Lindsay Baker
Billy Howard / courtesy International Living Future Institute Lindsay Baker

The following is a press release from the International Living Future Institute naming building scientist and environmentalist Lindsay Baker as the new chief executive officer of the Seattle-based nonprofit organization. Formerly the global head of sustainability and impact at WeWork and recently a senior fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute and a lecturer at University of California, Berkeley, Baker will begin her role on Aug. 9. She assumes the position from ILFI interim CEO K C Gauldine. Amanda Sturgeon, FAIA, stepped down as ILFI CEO in 2020 after a decade at the organization.

Today the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Board of Directors named Lindsay Baker as CEO, choosing a climate leader with deep experience in technology, real estate, and sustainability.

Ms. Baker is an environmentalist by background, a building scientist by training, and she’s been at ground zero for some of the green building movement’s most seminal moments. She also is a climate entrepreneur with experience launching and growing innovative new businesses. Her unique background and passion made her the top choice for CEO of ILFI, the organization responsible for the most advanced and comprehensive standard for green buildings: the Living Building Challenge. Selected by the ILFI board of directors from a large pool of candidates, Lindsay will lead the organization forward as its chief strategist, delivering on ILFI’s mission to lead the transformation toward a civilization that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative.

“Lindsay has a proven track record of heart-centered leadership, and as a building scientist, she’s committed to pushing the limits of what’s possible to keep ILFI on the leading edge,” said Anthony Guerrero, Board Chair of the International Living Future Institute and Vice President Workplace and Real Estate Strategies at Earthjustice. “She’s got the power, vision, and experience to ignite the movement and shape its trajectory.”

Lindsay’s experience in the green building movement began at a young age at the Southface Institute in Atlanta, where she interned before entering Oberlin College as an Environmental Studies student. She was one of the first 40 staff members at the USGBC, charged with finding consensus about what LEED would become, as the organization experienced its first period of high growth. From there she went on to receive an MS from UC Berkeley in Architecture with a focus on Building Science, and spent five years as a building science researcher at the UC Berkeley Center for the Built Environment.

“The urgency of the climate crisis requires that we be doers and advocates, lead with our heads as well as our hearts, and grow a movement with the power to change the world,” Lindsay said. “To be successful, we need to join our efforts with broader movements and organizations pushing for change, which means a major commitment to equity and diversity. The green building movement must achieve large-scale impact, faster.”

When selecting the new CEO, the Board’s criteria included an entrepreneur’s mindset that will embrace the people, technologies, partnerships, and programs that make up ILFI’s ambitious agenda. From Living Buildings and biophilic design, to thriving communities and building products that give more than they take, ILFI has enabled some of the world’s most transformative firsts.

After her time at Berkeley, Lindsay applied her experience around the study of heat, light, and human interactions in buildings to a role with Google’s Green Team. She co-founded a smart buildings start-up called Comfy, which grew to 75 employees and a global portfolio of clients over 5 years. She then became the first Global Head of Sustainability and Impact at WeWork, where she spent more than a year growing a new team and corporate sustainability program from scratch. She was most recently a Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute and a lecturer at UC Berkeley. She serves on several non-profit boards and is an advisor and board member for several climate tech startups. When ILFI’s recruiters at Koya Partners reached out, Lindsay was intrigued by what she could bring to the community of ILFI from the work she has done in the private sector, broadening the constituency of Living Buildings and products and strengthening the alliances of the organization in the broader climate movement.

Lindsay begins her new role as CEO on August 9, 2021.