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Dorah Modise: A call for women to transform the property sector

GBCSA’s CEO Dorah Modise, as a black female leader in the built environment sector, epitomises the success of barriers overcome, both racial and gender. She is quick to acknowledge the phenomenal women who have conquered these gigantic hurdles in the past, paving the way for women like herself to achieve in their careers. This is notwithstanding her own personal commitment and dedication as a specialist with over 17 years’ experience in the sustainability field.

The road to empowerment
In frank conversation, however, Modise shares that there is still a road ahead for women to be empowered and transform the sector. She is calling for a more conscious move to include women as decision makers. “Discrimination is an enemy of progress and can never yield positive results. If we don’t have a balanced approach to finding a solution then we are bound to fail. Climate change affects us all. It’s not just our environment but also our economy, our society, our communities. It can’t be left to half of the people to make decisions, it needs to be all of the people,” she says.

Modise was on maternity leave when offered the opportunity to head up the GBCSA. She had the zeal and the determination, but with a small baby in tow, she knew it would not be easy. “There has been progress but I feel like women start on a deficit. There’s a lot of work to do even before you do your job. You are working harder just to prove yourself.”

Prior to joining the GBCSA, Modise served as a strategic executive director for city sustainability at the City of Tshwane where she was responsible for developing and implementing the Green City programme – and ensuring that the city became the greenest, most sustainable city in Africa.

Up until December 2012, she was a chief policy advisor for sustainable development within the South African Government Department of Environmental Affairs. Modise holds an MBA from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute for Business Science (GIBS); a Master of Arts Degree in Environment and Development from the University of Sussex; a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Diplomacy from the University of Geneva; and a National Diploma and B-Tech Degree in Environmental Health from the Tshwane University of Technology.

Creating an inclusive business culture
“There is still an old boys club when it comes to networking and I haven’t really managed to overcome that. I just have to do my best and be truthful to who I am. I can’t do a business deal over a round of golf or over drinks so I have to find my own ways of networking. The business code needs to change; we need to break boundaries and create a business culture that is inclusive.”

Interestingly, more than half of the CEOs running established Green Building Councils around the world are female. This is evidence that women are indeed forging their own way forward, establishing a new culture one step at a time, and ultimately, leading the global drive towards sustainability.

Individual Membership

Designed for professionals acting in their individual capacity, including single consultant-businesses.

Organisational Membership

Ideal for companies, government departments, and organisations.

  • Total Employees: 1 - 5 Employees - R 4080.00
  • Total Employees: 6 - 20 Employees - R 12570.00
  • Total Employees: 21 - 50 Employees - R 24690.00
  • Total Employees: 51 Plus Employees - R 43840.00

Lisa Reynolds

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Lisa Reynolds is the CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa.

Lisa was the driver for the drafting of Energy Efficiency Standards and Regulations for Buildings and has been involved in Energy Efficiency since 2003. She serves on many committees in the SABS and within the energy management professionals’ space. She was President of the SAEEC from 2016 to 2019 and was the previous President of the ESCo (Energy Services Companies) Association. Lisa was instrumental in the formation of SAFEE (Southern African Females in Energy Efficiency) within SAEEC.

She has assisted the South African Government with its Green Building Framework policies, Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives and Energy Efficiency Strategies

Her passion for the “Green space” started with the birth of the Green Building Council in 2007. Lisa served on the Board and the Technical Committee of the GBCSA, as well as on several Technical Working Groups for Rating Tools and Criteria. Lisa. became CEO in June 2020.

Lisa has a BSc, an MBA and a CEM. Lisa’s awards include the 2007 ETA Award for Women, 2008 Individual Energy (SAEE), 2012 SABS Standards Writer Award; the 2014 Women in Energy (SAWIEN); and the 2016 Ian Lane Hall of Fame award.

Lisa is committed to growing the Green Economy within a Green Recovery.

Organisational categories

As an organisational member, you will fall into one of the below categories, and be charged according to specific size indicators. Please reach out to us for any further clarity on which category is best for your organisation

Property Developers

Annual Turnover

Investors, Owners, Property Managers

Total Asset Value

Major Corporate Tenants & Retail

Annual Gross Rentals

Building Contractors

Annual Turnover

Building Product Manufacturers & Distributors

Annual Turnover

Professional Services: Architects, Designers, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, PM’s, Consultants, Legal

Number of employees

Research, Higher Education, NGO’S & Regulators

NGO or Research/Higher Education/ Regulators

Related Interests: Utilities, Financial, Insurance, etc.

Annual Turnover


Local/ municipal/ provincial/ state 
Contact GBCSA to confirm your category