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My name is Tahira and I’m and HBA1 student! I spent my first two years at Western studying international relations, where I gained a deep passion for social impact and the intersection between business and government. Since starting at Ivey, I have looked to opportunities that will allow me to further my business knowledge and leverage it as a driver of social good. I hope to pursue a career in strategy, where I can utilize my passions to encourage sustainability at all levels of the value chain. Outside of school, I enjoy reading, yoga, and trying out new restaurants!

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

My personal definition of sustainability encompasses holistically assessing economic, social, and environmental injustices and working towards creating solutions to alleviate them. While my initial understanding of sustainability was related solely to environmental issues, as businesses are increasingly grappling with the idea of balancing purpose with profit, my definition of sustainability has also shifted. Seeing the intersectionality between women in leadership, income inequality, unsafe working conditions and more has allowed me to recognize the multiple facets that sustainability covers. Rather than seeking short-term gains, sustainability is about making changes to promote longevity and equity.

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

In my professional career, I see sustainability playing a vital part in the types of organizations I choose to work with and the types of roles I choose to pursue. As I have already begun looking into organizations that interest me for full-time employment upon graduation, I have found that reading a company’s sustainability policies and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion have helped my search process. We often hear of large corporations creating meaningless policies which create effects like “greenwashing” and other disingenuous attempts to seem sustainable. I am increasingly cautious about companies’ integration of sustainability policies throughout their organization.

Furthermore, I hope to pursue a career in strategy where I can make an impact. In general, strategy has always interested me as it encompasses several areas of a business internally while also engaging with external stakeholders and market trends to provide value. I believe a career in strategy will allow me to best achieve my goal of furthering business as a vehicle for social good. Sustainability has and will continue to play an increasing role in a firm’s decision-making, and I believe that integrating my passion into my career choice will allow me to make the greatest impact.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

In my second year at Western, I joined a club called Global Research and Consulting, where I engaged with two different international non-profit organizations to provide strategic recommendations to increase their viability. One that stood out in particular was a Kenyan non-profit organization, where I collaborated with my team to provide recommendations to expand their revenue streams so they could continue their vital work for Kenyan youth. From this experience, I became excited by the idea of working to find solutions for complex problems, and I have increased my desire to continue doing so in a space that emphasizes social responsibility. I am also currently working with a Vancouver-based opera part-time that was built on the principles of equity, diversity, and social innovation to provide diverse artists with an opportunity for their voices to be heard, which has been an exciting opportunity!

For my personal development, I also strive to educate myself as much as possible on sustainability issues in business. I attended Ivey Women in Management club’s conference, where I gained perspectives on challenges facing women in positions of power. I also read up on topics that interest me including sustainable fashion and EDI policies.

Tahira Alarakhia

Tahira  Alarakhia

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