Sustainability & Collaborative Leadership Focus of San Francisco Chapter Meeting By Brian Kirshner

Collaborative Approach to Sustainability

A few weeks ago I received an email about an upcoming sustainability related talk. I’ve always had an interest in all of the different forms of sustainability, so this email definitely piqued my curiosity.

The talk took place on November 18, and I excitedly joined the sustainability meeting that was organized by Ina Acuña, the sustainability director of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. The November meeting was the first one that I attended. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the delightful impact this meeting had on me.

During the first half of the meeting, we were treated to a thought-provoking presentation by Julia Rogers, who leads the global carbon reduction program at Facebook. She spoke about the tenets of collaborative leadership as it relates to progress on their aggressive carbon reduction program. This program encompassed a number of Facebook buildings, their company-owned vehicle fleet and even their dining areas. The goal of the program is to reduce the Facebook carbon footprint to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Not surprising for an effort of this scope and magnitude, a large number of people need to be involved. Julia found that a top-down directive approach would not work; but buy-in is key. This is where collaborative leadership comes into play. I enjoyed learning about the leadership do’s and don’ts that she experienced during the execution of this mammoth endeavor. 

Carbon Impact by GHG Emissions Scope

We continued on the theme of collaborative leadership during the second part of the meeting, during which participants were assigned to one of eight breakout rooms. Each room was provided with their own provocative questions related to collaborative leadership. These included, for example:

  • What motivates you to collaborate with others?
  • What are obstacles that make it harder for you to collaborate with others?

Each breakout room participant was asked to offer their answers to the questions. The conversation was lively and the brainstorming productive. After 20 minutes, the teams came back together, and a designated speaker from each breakout room shared their team’s responses to the questions.

Overall, I found the meeting to be well organized, educational and thoroughly enjoyable. I would strongly recommend these meetings to others. This was the first sustainability meeting that I attended, but it certainly will not be the last.


Brian Kirshner

Brian Kirshner

Brian Kirshner attended San Francisco Chapter’s sustainability event for the first time in November 2020 and voluntarily submitted the above review