Kyle Crawford, ISSP-SA - St. Louis, MO
Profiled August 2019

Title & Organization: Evangelist/Concerned Citizen/Advocate for a Sustainable Future, One STL; Lead Solutions Consultant, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Educational Background: BS in Journalism & Media Production, University of Oregon; MS in Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University Bloomington.

What experiences first sparked your interest in sustainability?

Kyle’s journey towards sustainability came from a cognitive dissonance with the philosophical basis of the way our economy functions. Our economic system, as Crawford describes it, “has a significant relationship with traditional macroeconomic models and I often question why it is that we have an infinite growth model philosophy on a planet with finite natural resources. There is no acceptable answer to that in dominate macroeconomics, which assumes negative externalities as value free. There is limited willingness to question the traditional economic paradigm and redirect those beliefs to accommodate the increasingly real risks that are happening in our biological and moral environments…rather, there is a need for change to ‘business as usual’ and the way we measure success. I feel a responsibility to get involved in fostering a different conversation.” 

To kickstart his advocacy work, Kyle turned to ISSP for professional development opportunities and to earn a credential that would help build credibility with his network. Shortly thereafter, he founded the St. Louis ISSP chapter “to spur a dialogue around why these conversations matter and how we can apply it to where we live” with colleagues and peers. This work led him to One STL, “an organization that is trying to create a regional approach to the global topics associated with sustainability.” OneSTL consists of six working groups, each one uniting regional expertise from industry, academia, and government around one of the following topics: Water & Green Infrastructure, Materials & Recycling, Transit-Oriented Development, Energy & Emissions, Biodiversity, and Food Access. In his role there, Kyle tries to identify commonalities and prevent siloization, and ultimately, to “create messaging around the importance [of the issue] and the opportunities for involvement using words that your grandmother can understand (hopefully).” He believes that creating sustainability and resiliency solutions for placed-based problems is the best way to engage average citizens. Away from politics and divisive language, people just want to see a better future for their children. 

Additionally, Kyle is a co-programmer of the St. Louis chapter’s Sustainability Lab, a monthly event that hosts presentations from a diverse group of speakers and organizations.  “It is our community engagement vehicle and an attempt to ensure that sustainability is not limited to the self-proclaimed professionals.”

 Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

Kyle entered the sustainability field from a deep passion for organizing action around the ever-increasing environmental and social crises. While he calls himself a “poser” and is conflicted about representing himself as a sustainability professional as he doesn’t view his paid position as sustainable, he’s hoping that his children's future is. He maintains that the ISSP credential is a great way to highlight one’s sustainability expertise in lieu of a related title and workload at their day job. “My advocacy work benefited from the credential, not my career.”

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

Kyle encourages credential holders to apply the knowledge that comes with the certifications in their work and extracurriculars, and to pair that knowledge with their professional expertise to “translate global concepts into regional realities.” 

He also recommends the credentials because they are industry agnostic, and they build a foundational understanding from which professionals can engage in developing solutions to our most pressing problems.

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Alexander Belyakov, ISSP-CSP - Toronto, CA
Profiled July 2019

Title: Peace and Biodiversity Consultant
Organization: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme
Educational Background: PhD (Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, Ukraine); MA (Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, Ukraine); MA (University of Aarhus, Denmark; University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands; University of Hamburg, Germany); Certificates in Sustainability from United Nations System Staff College, Italy; Ryerson University, Canada; Tias Business School, Tilburg University, the Netherlands; University of California, Berkeley, USA.

What experiences first sparked your interest in sustainability?

“I have a German sustainability youth conference that I attended very early in my career to thank. Another real boost to my understanding of the field came when I joined the inaugural cohort of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program at the University of California, Berkeley. A course in Sustainable Environmental Management became a foundation of my further professional development in sustainability. Later, I worked on projects with the United Nations Development Program (Urban Environmental Governance and Sustainable Development Programs) in Ukraine and I published on a wide array of sustainability-related issues.”

 Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

“Obtaining the ISSP credentials was a way for me to demonstrate my commitment to sustainability and an opportunity to stay ahead of the competition. In a short-term perspective, preparing for the CSP exam helped me systemize my knowledge, identify my blind spots, and realize my strengths. In a long-term perspective, the credentials have contributed to a more holistic view of sustainable business that is required for the types of cases I typically take on. The credentials have also been helpful in shifting my self-perception from a specialist to problem-solving generalist. For example, I served as a focal point person for the free Massive Online Open Course on Peace Park Development and Management offered in five languages under the Peace and Biodiversity Dialogue Initiative at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In working with colleagues from other agencies at all stages of this project and supporting approximately 750 participants from 128 countries, I realized many added values from my earlier command of the field.”

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

“As a member of the Study Guide Task Force assembled by ISSP to write the ISSP-CSP Certified Sustainability Professional Study Guide, I highly suggest using this source for exam preparation. It will now be much easier to focus on essential topics versus an extensive reading list offered for exam takers in 2015.

Overall, the certifications have boosted my credibility and demonstrated my experience to others.

In addition to instruction around the credentials, and core sustainability topics and themes, credential holders have many opportunities to network with like-mind leaders. ISSP also helps its community stay abreast of current trends via lifelong learning offerings (e.g., courses, webinars, etc.).”

How would you describe the value that the credentials bring to the sustainability field as a whole?

“Despite some instances of siloization in the CSR and sustainability fields, systems thinking and interconnections play important roles in sustainable development. While preparing for the exams, sustainability professionals learn to look outside of the box and connect the dots. Credentials set priorities, highlight trends, and serve as a bridge between one’s existing expertise and the field’s growing requirements.”


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Juliet Dhanraj, ISSP-SA - Ontario, CA
Profiled June 2019

Title: Field Programming Coordinator/Placement & Career Specialist
Organization: Ryerson University
Educational Background: BA Geography (University of London); MSc. Planning & Development w/ a Specialization in Coastal Zone Planning (University of the West Indies); Post Graduate Diploma in Education (University of the West Indies); M.Div. Theology (McMaster University) and Certificate in Sustainability Management (Ryerson University).

What experiences first sparked your interest in sustainability?

Juliet entered the sustainability field via her deep connection to the land (having grown up in a rural village), her desire to make a difference in the world and her passion for Geography and the coastal/marine environment. Having earned an undergraduate degree in Geography, she taught the discipline for over five years to Secondary School/High School students in the Caribbean. While a member of the UWI Biological Society, she did beach patrols to protect leatherback turtles that came onshore to lay their eggs. The plight of stray dogs in her country led her to devote her time and efforts to compassionate caring for the dogs at the Animal Life Dog Sanctuary. Environmental stewardship was always part of her Geography and Social Studies lessons and experiential learning activities. Time spent in the Planning field has increased her awareness of the importance of systems–thinking and the need for policy changes that promote sustainable development. Shortly after migrating to Canada, she completed the Government of Ontario–funded Green Economy Bridging Program and the Certificate in Sustainability Management offered through Ryerson University.

The ins and outs of life and her attentiveness to the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” brought her into the sustainability field since this was a place where she could champion social and ecological justice. Moreover, Juliet was drawn by her love for nature and an innate desire to empower the most vulnerable in society and build the resiliency of undeserved, rural communities whom she saw were already being impacted by climate change in Trinidad as early as 2005.

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

The decision came on the heels of a very dark moment in her life as an immigrant in Canada. After she was laid off by Community MicroSkills Development Centre on February 15, 2017 (after it declared bankruptcy) she had to put an emergency action plan into high gear. So instead of letting the lay–off affect her negatively, Juliet saw it as a blessing in disguise and took advantage of the extra time on her hands by studying for the LEED and ISSP–SA exams. Networking and obtaining the ISSP credential were key components of her emergency/contingency action plan as it was deemed a way of securing a competitive advantage to land a job in the sustainability/green economy field. Despite not holding the credential for very long, Juliet believes it has already added value to her career. She says it has not only helped fuse together her eclectic background, but it has also enhanced and made her current position at Ryerson University possible. 

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

“Follow your heart and never let fear dictate how far your journey takes you. As sustainability champions we may have to cross many oceans to get where we need to go and it may be stormy at times, but we have to keep going. We must launch our boats and drift with the tides…The ISSP credentials can help us achieve that. It augurs well to take heed of the admonition of William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar, Act 4, and Scene 3:  

‘There is a tide in the affairs of men.

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.’”


Natalie Walker, ISSP-SA - Philadelphia, PA
Profiled April 2019

Title: Director of Operations
Organization: GreenCircle Certified
Educational Background: BS Sustainable Development – Community, Regional & Global Development (Appalachian State University); MS Sustainable Engineering (Villanova University).

