Sustainability Through an Intersectional Lens: How Brands Can Resonate with the Next Generation of Talent

Jennifer Brown | |

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Jorge Luis Fontanez, Acting Head of Partnerships at the storytelling platform NextDayBetter, and Clinical Professor of Marketing at the Bard MBA in Sustainability Program, joins the program to discuss how and why business can be a force for good, and the changing expectations of consumers and employees. Jorge also discusses the work that NextDayBetter is doing to rebrand migration, and why it is vital for senior leadership to seek the wisdom of their diverse talent when developing corporate policies.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • A childhood experience that informed Jorge’s appreciation of language (3:00)
  • The consequences of the changing political environment (13:00)
  • Why employees are feeling more empowered to take a stance on social change (20:00)
  • How and why business can be a force for good (22:00)
  • An emerging tool to measure corporate sustainability efforts (29:00)
  • The challenges and opportunities of AI and machine learning (32:00)
  • A crucial evolution for brands (37:00)
  • Why senior leaders need to learn from their employees (39:00)
  • The increasing need for agility and responsiveness (42:00)

Listen in now, or read on for the transcript of our conversation:

JENNIFER BROWN: Jorge, welcome to The Will to Change.

JORGE LUIS F.: Thank you, Jennifer. It’s great to be here.

JENNIFER BROWN: I’m so happy to have you here. We have connected through an amazing agency called Sparks & Honey where we were on a panel together, right?

JORGE LUIS F.: That’s right.

JENNIFER BROWN: Yep. They are a future trends agency. I know you and I both just love that whole subject so much. You teach on it literally as a clinical professor of marketing at the Bard MBA in sustainability. You are literally a professor that is shepherding students forward into the world to help create more sustainable business, which is a passion of mine and something I think about, particularly as it pertains to healthy workplace cultures where we can all bring our full selves to work. I know you have a lot of opinions about that.

JORGE LUIS F.: Yeah, I’m glad to bring our worlds together.

JENNIFER BROWN: I know. I love it. We always begin with our personal story. Yours is multifaceted, and I am still putting it all together, because it’s so rich. What would you share with our audience to ground us in how you identify, your history and whatever you’d like to share about that, and how does that animate the person and the work that you do today? How do you carry those early experiences and your identities forward? How does that inform your passion for what you do today?

JORGE LUIS F.: Sure. Yeah. Today, I identify myself as an Afro Latinx queer affirming voice of the Puerto Rican diaspora-

JENNIFER BROWN: Love it.

JORGE LUIS F.: … which is a lot of words to describe the multifaceted journey of the life that I’ve lived. I would say there’s an anecdote that, actually, I need to start with, which is being in kindergarten and having my teachers, in fact, have me write my name as G-E-O-R-G-E instead of J-O-R-G-E, which actually had a profound impact on how I related to my peers. Because my, I would say, activist mother at the time went to school and corrected the spelling of my name, but in the kindergarten, effectively, the other kids were already calling me George. For 18 years of my life, I went by George, and it wasn’t until college that I made an intentional move to rebrand myself as Jorge Luis, my given name from my parents.

My story is very similar, I think, to others. I’ve met other Jorges in me life who say that they share similar experiences. So, part of my personal journey in adopting these terms, these ways of identifying my culture and ethnicity and groups is a reflection of my own journey and embracing myself fully, which is I think what we, we, you and I, intend to have lots of people do to reflect themselves fully in their workplace.

That also doesn’t come without needing to have conversations even within my own family. The Puerto Rican diaspora has a rich heritage in African culture, in European culture, in Asian culture, and in indigenous culture. Oftentimes, when other Puerto Ricans or even members of my family, see how I self-identify, it opens up a conversation about honoring all of those aspects of our heritage and being able to understand how much of the ways in which we are perceived in the world can be both based on our phenotype, how we look, but also how we purposefully choose to identify.

