Scaling a successful California model into a national leader in clean energy

The Building Decarbonization Coalition (BDC) unites critical stakeholders on a path to transform the nation’s buildings through clean energy, using policy, research, market development and public engagement. The BDC and its members are charting the course to eliminate fossil fuels in buildings to improve people’s health, cut climate and air pollution, prioritize high-road jobs, and ensure that our communities are more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

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I was introduced to Building Decarbonization Coalition Founder and Executive Director Panama Bartholomy when BDC had 1.5FTE. Panama had just accomplished something few thought possible – convened diverse players in the building space to write a Roadmap to Decarbonize California Buildings. Funders took notice and saw the opportunity to invest in a strategic model for organizing the ecosystem of policymakers, manufacturers, utilities, labor and climate advocates around a mission to power America’s homes and workspaces with clean energy. Panama asked me to help him figure out how to pace and sequence the organization’s growth. Following a deep dive into the landscape, it became clear we needed to build a strong leadership team first, shift from fiscal sponsorship to independence and build relationships in BDC’s first expansion state – New York. Together we recruited six key leaders who propelled BDC into the next stage of its growth and impact. 

Why I love this team: I have infinite respect for people who see a gap and close a gap, who raise their hand and step into a breach where leadership is needed to drive change. BDC is doing this with humility, humor and really, really smart strategy. 

“Cathy has an unbelievable background that gives her insights into funders, fundees, bosses and employees and has an extremely high emotional intelligence but grounded in business and strategy. Our hires she recruited said working with her was an amazing experience and it was one of the best professional experiences of my career. You want to work with Cathy.” – Panama Bartholomy, Executive Director