The Sustainability Leadership Lab

Continuing a Legacy of Green Building Leadership

Shift mindsets, foster collaboration, cultivate leadership, and drive change in the built environment community.

Green Building Alliance is catalyzing our region’s next generation of sustainability leaders through an intensive professional development cohort. Architects, engineers, contractors, developers, product manufacturers, building owners, and community leaders will learn to advocate for healthy and high performing places, while leveraging their collective skills to solve the region’s most pressing challenges. From sustainability decision-making analysis to communications training to social equity investigations, participants will learn to translate a passion for sustainability into practice. Through this Lab, our goal is to drive change in the built environment community toward justice, compassion, and environmental well-being. 

The Lab will provide deep, immersive learning by combining lectures, experiences and activities. Participants will be exposed to both theory and practice, while gaining insight into local projects  and people that offer real-life examples of topics covered. We will launch with a retreat, and then continue with intensive monthly workshops. Workshops will include lectures by local expertsbuilding tours (all activities to be done in-person or virtually depending on physical distancing requirements), and solo and group activities.


  • Align Your Goals and Values: Refine your personal and professional goals, clarify your purpose, and align your daily work with your guiding values. 
  • Amplify your Voice: Articulate your perspective with confidence and practice challenging the status quo. You’ll learn how to engage project and company leadership.
  • Share Your Talents: Apply your skills, knowledge, and background to the questions explored in the cohort. Learn from your fellow participants and offer your own ideas to the conversation. 
  • Build your Network: Create a strong community of change makers across sectors through deepened personal and professional relationships. They may become your mentors, partners, and even future colleagues. 
  • Analyze the System: Learn to evaluate the impact of the built environment on both nature and people, identify connections and leverage points, and evaluate quantitative and qualitative benefits of sustainability. 


  • “This was the first professional experience where I could personally relate to the people around me who had similar goals and vision for the future – I didn’t know that existed and I feel lucky to have been able to work and think through big ideas with this group of change agents!” 
  • “Other learning programs combine multiple schools of thought to ‘create’ community. With Sustainability Leadership Lab, there is already a basis for community, so all that needs done is building stronger, more meaningful connections that will follow throughout our careers.” 
  • “Gaining insight through different personal and professional lenses gave me a new perspective on approaching new projects.” 
  • “Learning more about the dynamic communities and projects happening in Pittsburgh and meeting such dedicated and giving leaders was so valuable!” 

Given the multidisciplinary nature of the built environment, the program will balance representation from diverse sectors, positions, and backgrounds. Firms and corporations already committed to sustainability are encouraged to use this Lab to train the next generation of their staff, while organizations with developing interest should nominate a lead advocate to participate. We encourage everyone to apply, from independent consultants to large corporations, from emerging to more seasoned professionals.

Participants who are accepted into the program must be available for all the scheduled workshops (schedules are released each year when applications open). Any major conflicts with the schedule can be discussed during the application process. Everyone is expected to actively participate in each workshop, and we request that employers support employee participation in this program by providing time for them to truly engage. Some homework and reading will be assigned throughout, and participants will also work on a project, however we try to keep outside time requirements to a minimum.

Under normal circumstances, the Participation Fee is $2,500. When physical distancing requires most of the cohort to be hosted virtually, it is reduced to $800 per participant. Payment plans can be made available as needed and we also offer a sliding scale for participants who may need scholarships.

Past participants of this program have joined us from the following companies and organizations:

  • AE7 Architects
  • Branding Brand
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • Conservation Consultants, Inc.
  • FedEx Ground
  • Floura Teeter Landscape Architects
  • GBBN Architects
  • International Living Future Institute
  • Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • Mascaro Construction Company
  • West Bethlehem Township
  • WTW Architects
  • Sports & Exhibition Authority

Green Building Alliance typically opens applications in the later Spring/early Summer for the following fall’s cohort. Keep checking this page for more details about upcoming cohorts and application openings. 

If you are interested in participating in the Sustainability Leadership Lab and want more details, reach out to GBA’s Leslie Montgomery.