I’ve seen a varying range of responses. Also being an LGBTQ identifying person, the Latinx, the X part of that word is also intentional. It’s intended to be inclusive. That’s where we last had this conversation at Sparks & Honey, which was what does it mean to be Latinx? How is culture evolving? And I love this conversation that I think brings us to recognize that it is in language that we can begin to start a movement. Yeah, those are all the ways in which I identify. I’m still learning how to navigate spaces in a way that’s inclusive of others and opens up conversations rather than creates barriers.

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. I’m sure you are very effective on it, just the fact that you acknowledge you’re on your own journey as specific as you are about identity and as much of, I’m sure, a trailblazer within your community as you are you, at the same time, acknowledge how much you and I have to learn, which is so true.

JORGE LUIS F.: Yeah.

JENNIFER BROWN: But you’re right. That language is so powerful. You and I were talking about Hispanic Heritage Month which we’re in the midst of right now, September to October. I had asked you is that the correct and latest term that we should be referring to the celebration with. We got into a really interesting conversation. I still hear the word minority in some of the circles that I run in, and I try to correct it, but I wondered if you could, for our audience … Not correct it. It’s more that it’s a word that’s been used, I think, historically, however is not as helpful now as it might have been. Arguably, maybe it was never helpful, but now we have much more specifics to refer to different communities. I wondered, what do you prefer to use and why?

I love what you just said about the X. You said X is the inclusion of the non binaries, which we are in a non binary moment right now, in all things. I love that. I love that. Tell us a little primer on language and what is the latest ways that we can be the most accurate and respectful and informed about how communities who want to decide … We want to decide what we’re called. Communities get to decide what they’re called, and then we follow suit.

JORGE LUIS F.: Right. History matters here. Part of what I think about when I think about Hispanic Heritage Month is its origins. My memory is that of, I think, in the Reagan Era, effectively, Hispanic Heritage Month was declared. There was a relationship to the census in the way that the US was identifying the Latino population in the census. Long story short, Hispanic Heritage Month was kind of declared and born, and a lot of brands have adopted that framing, which I think has served a role for cultural enrichment, particularly within organizations where Latinx culture is not well-represented or where there’s an interest to improve cultural competency.

So, I link the opportunity to have there be a month to celebrate with one which that engages the public as well as employees in good conversations. To me, I’m actually … I wouldn’t say … I think we need to adopt the language that people are comfortable with, so I am using Latinx more today than Hispanic heritage. In fact, I was asked the same question yesterday by members of my church. Which one should we be using? As we honor … We actually had a service for Puerto Rico yesterday, which I can tell you more about.

But I think my point is that these celebrations, these events, offer an opportunity for conversations, and I think that is where a lot of the value comes in. I think that, for employees within firms, what is better is that policy begins to align with those conversations. How are the Latinx employees values aligning to company policy? Then, how do we continue conversations outside of just the month?

I think some will see these kinds of events as sort of culture washing, maybe, kind of co-opting cultural opportunities or events throughout the year, rather than align authentically to the way that a brand actually works within the community. I think the two need to be in check.

I’m a fan of Latinx, because I think that the language is evolving, and the Spanish language inherently is gender-specific. It’s gender bifurcated. I think that’s part of the challenge that’s happening within the community. I think outside the community, I think to the extent that these events are also, or these celebrations, are happening, I think we should be thinking about how do we use those as opportunities for conversation and cultural enrichment.

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. I think that’s well said. In DEC, you called it de-gendering your Spanish vocabulary, which is very difficult, right?

JORGE LUIS F.: It is.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s an interesting challenge in and of itself. So, tell me a little bit more about the ways that employees are making their values known to their employers. You referenced an accountability that’s now, I think, taking center stage between employees of a lot of different identities and the behaviors and actions of the company that they work with.

So, tell me a little bit … And this does dovetail with your sustainability conversations, because you and I know a company’s actions matter more and more on the sort of social issues of the day, the political issues of the day, and where they make their money and with whom.