What experiences first sparked your interest in sustainability?

“I first became involved in Sustainability while working to complete my undergraduate degree at Appalachian State University. Coursework in Sustainable Economics, Community Development, Agroecology and Planning inspired me to think differently about the world. This is where I began to understand the complexity of issues caused by short-term, linear thinking. Through subsequent professional experiences and further coursework in Sustainable Engineering at Villanova, I learned to appreciate the importance of systems approach to solving emerging problems related to food, social systems and the built environment.”

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

“Although sustainability is a very broad term, covering many industries and sectors, there are some basic building blocks that are relevant for all professionals seeking to understand and apply the principles of sustainability to their discipline. The requirements for achieving ISSP credentials combine broad sustainability literacy content with rigorous understanding of the history of the movement. In order to maintain credentials, one must demonstrate continued work in various disciplines, including public speaking and service work. As I sought professional credentials relevant to my field, I was impressed by the rigor and interdisciplinary nature of ISSP’s credentials.

GreenCircle Certified encourages all employees to pursue ISSP credentials as they demonstrate a core understanding for the principles of sustainability. Pursuing these credentials has helped me gain credibility within my organization.”

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

“Both credentials can be widely applied to various industries and disciplines. Beyond the credentials though, I would encourage folks to take advantage of the materials that ISSP provides on their website. There is a lot of great content, including educational materials, publications and events.”


Marilyn Johnson, ISSP-CSP - Seattle, WA
Profiled March 2019

Title: Chief Operations Officer
Organization: Brand VO2
Educational Background: Masters in Health Science (University of Toronto); Bachelors in Biology (Queen’s University); Bachelor of Physical Health and Education (Queen’s University); ISSP-CSP; CISR Expert Certified; Executive Leadership (Seattle University); Sustainability Leadership (UC-Irvine).

What experiences first sparked your interest in sustainability?

“I’ve always had a passion for health. I’m a competitive athlete, run marathons and spend a lot of free time on the tennis court. When I headed to college, I dove into Biology and Physical Education. After graduating, I went to the library - literally - and researched up-and-coming careers that looked promising. I stumbled upon something called ‘Industrial Hygiene’ (IH). I then went on to get my Masters degree, and from there, my career was launched as I took on roles in Industrial Hygiene in Energy (Shell, Novacor Chemicals) and Forest Products (Weyerhaeuser). IH is a natural fit in the world of Sustainability, as it is focused on long-term impacts to health from the world we are working in. I quickly moved into the Environment, Health and Safety field, where I was first introduced and participated in the RobecoSAM - Dow Jones Sustainability Index survey.”

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

“I was involved in the early days of ISSP when the certification program was first being formulated. The timing aligned with my personal career, where it became evident that there was a need to bring a credible, professional credential forward as the field was maturing. I’m honored to have been a part of this important milestone and I believe my personal credential continues to be an important part of my brand. The ISSP brand is a known and respected global entity in the field, and can help to open doors and conversations. The community of sustainability professionals is always willing to collaborate and work together, and having an ISSP credential creates a common connection and trust.”

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

“For people who choose to dedicate their life and their career to sustainability, ISSP’s credentials are the premier way to show that commitment and knowledge. It is not simply a two or three day course, where you receive a certificate. Rather, it is evidence of a choice of life work and passion that requires deep knowledge, innovation, collaboration and continued growth and learning. It’s about a commitment to advancing a more sustainable world, requiring time, energy and passion - to both achieve and to maintain. While I’m a proud ISSP-CSP credential holder, I’m particularly excited about the ISSP-SA credential as it has an even greater potential to expand impact, and to truly integrate sustainable mindsets and actions into every type of profession. I’d love to see ISSP-SAs in every type of job category around the world! It is then that we will truly be working together, in advancing a more sustainable world.”


KK Leong, ISSP-SA - Macao, China
Profiled February 2019

Title: Director of Hotel Engineering
Organization: Wynn Resorts
Educational Background: B.Eng (Mech) Hons 1 (UNSW, Sydney); Certificate in Corporate Real Estate & Facilities Management (RICS, UK); GRI Certified Training on Sustainability Reporting G4; and Business Sustainability Management, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

What experiences(s) first sparked your interest in sustainability?

It all started in 2012 when I was hired as assistant chief engineer for the biggest hotel under a 5-star luxury hospitality brand. As the hotel facilities manager, I was tasked with managing energy, water and waste in addition to our regular operations and maintenance work. I was required to generate carbon and water footprint reports, and to then submit those reports to management. The brand regularly aggregated data from its 100+ portfolio of hotels, and the corporate engineering and sustainability team would identify areas for reduction or improvement. We did not use the word “sustainability” that often back then as our goals were basically to ensure efficient use of resources, and to reduce waste generation. But this practice helped me intimately understand that hotels consume an enormous amount of energy and other natural resources, and generate a lot of waste. During my time in that position, I grew increasingly eager to learn how big hotel chains can continue to operate their businesses and generate profit in a sustainable manner. I also recall reading a report around that time, which said by 2039, China was expected to have 9.1 million rooms. That meant three new 150-room hotels would open in China every day for the next 25 years! These combined experiences are what ignited my passion for sustainability, and today, the ISSP network continues to keep me engaged, inspired, and motivated.

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

When I took GRI certified training on sustainability reporting, I was merely looking to gain a basic understanding on how to gather, analyze data and generate meaningful reports. But I soon found that I lacked understanding of some core sustainability concepts, which lead me to the ISSP-SA study materials. Gaining the ISSP-SA credential boosted my confidence, and helped raise my profile as both a facilities manager and sustainability professional. I personally believe we cannot manage any facilities sustainably in the long-term without having a “systems thinking” mindset in real-time. Being an ISSP credential holder and taking advantage of the organization’s various resources also allows me to immerse myself in core sustainability concepts before deciding to further pursue the ISSP-CSP credential.

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

I would highly recommend that any sustainability professionals, who are not ISSP members, join. There are many useful educational offerings and tools shared by peers on the organization’s website. Members can also purchase the ISSP-SA and ISSP-CSP study materials at discounted prices and use them as sustainability bibles. From there, you can decide if the credentials are for you. But the founding members of ISSP are pioneers in sustainability, with decades of experience, and it is for this reason that the credentials are internationally recognized.

If you have an interest in the credentials and possibly pursuing them for your own career portfolio, then by all means, just do it! I think this type of credential will be necessary as the profession matures. The CEU’s that are required to maintain one’s credentials will become more and more important for staying current with industry expertise, trending and one’s own leadership.

Having a standard is critical for providing credibility to the sustainability field. It also provides a foundation to build from in order to identify and recognize the qualifications of practitioners.

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Elizabeth Churchill, ISSP-SA - Madison, WI, USA
Profiled December 2018

Title: Sustainability Administrator
Organization: American Family Insurance
Educational Background: BS Landscape Architecture Business and Industry, UW Wisconsin-Madison; Graduate Fellow Social Innovation and Sustainability

What experiences first sparked your interest in sustainability?

While serving as a Landscape Architect at a healthcare design build firm, I attended an event at a 2003 Greenbuild Conference featuring Dr. David Susuki, an award-winning Canadian science academic and environmental activist. During Dr. Susuki’s keynote, he introduced me to the concept of sustainability and the triple bottom line.

At that very moment, I remember saying to myself, “that is going to be my next career!” And immediately after that conference I began to build sustainability into the company I was working at. Soon after that I wrote my first sustainability job description and then applied for the role. I have since written 3 out of 4 of my job descriptions as a sustainability professional and have helped others write theirs as well.

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

I was looking for credentials to validate my sustainability career beyond landscape architecture and to provide additional resources and networks. And like many other ISSP member profiles, as an early member of the ISSP community, I wanted to be a part of the credentialing pilot.

Sustainability is an extremely broad profession with a myriad of career paths. The ISSP credentials helped me orient my personal brand based on my own sustainability career path to date. For me, it serves as my career credential.

I am contacted on a regular basis by emerging or established sustainability leaders that want to learn more about ISSP and the credentials. I have a personal brand philosophy that I will always say “yes” to any opportunity to meet anyone anywhere that wants to connect regarding the sustainability profession. I look back now and wish I had kept a log of all of those contacts, conversations, and connections. That said, it is never too late to start.

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

Like all credentials, the ISSP credentials serve to validate your career expertise. In addition, they provide a fairly comprehensive lens on global sustainability policy, frameworks, networks and the relationship between them all. Understanding this ecosystem of organizational relationships is imperative to navigating the broad and rapidly changing profession.

