Marina Dirks, the Principal at S&C North America, a corporate responsibility and sustainability consulting firm, spoke with SUMANI’s Aksheya Chandar about her experience getting to her esteemed position and her perspective on corporate sustainability at large.
Hi Marina, thanks so much for your time today. Why don’t we start off by you telling us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Germany and at some point decided that I wanted to pursue an education in business and economics and quickly got interested in sustainability. I started in 2005, at a time when very limited standardized sustainability management education, like what you guys have, existed. For example, you could study environmental engineering, but it lacked the management perspective. I studied business and economics, and within that field, I tried to do things that have to do with sustainability. While trying to build my business background, I did internships in accounting and business development and worked with multi-national corporations (MNCs). I also tried to apply for scholarships and competitions in the field of sustainability and did an internship with the United Nations. I wrote my thesis on global governance – specifically, about public-private partnerships with the UN. I basically was forced to find creative ways to bring sustainability into my studies since there were no programs on sustainability management offered back then.
Was there a specific area of interest within the broad realm of sustainability?
I think in the end it’s all closely linked, but I was mostly interested in the management perspective of sustainability: How do you shape your business strategy and make your product portfolio to be more sustainable? Basically, general questions which one learns at the business school, from a sustainability angle. I think one of the first theories I learned about within sustainability was Porter’s value chain analysis (Strategy and Society:The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility, 2006) which talks about how to incorporate sustainability into the core business of a firm, instead of only adding corporate citizenship activities on the side. Another paper addressing the sustainability of a company’s business model that I worked with during my studies is Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt. It looks at long-term market trends and looks at how business models might get outdated over time. I find this very relevant for sustainability because I feel it encompasses the environmental, social, and governance aspects of a business and calls for ideas on how to make a business more sustainable. I am very passionate about looking at sustainability from a business perspective. Continue reading “SUMANI Trendster Blog: Interview with Marina Dirks of S&C North America”→
Service Corps provides Net Impact members the opportunity to use their business skills to help nonprofits in their community by engaging in short-term, part-time consulting projects ranging from marketing, to business operations, to strategic planning, and more.
Net Impact members participate in Service Corps to:
-Offer quality business consulting services to organizations that cannot otherwise afford it
-Work with experienced professionals
-Develop and strengthen their relationships with organizations and individuals in their local nonprofit community
-Gain tangible nonprofit management experience
Nonprofits participate in Service Corps to:
-Bring new perspective into their organization
-Receive quality business consulting on projects
-Support development of emerging nonprofit leaders
-Engage volunteers in their organization’s work
The Net Impact NYC Board Fellows program aims to match talented, energetic, and committed New York area professionals with local nonprofit organizations in an effort to increase capacity in the nonprofit sector while providing members with an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. The program brings valuable business skills to non-profits and allows nonprofits to cultivate potential new board members, while exposing Net Impact members to “real life” non-profit management and governance.
Nonprofit organizations are expected to:
-Commit one existing board member to act as a mentor to the Board Fellow, helping them navigate the organization and their responsibilities.
-Include the Board Fellow in all general board meetings and relevant committee meetings.
-Work with the Board Fellow to establish goals and projects that benefit the organization and interest the Board Fellow.
-Complete a post-project evaluation.
Board Fellows are expected to:
-Commit to contributing 5-10 hours per month to the nonprofit organization.
-Attend all general board meetings and meetings of all committees in which the Fellow participates.
-Carry out projects and tasks, and all interactions with their nonprofit, with integrity and professionalism.
-Come to the table with experience and success in leadership positions, and sincere interest in or passion for the cause of the organization.
-Submit a report at the end of their Fellowship, summarizing the impact of their participation for the host nonprofit, and discussing key lessons and takeaways from their Board Fellowship experience.
Click the flyers above to learn more about how to get involved!
This Professional Career Development Workshop is an exclusive event for SCE students and alumni to explore innovative ways to pursue new career opportunities. Join your fellow classmates, alumni, and the schools professional career development team for this interactive workshop with career management consultant, Ellis Chase.
Explore ways to pursue new opportunities and dispel myths surrounding the career search while discussing Mr. Chase’s new book, The Fun Forever Job.
The workshop will be followed by a wine and cheese reception. Each attendee will receive a copy of The Fun Forever Job.
All SCE alumni and current students are welcome to attend.
The flyer says that the fair is only open to engineers and architects, but MTA is opening it up to graduate students pursuing degrees associated with sustainability as well. For those who cannot attend, positions will be online at various times, but all should be posted by the career fair date and remain active until at least May 10th.