Eleven women who have gone above and beyond their careers to create a more sustainable world were recognised at the 2018 Women in Sustainability Leadership Awards (WSLA) by Green Building & Design Magazine. 

The awards, whose past recipients include Hillary Clinton, Coca-Cola’s chief sustainability officer Bea Perez, and Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, centres around three key values: environmental stewardship, conduit for change, and giving back. The 2018 winners are:

Jane Abernethy

As Sustainability Officer at Humanscale, an ergonomic office furniture design company, Abernathy has completely reinvented the company’s product development process. Today, every new product at Humanscale has to first be reviewed and approved by the sustainability team, before it moves on to the next stage. Alongside a greener supply chain, this Design for Environment program has helped Humanscale achieve the first ever full Living Product Challenge certification. 

Jennifer Berthelot-Jelovig

Berthelot-Jelogiv was one of the first WELL-accredited professionals in the world, and to date, has worked on more than 100 WELL projects worldwide. Her journey began in 2006, when she was asked to work on Hangar 25, an aviation facility with LEED Platinum certification. The CEO of wellness consultancy A Sustainable Production continues to influence several other LEED projects, including Step Up on Vine, a permanent supportive housing project for homeless individuals with mental health issues. She is also a member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Green Schools Movement.   

Ranae Anderson

Global Sustainability Leader at synthetic fibers manufacturer Universal Fibers Ranae Anderson has developed and executed strategic sustainability initiatives across the globe. Her experience includes working in Asia to achieve virtual zero waste, and serving as a director for Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), which seeks to divert carpet from landfills, and sources end-use customers for the recycled material. 

Dr. Christine E Bruckner

Architect Dr Christine Bruckner is director at M Moser Associates, which has a staff of 60 percent women. With a commitment to incorporating human health and wellbeing in design, Dr Bruckner’s work has picked up several accolades, including the first WELL v1-certified project in Asia Pacific. She also cofounded Calexian, which focuses on integrated, energy-efficient solutions for existing buildings, as well as the not-for-profit Southside Glass Recycling Initiative. 

Yasmeen Lari

Lari was the first female architect in Pakistan, starting her career in the 1960s, when finding a woman on building sites was unheard of. Since then, she has designed several notable buildings in her country, including the Finance and Trade Centre. Currently, the retired architect is CEO of the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, which works with the UNESCO to preserve historic World Heritage monuments. Lari has also worked to create sustainable housing for communities displaced by natural disasters. In 2010, she developed the largest zero carbon footprint shelter program in the world, creating 40,000 green shelters from unfired brick masonry walls, lime and bamboo. 

Gina LaMotte

Aiming to empower youths to take on real-world issues, LaMotte founded EcoRise, a nonprofit that provides K-12 classroom programs focused on sustainability, design thinking and social entrepreneurship. Her success includes the launch of a global educational platform for teachers, and partnering with the USGBC to create a Spanish-specific curriculum.

Kimberly Lewis

Awareness and education play a huge role in any sustainability effort, and Lewis, the Senior Vice President of Market Transformation and Development in North America for the USGBC, is driving that change. She not only helped launch the Greenbuild Conference & Expo, but also built the Women in Green platform. She directs the USGBC’s market development, delivering on its mission to improve life for all through more sustainable communities. 

Sara Neff

“It took courage as a newcomer to ask every person at Kilroy Realty Corporation (KRC) to change their perspective on sustainability,” Neff notes. However, her persistence, backed by KRC’s CEO John Kilroy, paid off with the implementation of several sustainability programs at the company. Her success has been obvious too: KRC has not only reduced its energy use by 15 percent since Neff joined, it also recently announced that it will become the first real estate company in America to achieve carbon neutral operations by 2020.   

Kimberly Pittel

Pittel’s most recent role at Ford, which she joined in 1985, involves developing and implementing the car manufacturer’s global environment and safety strategy, policy and performance. Her responsibilities include ensuring Ford’s campus and facilities are built sustainably, and that all Ford employees and departments are taking positive actions to improve the company’s efficiencies. 

“Henry Ford himself had a vision of ‘farm to car’ and experimented with the idea of using biomaterials such as soybeans to create plastics in our vehicles as far back as the 1940s,” Pittel tells Green Building & Design. Presently, Ford uses soybeans, corn, and agave husks in its vehicle production, as well as recycled materials like water bottles and even used jeans. The company also boasts 87 zero waste facilities. 

Alicia Daniels Uhlig

As the Living Community Challenge and Policy Director at the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), Uhlig taps into over a decade’s experience as architect and director of sustainability at architecture practice GGLO to inform change. Despite only being at ILFI for just two years, she has overseen a tripling in Living Community Challenge registrations and soaring awareness of the program. 

Andrea Traber

When Traber joined Integral Group in 2013, she presented the idea of a new full-scope sustainability practice in an engineering company that was already focused on high-performance, climate-responsive building design. Over the last six years, the former architect has gone on to lead the achievement of LEED certification for more than 70 projects. She also co-founded the Women EmPowerment group in San Francisco, which features quarterly gatherings around sustainable design and construction issues.