A Career in Sustainability is in Fashion

By Patricia Kenlon, Manager of Energy and Sustainability at Ann Taylor Stores Corporation, 2009 EDF Climate Corps fellow, MBA Class of 2010, New York University, Member of Net Impact

Please note that the views expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

I’ve often wondered what life after business school would be like.  Would I actually use anything I’ve learned?  Would I stick to my plan of pursuing a career in sustainability?  Would I want to keep in touch with the people I met?  Well, graduation has come and gone, and I can safely say that my summer with EDF Climate Corps helped to ensure that I could answer “yes” to all three questions.

I began business school with professional experience in project management and consulting, and a personal desire to be part of the growing field of environmental sustainability.  I realized the job opportunities in the sustainability space were extremely competitive, and I had to use my MBA summer internship to gain the additional experience I needed to achieve my goal.

As an EDF Climate Corps fellow at TXU Energy, I learned new skills and applied my past experience in an entirely new way.   I was responsible for building the financial case for the energy efficiency projects our team had identified, and also had to make sure these projects made sense for the environment.

As part of my work this past summer, I learned about the best ways to approach different stakeholder groups when discussing the environmental impact of the proposed projects.  This helped me develop the communications skills I needed to successfully partner with vendors of energy efficiency products.  I also became comfortable using key industry tools such as the World Resource Institute’s Greenhouse Gas accounting protocol and emissions calculators.

In short, I gained experience with all of the components of an effective energy management program. I talk regularly with many of the other fellows and everyone seems to say the same thing: our experiences with EDF Climate Corps have given us the tools that we need to help any company achieve its sustainability goals with powerful results for business and the environment.

I’m happy to share that I have recently accepted a position as the Manager of Energy and Sustainability at Ann Taylor Stores Corporation. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue applying what I have learned both at school and through EDF Climate Corps.  I plan to keep in touch with both EDF and the Climate Corps fellows for many years to come, and to continue to search for energy savings wherever they may be.

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