I think more and more there’s scrutiny around that, and there’s accountability for a misalignment of values between the employees and what’s important to them and how the company then goes into the marketplace and makes its money. It used to not really be very transparent, and I don’t think employees had the voice that they have today. So, how is that evolving? What do the front lines of that look like?

JORGE LUIS F.: I do think that the macro or the political environment is changing, and there are a couple of examples that you and I have talked about related to issues of immigration and ICE specifically and then another one related to climate. We have seen at Amazon, for example, employees advocating for the company not to be engaged in technology, i.e., in this case, web services that support the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the federal government.

Increasingly, we’re seeing that at other companies like Google as well, employees desiring that companies so that their employers basically walk away from those kinds of government contracts that are facilitating, for example, separation of families at the border. We subsequently saw at Wayfair employees understanding that that company was supplying cots to detention centers where children were sleeping and there essentially being a backlash from employees not wanting to participate in the kinds of conditions that the federal government has been holding children and families in those centers as well.

To the extent that, outside of these organizations, activists who have been on the front line historically are not seeing a lot of impact. There have been, I think, some movement of employees to find how they can respectfully, and in some ways by mitigating the risk of losing their own job, be able to influence what’s happening on these social issues.

I think one of the more interesting examples for me was how far Amazon employees have taken to the position around climate change so far as to issue a climate change proposal to the last shareholders meeting, which didn’t actually get accepted, but that lever, that agency being exercised by employees, I think is the kind of example that we might see more employee resource groups begin to gain energy around.

Even since then, Amazon … That shareholder proxy was signed by 8,000 employees, which is significant when you think of the size of these tech companies, sort of headquarters-wise, but also, up until last week, the employees were staging a walk-out. 15,500 had pledged to walk out a day before Bezos announced that the company would be moving to a carbon neutral position by 2040, I believe, largely with an autonomous vehicle fleet.

So much is converging right now. I think climate and climate justice, related to social issues, are becoming increasingly connected. These are not independent issues. Within the tech sector in particular, I think employees are understanding that they have a power, perhaps unlike they did at any other point in history, because 8,000 people within Amazon is a significant number. If that many people on Facebook had taken to petition the company, I’m sure we would see even more change, because that would have been more than 60 or 70% of the company, in headquarters anyway.

JENNIFER BROWN: So, the perceived penalty, or the real penalties of speaking up … I think this is … There’s a fearlessness amongst perhaps generational cohorts, too. I think that this is probably incredibly fueled by the younger, more intersectional population of the workforce. Is that a true assumption, or are we seeing this kind of activism across the board in terms of generations at work?

JORGE LUIS F.: I think there are a number of studies that demonstrate evidence of a shift in generational thinking and acceptance around these issues, whether you’re looking at, for example, the Edelman Trust Barometer to understand that we are at all-time low levels of trust in our institutions and that the public writ large is looking to business and CEOs in particular to lead.

From a generational standpoint, I actually just read a study that is published through the Tent Foundation on issues of refugees. There’s a professor that I just recently met with at NYU who helped to delineate how baby boomers versus their millennial counterparts perceive issues of refugee settlement in the US. What was interesting about the data is, even in politically ideological sort of spectrum of groups, conservative versus progressive, baby boomer versus millennial, there’s a strong correlation there. But framing matters a lot. How we talk about these issues, the role of media in educating the public on social justice issues, really do play an important part in terms of how people respond to a brand’s engagement in an issue like immigration.

Yeah. I do think that, if employees are finding their own agency and permission to do this, because they have a social capital that perhaps they didn’t see before … Maybe that’s because the competition for talent is so fierce, particularly in tech. So, if you work at a company, you feel like you have more agency. But I think that the demands on the workforce haven’t changed. The risk to your financial security, the risk to having there be any repercussions inside the organization, I think are still real and being kind of navigated carefully by some of these groups now.

