Sustainability Professionals Offer Career Advice
This winter the Sustainability Office, as part of the Dartmouth Green Careers Program, hosted two panels aimed at easing student anxiety and offering insight into how sustainability professionals have formed their career paths-- or rather have let their career paths take the form that life takes them in. On Monday, January 30th, the Sustaniability Office hosted the Young Professionals Panel & Mixer at Casque & Gauntlet featuring Prof. Michael Cox, Whitney Flynn '07 and Tuck '16, and Divyanka Sharma '13. On Wednesday, February 22nd, the Office hosted the B Corporations Panel featuring Karin Chamberlain from Clean Yield Asset Management, John Replogle '88 from Seventh Generation, Steve Voigt Tuck '86 from King Arthur Flour, and moderated by Prof. Paul Argenti from the Tuck School of Business.
The advice shared at the Young Professionals Panel covered several aspects of life after Dartmouth, such as striving to get 8 hours of sleep every night to trying to really tune into what is the function you most enjoy serving within an organization. Whitney Flynn is a strong advocate for working in values-driven businesses (and now even has her own consulting company to help other businesses find their values). We asked her how students can find these businesses? She shared three pieces of advice: read mission and vision statements and identify whether sustainability is part of a company's core values and not just in a separate sustainability report, check certifications such as B Corporations or 1% For The Planet, and read the news and see what companies say or do not say in the media, especially in the current political climate. Divyanka Sharma's story highlights the benefits of a liberal arts education: an English major working with a data analytics company to help countries advance their sustainable development who still writes outside of work. Finally, Prof. Michael Cox urged students to find what truly gives them happiness and emphasized that your job should not be the only source of happiness or unhappiness in your life.
The B Corporations Panel was also a success. The panelists shared thoughtful advice about building companies that put social & environmental values at the core of their mission and about finding careers at these companies. Karin's path took her from a sheep farm in Etna to the Peace Corps in Ecuador to Costa Rica to Tufts and back to the Upper Valley. She describes her path as moving "from farming to finance to financing farming." One of our favorite pieces of advice from Karin was to "let things fall in your lap, but position yourself well so that things do fall in your lap". In other words, students should enjoy the zigzag and not turn away opportunities because they did not fit their planned career path. Steve Voigt's path was led by his values: his value for efficacy and impact led him to consulting for 6 years, his value for work-life balance led him to the Upper Valley and Vermont, his value for employee ownership led him to transform King Arthur Flour and now advise other companies who want to become employee-owned. John Replogle originally meant to go to law school, but was sidetracked by the offer of free jumbo shrimp at a Boston Consulting Group's information session that his friends were attending. Fast forward 20 years and he has not considered law school ever since, but has held senior leadeship positions at Guiness, Burt's Bees, and Seventh Generation. John's four pieces of advice were to: build a strong foundation in your 20s in order to build a great career- "if you feel comfortable, then you are not building", work in organizations that have amazing cultures -"Culture eats strategy for lunch", find mentors, and enjoy the zigzag.
We are very honored to have had such wonderful panelists join us throughout the winter term and know that our students have been positively impacted by their words. We also hope that you, our readers, also benefit from some of their advice!