Rethink: Sustainability

sus·tain

1. To keep in existence; maintain.

2. To supply with necessities or nourishment; provide for.

3. To support from below; keep from falling or sinking; prop.

4. To support the spirits, vitality, or resolution of; encourage.

leaderlunchphotoAustin Chief Sustainability Officer Lucia Athens joined 15 AWC Austin members at our June Leader Lunch. These lunches are intimate, members-only events that provide rare opportunities to meet and learn from women who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in their fields and made lasting contributions to their local community.  She shared the city’s Sustainability Action Agenda, which includes 10 interest areas and 40 key initiatives, and what it’s like to wrangle a sea of silos to embrace one vision.

Several key takeaways from our special Leader Lucheon include:

  1. Sustainability is not just about the environment. It’s about social topics, such as community, health and culture, economics, and mobility.
  2. When trying to change a policy or code, embrace the early adopters and don’t waste efforts on those uninterested in change. When early adopters succeed, others will follow.
  3. When entering a decision-making meeting where there are conflicting views, listen first.
  4. Leadership is not a science. It’s more of an art.

Lucia threw out a lot of other interesting tidbits. You might be interested in reading about the Alley Flat Initiative, a joint collaboration between the University of Texas Center for Sustainable Development (UTCSD), the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation (GNDC), and the Austin Community Design and Development Center (ACDDC). The Alley Flat Initiative proposes a new sustainable, green affordable housing alternative for Austin. “Alley Flats” are small, detached residential units, accessed from Austin’s extensive network of underutilized alleyways.

AWC Austin’s Leader Lunches provide opportunities for members to connect with leading communications professionals. Held several times a year, these popular sponsored lunches provide a small group setting to create informal conversation. For members, the lunches provide rare opportunities to meet and learn from industry leaders. Past Leader Lunches have featured Patsy Woods Martin, Tela Goodwin Mange, Patti Smith, Melinda Garvey, Teresa Henderson and Ronne Rock.

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