If you have an interest in the credentials and possibly pursuing them for your own career portfolio, then by all means, just do it! I think this type of credential will be necessary as the profession matures. The CEU’s that are required to maintain one’s credentials will become more and more important for staying current with industry expertise, trending and one’s own leadership.

Having a standard is critical for providing credibility to the sustainability field. It also provides a foundation to build from in order to identify and recognize the qualifications of practitioners.

Any closing thoughts?

I am beyond grateful to be able to say that I have had an incredible career. One that has always been rooted in purpose driven work. Being an accredited member of ISSP is a career milestone for me, inspiring me to do more. Much more.

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Nathan Stinnette, ISSP-CSP - Jacksonville, FL, USA
Profiled November 2018

Title: Environment & Sustainability Specialist
Organization: RS&H, Inc.
Educational Background: BS Geographic Science, James Madison University; MS Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola (BTH)

What experiences first sparked your interest in sustainability?

I first became interested in sustainability as an undergraduate studying geography, and in 2010 had the opportunity to enter a sustainability Master’s degree program in Sweden. At BTH, I was fortunate to be able to learn first-hand from luminaries like Dr. Karl-Heinrich Robèrt, founder of the Natural Step Framework. The program was aimed at international students, with more than 20 countries represented. A Chinese colleague named Zhuona Li recommended I join ISSP, which turned out to be a great decision for my career.

Although I had been interested in environmental issues for many years, as a Geography major studying the earth’s systems I became increasingly aware of the threat of global climate change and other issues threatening ecosystems and human populations.

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

After completing my degree and returning to the states, I connected with my current position at RS&H through the ISSP’s job postings. RS&H supported me in completing ISSP’s Sustainability Educational Certificate program over the next 2 years. The online classes and webinars offered helped me bridge the gap between my academic understanding of sustainability and the practical tools needed to apply that knowledge in a consulting environment. They were taught by sustainability leaders such as Bob Willard, Alan AtKisson, and Hunter Lovins and were full of valuable information.

Skill gained from ISSP classes in greenhouse gas measurement, zero waste, and sustainability management systems proved useful on consulting projects with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the Defense Commissary Agency, the City of Coral Gables, and many other clients. GHG Inventories have become a specialty of mine, with more than half a dozen completed to date. My zero waste experience has had high and low points, sometimes involving climbing through dumpsters to conduct waste audits!

How has your ISSP credential brought value to your work?

In consulting, reputable professional certificates are always useful for demonstrating credentials to prospective clients. I earned the ISSP-CSP certificate as soon as it became available in early 2016. Because clients routinely tell us that experience and credentials are among the most important factors in their selection process, I believe it has been of value in establishing credibility and winning jobs.

Ideas and inspiration from ISSP have helped refine RS&H’s sustainability services over time. Our approach focuses on achieving high return on investment through a portfolio of projects tailored to the client’s operations. This builds enthusiasm and support for their sustainability program. I also appreciate ISSP’s support for similarly aligned organizations such as the STAR Community rating system, and have worked with several communities as they pursue certification.

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

In my view, ISSP has been very helpful in advancing sustainability by connecting professionals and sharing information. I’ve frequently recommended the courses and webinars to peers, especially emerging professionals struggling with the practical application of sustainability principles.

How would you describe the value that the credentials bring to the sustainability field as a whole?

The ISSP credentials are a welcome addition to the sustainability field, and I hope they continue to gain recognition. Because sustainability is both a new and a very broad field, professional credentials are not as well established as in other disciplines. It’s important to have a credible certificate that is focused on a holistic view of sustainability and not just one specific aspect like green building. The ISSP-SA and ISSP-CSP help to fill that gap.

Recently, I was contacted out of the blue by a potential client who had found my name through a LinkedIn search of people in my state with ISSP credentials. To me, this speaks volumes about the value of the ISSP certificate program, and shows it’s becoming more widely known.


Brandon Barber, ISSP-SA - Rochester, NY, USA
Profiled October 2018

Title: Student
Attending: Columbia University
Educational Background: Environmental Health and Safety (B.S)-RIT; Sustainability Science (M.S) (in progress) - Columbia University

What experiences first got you interested in sustainability?

I remember being 17 in my high school chemistry class. I had always enjoyed science class, but there was something special about chemistry that was different. The topics we covered weren’t just interesting, they were exciting! As we learned more about atoms, electrons, and the various ways in which they behave, I dreamed of clean energy, food, medicine and clean water for the entire planet, and how it was all attainable through chemistry. When high school ended I, like everyone else my age, was asked to come up with an answer to a very important question: “What’s Next?”. For my answer, I turned back to the excitement and wonder I’d felt in chemistry class. “That,” I said to myself. “That is what I want to do.” I started college as a chemical engineer and for a while the excitement was just as palpable as it had been in high school.

As I learned more about chemistry, the gap between what I believed we needed as a species and what we already had in scientific understanding became increasingly smaller. The question was no longer “could we invent all the things necessary to build a greener world?” but instead “when would we finally decide to do so?” I began to understand that the problems we face are as a species not nearly as rooted in technology as I had believed, and neither are their solutions.

With my newfound understanding, my focus shifted. We had to focus not on smarter tools, but on smarter people to use the tools we have. This more human-centric approach started me on a path that would eventually lead me to transition my career toward Environmental Health and Safety. As I finished out my Bachelor’s Degree, I was fortunate enough to benefit from the knowledge and experience of professors who had worked in and around environmental fields for decades. It was here that I first learned how to actualize the passion I had been unable to express for so long, and what was truly meant by the word ‘Sustainability’.

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

After my experience in school for engineering, I was very familiar with the concept of professional certifications, and they effect they can have on an industry. I had been exploring the possibility of becoming designated in a field I could defend as sustainability related for quite some time, so when the ISSP announced their options for professional certifications in 2016, I was excited about the prospect of a body of knowledge specifically built to establish what a sustainability professional should know before they practice.

The ISSP Job Task Analysis of Core Competencies, and resulting certifications represent an opportunity to get everyone with an interest in sustainability “on the same sheet of music”, ensuring that we are all pursuing the same end goals, and all understand the importance of key principles in sustainability before we try to help, and risk leading stakeholders in the wrong direction.

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

For individuals who feel the need to be active participants in our push toward a more sustainable world, the ISSP-SA certification is a strong foundation, no matter what capacity you are in related to the field.

For those more interested in pursuing a full time career, in the coming years I believe the ISSP-CSP will begin to represent an essential tool in the toolbox of any career sustainability professional.

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Ruthie Redmond, ISSP-SA - Austin, TX, USA
Profiled September 2018

Title: Water Resources Program Manager
Organization: Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter
Educational Background: B.S. Geography – Resources and Environmental Studies and Minor in Economics from Texas State University, San Marcos

When did you first become interested in sustainability?

I was first introduced to sustainability as a child by watching nature shows on KLRU, Austin’s local PBS station. I remember clearly the reference of civilization being born around rivers and water bodies. From then I wanted to know more about this natural resource that provided for our human evolution.

What drives you in your sustainability work?

My sustainability experience is mostly an experience of hope, frustration and learning. I learn from people that we hinder ourselves, each other and nature when we look upon our situation (climate change, water pollution and misuse, etc.) without a full analysis of how we’ve gotten here.

For me, as an environmentalist and a black female, I’ve noticed that sustainability is usually focused solely on the environmental aspect, sometimes economics is interwoven to make the business case, but almost always equity is neglected. There are 3 E’s in sustainability, Environment, Economics and Equity. Since humans are the biggest threat to the earth, it makes sense to me that humans are part of the solution.

Without centering social equity in our work, we as a community do a great disservice to the earth and each other. What is happening now is that a large portion of people, people of color and lower-income people, who have and are bearing the brunt of past and current environmental degradation, are not included in the sustainability community. When the knowledge of these communities is not centered, we are less able to fully imagine the solutions that could lead to a healthy and vibrant environment and society. When we in the sustainability community talk about the benefits of density, they are not at the table to speak on the importance of affordable housing. When we talk about advancement of solar storage, they are not at the table to speak on the importance of workforce development, apprenticeships and unions. When we talk about water planning, they are not at the table to speak on unfixed leaks and rising bills. If the sustainability community continues to move forward in this way, leaving out whole communities of people, I don’t see us living up to the definition of what we say we are.

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

I decided to get a credential from ISSP because sustainability is in its nature an integrated field. I think because of this I wanted a standard by which to judge my knowledge of the field and to be in association with people that share this passion. I also appreciate ISSP’s international scope which helps me to broaden my view of what sustainability looks like in other countries.

ISSP has helped me connect with other people working in the sustainability field. The variety of online courses are relevant and really helpful to have as an ongoing resource.

