Skip to Main Content

When I was little, I dreamed about being famous one day. Perhaps like a pop star like Hannah Montana or a movie star like SpongeBob SquarePants. As I grew older, I realized that singing and acting were not for me, but I became passionate about helping people instead. I would constantly volunteer not for any other reason besides wanting to help organizations run their events. I realized that my desire to be famous remained: I aspire to be known for pushing society to a more sustainable future, one where I can help every living being live comfortably and contently.

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

I agree with the Brundtland Commission’s definition of sustainability: practices that meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. At the root of it all, sustainability is a way of life that protects the place that every human in the world calls home: Mother Earth. One might consider their family to be their home, their childhood home to be their home, but when you really think about it, all we ever had is the earth. How could we misuse its resources and bring self-destruction upon ourselves?

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

I finally realized what I wanted to do in life in high school: to implement sustainable practices in society, corporations, and governments across the globe. I volunteered 1026 hours in town events, animal shelters, community clean-ups, marathons, and nursing homes. I find it fulfilling seeing my actions have a positive impact on those around me, and I wanted to continue doing that in my professional career and sought to have an even larger impact. My end career goal is to work in sustainability, whether it be as a sustainability consultant, an impact investor, or even starting my own company to develop disruptive renewable energy technologies or products. I want to change society’s way of thinking so that one’s impact on society’s sustainability becomes second nature. I want it to be a concern to come up naturally whenever someone is considering an action that could harm society environmentally, economically, or socially. I’ve always wanted to be known for something in the world, but I wasn’t sure for what. I hope now to become known for being an advocate for sustainability and being the social, environmental, and economical disruptor of the way society currently operates.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

Throughout high school, I obtained over a thousand hours in volunteering at community events to giveback to the community and promote social good. I then went on to adopt an executive role at a local volunteering group where I contacted and collaborated with town councillors and local not-for-profits to organize events and supply volunteers to help events run smoothly. I also wrote a research paper analyzing the extent that a wave energy project in British Columbia could improve Canada’s sustainability which achieved the highest evaluation from International Baccalaureate evaluators.

At Western, I competed in a sustainability case competition where I pitched a switch of all plastic cutlery on Western’s facilities to 100% biodegradable cutlery alternatives. I won second place and was given the opportunity to present my idea to Western Hospitality and Sustainability staff and discuss the implementation of my recommendation across campus. I am also a member of Western’s Sustainability Leaders Program where I attend seminars on climate change, Indigenous water initiatives, biodiversity and more to expand my knowledge on sustainability. We have also hosted waste education events on Western’s campus to promote proper recycling practices and encourage sustainability amongst Western students.

Gloria Jiang

Gloria  Jiang

Connect with Ivey Business School