ALUMNI REFLECTIONS AND UPDATES - CLASS 2005
Kerly Acosta (Canada): Since completing the MSLS programme I started working with British Columbia Institute of Technology as a researcher of environmental applications for green roofs and living walls. The people I work with are awesome, which makes working so fun. I will be climbing roofs in the summer, instrumenting for data collection. And if our funding comes through in the fall I will be helping to design our future research projects. Living in Vancouver is conducive to enjoying the great outdoors in many ways. Skiing in the winter, and just recently I finished my rowing lessons. Now I think I will try out capoera, and see how that goes.I look forward to the summer as I hope to do some hiking and kayaking.
Birte Berlemann (Germany): Following the MSLS programme I went to London for an internship with Forum for the Future, where I continued to build a network for sustainability experts, who want to support the sustainability aspects of the Olympic Games in London in 2012. It was very exciting to find lots of positive energy around sustainability among these people. I will draw on this energy and the experiences I made, now that I'm back at my "home" university in Germany, writing my master's thesis in Environmental Management."
Paulina de Gonzague (Canada): My 'natural step', after M.SLS and my thesis on transformational leadership through systems thinking within US public formative curricula, was to teach youth. Laying a solid foundation is a smart move. After all, a second brain growth spurt occurs just before puberty, connections hardwire during the teen years, and emotion is at the core of self-esteem, morality, and the intellect. I now also teach Korean public school English teachers and university students. Devoting oneself to society definitely imbues life's short perilous journey with meaning. BTH's M.SLS progamme is a rich pathway to humans being more!
Ron Durgin (United States): "For the first time in my life I work with an organization that is value driven rather than profit driven and it is fantastic. Greenpeace is teaching me how grassroots pressure and non-violent direct action can motivate business and government entities to take responsibility for social and environmental injustices. At the moment I am helping to create a self-sustaining office in Los Angeles, California by raising funds, as some of you know it's always a great day for a cookie. Once we have achieved a consistent fundraising model I will help establish a campaign office in LA, hopefully by the end of 2007. Campaigning provides the opportunity to use our regional/national support and our global presence to move organizations towards sustainability. When I left Karlskrona in June 2005 the advice given was to dig in wherever I stood, a year later I'm still digging and it feels like I am in the right place at the right time."
Scott Grierson (Australia). In a professional capacity, I currently wear 'two hats'. I work for a major global engineering firm to integrate sustainability into their core offering to clients (mostly, long-lived infrastructure assets in the water, transport, power and community sectors) and am fortunate to have continuing association with TNS, assisting to grow the presence of the organisation in the Asia-Pacific region. I am also focused part- time on a research project that intends to unlock the potential for life cycle innovation of high volume biomass cultivation using microalgae, combined with high volume pyrolysis processing technology for the provision of petro-substitute oil, gas and char.
Archie Kasnet (United States). I have returned to my roots in Boston, Massachusetts, where I now work for a PR firm in the area of strategic communications. I find I am already applying what I learnt during my time in Sweden - several weeks ago I was asked to draft an energy policy for a Senator with presidential aspirations! This is a large task (!), but having come to understand a principled definition of sustainability, I have found myself well-equipped to envision success and propose concrete steps towards building a sustainable economy.
Renee Lazarowich (Canada). I am currently with Natural Resources Canada, examining the potential for community energy systems in new residential developments. I'm enjoying taking a whole systems approach - including financial, technical, environmental, and regulatory aspects - and seeing the innovation that is happening by both businesses and local governments to bring about change. I'm also lucky to now be working with a fellow MSLTS graduate - it's great to have an ally out in the field and it makes Karlskrona not seem so far away.
Amity Lumper (United States): I find myself truly missing the time I spent at BTH with such a diverse group of fascinating, creative and articulate individuals there for the same reason I was - to build a better world. I'm currently at a consultancy firm in Seattle, working with the businesses that generate the largest amount of garbage in the City, helping them to reduce and ultimately consider eliminating waste from their operations. In smaller, more personal ways I'm trying to live more sustainably and I've even committed to bicycling through the winter!
Kristoffer Lundholm (Sweden): "Since graduating from the MSLS programme I have found myself getting deeply engaged in the area of sustainable innovation. Directly after the programme I finished a masters degree in design during which I became increasingly involved in giving lectures and organizing workshops in design schools across Sweden. This led me to the Forum for the Future, the UKs leading sustainability charity, where I have worked as a sustainable innovation advisor on the innovation team for a couple of years. My experiences from the strategic leadership programme have been invaluable to me in this role as I have had plenty of opportunity to apply many of the concepts and methods practiced at the programme with business partners such as Corus, ICI Paints, InterfaceFLOR and John Lewis Partnership. The combination of systems thinking, strategic planning and organizational change methods have proved very valuable in this context. My latest venture has brought me back to Sweden where I have been working at BTH to help out with the development of the new masters programme called Sustainable Product-Service System Innovation. I will continue supporting this effort as I move to Gothenburg in the fall of 2009 to start up a research project aimed at using service design methodology to develop home-services that contribute to a strategic sustainable development."
