22 Women Leading the Environmental Movement

Each year on March 8th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Groups everywhere commemorate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality.

This year’s theme is #EachforEqual:

An equal world is an enabled world.

Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.

Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.

Let’s all be #EachforEqual

International Women’s Day 2020 theme

As a company led and co-founded by a woman, Temboo is in a unique position to help forge positive visibility of women doing great things around the world. That’s why each year we celebrate International Women’s Day with a blog post highlighting women who are making an impact in their industries.

In past years we’ve highlighted women leaders in IoT and manufacturing. This year, we’re featuring women who are fighting for the future of the environment. These corporate leaders, climate journalists, nonprofit advocates, environmental scientists, and more are using their influence, knowledge, and expertise to make the world a greener, more vibrant, and more sustainable place.

22 Women Leaders in Environment

Helen Clark - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand

Girls can do anything. We do do anything and we expect to be treated as equals.

Helen Clark was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999-2008, the second woman to hold that position. While Prime Minister, Helen won the United Nations Environment Programme Champions of the Earth award in recognition of the government’s promotion of sustainability initiatives. In 2009, she became the first female head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) where she lead efforts to reform the organization. Thanks to her work, the ratio of women to men at UNDP reached 50% including at the most senior levels of the organization. Since she left her post at the UNDP, she has become the patron of the Helen Clark Foundation. The Foundation’s stated mission is to publish research that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful society.

Follow Helen Clark on Twitter @HelenClarkNZ

Sundaa Bridgett-Jones- Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Sundaa Bridgett-Jones, Director, Policy Communications at The Rockefeller Foundation

Sundaa Bridgett-Jones has over 20 years of experience developing and executing high-impact global initiatives. Her career spans from time spent in government at the U.S. Department of State to managing c-suite affairs at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs. Prior to this portfolio, she developed a global resilience initiative to transform humanitarian and development aid delivery in Africa and Asia, and oversaw the development of a City Resilience Index, which has influenced the climate resilience work of over 100 cities and companies such as Google and AECOM.

As an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, she analyzed, researched, and wrote about U.S. foreign policy and democracy promotion after a decade of leading governance initiatives at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In her time at USAID, Bridgett-Jones served in the Middle East, Southern Africa, and Central Asia — her final assignment was as an USAID representative to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq, where she set up the first Transitional National Assembly.

In her current role, she leads support of policy innovations to help solve pressing international development issues including state fragility, global governance, and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Follow the Rockefeller Foundation on Twitter @RockefellerFdn

Kate Raworth - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Kate Raworth, Economist & Author

Today we have economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive. What we need are economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow.

Kate Raworth is an economist who teaches at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute and at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. She is the creator of the concept of ‘doughnut economics‘ which is an economic model that aims to “ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems.”

Follow Kate Raworth on Twitter @KateRaworth

Amy Motzny, Watershed Manager at Gowanus Canal Conservancy

Amy Motzny is the Watershed Manager for the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, a Brooklyn-based community organization dedicated to facilitating the development of a resilient, vibrant, open space network centered on the Gowanus Canal. She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan as well as a B.S. in Environmental Science and Spatial Information Processing. With more than 10 years of experience working in water resource management, she has held positions in both the private and public sectors. As a research scientist and teaching fellow with Columbia University’s Earth Institute, she has conducted extensive research on urban green infrastructure planning and design strategies that provide ecosystem services and socio-cultural benefits to communities.

Amy was kind enough to answer some interview questions and share her thoughts about working in the environmental nonprofit space.

What advice do you have for other women who are hoping to build a career at an environmental nonprofit?

My advice for women hoping to build a career in the environmental nonprofit sector would be to actively take advantage of opportunities for internships and volunteer roles that expose you to community and civic engagement. These activities can provide access to a broad network of professionals and leaders in the field while providing insight on government functions, advocacy, and a working knowledge of how to effectively navigate both policy and funding pathways that can successfully drive your career.

How did you become involved in nonprofit work?

