Archives for March 2014

January 2015 Islandwood Residency Expanded in Response to Demand

Suspension BridgeThe annual EMERGE Leadership Residency at Islandwood is about to undergo a CHANGE!  Ironic, isn’t it, since the workshop is all about helping us become better change agents?  Many alumni have felt that the residency at Islandwood merits more time to digest the experience of EMERGE, and to simply relax and take in the beautiful natural setting that the Islandwood Environmental Education Center avails us. In response to this desire, the schedule for the next EMERGE workshop at Islandwood will include Friday evening.  Friday evening’s session will focus on connecting (to people and place), and allow participants to be fully present for Saturday’s work sessions.  (It also means you won’t have to take that 6:20 am ferry to arrive on time for Saturday’s opening session!)

So if, in addition to downloading lots of good learning,  you are hoping to experience a retreat from your everyday life…pencil in January 8-10, 2015.  We’ll be uploading registration information soon!

The commuter-version schedule for the workshop will remain two-days. Information on commuter locations will be forthcoming.


A belated tribute to International Women’s Day, 2014

A-PHurdatGLYI have recently been privileged to be witness to some powerful women. These gals are willing to tell the truth and lead from a place of integrity.  At the Puget Sound Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction Forum held on March 7th at GLY’s Office in Bellevue, Washington, we shared the stories of our professional lives, which naturally included times when as women we have faced  difficult, sometimes even hostile circumstances in a male-dominated industry.

A sell-out crowd of women ranging widely in age and backgrounds, we revealed failures, we celebrated victories, and we shared solutions. A-P Hurd, keynote and author of “The Carbon-Efficient City,” discussed how important it is to “take your whole self to the table” and that means we need to “get familiar” with that whole self. She suggested techniques including everything from finding role models and affirming companions to challenging ourselves from time to time with travel, physical adversity, and “making space for others to be different.”  A-P described how important it was for her to hear from a male mentor once: “be deliberate about your legacy…know what legacy you wish to leave behind.”

WICPanelatGLYThis last statement resonated strongly for me, as I was invited to the Forum to present the story of my own professional arc, how it helped shape the leadership model I used to succeed, and how it can be used by anyone called to being a change agent.

By the very nature of being a minority in the building field, women represent change, so like it or not we are change agents. This perception is only amplified when the individual woman is also intent on bringing concepts such as green building to the design, construction, and/or development process.

My legacy project is to pass along a leadership model that my personal experience and studies tell me works for all, as well as skills this model requires, and to do this through training, mentoring, speaking, and writing. In my mind, the EMERGE Leadership Model is far more conducive than conventional leadership models to creating the transformation that urgently needs to come within and through our built environment.  Explicit in this form of leadership is an integrated collaborative approach, which most thought-leaders in the field agree creates more resilient, more innovative solutions. Studies show that the more diverse the teams involved in the design process, the better the results. So everyone – not just women — bringing their “whole self” to the table is a good thing.  The other reason I am a proponent for emergent leadership is that it addresses the urgency of our times. We need lots of leaders and we need those leaders acting effectively and deliberately at multiple and varied vantage points within the systems that create and impact our built environment. The principles of emergent leadership work whether you have positional authority or a forceful personality.

And at the American Writers & Writing Programs Conference in Seattle, I absolutely fell in love with Kathleen Dean Moore, who was sitting on a panel to discuss social purpose writing (The title of the workshop was “So you want to change the world.”)  Kathleen encouraged the writers in the room to speak the truth, practice “relentless citizenship,” and to use our art to “creatively disrupt” the status quo.  Kathleen recently retired from teaching at Oregon State University as Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, and is focusing on her legacy, speaking and writing about our moral responsibility to address climate change. Her newest book is Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril.  In her talk, she discussed the importance of humor as part of truth telling, and she is amazingly funny given the seriousness of her message.  After a genuine hug, Kathleen pointed me to her website where today I found a riveting video entitled “Climate Activism: If your house in on fire.”  Check it out. And guys, its okay to cry when you do.