JENNIFER BROWN: Also, you work with your students. I was asking a bit about what cohort they’re in. They’re early 30s perhaps average. I wanted to know what their attitude was as they came into the program about capitalism, about big companies, like the ones that you’ve mentioned. Then sort of do they … If they come in with a strong, say, anti-capitalism bias, do they equally see large companies as a potential force for good? Where do you try to steer them to? Because I’m sure that they’re hopeful, they’re optimistic, they’re passionate. They certainly are strong voices for activism on all fronts. We see that.

Then that sort of crashes into the corporate world, in my experience, to the extent where … You know the stat that LGBTQ young employees go back in the closet when they start some of these jobs, just to give an idea about speaking up and using your voice and bringing your full self to work. It’s all well and good for us to say that is a goal, but you’ve got young people who, I think, embody this passion for change. I’m not sure they’re finding the most hospitable place for it with the companies they end up working for.

When you equip this cohort to go forward into sustainability jobs, which where this stuff is going to come up, how do you steer them to balance the want to use their voice with a need to survive economically and change their institutions from the inside out and manage their own risk, I suppose?

JORGE LUIS F.: Sure. Yeah. I think a few things. First and foremost, Bard MBA is a business degree program. So, we are educating and giving the skillsets to the next generation of future business leaders who we believe are having to, and will need to, not just navigate these issues of climate and social justice that we’re talking to, but live in a more pluralistic world where their employee base will be more diverse, where we increasingly expect that women will be in leadership. You and I talked a little bit about some of the work going out of PWC and strategy-

JENNIFER BROWN: I love that story. Tell us about it.

JORGE LUIS F.: Well, yeah. What does a future CEO look like, and what does she have to deal with? She is likely needing to consider not just impact but resources in a world where we have an increasing amount of data that is connected through the internet of things, that is helping us in this surveillance economy become more efficient about the way we spend our resources.

On the flip side, we’re having to become data scientists and understand what to do with that realtime data and how we manage our business, but also maintain trust and also create a strong, inclusive corporate culture that is able to retain the kind of talent that we expect to be working in the next decade or two.

So, at Bard, I think the perspective is business is a force for good, that there is a belief that often we have as great a potential, particularly in the framework of the sustainable development goals, to have business be a force for that change. I’m sure you are inspired as much as I am by Greta Thunberg and her speech last week, which was less than five minutes long.

JENNIFER BROWN:Wow.

JORGE LUIS F.: I’m still struck by how, in her passion and in her voice, she was able to deliver a message with such urgency and passion that … I think that’s where … You asked about my students. I think that’s where even the next generation has a consciousness that we have not seen before.

In Bard, within the program, we’re looking for that urgency. We’re looking for those opportunities for their business models to change in line with these issues, not necessarily in lieu of profit but certainly in favor of mitigating longterm risk and knowing that not accounting for these issues in the longterm does have a significant negative impact on the bottom line.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s right. Well, that’s really encouraging. I am positive diversity and inclusion workforce issues must come up in your room. How do you believe D&I will be measured and is being measured as part of sustainability indices. It’s really the whole ESG field, which is environmental, social, and governance, is beginning to measure diversity and inclusion metrics as part of whether a company is a solid investment, is a going concern, is a company that will be around for a period of time, versus kind of burning through people and culture as fast as they can to make a quick profit. The question of sustainability doesn’t just apply to the earth’s resources, but it does apply to people resources.

JORGE LUIS F.: That’s right.

JENNIFER BROWN: You’re no good if you continue to lose people as quickly as you can bring them in.

JORGE LUIS F.: That’s right.

JENNIFER BROWN: How is that talked about in your classroom? How do you encourage them to think about it? I would love to know which indices are really taking a harder look at D&I as a measure of sustainability.

JORGE LUIS F.: Sure. My course is framed as stakeholders and marketing. So, the lens of sustainability is built into our core courses. The way in which I like to frame the opportunity is that marketers as well as senior leaders increasingly need to look at the value chain of stakeholders. Customers, yes, but also understand how employees contribute to the brand equity along with suppliers and investors in the broader community. So, those five stakeholders effectively make up the modules of the course. I think there are certainly a couple of voices we need to give credit to right now, and we’ll see how quickly they move.

