Urban Sustainability Leadership Academy

Creating, Leading and Managing Change

June 6-8, 2012 Denver, CO

Overview of the Opportunity

The Urban Sustainability Leadership Academy (USLA) is a peer-learning and training program specifically designed to help sustainability directors and managers in local governments throughout North America strengthen their efforts to catalyze, lead and manage sustainability offices, programs and initiatives. This USLA workshop will bring together 30-40 senior local government sustainability directors and managers for an intensive peer-learning and training experience focused on high-priority challenges such as building relationships and trust; integrating across disciplines and collaborating across sectors; making the case to internal and external stakeholders; and financing and sustaining sustainability.

Interested senior local government sustainability directors and managers should submit online applications by WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11TH.

Applications are now closed.

Registration, travel, lodging and most meals will be provided (see below).

The Resource Team for this USLA workshop, the third in the series, will include the CSR Director of REI, experienced sustainability directors from at least two cities (Salt Lake City and Flagstaff) as well as a collaboration expert from the Consensus Building Institute.

For a summary of the first two USLA workshops, held in Washington, D.C. in July, 2011 and Chicago in November, 2011 – and to download Version 2.0 of "Creating, Leading & Managing Change: A Resource Guide for Local Sustainability Leaders – please visit:

ISC has developed the USLA in close partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), a national network of about 100 local government sustainability directors. The scope and design of the program are based on guidance from the USDN's Professional Development Working Group, as well as consultations with dozens of leading urban sustainability experts and practitioners, and ISC's own considerable experience in the field. Siemens USA is our founding partner, with additional funding support from the Kresge and Surdna foundations.

When and where – and who pays?!

The workshop will take place on June 6-8 at a hotel in downtown Denver, CO.

There is no registration fee, and travel (flights up to $500) and lodging (two nights at the hotel in which the workshop will occur) will be covered by ISC. In addition, breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided to participants throughout the course of the program. Participants will be asked to cover all other costs (for example, ground transportation to and from the airport). In addition, dinners will be on-your-own, to allow time for informal networking and exploration of Denver, CO.

Who Should Attend?

This workshop is intended for sustainability directors or chief sustainability officers – in other words, senior practitioners with lead responsibility for developing and implementing sustainability plans and programs within local governments (towns, cities, counties, etc.).

Why participate?

"Sustainability director" is one of the fastest-growing job categories within municipalities across North America; it also is one of the most complex. Sustainability directors are tasked with leading change for sustainability both within their local governments and across the community at-large, usually with relatively little formal authority or funding. The complexity of this work requires a unique set of highly developed leadership skills, including the ability to bring together large networks of critical stakeholders.

Focusing on these skills can help avoid common pitfalls experienced by most established programs. The USLA will be specifically geared towards helping participants develop and refine their approach by providing:

  • "Quality time" with dozens of your counterparts across the U.S. and Canada, and with a handful of leading practitioners and experts on how to create, lead, and manage change related to urban sustainable development; and
  • Efficient access to high-quality information on the most promising practices in the field and the most potentially useful tools, frameworks, and resources available.

Highlights of this workshop likely will include:

  • A diverse mix of sustainability practitioners from up to 30 communities throughout the U.S. and Canada;
  • Plenty of time for peer-to-peer sharing, strategizing, and networking;
  • A faculty consisting of 4-6 leading experts and practitioners;
  • One or two inspiring keynote presentations;
  • A blend of interactive panel discussions and small-group working sessions focused on key challenge areas identified in advance by the participants; and
  • A resource guide synthesizing much of the best available information (e.g., studies, tools, frameworks) on “leadership for sustainability,” and featuring about a dozen case studies on “promising practices” in sustainability leadership and management.

About ISC

ISC has more than 20 years of experience designing and delivering training and technical assistance programs that emphasize peer-to-peer learning, efficient access to high-quality information and expertise, and acceleration of promising practices in community-scale sustainable development. The ISC team includes several former sustainability practitioners from local and state governments and institutions of higher education. For more information, please visit