Program History

The Sustainable Enterprise Conference is founded

The conference was founded in 2005. Robert Girling came back from Bioneers, a large national environmental event held every year, and decided that the North Bay needed a regional sustainability conference. He called in thinkers from the community, academia, and the business world, including Art Warmouth and Liz Thach, professors at Sonoma State; Terry Taylor, Genevieve Taylor, Oren Wool, and Jeffrey Edelheit, all from the business community, and John Stayton, Director of the Green MBA program now at Dominican. The steering committee grew to add other notables such as Ed Quevedo and Susan Briski, both professors at the Green MBA and sustainability practitioners in their own right.

The Steering Committee has welcomed many North Bay sustainability professionals.

Dr Girling, Oren Wool, and Genevieve Taylor continue to be influencial in the direction

How has the conference progressed over the years?

In 2006, we sold out at 225 people, including participants, speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors. The second year, we saw over 300 people and since 2008 we've averaged 350 attendees which is capacity at Sonoma Mountain Village.

We've presented over 150 speakers from leading companies and regional insitiutions.

We're partnered with over 200 North Bay organizations as sponsors, affiliates, and exhibitors.

How has the original vision been met or exceeded?

Our goal has been to provide practical tools for transitioning to sustainability that businesses can use when they go back to their workplace. To that end, we have refined our workshops, showcased the stories of local and regional leaders, and designed days with expert sustainability practitioners.

We are inventing new ways to make sustainability more accessible to businesses who might otherwise be challenged to implement. We have purposely kept the conference regional, wanting to nurture great networking and thoughtful conversations.

We are pleased to be located at Sonoma Mountain Village, a place that in every way reflects our values.