Sell-out Crowds for Sustainability: Harnessing the Power of the Entertainment, Convention and Sports Industry

The entertainment, convention, and sports industries are cultural cornerstones that have the potential to be sustainability catalysts by driving behavior change and delivering measurable impact. The panel of industry leaders will openly share the sustainability challenges they face, today's best practices, and explore the future of sustainability for these industries.

Presented By

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About The Speakers

Mary McCarthy - Levy Restaurants

 McCarthy - Director of Sustainability,  Levy Restaurants

After a decade in the mission-driven sustainability sector, Mary joined Levy as Director of Sustainability. She is compelled by the opportunity to create and accelerate meaningful change in the sports and entertainment, events, and conventions sectors. Mary is an experienced sustainability leader, especially with food and agriculture, and she brings expertise in translating between sales and local to national level engagement. She is adept at communicating with diverse audiences, building relationships, and developing the strategies, tactics, and processes necessary to deliver results. Recognized for her exceptional analytical, communication, and teamwork skills, Mary has a strong passion for contributing to a more just and sustainable future for everyone.


Alison Weber - Levy Restaurants

Alison Weber - Chief Creative Officer, Levy Restaurants & Principal, Experience Lead (DBK Studio)

Alison Weber is Chief Creative Officer for Levy. In her role, Alison inspires the vision for the company’s industry-recognized experience design capabilities, future forward pipeline, as well as Levy’s culture of innovation. She leads a team of creative strategists, brand specialists, graphic designers and culinarians to experience solutions for food and hospitality business challenges.

During her two-decade plus career, Alison has had a seat at the table crafting the revolution in sports food and pushing for continual relevancy around the fan experience.

Alison started as a hot dog and beer vendor at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. In 2014, she was recognized as one of the top influencers in her industry and received Sports Business Journal’s Game Changers Award.

Alan Steel - Javits Center

Alan Steel - Chief Executive Officer, Javits Center

Alan Steel is the Chief Executive Officer of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, which operates the Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side. Under Mr. Steel 's leadership, the Javits Center recently completed an historic expansion project that added more than 1 million square feet of state-of-the-art space, including more exhibition and meeting room space, a rooftop pavilion and a one-acre rooftop farm. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Steel played a pivotal role in New York’s response and recovery, overseeing the design, construction and operation of the nation’s largest field hospital and vaccination center.

Upon his appointment in 2012, Mr. Steel led the completion of a comprehensive renovation and operational overhaul at the Javits Center that included significant investments in energy efficiency, security and technology. As a result, the convention center has emerged as a nationwide model of sustainability, partnering with research institutions and community groups to study and reinforce the building’s positive impact on the local environment.

Prior to the Javits Center, Mr. Steel spent more than 30 years as an event management executive. He is the former President of George Little Management (GLM), a major producer of trade shows in the United States and Canada and was active in developing domestic and international markets for the company. Before joining GLM in 1982, Mr. Steel worked for more than 15 years with the British government in several trade-related positions at the Department of Trade and Industry in London, the British Consulate in Chicago and the British Trade Development Office in New York.

Mr. Steel has received numerous awards for his accomplishments, including recognition from the International Association of Exhibitors and Events (IAEE), New York Society of Association Executives (NYSAE), American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), Sing for Hope and New Yorkers for Parks. An avid environmentalist, Mr. Steel currently serves as chairperson of NYC & Company’s Sustainability Committee, as well as on the Board of Directors for New York City Audubon and New Yorkers for Parks and the Board of Trustees for The Climate Museum.

Kayalin Akens-Irby - Planet FWD

Kayalin Akens-Irby - Head of Growth, Planet FWD

As an impact-oriented strategist, Kayalin Akens-Irby has spent her career working with investors and companies to improve business operations and sustainability. Kayalin serves as Head of Growth at Planet FWD, the leading carbon management platform for consumer companies to tackle climate change. Previously, Kayalin helped build Malk Partners, as an early employee, into the leading environmental, social, governance (ESG) investment advisory firm for private markets, advising on over $500B in AUM.

Kayalin graduated from Claremont McKenna College, as a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Interdisciplinary Science Scholar. She's a Board Member for the Upcycled Food Association and a Climate Fellow for Amasia VC.

Chris Wallace - Clippers

Chris Wallace - Chief Communications Officer, Clippers

As the Clippers’ Chief Communications Officer, Wallace oversees the organization's communications strategy and narrative development across basketball, business, broadcasting, innovation, and ownership. He supervises all Clippers' communication functions, including media relations, marketing, and corporate communications, along with social media, video content and broadcasting. He currently serves in a leadership role for the development and construction of Intuit Dome, the Clippers new $2.8B home, and the LA Clippers Foundation.
Wallace's career spans over two decades of strategic communications and marketing experience in the sports, entertainment, and media industries.
Before joining the Clippers, he served in leadership roles with Harris-Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, Translation, the ATP and the WTA. Wallace also spent six years at the NBA, split between the League's New York and London headquarters, and earlier in his career, he spent more than five seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers


Mary McCarthy

Alison Weber

Alan Steel

Kayalin Akens-Irby

Chris Wallace


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