"When I am clear that my work is about the message and the change we are trying to make, everything else falls into place”
“We don’t have a waste problem, or a toxins problem, or a population problem, we have a DESIGN problem.” Glass cites this quote from William McDonough (Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things) as the light bulb moment that inspired her career.
Now fully engaged in the C2C cause, Glass offers a list of leadership skills that mean the most to her: work is about the message, not the self; every team member should have “energy pointed in the same direction;” scalability and organizational sustainability won’t happen if she’s the smartest person in the room (i.e., it’s OK if smarter staff challenge the status quo); forgiveness “is my favorite human trait;” and “do what you say you are going to do” with transparency and trust.
“When I am clear that my work is about the message and the change we are trying to make, everything else falls into place,” she says. “Insecurities disappear, competition turns into collaboration, judgment becomes empathy, and people become more collaborative and creative. When I remember it’s not about me, I have the best chance to achieve the change I seek.”
In earlier work, Glass successfully built a green building materials distribution and marketing company (CaraGreen, LLC) from a regional to national player. She now spends much of her time educating the design community on selecting green-certified products.
A colleague points out that Glass has been a critical force in the harmonization of material chemistry programs to accelerate industry change. She led the formation of the Material Health Harmonization Task Group at the US Green Building Council, which makes up the LEED v4 Material Ingredients credit.
She acknowledges that leadership has been on her mind since she worked an administrative position early in her career. “I read the classic, On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis,” she says. “The book resonated with my personal values. I felt like ‘I’ve got this!’ It helped me understand that if I am true to my values and execute them at my best, I will be a good leader.”
Several women inspired her. Her mother (a full-time professional), business coach Mary Kralj, and Kimberly Jenkins, who introduced Glass to the C2C concept and a career in sustainability.