In 2014 I had the opportunity to interview Arielle Bertman, who is energy and sustainability principal for Google. Her leadership skills that enable her employer to be among the greenest companies in the digital universe were clear to me on two important points:
She does her homework – To begin with, she’s an engineer and therefore is accustomed to working with more men than women. She relayed to me the importance of technical knowledge, reading reports and being intimately familiar with project details. Time and time again, she finds she can be a more effective business negotiator because she can navigate the conversation with people who sometimes underestimate her and what she knows. Just as important, she is a better problem solver because she knows what’s what.
She’s a triathlete – This reflects my personal bias: I’ve been competing in international distance triathlons since 1987, and qualified for the 2015 age group national championships at age 57. I know that being a triathlete while holding down a full time job or consultancy is no easy trick. It’s an all-encompassing discipline and requires a great deal of time- and energy-management know how. And it’s a heckuva kick to be in the race with hundreds and sometimes thousands of other people who do the same thing. When you are surrounded by goal-oriented people it tends to rub off on you.
My interview with Ms. Bertman was published in Green Building & Design, along with a similar article on Robyn Beavers, two people identified by the magazine as “The 10 Most Powerful Women in Sustainability.” And in case you wonder how well digital companies are doing in energy conservation, check out my own article in American Builders Quarterly on Facebook’s hyper-efficient data centers or a look at this article by another writer about how Silicon Valley office parks are increasingly futuristic and green (I also wrote about a single building in Mountain View, California with an awesome rooftop meeting space).
Photo: Arielle Bertman, Google courtesy of Green Building & Design magazine
Russ Klettke loves green innovation as well as all kinds of business creativity that makes the world work better. Contact him for more information on how to share your company or organization’s great movement toward a smarter, more sustainable environment.