But first, Larry Fink has been an outspoken voice in the space as an institutional investor and beginning to have conversations with the senior leaders about how to manage and account for and measure human capital and requests longterm plans around diversity and inclusion and wanting to build that into the financial model and capitalization of the company. Most recently, the Business Roundtable, led by my former CEO, Jamie Dimon, also coming out and saying that shareholder privacy is no longer the objective, but that we need to be looking beyond that and account for the impact of business on other stakeholders. It feels like-

JENNIFER BROWN: That was powerful.

JORGE LUIS F.: It was powerful.

JENNIFER BROWN: Was that a big thing, or was that just window dressing? How did that feel to you?

JORGE LUIS F.: Well, it feels like a tipping point. Some will say it’s too late. I think that, right now, there’s skepticism, because this seems to be a reaction to things like the Climate Report and movements like the Climate March. So, certainly we will need to hold our leaders accountable and see what does effectively change.

You asked about tools. So, I know that JUST Capital is the equivalent of what you and I know very well, which is the Corporate Equality Index, created by the Human Rights Campaign. I think that JUST Capital is setting up a model similar to CEI that could help companies, because this is their approach … They’ll do a third-party evaluation of the companies’ publicly available information, similar to other indices that we’ve seen like the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as a starting point. It’s a baseline. Then being to look at policy to try and close those loops. So, I think that JUST Capital might be in a really good position to become an industry standard for conversations around social justice issues.

The other thing I want to mention is that this year has been a slow-moving year for tech policy, and Congress’s response to potentially regulating tech. But we did have our first hearing in March of this year, a hearing before the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce. That’s worth folks looking at testimony from both frontline advocacy groups but also some social change agents from within the company who also testified about issues of bias in product development, issues of the tech pipeline, as well as just general discrimination in the workplace and what it’s going to take to move the needle on those issues.

JENNIFER BROWN: Right. I love that we’re seeing that accountability. You and I talked about the topic of bias in algorithms and machine learning supplied by Google, for example, the direct police and court systems to determine sentencing and with very different outcomes for, say, white defendants versus people of color, and the sort of length of sentences. That made such an impression on me, that we have to really question the engines that are building these algorithms and the impact, unintended consequences, I suppose, but I would say it’s unintended only that it was not paid attention to in the design of algorithms.

They are, at the same time, potentially life-changing and saving, but they’re also potentially very biased, depending on who is designing them and where they’re applied. We know that they could be very dangerous if we don’t view the design of them through a diversity lens and make sure that whoever’s at that table is representative and is watching out for some of the issues that we know and we pay attention to. Otherwise, it’s just going to replicate bias in a sort of exponential way, which is-

JORGE LUIS F.: Sure. Sure. Certainly, yeah. With the onset of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can see that risk. The one example you mentioned I think COMPAS is the company that was referenced in testimony by Mark Lucky, who was formerly at Facebook. He worked at Twitter and Reddit before. That was the software that judges were using in sentencing that oftentimes classified black versus white defendants at two times the rate of … Yeah, yeah.

So, we can see some of the dangers and sort of the risks in how not having a diverse engineering group or even just an informed product stakeholder base can affect these kinds of tech-led solutions, as well as simpler things.

I came across an example of how Amazon Prime in its initial launch actually excluded a number of zip codes from black neighborhoods. It’s since been course corrected, but why were these largely black neighborhoods not initially included as serviceable by Amazon Prime?

Yeah. I think we can’t prescribe intent when we look at how these solutions come together, but certainly, when we have a more representative group of people designing products, we can perhaps expect that asking more questions will lead to better solutions in the end.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s right. As long as the right voices are at the table and those questions are actually heard and heeded, right?

JORGE LUIS F.: Correct. Correct. Right. That matters to, the followup of the institutions-

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah, that matters too. We’ve got to see it all the way through.

