Women Are The Key To Fighting Climate Change



March 8 is International Women’s Day! Today we spotlight the press for progress and celebrate the accomplishments of women who are making a positive and lasting impact on sustainability in the region. As the environmental conversations shift to resiliency, women and girls around the world remain critical to positive global transformation. Project Drawdown, the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming, highlights 100 practical strategies that will significantly reduce overall global emissions. Of these 100 solutions, three are specifically focused on supporting women and girls, encompassing education, family planning and women smallholders. When combined, these three strategies are the #1 solution to reducing global warming, even outweighing initiatives for increased energy efficiency, food system management, and renewable energy production.

Below are just a few of the many women who have helped Southface shape the dialogue in energy efficiency and environmental leadership throughout Atlanta and beyond:

Tracy Backus

Tracy is Teknion’s Director of Sustainable Programs for North America and is a key contributor to the company’s sustainability program. At Teknion, Tracy ensures responsibility for the development, outreach, business strategies and support of Teknion’s environmental initiatives. Her passion for community has taken her beyond the office to remote locations in Honduras, where she and a small team of 5 have changed the lives of over 10,000 Hondurans with water purification and educational programs providing access to clean water. At Greenprints 2018 Tracy will speak on the “Evolution of Market Transformation.”


Linda Bolan

Linda is Senior Vice President of Property Management for Columbia Property Trust, and is responsible for developing and overseeing the property management and engineering operations, capital improvement projects, and financial activities for the company’s assets. She is directly responsible for more than 11 million square feet of office space. She is a six-year member of Southface’s Board of Directors, serving as Board Chair from 2014-2015, and holds the LEED Green Associate accreditation.


Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Elected in 2017, Mayor Bottoms is the 60th and current Mayor for the City of Atlanta. A former City Council member, Bottoms has indicated she plans to continue focusing on the City’s  sustainability efforts and finding solutions to issues of economic disparity and affordable housing. Earlier this year, Mayor Bottoms outlined her plans to execute on the City’s 100 percent Clean Energy Pledge, which aims to operate on 100% renewable energy by 2035.


Shelby Buso

Shelby is the Georgia Director for the U.S. Green Building Council. Prior to this, Shelby was the Director of Sustainability for Central Atlanta Progress, the downtown improvement district focused on building a strong, economic center in the heart of Atlanta. In this role, she helped manage the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, a national initiative from the U.S. Department of Energy that promotes energy efficiency and energy innovation in homes, commercial buildings, and industrial developments in cities across the country. For three consecutive years, Atlanta has led the nation through this program with nearly 600 buildings in the City participating in reducing their overall energy consumption by 20% by 2020.


Chandra Farley

Chandra is the Director of the Just Energy Program at the Partnership for Southern Equity. Through this work, Chandra helps to engage and empower diverse communities around issues of energy equity and environmental justice. Prior to this role, Chandra worked at Southface leading the Grants to Green program, which highlights impactful energy and water efficiency improvements that can save non-profit organizations money that can then be used to further their mission-based work. Chandra was instrumental in recruiting over 100 Boys & Girls Clubs of America and other nonprofits into Grants to Green, saving upwards of $1 million in annual utility expenses.


Eloisa Klementich

Eloisa Klementich is president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s economic development authority where she has been lauded for her involvement in nearly all recent economic development wins for the City of Atlanta.  Key accomplishments include helping to create more than 30,000 jobs, $3.3 billion in new capital investment and over 2,800 affordable housing units in the City of Atlanta. On March 13, she will deliver the opening plenary at Greenprints 2018.


Odetta Macleish-White

Odetta is the first managing director of the TransFormation Alliance, a collaborative body of metro Atlanta organizations that are working together to bring thriving, diverse communities interconnected by a viable transportation system. Atlanta is 1 of 6 American cities that have received funding through the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC), a national grant that awarded the City access to millions of dollars of funds that will be used for programmatic development and implementation for sustainable community planning and growth. On April 6, Odetta will be moderating the Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable focusing on equity, development and transportation.


