by Ellen Griesemer
While volunteering for corporate wellness programs in college, Courtney Small began to see the opportunities for corporations to make positive impacts on society. In 2010, Small joined Columbia University’s M.S. in Sustainability Management program, where she participated in a Capstone project to develop new award metrics to measure the ability of both public and private organizations to meet sustainability goals.
After her graduation from the program in 2012, Small interned and worked in a variety of sustainability-related roles including the electric vehicle program with the New York City Mayor’s office, the Earth Institute, and as a sustainability analyst at Addison. Almost two and a half years ago, she joined the sustainable finance team at Morgan Stanley in New York. There, she is a Global Sustainable Finance Associate, helping Morgan Stanley provide investment strategies that align with clients’ fossil fuel and climate change awareness. Small says the key to success is “meeting people where they are and finding creative ways to link climate change and social issues to their client priorities and business objectives.”
This year, Small has been identified as a rising leader in the field of sustainable business and has been named to the Green Biz “30 Under 30” list. The 30 honorees work across many sectors, including academia, nonprofit, media and at both small and large corporations. Together, they represent nine different countries across five continents. The Green Biz team says, “Individually and collectively, [the honorees] are showing how businesses can operate in a world of constrained resources and unconstrained opportunities. Most important, they show how society, led by the private sector, effectively can address the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges effectively and profitably.”
Courtney Small’s advice to others looking for a place in the industry? “Be open and constantly learn about the issues… You never know where you’ll end up. By continuously learning and exposing yourself to different issues, you can create an interesting career.” With her diverse professional background, and her exciting current role in sustainability, Small certainly embodies her own advice.
The M.S. in Sustainability Management, co-sponsored by the Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of Professional Studies, trains students to tackle complex and pressing environmental and managerial challenges. The program requires the successful completion of 36 credit points. Those credit points are divided among five comprehensive content areas: integrative sustainability management, economics and quantitative analysis, the physical dimensions of sustainability, the public policy environment of sustainability management, and general and financial management. Visit our website to learn more.