JORGE LUIS F.: … also matters. That’s right. That’s right.

JENNIFER BROWN: It’s so true. I want to talk … Switching gears just slightly, because I know that it’s all related for you and your work. But I want you to explain the rebranding of migration that you’re working on. I thought it was so fascinating, the organization … You lead partnerships for NextDayBetter, and it’s storytelling platform with a mission to rebrand migration. This is a really personal thing for you, but tell me what is this all about, what are brands and community organizations alike, offering to diaspora networks and community of color whose voices have been historically marginalized. What is the opportunity there to … What don’t we yet understand as well as we should about that opportunity?

JORGE LUIS F.: Yeah, thanks for asking. Yeah. I’m the acting head of partnerships at NextDayBetter. NextDayBetter does exist as a social enterprise with a mission to rebrand migration. First and foremost, we say that migration is a condition of humanity, that we have been migrants on this planet since the beginning of time. So, how do we begin to center the voices of migration today in a way to both empower them but also to shed light on the issues that matter to them as well?

I’ve worked in multicultural marketing divisions at my prior companies, and I would say that the way we’re talking about diaspora marketing is the next evolution of that. It’s understanding that our trusted sphere of influence often is not just race or ethnicity or even geography bound, meaning just my local neighborhood or state, but that we are very interested in how people who are first and second generation, living in the US, in particular, so migration to the US from countries like Puerto Rico where I’m from, how their relationship to each other but also to brands evolves over time.

I grew up as someone who lived in two worlds. I grew up in Philadelphia, but I was in Puerto Rico up until the age of 20 every summer or every other summer with my family. Having that kind of connection to the place of birth for my parents has always been a really important thing for me personally, but my experience with brands like Goya, for example … I still have in my pantry.

So, how does and what was the role of Goya today, post Hurricane Maria, in helping to provide food for families? My understanding is they actually did a really formidable job of trying to fill the gaps where federal help was not being provided and working along celebrity chefs like Jose Andres on the island.

Trying to connect these issues back to where we started … What’s happening in Puerto Rico and what has happened, not just post Hurricane Maria but in the decade prior where we’ve seen the largest migration due to economic austerity measures, is partial to policy but of course, because of climate change, the US is likely to see more displacement of its people. We saw it in Katrina. We’ve seen it in Houston. Increasingly, the same communities that are vulnerable to flooding and hurricanes are also oftentimes without resources and are communities of color.

I think we are at a moment right now where brands who have employees in these communities, whose consumer base can largely be affected, really do need to be thinking, not just about how to help but how to build their strategy to connect long-term with some of these issues so that they can even future-proof their own companies.

We saw pharmaceutical companies flock to Puerto Rico with the advantages of tax policy and then flee once those advantages were gone. Then, subsequently, we’ve seen both outages and pharmaceutical supply as well as the price of many of … Many of the pharmaceuticals that we purchase either become not available or increase in price because of the costs of doing business on the island.

Average consumers are getting smarter about how these systems are connected. I think that is the opportunity for brands just to try and get ahead of it rather than be reactive.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s right. And for employees to push that conversation-

JORGE LUIS F.: Yes, absolutely.

JENNIFER BROWN:… given their direct knowledge of where the company does business, how it does business, and the longterm relationship that the company should be building with communities all over the world. Yes.

JORGE LUIS F.: Yes. Yes. If employees are in fact our representative sample of the community, then senior leadership has the opportunity to take advantage of that. So, rather than look at employee resource groups, if that’s where these employees live as just a cultural kind of lever, but really look to them towards policy, I think it’s an opportunity for senior leaders as well as allies to step aside and let those folks vocalize what could be most meaningful to the community.

JENNIFER BROWN: I would love to see that in so many ways on so many issues, actually. I always talk about reverse mentoring and flipping the script and the hierarchy, because the knowledge we really need to thrive in the VUCA world … I’m sure you talk about that all the time, volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous. VUCA.

JORGE LUIS F.: Yes. I like that acronym. I’ve never heard that before. VUCA.

