Women leading the way in green business

Published on: 
7 Mar 2019
Mary Schrott

Each year on International Women’s Day, USGBC recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political contributions of women everywhere. This day has been observed for over a century, and in 2019, International Women’s Day encourages people to unite through the theme #BalanceforBetter.

Finding gender balance is vital for any business, in any industry. According to the Department of Labor, women make up the following percentages of workers in these occupations:

  • Architectural and engineering managers—8.9 percent
  • Civil engineers—12.6 percent
  • Construction and building inspectors—11.6 percent
  • Construction managers—7.8 percent
  • Environmental engineers—27.6 percent

Across the green building community, women are paving the way and helping to shape the future of the industry. Hear from some of those leaders across GBCI programs on their career journeys and their advice to aspiring female leaders:

Mili Majumdar, Managing Director, GBCI India

To aspiring female leaders:

“Hard work, passion and love for the work we do are very crucial to achieve our goals. Leadership is also about encouraging and guiding everyone around us to learn to work and lead with a purpose. Leaders leave behind a legacy and a positive impact on the society that is long-lasting, for generations.”

Gautami Palanki, Director, Arc Skoru Inc.

On the evolution of female leadership:

“Today’s leaders, including emerging leaders, are demonstrating that every place is evolving for the better. Sometimes it’s challenging to see yourself in a place that didn’t have someone like you before. You can be the change you want to see.”

Rachel Yoka, Vice President, Program Development, International Parking and Mobility Institute and Parksmart partner

To aspiring female leaders:

“Don’t wait to be asked. Volunteer, do the extra work, jump into the fray. Find a passion that excites you in your career—people feel your enthusiasm and genuine love for your work. It shines—and motivates others to join you.”

Dr. Nadereh Afsharmanesh, Vice President of Sustainability and Education, Earth Friendly Products and TRUE Advisory Council member

On female leadership in the industry:

“Unfortunately, there is a lack of female leadership in manufacturing, construction and engineering. There is a combination of various factors. These industries simply aren’t promoted enough in schools as a desirable career choice—particularly for women. Women’s presence on management teams is generally associated with a stronger social commitment and a more participatory leadership style. Usually, their influence leads to greater motivation and better results.”

Katie Riddle, Senior Manager, Professional Practice, American Society of Landscape Architects, PLA, LEED AP, SITES AP

On how females leaders have influenced her:

“In my current position, I am inspired by the female volunteer leadership who give back to the profession outside of their own professional practice. I work with landscape architects devoted to addressing the challenges of climate change and environmental justice issues, sharing their time and expertise to make a difference in our industry. They are committed to be the change, and I am inspired by their work.”