Energy manager's perseverance pays off at Whistler Blackcomb

Image of Allana Williams, Whister Blackcomb
Under Allana Williams' tenure as energy manager and environmental coordinator at Whistler Blackcomb, the resort has won more than 30 awards for its sustainability programs.

It took time to build outstanding sustainability program at ski resort

When Allana Williams first asked Whistler Blackcomb's marketing department to highlight her sustainability initiatives on the ski resort's fold-out trail map, there was some resistance. But the idea of delivering on sustainability, and then showcasing it, eventually caught on.  

Whistler Blackcomb has since received more than 30 awards for its sustainability programs.

As energy manager and environmental coordinator at Whistler Blackcomb, Williams has learned that building relationships with senior managers and Green Champions is key to the long-term success of a Workplace Conservation Awareness program.  

Some colleagues had initially expressed concerns that Williams' campaigns were largely geared towards staff, not guests. Would such initiatives attract new guests to the ski resort?

"That was 10 years ago," says Williams. "A lot has changed."

Building support is part of the journey

"It wasn't until I shifted my focus and embraced the enthusiasm of the people around me that things got better," says Williams.

Once Williams started concentrating on building a support team, things began to improve.

With help from staff volunteers, she made her own posters. She set up booths at employee events to market her campaigns. She knocked on the doors of senior managers and built their support. She gave presentation after presentation. She talked to guests and community members and developed a network of locals who believe in her work.

"I learned a lot about our senior managers, our staff and what our customers respond to," she says.

What changed?

"A combination of things took place over a five to 10 year period," says Williams. "I built my business case. If you want energy conservation to be taken seriously you have to know your numbers.

"Also, I developed some very important relationships — one with a senior manager who believed that Whistler Blackcomb needed to curb its environmental footprint. And I was able to demonstrate that walking the talk on sustainability is important to our guests."