I Don't Want to be a Sustainablility Consultant and That's Okay

Written by Marcus MacDonald, with Contribution of Mariya Chugay 

        In March of 2019, Mariya Chugay the incoming President of JSEC at the time asked to meet with me. As we sat on the 5th floor of JMSB she explained to me her vision for the committee for the coming year and how she thought I would fit in with the team. After this meeting I decided to apply for JSEC. I was hired as the Director of Speaker Relations for the Montreal Youth Summit on Sustainable Business and later became the Executive Vice-President. Being on JSEC was an opportunity where I could work with other students that had a similar perspective on how business should be conducted as well as an incredible learning experience.

Over the first few months of being on the team I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. I became friends with people on the team and we organized some amazing events. However, during this time I often felt imposter syndrome. When people join the marketing association, they typically want to become marketers. When people are members of the accounting society, they usually pursue accountancy careers. In my case though, I was on a business sustainability organization but had no intention of becoming a sustainability consultant, or a sustainability integration manager, or work in the field of circular economy. From a young age I had the dream of working within the sports industry and with this career goal I felt like an outsider around my JSEC colleagues.

As I got to know people on the team more, I learned that most people on JSEC had a wide variety of career goals. Not only did we have an array of interests, but our events showcased a diversity in professionals and how they applied sustainability to their job and industry. With sustainability being so broad, you can integrate it into any industry. Sustainability integration is so much more that just a consultant or any other designated sustainability position, its being a sustainability advocate in any role you take on. Its in being that change maker that says, “lets include the opinions of these communities” or “let’s integrate a Sustainable Development Goal”, or even actions like “lets get rid of the single-use plasticware at the office”. 

By the end of the year, I came to the realization that my career goal is to create environmental, economic, and social impact through athletes and the sports industry. The projects and events we organized on JSEC helped spark this realization, and the recruiting, business development, and leadership skills I learned on JSEC gave me the tools to put this idea into action by establishing the Concordia Sports Management Group. 

With current environmental crises, economic struggles individuals are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and social injustices we have seen, we need everyone to be making responsible decisions no matter what job or industry they are in. To address these challenges, it is going to take not only the sustainability consultants but all us to contribute to finding solutions.

We need sustainability champions everywhere and this is why it is okay that I don’t want to become a sustainability consultant.