Wayaj at Climate Week New York 2019

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Wayaj is thrilled to announce that this year we will be part of Climate Week NY, one of the most important appointments for climate action worldwide.

On September 23rd, 2019 we are joining forces with the Hotel Association of New York City and the New York Institute of Technology to present

Planning towards 2030. Challenges and rewards of sustainable urban tourism”.


This panel highlights some of the problems currently faced in large cities like New York, and solutions towards a more sustainable tourism in urban areas. We have put together a great lineup of speakers including representatives from NYC government, industry (hospitality & sustainability), academia, as well as the media.

This year’s Climate Week is poised to be the biggest and best so far. People from all over the world converge to New York City to discuss solutions to the current planetary emergency. Travel and tourism are part of the problem -carbon emissions, pollution, destruction of unique habitats are just a few of its harmful effects; but also part of the solution by bringing economic resources to many less developed countries, and fostering peace through cultural exchange.

We believe that people can travel in a different way, a way that maximizes the benefits while minimizing the negative impact. But what’s really important is that according to a recent survey by Booking.com, 72% of travelers agree with us, even though a third of them still find it difficult to identify the right hotels.

That’s exactly why we created Wayaj, a platform that helps travelers discover sustainable hotels and assess their environmental and ethical practices.

Since the beginning, our goal has been to offer a comprehensive ecofriendly travel experience that not only compares to the big players of the online travel market but is also more innovative and sustainable.

For Climate Week New York, Wayaj is releasing several new features including an AI-powered chatbot and a detailed carbon footprint calculator. These new functionalities integrate existing unique features of our platform such as a choice of high-quality international projects certified by the United Nation Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) to offset the travel carbon footprint, a proprietary eco-rating system and a trip planning tool.


9/13/2019 UPDATE:

Dr Mark Milstein, Cornell University, and Niclas Svenningen, UN Secretariat for Climate Change also confirmed their participation to the panel.


Event Program


5.30 – 6.15 pm Networking (refreshments offered by Wayaj – Earth Friendly Travel)

6.15- 6.20 Welcome message: Dr. Robert J. Koening Ed. D.

6.20 – 6.30 pm Opening remarks: Costa Costantinides

6.30 -7.15 pm Panel Discussion

7.15 – 7.45 pm Q&A

7.45 – 7.55 pm Closing remarks – Maya Shenkman

Moderator: Fatena Q. Williams, CHA, CRDE


Panelists & Guests


Costa Constantinides  – New York City Council, 22nd District,  Chair of the Environmental Protection Committee 

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria, as well as Rikers Island, parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside, and East Elmhurst. As chair of the Environmental Protection Committee since 2015, he has been committed to fighting the effects of climate change and keeping it from forever changing New York City’s landscape. In April 2019, Costa led the effort to pass the Climate Mobilization Act, the eight-bill package tackled greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings, made the first step toward closing fossil fuel power plants, and required green roofs on new buildings.


Robert J. Koenig, Ed. D. – Associate Dean, NYIT School of Management

Robert J. Koenig has been responsible for the start, development, and growth of the NYIT Manhattan Hospitality Management Program, established in 1994; as well as NYIT’s M.B.A. concentration in Hospitality Management. He serves as the faculty advisor for NYIT’s School of Management’s Honor Society, Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter, and is the founder of The Society of Hosteurs.

Since 1994, Robert Koenig has been committed to community outreach programs to help those in need, and has established the “Bee-lieve Hospitality Student Leadership Scholarship Fund” for NYIT students.


Fatena Q. Williams, CHA, CRDE – Chairwoman HANYC Sustainability Committee

Throughout her career Fatena Williams has been combining her professional growth with commitment to her community. Serving and teaching the hospitality industry, she has moved through the ranks to hold several titles including Managing Director and most recent Director of Operations at the Knickerbocker Hotel. Named One of Top Hospitality Women of 2017, 2018, 2019 in the Tri-State area, she is also a Board Member of NYSHTA and AH&LA’s Women in Lodging NY / NJ.  As Chairwoman of the HANYC Sustainability Committee, Fatena encourages membership involvement and promotes people, profit and planet through partnerships with NYC Mayor’s Office and the State. Fatena has been also acknowledged by several government officials for her philanthropic work receiving, among others, the Presidents Volunteer Award and the Presidential Champion Award.


Andrew Sheivachman – Enterprise Editor, Skift

Andrew is senior enterprise editor at travel industry intelligence platform Skift, where he works on high-impact projects. Throughout his decade-long career in travel journalism he’s covered subjects including tourism, business travel, sustainability, hospitality, technology, and the intersection between government policy and travel. His Skift feature on tourism growth in Iceland helped launch the travel industry’s debate on the impact of overtourism on destinations around the world. He lives in New York City.


Logan Cohen – Sustainability Consultant, Wayaj

Logan Cohen is the designer of Wayaj’s Eco-score, which rates the sustainability performance of hundreds of hotels in over 90 countries. Logan has experience across several industries in measuring waste and carbon, as well as creating targeted solutions to reduce their impacts. Logan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics with a concentration on Environmental Science and a Master’s Degree in Energy, Technology, and Policy.


Maya Shenkman – President, Box and Bottle NYC

Maya has been working with numerous environmental causes in New York City, coordinating events and managing public awareness and conservation programs for non-profit organizations. For the past 20 years, her role as Director of Hotel Services, has been assisting the hospitality industry with recycling awareness, waste management and reduction on the road to improving environmental responsibility. Maya founded Box & Bottle NYC in 2017 and is continuing this work through design and management of sustainability programs, regulations compliance and conservation for properties throughout the city.


Nicholas Farina – General Manager, 1 Hotel Central Park

Nicholas Farina’s passion for the industry started at a young age apprenticing in kitchens. His career in hospitality took off after attending Boston University School of Hospitality, when he joined Dorchester Collection at the New York Palace. In 2016 he moved to Loews Hotels as Hotel Manager at the Loews Regency. In 2019, Nicholas joined 1 Hotels as the General Manager for 1 Hotel Central Park, where his commitment as a steward of sustainable practices is a driving force behind running a luxury eco-conscious brand.


Mark B. Milstein – Director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management Cornell University  

Dr. Mark Milstein is Director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He oversees the center’s work on sustainable innovation and low-income enterprise development. Professor Milstein teaches and conducts research on strategy, decision making, technology management, and innovation. Dr. Milstein is a member of the Management and Organization Group at the Johnson School, a faculty advisor to the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, as well as a member of Cornell’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sustainable Endowment Practices. 


Niclas Svenningsen – Manager, Global Climate Action at the UN Climate Change Secretariat

Niclas Svenningsen worked for the Swedish Environmental Agency before joining UN Environment in Bangkok and Paris. He has been with UN Climate Change for 8 years and he leads engagement of private sector and civil society.

Seats are limited, please RSVP

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