What Drives You On Your Sustainability Journey? 10 Industry Leaders Weigh In

What drives you? What’s your why

I’ve had the opportunity to ask nearly 100 entrepreneurs, executives, and industry leaders this question on the Bigger Than Us podcast. While conserving resources for the next generation is an underlying theme, their personal stories tell a bigger story. Here are some of the most recent answers that reveal the far-reaching impacts of climate change and environmental issues that have inspired these individuals to work to have an impact that is bigger than us. 

“I’m very interested in problem-solving, especially pressing challenges. Things that really matter. I was attracted to water pollution…and then extended to energy challenges…and that just evolved.” 

Marilyn Waite
Climate and Clean Energy Finance Program Officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

LISTEN TO EPISODE 88 FEATURING MARILYN WAITE

“Intrinsically, I just want to have an impact. I want to have an impact on society that’s beneficial and I hope that we would all aspire to have that type of impact. It’s not easy. The bigger impact you want to have, the more challenges and adversity you’re going to face.”

Matthew Dawson, Ph.D.
CEO of Utility Global 

LISTEN TO EPISODE EPISODE 89 FEATURING MATTHEW DAWSON

“The environment has always been something that I’ve cared a lot about ever since I was a kid. And I remember in elementary school…we had the local recycling company come in…that was my first sort of taste of these concepts and these issues and I remember running home and declaring to my parents that we must get recycling bins!”

Sam Arons
Director of Sustainability at Lyft 

LISTEN TO EPISODE 90 FEATURING SAM ARONS

“I’m driven by a need to establish purpose, I need to have been relevant. If that’s important to me, maybe that’s narcissistic. But that’s how I feel. And the manifestation of that in my case is a deep commitment to the long term protection of the biosphere, to recognize things that are disruptive and problematic, and then to seek solutions that will try to mitigate that harm in a way that’s productive long after I’m gone.” 

David Slutzky
Founder and CEO of Fermata Energy

LISTEN TO EPISODE 91 FEATURING DAVID SLUTZKY

“I saw the opportunity to leverage a company I already worked for instead of leaving Kickstarter to do sustainability…if I can leverage the platform to build sustainable principles into these companies at an early stage, I saw that as a really great opportunity to pursue that work.”

Jon Leland
Vice President of Insights and Head of Environmental Impact at Kickstarter

LISTEN TO EPISODE 92 FEATURING JON LELAND

“I just grew up kind of oblivious. I thought brown hazy skies and rotten egg smells wafting through the air was normal…I had no idea growing up that it was the actual chemical plants and gas or oil refinery just down the road that was really making our air quality so poor.” 

Stacy Savage
Founder and President of Zero Waste Strategies 

LISTEN TO EPISODE 93 FEATURING STACY SAVAGE

“I had read the Intergovernmental Panel Report on Climate Change…I felt like someone’s got to do something, and someone needs to go around and educate businesses.” 

Kevin Wilhelm
CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting

LISTEN TO EPISODE 94 FEATURING KEVIN WILHELM

“I was aware of the problems that we’ve created, and I just couldn’t sleep at night without contributing to solutions. As a water scientist, I know how fast our freshwater sources are being depleted. And I had to do something to address that.”

Pat Crowley
Founder and CEO of Chapul Farms

LISTEN TO EPISODE 95 FEATURING PAT CROWLEY

“…for me, it’s always been about ‘is what I’m doing something that is going to bring about positive change?’ And that’s been in different forums in different ways. But that’s really been the driving key for me…”

Michelle Greene
President of the Long Term Stock Exchange

LISTEN TO EPISODE 96 FEATURING MICHELLE GREENE

“…peace is a core requirement for justice and education and human development and growth. And so it’s always just been a motivating factor for me…”


Dave Mozersky
President and Co-Founder of Energy Peace Partners

LISTEN TO EPISODE 97 FEATURING DAVE MOZERSKY

We’d love to know, what drives you? Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we share what we’re reading and thinking about in the cleantech green tech sectors, plus links to the latest podcast episodes and our new comic

Raj Daniels