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

I would recommend ISSP to other sustainability professionals because I think building your network is really important. There are so many different avenues to focus on in sustainability so it’s great to see what others are doing. My recommendation is that having ISSP credentials shows that you are willing to go the extra step of demonstrating specific knowledge in your field, and that’s a good thing!

I also think having a standard within a field is important. Having credentials shows that everyone with that specific credential has a similar knowledge base and professional experience.


Joseph Tong, ISSP-CSP - Hong Kong
Profiled August 2018

Title: Manager, Sustainability Management
Organization: Fuji Xerox (Hong Kong) Ltd.
Educational Background: MSc in Environmental Management; BSc in Environmental Science

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

When I was kid, I watched a video by the local government to call for action to save our “Mr. Earth”. I felt very sorry about the sick Mr. Earth. As a Christian, I also believe that I have a calling to manage and protect our beautiful planet created by God. Having a little faith to save our planet, I chose to study environmental science as my first degree and started my career in the sustainability field after graduation.

How did you wind up where you are now?

I first worked in a consulting organization with opportunities to take up different tasks including waste management, air quality monitoring, green procurement, etc. In 2013, I was lucky enough to participate the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Global Conference to witness the launch of GRI G4 Guidelines. I intended to learn the latest sustainability guidelines and trends but found that the conference exceeded my expectations. I realized the urgency to take actions and that we are in the right moment to make some impacts. With the international sustainability policies and movements, corporations could find business cases to invest in sustainability initiatives to gain competitive edges.

Fuji Xerox is one of the companies that found that sustainability management is synonymous with corporate management. This corporate philosophy matches with my career mission and I am glad to take part in helping my company to embed sustainability into business development strategy.

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

Unlike well-established fields such as accounting and engineering, the sustainability field is still a new profession without widely adopted professional qualification in my community. I found that ISSP is one of the pioneers to offer sustainability professional credentials based on international standards.

It is great to have an international scheme to define and establish a universal standard of practice. I am pleased to be part of the first cohort of ISSP Certified Sustainability Professionals. Participating in this certification program, I was able to learn the practical knowledge and steps of implementing sustainability strategies within an organization. The certification not only validates my knowledge and experience of my sustainability professionalism, but also serves as an assurance to my employers and clients of my competency in the areas of sustainability.

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

Adhering to the ISO 17024 standard ensures that the ISSP certification program is a global benchmark for sustainability professionals, providing industry-recognized credentials that can be carried across national borders. If you are looking for professional credentials in the sustainability field, I highly recommend you earn an ISSP credential. It not only grants you a professional qualification, but also offers you great opportunities to learn the international best practices through the examinations. ISSP also provides a global community for you to connect and learn from the peers. It helps you to keep abreast of the latest sustainability trends and knowledge.

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Jessica Synkoski, ISSP-SA - Bethesda, MD, USA
Profiled July 2018

Title: Associate-Director of Sustainability Strategy & Engagement
Organization: AstraZeneca
Educational Background: MBA from Yale School of Management; BS from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

I began on the social side focused on strategic philanthropy at a corporation. It was a very tangible way to see positive social impact in the community.

In my first job out of college, I worked in the food manufacturing industry doing sales and sales analysis. I spent much of my time in the employee volunteerism activities of the company doing everything from school supply collections to charity 5ks. I was lucky to work for a company that invested so much in its community.

I began to realize that I was much more motivated by impacting my community directly than I was with my day job. I also appreciated the company’s ability to impact because of the resources available to a well run corporation. That connection between corporate strategy and societal benefit is where I wanted to make an impact. So I decided to go back to school to study aspects of Corporate Sustainability and switch fields. That connection is also why I decided an MBA was right for me.

Why did you decide to get credentialed by ISSP? What value has your credential brought to your career?

I decided to get credentialed by ISSP because the ISSP courses that I took previously were very rigorous, professional and educational. I knew their certification would be meaningful.

I use my ISSP credential in my email signature. It signals to my colleagues how seriously I regard the work that I do. It also signals that I'm personally and professionally willing to invest in my field. Sustainability is still a relatively small field. As practitioners we're responsible for keeping the field moving in the right direction, keeping it credible and visible.

Why do you think the ISSP credentials are valuable for individuals and the field as a whole?

Studying for the credentials helped me refresh my understanding of Sustainability content, so there is value in the preparation itself. Earning the credentials builds validity to go along with your performance. The ISSP credentialing program adds credibility and standardization to the Sustainability field.

My advice for other sustainability professionals is to keep in mind that sustainability is an evolving field, so it requires continual learning. Stay engaged and be an advocate!

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Melanie Crepin, ISSP-SA - Sydney, Australia
Profiled June 2018

Title: N/A
Organization: N/A
Educational Background: State Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and Master of Healthcare Engineering (M.Eng.)

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

I’ve always been passionate about the environment and took classes in ecology, vegetal biology and agronomy in high school, but I’d never heard of careers in sustainability back then and my primary trade came to be in Project Management in Pharmaceuticals. I later moved from Europe to Australia in a similar role while volunteering in conservation organisations in my free time and while expressing my interest in Corporate Social Responsibility to my employer.

I was lucky enough to later be given the opportunity to oversee the development of awareness and improvements in sustainability initiatives in my local office. I also heard about permaculture for the first time around this time and became extremely interested in the topic. Permaculture is about designing sustainable human settlements and applying regenerative agriculture practices that are rooted in the observation of natural ecosystems. It made total sense to me and was in adequation with my inner values and early interests in ecology, and so I decided it was the most sensible turn I could take in my life and my career to make a direct and genuine contribution to our planet.

I left my Corporate job last year and am currently in career transition to set-up an online permaculture-based business. I took a Permaculture Design Course, drastically down-sized most of my belongings, became a minimalist eco-nomad and now tour around Australia with my partner to study and acquire a practical experience of permaculture in different climates and settings while drafting our business plan. Time will tell how this works-out!

Have you had any meaningful or funny stories from your time in the field?

My first volunteering experience was with Conservation Volunteers Australia straight when I arrived in the country for the first time in 2012. Our group joined a CSIRO scientist (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) and aboriginal rangers to map-out the zones infested by an invasive species of ants in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. We drove 2 days out of Darwin on a dirt road and across creeks, ended up staying 2 weeks in the complete outback, and witnessed a massive bushfire that surrounded and passed us while we stayed completely safe in a small clearing under the knowledgeable guidance of the aboriginal rangers. It truly was a Crocodile-Dundee-like experience!

Why did you decide to get credentialed by ISSP? What value has your credential brought to your career?

I was introduced to ISSP by the Corporate Social Responsibility manager of my former employer when I told him I was looking to grow my career in the sustainability field. The certification program was in the Beta phase and the Sustainability Associate credential constituted a logical first step to ensure I would develop the right thinking process and competencies.

It certainly constitutes a bridge between my project management and sustainability experience and has laid-out great guidelines to help me develop the right framework and strategies for my future business. I’m sure an ISSP credential will add value and credibility to my profile and offering of professional services when the time comes to launch my business.

What advice do you have for other sustainability professionals regarding the ISSP credentials?

You should be well-prepared before sitting the exam. Read as much as you can, download the study materials, document yourself about global issues and ongoing discussion topics for governments, public and private organisations, global conferences, grassroot activists, as well as about existing eco-labels and standards. Pick a few model organisations and see what they’re doing and what best practices they’ve implemented. Apply critical thinking and common business sense and keep in mind that Mother Nature has become our most important stakeholder.

Why do you think the ISSP credentials are valuable to the field?

The ISSP credentialing program is an internationally-recognised certification that provides a framework for organisations and agents of change to embed sustainability in their design, planning and implementation strategies based on proven successful business practices. A lot of what we consider in Project Management is also covered in the content of the ISSP-SA program. Moreover, the framework is general enough to apply to various contexts and allow me to claim CEU’s for my permaculture training (and the ISSP certification team has been very supportive in that regard), but is also specific enough to layout clear concepts, steps and strategies to refer to. I believe that ISSP credentials will gain in popularity and in value and that sustainability professionals will become in high demand as the world realises than change is no longer a nice thing to do but has become an urgent and absolute necessity.

The credentials bring a common platform and understanding of best practices that are particularly suited to organisations but can, to a certain extent, still be applied to any professional level and context. They put all of us on the same page and help to shape a competent workforce of passionate individuals.

