A DEDICATED TEAM OVERSEES ALL OF THE INITIATIVES IMPLEMENTED BY THE WILD ELEMENTS FOUNDATION, ENSURING THAT OUR ACTIONS ALWAYS REMAIN TRUE TO OUR VALUES AND PRINCIPLES.
Heidi Nel is the President of the Board of the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation and Chief of Staff at New Theory Ventures, a venture fund incubating and accelerating brands driven by purpose. With over two decades in social impact, Heidi has a unique expertise in advancing cultural and policy change through storytelling and film. Prior to joining the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation and New Theory Ventures, Heidi was a Principal at The Raben Group, a national public policy firm, where she led the Impact Entertainment division and advised media and entertainment companies including the American Film Institute, PBS, Sony Pictures TV, and YouTube on how to utilize storytelling as a tool for change. Heidi also served as Executive Director of Represent Justice, the multimillion dollar public engagement campaign aligned with the release of Warner Bros.’ acclaimed film, Just Mercy. Previously, Heidi was a Partner at Picture Motion and also served as an adjunct instructor at Duke University in the Sanford School of Public Policy. She has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, HuffPost, Variety, and Washington Life Magazine. She was recognized by The Case Foundation as a “Millennial Leader to Follow” and received the Media Impact Award from the PVBLIC Foundation and the United Nations Office for Partnerships. Originally from South Africa, Heidi grew up in Colorado and resides outside of Washington, D.C. with her new baby daughter, husband, and dog.
Serial entrepreneur and New Theory Ventures CEO Nikki Eslami has a history of creating purpose driven companies and pushing the envelope in her business initiatives. As the Founder of hair brand BELLAMI, she expanded the market for hair extensions and pioneered innovative ways to engage communities with influencer marketing before it was a developed industry. The unique challenges Nikki faced as an underrepresented female founder prompted her to create New Theory Ventures (NTV), a venture fund dedicated to investing in female entrepreneurs building purpose-driven businesses, including beauty. Nikki’s first foray into purpose-driven beauty was in RARE BEAUTY with Selena Gomez, but that’s just the start. Her interest in purpose-driven beauty expanded to conscious consumerism and the desire to innovate industry practices of sustainability and conservation. She sought out and learned from innovators pioneering regenerative farming practices; scientists protecting and investing in wildlife, native vegetation, and local communities; and pastoralists reimagining time-honored ways to care for their herds and environment.
As a result, WILD ELEMENTS was born.
Nicholas (Nick) Tedesco is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP). NCFP serves as a hub of learning, connection, and collaboration designed to resource and activate a community of families to be intentional philanthropic stewards. Prior to joining NCFP, Nick served as a Senior Advisor in the J.P. Morgan Philanthropy Centre and as a Relationship Manager at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he helped launch the Giving Pledge—an effort led by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Nick began his career in the social sector as the Deputy Director of the Children’s Health Forum—a national nonprofit focused on the prevention and eradication of childhood diseases that disproportionately impact underserved communities. Nick was named to the inaugural Chronicle of Philanthropy 40 Under 40 ranking in 2016. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, Time Magazine and other notable publications. He serves on the Regional Board for UNICEF USA and as a panelist for the Echoing Green Fellowship and MacArthur Foundation 100&Change Initiative.Nick received a B.A. from Villanova University and resides in Washington, D.C.
Rob Sebastian is a respected media and technology strategist and investor that specializes in audience and consumer engagement, loyalty design and e-commerce. He is currently a co-founder and principal at New Theory Ventures, a private equity investment firm. Additionally, Mr. Sebastian has advised top companies in beauty such as Sephora, L’Oréal, the Beach House Group, along with global brands such as Pepsi, Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft to name just a few. In 2007, he co-founded the Dewey Square Group Digital which was successfully acquired by the WPP Group. Prior to starting his own company, Rob was the former SVP and GM of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and was responsible for the global P&L of the videogame, mobile, and online business units.
Colander is a sustainability practitioner and attorney with deep public policy expertise who has testified before Congress and state governing bodies. She has worked across all sectors working closely to including advocacy, public service and corporate. She previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior advancing policy and regulations for the nation’s four energy development bureaus as well as Deputy General Counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Prior to her federal service, Brandi was an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Brandi earned her Master of Environmental Management at Yale University, J.D. from Vermont Law School, and Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning from University of Virginia.