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Mentorship has always played an essential role throughout my life. I was fortunate to be surrounded by many positive mentors – peers and adults – who taught me the importance of sustainability in a world that often values self-serving, profit-driven attitudes above all else.  

At university, I had the opportunity of giving back through several mentorship roles. From leading Western’s Student Refugee Program to coaching entrepreneurs through The LEADER Project, I believe that education has the unique ability to empower students and promote sustainable changes across any geography, culture, or background.  

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

To me, “sustainability” is about meeting the needs of today’s citizens without putting the needs of future generations at stake.  

As a society, we discuss “doing good” a lot more than “doing less harm”; however, if companies and leaders more deeply considered how their actions would affect future generations, the action of “doing less harm” would be just as - if not more - effective than “doing good”. We can no longer afford to tolerate unsustainable decision-making. Educating individuals on sustainability – that is, equipping leaders with the tools to make decisions that benefit the present and the future – is necessary.  

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

I will be joining Accenture this summer to start my career in consulting. As we shift into an increasingly digitalized world, I know that this role will provide the unique opportunity to learn more about the intersections of technology and sustainability. I am extremely excited to interact with different industries, such as the renewable energy space, and innovate their businesses with technologies. As well, I want to recognize that certain advancements do more harm than good and learn how we can limit or replace the use of these technologies in society.  

 In the long-term, I want to pivot my career to work with or create a non-profit focused on providing educational resources. Every individual deserves a lasting and meaningful education - this is the reason that I was a piano teacher, refugee mentor, and business coach. Overall, my hope is to continue increasing the accessibility of education to all curious learners.  

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in? 

  • World University Services of CanadaWUSC is an NPO dedicated to providing education, employment, and empowerment opportunities for youth around the world. Leading Western’s Student Refugee Program, I directly mentored 5 refugee students and integrated academic support and career development programs to help overcome cultural barriers for a more comfortable transition to university.  
  • The LEADER Project: Through the LEADER Project, Ivey students and alumni put their business knowledge to good use by building strong foundations to help entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses. As an instructor, I am excited to use Ivey’s case method and coach Nepalese entrepreneurs this April.  
  • Operation Eyesight: To make a meaningful contribution to the healthcare space, I spent this summer developing proposals for an international development organization dedicated to eliminating avoidable blindness around the world. 

JingJing Yang

JingJing Yang