We are strategic problem solving consultants with expertise in conservation finance, sustainability, and carbon markets. There are only three scenarios under which you would consider engaging Gordian Knot Strategies:
1. You are facing a significant and intractable problem that is seemingly impossible to solve using traditional approaches and techniques. To solve it offers you a pivotable gateway. You need holistic thinking with pragmatic and executable solutions (GKS)
2. You are ignoring something you know to be vital. You don’t have the resources or bandwidth to address it. You need a credible third-party to deliver (GKS)
3. Your current or planned strategic focus is blurry causing resource stress, personnel burn out, and brand dilution. You need a crisp hedgehog that smartly marries your passion, activity, and business model to deliver a guiding strategic compass to you and your team (GKS).
CEO – Sean Penrith has travelled a deep trajectory of sustainability and climate change over the past two decades. He has built both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations around the globe that enabled him to develop his acumen for strategy development, company building, sustainability, ESG, triple-bottom-line risk management, climate change, environmental policy, conservation finance, impact investing, and environmental markets. Sean is a seasoned international business development executive and is passionate about developing market mechanisms and programs for mitigating climate change impacts and revealing value for triple-bottom-line strategies.
Sean previously held the positions of CEO at Climate Trust Capital and executive director of well-regarded not-for-profit, The Climate Trust, for 5 years. Sean and his team established Climate Trust Capital as a mission-driven carbon impact investment fund that focused on investment opportunities in natural climate solutions (agriculture, forestry, dairy).
Gordian Knot Strategies is a strategic problem-solving consulting company with a focus on natural climate solutions and expertise in climate finance, impact funds, and carbon markets, and has developed numerous go-to-market plans in these areas. Sean works in the sectors of wetlands carbon, forestry, renewable energy, dairy bio digesters, grasslands, and agriculture. He advises on designs for organizational growth, program implementation, impact fund structures, carbon acquisition portfolios, conservation financing options, and domestic and international carbon policies.
Sean completed the development of the business model for the Ecosystem Services Market initiative under an engagement with the Noble Foundation (now the Noble Research Institute). Working closely with board members, farmers, executives, and a steering committee, Sean was the lead consultant tasked with the strategic design, assembling capital, and implementation plan for this ambitious national (650 million acres) outcomes-based ecosystem services market initiative, which aims to incentivize farmers and ranchers to improve soil health and monetize the environmental outcomes.
Sean recently submitted draft recommendations to Delta Air Lines to inform the deployment of approximately $1 billion over the next decade via a dedicated impact fund. The recommended structure of the special purpose vehicle addresses natural, technological, and hybrid climate solutions both domestically and internationally.
A current engagement is with the American Forest Foundation (AFF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to design a national financing mechanism that will provide incentive payments to landowners of privately held forests for national conservation practice adoption. He is actively engaged with stakeholders, landowners, staff, and the AFF board to develop the strategies and tactics to design, finance, and implement a program that seeks to engage up to 50 million acres of privately held forest landowners across the country by 2030.
Sean is a recognized Portland Connector, an Edison Awards and Pivotal Leader nominee, an alumnus of the EMERGE Leadership for Sustainability program, a member of the Association of Climate Change officers, a UNITAR Climate Change Diplomacy graduate, an advisor to MIT’s Climate CoLab initiative, and an Observer to the Green Bond Principles.
Sean presents frequently on topics that include conservation finance, business scaling, climate smart agriculture, carbon mechanisms, policy, and markets, the future of sustainability, and climate change.
Operations Manager – Jacoba Gundle has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Humboldt State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Portland State University with an emphasis in natural resources policy and administration. She has almost 10 years of experience in operations, project management, and office administration. Before joining Gordian Knot Strategies in 2018 in the role of project manager, she worked for The Climate Trust as the operations manager, handling everything from organizational logistics to managing the carbon credit registry.
Jacoba’s experience in working with small nonprofit organizations has been very beneficial to her current role, emphasizing her organized and detail-oriented work ethic. Currently, she is responsible for day-to-day administrative and operational tasks, database and project management software build outs, ensuring tasks are monitored and completed against a work scope and timeline, and overall scheduling and logistics. She has managed both small and large client projects while at Gordian Knot Strategies.
Venkataraman Lakshmanan has over 2 years of experience in natural climate solutions and resilience in the program management as well as policy areas. He has worked with The Nature Conservancy on researching case studies on natural climate solutions and has also been involved with state and federal working lands and resilience policies with the US Climate Alliance. Most recently, he was a critical part of the EU-USCA Resilience Cooperation, a Transatlantic knowledge sharing program where he played several roles, including working with the government of Massachusetts to develop policy solutions in resilience finance. A strong communicator with a solid background in research, Venkat has worked with a wide range of climate entities and brings with him a multifaceted perspective on climate issues.