Tag Archives | Inspire Speakers Series

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Top 10 Reasons You Don’t Want to Miss the Inspire Speakers Series

We’re pumped about launching the second season of our Inspire Speakers Series on November 14!  This lecture circuit, which we’re presenting with Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, has an awesome line-up of both national and local experts.  Last year, our Inspire Speakers Series attracted 100-450 people to each of its monthly events, and we expect […]

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Natalie Jeremijenko speaks to the Green Schools Academy.

What I Learned from the Inspire Speakers Series

By now, you know that we’ve kicked off our second season of the Inspire Speakers Series – a monthly lecture circuit we host with Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  You know that we bring national and local experts together to share their perspectives, ideas, and knowledge regarding the creation of sustainable spaces where we can […]

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Jump Start Your Holidays at the Inspire Speakers Series

At December’s Inspire Speakers Series event, you’ll not only get the chance to hear from two inspiring thought leaders, but you’ll also have an opportunity to check out Phipps’ Winter Light Garden and Flower Show and purchase holiday gifts from Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild students. That’s right!  It’s the perfect time to get into the holiday spirit, […]

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What I Learned from The Inspire Speakers Series

After each Inspire Speakers Series lecture, a group of participants from GBA’s Green & Healthy Schools Academy attends a private workshop with that month’s national speaker.  In March, members of the Academy attended Bob Berkebile’s lecture on Thursday night and then gathered with him at the CCI Center on Friday morning. Amber Simcic is the […]

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Bob Berkebile

Bob Berkebile Showed Me That the Solutions are in the Systems

Every month, GBA invites a remarkable nationally known speaker to present a public lecture as part of our Inspire Speakers Series. On the following day, the speaker works directly with GBA’s Green & Healthy Schools Academy in a day-long workshop. Since not everyone can always attend these great talks on the second Thursday of each […]

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What I Learned at the Inspire Speakers Series

April’s Inspire Speakers Series was filled with storytelling, adventures, youth voices, and music!  Dr. John Francis, Patty DeMarco, Mike Schiller, and students from the Environmental Charter School had the audience enthralled from start to finish. We were even treated to some banjo-strumming by John Francis himself, a perfect complement to the Chiodi Trio’s banjo music […]

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Inspire Speakers Series Presents: Dr. Antwi Akom and Grant Ervin

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Want to attend all three of our fall lectures at a great value?  Purchase the Fall Package today!

Antwi Akom

Dr. Antwi Akom is a champion of healthy communities, and like many of our past Inspire Speakers Series presenters, his definition of community health is impressively open-ended.  Dr. Akom seeks to connect environmental health with societal well-being, equal opportunity education with economic equity.  He is a nationally recognized leader in environmental economics, youth development, and the sociology of poverty and education.  In the burgeoning environmental field, Professor Akom sees an opportunity to engage students in vulnerable populations to be innovative business and community leaders in the 21st century.  Dr. Akom’s idea of creating “shareable cities” calls for car sharing, house sharing, tool sharing, and shared decision-making.  He sees too many communities today with limited access to resources and wonders what the cities of our future would look like if we designed them with everyone in mind.

Professor Akom’s research has largely focused on answering two questions:

1) How do we create more just, sustainable, and smarter cities? 

2) How do we create more democratic models of civic and community engagement?

Check out Dr. Akom’s presentation at the 2013 EcoDistricts Summit.


Grant ErvinGrant Ervin is the Sustainability Manager for the City of Pittsburgh. He works to improve sustainability performance through city operations and policies. Grant has been working for the City of Pittsburgh since 2014. He is a member of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) and a board member of Sustainable Pittsburgh. Prior to joining Mayor William Peduto’s team, Grant served as regional director for sustainable development advocates 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in transportation, infrastructure and land use policy. Grant began his career in community development with the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, where he led the organization’s public policy advocacy efforts related to vacant land reclamation, technology applications, and neighborhood reinvestment.


More about Dr. Akom:

Awards & Recognition:

  • Recipient, 2011 New Connections Junior Health Investigator Award
  • Recipient, 2010 Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) Investigator Award, provided by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • 2013 Finalist for the Echoing Green award

Books in Progress:

  • Ameritocracy: The Racing of our Nations School Children
  • Revolutionary Urbanism: Race, Climate Justice, and the Politics of Pollution in Cities and Schools; editing with Professor Jason Corburn from U.C. Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design/City Planning


We’d like to thank our Inspire Speakers Series Co-Presenting Partners:

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Have you missed any of our past lectures?  Check out our Highlight Reel and our list of this season’s speakers.

Is this event out of your price range? We want this incredibly inspiring evening with Dr. Akom to be accessible to everyone in our community.  If you find the $20 rate to be prohibitive, please email Jenna Cramer to discuss your options.

GBCI CMP  This event is approved for 2.0 GBCI CEUs.

As a USGBC Education Partner, GBA makes it easy for members to report CE hours. Please provide your GBCI number so we can auto-report your credits (for applicable events).  Non-members can still earn CEUs but will need to self-report.

