A Culture of Sustainability

Leslie Montgomery, Education Director at Green Building Alliance (GBA), joins Charlie Cichetti in this episode. Residing in Pittsburgh, she helps host events in the region to promote high-performance green buildings. Leslie is also an educator who shares the same love for teaching and sustainability as Charlie.

“I am sort of one of those green building nerds who’s so much in awe of the people who innovated this industry and championed sustainability and green building.” – Leslie Montgomery

Leslie Montgomery – A Child of Nature

Leslie lived in Baltimore, Maryland until college when she went to Winthrop University in South Carolina. A few years after getting her communications degree, she went on to get her master’s degree in sustainable systems at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.

While she didn’t formalize sustainability as a career path until graduate school, Leslie admits that her love for the natural environment bloomed at an early age. Growing up, her mother would take the family to trips to undeveloped places. Her grandfather was also a huge nature lover who hugged trees in the backyard, a habit that Leslie emulated.

Shifting Interests

During her undergraduate years, Leslie’s interest was in non-profit work. She did all her internships at non-profit organizations and landed a job in the same line upon graduation. It was around that time when she was first exposed to green building.

Upon her move to Pittsburgh in 2007, her interest in green building peaked. She wanted a career change, but she knew that no one would hire her unless her credentials bore ‘sustainability’ in them. She took a shot at going after what she wanted and went through workshops on green remodeling to find out if it was for her, and it was.

“I loved it and it felt like I was with my people. I was exploring what I wanted to do.” – Leslie Montgomery

The Definitive Move

She went back to school and took up her master’s. She didn’t have any design and construction background, but she was able to get into a program that let her discover everything that has to do with green building. Eventually, she got involved with Green Building Alliance through a professor, marking the turning point of her career.

To hear more of Leslie’s journey with GBA, her geek-level love for sustainability and teaching green building, download and listen to the episode!

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