Mandy Mahoney

Mandy serves as president of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), working within the Southeast to leverage energy efficiency for all, including businesses, utilities, government, and community members. Prior to her work with SEEA, Mandy served as the director of sustainability for the City of Atlanta. She was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle “40 Under 40” list in 2014, as well as Georgia Trend’s “40 Under 40” list in 2016.



Liza Milagro

Liza Milagro is the Resilience & Sustainability Manager of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where she has led the airport’s recycling and zero waste plan since 2013, establishing Hartsfield-Jackson as one of the “world’s greenest airports.” She holds a Master of Science in Management with a concentration in Sustainable Program Management from Boston University.


Beth Parsons

Beth is a Program Manager at the Tennessee Valley Authority, and her 22-year utility career has spanned all aspects of energy efficiency – from small commercial to energy service company (ESCO), regional accounts to employee sustainability and youth education. Since 2012 she has been part of the team responsible for a competitively-bid, low-income energy efficiency program called Extreme Energy Makeovers (EEM). Beth is a juror for the 2018 Fulcrum Awards, Southface’s award recognizing organizations that demonstrate excellence in regenerative economy, responsible resource use, and social equity through a healthy built environment for all.


Andrea Pinabell

Andrea currently serves as Southface’s president of Southface, and her leadership in Atlanta can be traced back to her time as the Director of the Sustainable Cities Institute for The Home Depot Foundation 20 years ago. In that role, she helped Atlanta and cities across the country implement strategies that helped preserve clean air, water and natural resources. Most recently, Andrea served as the Vice President of Sustainability and Global Citizenship at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Meet Andrea and many other sustainability thought leaders at Greenprints 2018.


MaKara Rumley

MaKara Rumley is founder and CEO of Hummingbird, a firm that provides strategic communications and community engagement for engineering and construction firms, water authorities, private developers, federal agencies, and municipalities. Previously she was a senior advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency, and was an environmental attorney with GreenLaw. She is a thought leader on the environment, education, the green economy, and public health, and currently sits on the Board of Directors at Southface.


Stephanie Stuckey

Stephanie is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Atlanta. Prior to her leadership role within the City of Atlanta, Stephanie was a practicing public defender in the state of Georgia. She then went on to serve in the Georgia General Assembly, serving as a State Representative from Decatur for 14 years. Stephanie later served as Executive Director of GreenLaw, a public interest law firm that represented Georgia’s environmental interests. In 2015, she was appointed to be the Director of Sustainability for the City of Atlanta by Mayor Kasim Reed, and was instrumental in helping Atlanta become one of the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities.”


Nikki Walker

Nikki is currently a Regional Technical Manager with The Coca-Cola Company, where she focuses on protecting the brand, consumers and surrounding environment. A member of Southface’s Board of Directors, Nikki has more than 15 years of diverse leadership experience, at companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb and General Electric. She is a juror for the 2018 Fulcrum Awards, Southface’s award recognizing organizations that demonstrate excellence in regenerative economy, responsible resource use, and social equity through a healthy built environment for all.


Katharine Wilkinson

Katharine is Senior Writer at Project Drawdown, the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. During her tenure, Katharine has focused on bringing Drawdown to life and to the world and advancing the organization’s voice and message. She is also a juror for the 2018 Fulcrum Awards, Southface’s award recognizing organizations that demonstrate excellence in regenerative economy, responsible resource use, and social equity through a healthy built environment for all. Fulcrum Award winners will be announced at Greenprints 2018.




International Women’s Day celebrates women and girls around the world, and we in turn celebrate their ability to shape our shared future on planet Earth. We honor the countless women who have come before – including Lois Gibbs, Wangari Maathai and Rachel Carson, to name a few – who have been instrumental in environmental change and community empowerment. Together, we remain inspired to work towards an ever-more equitable and sustainable society.


Southface promotes sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance.


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