Media interest in the Women In Green Forum continues to increase, and I’ve enjoyed being interviewed by several respected journalists. They’ve all been interested in the story behind this forum: why I decided to create it and how the process has unfolded. My answers to those questions are the inspiration for this post.
Launching the Women In Green Forum was something that felt more like a calling than the birth of a conference. I have spent the majority of my professional career focused on environmental initiatives in traditionally male-dominated industries (transportation, ports and goods movement, waste management, and others). I have also been involved in developing agendas for and organizing several of the nation’s leading conferences on environmental topics, usually working with an event planning committee on selecting topics and speakers. I realized that many of these conference speaker rosters featured primarily male speakers.
On August 3, 2009, I was discussing this very issue with the visionary green building expert John Picard. He agreed that there was an unmet need. Where were the venues to encourage more women to enter these increasingly important fields? Which events highlighted the achievements of those women who have lead the way? I started to list off the women who had shifted the paradigm in their industries – Geraldine Knatz, Mary Nichols, Nancy Sutley, Lisa Jackson, Maggie Fox, Linda Adams, Cindy Tuck, Majora Carter and on and on. It felt as if the other industry conferences were blind to their successes. We needed to create a space which celebrated and inspired women’s leadership in environmental industries. That day, I promised Picard that Three Squares Inc. would develop a forum: to honor female trailblazers, educate and motivate future female leaders, build community for women in environmental fields, and showcase environmentally-sound products and services.
Voila! The Women In Green Forum was conceived.
Since its launch, my staff and I have been overwhelmed by support from women and men across the globe. We receive emails daily from passionate individuals who want to network with other professionals, share their achievements, display innovative products and services in the expo, or volunteer on our guerilla marketing team to help spread the word about the forum. To assist with agenda development, we are fortunate to have an Advisory Board made up of the best and brightest minds from academia, government, corporate, and the nonprofit organizations.
We have witnessed what happens when amazing women occupy powerful positions – they are the drivers of environmental change. Real economic risks come with any significant venture, and self-funding an effort of this size and scope has only been possible by growing the Women In Green Forum into a worldwide community. To encourage this type of growth, we took a risk: innovating the attendee registration experience by offering lifetime membership to the annual Women In Green Forum for all 2010 paid registrants. September 1st and 2nd mark the birth of a network of inspiring professionals that will be sustained through the forum’s online communities via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
As my team and I work towards our goal, I am thankful – for the professional experiences I had prior to Three Squares Inc. and especially for those women and men who have mentored me throughout this journey.
Onward and upward!
President, Three Squares Inc.
Founder, Women In Green Forum
[And, special thanks to my sister Adina Nack for encouraging me to write this post and share my thoughts via the web.]