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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Sahar Ataya

I am a London-raised, creative-thinking business student with a passion for sustainability through personal efforts. Since February 2015, I have been consuming a fully vegan diet. Being vegan has opened my eyes to a lot of the issues with human over-consumption. I began to focus on maintaining a forward-looking perspective. I learned to value animal welfare and to be conscious of everything that I do. Being vegan truly comes down to accountability. On an individual basis, I know that I am contributing to sustainability and I strongly believe that everyone else can do it too.

Additional Information

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

Sustainability means thinking about the future, while working with the present. To me, it is a way of thinking. Sustainability involves innovation, challenge and ambition. It involves everyone working together because we are all one. We all have one thing in common: we are all sharing planet Earth. To me, sustainability is not necessarily about large development projects, but it’s more about taking simple steps to lead a sustainable lifestyle. Anyone can lead a sustainable life and that is what truly leaves a positive social and environmental impact on future generations.

What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career? 

I plan to enter the corporate world in order to accurately learn how it influences sustainability. This is crucial because the power of business can potentially help to resolve some of the most challenging social and environmental issues. The types of corporate social responsibility projects that big corporations are involved in matter because they have the resources to make a lasting impact. 

Looking into the next few years, consulting is the profession that intrigues me the most because I like solving problems. However, I do not simply want to be a consultant. I want to be involved in issues that I genuinely care about that will create lasting impacts on the societies in which they operate. The way that I plan to incorporate sustainability in my career is through seeking and initiating projects that I can lead to make a direct impact. This can be through pro-bono consulting projects in collaboration with nonprofit organizations that are involved in complex developmental projects.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?  

Two summers ago, I had the unique opportunity to travel to the West Bank. One of the key projects that I was involved in was a community planting initiative in a developing neighbourhood. I spent two days working with locals alongside my volunteer team to plant olive trees for the surrounding community. I was able to see how current resources were utilized to meet present and future generation needs. 

During the last couple of years, I have been heavily involved in Scouts Canada as a Scout Leader where I organize multiple activities with the aim of involving children in their communities. Specifically, I construct events that allows my participants to see the direct impact they can have on society such as community clean ups and food drives. 

Looking forward to this summer, I plan to travel to Tanzania and work with an organization that establishes probiotic yoghurt kitchens. This project leverages the community-hub model and brings economic sustainability to schools and interdependence with the surrounding community.