I became interested in nonprofit work through my previous experiences in the private and academic sectors, which exposed me to the numerous and nuanced limitations of existing policies that often drive decision-making for environmental issues. Through my personal and professional engagement with non-profit and community organizations, I saw an opportunity to pursue an alternative career path that could influence policy change, while simultaneously allowing me to hone and develop a diverse set of skills to serve in a leadership role.

Looking back on your work, what are you most proud of?

I am proud to be a part of a passionate and collaborative team of like-minded women at Gowanus Canal Conservancy. In the last year, we worked closely with community stakeholders, elected officials, and agency representatives, to develop and launch the Gowanus Lowlands Master Plan, which servers as an advocacy tool for decision-making around neighborhood change including a Federal Superfund Cleanup and a massive district Rezoning.

What’s next for you? Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you’d like to share with our readers?

The major processes underway in Gowanus, including environmental remediation and land use change, will result in an amalgamation of new public spaces crossing multiple property lines and triggering investment that will create new public spaces on city-owned sites, improvements to existing city-owned parks, and public spaces on privately-owned individual properties. GCC plans to continue growing and serving as an advocate for the community through the evolution of the Gowanus Lowlands Master Plan, which seeks to unite what would otherwise be fragmented public spaces into a cohesive vision that meets community needs.

Follow Gowanus Canal Conservancy on Twitter @GowanusCConserv

Cara Chacon - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Cara Chacon, VP, Social & Environmental Responsibility at Patagonia

Cara Chacon has 21 years of experience in corporate responsibility and sustainability and currently leads Patagonia’s global sustainability initiatives. Her responsibilities include guiding Patagonia’s social and environmental supply chain programs that protect people and our planet (factories, mills, farms), ensuring animal welfare, traceability and content claims assurance of sustainable materials, maintaining footprint metrics, B-Corp reporting and B-Lab certification, and development of sustainability website content. Her team also leads the implementation of the new Regenerative Organic Certification starting with their organic cotton supply chain. Cara is the co-chair of Patagonia’s Footprint Council, a group of executives that make corporate wide sustainability decisions. Cara also sits on Textile Exchange’s Board of Directors and was on the Fair Labor Association’s (FLA) Board of Directors from 2012 through late 2016.

Follow Cara Chacon on Twitter @CaraChacon

Fiona Harvey - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent at The Guardian

Fiona Harvey has been writing about the environment full time for over 16 years. She’s interviewed a wide range of people including Tony Blair, Ban Ki-Moon, Al Gore, and Jeff Immelt. After writing for the Financial Times for over a decade, she joined The Guardian as an environmental journalist. Her work has garnered her awards from the Foreign Press Association, the British Environment and Media Awards, and the Society of Environmental Journalists, among others.

Follow Fiona Harvey on Twitter @fionaharvey

Shirley Rodrigues - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment & Energy, London

Shirley Rodrigues was appointed as Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy in October 2016. She is using her environmental expertise to work with Transport for London (TfL) to deliver the Mayor’s plans for tackling air pollution across London. This includes: expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), new charges for the oldest and most polluting vehicles, and creating Low Emission Bus Zones.

She is also overseeing delivery of the Energy for Londoners programme (helping Londoners generate more low-carbon electricity), helping to boost London’s recycling rates and cutting landfill. She’s working to deliver the ambitious target of London becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050.

Shirley was Acting Executive Director for Climate Change at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), an independent philanthropic organisation that works to transform the lives of poor and vulnerable children in developing countries.

She helped establish CIFF’s cities and climate strategy and represented CIFF on the board of the C40 Large Cities Leadership Group – a network of global cities committed to addressing climate change.

Shirley has an impressive track record of developing new environmental policies in London. She worked in senior environmental policy roles from 2005 to 2009, helping to implement the London Low Emission Zone and programmes to retrofit London’s residential and commercial buildings.

