The Inspire Speakers Series returns to a live, in-person event on March 30, 2023! We will return to the Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at the Hill District’s Kaufmann Center for dinner, community networking, and a thought-provoking lecture! Advanced registration is required. Register here.

About the Inspire Speakers Series 
Green Building Alliance has welcomed more than 100 national and local speakers to the Inspire Speakers Series stage since 2012. This beloved series has shared the perspectives of artists, activists, economists, academics, urban farmers, designers, teachers, authors, soldiers, students, and many more in an intimate setting aimed at creating lasting change through pure inspiration.

Now after a long hiatus from in-person lectures, we are elated to return to the Elsie Hillman Auditorium to revive this series with a limited run in 2023. Join us as we connect over food, drinks, and thought-provoking presentations that challenge us to think differently about what is possible for our region.
About this Event 
Our cities and communities are changing whether we are ready for it or not. One place where that notion is especially evident is Atlanta, Georgia, which predicts incredible population growth in the coming years. Author, urban designer, and civic entrepreneur Ryan Gravel will explain how his city – Atlanta – is shifting the narrative of change through intentional investment. Ryan will share stories of the Atlanta Beltline, a $4 billion infrastructure project aimed at creating a cultural shift in the community’s expectations for its physical environment and turning physical barriers into new opportunities for connection with people and nature. Ryan will also share how the Beltline led to the Atlanta City Design. Inspired by famous Atlanta native and Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for the beloved community, the City Design is a strategic realignment of plans, projects, policies, and priorities to leverage the city’s inevitable change into the kind of place that reflects the shared values of residents.
Gravel will be joined on-stage by Pittsburgh’s own Tiffany Taulton, who oversees community initiatives at the Hazelwood Initiative and combines her worldly experiences with a deep dedication to Pittsburgh to dedicate her life to helping vulnerable communities prepare for climate change. Tiffany manages community engagement, communications, and grants with an eye towards strengthening equity and inclusivity in the development process.
Our first Inspire Speakers Series session of 2023 will explore these questions and more:
  • How do we reclaim infrastructure for a new generation of cities?
  • How can we turn barriers into opportunities for diverse, inclusive, and equitable connections?
  • How do we build a cultural shift in our expectations for our physical environment?
  • How do we ensure that communities own their future?
Advanced registration is required. We have scholarships and student rates available for $10 and group rates can be made available upon request. Email lesliem@gbapgh.org for more details on pricing options or if you need special accommodations. Our goal is to make this event accessible to everyone so please reach out if you need assistance!
About our Speakers
Ryan Gravel 
Ryan Gravel is an urban designer, author, and civic entrepreneur working on ideas about the future of cities. Best known for his master’s thesis and early work that launched the Atlanta Beltline, Ryan’s work centers on strategies for change that advance a broad, inclusive vision for communities. He was the lead creator of the Atlanta City Design, which designs the city’s inevitable change so that it grows into a better version of itself. And along with other projects at Sixpitch and his book, Where We Want to Live, (St Martin’s Press, 2016), Ryan investigates the cultural side of infrastructure, describing how its intimate relationship with our way of life can illuminate a brighter path forward for cities.
Ryan received a BS in Architecture from Georgia Tech in 1995, and a Master of Architecture and Master of City Planning from Georgia Tech in 1999. His joint master’s thesis was the original concept for the Atlanta Beltline, and he has received numerous awards related to his subsequent work on the project. In addition to his book, he tells his story internationally and has been covered by a variety of media organizations including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Monocle, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, CityLab, CNN International, USA Today, and Esquire Magazine. Ryan is the board chair of a nonprofit called Generator, which works to support a new generation of ideas about the future of cities. He also serves on the board of the Partnership for Southern Equity. He is married to an architect and has two children in Atlanta.
Social: @ryangravel on Twitter and Instagram
Tiffany Taulton 
Tiffany Taulton is the Director of Outreach & Sustainability for Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., a community development corporation focused on preservation of affordable commercial and residential spaces in a former steel mill community on the verge of becoming Pittsburgh’s newest tech hub. In her role, Tiffany oversees community engagement, communications, housing assistance, and sustainability initiatives with an eye towards strengthening equity and inclusivity in the development process.
Prior to working at Hazelwood Initiative, Tiffany evaluated national clean energy strategies for the Environmental Defense Fund in New York, worked for the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning, where she authored the food chapter of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 3.0, and spent four years working for the Department of Public Information at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Her interest in climate adaptation and resilience strategies for historically disinvested communities evolved from her experiences as a child living in Puerto Rico and later as an adult in New York City impacted by the 2003 Northeast Blackout and SuperStorm Sandy in 2012.
Tiffany has a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Studies from Georgetown University and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as certifications in permaculture design, Climate Reality Leadership, and EcoDistricts. In addition to her work for Hazelwood Initiative, Tiffany teaches Environmental Justice at Duquesne University, where she is an adjunct faculty member at the Center for Environmental Research and Education. She is a founding member of Pittsburgh’s Black Environmental Collective and had the great honor to serve the city as a member of Mayor Gainey’s Infrastructure and Environment Transition Committee last year.

Learn more and register here.