Graduation Year: 2011 (May)
Major(s): Management, Business Administration
Minor(s): Economics, Coaching
Current Position: Best Buy, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, Sustainability Consultant
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you're working.
I currently serve on the Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability team at Best Buy Co., Inc. Best Buy is a multi-national retailer specializing in consumer electronics and is based here in Richfield, MN.
On the CR&S team, I act as a consultant and project manager to three functions: Carbon Emission Reporting, Electronics Recycling and Environmental Compliance. The majority of my time is spent calculating our carbon footprint, reporting our impact externally through the CDP, and assessing risks and opportunities as they relate to climate change.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
Like most management majors, as junior year approached I wondered, What do I want my career path to look like? What gives me energy? Where do I see opportunities? Everything became very clear after taking Environmental Economics & Intro to Environmental Studies. I started to understand environmental issues as business and economic issues. How businesses MUST learn to operate within the physical constraints of the world-limitless growth in a limited world is impossible. Environmental economics was my vocation, from that moment forward I focused all my energy on finding business solutions to climate change.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Educate yourself and be courageous. Study the science, understand the research, and have the courage to voice your opinion and correct misconceptions. Here's a great exercise: Find a climate denier and win the debate.
What skills are important in your field?
I would say the three most important skills are complex problem solving, effective communication, and creativity. Climate change, environmental issues, and business strategy are all complex subjects in and of themselves; once you start combining them the need for these skills becomes self-evident.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
There are endless CSB/SJU experiences I could draw from that prepared me for a career in sustainability, but at the risk of rambling, I'll highlight two. I believe the overall benefits of a values-based education are incomparable. The values taught at CSB/SJU, the Benedictine Values, have guided my decision making process in all aspects of life; they are my moral compass. At my desk I have the Benedictine Values always displayed and as simple and profound as they are, they actually align very well with many sustainability strategies.
And of course my time abroad with fellow Bennies and Johnnies was invaluable. Traveling is one of the ultimate professors; its lessons are enlightening and lasting.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
What gets me out of bed every morning is knowing that I'm working towards making the world a better place. What keeps me up at night? The fact that the world is a huge place. I cannot expect to make sweeping changes in every aspect of the business in my first two years, but when you can influence a change that benefits others or the planet, the feeling is addictive. It's that feeling that drives me, rewards me, and keeps me wanting more.