Hi, I’m Owen: a business student who wants to use their business education for good! I love learning about new tech; one day, I hope to start a business that leverages technology’s reach and ability to do more with fewer resources to create a more sustainable future. I take a positive approach to every challenge, and I love to collaborate with diverse teams on interesting projects. In my spare time, you can catch me playing guitar (not well), playing hockey, working out, or eating.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
I believe that sustainability is disrupting inefficient and inequitable societal structures by creating innovative solutions that generate the opportunity to create success for society and the environment over the long-term.
By presenting new ways of thinking, or by creating new structures and processes, sustainability is a new era of societal progress that challenges organizations, communities, and individuals to alter their perspectives and recognize opportunities to uplift a wider set of stakeholders over a longer period of time. It is a realization that to truly advance humanity, people must learn how to do more with less and reduce reliance on finite resources.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
I believe there is a tremendous opportunity to merge business with sustainability. With the increasing demand for businesses to act ethically and sustainably, I think that purpose-driven businesses will be the future leaders in every industry. Therefore, in general, success in any business context will necessitate the ability to integrate profitability with sustainability.
As someone with a strong interest in technology, I hope to one day start a business that leverages technology’s ability to do more with fewer resources to help businesses and consumers act more sustainably. To achieve a more sustainable society, I think advancements in technology will play a major role, and I hope that I – in some capacity – can contribute to the growth of businesses that merge high-tech with societal good.
Though I do not have a clear career trajectory planned yet, I know that sustainability will play a major role in any future position I take on. Regardless of whether I will work with a business that focuses directly on sustainability, all businesses in all industries are experiencing a major shift toward more sustainable operations and will need people to lead this change. In my early career, I hope to ensure that sustainability is always a consideration in every business decision.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
This year I have been engaged in several pro-bono consulting projects where I worked alongside social enterprises. In my role in the Ivey Community Consulting Project, I worked alongside a small team to plan, devise and develop an investment framework for the Community Foundations of Canada (CFC). Our framework aimed to help CFC transition a portion of their $6.2B asset base to private investments; allowing CFC to earn greater social, environmental, and financial returns. Our framework is awaiting distribution to 191 community foundations across Canada. Once distributed, the framework will help these community foundations enter the impact investing space and transition a portion of their combined $6.2B asset base to sustainable projects.
Working with the Global Research and Consulting Group as a pro-bono consultant, I helped the Eurasia Foundation transition 17 social enterprises in Kazakhstan to online service delivery during Covid-19. These social enterprises operated across various areas from arts to healthcare, each facing a unique array of challenges, including a lack of financial resources and WIFI connectivity. Through conducting in-depth research, my team and I devised a solution to repurpose un-used community centers into socially distanced free-WIFI hubs for the community to log-in to online events.