Center for the Environment

Conversation with an Environmental Leader

The Dinner & Conversation with an Environmental Leader series is an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialog with a diverse range of civic, corporate, and non-profit environmental leaders in an informal setting. These leaders will share their personal career journeys and perspectives on environmental leadership and reflect on the kinds of skills and interests careers in environmental-related fields require. These events are a way for students to explore how a wide range of professions focus on solving important environmental challenges locally, nationally, and internationally, in the public and private sectors. Each event is structured as an informal conversation between an environmental leader and a small group of students, including dinner. Space is limited for each program; registration is required to participate.

Upcoming Events

  • SEPTEMBER 29, 2016 - Mary McConnell, State Director, The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Chapter
  • OCTOBER 20, 2016 - Nate Cooper, Project Manager, Energy Systems Network
  • NOVEMBER 10, 2016 - Karen Cecil, Director of Global Environmental Sustainability, Cummins, Inc.

Speaker Bios

Karen Cecil

Director – Global Environmental Sustainability
Cummins Inc., Columbus IN

Karen was named the Director of Global Environmental Sustainability in January 2012. Her team advances Cummins’ environmental actions beyond regulations, including the creation of Cummins’ first comprehensive global environmental sustainability plan focusing on GHG/energy, waste and water. This includes strategy development, goal-setting, internal and external engagement, environmental reporting, and integration into the business. She was a recent panelist at the G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency in Washington DC. Since joining Cummins in 2004, she has held positions in Quality, Operations, Corporate Six Sigma and Environmental Strategy & Compliance. Karen’s core competencies include systems thinking, building collaborative relationships, influential leadership and story-telling, managing change, translation of emerging environmental trends into business risk and opportunity, and executive level problem solving, including certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Simplex Innovative Thinking Process facilitator. Karen is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, School of Human Environmental Sciences and Arizona State University, Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership. Karen has been an avid fan and six sigma partner of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana since 2010. The six sigma approach helped improved the twelve month volunteer match rate from 59% to 79%. She was recently inducted to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana Board of Directors.

Mary McConnell

State Director, The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Chapter

The Nature Conservancy works around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than one million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Mary McConnell has been with the Conservancy since 1992, and was named Indiana State Director in 1999. Some of the signature projects of the Conservancy in Indiana include restoring 12 square miles of native prairie in northwest Indiana, creating the most ecologically rich grassland restoration in the world, permanently protecting over 90,000 acres of natural land, conserving freshwater sources with cutting-edge practices developed along the Wabash River, creating an innovative model for forest protection, and pioneering land management techniques. Mary. spearheaded the creation of the Bicentennial Nature Trust, a partnership to purchase land for nature parks and trails throughout Indiana. In 2010, Mary oversaw the design and construction of a new state headquarters in downtown Indy. This LEED platinum building has received numerous awards and recognitions. Mary sits on the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, the Indiana Land Resources Council, and the Indiana Heritage Trust Project Committee. Mary is a graduate of IU’s Kelley School of Business and spent the first 15 years of her career in industrial sales and management.

The Gerald D. and Edna E. Mann Hall, home to the Center for the Environment's administrative offices.