09_DHMy love for buildings, nature, and environmental issues took root in early childhood in Brazil and was deepened in graduate school when I studied sustainable development at Harvard University. It was at Harvard that I learned about global issues and felt I needed to do something.

I led sustainability programs for a large office REIT for almost a decade. But I wanted to do more without the constraints of a business that wasn’t my own. So I followed my passion and founded my own firm.

Most companies make a balance between work and family very challenging. When I had kids, I had to move closer to family and was afraid I’d lose my job because the company was not very open to telecommuting. At Verdani Partners, it’s not about when or where you get the work done. It’s about performance and results.

A big part of our success at Thomas Properties Groups [GRESB’s highest environmental performer in the Americas in the office category three years in a row] was developing a game plan. Initially, every property was doing something different. We visited the properties and came up with a centralized and robust sustainability program that was implemented portfolio-wide. This included an internal sustainability resource site, collaboration tools, sustainability policies, and a calendar of events.

Sustainability doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s important to focus on ongoing improvement programs.

Read up on the rest of our 10 Most Powerful Women in Sustainability here.