15 years of experience in Sustainability and Environmental solutions
Specializing in sustainable sourcing, environmental consulting and waste management
Master of Science, Sustainability Management
American University – Kogod School of Business
Bachelor of Science, Biology: Ecology and Evolution
University of Maryland
Proud Board Member for the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), Recipient of Aramark Young Professionals 40 Under 40 Awards
Practicing backyard gardener (composting, bee-keeping, fruit trees, vegetables, herbs)
What drives your passion for sustainability?
I’ve always been passionate about nature and the environment – that is one reason I pursued an Ecology degree. Through my studies and subsequent jobs, I realized how important it is to approach environmental and social issues together – we can’t protect the environment if we don’t take care of our fellow humans and vice versa. That has led me to think about sustainability as a holistic approach to making the world a better place.
What does a “best day” look like for you?
When I can bring together multiple internal and external stakeholders to solve a sustainability challenge, it’s a great day. For example, we can bring together multiple customers that are striving for the same goal and facilitate discussions and brainstorming sessions to find a solution. Avendra teams then develop action plans that drive progress for multiple customers.
Sometimes companies fall into the trap of focusing on something that, while important, does not make a big impact – for example, finding a more sustainable product that they don’t purchase much of. We work with them to identify categories of actual impact (high spend plus categories that have a big environmental and/or social footprint) and change their purchasing to be more sustainable within those categories.
These are the “best days” for me at Avendra.
What is something each of us can do to be more sustainable?
Food has a major environmental and social footprint so being responsible in terms of our food consumption – think less meat and better meat – and reducing food waste. This is sometimes a challenge even for someone who works in sustainability. I try to approach my personal sustainability as I approach it at Avendra and for our customers: by focusing on where there is impact – reducing food waste for example, and composting what little food waste we have.
Reducing consumption overall, and particularly of things like animal-based products and plastics, is something everyone can practice. Try to buy locally and in season, mainly through being part of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). Also, make sure to research clothes, furniture, and other household products to select more sustainable materials and companies that have high human and labor rights standards.