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Jeff Yorzyk, ISSP-CSP - Arvada, Colorado, USA
Profiled May 2018

Title: Associate Director of Sustainability
Organization: HelloFresh
Educational Background: BS in Chemical Engineering, Lafayette College; MS in Environmental Science & Engineering, Colorado School of Mines; MBA, CU-Boulder

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

I found my way into the sustainability field via environmental consulting and a desire to “get out ahead” of environmental issues before they happened, plus a fundamental belief that there had to be a way for business to protect and preserve the environment. Back in the mid-90’s that was a much more novel concept than it is today!

In 1992 I had a deep personal experience while hiking in the San Juan mountains of Southwest Colorado. This drove me into the environmental field out a sense of responsibility to a world I had fallen in love with. Later, in 1999, I had a second experience in the central Rockies while on a 6-day solo hike - while I didn’t expect it when I set out, I truly walked “over the divide and back again.” The journal from that hike led me directly to business school and into the sustainability field.

Why did you decide to get credentialed by ISSP? What value has your credential brought to your career?

I chose the ISSP-CSP credential because it was what I had been looking for - a way for sustainability professionals to be recognized in their field. Having obtained similar credentials in Engineering (PE) and Energy Management (CEM), I was excited that ISSP developed something similar that focused on sustainability. I wasn’t satisfied with the alternatives that were previously available in the sustainability field, and didn’t feel they represented what I wished a credential to say on my behalf adequately.

The ISSP Credential has been a visible element of my “coming of age” as a sustainability professional. It adds credibility to my experience and supports the narrative behind my professional mission of fusing sustainability with business. I also like how ISSP focused on creating community since the field is dominated by people working in small or one-person groups; finding my people is a key to staying motivated!

What advice do you have for other sustainability professionals regarding the ISSP credentials?

The ISSP credentials are the single best way to signal to potential clients or employers that you have the training and experience required to be successful. There is no other professional credential that is based on a broad survey of sustainability practitioners and founded in the ISO standards for developing a professional credential.

Don’t wait to get credentialed, just do it! ISSP has made the credential incredibly accessible - on purpose - and it can only help build your individual story as a sustainability professional.

How would you describe the value that the credentials bring to the sustainability field as a whole?

A common problem for organizations interested in engaging sustainability professionals is the lack of information on how to price, place, and qualify a sustainability professional. This causes incredible confusion in the hiring and contracting process, confusion that ISSP has developed a solution for. Almost every field has suffered similar growing pains as it entered maturity; now is our time to emerge as a unique and necessary field of professional practice. ISSP credentials are the way to establish yourself through a verifiable third party that is focused on making you successful.

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Stacey Baumgarn, ISSP-CSP - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Profiled April 2018

Title: Campus Energy Coordinator
Organization: Colorado State University
Educational Background: MSBA, Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise Program; BA in Philosophy and Sociology

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

Back in the early 1990’s I had a little paperback book 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. I was concerned, yet I didn’t really know what I could do - or if I could do anything. As I started my first career, we recycled, I walked or rode my bike to work, I turned out lights in empty rooms, bought and promoted Fair Trade products, etc. (I still do these things today.) It turns out, this just wasn’t enough.

So, in seeking more meaning, more commitment, more action, and wanting to really make a difference, I quit my job and went back to school. My formal sustainability education took place through the Colorado State University College of Business MSBA Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise Program. An extraordinary program with a small cohort of fellow change-makers - I studied and learned how to “bake-it-in” and not “bolt-it-on”. I have had two full-time sustainability positions, first in local government and now at Colorado State University. In each case I was the first person to hold the newly created position.

How did you develop the sustainability expertise you have now?

When I first started in sustainability, my title was Energy Conservation Specialist. They had wanted to hire an engineer. I talked them into hiring a Sociologist with a business savvy (me!). So, here I was in meetings where Facilities people were talking about HVAC, BAS, SCADA, kW, kWh, etc., and of course I was clueless. Let’s just say it was a steep learning curve. However, I persisted. I studied, I learned, I paid attention, I went to lots of meetings, I joined committees, I earned my first credentials, and I put myself in the position to be a true energy conservation specialist! I’m still not an engineer, but I can hold my own in most conversations (or at least I can follow what they are talking about).

Sometimes we have to be willing to put ourselves in uncomfortable positions. I’ve always said, “if you want a good view, you may have to stand close to the edge.” I do not try to pretend about things I do not have experience with; I just get to work to learn and to apply my sustainability lens to the situation.

Why did you decide to get credentialed by ISSP? What value has your credential brought to your career?

I was excited to see a credential designed for and specific to the field of a sustainability professional and I wanted to test myself. I asked myself rhetorically: could I earn a credential for sustainability professionals? After all, I had a full-time job working on a broad range of sustainability-related challenges and opportunities. It turned out the credentialing exam was challenging, comprehensive, and I passed! Earning the ISSP-CSP was a nice reinforcement of my education - my grasp on the concepts, practices, relevant information - and my work experience.

I also see a lot of value in the exam preparation process. As sustainability professionals, we have to be conversant in so many areas beyond the ones we may have our own specialization or emphasis in. I am constantly reading, participating in webinars, taking courses, and attending conferences whenever I can - always with the intent to learn, grow, expand my language acquisition and the understanding of diverse topics. I know there is something for me to learn in every opportunity. The ISSP credential is a great test, of not just our vocabulary, but of our ability to apply our knowledge of sustainability core competencies in the context of a business, educational, or governmental perspective.

What advice do you have for other sustainability professionals regarding the ISSP credentials?

There are many credentials in the marketplace, but there is nothing quite like the ISSP credential. If you have or are seeking a position as a “sustainability professional,” the ISSP credential identifies you as a person able and willing to competently work and apply sustainability knowledge across a broad spectrum of topics and situations.

As sustainability professionals, we sometimes find ourselves in a space that others do not understand or believe in - not in the way we do. Our perspective can be unique and can often be left out of a conversation or decision-making process. We have an obligation to build the profession as we bake-in sustainability considerations to the ways the our world works. 20+ years ago, not many people knew how to define “green building,” but USGBC did. USGBC set out to achieve market transformation, and - I would argue - they succeeded. We can add our part to the transformation of the world by joining together, participating through a shared purpose and credential - let’s show the world what a sustainability professional can do!

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Jonathan Gregory, ISSP-SA - Denton, TX, USA
Profiled March 2018

Title: Conservation Program Coordinator
Organization: City of Denton, TX
Educational Background: BA in Business Administration with dual concentrations in Entrepreneurship & Management from University of New Hampshire

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

Spending my summers by the lakes and on the mountains in New England, I grew up with a strong sense of connection to the natural world. My first direct involvement with the sustainability field was during my senior year at UNH, where I served as a student advisor to a local entrepreneur who was starting up an Earth-friendly department store. It was through this experience that I became engaged with the numerous facets of sustainability: sourcing low impact materials, fair labor practices, resource conservation, product life cycles, and many other principles that ISSP members value. This experience was eye-opening. I was elated when the owner asked me to join her team full-time as the Operations Manager.

Over the following years, our team took it upon ourselves to build a reputation as the go-to resource for all things “green living.” People would ask us for the latest research on hot topics like BPA in plastic bottles, and organic cleaning products. We were supplying CFL and LED light bulbs before many of the big box stores. These were the early days of the conscious consumer movement and we were at the forefront.

How did your experience inform your approach to communicating about sustainability?

Having spent five intense years as an eco-entrepreneur mentee, I began to think about which industries excited me most in the sustainability field. The energy sector seemed to have the highest upshot from a growth standpoint and I loved how solar electricity empowered individuals, directly reduced carbon emissions, and improved wealth distribution. With that mindset, I got to work and started up a solar energy installation business in New Hampshire!

My experiences in the solar industry taught me what it means to be a sustainability professional. In my previous role as a retailer I was mostly dealing with what I’d refer to as the “already converted” folk. They didn’t need much convincing and a bar of organic soap didn’t cost all that much in the grand scheme of things. Solar introduced me to a whole other world of individuals - the ones that were motivated by financial savings and investment opportunities. Through trial and error, I refined my messaging and eventually found a voice that clearly communicated the opportunities of supporting a renewable energy future.

Why did you decide to get credentialed by ISSP? What value has your credential brought to your career?

My professional ambition is to become a sustainability consultant. As an entrepreneur, I value credential-based education over institutional education because I believe my reputation will weigh more heavily on experiences and results than on any set of degrees. Along with other certifications I have obtained, I decided to secure my ISSP credential with the intent to verify and expand my understanding of sustainability principles.

I’d say that the biggest value that I have gained in my first year of being credentialed through ISSP is that I have been exposed to many like-minded, active sustainability professionals. Whether it is participating in the regular webinars and courses or getting involved with the Texas Regional Learning Network, I have appreciated the level of comradery that ISSP members demonstrate. The sharing of knowledge and willingness to collectively tackle big picture issues are certainly the highlights.

