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Prior to attending Ivey, I was an International Relations student at Western. This experience played a key role in shaping how I view business and where I see myself in the future. As someone who is extremely passionate about the fulfillment of the SDGs, I am specifically interested in how business and social impact can intersect to accomplish the goals by 2030. I have also worked on several student-led community outreach and nonprofit development projects, which have fostered my love of great relationships and meaningful work. 

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

To me, sustainability means achieving balance with our environment. This definition challenges society to ensure that our current human activity does not prevent our natural surroundings from thriving long after we are gone. Inevitably requiring us to sacrifice our overindulgent lifestyles, sustainability also requires us to seek consultation from those who have generations of experience with and knowledge of the land on which we live. We are all responsible for integrating sustainable practices in our daily lives and ensuring that they become commonplace! 

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

Of the three dimensions that sustainability comprises, I see myself building my professional career around advocating for the economic and social rights of young women in developing countries. Whether that be through pursuing human rights law or working with nonprofits and social purpose organizations, I am eager to apply my sustainability knowledge in hands-on settings. My hope to make a difference for communities across borders also sparks my interest in diplomacy or global affairs as working at the legislative level to translate sustainable practices into policy is a goal of mine. 

Regardless of where my career leads me, I hope to keep volunteer work at the forefront of my endeavors. I believe that community building plays a crucial role in the education surrounding and involvement in sustainability projects, and I hope to drive forward my purpose of helping others through my work in this area. 

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

For the past two years, I volunteered with the world’s largest youth-run nonprofit organization, AIESEC. In my role, I created work opportunities in London for international youth and young professionals that aligned with the SDGs of Quality Education, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Gender Equality. AIESEC provided me with the life-changing experience of making connections with students from all over the world who are just as passionate about the SDGs as I am!  

Currently, I am an Associate on the London Social Value Fund, which is Ontario’s first student-led impact investment organization! We actively seek out and invest in start-ups and social purpose organizations with the capacity to make a positive social impact on the London community, sustainability focused or otherwise. The student-led organizations that I have been involved in have repeatedly demonstrated the indispensable role that young people play in making the world a more sustainable place. 

Lastly, I am an ex-officio board member for Pillar Nonprofit Network. During my term, I have engaged in conversations with active members of the nonprofit and social enterprise community regarding ways to blend social equity and economic development – two important pillars of sustainability.

Maya Gandhi

Maya Gandhi