My name is Cecily, and I am an HBA student, who spent my previous two years in political science exploring the intersections of business, politics and environment. I want to change the perception that successful profit-driven business is incompatible with sustainable practices; but instead that sustainability will drive the future champions of the business world. As a long time, canoe-tripper, I have a deeply developed love for the environment. With these beliefs and background, I hope to pursue a career in sustainable development or strategy and believe the skills I learn through this certificate will enable me to do so.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
Sustainability is the commitment to systems that are beneficial to both the environment and society, durable through change and supported by science. I believe that sustainability does not just entail environmental impact, but social and demographic impact as well, and in fact, they are all interconnected. We as humans rely on the environment to provide resources, places to live and produce, but a wholly sustainable environment is one that nurtures the people in it as well. Finally, at a base level, sustainable systems have a positive, or net non-negative effect on the space (both environmentally and culture that they occupy.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
I have always had a natural passion toward sustainability that I would like to shape my career around. I hope to be an advocate for ethical and sustainable business practices and would like to hold myself and others around me to those standards. For too long have we seen profits trump purpose and I do not believe that encompasses all corporate entities are capable of. Businesses play a crucial societal role in determining what is of value, and I would like to leverage my place as a businesswoman to highlight sustainable values.
In a more specific sense, I hope to pursue two possible fields: sustainable real estate development or ethics and sustainability consulting. In regard to sustainable development, I see the leading cities in the future being those that are powered by sustainability. These are the cities that will endure the effects of climate change and be world leaders in their practices. I would like to encourage the development of environmentally and socially sound housing and commercial projects; buildings and communities that reflect the values of the people who live in them.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
As an avid canoe tripper for 11 years, I have always been enamored by the beauty and power of nature, and from those trips committed myself to sustainable lifestyle. In a more professional setting, I served as the VP Promotional Strategy for Western Student Energy (WSE) in 2019-2020, a club focused on the increased awareness of, and advocacy for the use of renewable energy sources. Given this was WSE’s first year on campus it was imperative to rapidly increase awareness of its presence through accurate and intriguing promotions. This really opened my eyes to the nuances of sustainable marketing and the importance of making sustainability accessible.
Additionally, this previous summer I interned at Diamante Development Corporation, a residential real estate developer in Toronto and Taiwan. In my position I was tasked to research a variety of environmentally friendly construction resources, learning the ins and outs of the carbon footprint of typical concrete and its innovative replacements. Not only did this increase my scientific knowledge greatly, but it also showed me how small, more environmentally friendly changes can be made by every type of corporation.