Event Details

December 12, 2021 | 6-9 pm Doors open at 5:30

Tellus360 | 24 E King St, Lancaster, PA

Event Intro

5:30 – 5:55 Registration

6:00 – 6:15 Why Lancaster? Eric Sauder

Natural Systems

6:25 – 6:35 Water | Allyson Gibson & Jenna Beckett

6:35 – 6:45 Land | Phil Wenger

Food & Agriculture

6:50 – 7:00 Food | Hawa Lassanah

7:00 – 7:10 Agriculture | Steve Groff

Built Environment

7:15 – 7:25 Cities and Planning | Douglas Smith

7:25 – 7:35 Architecture | Max Zahniser

7:35 – 7:45 Transportation | Michael Jennings

Economy & Community

8:00 – 8:10 Energy | Marcus Scheffer

8:10 – 8:20 Entrepreneurship | Melisa Baez

8:20 – 8:30 Business

8:30 – 8:40 Refugees

8:40 – 8:50 Community Health | Alice Yoder

8:50 – 9:00 Equity | Kevin Ressler

* Event Schedule is subject to change

Speaker Bios

Allyson Gibson

Director of Strategic Partnerships and Programs
Lancaster Clean Water Partners

Allyson Ladley Gibson serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Programs for the Lancaster Clean Water Partners, facilitating collaboration between a unique set of multi-sector partners who are working to improve local water quality.
Allyson spent her childhood in Lancaster County, exploring streams, investigating local culture, and growing up in her family’s business. She pioneered at the University of Richmond as the only female member of the first class of environmental studies majors and then spent 13 years in Maryland with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in their Education Department. She returned to her roots and served as the Innkeeper at Kitchen Kettle Village before bringing all of her worlds together with the Lancaster Clean Water Partners. Allyson received the Business Partner Award from the 21st Century Education Foundation in 2015 and she recently served on the comprehensive planning team at Manheim Township School District.

Allyson, along with her husband and two children, enjoys travel, fitness, and cooking.

Jenna Mitchell Beckett is the Pennsylvania State Director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, a conservation organization that works with communities, companies and conservationists to restore the rivers and streams of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Jenna has served as the PA State Director for over 4 years and started at the Alliance as the PA Program Manager in 2016. Prior to working at the Alliance Jenna worked at the Lancaster County Conservation District. She is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Environmental Resource Management.

Jenna Mitchell Beckett

Pennsylvania State Director
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Phil Wenger

Lancaster Conservancy

Phil Wenger was a local business owner and community leader who changed careers at the end of 2015 to join the Lancaster Conservancy as its President. As an entrepreneur, Phil built a restaurant chain and then sold it, planning to retire. But he wanted to leave a larger impact on Lancaster and the Susquehanna River that he loves, so he left retirement to lead a team to permanently protect this landscape. During his tenure, the Conservancy has acquired and protected 1000’s of acres of natural lands in Lancaster County and along the river in York County, doubled the Conservancy’s staff, and sharpened the organization’s focus.

Hawa’s life mission has been to gain a wide breadth of education, knowledge, and experience about the world and its innovations in order to share it with her community.
It began with her Arts Advocacy mission through Discerning Eye Foundation for the Arts and Education in 2010, and expanded to curating gallery and community space at Discerning Eye Center for the Arts. Informed by her spiritual and philosophical studies, and focus on the 8 aspects of Wellness, Hawa branched out from the Arts to serve her community in a new way by creating the next iteration of her brand, Yoga For All, guiding communities towards healthy living and functional, intentional breath and movement therapy.

The latest iteration of her mission of guidance towards healthy communities is Discerning Eye Community Agriculture™ (DECA).
As the founder of this umbrella organization comprised of a value-added food brand (DECA City Provisions), a community farming initiative (Backyard Farming Coop), and Urban farm operations (DECA City Farms), her intention is to create inclusive structures to help enable her peers and fellow citizens into lives of Leadership and to facilitate Agency of their own possibilities, encouraging overall wellness for the individual as well as sustainable communities focusing on food justice and environmental stewardship.

