Join ACS San Francisco Bay for an inspiring presentation by Daniella Dimitrova Russo
Daniella Dimitrova Russo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Think Beyond Plastic™, the innovation accelerator focused on the global plastic pollution crisis. Since 2009, Think Beyond Plastic has led the shift away from fossil fuel-based plastics towards bio-based, bio-benign materials from renewable sources and associated manufacturing, and innovative consumer and business products specifically designed to handle these new materials.
Daniella Russo’s approach leverages a blended executive experience in high-tech, Fortune-500 businesses and NGOs. She launched Think Beyond Plastic to address a growing consumer and business demand for sustainable alternatives to conventional plastic. Think Beyond Plastic approaches plastic pollution as an untapped entrepreneurial and investment opportunity, and an innovation challenge.
Daniella Russo is a serial entrepreneur. As an executive and a member of the founders’ team of leading Silicon Valley high-tech businesses Frame Technology (desktop publishing) and Internet pioneer Infoseek (search), she led the development of award-winning product design, dramatic growth of online community and two successful IPOs. As an executive with Xerox-PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) she led the commercialization of a natural language technology, which became the underlying search technology for Oracle, Netscape browser and a myriad of emerging search engines. As an executive at Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), she directed the company to address the emerging Internet service provider market, and introduced the first ever family of low-cost, NEBS-compliant Internet servers and managed networks. Ms. Russo led the formulation of Sun’s strategy for service providers and its launch into Telecommunications, a subsequent major strategic direction for Sun. As a founder and CEO of PlanetStop and Mindzone Inc, Mr. Russo pioneered the concept of keiretsu as the key for success in the early days of the Web1.0. She believes in entrepreneurship and the power of innovation and is passionate about mentoring entrepreneurs. She a member of the Founders Board of Advisors at StartX, the Stanford University Accelerator. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School for International Policy and Management, at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies.
Daniella Russo is a social entrepreneur. She believes in the power of innovation and entrepreneurship to address intractable and complex environmental challenges, and is deeply concerned about marginalized communities disproportionally affected by these challenges. Since 2009, she has led the development of an innovation eco-system to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and public health, with special focus on ocean plastic. The global strategy includes growing consumer demand; sourcing innovation; accelerating entrepreneurship; cultivating the impact investment network, and advancing forward-thinking public policies supporting innovation with focus on plastic pollution. The strategy builds on the momentum generated by growing awareness about plastic pollution and guides innovation for strategically identified consumer and business products. It incorporates collaboration with major consumer brands and developing a bridge to commercialization for startups with proven potential. Key outcome and strategic goal is improving livelihoods and creating economic opportunities for communities within the developing world, exposed to the growing impacts of waste, lack of health education and services, and climate change.
Daniella Russo is passionate about plastic pollution. In 2007, she led the creation of Think Beyond Plastic as a global media campaign for National Geographic’s Strange Days on Planet Earth. The campaign won 1st place at the 2009 Jackson Hole Film Festival for Most Innovative Use of Traditional and New media. In 2009, she co-founded and led Plastic Pollution Coalition, and grew it to become the world’s largest NGO dedicated uniquely to plastic pollution, engaging the collecting power of 500+ organizations and a reach of 16M+ people globally. In 2012, she launched the Think Beyond Plastic™ Innovation Forum, an innovation accelerator that harnesses innovation, entrepreneurial and investment opportunities in solutions to plastic pollution. To date, Think Beyond Plastic has launched 35 businesses and facilitated investments in the amount of $5M+. It has projects in the United States, Europe, Central America, in communities along the Mesoamerican Reef, and works with startups from countries as diverse as Guatemala, Kenya, Honduras, The Netherlands, United States, Mongolia, Turkey, France and many others. Most importantly, Think Beyond Plastic is fulfilling Ms. Russo commitment to entrepreneurship as an engine for success in solving one of the planet’s greatest social and environmental challenges – plastic pollution, and its impacts on marginalized communities worldwide.
Daniella Russo is a frequent speaker on topics such as Ocean Health, Marine Debris, Addressing Sustainability through Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Empowering Women Entrepreneurs, Youth Leadership and Sustainability, Creating Effective Public-private Partnerships and other. She is a frequent speaker at high-profile international events such as UN Environment Assembly, Our Ocean Conference, UNEP’s International Marine Debris Conference, Rio+20 (Brazil), UN Energy Day, Prince Albert’s Think Beyond Plastic Med (Monaco), SXSW-Eco, LetsDoItWorld (Estonia), Benchley Awards and others. She is a Board member and Advisor to many public and private businesses.
Ms. Russo studied business at the London School of Economics and holds an MA degree in English Philology, University of Sofia, Bulgaria.