Master of Environmental Studies student explores green business possibilities through Organizational Dynamics

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October 30, 2017

“With each class I take, I find what interests me is the tremendous power that business has in shaping our culture. Especially how much it can do for sustainability,” shares Meg Kramer (‘18—expected), a student in the Master of Environmental Studies (MES) program and former marketing and communications executive in the pharmaceutical industry.

Meg stepped away from her career to pursue her passion for the environment. “When both of my daughters went off to college, I made it clear to them that it was important to do work that’s meaningful,” she remembers, “Then I looked at myself and thought I better start walking the walk.”

The interdisciplinary nature of the MES program allowed Meg to explore the intersection of business with the environment. When she took a course in the Organizational Dynamics program, her scope of sustainability shifted. In Global Collaboration for Sustainability: The Food-Water-Energy Nexus in Italy, Meg and her classmates traveled to Rome and Milan where they met with leaders from the United Nations, toured eco-friendly food operations and worked with peers on next-generation initiatives.

Reflecting on the experience, Meg adds, “The thing that hit me right between the eyes when we went to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, was that we came with a distinctly American viewpoint. When the UN representatives talked about some of the issues they are dealing with, they kept saying that developing countries are trying to emulate western society. And I thought ‘no, our culture of consumption is not sustainable.’ Whatever we are doing here, we are influencing everyone all over the world. We have a privilege, a responsibility and a duty to lead the charge for access to fresh food, clean water and renewable energy.”

With more than 25 years of experience in the corporate world, Meg found that another Organizational Dynamics course, Organizational Essentials for Leadership, helped her think about business and sustainable practices more strategically. “I want to frame sustainability with a corporate perspective and help show a company what they can do to address climate change—because there is no business without food, water or energy.”

Looking ahead, Meg is excited to dig into a career in corporate sustainability. “I’m happy to start on the ground floor. I have always been a firm believer that the best way to be a good leader is to get your hands dirty,” she continues, “We have a misalignment of our values as a people. The further away we get from the natural world, we get further away from what it provides—food, water and clean air. With my education from the MES program, I want to help reorient us. I plan to do it through business because business has so much influence and can be used as a force for good."

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