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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Taja McLean

 

I am passionate about change; I aim to leave a sparkle wherever I go to create the most impact every day. I consistently seek out opportunities that challenge me to make our society a better place. Through my experiences it became apparent that individual action can make a significant difference and I am able to recognize and act upon my belief that business has a high potential to create impact on the world. I hope to work towards providing access to education globally, made possible through my love for learning from a variety of people and ideas.

 

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

In my opinion, sustainability is acting today in a way that ensures the successful function of anything tomorrow. This is a habitual lifestyle routine that involves mindful practices which minimizes the risk to our natural environment and safeguards our resources for the future. This topic is not exclusive to our environment it also encompasses factors such as social and economic sustainability to preserve our resources and make a conscious effort to act in favor of generations to come. In short, it is about balancing, fulfilling the needs of today without compromising our worlds ability to function in the long-term.

 

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

When I envision my future and where my professional career journey will lead me, I truly believe it will entail sustainable development in some sort of capacity. Despite my role I can get involved with the process of making my workplace more sustainable by working towards SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound) goals and trying to engage all employees to gain their buy-in. While change can begin with one person and no action is too small, more impact can be created with a larger group because there is something to be said about strength in numbers. Within my future company I would like to advocate/spearhead/raise awareness about the importance and impact of sustainability through initiatives, goal setting and outside of work events and activities. Thus, I will devote my time and effort to encourage my company to act in the best interest of years and decades when making decisions rather than focusing on the company’s next quarter. Without the preservation of today there will be no tomorrow and there are more factors involved in success then profits or losses.

 

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

On a 19-day volunteer trip to Kenya in the Maasai Mara I immersed myself in the Kenyan culture and lifestyle. This experience enabled me to connect with locals as I worked side by side with them on a sustainable development project, building classrooms, to enhance the elementary school student’s education. While working on this was the bulk of our daily activities, sustainability was embedded in many other areas of this trip. This includes things such as: no cell phone service, limited electricity during cost effective hours for charging camera purposes, in ground bathrooms and no access to running water. The latter is what stood out most impacting showering abilities significantly. Only biodegradable products were allowed to be used and in order to shower the water was warmed in a tin garbage can with a man-made fire. Then water was released with a leaver on a as need basis from a bucket up above with limited water. Outside of this mission trip I implemented sustainability practices within my own life such as: using reusable water bottles and containers, cleaning around the local London community, and buying groceries on a need basis to minimize waste.

Taja McLean

Taja McLean