CSO at University of Calgary – Joanne Perdue

Have you ever wondered why some teams rise to excellence or some organizations excel at innovation? Understanding what drives organizational learning and innovation, and the foundations of highly successful teams has been a personal pursuit for Joanne Perdue for almost three decades. Joanne considers this knowledge essential to accelerating the sustainability transformation.

As CSO for UCalgary she is responsible for leadership and organizational strategy to enable the university to reach its goal of being a leader in sustainability. This work takes her deep into the disciplines of organizational learning, leadership and change management – alongside both the diverse technical skills and business operations knowledge required of sustainability professionals.

Joanne believes there is no more important work. The higher education sector has the greatest reach in preparing future leaders, undertakes critical interdisciplinary research to enable the transition to a sustainable future, and has unique opportunities to model the way forward.

Prior to joining UCalgary, as a practicing architect she combined her aptitude for design thinking, her reverence for the natural environment, and her desire to create remarkable places. This triad shaped a twenty-year career specializing in healthy, high performance green buildings.

She is a LEED Fellow but her work in this area began long before LEED. The C.K. Choi Building at the University of British Columbia, completed in the mid 90’s, was perhaps her most seminal project. It set an exceptional North American precedent for sustainable design, and it demonstrated the power of the integrative design process (then an undefined concept) in enabling interdisciplinary teams to innovate and achieve collective excellence.

Joanne is a life-long learner and is interested in connecting with senior sustainability professionals and academics on: organizational learning for sustainability, particularly those leading change in large complex organizations; and sustainability integration in higher education.

Show Highlights 

  • Connect design with ethics of care to broaden thinking about the environment we depend on when building on the land. 
  • C.K. Choi Building, a progressive project that broke ground and barriers in Green Building.
  • STARS rating system, collaboration and partnerships that are occurring both on campuses and with community.
  • Joanne’s  company’s climate action plan to become a carbon neutral campus. 
  • Why it is vital to get the operations team involved early on net zero builds?
  • Understanding of ourselves as a part of nature with regenerative design ecosystem, health, and resiliency for high performance buildings.
  • The 17SDGs can provide a global connection to LEED standards.

University of Calgary, MacKimmie Complex Redevelopment Project (September 2020)

Redevelopment (Tower is completed, Block is under construction)

“The term that we use is healthy high performance buildings, right? You can’t let high performance come at the cost of health and that’s built in a very holistic perspective.” 

– Joanne Perdue

(Transcript Available on here and on the GBES website)

Joanne Perdue’s Show Resource and Information

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