The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator


Many of us dutifully recycle. We think we are doing our part for the environment by throwing those items into the “blue bin”. Most companies have made the consumer responsible for recycling the packaging and products that have been sold to them, but how much of an impact does recycling actually make? More importantly, is it fair to put the responsibility for reducing or eliminating waste entirely on the consumer? Some companies think not. 

Imagine a world where companies think not just about how to make and sell their products, but also plan how to keep them out of the landfill. A group of companies and organizations is making this a reality today. The movement is called, ‘The Circular Economy’. Join us to learn about how they are taking responsibility for the full life cycle of their products. Discover the exciting companies, right here on the Central Coast, that are innovating ways to change their products from taking a one-way-trip to the landfill toward products and processes that are designed to avoid the landfill altogether. Learn about their trials and successes as well as the economic benefits that emerge as they embrace the concept of a circular economy. Walk away with real ideas on how you can make an impact….not someday, but today!

Many of us dutifully reduce, reuse and . . . mostly recycle. Nearly all companies have made the consumer responsible for recycling the packaging and products that have been sold to them. But how much of an impact does recycling actually make? We learn the truth about the negative impact we continue to make on our planet despite our best intentions.

Learn from business leaders how they have changed their approach from a one-way-trip to the landfill into one that thinks deeply about the life of their products after they’ve been sold to the customer. What lessons have they learned along the way, and what are the benefits they have gained from making that change in perspective?

How can you join this movement?

  • As a business leader or entrepreneur, learn how you can make similar impacts in your business. Find resources to help make the move and learn the benefits you could gain from doing so.
  • As a consumer, learn how you can encourage companies to embrace this approach if they want to get your business.
  • As a citizen, learn how you can get behind local, state, and federal efforts to enact laws to incentivize companies to make the change.

This program will be moderated by Astrid McNellis, VP of Product for Cognixion.


ROLAND GEYER, PHD, Professor, Industrial Ecology, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UCSB

Roland Geyer is a Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California at Santa Barbara. Prior to joining the Bren School he held research positions at the Centre for Environmental Strategy (University of Surrey, UK), the Centre for the Management of Environmental Resources (INSEAD, France), and was a consultant in financial risk management for AMS (now part of CGI) in Germany. Since 2000 he has worked with a wide range of governmental organizations, trade associations, and companies on environmental sustainability issues. In his research he uses the approaches and methods of industrial ecology, such as life cycle assessment and material flow analysis, to assess pollution prevention strategies based on reuse, recycling, and material and technology substitution. Roland also combines these approaches with research methods from other disciplines in order to study the relationship between environmental performance, economic viability, and technical and operational feasibility of pollution prevention strategies. His overarching goal is to help develop the knowledge, tools, and methods necessary to reduce the environmental impact of industrial production and consumption. Roland has a graduate degree in physics from the Technical University Berlin and a PhD in engineering from the University of Surrey.

ELENA EGOROVA, Product Environmental Impact-Reduction Strategies, Patagonia 

Elena Egorova works on Patagonia’s product impact and innovation team. She is responsible for researching and quantifying the various environmental impacts of Patagonia’s products and working to reduce them over time. One of her focus areas is waste reduction in the supply chain, textile recycling, and incorporating circular thinking into product decisions.

Elena has been working on environmental projects for Patagonia for seven years. Prior to working in her current position, she completed her Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.

KARLA MORA, Founder & Managing Partner, Alante Capital  

Karla Mora is CEO and Managing Partner of Alante Capital, a VC fund and advisory platform that works to commercialize new technologies that address climate change and enable a sustainable and circular future for the apparel industry.

Previously, Karla served as Investment Director at VilCap Investments and Associate Director at the Eleos Foundation, investing in early-stage social enterprises in emerging markets. She worked on supply chain reform with Building Markets in Afghanistan, and for the United Nations Sustainable Commodity Initiative for the coffee sector.

Karla holds a Master’s Degree in Development Economics from the University of Rome in Italy and a Certificate in Financial Management from Cornell University. Karla is on the Boards of Mango Materials and African Women Rising, and on the Advisory Boards of Material Innovation Institute and the UCSB Master’s Program in Eco-Entrepreneurship at the Bren School.

Karla has dedicated her career to using business as a force for social good. Early on she developed a deep passion for reforming production practices across industries to improve working conditions and protect the environment. Her passion for supply chain reform, deep concern with the state of the apparel industry and her love of beautiful clothes, led her to create Alante Capital in an effort to spur innovations that can have lasting positive impacts on people and the planet.

KATHI KING, Director of Climate Education and Leadership, Community Environmental Council  

Kathi King is the Director of Climate Education and Leadership at CEC.  In 2021 she began teaching the UC Climate Stewards course through a partnership with University of California. This certification program works to build a committed corps of local climate activists. Kathi serves as Festival Director for the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival. She also manages CEC’s waste reduction program, including the successful Rethink the Drink bottled water reduction program in area schools and parks. She has been on the CEC staff since 2008.

Kathi served on the board of the Montecito Association from 2015 to 2022.  She was the Board Treasurer, served on the Executive Committee, and helped organize the Montecito Village Fourth and Beautification Day events.

She is currently on the board of the Santa Barbara-based A to Z Cooking School.

Kathi has a B.S. degree in Telecommunications and Film from San Diego State University and worked in the television industry in Los Angeles for several years. For three years, she was the Associate Producer of the still-popular sitcom “Full House.”

Kathi and her husband Jeff moved to Santa Barbara in 1998. Their two children attended Santa Barbara public schools for grades K-12 and Kathi served on the PTA boards at Montecito Union School, Santa Barbara Junior High, and Santa Barbara High between 1998 and 2015.  She did post-graduate work in Environmental Studies at Santa Barbara City College, where a class project led to Santa Barbara’s single-use plastic bag ban.

Kathi is passionate about living a low-carbon, outdoor-focused life. She’s a longtime bicycle commuter, buys most of her clothing secondhand, tries her best to avoid single-use plastics, and enjoys hiking and walking on the beach with family and friends.


ASTRID MCNELLIS, VP of Product, Cognixion

Astrid McNellis is VP of Product for Cognixion and Secretary for Ventech. She has more than 15 years of experience in managing global marketing and new product development in the medical device industry. Before that, she worked in a variety of organizations that ranged from one-year-old software development startups to 100-year-old manufacturing organizations.

Astrid’s expertise in managing large, multi-disciplinary, international teams, budgets, and deliverables while reporting to C-level executives has allowed her to consistently achieve targets previously believed to be unattainable. Her BS and MS degrees are both from MIT.



When:  Wednesday, April 20, 2022, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: Cabrillo Pavilion, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, California


  • $30 – Early Bird, General (Online Only)
  • $15 – Student, valid/current student ID (must have present at check-in)
  • $40 – General/Walk-in (Online offer not valid)


  • 5:00 – 6:00 Networking/Check-in (Pre-registered & Walk-in)
  • 6:00 – 7:30 Presentation/Discussion
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Live Q&A

NOTE: We will continue to follow all local and CDC Guidelines as they evolve to date.


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