Follow Shirley Rodrigues on Twitter @sabrodrigues61

Dr. Kim Cobb - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Dr. Kim Cobb, Professor of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

Dr. Kim Cobb is a climate scientist who teaches at Georgia Institute of Technology where she is also the Director of the Global Change Program. Her work involves doing research on corals and cave stalagmites to study the mechanisms of climate change. According to her biography, she’s “sailed on multiple oceanographic cruises to deep tropics and lead caving expeditions to the rainforests of Borneo in support of her research.” Her esteemed career has won her awards including a NSF CAREER Award and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Follow Dr. Kim Cobb on Twitter @coralsncaves

Christiana Figueres - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Christiana Figueres, Diplomat & Author

Christiana Figueres has more than 35 years of experience in international policy, climate change, and sustainable development. In 2010, she was appointed the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change where she culminated her efforts in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015. Since then, she has launched Global Optimism Ltd., a purpose-driven enterprise focused on environmental change. She’s also Vice Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors, a board member of climate works and the World Resources Institute, and a member of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health. She recently co-authored a book on surviving the climate crisis called The Future We Choose.

Follow Christiana Figueres on Twitter @CFigueres

Naomi Klein - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Naomi Klein, Author, Activist, & Filmmaker

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. She is Senior Correspondent for The Intercept, a Puffin Writing Fellow at Type Media Center and is the inaugural Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University. She’s the author of 8 books and has won numerous awards for her work including the Sydney Peace Prize and the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. She also serves on the board of 350.org.

Follow Naomi Klein on Twitter @NaomiAKlein

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Marine Biologist & Policy Expert

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson‘s career has been packed full of impressive achievements: she’s worked on ocean policy at the EPA and NOAA, founded a think tank focused on coastal cities called the Urban Ocean Lab, contributed op-eds to the New York Times and other major media outlets, and much more. She’s also the founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, a strategy consulting firm for conservation solutions. She’s been called “the most influential marine biologist of our time” by Outside Magazine and was a leader of the March for Science. She is on the board of directors of the Billion Oyster Project and World Surf League’s PURE, and is on the advisory boards of Environmental Voter Project, Scientific American, Science Sandbox, Azul, and Oceanic Global.

Follow Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson on Twitter @ayanaeliza

Alice Larkin - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Alice Larkin, Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy

Change needs to come from both the bottom-up and the top-down. 

Alice Larkin is Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Manchester where she’s also a Professor of Climate Science and Energy Policy. A trained astrophysicist, Alice has worked on research related to conflicts between climate change and aviation. She’s a council member for the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and a UKERC Research Committee Member for the UK Energy Research Centre. Her 2015 TED Talk, Climate Change is Happening, Here’s How We Adapt, was described as ‘the best human rights talk of the year’ by City Atlas: New Haven.

I reached out to Alice with some questions on her career which she generously answered for me.

What advice do you have for women who are interested in pursuing a career studying the science behind climate change?

There are lots of ways to get into studying climate science as it is a very broad field. There is the physical science modelling which includes modelling weather and climate, how rising emissions lead to changes in temperatures and rainfall around the world, as well as earth-system modelling of aspects such as changes to sea level rise and ice extent. As well as people who have studied physics going on to do PhDs in climate modelling, some come from a more geography background, although both routes require a lot of maths. There is also the social science of climate change which as as important a field – understanding why people do what they do, and how we might be able to change what individuals do, what organisations do and shifts in governance and power. People working in this tend to have social science backgrounds, degrees in psychology, sociology, management etc. or again social geography.

What will make the biggest impact in the fight against climate change?

There is no silver bullet to this problem, that’s why this type of question is both very difficult to answer and perhaps also misleading. If there was one thing that could be done, then it would make solving the problem much easier. Unfortunately, due to how late we have left it to tackle climate change, it will take changes in technology, behaviour, social systems, governance as well as challenge how we measure success in the world, such as using GDP growth. Personal choices are important as they can send a signal to policymakers that if they were to bring in more stringent policies to tackle climate change, we would be in favour. Sharing personal choices with those around us is important too, to build knowledge with friends and colleagues. Writing to decision makers – politicians and bosses can also be very powerful. Change needs to come from both the bottom-up and the top-down. On a personal choice level, for those who fly, try cutting your flying by 50%, or seeking alternatives (including virtual comms) when the opportunity arises. Meat eating is another bit contributor to climate change – try minimising red meat consumption. High levels of consumption in general are also something we will need to change in a world that successfully cuts emissions in the short term to levels compatible with the Paris Agreement. 

