Multigenerational Leadership & Four Generations Hall of Fame
The annual Leaders in Energy “Four Generations of Leaders in Clean Energy and Sustainable Solutions” Awards recognizes exemplary leaders in the four generations of the workplace, e.g., Millennial, Gen X, Baby Boomer, and World War II/Traditionalist, who are accelerating clean energy and sustainable solutions through transformational leadership and change.
These awards were initiated in 2014. See more below on our awardees and themes.
Recap articles are also available for most of the events, with links to these articles being provided below.
For the purposes of the 4 Generations awards, we define generations as such: World War II/Traditional (1927-1945), Baby Boomer (1946-1964), Gen X (1965-1980), and Millennial (1981-2000). Gen Z was added to the Millennial category in 2018. In 2020, Gen Z became a standalone category.
2021 Theme: Weaving the Web of Sustainability and Restoration – A Call for Wayshowers, Visionaries and Doers
We celebrated a diverse group of all ages at the 8th Annual Four Generations of Leaders in Clean Energy & Sustainability Solutions Awards. They included educators, innovators and activists – in nature-based solutions and restoration, universal access to clean energy, future-ready cities, the circular economy, climate activism, and more. The Awards Celebration took place virtually on Friday, December 3, 2021. Learn more about our awardees here.
Purpose: To recognize leaders in the clean energy and sustainability arena from each of the four generations, e.g., Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer, to shine the light on their work to give ideas and practices to bring into our lives and communities. In addition, we had a Lifetime Achievement awardee and included a group category this year. Leaders in Energy is an inclusive organization promoting the interaction, partnership, and mentoring among all generations, with diverse backgrounds and work experiences.
2020 Theme: Regenerating–for a Positive Future
The theme of our 7th Annual Four Generations of Leaders in Clean Energy & Sustainable Solutions Awards was “Regenerating–for a Positive Future.” We honored leaders who are helping to regenerate natural systems and economies to create prosperity and resilience through projects, programs, and initiatives that connect with this theme. The Awards Celebration took place virtually on Friday, December 4, 2020.
View the event highlights in this video produced by Sustainable Scoop from Arlington Independent Media. The award plaques were created by Dr. Elvin Yuzugullu on the LE team using sustainably-produced oil paints by Gamblin, an event sponsor, and incorporating a theme of the 4 Earth Elements to mirror the Four Generations. Read her article “Colors that Matter.”
Why this year’s theme? Many studies now point to the necessity for a fundamental and encompassing transformation in how our society conducts its activities. The World Economic Forum report alone identified 15 systemic transitions with annual business opportunities worth $10 trillion that could create 395 million jobs by 2030. Together, these can pave the way towards a human- and nature-positive development which will be resilient to future shocks. (See links below to World Economic Forum* and Global Commission on Economy and the Climate**.)
Categories for this year’s awards that we considered included: Clean, Efficient, and Reliable Energy; Big Picture, Long-term Planning for Sustainability; Circular Economy and Innovative Regional Development; Ecosystem Restoration; Innovative Businesses and Entrepreneurship; Regenerative Agriculture; Resilient Communities and Prosperity Redefined; Steady-State Economy; Climate Restoration; and Decarbonization.
Purpose: To recognize leaders in the clean energy and sustainability arena from each of the four generations, e.g., Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer, who shared their lessons learned and tips on leadership to our audience. In addition, we had a Lifetime Achievement awardee which added another generation making it a total of five generations this year! Leaders in Energy is an inclusive organization promoting the interaction, partnership, and mentoring among all generations, with diverse backgrounds and work experiences.
Dr. Klaus Lackner, Baby Boomer Generation
Dr. Klaus Lackner (Baby Boomer): A professor at Arizona State University’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions who’s building “artificial trees” that draw carbon dioxide out of the air – 1,000 time faster than the leafy kind;
Tonya Graham, Gen X
Tonya Graham (Gen X): A leader who is helping communities plan for resilience in the face of climate change. Tonya Graham is the Director of the Geos Institute.
Akanksha Khatri, Millennial Awardee
Akanksha Khatri (Millennial): The inspiring lead author of the World Economic Forum report on “The Future of Nature and Business” who shows how 15 strategic transitions can halt nature loss by 2030, while providing economic growth and jobs;
Peter Seidel, Lifetime Achievement Awardee
Peter Seidel (Lifetime Achievement Award): A master community planner and author who wrote a book that explains why handling long-term challenges is so hard for the homo sapiens psyche—and how to achieve a better future despite our innate shortcomings.
