NBS Staff discuss their interests, their goals, and what drove them to pursue business sustainability.
What is your official job description at NBS?
I’m a sustainability writer, and I have the best job in the world. (shhh… don’t tell.)
Basically, I get paid to learn from smart and inspiring people.
NBS’s Content Committee identifies new trends in sustainability that are well-supported, novel and high impact. Then, they pass some of those trends to me to create content on.
From there, I work hand-in-hand with passionate researchers to share their findings. I also get to interview determined sustainability professionals, working hard to make real change, and share their stories with the world.
The final output? Written articles and podcasts that give business leaders the knowledge they need to make the world a better place.
See… I told ya. Best job in the world.
(PS…Want us to disseminate your work? Share an idea for review here!)
Why did you decide to work at NBS?
Because I knew nothing about business.
Seriously… When I started here in 2012, I cared immensely about environmental preservation and social justice, but the inner workings of business were a huge blind spot for me.
With a Masters in Environmental and Sustainability, I had learned about pollution, species extinction, colonialism, and social inequality. But I had learned almost nothing about the role of business in creating – and solving! – these issues.
Given that business impacts how we do almost everything in Western society, this seemed like a pretty major blind spot. How could I save the world (or make modest nudges in the right direction), without understanding the force that drives everything?
So, I started here in 2012 and never left.
What are your interests outside work?
I’m also a life coach. In my non-NBS time, I spend a lot of time understanding why people do what they do – particularly the things they’d rather not do (e.g. Do you ever wonder why you keep working long hours, even though you’re desperately craving more downtime?)
I help people re-wire the psychological drivers of these challenging cycles, so they can make sustained change in their behaviours (e.g. I help them scaling back their workload and leave their computer closed at night – and feel good about doing so.)
I’m also a huge family person. My favourite pass-time is 1-1 time with my kids, doing anything from wrestling on the bed, to playing Nintendo Switch.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
You already have 90% of the answers to do whatever it is you want to do.
Seriously. I love research. But I also know that we all have far more wisdom… right now… without any more researcher or study… than we truly give ourselves credit for.
Who- past or present- would you like to invite to a dinner party?
Truthfully, I don’t love dinner parties. I find it hard to connect meaningfully with too many people at once.
BUT… I would invite some of these people to have 1-1 coffee with me:
- Jeff Hicks (Postdoc, University of Toronto): OK, admittedly, Jeff is my brother. But he’s also a great sounding board for anything and everything.
- Frances Moore (an Indigenous issues advocate) and Mariam Waliji (Social Enterprise Program Manager and Coach, Pillar Nonprofit Network): I am early in my journey towards learning (and unlearning) paradigms of racial inequity. Both of these amazing women have given me the ideas (and exploratory space) I’ve needed to become a better ally.
- Jason Jay (Director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan.) Besides being a genuine and down to earth human, Jason also has a great book called “Breaking Through Grid Lock: The power of conversation in a polarized world” which is everything.
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