What advice do you have for other sustainability professionals regarding the ISSP credentials?

I think the most important thing we can be doing as a sustainability professional is building up our knowledge base of all the principles and practices that are prevalent today. ISSP is providing a reliable and comprehensive platform for professionals to participate in this ongoing education. Whether you want to achieve a basic understanding of sustainability or deeply explore a particular subject, getting credentialed is a practical solution.

For folks that are interested in getting credentialed, I’d recommend downloading the study guides prior to the exam so that you are up to speed with all of the terminology and theories. Even after much exposure and practice over the years, I still found the flash cards to be a huge help in my preparation. You’ll only want to sit through the examination process once, so do whatever you need to make sure you are knowledgeable of the scope of the exam.

The value of the people I have met through ISSP, as well as the ongoing educational opportunities provided, are the biggest assets to the sustainability field as a whole. Engaging with ISSP members and getting credentialed brings us all closer together and helps to build a level of professional consensus that we desperately need.

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Ljiljana Pantelic, ISSP-SA - Perth, Australia
Profiled February 2018

Title: Associate Director – Science, Sustainability & Health; R&D Manager
Organization: Syrinx Environmental PL
Educational Background: PhD (Microbiology/Immunology) ; Master's degree (Molecular Biology & Physiology, Experimental Biomedicine)

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

My first involvement in the sustainability field was in wastewater treatment and reuse which logically connected with my research background in public health and risk assessment. The first holistic sustainability project was a sustainable urban development project in 2006 where I was asked to research best practices for medium to high density mixed developments and to propose and evaluate possible strategies for water, energy and waste, focused at the precinct scale.

The early years in this field showed a confusing array of motives for including sustainability within projects, but not much was translated since it was commonly viewed as a value-add and an additional project cost. Consequently, in our Company we altered the way we worked with the concept, ensuring it was underpinned by science and solid strategies that were actually context-specific rather than a ‘lolly-shop of ideas’, and could be delivered. My involvement with the sustainability field really coincided with its early gestation period in Australia. As such we were able to spearhead a lot of sustainability initiatives and directions, particularly in the water sector.

My current responsibilities within Syrinx are diverse but generally I lead the sustainable solutions process from problem characterization, to option development and conceptual design.

Why did you decide to get credentialed by ISSP? What do the credentials mean for the field?

In recent years and as recognition of sustainability has grown, so too has the number of people practicing as ‘experts’ in the field. So, I was keen to ensure my own position and expertise was valid and was recognized by a reputable organization, and to be part of a professional international network. As in other fields, I think we will see a positive shift in the industry as the market matures and demands accredited professionals. Meanwhile, ISSP has helped me to extend my network with like-minded professionals and has provided me with an opportunity to see what is happening across the diverse facets that make up the sustainability field. This wider exposure is invaluable in extending my professional knowledge beyond my immediate sustainability roles.

I would say the credentialing program has enabled the bridging of the diversity of disciplines, sectors and focus areas that comprise the world of sustainability, which creates a powerful collaborative opportunity for change.

What advice do you have for other sustainability professionals regarding the ISSP credentials?

Sustainability embraces an enormous number of disciplines and fields of practice. Achieving ISSP credentials enables one to become aware of the depth and breadth of the individual parts which encourages you to consider within your own area of practice – this enables more powerful and collaborative outcomes that can hopefully make bigger differences. Also, the recognition by an international organization brings you international recognition which make one more marketable in this field.

My advice for credential holders is to make it part of your day-to-day work. The credentials allow you to be part of an excellent professional network.


John Cook, ISSP-CSP - Claremont, CA, USA
Profiled January 2018

Title: Sustainability Manager
Organization: Niagara Bottling, LLC
Educational Background: Ph.D., MBA in sustainability management

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

Sustainability has always been a part of my personal ethos. However, it was not until later in my career that I made a shift into Sustainability. In 2006 I began my transition from academia towards the for-profit business world. Once there, I quickly realized that the only way I was going to be able to make it in the current business world was through a Sustainability focus on consumption and growth.

At the time I was working for an international food processing equipment design/manufacturing firm. During visits to processing sites I saw a variety of scrap food processing machinery that was just sitting around unused. I quickly realized an opportunity to repurpose the material to handle waste oil from the food processing lines for making biofuels that could be used on-site. Given my background in the Humanities, and not in business or engineering, I made little progress in convincing my company to pursue a new business model.

I realized that I needed more education on Sustainability and change management if I hoped to transform traditional business culture. This led to me returning to graduate school to pursuit a MBA in Sustainability Management at Presidio Graduate School. Upon graduation I worked as in independent consultant until I was lured back into academia. At the University of California Riverside, where I established the Office of Sustainability and served as its director until 2017, I was able to wed my previous academic training with my business background to develop an office that could effectively interact with all campus stakeholders.

How do you view your career choices through the lens of sustainability?

When asked why I left teaching to work in a staff position for a university I replied: “As a teacher I worked to change the way students saw the world, now it is time to change the world.” My current position tweaks this a bit. Now I’m trying to change a particular corporation so we might change an entire industry.

Working for a bottled water company may seem a bit like an oxymoron for a sustainability officer, or like greenwashing at best. But it is not! At Niagara Bottling, LLC I am working to drive sustainability in all aspects of our operations, our company culture and our product; with the ultimate goal of making bottled water a sustainable good.

I believe this is both possible and necessary. We need to rethink how we talk about carbon, from what William McDonough calls a new language of carbon to Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s work on promoting restorative design for developing a Circular Economy of Plastic, to repurpose an industry to be a positive force in promoting sustainability. To this goal, Niagara is the first bottled water company to achieve TRUE Zero Waste Certification from the GBCI.

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

The University of California was undergoing a complete realignment of all job descriptions across the campuses. When I was ask to evaluate what a senior sustainability position would look like, I thought what credentials would best demonstrate an advanced proficiency in sustainability management. The standard at that time was to LEED Accredited Professional status. While I readily saw the value of having a sustainability officer that was a LEED AP, I did not believe this was the best credential for evaluating sustainability proficiency. It was then that I decided to pursue ISSP certification. After achieving SA and CSP certification levels I was able to recommend which type and level of certification were appropriate for different sustainability job classifications.

When I left the University of California Riverside for work in the private sector, having an ISSP-CSP definitely helped me stand out among the other sustainability professionals. First, many of the companies I was applying with did not necessary see the value of a LEED AP as they did not intend to pursue LEED certifications for their buildings. Second, several of the positions I was applying for were at companies where the sustainability officer position was new. Many HR managers and hiring directors did not have a strong understanding of what a senior sustainability professional would look like. Since degrees in sustainability are still fairly new, finding someone with the experience level required for a senior position and a formal education in sustainability was harder to find. The ISSP-CSP provided some grounding for HR to evaluate candidates with and without college degrees in sustainability on a level field.


Tanis Marquette, ISSP-CSP - North Wales, PA, USA
Profiled December 2017

Title: Global Sustainability Leader
Organization: Hexion, Inc.
Educational Background: Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

I have been in sustainability-related roles since 1992. My positions were initially traditional environmental health and safety roles and grew into more sustainability-driven business strategy as my career has matured.

In 1997, I began my journey with Borden Chemical (which later became Hexion) in a two-week assignment assisting with EHS audit preparations. With a decade of EHS-related product and regulatory knowledge amassed, I was offered my 7th role promotion within the company. The new position was designed to drive competitive advantage through technical (product) compliance. After 6 months of reading and learning everything I could about product and trade regulations and industry messaging, I realized our opportunities lay in sustainability. Ever since that revelation, I have had the absolute pleasure to craft my own path and do what I love every day.

How do the principles of sustainability apply in your day-to-day life?

At home, I am known as the “water police”. Any time anyone is brushing their teeth, shaving, or even washing the dishes and the water runs more than mere seconds, I am in the room shutting off the water. Which is rather ironic, since I am the only person in the house that doesn’t like to drink water. But given how critical water is, I am happy to wear that badge!

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

Holding a relevant professional credential keeps you engaged in your field and provides additional credibility. Unlike a certificate or degree, a credential requires continuing education and active engagement with peers in your field - which ensures you remain at the top of your field and regularly enhancing your skills.

Of all my professional designations, attaining the ISSP-CSP has been the most rewarding. The ISSP-CSP assessed skills developed throughout my career in combination with my passion around sustainability. I love to read and learn. In fact, I have an extensive library of sustainability reference books. Studying for the exam introduced me to information that was new to me - it was invigorating! That is the most wonderful thing about sustainability, there is always more to learn! (Okay, maybe now is the time to admit I spent my maternity leave taking IQ tests…. I love tests too!)

