Tanya and Wendell Berry

The Berrys are deeply entwined with the Kentucky community, human and natural, surrounding their hillside farm.  Through his essays, stories, and poems, Wendell Berry is the consummate contemporary American spokesperson for small communities and an agrarian ethic.

David Boyle

David Boyle is a fellow of the new economics foundation, where he has worked in various capacities since 1987—writing and editing, developing new projects, launching the time-bank movement in the UK, advising on the future of money and volunteering, and most recently participating in research on localism and the future of public services. He is the author of a range of books about money, change, and the future, including Funny Money; The Tyranny of Numbers; Authenticity; Money Matters; and The Human Element: Ten new rules to kick-start our failing organizations. He also writes history books. David advises politicians, has run for Parliament in the UK, and recently finished an independent review for the UK government on the future of public services.

Merrian Goggio Borgeson

Merrian is the co-founder and principal of Tule Partners, a strategic advisory and analysis firm with expertise in clean energy finance, creative community capital solutions, and sustainable economic development. Merrian also works as an affiliated researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, focused on the financing and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy. And she has enjoyed working with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) for over a decade – as the founding director of a local network (the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia), as managing director of BALLE, as a board member including two years as board chair, and now back working with staff to support BALLE’s innovative work on tapping into Community Capital. Merrian currently serves as a trustee for the Goggio Family Foundation and as board chair for Jacaranda Health, a social enterprise that provides high quality, affordable maternity services in East Africa. She has an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, a Masters from UC Berkeley’s Energy & Resources Group, and BA in International Relations from Stanford University. Merrian enjoys playing in her garden, sweaty yoga, and hiking in beautiful places with her husband Sam.

Eric Harris-Braun

Eric Harris-Braun designs and builds software infrastructure for the new economy. He is a co-founder of the MetaCurrency project, which is creating a platform for communities of all scales to design and deploy their own currencies.  Eric is the co-founder of Glass Bead Software, a provider of peer-to-peer networking applications, and of Harris-Braun Enterprises, a free-lance software development shop, which has created, among other things, complex data-collection websites for the health-care industry, an Android application for catch monitoring for the fishing industry, and the Online Writing Workshop, which it built and operates. In 1994 he published the Internet Directory ( Fawcett Columbine), which sold over 100,000 copies and went on to a second edition in 1996 before being made obsolete by Google. Eric received a B.S. in Computer Science from Yale University. Currently he lives in rural New York, where he is part of a Quaker Intentional community, plays with his two kids, tends a garden, and lives in a straw-bale house.

Listen to Eric Harris-Braun's talk: "A New Language for Wealth."

Michelle Long

Michelle Long is the executive director of BALLE. Founded in 2001, BALLE is amplifying and accelerating the enormous awakening energy directed toward local economies. Seeing local, independently owned businesses as the key to solving our communities’ toughest challenges and to creating real prosperity, BALLE connects visionary local leaders so they can find inspiration and support. With a growing network of 30,000 local entrepreneurs spanning 80 communities, BALLE is leveraging the collective voice of this movement to drive new investment, scale the best solutions, and harness the power of local, independently owned business to transform the communities where we work and live.

Before going to BALLE, Michelle co-founded and was executive director of Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, Washington—one of BALLE's first member business networks. Its membership, now comprised of 700 locally owned businesses, has made Bellingham into what NPR Marketplace called the “epicenter of a new economic model.” Michelle was named one of the West Coast's "top five leading ladies of sustainability" by the Sustainable Industries Journal. A regular keynote speaker, she is also the co-author of Local First: A How-to Guide and the author of the new Building a Community of Businesses: A BALLE Business Network How-to Kit.



Otto Scharmer

Dr. C. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and founding chair of the Presencing Institute. Scharmer chairs the MIT IDEAS program and helps groups of diverse stakeholders from business, government, and civil society to innovate at the level of the whole system. He co-founded the Global Wellbeing and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Lab, which links innovators from Bhutan, Brazil, Europe, and the United States in order to innovate beyond GDP. He is working with governments in Africa, Asia, and Europe and has delivered award-winning leadership and innovation programs for clients including Alibaba, Daimler, Eileen Fisher, Fujitsu, Google, Natura, and PriceWaterhouse. 

Scharmer introduced the concept of "presencing" - learning from the emerging future - in his bestselling books Theory U and Presence (the latter co-authored with P. Senge, J. Jaworski, and B. S. Flowers). His new book Leading From the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies (co-authored with Katrin Kaufer) focuses on transforming business, society, and self (published in July 2013). 

Through MITx he currently delivers the U-Lab, a new type of MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) that uses presencing practices of co-sensing and co-creating emerging futures with a platform of 45,000 participants from 185 countries. He holds a Ph.D. in economics and management from Witten-Herdecke University in Germany. In 2015 he received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching at MIT. More information about Scharmer and his work can be found at www.ottoscharmer.com.

Watch Otto Scharmer's E.F. Schumacher Lecture

Read Otto Scharmer's HuffingtonPost Blog

Judy Wicks

Judy Wicks is a leader, writer, and speaker in the localization movement. She began buying from local farmers in 1986 for her restaurant White Dog Café, which she started on the first floor of her Philadelphia row house in 1983. Realizing that helping other restaurants connect with local farmers would strengthen the regional food system, she founded Fair Food Philly in 2000. The following year she co-founded the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), now a network of over 20,000 local independent businesses in the U.S. and Canada, and founded the local affiliate Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, currently with over 400 members.
In 2009 Judy sold the White Dog with a unique agreement that preserves local, independent ownership and maintains sustainable business practices, including buying from local farmers, composting, and using renewable energy. She is the recipient of many local and national awards, including the James Beard Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year Award and the Philadelphia Sustainability Award for Lifetime Achievement. She continues to serve on the board of directors of BALLE. Her memoir, "Good Morning, Beautiful Business: the Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer," was published in 2013. For more information about Judy, read Profits of Place, an article from Orion Magazine exploring her work.