Jenna Cramer is all about supporting healthy and sustainable communities throughout Western Pennsylvania, both in her role as executive director of Green Building Alliance and in her everyday life. During her 10 years at GBA, she’s established its fantastic Inspire Speakers Series and launched the Green & Healthy Schools Academy. Jenna grew up in the South Hills and has deep family roots in the Mon Valley. She lives with her partner Rob and son Noah in North Point Breeze.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
I always look forward to a Bricolage performance. Their “Die Hard” parody is as quintessentially Pittsburgh as you can find, and the cast does an incredible job of creating an entire world around the audience. We’ll also follow my 3.5-year-old son to some his favorite places of festivity like the Children’s Museum and Phipps Conservatory’s Winter Flower Show and Light Garden, because what child doesn’t love a good twinkly light display?
What is the best part of your job?
I’ve worked at GBA for more than 10 years, and the community that supports our vision never ceases to amaze me. We collaborate with so many inspiring architects, teachers, politicians, community leaders and business owners, and what unites them all is an unwavering dedication to a healthier Pittsburgh. I can remember projects that created new organizations or places that truly enhance the quality of life of people in the region. And while that group of people continues to grow, I am still challenged by that same spirit of innovation that pushed us to dream of a better city.
What is your big idea for Pittsburgh?
We have the opportunity to be a city where every building across every one of our 90 neighborhoods is sustainable, so that every single resident of this city has access to green space, to healthy schools, to affordable living and to a respected place of employment. From Beltzhoover and Brighton Heights to Homewood and the Hill, we can reshape our communities to be places where everyone can thrive.
What book would you highly recommend?
This is a hard question to narrow down, but my favorites right now include “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” edited by Paul Hawken, “The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race” by Carl Anthony and “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown.
Ideal date night in Pittsburgh?
Drinks at Grapperia (we think Lou and Chris might be Pittsburgh’s best bartenders), followed by dinner at one of our several favorite restaurants, and if we have the energy – a movie at The Manor Theatre or some live music.
Favorite Pittsburgh brewery?
East End Brewing – we love all of the people there, the beer is delicious, and the Brewpub is one of our favorite spots to meet friends (and it’s kid-friendly!). They’ve also been a huge supporter of GBA, especially the Inspire Speakers Series.
Podcast you’re addicted to?
On Being with Krista Tippett. Her interviews are a reliable reset after a challenging day.
What is the one thing that would surprise Pittsburghers most about you?
I love making things – anything from cross-stitching, baking with my mother and grandmother, crafts with my son, to making candles, wine and cider.
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