Sean Penrith – CEO
Sean Penrith is the CEO of Gordian Knot Strategies, a climate finance consultancy to multi-national corporations, endowments, agencies, project developers, consortiums, and impact investors and serves clients in the US, South America, Africa, and Europe. He 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 previously held the positions of Managing Director of software company Thetus Corp, CEO of Climate Trust Capital, and as Executive Director of The Climate Trust for five years. 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.
Gordian Knot Strategies is a strategic problem-solving consulting company with a focus on natural climate solutions and expertise in climate finance, impact funds, due diligence, and carbon markets, and has developed numerous strategic go-to-market plans in these areas. Sean works in the sectors of blue 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. Clients include government agencies, NGOs, multi-national corporations, TIMOs, startups, endowments, foundations, and family offices. We have provided advisory and analysis support on climate finance mechanisms and impact fund strategies focused on nature-based climate solutions.
Sean has two decades in carbon markets, climate finance, and impact investing and has charged Gordian Knot Strategies with the goal of igniting climate solutions by mobilizing $1 Billion in impact investment by 2030. Sean is also deploying Enkrateia, a CRIM (Climate Risk and Investment Management) platform in partnership with DECO, that uses predictive analytics, Lydion-data vaults, and AI to help impact investment funds manage portfolios, optimize returns and deepen impact.
Sean is an advisor to the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM), 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.
Jacoba Gundle – Operations Manager
Jacoba 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.
Julie Witherspoon – Principal Consultant
Julie is a principal consultant for GKS with over fifteen years of experience in land investment, development, and conservation. She has managed operations and financial transactions for a soup manufacturing company, a multifamily housing developer and, most recently, a land conservation organization. After earning a master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of the Environment, Julie was part of the founding team at Bio-Logical Capital—an impact investment firm which layered sustainable production of food, energy, water, and housing to protect and restore ecosystems. She most recently worked with Forterra, a land trust in the Pacific Northwest. Julie brings a strong mix of project management and financial acumen to her work.
Jay Tipton – Head, Climate Finance and Business Development
Jay is a passionate environmentalist and nature enthusiast. He is a skilled professional with proficiency in carbon markets on a global level. His knowledge encompasses both voluntary and compliance markets, with a focus on natural, technological, and market-based solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving climate change resilience. Previously, Jay hosted a global podcast highlighting the burgeoning green economy and the associated green job opportunities across the United States. He holds multiple master’s degrees from esteemed European universities, specializing in Environmental Protection (Poland) and Environmental Management (Germany).
Maggie Tipton – Administrative Assistant
Maggie leads administrative support for GKS. With her expertise in project management, customer service, and workflow optimization, she ensures the smooth functioning of operations. Beyond her professional skills, Maggie’s personal interests encompass a range of topics, including sustainability, healthy living, recycling, and nature. She finds inspiration in traveling, exploring diverse cultures, admiring architecture, and fostering meaningful human relations.