I am pursuing a Master of Planning/Master of Public Administration dual degree in order to complement and leverage the business management experience gained in the corporate world to help environmental conservation non-governmental organizations achieve their missions of sustainable development. During my 20+ years in Corporate America, primarily in information technology and mortgage finance, I procured a diverse set of skills – business and financial management, project work, operations and human resources management – that are valuable to any organization, profit-oriented or mission-based. I have managed many different types of projects, from business process redesign to multi-year, multi-million dollar software development and deployment. I have built organizational units such as operations and call centers from scratch. And I have managed profitability at a major financial firm for a territory that generated up to $40 billion in annual sales. My career in the business world has been both challenging and rewarding.
In 2006, I voluntarily left the workforce due to family issues, especially elder care. As an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, I also continued my travels to many domestic national parks and even a few international wildernesses. Leaving the frantic world of finance for an extended period of time allowed me to focus on my family, especially with my mother who continues to suffer the effects of a brain tumor and post-operative seizures and strokes, and my niece and nephew whose curiosities know no bounds. I also refocused on other priorities in life: friends and health. Having more quality time with my friends, especially one with ovarian cancer, taught me that life is can be short (sometimes too short – my friend lost her battle) to wait for retirement to pursue a worthy avocation. And the combination of vigorous exercise and tranquility experienced while hiking through glorious landscapes did far more for my physical and metal health than earning stock options. During this sabbatical, I realized that I want to contribute to more than the bottom line of a corporation and leave more than a trust fund for my heirs.
With the support of my partner and family, I decided to embark on a new career path in environmental conservation. Why environmental conservation? Quite simply, I love the great outdoors. I am awestruck by the diversity and beauty of this world, from the towering cliffs of the Sierras to the coral reefs and abundant sea life of the Pacific to the heather-covered slopes of the Scottish Highlands. I want to do my part to preserve as much as possible for future generations, which requires learning how to meet the ever-growing consumptive needs of development without depleting Earth’s natural resources.
In 2009, I re-entered the workforce and joined Global Green USA, the sole national environmental NGO based in Los Angeles, as an unpaid intern and was eventually hired as a paid employee on two...