Why ‘Tech For Good’? The Challenges Of Corporate Sustainability

Tech for Good and sustainbility

Since joining FounderTherapy almost five months ago, I have sat in many meetings with clients and would-be clients, giving my requisite introduction and spiel about my background. For most people, this is not the most brain-intensive part of any given meeting. For me, however, I always have to think carefully about how I introduce myself and what parts of my background I highlight.

You see, I am on career v2.5, and have worked in so many different types of organizations, industries, and roles that the primary thread is change and adaptation. And this can be confusing to people who like to put you in a box they understand (oh, you’re an engineer!). But the “what” and the “where” of my career path is not nearly as important as the “why”, and it’s the why that has brought me to FounderTherapy, to my current role of Operations & Tech for Good.

The Operations part is easy to understand—I love systems and understanding how to put pieces together in order to make those systems work. That’s the convergence of my left and right brains, the artist and analyst coming together to solve problems.

But what’s “Tech for Good” and why is it an area important enough to quit a perfectly good sustainability job to start all over again in the crazy NYC startup world? Simply, because I am passionate about working on solutions to some of the biggest environmental and social problems of our time, and our existing modes and models for addressing them are not working, or at least not working fast enough.

I started working on these problems at the corporate level, believing that it would be best to leverage the scale of big companies to influence widespread change. Corporations are some of the largest emitters of pollution and greenhouse gases, which makes them also where the biggest concentrated improvement could be made.

But I quickly learned that, while the corporate route can be successful, it’s also very slow. Also, as much (or more) effort is expended on trying to look like change is happening as is spent on making real progress. When it comes to the climate crisis and other environmental and social problems we face, we don’t have time for appearance without real change.

We need solutions now. We need to become entrepreneurs, experiment, refine our problem statements, learn from our successes, and most importantly, iterate, iterate, iterate. Fail fast, pivot, try again and again and again. Only through this kind of nimbleness, creative thinking, problem solving, and dogged determination will we come up with real innovative solutions that can begin to address the problem of climate change.

So I moved to NYC. I’m here to help people who share my passion for solving these problems, and who realize that technology can play a critical role in the solutions. FounderTherapy believes that startups should fail far less often than they do. We could deploy our resources and collective brain power on any of the many startups in NYC and beyond, but I’ve challenged us to think about how we can help startups who are thinking bigger, and more deeply, about how to effect positive change.

I'm a sustainable business expert who specializes in helping founding teams work through strategic and company-building challenges. I work on product strategy and development, as well as operations and process management. I specialize in sustainable tech and "tech for good", and I serve as a Sustainability Mentor for Cleantech Open Northeast, and am a volunteer with Echoing Green. Previously, I worked on emissions management and energy efficiency projects for a large waste and recycling company in the northeast. I have also worked as a sustainability consultant to large corporate clients, including Walmart and Citrix. Prior to my work in sustainability, I ran my own digital fine art reproduction business, launched a city-wide economic revitalization organization, and have taught art, business, and sustainability courses at several universities. I have an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and an MFA in Imaging Arts & Sciences from RIT.