Informa Exhibitions and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced today that the current mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Cruz, will address conference participants during the Closing Plenary at this year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, taking place Nov. 14-16 in Chicago.

The Closing Plenary will take place Friday, Nov. 16 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the LEED-certified McCormick Place Convention Center. Registration for Greenbuild is now open.

In September 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged the U.S. Commonwealth, leading to widespread power outages, lack of suitable shelter and unsafe drinking water. Cruz has since become a vocal advocate for Puerto Rican citizens, lobbying Congress for aid to restore the power grid and enhance infrastructure.

“Mayor Cruz is a strong and powerful voice for those who have been directly impacted and devastated by the effects of natural disasters like Hurricane Maria,” said Kate Hurst, senior vice president of conferences & events, USGBC. “Cruz’s diligence and tenacity in recovery and rebuilding Puerto Rico serves as an inspiration to all of us in the green building community who are committed to creating a safer, healthier and more resilient built environment for future generations.”

A native Puerto Rican, Cruz graduated Cum Laude from Boston University, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in Human Resources Management. She also completed her Master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. After 12 years in the continental U.S., she returned to Puerto Rico to venture into politics, starting as an advisor for the mayor of San Juan, and for the president of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives.

In 2012, she became San Juan’s third female mayor; she won re-election in 2016.

“The impact of climate change is real. We are the living example of what happens when nature challenges every aspect of our lives,” said Mayor Cruz. “Not only are the immediate effects of a devastating hurricane life-altering, but the crippling effects of its aftermath make us understand that cities must take notice and transform themselves into resilient communities looking for permanent solutions to recurring problems. I am looking forward to the exchange of ideas which will allow us all to build a common path towards saving lives by understanding the challenges of climate change.”

The Closing Plenary is included in the 4-day and 3-day conference passes, or the Friday day pass. Greenbuild registration options include Expo Hall passes and educational one-day, three-day or four-day passes. Additional offerings include summits, workshops, tours and special events.

“It is a privilege to welcome Mayor Cruz to Greenbuild 2018,” said Lindsay Roberts, group director, Informa Exhibitions. “She’s very well aware of the powerful impact of nature when it intertwines with humanity. Our audience will certainly be perceptive to Cruz’s insights on creating resilient and healthy communities for all.”

This year’s Greenbuild theme of Human X Nature describes the intersection of humanity and the built environment. The green building movement embraces all of humanity by making sustainable buildings and environments accessible to everyone, and in doing so, benefits the natural environment around us. For more information on Greenbuild 2018 and to register, visit and follow @Greenbuild on Twitter and tweet hashtag #Greenbuild18 to join the conversation.