• Collective Wisdom Group is a consultancy harnessing the power of strategic partnerships to help clients contribute to an equitable, green + resilient world

    Led by founder Suzanne Burnes, we bring the experience and credibility you can trust to maximize your opportunities and discover solutions through new perspectives and partnerships.

    Sustainability is all about relationships

    The challenges all around us are complex, interconnected and urgent. For those who can bring together different perspectives in collaboration to create new solutions, opportunities abound.


    We believe that through trusted partnerships with often uncommon allies, we unleash the power of collective wisdom to solve complex challenges and unlock transformation.


    Whether you are working for change in business, government, neighborhoods, nonprofit or philanthropy sectors, let us help you reach out of your comfort zone to identify opportunities for impact together.

  • How We Help

    In addition to supporting special projects and initiatives relating to sustainability, conservation, and education,

    we offer the following services to further your world-changing efforts.

    Sustainability Navigation + Coaching

    Bringing new perspectives, accelerating your on-ramp

    Let us utilize our experience in the complex field of sustainability to guide you in creating relationships and knowledge for success.

    Convening + Facilitating Partnerships

    Finding the right collaborators + structure for impact

    Let us help you set the table, facilitate the conversations and create the right structure to move wisdom into impact.

    Fractional Chief Sustainability Officer

    Ongoing strategy for execution and accountability

    Let us translate strategic opportunity into operational execution, augmenting your internal capacity and coaching your team.

  • What We Do

    Wonder what we've been up to? Here is a taste of some of our exciting projects!

    Norcross Sustainability Planning

    Facilitating creation of the 1st local government sustainability plan in Gwinnett County

    When the City of Norcross achieved Platinum recognition by the Atlanta Regional Commission as a Green Community, it sought CWG support to chart a beyond-Platinum path and fully integrate sustainability into the DNA of the city.

    Our Future Atlanta

    ​Framing a collective impact initiative to elevate quality of life for ALL Atlantans

    Supporting the Turner Foundation and Kendeda Fund, CWG serves as facilitator and coordinator for this multi-partner initiative, helping to build a community coalition focused on civic engagement and green prosperity for all in Atlanta.

    UN Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development

    Crafting a network to accelerate sustainability education across greater Atlanta

    Supporting anchor partners Georgia Tech's Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain and Emory University's Office of Sustainability Initiatives, CWG is facilitating the formation of a regional network of higher ed, business, local government and civil society partners. This network is seeking designation as a UN RCE, further connecting greater Atlanta sustainability efforts with leaders around the globe.

    Energy Equity Toolkit

    Bringing the equity lens to municipal energy efficiency​ efforts

    CWG supported the Partnership for Southern Equity and Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance in building new perspectives, knowledge of energy system inequities and innovative practices in energy equity for the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network. Efforts focused on development/delivery of training curriculum, and curation/synthesis of content for an Energy Equity Toolkit.

    Project Hero

    Building a system to activate kids as ecosystem heroes

    CWG helped Captain Planet Foundation articulate a concept that will support kids around the world in building empathy for the natural world and acting to protect biodiversity. With CWG support, Project Hero built a partnership of more than a dozen national conservation organizations, created and tested a first prototype, and prepared to scale the initiative after Fall 2016 launch.

  • Who We Are

    Get to know our team!

    Suzanne Burnes

    Founder + CEO

    Suzanne brings 25 years of professional experience in conservation, systems analysis and community development to the firm. From her founding of an Atlanta community development corporation, to her consulting for EPA and military leaders, to her leadership in state government creating public-private sustainability partnerships, to serving as executive director of local non-profit Sustainable Atlanta, Suzanne has honed her craft - bringing people together to collaborate for a brighter future.


    She is known for her business acumen; insights and strategic, innovative thinking; strengths in written and digital communications and public speaking; sustainability and community development expertise; as an inclusive convener and a super connector across metro Atlanta change makers.

    Marina Gutierrez

    Strategic Project Manager

    Marina is a driver in enacting change for both for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations. She's a strategist leveraging project management, business development, and research to actualize multiple projects simultaneously in high-pressure environments. She is versatile, reliable, and efficient with over six years of experience.


    As an activist for over nine years, she also prides herself as a community influencer arming social causes with a for-profit attitude to build victorious campaigns.


    Marina balances her Collective Wisdom Group projects with graduate school, as she pursues a Masters in Development Practice at Emory University, finishing in 2019. Her concentrations include climate adaptation, community resilience, and environmental migration.


    Scott Briskey


    Scott Briskey is a veteran public relations counselor with a career spanning more than twenty years. He is known for his ability to develop and implement strategic communications, media relations and engagement programs that yield meaningful results. Clients value his calm demeanor, his deep understanding of the sustainability landscape and his ability to effectively communicate complex issues across a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

    Scott’s engagements include McKing Consulting, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sustainable Atlanta, Edelman, Fletcher Martin Ewing,
    Jeanine Cooper Entertainment and Communications, and Roy Communications. Scott is also a certified crisis communications counselor and graduate of the Atlanta
    Regional Commission Regional Leadership Institute.

  • Founder's Accomplishments

    Sustainable Atlanta

    As Executive Director of Sustainable Atlanta, Suzanne brought her community development experience together with her environmental expertise to build for the organization a new foundation for inclusive, cross-sector collaboration and partnership. She worked to build infrastructure to support a network of metro Atlanta Ecodistricts (district-scale quality of life efforts), and to build community among the growing number of sustainability-focused public, private and civic ventures across metro Atlanta.

    Georgia DNR

    As a civil servant for a dozen years in the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Suzanne was instrumental in launching and leading its Partnership for a Sustainable Georgia (a public-private coalition around sustainability best practice), and ultimately serving as Assistant Director for DNR’s Sustainability Division. Managing teams, budgets, programs, political and funder relationships - it's all in the wheel house.

    SouthStar CDC

    Suzanne’s passion for improving equitable access to a high quality of life led her to serve in the formation and board leadership of SouthStar Community Development Corporation, an organization focused on forward-thinking economic development and land use planning, affordable housing and senior services as strategies to mitigate the impacts of gentrification in southeast Atlanta.

    Other Civic Leadership

    • Wesley International Academy Board of Directors member
    • Atlanta Regional Commission Economic Competitiveness Strategy Livable Committee member
    • Food Well Alliance Advisory Committee member
    • Green Meetings Industry Council and Generation Green of the Georgia Conservancy founding board member 
    • Voluntary business stewardship advisor to U.S. EPA Administrator Jackson


    • 2012 graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership
    • Recognized in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2013 listing of top 50 sustainability leaders in the region
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    We can't wait to hear what opportunities we can help you to seize!