By Rachel Fus, Communications Manager
As March Residency coincided with Alumni Homecoming weekend, it seemed only right that we highlight a guest speaker that is also an alumnus. Adjunct faculty member Kristin York was kind enough to let me visit her SUS6130: Implementation of Sustainable Business Practices class this past Friday and hear from Erin Decker, a Presidio alumna (MBA C10) and Sustainability Manager at Salesforce.com.
After presenting a brief overview of the company, Erin dove into the specifics of her department covering a wide array of topics from their new commitment to build a greener cloud to the challenges of working in a quickly expanding company.
“Along with the incredible growth we’ve had [at Salesforce.com], we also have growth in our carbon footprint and this is a challenge,” said Erin, who showed a graphic depicting the increased emissions that accompanied the additional three thousand employees hired since last year.
Although electricity consumption is Erin’s largest concern at the moment, she says making changes in that particular area is especially difficult because all of the company’s office space and data centers are leased. Still, the outlook is optimistic.
“Maybe you can’t change where you were, but if you can change where you’re going that is a huge opportunity,” said Jason Walter, an MBA candidate as well as a former Salesforce.com contractor on Erin’s team.
One theme that pervaded throughout the conversation was a need to prioritize.
“You have to focus on what really matters or you won’t get anything done,” said Erin, who is one of a three person department. “I think what’s really important is listening to the people in the business centers and discerning what is difficult from what is doable.”
Before departing Erin left the students with words advice for anyone considering a career in corporate sustainability:
“Ask yourself: How comfortable am I with constant rejection and things not being perfect?” said Erin. “Sustainability competes with a lot of other priorities. It’s a fight all the time.”
Many thanks to all of our guest speakers this residency:
• Marisa Mackey - Associate Director of Education at Sustainability Accounting Standards Board- SASB
• Dale Wannen - Portfolio Manager at Harrington Investments
• Cecily Joseph – Director of Global CSR, Ethics & Compliance at Symantec
• Esther Pearl - Founder & Executive Director at Camp Reel Stories
• Beau Giannini - President of Yogavive
• Jeff Cohen - VP of Science & Policy at EOS Climate
• Bill Worthen – Green Building Expert & Founder of Urban Fabrick Design
• Paul Valva – Presenter at Climate Reality & Principal at Valva Realty
• Sona Chillingryan - Life Scientist at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Pacific Southwest
• Patrick Ball, Executive Director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group
Rachel Fus is the Communications Manager at Presidio Graduate School. She’s sad that she is no longer able to eat gluten, but it’s okay because she gets to eat cheese.