Let’s Connect: Listening & Learning

The past month has been a busy one for the team over at USGBC-LA HQ. We’re challenging ourselves to rethink through how our organization operates, what our members need to help empower them, and where we can lead to make a positive impact on the built environment around us. We’re getting creative, we’re being scrappy, and we’re having fun.

This means we’re investing in a new member platform to help you connect better with opportunities to volunteer, to network, to learn, and the resources to support you along the way.  It might get a little bumpy, but we’re tuning the engine that is going to drive our engagement machine to move the green building market forward.

As for myself, I’ve been filling my calendar with meetings with stakeholders, potential collaborators, and fellow green instigators. I’m trying to open my ears and open my mind more than I open my mouth, except for another sip of more coffee or tea. Where are the gaps in the market for us to design more programs, increase learning on sustainability, and push policy? The vision is starting to come into focus and it means increased resiliency in the face of climate change, healthier buildings for our families, and a robust talent development pipeline for the local green building industry.

I’m also learning how much we’ve already accomplished and how much we’re already doing. That this organization that has been around for nearly twenty years now has many stories of success and of failure, but has already touched many lives. Through our Green Janitors Education Program with the Building Skills Partnership we’ve helped empower over 1,200 custodial staff that they are the ones who are really running the buildings they are working in and along the way we’ve reduced energy costs over 5% while reducing injuries, improving health, and reducing waste.

Leading through education is at the heart of what we do and we’re working with Metro to offer green fundamentals training to their staff and the public; over 800 people have been trained, creating a culture of sustainability along the way. We’re working with the City of LA’s Green Business Certification Program to help businesses improve their procurement, create a commitment to green practices, and lead by example for their employees. We’re working with Global Green on a Green Rebuilding Initiative to match volunteers from our member base with with people whose homes have burned down in the Thomas and Woolsey Fires, providing green rebuilding and design assistance. But all this is in so many ways just the beginning; we need to get more innovative, we need to lockdown more resources, and we need to learn how to become better communicators.

Just last week we hosted a branch leaders and committee workshop meeting where we started to breakdown silos and come up with some immediate ways we can work more effectively together. I sincerely hope you can join us as we co-create the future of this organization. I’m excited about where we’re headed and now more than ever we need your engagement, your energy, and your ideas to help us get there.

Onward and Upward,

Ben Stapleton
Executive Director

About the Author

Ben StapletonExecutive Director for USGBC-LA. A native Angeleno, Ben Stapleton is a recognized sustainability leader, who brings to this position extensive experience and connections across real estate, technology and innovation. He launched and managed the La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown Los Angeles, most recently serving as SVP, Operations & Finance for the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI). The Campus has become an epicenter for sustainability in the region featuring events with prominent local, national and international leaders, while being home to a community of cutting-edge businesses and nonprofits. At LACI, Stapleton led major operational growth, program development, and partnerships to triple revenue for the non-profit. Simultaneously, he helped lead efforts that resulted in the La Kretz Innovation Campus becoming an iconic green building for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the City of Los Angeles, with multiple certifications, as well as pilot projects targeting waste, water, and energy efficiency. Stapleton has also held the positions of Managing Director of the LA Better Buildings Challenge and Vice President & Cleantech Practice Group Lead at JLL. He has served on the boards of LA Bioscience Hub and USGBC-LA. Representing competing schools in Los Angeles, Stapleton holds a MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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