe of Millennials has decided to focus its energy on not just making money, but also having a positive impact. This philosophy is likely a product of the Great Recession. We’re tired of people seeking economic gain with little to no regard for the societal and environmental consequences of their actions. We say “no” to economic oppression, and are helping goodness make a comeback.
4. Having lived in China for a few years and being fully assimilated to another language and culture, how has that experience prepared you for your new role?
If you fully immerse yourself in China for as long as I did, you learn you can overcome just about any challenge. You let go, spread your wings, and gradually lose fear of the unknown. Consequently, you constantly push the boundaries and question long-held beliefs. Most importantly, your empathy skills improve substantially. These are all traits essential for promoting environmentalism in the state of Texas.
5. What does Earth Day mean to you?
Earth Day is a time when both sides of the aisle can come together and have a civilized debate about our environment. Truth is, we all have a deep, almost spiritualistic connection with nature. Problem is, we too often allow politics to get in the way.