The Center For Sustainable Business Team

Meet the Center For Sustainable Business Team!

CSB Team, Left to Right: Randi, Ulrich, Sophie, Tensie, Kevin, Elyse, Holly, Tracy

Click each name below to get to know our CSB staff members. 

Tensie Whelan, Director

Photo of Tensie Whelan smilingTensie Whelan (NYU ‘80), Clinical Professor for Business and Society, is the Director of NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business, where she is bringing her 25 years of experience working on local, national and international environmental and sustainability issues to engage businesses in proactive and innovative mainstreaming of sustainability. As President of the Rainforest Alliance, she built the organization from a $4.5 million to $50 million budget, transforming the engagement of business with sustainability, recruiting 5,000 companies in more than 60 countries to work with Rainforest Alliance.  She transformed the Rainforest Alliance frog into an internationally recognized and credible brand.  Her previous work included serving as Executive Director of the New York League of Conservation Voters, Vice President of the National Audubon Society, Managing Editor of Ambio, a journal of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a journalist in Latin America.  Tensie has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics, was the Citi Fellow in Leadership and Ethics at NYU Stern in 2015 and has served on numerous nonprofit boards and corporate advisory boards such as the Unilever Sustainable Sourcing Advisory Board and the Nespresso Innovation Fund Advisory Board. She was most recently appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for GlobeScan, to the newly created Global Advisory Council for Odebrecht and as an Advisor to the Future Economy Project for Harvard Business Review. Tensie holds a B.A. from New York University, an M.A from American University, and is a
graduate of the Harvard Business School Owner President Management (OPM) Program.

Tensie Whelan has been featured in the following publications for her work with the Center for Sustainable Business:
The Pragmatist, Worth Magazine
A Better World Through Better Business, Stern Business Magazine
The Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability, Harvard Business Review

Ulrich Atz, Research Associate

Photo of Ulrich Atz SmilingUlrich Atz has over a decade in experience in using data for research, government, and business, combining deep analytical skills with evidence-based decision-making. Prior to joining the Center for Sustainable Business, he was the Chief Measurement & Technology Officer at NYU’s HUMAN Project, a research platform and mHealth startup for solving society’s toughest challenges. Before moving to New York City, he worked at the Open Data Institute (ODI), a world-leading organization founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt. As Startup Programme Manager, he grew the number of incubated startups from 25 to 52 and oversaw the ODI's involvement at the Open Data Incubator for Europe, a €7.8M EU Horizon 2020 project. In his previous role as Head of Statistics he run various quantitative studies that were published, for example, by the Guardian and the Financial Times. In 2013 and before, Ulrich worked as quantitative analyst in market research identifying commercial opportunities. Over the years, he has trained and consulted hundreds of people on data, statistic, and innovation. His publications range from financial innovation to open data and the quantified self. He holds a Diploma (B.Sc. + M.Sc.) in Economics from the University of Mannheim and a M.Sc. in Social Research Methods (Statistics) from the London School of Economics. He grew up in South Tyrol, a bilingual region in the Italian Alps.

Kevin Eckerle, Director of Corporate Research and Engagement

Kevin Eckerle seated and smiling Kevin Eckerle is the Director of Corporate Research and Engagement at the Center for Sustainable Business, New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business, where he draws upon his more than 12 years’ experience working with private and public organizations to develop and implement transformational strategies that leverage sustainability as a driver of value creation. Prior to NYU, Kevin was a sustainability strategist with Accenture Strategy and Esty Environmental Partners (now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers), working with corporate, government and non-profit clients to embed sustainability. Prior to his consulting career, Kevin served in the U.S. Senate as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where he oversaw several of the nation’s largest scientific agencies, including NASA, NOAA and the National Science Foundation. He began his career as a biologist, studying the unending variety of ornaments, dances and songs that birds use to dazzle their mates. Kevin is a frequent speaker on sustainability and the circular economy, and is the author or co-author of 10+ publications on the circular economy, engaging consumers to promote sustainable decision-making and grow business value, the economics of coal-generated electricity, the impacts of climate change on global biodiversity, and the ecology of birds. He earned his Ph.D. from Illinois State University and MBA from The George Washington University School of Business. Kevin can be reached at

Sophie Rifkin, Senior Associate Director

Sophie Rifkin seated and smilingSophie Waskow Rifkin is the Senior Associate Director of the Center for Sustainable Business. She has 10 years of experience working with organizations to grow and implement sustainability programs. As a member of the advisory services team at BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), Sophie worked with consumer sector companies to develop and implement sustainability strategies. Previously, she spent three years as a project manager at the George Washington University where she helped launch the university’s inaugural sustainability program. Sophie began her career in sustainability at the consulting firm, SustainAbility. She holds an MPA from George Washington University, and an A.B. in English from Brown University. Sophie is a member of the Pembroke Center Associates Council of Brown University and serves as a mentor in Brown Women’s Launch Pad program. Sophie can be reached at

Tracy Van Holt, Director of Academic Research

Tracy Van Holt seated and smilingTracy Van Holt is the Director of Academic Research at the Center for Sustainable Business, New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business, where she draws upon more than 15 years’ research experience focused on food systems, landscapes, and commodity chains. She incorporates expert knowledge, networks, big data, spatial analyses, and remotely-sensed data in her work. Prior to NYU, Tracy was a Senior Researcher at the Swedish Royal Academy of Science, Marine Theme Leader at the Stockholm Resilience Center, and an assistant professor in Geography at East Carolina University. She has taught research methods in text and spatial analysis for Cultural Anthropologists sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Tracy has authored 19+ academic publications (see Google Scholar and Research Gate profile). She earned her Ph.D. from University of Florida where she was a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar. Tracy can be reached at

Holly Williamson, Administrative Aide

Holly Williamson seated and smilingHolly Williamson is the Administrative Aide for the Center for Sustainable Business. She supports the CSB team as well as the Business and Society Programs staff. She received her BA in Sociology from the University of Central Arkansas and her MA in Sociology of Education from the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She has previously conducted comparative research on teacher training practices in the US and Finland, as well as an in depth analysis of public opinion of the US education system.  Currently she is interested in the conservation education scene in New York City.