HBA Sustainability Certificate
Empowering the next generation of sustainable leaders
Sunny is an HBA1 student with a passion for technology and public policy. As a former History major, she is interested in the long-term impact of technology tools on our democracy and society. Her experience in startups, eCommerce, and technology sales lends well to her area of study; she looks forward to leveraging her degree to tackle meaningful social challenges.
Sunny is an avid bibliophile and enjoys skating, cycling, and travel.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
At its core, sustainability is about building models that contribute to the conservation of our planet and the longevity of our communities. It can be about resourcing (i.e. the rate at which natural resources ought to be depleted), or about responsible consumption on behalf of businesses and individuals. However, my personal definition of sustainability extends to the effectiveness of societal models. Lessening inequity, bridging the growing digital divide, and limiting the power of political elites are among the many facets of this subject matter. Sustainability is about economic, social, and environmental progress that does not compromise the future.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
At the start of my career, sustainability was introduced as some of the most important tenets of a modern business. Business leaders are more receptive than ever to work’s environmental, political, and societal implications. For instance, it is now rare for a large company to go without a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), or a sustainability lead of any kind. Crescendo, my first employer, generated its dollars by advising companies on improving their equity, diversity, and inclusion practices. My fascination with sustainability is closely tied to this experience, in learning that businesses are capable of wielding a dual-edged sword – to earn profit and do social good.
Professionally, I see myself as a technology advisor who encourages firms to think critically about their products. Technology has the potential to improve life, but it can also worsen inequities for those who lack access. In the medium term, I want to lead a product team that builds solutions to pressing, global issues. While business operations will remain the core, sustainability has a fixed place in my strategic decisions.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
On sustainability, my primary point of exposure came from business case competitions – many of which were centered around environmentalism, green innovation, and EDI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). In first year, I competed in the social venture case competition co-sponsored by Ivey Social Impact and the Center for Building Sustainable Value. As a competitor on the Ivey Case Competition Club, I participated in a healthcare-sustainability themed competition and represented Ivey at the Wharton Case Invitational on diversity and gentrification. As a member of Front Row Ventures, a venture fund for technology start-ups, I regularly supported investments in eco-tech, urban mobility, and public education.
I was also lucky to be exposed to sustainability regularly at work. At Crescendo, my research on technology ethics supported the company through its inaugural round of seed funding. At PepsiCo, my eCommerce term project moved processes from paper flyers to online platforms – henceforth freeing cash to invest in sustainable initiatives. I also received mentorship from members of the Pepsi Leader’s Forum: a year-long competition centered on plastics reduction and innovative design.
In short, combining business with social good has touched all aspects of my university journey. I am excited to continue my exploration in HBA2.