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Emerge Leadership Project Launches Vital Training for Green Building Advocates in Northern California

DSC01673The Emerge Leadership Project took to the road this past summer, introducing the concept of emergent leadership to green building advocates in Northern California. Introductory sessions in Yountville, Santa Rosa, and San Rafael and Pleasanton (where Kathleen is “feeling it” at Dahlin Group’s LEED Silver Headquarters, see photo) provided an overview of emergent leadership.  The intros were an opportunity to provide a taste of the learning tools used in the Project’s more intensive two-day workshop, which will be offered for the first time in California at NatureBridge Conference Center (Marin Headlands), January 12-13, 2013.

Emergent leadership combines three elements — servant leadership, change science, and community context — to forge a path uniquely appropriate for achieving the vision of Emerge’s founder, Kathleen O’Brien. “To reach the stage where sustainable building is the norm and not an abstraction, we need a transformation that really only integrated solutions will provide. Emergent leadership is designed to encourage integrated solutions. It’s that simple,” she says.

Ann Edminster, long term green building advocate and author of Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet, agrees. Ann partnered with Kathleen on the Bay area educational road show this summer and will be part of the faculty for the two-day workshop. “Those of us who have been immersed in green building for many years have arrived at the collective realization that our highest-performing (i.e., lowest-impact/most restorative) building projects inevitably come about through extreme collaboration, a.k.a., integrated project delivery. This is not our normal industry process, and its successful implementation is an acquired skill – one of emergent or servant leadership. It also is a skill that can be taught (by effective emergent leaders). We need a lot more people learning, applying, and teaching this skill!”

Local educational partners for Emerge Leadership training in California include the Sustainable Building Advisor Bay Area Program  and local chapters of the Green Building Council, including the Northern California and Redwood Empire Chapters. Venue partners for the introductory sessions included Dahlin Group, Dominican University’s Sustainable Enterprise MBA Program, the North Coast Builders Exchange Green Building Program and LEED Platinum certified Bardessono Hotel, Restaurant, and Spa*.

Lorraine Alexander, U.S. Green Building
Council Redwood Empire Chair and Pacific Regional Council Vice-Chair (and
Interior Designer), explains the significance of her organization’s educational partnership with Emerge: “It seems the topic of leadership gets very little attention in the realm of sustainability and green building. Many people may shy away from the term ‘leader,’ as they may not feel worthy of such a lofty title. Leadership is not bigger than us, it is not beyond us. Stepping into those shoes can be an exceptional experience, and if you are effective in your role, personally satisfying. Leadership is something we all need to hear and learn about, as we work towards sustainability in our lives and professions.”

In addition to Ann, faculty for the Bay Area Emerge workshop will include David Eisenberg, the Executive Director of the non-profit DCAT, the Development Center for Appropriate Technology based in Tucson, AZ. “David is an outstanding example of emergent leadership,” says O’Brien, “as he’s managed to help bring about a true transformation in the thinking among code officials and code development bodies that’s led to green building codes and related policy. And his humility about this achievement is absolutely inspiring.”

The workshop is designed for a special type of person — someone who is already committed to a sustainable future and to leading the change. Bob Massaro, owner of Healthy Building Technologies Group (HTBG),   Andres Edwards, author of Thriving Beyond Sustainability and The Sustainability Revolution and Bronwyn Barry, Director of OneSky Homes all attended  introductory sessions and are planning on attending the workshop in January.  Notes Bronwyn, “I’ve already effectively used two great leadership concepts that I learned at the Introductory Workshop.  I can’t wait to attend the full two-day program to learn more.” (Watch a video invitation.)

The workshop offers 13 CE hours through the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) allied with the US Green Building Council and has been approved for credit towards earning Living Future Accreditation. Earlybird and educational partner discounts are available. To maintain an intimate learning environment, registration is limited so, given the interest expressed by participants in the introductory sessions, early signups are suggested. Learn more about the Bay area workshop.

O’Brien & Company is a major sponsor of the Emerge Leadership Project. * O’Brien & Company provided LEED technical consulting for the Bardessono Project.

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