Laura McKay (Canada). "The media industries are key leverage points within society's journey toward sustainability, given their role in shaping mass consciousness. With partners across Canada, in 2006, I co-founded the Green Media Institute, an organization mandated to spur the media industries' movement toward sustainability. Already, increased awareness and initial steps have been realized in many jurisdictions, including British Columbia, New Zealand, London, and even Hollywood. In Canada, the GMI is working with several partners, including the National Film Board, to deepen the industries' commitment and engagement.
Upon graduation, harnessing the power of visuals to communicate compelling stories, I drew upon past experience to co-found a film production company called Treadlight Media, engaging clients like the Hollyhock Leadership Institute, the Shambhala Institute and the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition to make short films about their sustainability innovations. The Masters program has both inspired and informed the work I am currently engaged with, and I use the language of framework on a deep level in everything I do."
Renaud Richard (France). Since the end of the programme, and currently, the co-director of The Natural Step (TNS) France, it's quite easy to see how helpful that programme was for me. It provided me with:
- in-depth understanding of the TNS Framework,
- the organisational change knowledge, theories and examples I need to be efficient in my work,
- and the network, and personal communication abilities which are vital in my role as a trainer, a consultant and a coach.
In the last few years, The Natural Step France has helped local, national and multinational companies to move forward strategically and systematically towards sustainability. We've also had awareness raising and educational actions, as well as internal contributions in the development of the TNS International network.
Syaliza "Siti" Mustapha (Malaysia): I'm working for the Malaysian Timber Council and was recenty part of the Malaysian delegation to the 39th session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) in Yokohama, Japan. As part of an advisory group, I have initiated an international discussion which will be held in Mexico in May 2006 on timber market and procurement policies. While I understand the reasons behind procurement policies that (only) favour certified timber from "sustainable" sources, these policies at the same time are killing small industries in developing countries and giving more edge to already rich, multi-national companies - it's a tough line to walk. I'm really looking forward to contributing sustainable, balanced, strategic recommendations to the discussion.
Alvaro Pureza (Brazil). If we observe nature we can see that it has its own 'plan' of changes that has very little to do with our own artificial constructs of time. For instance, the leaves in the trees do not come out just because the 'official' spring has started - all the natural conditions have to be right for that to happen! After Karlskrona I returned to my job here at Promon, a civil engineering firm in Sao Paulo, and soon realised that like in nature, I had to wait for the right conditions to bring sustainability issues into the company's strategic planning - at least with a strategic framework in place I can make a real difference and begin to manage the complexity of the task.
Benny Sindowe (Zambia). I am now working with the Zambia Electricity Company where I am a Senior Human Resources Officer under the Industrial Relations and Corporate Services Department. In a nutshell, I am responsible for managing employee welfare at a corporate level. The Government has finally launched a rural Electrification Authority and I am positive about working towards a sustainable solution given that my group thesis was based on rural electrification in developing countries.
Tomomi Takada (Japan). A year in BTH was a really exciting experience for me, not only learning about sustainability from new perspectives, but also working and exchanging ideas with classmates from all over the world from various backgrounds. Currently, I am engaged at a construction company, which will create the first eco-village in Japan. As I focused my thesis research on "Community Sustainability Entrepreneurs", I'm trying to bring this concept into action at our eco-village, Kobunaki. I am planning and organising seminars for local residents and potential entrepreneurs to strategically move the community towards sustainability!
Jennifer Woofter (United States). I've had some success with starting my own business, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. Drawing on my previous experience with corporate social responsibility and the Karlskrona program's emphasis on a strategic approach to organizational planning, I've decided to focus my attention on "sustainability through accountability"--a theme I started with my thesis on the connection between sustainability reporting and corporate governance. Looking back I realize that a real treasure of my year in Sweden was my classmates. I'm happy to say that I've kept up with many of them, and frequently draw on their advice and expertise. I'm so glad we're out in the world together!
Heather Worosz (Canada). The MSLS program was a life changing experience for me, opening my eyes to systems thinking and a real understanding of what is needed to work towards sustainability. Since leaving the program, I feel grateful to have become part of a growing global MSLS Community of Practice of strategic sustainability thinkers and doers.
I have been working with The Natural Step International based out of Stockholm Sweden since graduating with the first pioneering class in 2005. It is fantastic to be able to do work that is meaningful and aligned with my values in partnership with amazing people from all around the world. I am currently leading the development of The Natural Step Academy, an innovative learning and knowledge creation forum for strategic sustainable development.