Hawa Lassanah

Discerning Eye Community Agriculture

Steve Groff

Cover Crop Coach
Ceder Meadow Farm

Steve Groff and his family, farm 200 acres of cash grain crops, pumpkins, hard squash and heirloom tomatoes in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. For the past 20 years he has pursued how to make nutrient dense foods a reality on his farm. Recently, he launched his own CBD products brand, CedarMeadow.Farm.

Steve is the founder of Cover Crop Coaching which educates farmers and farm advisors about effective cover crop use and soil health principles. His recently released book “The Future-Proof Farm; Changing Mindsets in a Changing World” is available at SteveGroff.com.

Max is a regenerative designer, educator, planner, entrepreneur, and executive, who has been cited as an expert in green building, LEED, technology, and more in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, numerous trade magazines and more, and having contributed to seminal texts in integrative design and regenerative practice. With a background in the inception of 20th century green building, and in nearly all architectural building types, but also in psychology, ecology, entrepreneurship, and community organizing, Max brings a multi-dimensional perspective to the challenging times and conditions we are living through.

Max Zahniser

Praxis – Building Solutions

Marcus Sheffer

Energy Opportunities

Marcus Sheffer is a partner in 7group, a multi-disciplinary team of professionals developing the capacity of projects and organizations to affect how humans regenerate life. He has worked on thousands of green building projects over the last 40 years with a concentration in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems. For the past 10+ years he has been actively engaged in the practice of developing his capacity, and the capacity of others, to become regenerative.

Melisa has long known that her passion lies in creating social change through business and education. Melisa served as the director of programs for a college access program, where for four years designed and scaled offerings that cultivated opportunities to motivate and guide first generation college bound students on a path toward attaining a degree in higher education. Now, as the Chief Program Officer at ASSETS, Melisa designs systems and offerings focused on community impact and business development with a focus on building equitable Entrepreneurial services that break barriers for women and people of color.
Beyond her professional experience, she continues to expand her personal connection with the local and global community. Not only does she volunteer her services in the greater Lancaster County as a guest educator, she is also a Global Shaper Alum for the Lancaster Hub, and a Cordes Fellow focusing on global social issues. Melisa sits on the Board of Directors for Lancaster County Community Foundation and sits on the diversity Committee for Girls on The Run. Melisa is a recent MBA in Sustainability graduate from Bard.

Melisa Baez

Chief Program Officer
ASSETS Lancaster

Alice Yoder

Executive Director of Community Health
Penn Medicine LGH

Alice Yoder is the Executive Director of Community Health at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. For over 25 years, she led efforts to conduct a Community Health Assessments and the implementation of strategic Health Improvement Plans that address significant community needs. In order to effectively implement and sustain solutions to community issues, Alice focuses on building coalitions that brings community partners together to address multi-sector problems.

As a freshman at Eastern Mennonite University, Kevin Ressler entered the national C. Henry Smith Peace oratorical contest responding to the prompt “What would be the greatest peace issue for the church in your lifetime?”

Arguing that authentic and unbridled LGBTQ inclusion was an existential moral imperative for the church signified Ressler’s pursuit of justice would not be centered on his personal benefit or cowed by political expediency. His loss at the local level to the eventual national winner, who identified climate change would set in motion a desire to learn broadly of other issues.

Over the next 20 years, to this moment, Mr Ressler’s personal activism and professional advocacy have ranged from retail and hospitality to non-profit organizations teaching non-violence, to underwriting micro-loans to food security to board service and industries as varied as healthcare, education, racial equity, religion, economic development, homelessness, public health, and the arts.

All this has led to one incontrovertible truth – justice is an intersectional web of people and the true prosperity of any one person is impossible without the equitable distribution of resources to all persons.

Kevin Ressler

President & CEO
United Way of Lancaster County

More bios coming soon!