USGBC volunteers are amazing! Your contribution to the movement is invaluable in building leadership, building markets and amplifying the impact of our mission around the world. We celebrate all those tireless, bold and steadfast leaders who drive robust and sustainable solutions for our built environment, while fostering a collaborative community that is inclusive, equitable and just. Thank you all for your service to the USGBC mission.
As we prepare for the “USGBC family reunion,” Convergence, we recognize five of the individuals who lead in the community by doing good work. Their leadership exemplifies what makes the USGBC community unique—a special mix of passion, expertise and thoughtfulness that drives change for a more sustainable future.
These five individuals will be recognized at the USGBC Volunteer Awards Dinner at Convergence on Tuesday, June 21, in Jacksonville, Fla. Join me in congratulating these leaders who have been instrumental in advancing the green building mission.
Allison Cunningham: Legendary Leader
This prestigious award celebrates a long-serving USGBC volunteer who has invigorated the community with their ideas and electric energy. Allison has actively engaged the Atlanta community, organizing over 60 grassroots events, as well as the Georgia legislation, specifically regarding House Bill 255, which significantly impacts LEED certification eligibility for state-funded projects. She works tirelessly to extend the reach of USGBC and integrate LEED into mainstream practices through education, advocacy and outreach initiatives. To quote Allison’s peers, “Allison is one of the most passionate and tireless volunteers. There is no one who better exemplifies such a grassroots commitment and service to advancing USGBC’s mission.”
Diana Gutierrez: Community Changemaker
This award celebrates a USGBC volunteer whose efforts at the grassroots level have advanced local partnership and initiatives. Diana championed two long-term initiatives: the adoption of a Baltimore City School and the annual Engineering Green conference. For the first initiative, Diana collaborated with the Garret Heights Elementary/Middle School and brought administrations, teacher, students, the PTA and community groups together in support of a Living Classroom. In the second initiative, Diana worked to provide the local civil engineering community with an opportunity to connect on creating sustainable sites and sharing best practices. Diana’s colleagues nominated her to receive this award as a “passionate advocate for green buildings, whose work to grow new partners has changed the marketplace in Maryland.”
Gerrit-Jan Teunissen: Astounding Advocate
This award celebrates a volunteer who has advanced advocacy for green buildings through policy and government. Gerrit-Jan’s leadership has brought LEED to the forefront in Europe. Not only is he the first LEED AP in the Netherlands, and the first to deliver LEED projects to the country, but Gerrit-Jan also successfully petitioned the Netherlands government to recognize LEED v4 BD+C Gold and Platinum levels in its green building tax incentives. This was the first time LEED v4 has been specifically referenced in public policy anywhere in the world.
Pauline Souza: Greenest Apple
This award celebrates an individual whose leadership in advancing the green schools market stands out ahead of the class based on their exemplary impact. Pauline has dedicated her career to building and advocating for high-quality sustainable educational environments—working with school administration, educators and students to bring sustainability values into the educational community. She currently serves as a USGBC Green Schools National Chair and has been an active green schools advocate since 2007. Regularly speaking and contributing articles focused on greening schools, in 2015 alone, Pauline spoke at Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, AIA Convention, ILFI Living Future unconference, National Associations of Independent Schools Conference, Green Schools Conference and Expo and the Association for Learning Environments Conference. Pauline was nominated by her peers because the “incredible impact she has had in the creation of healthy, resource-efficient educational spaces for the next generation is truly inspirational.”
Kelsey Holtz: Rising Star
This award celebrates a young professional who brings energy and innovation to community projects. Kelsey serves as a member of the USGBC Wisconsin Market Leadership Advisory Board, as leader of the Emerging Professional Committee and as chair of the Sustainability Advocacy Committee. In particularly, Kelsey was nominated by peers for her success in building relationships in the community as an ADVANCE Ambassador—USGBC’s social platform for social equity. She forged local partnerships with Youthbuild, ASID and Habitat ReStore, which helped bring resources and benefits to new and underserved audiences, ensuring access to green buildings for all. To quote Kelsey’s fellow volunteers, “Kelsey is the epitome of a volunteer rock star and evangelist for green building practices!”