Dawn Lippert is CEO of Elemental Excelerator, a startup program that each year funds 15-20 companies up to $1 million each to improve systems that impact the planet and people’s lives: energy, water, agriculture, transportation, and beyond. Dawn initially started funding companies in Hawaii in 2009, and in the past six years alone Elemental has awarded over $36 million to 99 portfolio companies. This funding goes toward innovation projects that are co-designed and co-deployed by the startup, customers, community members, and the Elemental team in the geographies of Hawaii, Asia, and California. Elemental portfolio companies have gone on to raise follow-on funding of over $1.1 billion. Elemental is a non-profit funded by a coalition of utility partners, corporate partners, philanthropic organizations, and the U.S. Navy.

Dawn’s Speaker Bio

In addition to leading Elemental Excelerator

Dawn is Director of Innovation and Community at Emerson Collective, the investment and philanthropic platform led by Laurene Powell Jobs. Through her role at Emerson Collective Dawn shares Elemental’s place-based model with communities and innovators around the world.

At the nexus of innovation and public policy, Dawn served as Chair of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative Advisory Board, a group of decision makers who ensure progress toward Hawaii’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045. She founded and is an emeritus board member of WiRE (Women in Renewable Energy), serves on the board of Incubatenergy Network, and serves as an Advisor for University of Hawaii Ventures LLC. Dawn is a recipient of the 2015 C3E Award from the Clean Energy Ministerial, a 2015 Omidyar Fellow, a 2019 Grist 50 Fixer, and a recipient of the 2020 UN Global Climate Action Award under the category of “Women for Results”.

Prior to Elemental Excelerator

Dawn was a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton’s alternative energy practice in Washington DC. She also worked on energy and environmental projects in various communities around the world, including Africa, India, and Latin America. Dawn graduated cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in environmental studies. She received her Master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Management. A favorite quote comes from her love for sailing: “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

Outside of the office

You can find her playing with her baby girl, on the soccer field, and enjoying the ocean.