2019 Theme: Alliances for Action: Coalitions, Collaboration, and Partnerships.
The theme of our 6th Annual Four Generations of Leaders in Clean Energy & Sustainable Solutions Awards was “Alliances for Action: Coalitions, Collaborations, and Partnerships.” When problems are large or highly complex – sometimes called “wicked” – this is where coalitions, collaborations, and partnerships can make all the difference! The event showcased individuals and organizations who have realized the African proverb, “When you want to go fast, go alone, but when you want to go far, go together.” Truly it takes a village to create and build a world where clean energy is the norm, where climate change has been reversed, where green jobs are the majority of the economy, and where humans live fully in cooperation with nature, for the benefit of the planet and of all life. Yes, this ideal world IS possible. It is happening as a result of Leaders in Energy members working along with countless others committed to a harmonious green world!
Our multigenerational awardees are building alliances for action to help accelerate and scale solutions for a greener & positive future. These diverse leaders are making progress in energy efficiency, clean energy, the circular economy by reducing plastics and food waste, and sustainable communities. Our honorees’ ages span from teens to 80s!
Purpose: To recognize leaders in the clean energy and sustainability arena from each of the four generations who will share their lessons learned and tips on leadership to our audience. This will be Leaders in Energy’s sixth year to conduct this very successful event which will feature honorees from each of the four generations, e.g., World War II, Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Millennial/Gen Z who exemplify leadership in the energy and sustainability arena. Leaders in Energy is an inclusive organization promoting the interaction, partnership, and mentoring among all generations, with diverse backgrounds and work experiences.
Gen Z/ Millennial Generation
Gen Z/ Millennial: The Eco Teen Action Network (part of the Global Co-Lab and Smithsonian Optimism project) with its 3 Hubs on Climate Change, Responsible Consumption and Zero Hunger. (The Eco Teen Action Network Ambassadors are: Ashley Cheung, Eva Leikikh, Krithika Layalala, Kayla Peale, Sydney Rico, and Marieka Staheli)
Gen X Generation Awardee
Julia Cohen, Co-Founder and Manager of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, comprised of over 1000 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in 60 countries working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, waterways, the ocean, and the environment.
Baby Boomer Awardee
Eric Goplerud, Founder and Chairperson of the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS), which helps people of faith develop local solutions to the climate crisis. FACS works with congregations to develop Green Teams give them resources to implement sustainability initiatives, programs, and education for environmental stewardship.
World War II Awardee
Andrew Euston, Urban Ecological Designer, who under several Presidential administrations, led one of the first Federal governmental efforts to recognize the importance of non-partisan efforts to integrate social, economic, and environmental planning and design in Community Sustainability programming at the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. He also helped stimulate the formation of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and continues to explore ways in which to improve communities.
Emerging Leaders Category
Karen Campblin and Lee Williams, Co-Chairs Green New Deal Virginia Coalition
Emerging Leaders Category
Mitra Kashani , Founder , Mason Environmental Justice Alliance
2018 Theme: Becoming a Leader…Empowering Ourselves, and Others, to Create a Better and Greener World
Our 5th Annual Four Generations of Leaders in Clean Energy & Sustainable Solutions Awards recognized those leaders who are empowering themselves and stepping up to take responsibility, to make the world a better and greener place for humanity and for all the natural world. In our homes, in our neighborhoods and communities, in our workplaces, cities, states, and countries – we need leaders on every front and at every level. From solo change leaders, to leaders of others, we honored individuals who have taken the initiative to make a difference to address our current challenges of climate change, resource depletion, deforestation and loss of biodiversity and habitats, and changing the way that we live our daily lives, both personally and collectively, for the greater good of all.
We believe in harnessing the talents of the Four Generations to advance clean energy and sustainable solutions for the environment, encompassing technology, economic and social innovation for the benefit of the planet and all life. Our awardees diverse initiatives include broad-based vision, and empowering action at the local, state, and international level. They hail from industry, government, academic, and non-governmental sectors. Their work is in the fields of energy storage technology, environmental justice, energy education, and ecological and steady-state economics.
Read more about our awardees and their accomplishment in our recap article titled: 2018 The Four Gen Awards: Celebrating Clean Energy and Sustainable Solutions.
WORLD WAR II GENERATION, Dr. Herman Daly*
Dr. Herman Daly is Emeritus Professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and former Senior Economist in the Environment Department at the World Bank. He is an eco-visionary of ecological economics and a steady-state economy which places the economy squarely inside the global ecosystem, instead of the other way around. He is co-founder of the International Society for Ecological Economics and the journal, Ecological Economics. Dr. Daly is also the recipient of numerous international awards and the author of many books and articles.