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah, it’s actually a military term, but it’s perfect for business, because-

JORGE LUIS F.: I like it.

JENNIFER BROWN: It’s chaos. It requires total agility and responsiveness to a really rapidly changing world. I think a lot of leaders who have done business as usual and are not on the front lines I think actually lack the frameworks and the sense of urgency and the perception of what is actually happening and changing right underneath their feet and how the company needs to show up in the world differently.

The very concept of being a business in this world is changing. My belief is that the younger demographic in your workforce knows exactly all about this. It’s just that the leadership is sort of five steps behind and not listening, perhaps not bringing the right people to the table, not hearing that, and not taking it seriously and letting it direct the strategic priorities and the footprint in the world.

So, anyway, I just love this. Your work is awesome, Jorge. I know you and I are actually in a fireside chat. I can’t wait. On October 17th?

JORGE LUIS F.: Yes. I am so looking forward to having you with our community at Bard MBA and talking about the promise of sustainability and employee activism where we can maybe share a little bit more about how we’re thinking about the levers of change from inside and outside the organization. Yeah.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s right. I cannot wait for that conversation. It’s on October 17th. I will be sharing about it on social media.

JORGE LUIS F.: Great.

JENNIFER BROWN: It’s here in New York, 150 Broadway.

JORGE LUIS F.: Yes.

JENNIFER BROWN: The title is The Promise of Sustainability and Employee Activism, as you said. So, we’ll be talking about trust in institutions being on the decline and how employees are actually leading the charge, like you talked about today, staging walkouts, introducing shareholder proposal, really having this tipping point, I think, occurring around what are companies going to be about, what is their legacy going to be. Then, how are they … Are they able to change as quickly as they need to, which is … That’s a question.

JORGE LUIS F.: Yes.

JENNIFER BROWN: So, whether they can. They might want to, but that agility is rare, particularly in the larger the institution gets. But when you’ve got such a huge employee base who’s asking for change and asking for more accountability and values-based leadership in the world, I don’t think companies have a choice. So, yeah.

JORGE LUIS F.: Yeah. Yeah. Well, it’ll be great to have your voice there, and thanks for taking the time to talk with me today and to be with us to continue that conversation. Maybe we’ll have some answers by then.

JENNIFER BROWN: Wouldn’t that be nice? Oh my goodness. Jorge, so, how can people follow your work? I know you’re prolific, and there’s a lot about you online and a lot written by you. There are a lot of podcasts. How can folks understand … And maybe, who knows, they’re interested in the sustainability degree at Bard.

JORGE LUIS F.: Oh, yes.

JENNIFER BROWN: Tell me more about it.

JORGE LUIS F.: Yeah, thanks for asking. Certainly anyone’s open to following me online. You can find me at curiousjluis on all of the social media channels. Bard MBA is bard.edu/mba. It’s a fairly unique program for those interested in becoming part of the next generation of future business leaders with a program that infuses all of the core skillsets, from finance to marketing and strategy, as well as providing oftentimes more experiential opportunities, but always with that sustainability lens. You can learn more at bard.edu/mba to learn more about our program.

In fact, we are hoping to bring some perspectives at the talk that we’ll be having on October 17th. So, folks that are interested in the program can join us there as well.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s a great idea. May all MBAs have a sustainability focus in the future as well as a diversity focus.

JORGE LUIS F.: Yes. Yes. That is the …

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s the goal.

JORGE LUIS F.: Certainly what we’re trying to do is lead the change-

JENNIFER BROWN: Be the change.

JORGE LUIS F.:  … which is what we say at Bard. That’s right.

JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you, Jorge. Well, you are changing hearts and minds. Thank you for the work and the advocacy you do and the way you use your personal story and your knowledge to shift our thinking. I know I’ve learned a lot from you, so thank you for joining me on The Will To Change.

JORGE LUIS F.: It’s been such a pleasure, Jennifer. Thanks for inviting me.

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