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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Katie Helka

I was raised in a small farm town community where the best and cheapest form of daycare was riding in the tractor with my dad. We were cash crop farmers, but one of the best memories I have was feeding the baby calves on my friend’s dairy farm. My family raised me to be curious, which led me to a scientific mindset and a passion for chemistry. But this curiosity also led to my love of travel and the amazing memories of swimming with stingrays, snorkelling with sea turtles, seeing a coral reef, and climbing a waterfall.  

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

Sustainability is a vast term that encompasses many different aspects of life. My definition always changes as I learn more about sustainability and other’s definitions of the term. Currently I consider sustainability as an activity or event that has a lasting and positive impact. These impacts could be on the environment, on a business or a community.  

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

I see sustainability playing a major role in not only my personal career but everyone’s career. Sustainability is a pillar for any successful business as they need to have a sustainable business model or else their company would crumble. But it is deeper than that as well. Environmental sustainability is on the forefront of most people’s minds, as it pertains to everyday life and not just their professional career. If we, as a global community, do not step up to the challenge of saving the planet, then we will cease to exist, and the human populace always seems to be ready to fight for their lives.  

I will admit though, that I cannot see myself in a career with a company that does not strive for environmental and corporate sustainability. If a company is not aware of its environmental impact and cannot see a failing business strategy, then I would not wish to be a part of their business. Because of this personal choice of mine, I see sustainability holding a major role in my professional career as I want to help heal the Earth and work for a company that I know has plans for success.  

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

To be honest, I have not been involved in any large sustainability projects. My focus has, instead, been focused on making my day-to-day activities more sustainable. In my personal life I ensure that I am using less energy and reducing my waste. To do this I have made small changes since I have been able to, like using reusable containers and bags, and turning off or unplugging unnecessary electronics. However, I am looking forward to when I am to help with larger scale sustainability projects outside of my daily life.   

Katie Helka

Katie Helka