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Virtual Amazon Academy 2020: Keynote speakers and panelists

Read the full bios of the keynote speakers and panelists at the 8th Amazon Academy.
on 28 October 2020
  • Keynote (Video Message)
    Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
    Virginijus Sinkevičius - Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
    Virginijus Sinkevičius is the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, responsible for ensuring that these priorities remain at the core of the European Green Deal.

    Prior to taking up the post in December 2019, Commissioner Sinkevičius was a member of Lithuanian Parliament and the Minister of the Economy and Innovation, for three and two years respectively. He is an alumnus of University of Aberystwyth, Wales and Maastricht University.
  • Keynote (Video Message)
    Adina-Ioana Vălean, EU Transportation Commissioner
    Adina-Ioana Vălean, Transportation Commissioner Bio photo
    Adina Vălean has been serving as the European Commissioner for Transport since December 2019. Previously she was a member of the European Parliament between 2007 and 2019 during which she was the Chairwoman of the Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

    She was Vice-President of the European Parliament, on behalf of the EPP Group, in charge of Information, Communications, and Technology from 2014 to 2017. With a solid commitment to the internet economy, entrepreneurship and innovation, she has been elected a member of the steering committee of the European Internet Forum, as well as board member of the knowledge4innovation platform.

    With a particular interest in securing the competitiveness of the European automotive industry, she is also co-chair of the Forum for Mobility and Society.
  • Fireside Chat
    Christiana Figueres, Former UN Climate Chief and Co-founder of Global Optimism
    Portrait image of Christina Figueres by Jimena Mateo
    Photo by Jimena Mateo
    Christiana Figueres is a Costa Rican citizen and an internationally recognized leader on climate change. She was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016.

    During her tenure at the UNFCCC, Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and NGOs to jointly deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, in which 195 sovereign nations agreed on a collaborative path forward to limit future global warming to well below 2°C, and strive for 1.5°C, in order to protect the most vulnerable. For this achievement Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy and received multiple awards.

    Since then Ms. Figueres has continued to accelerate the global response to climate change. Today she is the co-founder of Global Optimism, co-host of the podcast “Outrage & Optimism” and is the co-author of the recently published book, “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis.

    Ms. Figueres sits on multiple executive and advisory boards and is a frequent public speaker and media commentator. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the London School of Economics. She lives in Costa Rica and has two fantastic daughters.
  • Keynote
    Kara Hurst, Vice President Worldwide Sustainability, Amazon
    A woman stands with her arms across her chest, smiling at the camera
    Kara Hurst leads Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon, covering multiple areas across the environmental and social sectors: renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, customer packaging experience, product sustainability, circular economy and waste reduction initiatives, social responsibility and responsible sourcing, sustainability science and innovation, and environmental compliance.

    Prior to joining Amazon, Kara was CEO of The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), a multi-sector group across academia, the retail industry and the public sector. TSC was named one of Scientific American's "Top Ten World Changing Ideas" of 2012.

    For eleven years before that, Hurst worked as Vice President of BSR, where she built several global industry practices and lead BSR's NY and DC offices, as well as the global partnership practice with governments, multi-laterals and foundations. Hurst also co-founded of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC, now the Responsible Business Alliance) and worked in Silicon Valley as Executive Director of the public-private venture OpenVoice, building out early teen channel content for AOL and others.

    In her early career, she held roles at the Children’s Health Council, leading interdisciplinary educational and development programs, at the Urban Institute as a Research lead in the public finance and housing division, and worked in the offices of two elected officials – Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco and in New York for the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). Kara holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University and an MPP from the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Panelist
    Caroline Nagtegaal, Member of EU Parliament and Member of the Transport Committee (Renew Europe)
    Official portrait image of Caroline Nagtegaal, Member of European Parliament (Renew Europe)
    Photo by Simon Blackley
    From Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and formerly worked for Royal Schiphol Airport Group and Port of Rotterdam Authority. She was elected in the European Parliament since November 2017 on behalf of the Dutch liberal party VVD.

    Since 2019 she is a Member of the Transport Committee and has been appointed as transport vice-coordinator for her political group, Renew Europe.
  • Panelist
    Andreas Marschner, Vice President EU Transportation Services, Amazon
    Andreas Marschner, Vice president, Amazon EU Transportation Services bio photo
    Andreas Marschner is Vice President for EU Transportation Services at Amazon. In this role, he manages the company’s own transportation as well as sort services across Europe.

    He studied Economics at the Humboldt University in Berlin and at the University of California in Santa Barbara. In 2001, he finished his degree in International Relations from John-Hopkins-University in Washington D.C.

    In the Swiss region of Baden, he gained his first work experience as a Total Quality System Review Assessor at the technology firm ABB. After working for the International Finance Corporation (part of the World Bank) in Washington D.C., he then moved to McKinsey as a consultant, where he worked for different clients over the course of five years. From 2006 to 2016, he worked in various roles at the Deutsche Post DHL Group, most recently as Executive Vice President for Parcel Operations.

    During his diverse and ambitious career, the expert on transportation published several articles, such as “Network redesign for parcel growth” and “How to achieve maximum leverage from next generation reading technology for parcel sorting”.
  • Panelist
    Holger Krahmer, Head of EU Affairs at Daimler
    Holger Krahmer, Head of EU Affairs at Daimler and Committee on Transport and Tourism bio photo
    As Head of EU Affairs at Daimler, Holger Krahmer is responsible for shaping the political agenda and advocacy strategy of the company at EU level. With more than 15 years of experience in Brussels, he joined Daimler at the beginning of 2019.

    Previously, he worked for 4 years with the car manufacturer Opel / Groupe PSA as Governmental Affairs Director, also with a focus on the EU political agenda and company related legislative framework. He was a Member of the European Parliament for 10 years.
  • Introduction speech
    James Waterworth, Director EU Public Policy, Amazon
    Portrait image of James Waterworth Director of EU Public Policy
    James Waterworth has been Head of EU Public Policy at Amazon from September 2017, after 10 years of experience in the field. He is experienced in Government Affairs professional in Internet, tech and telecoms.

    He is a contributor to the BBC, CNN, France 24, Deutsche Welle, the Financial Times and the WSJ, and speaks English, Finnish, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Fireside Chat
    Conor Sweeney, Director EMEA Corporate Communications, Amazon
    Conor Sweeney, Head of Corporate Communications, Amazon
    Conor Sweeney has managed Amazon EU Corporate Communications since March 2015, after 8 years in the communication field and 13 years as journalist in Brussels, Moscow and Dublin with Reuters and other media.

    He leads the Amazon's European Issues Management and Media Relations team, running Corporate Communications from Amazon’s Luxembourg base.
  • Moderator
    Emmelie Zipson
    emmelie zipson portrait
    Emmelie is an experienced moderator, host and camera professional. Originally she comes from a theater background, but over the last seven years she’s developed herself as a colorful, diverse moderator for live and online events.

    In her own words "there’s nothing I enjoy more than telling stories, setting the tone with my energy and enthusiasm to captivate an audience." Her own personal development journey has taken her from the theater stage, to becoming a chairman at Speakers Academy.

    She particularly enjoys moderating events in which female leadership, personal development, and a sustainable lifestyle are central.
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