Director of Carbon Services, Stok
Leeds enjoys a strong reputation when it comes to the business of sustainability, especially through its Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility. But it was business, not sustainability, that brought Colette Crouse to Leeds.
“My experience has largely been working within organizations that are already committed to sustainability,” she said. “For me, an MBA was about learning to make the business case for sustainability, so I can help clients understand why they should make a particular investment or expand what they’re already doing.”
It’s why she feels she’s found the right fit at Stok, which offers clients expertise in areas like greenhouse gas accounting, regulatory and disclosure frameworks, supply chain strategy, and budgeting.
And her client list may be primed for growth: In March, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a new rule that would require companies to disclose their emissions, the environmental risks they face and the countermeasures they’re taking.
“The field is quickly evolving—one of the things that attracts me to it is not only the opportunity to continue to learn, but to have a chance to evolve along with it,” she said.
Something Colette especially enjoyed about the MBA was the chance to get advice from a mentor; she’s paying it forward as an active mentor to current students.
“I want to be that person for others—someone who can offer practical career or industry advice,” she said. “It’s also important to me that I leverage my experience and position to support individuals from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in advancing their careers in the corporate sustainability space, which hasn’t traditionally been diverse or inclusive.”
Another way she’s doing that is in the classroom itself. She’s taught greenhouse gas workshops to both business and environmental science students, taking her one step closer to her dream of one day moonlighting as an adjunct professor—though she’s keeping both eyes on the prize of moving into new leadership opportunities through consulting or a C-level position in sustainability, “so I can continue to do the work I really love and create impact while still learning and growing.”
For other Business Buffs interested in working in sustainability, Colette said, a flexible approach is needed to keep up with how fast the field is evolving.
“Traditionally, the industry has been forward-looking, focused on climate mitigation and reduction. Now, the conversation is slowly shifting toward what do we do now—because we’re in trouble,” she said. “So climate risk and resilience—not just how we reduce impact but how we adapt—are moving to the forefront, which means new skills and ways of thinking are going to be valued. There will be a lot of opportunities for anyone interested in working in this space.”