The U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan (USGBC-WM) announced Synia Gant-Jordan as the 2030 Leadership Award Winner. The 2030 Leadership Award recognizes organizations and individuals that have taken the initiative to decarbonize Grand Rapids and make strides towards global climate goals.
Synia is a pillar community member, CEO of and Cosmetologist at Samaria J’s Salon on Cesar Chavez Avenue in Grand Rapids, a Real Estate Agent at Legacy Homes GR, Co-Founder of Legacy & Love, LLC, and is a Collaborator on the Grand Rapids African-American Community Task Force. She also sits on many different committees including Equitable Economic Development, Grandville Avenue Business Association, and the Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA), an important voice and member in the Grand Rapids 2030 District (GR2030), a crucial member of the Community Collaborative on Climate Change (C4), and an activist and leader within her community. We are thrilled to recognize Synia for her work within her community in relation to the Grand Rapids 2030 District with the 2030 Leadership Award.
Brought about by attending meetings and information sessions through the city, information shares, and being involved in her community in different facets as the city embarked on its decarbonization journey, Synia became involved in GR2030. As a key activist in her community Synia sits on many committees where she asks questions and represents individuals in her area. I do it to “listen and hear but also to speak up and be heard, and take action,” said Synia.
Synia has lived in the community her whole life, the line originating with her grandmother, who was also a business owner and activist. Now her children are the next generation. She uses her professional roles to share information and hear information from clients regarding energy efficiency and the needs of the community. As a salon owner she meets a broad range of clients from different backgrounds and she listens to what they are struggling with and what resources they may need. As a realtor she keeps her clients informed and does the research with them to make sure that the property they’re interested in is the right one for them, in terms of overhead cost, utilities, and so on. She practices energy efficiency as a business owner as well: not using a lot of advertising, limiting electricity use, specifically dryers and overhead lighting, changing how lighting is used in her salon (emphasizing the natural light). She says it is never ending work and there is always more to be done.
For her, this work isn’t an option. She sees the gap in the share of resources and that the people who need them most aren’t utilizing them, both from inability to access and lack of information. Her goal is to share this information and the resources with her community so that they can be utilized by the people who need them. When asked what it means to her to be nominated for this award she said she is humbled and that she is not the one who should be receiving the award. Synia stated that “she’s only doing what she can do and what’s in her control, but there are so many other people in the community who are able to make a big impact.” She wants to be a change agent for this work.
The USGBC-WM Leadership Awards promote outstanding green building initiatives by recognizing projects, organizations, and people who have made extraordinary contributions to achieving healthy, energy-efficient green buildings in the state of Michigan.
“Our built environment should be a conduit to our wellness and vitality. In most cases, an employer's largest operating cost is its people,” said Cheri Holman, Executive Director of USGBC-WM. “Investing in those people by providing them with an indoor environment that is safe, comfortable, and inspiring is a key way to attract and retain a flourishing workforce.”
Synia was honored alongside members of her family at our 2022 Annual Party & Leadership Awards Ceremony on December 8, 2022. Hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan, the evening event was held in the Ballroom at the LEED-certified CityFlatsHotel located in downtown Grand Rapids. The program included a keynote address by Jeremy Orr, Director of Litigation and Advocacy Partnerships for Earthjustice, an Awards Ceremony, and the introduction of our new Board of Directors nominees.
To learn more about their accomplishments and to read our 2022 Annual Report visit our Annual Party & Leadership Awards Ceremony page.