Looking back on your work so far, what are you most proud of?

The work we did to draw attention to the clash between climate change targets and plans to expand airports in the UK, leading at the time to a pause in airport expansion in the UK– but this is an ongoing live debate again now. 

What’s next for you?

I’m working with colleagues on how to cut emissions from the global shipping system. One of the PhD researchers I work with is exploring how much we could cut ship CO2 down by if we used both modern ’sails’ called ‘Flettner rotors’, as well as the equivalent to sat-nav for ships, where ships seek out the best winds to take full advantage of this type of renewable propulsion. It’s a very exciting project and an area we’d like to do even more work on.

Follow Alice Larkin on Twitter @AliceClimate

Peggy Shepard - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder & Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice

WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a community-based nonprofit whose mission is to empower and organize low-income people of color to build healthy communities for all. Peggy Shepard is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the group and has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy. Her efforts focus on environmental justice in urban communities with the goal of ensuring that everyone has the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.

She’s received broad recognition for her work including the Jane Jacobs Medal Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rockefeller Foundation, the 10th Annual Heinz Award for the Environment, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and Honorary Doctorates from Smith College and Lawrence University. She was recently appointed Chair of the Environmental Justice Advisory Board for New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Follow WE ACT for Environmental Justice on Twitter @weact4ej

Elizabeth Kolbert - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Elizabeth Kolbert, Journalist & Author

Elizabeth Kolbert covers environmentalism as a staff writer for The New Yorker and is the author of four books including The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize in 2015. She received the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Prize for Global Environmental Activism at Dickinson College in 2016 and the Blake-Dodd Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2017. As of March 2017, Kolbert serves as a member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board. Her stories have also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and Mother Jones, and have been anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing and The Best American Political Writing.

Follow Elizabeth Kolbert on Twitter @ElizKolbert.

Severn Cullis-Suzuki - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Activist, Speaker, & Author

Severn Cullis-Suzuki is an activist for diversity in the natural world and in human society. From a young age, she has spoken widely about intergenerational justice, the need for ethics in our economics, and respect and recognition of Indigenous rights and title. Rooted on the west coast of Canada, she is part of the global movement to shift our human path toward sustainability and survival.

Severn lives on Haida Gwaii with her family where they are learning the critically endangered Xaayda kil (Skidegate dialect of the Haida language) from elders. She is currently a Vanier Scholar pursuing a PhD at the University of British Columbia, conducting research on Indigenous language revitalization. She holds a B.Sc. in Biology from Yale University and an M.Sc. in Ethnoecology from the University of Victoria.

Severn hosted Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s Samaqan: Water Stories and was a founding board member of the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society. She is a member of the Earth Charter International Council and, after serving on the David Suzuki Foundation board for 13 years, Severn is currently an honorary board member.

Follow Severn Cullis-Suzuki on Twitter @SevernSuzuki

Jennie Romer - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Jennie Romer, Legal Associate at Surfrider Foundation

Jennie Romer is a Legal Associate for the Surfrider Foundation’s Plastic Pollution Initiative where she leads Surfrider’s policy efforts and litigation to reduce plastic pollution at local, state and national levels. Jennie brings over a decade of experience as an attorney and sustainability consultant who has fought for effective legislation to reduce single-use plastic bags and foodware. Jennie created the Surfrider Foundation’s Plastic Bag Law Activist Toolkit, a manifesto on plastics bag laws. As a Legal Associate for the organization, Jennie continues to contribute her extensive plastic pollution policy expertise to Surfrider’s nationwide network.

