Every month we like to share a recommendation from one of our ambassadors: something that inspires them in their responsible business work. This month we asked May Breisacher, Assistant Director in the EMEIA Financial Services Corporate Sustainability Team at EY:
“I don’t have the typical sustainability background that most of my fellow sustainability practitioners have. A degree in business and a masters’s in management, my passion has always been to help make organisations better; I just happened to choose organisations with a purpose and social or people mission. When I had the opportunity to move into a corporate sustainability role, it was a no brainer for me. Bringing that business and economics lens into my sustainability work has been hugely beneficial to engage with senior stakeholders, to speak their language and to deliver the culture and behaviour change we so desperately need.
One of the key things I’ve enjoyed learning over the past 12+ months is design thinking. I’ve found it to be a hugely valuable skill to have in the sustainability space. Design thinking is a user/human centric approach to find solutions. When we have the end user not only in mind but engaged in delivering a solution, we not only create products and services that will land now but also have a lasting impact. It also means we never stop learning and improving what we have on offer, as the end user provides us with regular feedback. A great course to get into design thinking is the Cooper Crash Course: Design thinking in 3 steps on Udemy.
Another great course is The Science of leadership (it’s also on Udemy or available for free here). It gives insight into where and how we make decisions in our brain based on our genetic wiring. Maybe it’s a bit geeky but I found it hugely fascinating, and it’s something that’s helping me as a sustainability practitioner day in and day out.
If you’re in need of a good book, one of my favourites is ‘Doughnut Economics’ by Kate Raworth. Doughnut Economics is an attempt to overhaul how we view our economic system and describes it in a way that shows our planetary boundaries together with our need for social justice. It’s a great book that shows we can’t do economics/business without understanding the interconnectedness of the environment and society.
All this brain activity requires a good balance of rest, mindfulness and exercise. I’m not the sportiest person but during lockdown I started to walk 10,000 steps a day. I do this by walking in my courtyard, which is not very big. However, walking before work and after work has really given me a break to arrive, slow down and have fresh air. Plus it’s free. In addition to using Headspace for mindfulness, I’ve got into yoga and YouTube has been great for free access. My recommendation is Fightmaster Yoga. She’s really great, and has videos for all levels.”