Life Advice From a Pro

Top tips from an eco-conscious entrepreneur

Life Advice from a Pro

Ever wondered how highly successful people—leading entrepreneurs, top athletes, world-class chefs—got where they are today? Here, we're sharing tips from one of the game-changers on alive magazine's Mentor Panel.

Photo credit: Rosalie McInnis

An eco-conscious entrepreneur, Steve Glenn is the founder and managing member of LivingHomes, which designs and develops prefabricated homes that meld modern architecture with sustainable construction. He’s also the CEO of Plant Prefab, the first factory in the US focused on manufacturing custom, high-quality, eco-friendly homes. Ultimately, he says, the goal of both companies is to “build lots of homes that help people to be happy and healthy, and to reduce the impact homes typically have on water, power, resources and carbon emissions.”

These are some of the lessons he’s learned on his journey to the top.

Recognize your strengths.

Glenn was always drawn to architecture. “My first toys were blocks and Lego,” he says. Later, during a summer architecture program, Glenn realized he had “neither the talent nor temperament” to be an architect. His strength was real estate development.

“Developers are important because they set the agenda for what gets built in the world, and the world could use more responsible developers,” he says.

Photo credit: Steve Glenn

Marry profit and purpose.

One of Glenn’s early inspirations was Jim Rouse, a visionary developer who focused on community-building projects. “Rouse felt like it was his responsibility to do good work with the work he was doing—to wed profit and purpose,” says Glenn. “I felt an onus to try to add value to my work too. I was drawn to commerce, but I wanted to do responsible things.”

After learning about “the enormous impact that buildings have on energy and on our health,” Glenn dedicated himself to sustainable development projects.

Prioritize your health.

As an entrepreneur, Glenn knows a thing or two about being busy. “Creating a successful business is just never easy. You’re often under-resourced, understaffed and overwhelmed,” he says.

He emphasizes the importance of having healthy outlets and taking time for self-care. “Make sure you do the things that help you deal efficiently with stress … and all the [other] things that can impede your ability to be creative, focused and productive,” he says. “For me, it’s exercise, it’s healthy eating, it’s sleep, it’s laughter, it’s love.”

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