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Inspire Speakers Series Presents: Jeremy Rifkin and William Generett Jr. (hidden and canceled)

Register Now Check Out the Book Club

Join us to learn more about economic development, environmental sustainability, energy security, and local innovation from two thought-leaders!

Jeremy RifkinJeremy Rifkin is an internationally-renowned writer and consultant who has written 19 books uniting topics as far-ranging as economic development, environmental sustainability, global politics, and technological innovation. Rifkin currently advises the European Commission, the European Parliament, and numerous European heads of state. A catalyst for much of Europe’s green development, Rifkin’s most recent book, The Third Industrial Revolution, was a New York Times bestseller that provided the foundation for the European Union’s long-term strategic economic plan to kick start a European industrial renaissance that includes energy security, sustainable economic growth, and climate change.  Check out Jeremy’s TEDTalks here and here.


B Generett-24William Generett Jr. is the the President and CEO of Urban Innovation21, a regional public-private economic development partnership that works to ensure that all communities are connected to our region’s innovation economy.  Generett is also a partner in the MAPA Group, an international business consulting firm. An active member of the Pittsburgh community, he has worked as a nonprofit executive, entrepreneur, corporate executive, attorney and teacher. Recently, Generett was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which advises U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on expanding entrepreneurship and promoting innovation.

Join us from 5 – 6 p.m. for networking, delicious food, complimentary beer and wine, and much more!  The presentations will take place from 6 – 8 p.m.  Enjoy continued discussion and networking over coffee and dessert from 8 – 9 p.m., along with a book signing with Mr. Rifkin.

More About Jeremy Rifkin:

  • President of the TIR Consulting Group LLC, which brings together energy and infrastructure companies to advise local and national governments on building sustainable economies.
  • Senior lecturer at the Wharton School’s Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Writes a monthly column on global affairs that appears in major national and international publications, including The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian.

Jeremy’s Most Recent Books:

GBCI CMP This event is approved for 2.0 GBCI CEUs. Partnering with USGBC and AIA, GBA makes it easy for our members to report continuing education credits. Please provide your GBCI and/or AIA number so we can auto-report your credits (for applicable events).  Non-members can still earn continuing education credits but will need to self-report their GBCI CEUs.

This event is approved by 2.0 ACT 48 credits for educators.

We’d like to thank our Inspire Speakers Series Co-Presenting Partners:

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Thanks also to our Inspire Speakers Series Media Partners:





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Have you missed any of our past lectures?  Check out our Highlight Reel and our list of this season’s speakers.

Is this event out of your price range? We want this incredibly inspiring evening with Jeremy Rifkin to be accessible to everyone in our community.  If you find the $20 rate to be prohibitive, please email Jenna Cramer to discuss your options.

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The Inspire Speakers Series Book Club: Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols

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The registration gets you your very own copy of the book Blue Mind and admission into the Book Club!  Don’t forget to register for the Inspire Speakers Series event on November 13th!

Looking for some extra insight and inspiration?  Wish you could learn more about our incredible Inspire Speakers Series national guests before each lecture?  Eager for another opportunity to connect with GBA’s staff and partners?  Here’s your chance!  GBA’s Anna Siefken and Leslie Montgomery will host this edition of our Inspire Speakers Series Book Club where we can all take a deep dive into the theories, perspectives, and expertise of Dr. Wallace J. Nichols.

We’ll read Wallace J. Nichols’ book: Blue Mind: The Surprising Science that Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

Here’s how the Book Club works:

  • When you register for this event, it includes the purchase of your very own book.
  • Pick up your book either at GBA’s offices or at the October 9th edition of our Inspire Speakers Series event (there will be a table with books on display).
  • Read the book!  GBA will provide a reading guide for all participants.
  • Come to the book club on November 6th, where we’ll enjoy inspiring conversation and pot-luck style fare and drinks.  We’ll have some extra wine on hand (it is a book club after all!).  As a special treat, we’ll also get to Skype with the author himself!!
  • Finally, join us at the Inspire Speakers Series event on November 13th where we’ll all hear first-hand from Wallace J. Nichols.  You can even get your copy of the book signed after the lecture!

This book club is hosted at Anna Siefken’s house, which was recently featured in Mt. Lebanon Magazine and on the Mt. Lebanon Kitchen Tour.  You will get to see her sustainably-designed kitchen first-hand!

If you cannot make the November 6th gathering, join the Book Club gathering on Monday, October 27th from 4:30 – 6:30 at Waldorf School of Pittsburgh in the Friendship neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  This event will include a LIVE Skype session with the author.  Participants are encouraged to read the first three chapters of the book before the event.  Learn more and register.

More About this Book:

  • Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In Blue Mind, Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water.
  • Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists, Nichols shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.
  • Blue Mind not only illustrates the crucial importance of our connection to water-it provides a paradigm shifting “blueprint” for a better life.
  • Check out Wallace J. Nichols’ online book club for Blue Mind here.
  • Read this book review in the Washington Post and learn more about the book here.

Click here to learn more about Wallace J. Nichols and his upcoming lecture on November 13th. 

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