Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

The greater Seattle area is an amazing place to practice sustainable design.

One of the numerous benefits of practicing here is the many choices of enlightening sustainable building events to attend. In just one month’s time this fall I have 6 days blocked out for conferences (EcoBuilding 2013 and Built Green), design slams (Seattle 10x10x10), panel discussions (WNSF’s Women in Building), and site tours (Bullitt Center). And that was after filtering out the events that I couldn’t find time for!

Even with all these events to feed my green design appetite, the one I’m most thrilled to attend this year is the Emerge Leadership Workshop at Islandwood in early December.  I interviewed Kathleen O’Brien about this project almost two years ago on The EcoLogical Home, and have been longing to participate ever since.

After many years at the leading edge of green building design, Kathleen created Emerge as her legacy project. The transformative program, boasting a faculty touting personal leadership experience and deep knowledge in sustainable building, is held a few times a year in different west coast locations. The upcoming session is a two-day immersive residency in the beautiful setting of Islandwood Conference Center on Bainbridge Island.

Emerge is perhaps the most intriguing offering to our community since The Living Building Challenge. The intimate, customized training program encourages us to uncover our unique strengths and engage in servant leadership to create a chain reaction of positive change. It seems to be quite effective – as one recent participant reported; Emerge is “the only workshop of this kind I’ve ever attended, where it has ‘stuck’”.  Another alumnus simply stated the experience was “life altering”.  

As early adopters of green building, sometimes we can feel like “I’ve heard about this before” and pass up learning events. But how does that serve us, or the path toward a restorative future we are passionate about? The momentum of this movement depends on our participation – and our leadership. Luckily for us, and the next seven generations, leadership is a learned skill – and Emerge Leadership might be just what we need.

If you are committed to a resilient, restorative future, get up and go to at least one event this fall and winter. Invest some time and money in yourself, and connect with others on a similar path. There are exciting things afoot, with new faces and perspectives to inspire our next essential steps.

Emerge Leadership Workshop Residency will be held December 7-8 at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island. Emerge Leadership Workshop (non-residency) will be held January 24-25 at Earth Advantage Institute in Portland.

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