*Acceptance by Dr. Brian Czech, Executive Director, Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, Arlington, VA.
BABY BOOMER GENERATION: Queen Zakia Shabazz
Queen Zakia Shabazz is the Coordinator of the Virginia Environmental Justice (EJ) Collaborative, a network of environmental organizations. She is a powerful voice for clean energy jobs for unemployed and underemployed, protecting coastal communities, climate justice, and reducing pollutants in heavily burdened communities in the state of Virginia. She also founded the Virginia Chapter of United Parents Against Lead.
Gen X Generation: Stephen Coughlin
Stephen Coughlin is the President and Chief Executive Officer, Fluence, a joint venture between AES and Siemen. He leads the Fluence team to accelerate energy storage, often called the Holy Grail of Energy, to enable the transformation of the way we power our world to ensure a more sustainable future. The company has deployed or been awarded nearly 700 MW of grid-connected storage projects in sixteen countries around the world.
MILLENNIAL GENERATION: Lindsey R. Shaw
Lindsey R. Shaw is the Commercial Energy Program Manager, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. She is a keen innovator of cutting-edge programs and related education on commercial energy efficiency, renewable energy, and related topics. She works with the business community and public to empower them to enact energy-saving measures and is a key organizer of the Montgomery County Energy Summit.
2017 Theme: The Urgency of Now
These awards recognized those leaders making critical contributions to respond to the need for urgent action to avert climate change and other related ecological concerns through the enhanced use of clean energy and sustainable solutions.
See the recap article with the speaker awardee videos here.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDEE: S. David Freeman, eco-pioneer and author
Freeman has provided progressive leadership to major public utilities coast to coast. His most recent books include, “All Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future” and an autobiography entitled, The Green Cowboy: An Energetic Life.”
MILLENIAL AWARDEE: Camila Thorndike, Carbon Pricing Campaign Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Networking
Thorndike is an activist in the “Put a Price on IT” DC Campaign in Washington, DC.
GEN X AWARDEE: Lori Arguelles, President and CEO of the Alice Ferguson Foundation
Arguelles oversees a “Living Building” that provides a holistic/circular economy approach–not only solving energy issues, but considers water use, wastes, and materials, while also serving as a hands-on educational resource for policymakers as well as students.
BABY BOOMER AWARDEE: Kam Ghaffarian, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of X Energy
Ghaffarian’s company, X Energy (a nuclear reactor and fuel design engineering services company) is reinventing nuclear to be safer and more sustainable.
WORLD WAR II/TRADITIONALIST AWARDEE: Louise Meyer, Co-founder of Solar Household Energy
Meyer is dedicated to enabling families in villages and refugee camps in developing countries to cook with solar energy.
2016 Theme: Sparking the Passion in Others
These awards recognized those leaders who have inspired others, who inspired movements, or innovation and change for a more sustainable energy system, economy, and world.
Recap article available here.
WORLD WAR II/TRADITIONALIST AWARDEE: Penelope A. “Penny” Gross, Fairfax Board of Supervisors for the Mason District
BABY BOOMER AWARDEE: Albert Nunez, Vice President of Capital Sun Group
GEN X AWARDEE: Dave McCarthy, Founder/Director, Potential Energy DC & Founder/Managing Partner, Spore 1, LLC
MILLENNIAL AWARDEE: Nofar Hamrany, Environmental Leader at New York University Campuses in DC and Shanghai
2015 Theme: Leading Through Adversity
Awardees were selected based on their compelling stories regarding particular obstacles and challenges they faced on their path to leadership in this field.
See the recap article here.
WORLD WAR II/TRADITIONALIST AWARDEE: William (Bill) Holmberg*, Chairman, Biomass Coordinating Council and Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).
*Acceptance by Carol Werner, Executive Director, Energy and Environmental Study Institute, Washington, DC.
BABY BOOMER AWARDEE: Robert L. Wallace, CEO/Founder, BITHENERGY, Inc
GEN X AWARDEE: Sonia Punjabi, Principal Consultant, Sustainable Use Services with DNV GL
MILLENNIAL AWARDEE: Timi Komonibo, Founder, Style Lottery
2014 Inaugural Four Generations Event — Leadership in Energy and Sustainability
The awards recognized exemplary leaders in the Four Generations making contributions to clean energy and sustainability.