The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022: #RedefiningPower - Rachel Hodgdon, President & CEO, International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), United States
"If ever there was an “all hands on deck” moment, this is it. Women have an especially important role to play, as they’ve long exemplified leadership in the fields of COVID, climate and conflict-resolution." - Rachel Hodgdon, President & CEO, IWBI
As the President and CEO of the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI)*, Rachel is
leading a movement to advance human health through better buildings, more vibrant
communities, and stronger, more equitable organizations. Her motto is “Always be
winning for good,” and she’s put that to work at IWBI, developing research-backed tools
to help organizations create places where people thrive. Today, these “people-first
places” extend across 3.7 billion square feet of space in 109 countries.
Prior to joining IWBI, Rachel spent nearly a decade at the intersection of sustainability
and human health, helping the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) make LEED the world’s most widely used green building rating system. At USGBC, she founded the Center for Green Schools, which mobilized $275B+ investments in LEED-certified educational facilities and deployed over 750,000 volunteers to transform schools on every continent. Rachel serves on numerous boards and advisories for organizations ranging from, Paul Hawken’s Project Regeneration, Real Estate Pride Council, Second Nature and the Walgreens CSR Advisory Council.
A graduate of Tufts University, she is a sought-after media voice, inspirational speaker and recent winner of the People Leader of the Year Award, focused on mental health and education, at the 2022 InsideOut Awards.
Q: What is the importance of women's leadership in today's society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, Climate, and Conflict, and their deadly consequences?
If ever there was an “all hands on deck” moment, this is it. Women have an especially important role to play, as they’ve long exemplified leadership in the fields of COVID, climate and conflict-resolution.
Q: What role do you believe women in leadership positions have to play in helping companies and brands transition towards sustainability and circularity, and why is this important?
Addressing sustainability and circularity requires us to think beyond the traditional command-control hierarchy and explore new and inclusive approaches to cross-departmental and cross-sector collaboration. Women are inherently adept at seeing the connection between people and planet and embracing a systems-thinking approach to solving complex issues.
Q: What can be done to improve women’s participation in corporate and leadership positions? How do we achieve this?
Women need more than just mentorship, they need true sponsorship. They need men and women who already hold positions in the C-Suite to invest in their success, to advocate for their inclusion and growth, to amplify their voice and to champion their promotions into higher positions of leadership.
Q: What does this award mean to you and what significance does it hold to you personally and/or professionally, and your company?
I am so honored and humbled, both to receive this award and be in the company of these other amazing recipients. I am incredibly proud to lead an organization in which both the executive team and the organization at large is majority female. One of the best parts of being a CEO is that it is my opportunity, and my responsibility, to be the change I want to see.
*IWBI is the architect of the groundbreaking WELL Building Standard. Organizations everywhere – from startups to Fortune 500s – use WELL to prioritize the health and safety of their people, maximize real estate value and optimize the human and social capital performance of their business. Learn more.
The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
The SustainabilityX® Magazine proudly announced the release of The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s inaugural Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ 2022 on Oct 4th, 2022, an inaugural annual list celebrating the powerful work of women in sustainability leadership around the world.
The non-profit digital magazine’s Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ high-level, invite-only program graciously sponsored by the award-winning Canadian construction and engineering firm Belnor Engineering Inc., recognizes achievements of the world’s powerful, groundbreaking female sustainability leaders who’re bridging the gender gap by breaking barriers, shattering traditional stereotypes, and taking the world of sustainability by storm. This campaign is in line with the magazine’s third pillar of sustainability upon which SustainabilityX® is based: social inclusion, which involves marginalized populations and vulnerable communities such as women, persons with disabilities, unemployed youth, LGBTQ+, the elderly, and BIPOC minorities.
“As both a female and one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 In Sustainability Leadership myself, I know how important this is,” says Supriya Verma, founder of The SustainabilityX® Magazine. “The number of women in positions of leadership – from business to politics – are relatively few. With society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, climate, conflict, and their deadly consequences, how can the world advance and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals without having women in decision-making positions at major organizations, political parties, and academic institutions?”
In The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s quest to ‘redefine power’, this is the first international power-list bringing together women around the world involved in sustainability celebrating the power of their work – not their position. This list brings together a diverse group of accomplished women across business, entertainment, academia, law, politics, and beyond ranging from some of the world's leading companies, to independent unsung heroes with one thing in common: using their power with purpose –the power to create change and influence lives to make the world a better place. After all, that's what sustainability is all about. The meaning, or ‘the power’ of one’s work matters, not one’s position in a corporate hierarchy, particularly during this crucial era.
View the full list: The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
About The SustainabilityX® Magazine
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is an award-winning, digital, female-founded, and female-led non-profit initiative bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue. Founded on May 8, 2016 and inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 in Sustainability Leadership awardee, Supriya Verma, the digital media initiative focuses on approaching the world’s most pressing challenges with a holistic, integrated, systems-based perspective as opposed to the traditional and ineffective siloed approach with a single lens on interdisciplinary topics like climate and energy. This initiative ultimately seeks to explore how to effectively bring the environment and economy together through intellectual, insightful dialogue and thought-provoking discussion amongst individuals across sectors taking an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to untangling the intricate web of sustainability.
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is based upon the four pillars of sustainability: Environmental Stewardship which emphasizes improved environmental health, Economic Prosperity which emphasizes economic growth without the element of capitalism, Social Inclusion which emphasizes EDI for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and marginalized, vulnerable populations, and Just Governance which emphasizes the equal rule of law via responsible political leadership to create fair systems for all. Identifying the diverse factors involved in sustainability, how they interact and how the disciplines are interconnected will help accelerate local, national, and international sustainability goals – in simpler words, aligning with The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s mission of bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue for a sustainable future. Whether you have a background in science, engineering, business, law, politics, media and entertainment, or beyond, your voice matters.
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The SustainabilityX® Magazine is a proud member of the Sustainable Journalism Partnership, serves as a cause-based media partner for various events such as Circular City Week New York, and officially delivers remarks at international conferences such as UNESCO’s annual World Press Freedom Day Conference. SustainabilityX® is a brand of the non-profit social business SPSX Group.
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