Green Building & Design magazine (gb&d) announced the formation of the WSLA Alumnae Group. This newly formed Virginia nonstock corporation has acquired the Women in Sustainability Leadership Awards (WSLA).

In 2014 Chris Howe, publisher of gb&d, and Laura Heidenreich, president, created WSLA to identify, advance, and celebrate women working in sustainability. Award recipients have been some of the most dedicated in the field, making significant positive changes to the planet, demonstrating bravery in the workplace, and mentoring the next group of women leaders.

Howe and Heidenreich developed the WSLA Alumnae Group in collaboration with Rochelle Routman, chief sustainability officer of HMTX Industries, whom they named chair of the group. A community of WSLA award winners, the group focuses on fostering mentorship to further shape the future of sustainability. Today the WSLA Alumnae Group’s 87 winners have become a powerful force in the industry. The group’s summits, service activities, and mentorship opportunities are paving the way in sustainability and for future leaders in the field.

Now together with the help of Routman, the WSLA Alumnae Group has been formalized into a Virginia nonstock corporation and is filing for nonprofit status. In addition to overseeing the WSLA alumnae community, the new WSLA Alumnae Group will run WSLA, with Routman leading the organization as president. Additional officers and a board of directors will be named soon.

“We are thrilled for this opportunity to help launch WSLA into a nonprofit to ensure its future viability and commitment to its mission,” Howe says.

“Rochelle has been a major influence in the success of WSLA over the past six years, and we know WSLA will continue to grow in the way it deserves under her leadership,” Heidenreich says.

“This was a natural evolution for the WSLA Awards, and the WSLA Alumnae Group is truly honored to orchestrate this program,” Routman says. “With the involvement of the alums, this new independent organization will have even greater influence to make a positive social and environmental impact on the world. The diversity of the WSLA Alumnae Group is one of its strengths, and this new arrangement will empower all of us to give greater exposure not only to the women recognized by the WSLA Awards but also to the entire mission of the organization.”

The new schedule for the WSLA Awards, which will resume in 2021, will be announced at a future date. For more information on the WSLA awards, visit


Susan Bang