Jennie is a native of northern California and earned her JD from Golden Gate University School of Law. She also holds bachelor’s degrees from UC Santa Barbara and is a member of the state bars of California and New York. Jennie founded the website PlasticBagLaws.org, helmed successful coalitions in support of plastic bag legislation in San Francisco and New York, and has played an advisory role for campaigns throughout the United States. Her work has been featured in multiple publications, including a prominent profile in The New Yorker.

Follow Jennie Romer on Twitter @jennie_romer

LaTresse Snead - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

LaTresse Snead, Director, Building Healthy Cities at The Nature Conservancy

LaTresse Snead leads The Nature Conservancy’s global Build Healthy Cities program, where she cultivates and promotes high performing teams developing nature-based solutions for the most pressing challenges facing cities around the world. She guides a passionate staff that envisions a world where both cities and nature thrive; where all people have access to nature and its benefits. The team also envisions a future where nature makes cities more resilient to climate change, where natural solutions equitably serve human well-being, and where natural habitat protects biodiversity.

Prior to this role, LaTresse directed the Conservancy’s Volunteer and Community Outreach program, where she launched Connect With Nature, a nationwide initiative that linked thousands of people with natural areas and meaningful volunteer opportunities.

Follow LaTresse Snead on Twitter @LaTresseSnead

Mindy Lubber - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Mindy Lubber, CEO & President of Ceres

Mindy Lubber is the CEO and President of the sustainability nonprofit organization Ceres. She leads an all-women executive leadership team and 125 employees working to mobilize the most influential investors and companies to tackle the world’s biggest sustainability challenges: climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and inequitable workplaces. She has been at the helm since 2003, and under her leadership, the organization and its powerful networks have grown significantly in size and influence.

As a well-known global thought leader, Lubber has inspired coalitions of institutional investors, corporate boards, C-suite executives and other capital market leaders to factor environmental, social and governance issues into decision-making. She is frequently quoted in top business and financial news outlets and pens a regular column for Forbes.com on a variety of sustainability topics that have strengthened the business case for action and elevated concepts, such as climate and water risk. She also regularly speaks to high-level world and national political leaders on clean energy and water policies, and has helped to change the political conversation around tackling climate change to one focused on jobs and the economy. And in 2015, Lubber helped catalyze the necessary business support to get the historic Paris Agreement across the finish line, leading Vogue Magazine to name her a “Climate Warrior.”

Lubber has received numerous awards for her leadership including the Climate Visionary Award from the Earth Day Network, William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership from American University, and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship from the Skoll Foundation. She has been recognized by the United Nations and the Foundation for Social Change as one of the World’s Top Leaders of Change. In 2019, Ceres was named a top 100 women-led businesses in Massachusetts by the Globe Magazine and Commonwealth Institute, and in 2020, Lubber was given the New England Women in Energy and the Environment leadership award.

Follow Mindy Lubber on Twitter @MindyLubber

Joanna Yarrow - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Joanna Yarrow, Head of Sustainable & Healthy Living at IKEA Group

Joanna Yarrow leads the IKEA Group’s work to make sustainable and healthy living affordable, attractive and accessible for as many people as possible worldwide, with the goal to inspire and enable one billion people to live better lives within the limits of the planet by 2030. Previously she was Head of Sustainability for IKEA UK and Ireland, where she led the integration of all aspects of sustainability into core business and innovation.

Joanna has long specialised in sustainable living and making green, healthy lifestyles both attractive and accessible through consultancy, broadcasting, writing and practical projects. She lives in Malmö in southern Sweden, where she cycles to work, swims in the crazily cold sea and is turning her kitchen into a hydroponic salad farm!

Follow Joanna Yarrow on Twitter @joannayarrow

Juanita Constible - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Juanita Constible, Senior Advocate, Climate and Health at NRDC

“We have to dispel the myth that environmental advocacy requires a scary commitment. Women who want to get involved should remember that advocacy comes in many flavors and that we are more effective when we tap into our inner strengths. Not into waving signs at protest rallies? That’s ok. Not quite ready to speak at a town hall? That’s ok, too. Don’t wait for a “perfect” time or place. Instead, keep raising your voice again, and again, and again in ways that work for you, and link arms with the other strong women (and men!) around you.”