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

The ISSP credentials are full-spectrum sustainability credentials. The examinations challenge applicants to apply their knowledge and experiences to real-world scenarios.

Beyond credentialing, ISSP offers a unique opportunity to participate and collaborate with peers in a truly global network. Don’t ever limit yourself and your opportunities by not participating. In the courses offered by ISSP, every professional brings a unique and valued perspective to discussions and contributing is always encouraged. ISSP offers the ability for you to learn and teach simultaneously.

How would you describe the value that the credentials bring to the sustainability field as a whole?

With the breadth of scope that encompasses sustainability as an occupational field, it is also important to demonstrate depth within the discipline. The ISSP-SA and ISSP-CSP provide the opportunity to demonstrate both breadth and depth in this ‘new’ field.

While not new at all, sustainability as a focused degree program is still developing in undergraduate and graduate offerings. There are a MBA programs that have incorporated sustainability aspects and even a handful of sustainability MBAs, but not all professionals are able to capitalize on those opportunities. This means that for leaders already working in the sustainability field or aspiring to obtain new sustainability roles, certificates and degrees may not be aligned. The ISSP credentials provide that alignment and demonstrated competency.


Matt Beck, ISSP-CSP - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Profiled November 2017

Title: Director of Sustainability
Organization: Imaginea Energy
Educational Background: Masters of Environmental Design, B.Sc. Global Resource Systems

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

After a brief tryst with electrical engineering in university, I found myself needing to reconnect with my love of the outdoors for a while. It was over the next year spent in the mountains teaching snowsports that I became enamored with the systems perspective of sustainability and finished my undergraduate education pursuing a better understanding of the subject. Since then I have been working in a number of different sectors on projects relating to sustainability.

Was there a formative event that sparked your interest in sustainability?

When I was a kid, I often would go visit my grandmother in Vermont. My parents were very much the big box shopping, suburban lifestyle types so I wasn’t very connected to the food system. On those trips to Vermont though, my grandma would make sure we went to visit her friends who were bakers at the local farmers market, help another friend shear their sheep, visit maple sugar farms and apple orchards and have tea with local artisans. She made sure to nurture an appreciation for the beauty of connection to the web of life. She also ensured I had an understanding that in order for that community to function, a good economic system had to be in place. Together, we explored the give and take, ebb and flow, break down and build up processes of rural community life. When I reflect back upon those trips now, it is no real surprise that I was drawn to sustainability practice.

Why did you decide to get credentialed, and what value has the credential brought to you?

I have found that holding a credential in my professional field allows me to get past a bit of the chest-puffing required to demonstrate experience and competency when starting a new working relationship that depends on sustainability knowledge. It lets us get quickly into the project at hand.

The community of ISSP credential holders and professionals stretches across the globe and the knowledge sharing, connections, and professional development opportunities that arise from being part of that network has helped me stay on top of quickly evolving field. Also, there is a bit of a motivating factor to pursue continuing education opportunities when there are requirements for credential maintenance. It helps me keep my inner slacker in line.

What recommendations do you have for other sustainability professionals about the ISSP credentials?

I have found that the credentials have opened doors to a network of folks who are the best at what they do. On top of that, having a standard by which sustainability practice can be evaluated, gives us all a platform to evolve the profession and share best practices faster.

The team of staff and volunteers at ISSP that have developed the credentials are a very sharp and committed bunch. The materials that have been produced for the study guides, testing and coursework are great resources as you work to get your credentials. And membership in ISSP opens doors to even more great sustainability resources. I count on the materials from the ISSP website all the time on various projects.

How would you describe the value that the credentials bring to the sustainability field as a whole?

Having a common standard by which sustainability practice is held to enables the whole field to gain even more legitimacy. There are still may organizations that are early on their sustainability journeys and having a credential system in place will help them find the people with the expertise they need to help them accelerate their progress.

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Aurora Dawn Reinke, ISSP-SA - Linthicum Heights, MD, USA
Profiled October 2017

Title: Founder & CEO
Organization: Astrapto LLC
Educational Background: Aurora has a Bachelor's in Business Administration in Computer Information Systems, Masters in International Business Studies, and a Doctor of Business Administration in Social Impact Management. In addition to being an ISSP-SA, she is a LEED Green Associate, Certified Sustainable Tourism Professional from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and Green AP with the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

How did you first get involved in the sustainability field?

After years of having my interest piqued, about 5 years ago I took a series of steps to make sustainability more than just an interest. I began to incorporate sustainability into the college courses I was teaching and partnered with a team to start a social enterprise incubator. About that time I also started my doctoral program with a focus on sustainability.

Was there a specific topic that piqued your interest in sustainability?

Chocolate! I had been getting more and more interested in sustainability, especially the social aspect, and when I began to learn the realities of the supply chain of chocolate, it was pivotal. I made a choice at that point to no longer buy conventional chocolate candy. That was the tipping point of applying my values to more and more areas of my life. And I paid the price because fair and direct trade chocolate is much more expensive. Not to mention, it’s hard to pass up all that cheap candy at the holidays! A similar experience went into my choice to focus on hospitality for my consultancy. I love to travel and I noticed how often hotels have the “please save the planet and hang your towel” signage in the room, yet when I hang my towel I still end up with a freshly laundered one. I realized there’s still much to be done in this field, especially when it relates to training and organizational culture.

How has your ISSP credential brought value to your sustainability career?

It has helped me with people outside the sustainability field; they want to know I am credible but they are only familiar with their own industry credentials.

It has also helped me network. Shortly after joining ISSP, I was laid off and when deciding whether to open my own consulting business, I reached out to several ISSP members with years of experience and they gave me such great wisdom and encouragement.

Why would you recommend the ISSP credentials to other sustainability professionals?

When I got my ISSP-SA I was just deciding to be a sustainability consultant. Getting the credential helped me shore up in knowledge areas where I was weak, and it gave me a real boost in confidence to feel legitimate in this field.

I would also like to encourage those with many years of experience in the field to get the credential. Given their personal networks and backgrounds, they may not need the credential for a promotion or to win a client; however, they should get it to raise the value and awareness of the field and the credential. This is a way to “pay it forward.”

How would you describe the value that the credentials bring to the sustainability field as a whole?

The knowledge and skills framework will help academics and professional trainers create relevant educational materials for the field. That also makes it easier to integrate sustainability into other disciplines rather than it always being a separate department.

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Nic Bishop, ISSP-SA - Auckland, New Zealand
Profiled August 2017

Title: Group Sustainability Manager
Organization: Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
Educational Background: Nic studied both commerce and science at Victoria University of Wellington, and then completed a Masters in Environmental Management with Imperial College Wye. Nic studied in Paraguay on an AFS exchange and is enjoying using his spanish as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare also has a base in Tijuana, Mexico.

What are your current job responsibilities?

Nic leads the sustainability team at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. This involves all areas of sustainability and social responsibility for one of New Zealand’s largest companies. Nic and his team focus on these six sustainability strategy areas:

  • Eco-design and eco-efficiency;

  • Environmental Management Systems;

  • Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility (ISO26000);

  • Sustainable Procurement;

  • Data to inform Sustainable Design (LCA work stream), as well as;

  • Carbon & Energy Strategy.

Nic’s team also coordinates a network of Green Teams, whereby the organisation has 15 strategic green teams focused on topics from Biodiversity & Tree Planting, Public Transport & Cycling uptake, Sustainable Packaging, Electric Vehicles & Solar to name a few. He has established New Zealand’s first circular economy stakeholder collaboration with health sector sustainability leaders, investigating how to navigate the complexities of infection control, while also allowing application of circular economy outcomes for medical devices.

Much of Nic’s time is spent coaching senior leaders in the organisation, and future thinking so that he can provide the best advice to his executive team and Board.

Nic has previously been on the Board of the Packaging Council of New Zealand, was appointed by Environment Canterbury to the New Zealand Rural Waste Minimisation Initiative, and is a mentor for social enterprises specifically related to environmental topics for Akina Foundation.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Nic has been very fortunate to work for some of New Zealand’s largest and best known companies. While at Fonterra, Nic designed and was awarded by the Minister for the Environment, the first Accredited Product Stewardship scheme for Fonterra. Nic also chairs the Circular Economy Initiative for Trade Me, which has quantified the environmental benefit to the New Zealand economy of the online trading platforms’ re-use market.

Nic volunteers for the Rotoroa Island Trust, managing carbon assessment work. Rotoroa Island was the first certified carboNZero island in the southern hemisphere, with over 400,000 native trees planted - and easily accessible for the public to visit and learn about. This initiative also earned a Green Ribbon award from the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment.

