A GBA staff member since 2008, Jenna leads efforts to integrate health and sustainability values and practices into projects, buildings, schools, and communities throughout the 26-county Western Pennsylvania region, as well as parts of West Virginia. She created and implements the Green & Healthy Schools Academy for preK-12 stakeholders, which includes the integration of sustainability leadership, values, practices, and learning into schools and districts. Jenna created and curates GBA’s Inspire Speakers Series, an effort to bring national and local thought-leaders to the Pittsburgh region to inspire aspirational ideas for the places where we all live, work, learn, and play, with the overall vision of creating a healthy, just, and vibrant region for everyone. She provides technical assistance to transformational green building projects of various scales; facilitates community engagement and partnerships to create healthy, sustainable places; and co-facilitates the Pittsburgh Living Future Collaborative to help create socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative places. Jenna also works internally at GBA to assist with strategy and innovation, and helps to curate staff development and organizational practices that foster a positive, effective, and healthy team and work environment. Her dedication to this work over the last ten years at GBA has been recognized locally, including by the Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Award in 2014.
Jenna designed GBA’s Green & Healthy Schools Academy that works throughout Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia preK-12 schools to develop inspiring, healthy, and high performing places for all children to learn and educators to teach. The work of the Academy is so important because educators and schools represent the greatest potential to have many ripple effects through the nature of their work – educating students, inspiring teachers, engaging families, and connecting with and impacting the larger community. The Academy includes several program areas, including the School Sustainability Culture Program, Healthy Schools Technical Assistance, Innovative Learning Lab, and technical assistance on capital projects.
Now in its sixth year, the Culture Program creates a learning community among local schools, school districts, and community partners that work together to explore creating a culture of sustainability that promotes student and teacher wellbeing, minimal impact on the environment, and inspirational learning and civic engagement opportunities. Using a values and place-based approach, the program helps schools discover their vision and purpose as it relates to sustainability, and how this work can be integral to creating thriving students, teachers, places of learning, and communities. Schools have developed aspirational visions and projects; implemented healthy school practices; benchmarked reduced environmental impact; created stronger community partnerships; and embedded social justice, sustainability, and wellbeing into projects, learning, and programs. This program received the national 2013 Best of Green Schools Award for Transformation.
Jenna also created GBA’s Inspire Speaker Series, which brings national and local experts and leaders to Pittsburgh to share their passion and knowledge to inspire the creation of healthy and high performing places where we live, work, learn, and play. In its sixth season, the Series has included over 36 events with approximately 80 experts reaching an audience of over 7,000 individuals from local businesses, communities, government, and schools. The Series is also complemented by various shoulder events, including community tours and visits, school projects, Civic Dinners, book clubs, speaker dinners, and more, with the hopes of creating stronger relationships and connections locally to advance projects, ideas, and partnerships.
As GBA’s project and outreach manager, Jenna previously provided technical assistance to projects, organizations and communities throughout Western Pennsylvania; led GBA’s branch efforts in Northwest PA and the Laurel Highlands; oversaw GBA’s Resource Center (now Knowledge Network), which included answering inquiries, updating online information, developing print publications, and creating reference and database materials; and assisted with facilitation of the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative. Previously, Jenna worked at the Southern Environmental Law Center and University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and provided consulting services on sustainability projects.
Jenna holds B.A. degrees in environmental studies and public policy analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During her time there, she actively participated in campus renewable energy, sustainable development, and social justice projects. She also studied international risk assessment and energy policy in Cambridge, England, where she helped develop global warming models and sustainable policies to address climate change. She holds accreditations in LEED, Living Future Challenge (LFA), and RESET standards and certification systems.