Welcome to our series of interviews with leading female CSR practitioners where we are learning about what inspires these women and how they found their way to careers in sustainability. Read the rest of the series here.
TriplePundit: Briefly describe your role and responsibilities, and how many years you have been in the business.
Meghan Chapple-Brown: I am the Director for the Office of Sustainability at George Washington University and also Senior Advisor on University Sustainability Initiatives, which means I work with GW’s Trustees, President, Provost, Treasurer, faculty, students, and staff in Facilities, Procurement, Investment, and Development to make GW a leader in sustainability. I launched the sustainability initiative at GW in 2009. I have the privilege of partnering with global corporations, small business, local and global NGOs, and local and federal governments to support the efforts at GW. I also teach Strategies for Sustainable Enterprise to MBAs at the GW School of Business.
Leading sustainability in an academic setting has allowed me to draw on my experience from various other sectors. While at SustainAbility, I was a strategy advisor to F500 companies. I learned a great deal about organizational change, market innovation and stakeholder engagement while working on projects for Darden Ford, Nike, Wal-Mart, Eli Lilly, and others. In the early 2000’s I worked at World Resources Institute and published Beyond Grey Pinstripes – the first ranking of business schools on social and environmental responsibility. While at WRI I worked with business schools around the world, especially in Latin America with faculty from Chile, Brazil, Peru, Argentina. All of that experience was great training for leading the strategy and implementation of sustainability at GW.
Most significant, though, was my work right out of college. In the ‘90’s I started out in Americorps working in community development on the South Side of Chicago. Back before “sustainability” was a field, I built community gardens and started community-based recycling programs in public housing in some of the poorest areas of our country. The intent was to address poverty and provide job training, look past violence and provide a safe space for personal growth, and to build a sense of community, pride, and healthier living. Still today I think this was the most rigorous, yet rewarding part of my career thus far. It prepared me for the challenges I face in my work today by providing me with first-hand experience in personal humility and understanding. Click to continue reading »
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