Community service has always been a core aspect of my personal and professional development. Growing up in a developing country like the Philippines, my parents instilled in me the importance of leveraging my privileges to help others. Consequently, it was natural that I began volunteering at age nine, and since then I have found true purpose and joy in life-long volunteerism. By pursuing the sustainability certificate, I hope to learn how I can apply my business and economics acumen to spearhead sustainable socio-economic development at a local and global scale.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
Initially, my understanding of sustainability was linked to environmental conservation and climate action. However, throughout the years, I have come to understand that sustainability is multifaceted. My personal definition has grown to revolve around the human aspect of sustainability, in particular, the socioeconomic empowerment of individuals. For example, by providing young women with the opportunity to go to school, they are empowered to pursue careers they may not have considered, which in turn empower their communities. In short, sustainability to me is encouraging this exact cycle of change through community investment.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
As a business and economics student, I used to question whether I could work in a corporate role amidst my passion for social impact. However, after working with both local and global non-profits, my definition of impact has since changed. Now, I have a better understanding of the role of business in mobilizing sustainable initiatives.
With the growing interest in social responsibility amidst the decline in government funding for non-profits and sustainability initiatives, the public has looked towards larger corporations with the scale and financial capacity to drive change. Because of this, I wish to pursue a role in corporate social responsibility and drive sustainable change within unconventional industries.
However, regardless of the role or opportunity, I know I will always strive to continue being a lifelong volunteer. Whether it is directly in my professional career, or engaging in pro-bono work, what is important to me is to stay true to my desired purpose of making a positive impact and help others.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
Recently, I had the chance to work as a pro-bono consultant for Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area during Ivey and Accenture’s Community Consulting Project (CCP). This involved generating recommendations to develop a sustainable and effective donor outreach strategy.
In my first year, I had the opportunity to travel and be a part of a sustainable development project in Nicaragua. There I had the chance to assist in building a community’s pre-school alongside community leaders and volunteers, learning the importance of a non-interventionist approach to community investment. I also had the chance to learn about the economics of the coffee and cacao trade from the farmers and communities affected by it, coming to understand the benefits and pitfalls of globalization. In the future, I hope to get involved in more international sustainability projects to develop my understanding of global citizenship.