2021 Sustainability Summit Presenters

Annie Black

Annie Black, Director of Programs and Volunteers, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum (dhhrm.org)

Annie Black is responsible for planning, executing public programs, and managing the DHHRM’s volunteers and interns. Prior to this role, she was the Program Manager at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, TX. She holds a B.A. in History from Vassar College.

Dr. Maria Boccalandro

Dr. Maria Boccalandro, Dean, Special Academic Programs, Dallas College

Dr. Maria V. Boccalandro is a sustainable urban planner with a master's degree in urban transportation and a Ph.D. in political science. She was formerly the Director of Sustainability and Programs in the Office of Advancement of Cedar Valley campus (CV) of Dallas College (DC) and also worked for the DC Sustainability Team.

Jamie Bristow 

Jamie Bristow

Jamie Bristow is Director of The Mindfulness Initiative, a policy institute about mindfulness and compassion training that grew out of a program of mindfulness teaching for politicians in the British Parliament.


Dr. Bob Franco

Dr. Bob Franco, Director, Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Kapiolani Community College, Uuiversity of Hawaii

His career at Kapi'olani Community College has been roughly evenly split between teaching (1985-2000) and institutional planning, research, and grants development (2000-present). In addition to overseeing five comprehensive accreditation reports and raising millions of dollars in federal and foundation grants, he oversees the college's Service and Sustainability Learning Program and he directs the College’s newly formed Center for Resilient Neighborhoods (CERENE).

Barbara Larkin 

Barbara Larkin

Barbara Larkin is the VP of Voter Services for the League of Women Voters of Dallas ( LWVD). This is her second term on the Board of Directors of the LWVD. In that role, she has been organizing members and volunteers to register and educate voters all over Dallas and especially at the Dallas College campuses and Dallas Public Library system. Working with Dallas College Student Life, LWVD has hosted over 50 successful voter registration events at the Dallas College campuses this fall of 2021.  Before she became an advocate for empowering voters and defending democracy, Barbara worked for 25 years first as a banker in Chicago and then in Dallas for PepsiCo and Yum Brands in financial strategy, purchasing and supply chain management. She attended UT Austin for her BA in Plan II and her MBA in finance.

Alex Mahadevan

Alex Mahadevan is Program Manager of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. Mahadevan created the curricula and helped launch both the MediaWise Voter Project and MediaWise for Seniors and has taught digital media literacy in person to more than 5,000 people.

Lara Schwartz

Director of American University’s Project on Civil Discourse

Lara Schwartz teaches at American University School of Public Affairs, where she is the founding director of the Project on Civil Discourse. She draws upon her experience as a civil rights lawyer to teach courses in government, law, and policy. Lara regularly speaks at national conferences on issues related to free speech on campus; productive dialogue; inclusive learning communities; collaborative learning; student activism; and college readiness. She is co-author of "How to College: What to Know Before You Go (And When You're There)," a practical guide to the college transition.

Diane Tasian

Diane Tasian serves as president of the League of Women Voters of Dallas (LWVD).  She is married to her college sweetheart; is the mother of two young women; mother-in-law to their husbands; grandmother of four young women; and a retired healthcare architect.  Diane holds a BFA degree from the University of Houston and an M Arch degree from UT Arlington.  She was a licensed architect in Texas and a credentialed USGBC LEED AP BD+C.  Her specialty was healthcare architecture.   She retired in 2010.

She has served as a volunteer for most of her adult life.   Although a member of the League since 2004, in 2015 she began contributing time and talent to LWVD, first helping deliver Voters Guides, and in 2016 serving on the Fair Park study group.   In 2017 she also served as a Wrangler for Vote411/Voters Guide. 

The League is a grass-roots nonpartisan organization.   Our members, except for our two part-time support staff, are all volunteers.  Our mission is “Empowering Voters.  Defending Democracy.”   When people understand how to vote and why, they vote.  After 101 years of League effort on voting rights, and with the current partisan divide, we see clearly that democracy needs continuous renewal.  Voting makes our democracy stronger.   

Christine Wamsler 

Christine Wamsler

 Christine is an expert in sustainable urban development with focus on integral climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction/ management, climate policy mainstreaming, resilience, and transformation. She is Professor in Sustainability Science at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), former Co-director of the Lund University Centre for Societal Resilience, Research Fellow at the Centre of Natural Disaster Science (CNDS), and Honorary Research Fellow of the Global Urbanism Research Group at the Global Development Institute (GDI) of the University of Manchester, UK.