Why did you choose to join ISSP?

Nic choose to join ISSP to tap into a global network of like minded souls. Especially being based in New Zealand, and geographically distant from large population bases, having the direct link to very skilled, capable and well networked sustainability leaders is an invaluable resource. Nic has completed the ISSP S-CORE Sustainability Assessment course, and assists as Co-chair of the ISSP Credential Maintenance Committee.

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Catherine Hurley, ISSP-CSP - Lemont, Illinois
Profiled May 2017

Title: Sustainability Program Manager
Organization: Argonne National Laboratory
Educational Background: I have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Dayton and hold several credentials including: Registered Professional Engineer, LEED Accredited Professional and ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional (ISSP-CSP).

What are your current job responsibilities?

I provide strategic direction and management for Argonne's Sustainability Program. I oversee projects that address greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable buildings, water management, pollution prevention and waste reduction, transportation efficiency, sustainable procurement, and climate change resilience. My staff manages the Bike Share Program, Employee Electric Vehicle Charging Station Program, and employee education and engagement initiatives. I coordinate annual sustainability performance reporting through the Lab’s Annual Site Sustainability Plan and in the site’s ISO 14001 certified Environmental Management System.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

As Sustainability Manager for the City of Evanston, Illinois, I helped Evanston earn the title of Earth Hour Capital for the United States in 2015 and traveled to Seoul, South Korea with Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl to represent the City.

Why did you choose to join ISSP?

I was seeking to collaborate with professionals from across sectors and found ISSP to be the perfect resource to accomplish this. In my time at the City of Evanston, I became familiar with and made connections to sustainability managers working in local government. When I needed best practices outside of my sector, I found ISSP to be the best place to connect with the wider sustainability movement. The webinars and other educational resources were just the tools I needed to further advance my local work.

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Dr. Paola Fiore, ISSP-SA - Milan, Italy
Profiled April 2017

Title: Sustainability Management & Communications Specialist; Sustainability & CSR Coach; Founder & CEO
Organization: ETICAMBIENTE® Sustainability Management & Communications Consulting; Innovative Sustainability Coaching & Consulting Solutions for Responsible Growth & Profitability
Educational Background: ACTP The Art & Science of Coaching - Erickson Coaching International, Canada; MSc Business & Corporate Communication - Il Sole 24 Ore Business School, Italy; MSc Environmental Law & Management - IPA Institute for the Environment, Italy; BA (Hons) Documentary Photography - UWCN University of Wales College Newport, UK; Environmental Law & Economics - University of the Studies of Pavia, Italy; Degree in Jurisprudence - University of the Studies of Pavia, Italy

What are your current job responsibilities?

With over 17 years of experience in transforming corporate and non-profit organizations into socially responsible and profitable market leaders, and 23+ years of environmental studies, I lead Strategy and Business Development and Markets and Operations for my own company ETICAMBIENTE® Sustainability Management and Communications Consulting.

We are a forward thinking pioneer in the field of sustainability management and communications, and sustainability coaching and training. We work with CEOs & Boards, Executives and Senior Managers who are keen to understand how sustainability can make good business sense, and acquire proper in-house expertise to create profitable sustainability strategies and initiatives.

We are dedicated to working with medium-to-large sized companies and multinationals struggling with integrating sustainability principles into their core business model, day-to-day operations and risk analysis, as well as striving to maximize stakeholder engagement and communications.

We partner with our clients to enhance sustainability leadership and innovation, build a business case for sustainability, identify areas for improvement and cost savings, access new markets for a green economy, avoid green and blue washing, and promote eco-friendly products and services.

By providing all-in-one consulting and coaching solutions, we empower our customers to improve brand reputation and conversations, drive long term business value and honor the Triple Bottom Line.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My family, ETICAMBIENTE®, and volunteering work as a Climate Reality Leader and Speaker within the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, Climate Policy Task Force Member within The Climate Reality Project, European Branch, and National Coordinator for Italy for The Climate Reality Project.

Why did you choose to join ISSP?

We strive for excellence everyday. That is our main goal in all we do in life and work. We recognize ISSP as the world's leading professional organization for sustainability practitioners. In this community of like-minded people, we can contribute together to advance practice, methodology, and tools in order to improve our work both at local and global levels.

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Sarah Beyea, ISSP-SA - London, Ontario, Canada
Profiled December 2016

Title: Sustainability Toolkit Project Manager
Organization: Tavares Group Consulting Inc.
Educational Background: Western University (UWO) - Master of Environment and Sustainability (MES); University of New Brunswick - BSc Biology; University of New Brunswick - BA (Hons) Anthropology

What are your current job responsibilities?

In my role as Sustainability Toolkit Project Manager, I help organizations with sustainability action planning and implementation using the Sustainability Toolkit framework developed by Tavares Group Consulting. I have over nine years of project management experience. Currently I am the firm's project manager for the newest version of the Sustainability Toolkit, and the development of the Sustainability Toolkit software. Working with a consulting firm allows me to contribute to a wide range of sustainability focused projects in a variety of different industries. Past projects I have worked on include sustainability reporting, materiality assessments and gap analysis, environmental compliance, training development, and sustainability implementation. I have also been involved in several post-secondary student projects as a client mentor; most recently I have been fortunate enough to join ISSP's Credential Maintenance Committee.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am very proud of the student projects I have been involved with through my work at Tavares Group Consulting, which have allowed me to work with students from a number of fields ranging from computer science and marketing, to environmental and sustainability studies. It is great to be able to provide experience to future sustainability professionals, and demonstrate to students outside of the field that sustainability is not the responsibility of just one person in an organization, but that it can be incorporated into any job role.

Why did you choose to join ISSP?

I believe that collaboration is key in order for organizations and communities to become sustainable. I chose to join ISSP because of the opportunity it provided to connect with other sustainability professionals working in different fields all over the world. I also wanted to get more involved with promoting the sustainability profession and to keep informed of current best practices and leadership trends.


Dr. Fabian Sack, ISSP-CSP - Sydney, Australia
Profiled November 2016

Title: Director
Organization: Sustainably
Educational Background: Commonwealth Sustainability Champions Program - Vocational Graduate Certificate in Education for Sustainability; University of Wollongong - PhD in Corporate Environmental Ethics; Australian National University - Ba (Hons) Philosophy and social & political theory

What are your current job responsibilities?

At Sustainably we work with people who are passionate about acting sustainably, often in collaborative partnerships across sectors. Sustainably are specialists in:

  • Vocational education and training (VET) sustainability

  • Capacity building and training on climate change adaptation

  • Technical analysis for sustainability reporting

  • Policy analysis in sustainability and climate change adaptation

We deliver by facilitating stakeholder engagement, strategic leadership, collaborative research and innovative training.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

In my work life I look back fondly on my time at Sydney Water where we adopted integrated reporting in the early noughties, progressed some very significant commitments to carbon efficiency and introduced robust ecological footprinting to the mainstream of the Australian water industry. More recently I take great satisfaction in the work I'm doing with the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand to embed climate change adaptation in practice through action learning based professional development.

Why Did You Choose To Pursue the ISSP-CSP Credential?

For me becoming an ISSP-CSP meant joining a global community of practice. As the program matures, I'm sure stakeholders will become increasingly confident that they get reliable insights into best sustainable practice from certified sustainability practitioners. This can only be a good thing.

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Beth Knight, ISSP-CSP - London, U.K.
Profiled October 2016

Title: EY Beacon Institute, Strategy & Operations Leader
Organization: Ernst & Young LLP
Educational Background: University of Cambridge (MSc Distinction), Sustainability Leadership; University of Exeter (BA Hons First Class), History; Awarded Foresters Scholarship

What are your current job responsibilities?

I lead Operations, Markets and Business Development for EY's Beacon Institute. I have over ten years' experience as a sustainability leader and management consultant in areas related to purpose-led transformation. I work with executives, entrepreneurs and academics to deepen thought leadership, elevate the debate and accelerate the adoption of purposeful business strategy. With the Beacon Institute, I'm responsible for convening a community of 'early adopters' and 'early majority' enabling the transition to a new, inclusive model of business. I am an Ambassador for the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and member of ISSP's Advisory Council on professional standards.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My daughter Joslyn obviously has to come first. However, from my work-life I am very proud of the Sustainability Leadership competencies research I have undertaken with Cambridge University, its application by the British Psychology Institute and the work I continue to do in supporting the professionalization of jobs in Sustainability.

What do you value most about your ISSP membership?

The ability to stay connected to like-minded people and follow leading practice methodology - which is always tough when you work in such a complex and fast-moving field!