Our Next Evolution

Book cover with text next to it saying "#1 Amazon Best Seller." The book cover is an aerial view illustration of a deltaOn January 19, 2021, ASU alumni Laura Calandrella published a book titled “Our Next Evolution: Transforming Collaborative Leadership to Shape Our Planet’s Future.” Calandrella obtained a BA in Spanish and a BS in Biology and Society from Arizona State University in 2002, before completing a master’s degree in Development Studies from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, in 2005. In addition to being a facilitator with the National Center for Environmental Conflict and Resolution, Calandrella has over a decade of experience as a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation. She coaches leaders across the globe to build solid partnerships and strategies to address today’s toughest environmental challenges. “I help diverse stakeholders align perspectives under a common agenda for change and provide them with a framework for what it means to lead collaboratively,” explained Calandrella. Her experiences, expertise and methodology, which she has implemented with diverse groups such as rural communities in Mexico and Fortune 500 companies, are highlighted in the book. The book’s message is clear: we need to work together and fast to change the course of the environmental crisis and minimize its impacts on humanity and the natural world.
Headshot of the author next to text that reads "To change everything, we need everyone."
Image courtesy of Laura Calandrella
In “Our Next Evolution,” Calandrella proposes a framework of four interlinked leadership practices to enable collective action: Cultivating Presence, Creating Space, Leveraging Diversity and Sustaining Dialogue. Executing these four pillars will allow us to create vibrant communities and economies while sustaining natural resources. Calandrella references ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes founding director and School of Life Sciences Professor Leah Gerber in her book, among her other mentors. “Though I penned the words, it is my experiences with you (from the Amazon rainforest to the halls of Capitol Hill) that taught me what I needed to know to write the book. Deep gratitude,” Calandrella shared with Professor Gerber, along with her reflections on how her ASU experience has helped shape her career: Without question, the education and research experiences that were provided to me as an undergraduate at Arizona State University shaped the direction of my entire career. ASU encouraged me to be an original thinker, connected me with leading researchers in conservation and sustainability issues, and ensured that I had access to national scholarship and research opportunities.  The seed for this work was planted the summer after my freshman year at ASU when I was brought into a community-based conservation project on the outskirts of Mexico City. By the time I graduated from ASU in 2002, I had traveled to nearly every continent to research the question that still is fundamental to my work, “how do we work together to create change?” Without the support of the Biology and Society program and the Barrett Honors College, I would not have left my undergraduate experience with this wealth of experience behind me or the confidence to grow it into the work that it has become.  “Our Next Evolution” hit #1 in Green Business on Amazon and #2 as a best seller upon publication. Bill Gates followed quickly behind in both categories with his new book on climate change.