Juanita Constible works with partners to advocate for strong federal and state action to cut carbon pollution and protect communities from the health effects of climate change. Prior to joining NRDC, Constible oversaw the science and solutions department at the Climate Reality Project and later served as an adviser to the Climate Action Campaign. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from the University of Victoria in Canada, and a climate change and health certificate from the Yale School of Public Health. Constible is based in NRDC’s Washington, D.C., office.

Follow Juanita Constible on Twitter @JMConstible

Antha N. Williams - Temboo's Women Leaders in Environment

Antha N. Williams, Head of Environment Program at Bloomberg Philanthropies

Antha N. Williams leads the Environment program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Under Williams’ direction, Bloomberg Philanthropies supports environmental initiatives to improve sustainability of cities around the world, to accelerate the transition to clean energy, and to combat overfishing and protect coral reefs.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ environment program also serves as the hub of Michael Bloomberg’s personal efforts to combat climate change including in his role as United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action.

Williams was Consulting Producer of From the Ashes, a feature film about communities across America wrestling with the legacy of the coal industry. Previously Williams served as Senior Vice President at Corridor Partners, a donor advisory firm focused on climate and clean energy. Williams also worked as the Advocacy Executive at Atlantic Philanthropies, where she oversaw grants to support health care and comprehensive immigration reform. As Program Officer at Beldon Fund, Williams built support for environmental issues by policymakers through grassroots organizing at the state level.

Outside of philanthropy, Williams has worked as a campaigner and organizer, directing large scale voter protection efforts and serving in leadership positions for five years with Green Corps, a training program for aspiring environmental organizers. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, European Climate Foundation, League of Conservation Voters, and Oceans 5. 

Follow Antha N. Williams on Twitter @anthawilliams

Briana Garcia - Temboo's Women leading the environmental movement

Briana Garcia, Product Outreach at Temboo

Here at Temboo we’re all passionate about the environment but Briana Garcia from our Product Outreach team has built her career around it, especially when it comes to water. Briana is the smart cities business development lead at Temboo. She holds an MS from Columbia University in Sustainability Management with a focus on water management. She also worked on the World Economic Forum’s Global Water Initiative team where she advanced the role of disruptive technologies to improve water resource management. Having partnered with the World Bank, SAP, World Economic Forum, and The Nature Conservancy, her passion is to continue to collaborate with multi-stakeholders to harness the power of technology to understand, share, and design solutions to complex environmental issues. 

I interviewed Briana for this post to get more of her thoughts around the environment, women, and water.

What advice do you have for women who are hoping to build a career where they can also fight for the environment?

Sustainability is an emerging, powerful new sector in almost every market and it is allowing people to work and fight for the environment. I would recommend looking into these sustainability-based careers, especially given its broad range of topics, and how many chief sustainability officers are women. While this field is developing, you need to be able to speak the business language, tell a great story, build strong relationships, and push the bounds of what you know while also learning from the people around you. They are there for a reason, and so are you.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

I am most proud of the varying perspectives I have acquired throughout my career, and how these experiences have sharpened my ability to have a positive impact in the world. Everything from being an environmental consultant for developers, to leading a water consultancy group, to a project coordinator for a global initiative at a major nonprofit, and now, to understanding the power of information from both a technical and social impact perspective. Being able to put myself in stakeholder’s shoes while keeping an eye on the holistic, big picture enables me to anticipate people’s needs, meet my professional goals, and design solutions to complex issues.

What’s next for you? Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you’d like to share with our readers?

Being at the center of data collection and legal action is where I see the greatest, long-term sustainable improvements can be made. With environmental information, we can not only understand our environment in real-time, but we can leverage the data for policy changes that can reduce pollution and improve people’s lives. The most exciting project I am working on is with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, and how we are collecting information about the benefits of green infrastructure to reduce water pollution, promote community stewardship, and advocate for better nature-based solutions.

Main photo by Chris Boland