Having experimented with all kinds of roles throughout a number of sectors, Rachel Madan, director of sustainability and influence at Luminous, loves her present gig consulting along with her purpose-driven shoppers.
Beforehand, she developed and led world company sustainability methods on the Worldwide Finance Company, created her personal social enterprise referred to as Greener Museums, suggested the likes of the Tate and Manchester’s Museum of Science and Trade on sustainability and consulted for such organizations because the World Financial institution Group and the College of Rochester.
This range of experiences formulates Madan’s distinctive promoting proposition, which she believes is vital for any firm and job seeker working in company sustainability. I just lately related with Madan to study extra about her profession journey up to now.
Shannon Houde: Inform us just a little bit about what you do day-to-day.
Rachel Madan: Whereas Luminous is a strategic communications company based mostly in London, we additionally work with corporations within the U.S. and Europe. We assist companies to encourage others with who they’re, what they do and why it issues. And now we have totally different consulting affords that assist with that, and the one which I lead is sustainability and influence. Our mission is to assist good corporations be nice at sustainability.
I used to be recruited to create the perform and lead the workforce so it’s like I handle a startup in a method. After I first began, the workforce was simply me, however now I’ve three folks reporting to me and I am about to rent a fourth. And so, I do a little bit of all the pieces: enterprise improvement and advertising, mentoring and managing my workforce, working straight with shoppers, researching and creating new choices. And since we do sustainability, communications and technique, I do all of that, too. So, all the pieces from materiality assessments to serving to an organization develop their first sustainability technique or replace one, or create partaking communications that then inform their sustainability story.
Houde: I believe that is generally what lures folks into consulting, the truth that it’s fairly numerous and multifaceted and that retains us challenged and motivated. So, inform us what you like probably the most about your work?
Madan: I like that it is totally different day-after-day, and quick paced. I believe it is vital to strive a number of totally different roles in a number of totally different sectors in your profession. I have been in plenty of totally different ones. And I believe that, for me, consulting in comparison with being in a big firm as an inside particular person contributor, right here I haven’t got to attend for issues to occur. I keep in mind working at an establishment the place issues moved so slowly. I additionally love increase and mentoring my workforce and dealing with folks throughout the enterprise. And I believe, whereas it isn’t for everyone, I actually like the scale of the corporate that I am at, which is about 65 folks. There are sufficient folks that you’ve some assist, however it’s not so many that you just get misplaced. I additionally actually love working with shoppers which might be up for change and are desirous about what sustainability is.
Houde: And inform us just a little bit about what it is like working within the sustainability consulting sector the place the large 4 companies try to rent these enormous groups and be “within the sport.” What do you concentrate on this type of surge that we’re seeing?
Madan: I am actually joyful to see the demand. I believe the demand for expertise is a response to demand for assist from corporations, which I believe is simply factor. By way of how we place ourselves in another way from the Huge 4, I believe they’re doing one thing totally different to what we’re doing. We’re small and bespoke, and that’s one thing that we are able to supply to our shoppers. I am the director of my workforce, and I work with most of my shoppers. In the event that they go and work with a KPMG, a PWC or Deloitte, that is not occurring. With us, it isn’t simply the identical presentation however with a unique shopper identify on the deck. That’s one thing that in a aggressive market additionally applies for positioning your self by way of careers, i.e., it is actually vital to have the ability to clearly articulate your individual added worth and what differentiates you from everybody else.
One of many stuff you want to have the ability to do in a consulting surroundings is speak to plenty of totally different stakeholders about plenty of totally different points.
Houde: What ESG points are most corporations involved about?
Madan: For corporations that I am working with, local weather change is high of thoughts. We’re working with plenty of corporations which might be making an attempt to fulfill their regulatory necessities, notably round monetary reporting, so we’re seeing plenty of corporations who’re making an attempt to return to grips with their Process Pressure on Local weather-related Monetary Disclosures (TCFD) reporting necessities.
Having these reporting frameworks legally required is definitely essential. For instance, there’s a brand new U.Okay. reporting requirement round range at board and senior ranges. For a very long time, corporations had been in a position to provide you with this mealy-mouthed response of how there’s not sufficient folks within the pipeline. And now they really should report on these numbers, after which clarify why their numbers are possibly not so good as we might suppose they’re, that they need to be.
Houde: In addition to local weather too, what are you seeing by way of that “S” in ESG?
Madan: I am undecided that there is a consistency in method there. I believe that the problem is available in measurement. For environmental points, now we have goal information that tells us what’s materials and what is not. The problem with social influence is that now we have some issues which might be simple to measure — for instance, range metrics — however it does not essentially inform us what the influence of that’s. Or, for instance, how can we measure an inclusive enterprise? It’s an space ripe for analysis and development.
Houde: For others trying to get into consulting or ESG extra typically, are there any certifications that you just see as important to a newcomer?
Madan: The problem and the chance of sustainability is that it is such a broad area. I believe that the query round certification is dependent upon during which path you would possibly wish to take your profession.
I am undecided that the abilities we search as professionals are essentially on a university syllabus, so I will inform you what I am on the lookout for proper now within the roles that I am hiring for. I’m on the lookout for individuals who have GRI (International Reporting Initiative) expertise. You are able to do a certification on this; there are a variety of organizations together with GRI itself that run them. There’s additionally the Accountable Investing credential that is run by way of the CFA within the U.Okay. So, I really feel like these are useful. I believe when you had been eager to focus extra on GHG emissions accounting, I might search for certifications and programs that will help you get these abilities.
Houde: Lastly, any recommendation for making that leap from being a person contributor inside an even bigger firm right into a consulting firm?
Madan: One of many stuff you want to have the ability to do in a consulting surroundings is speak to plenty of totally different stakeholders about plenty of totally different points. You want to have the ability to analysis shortly, perceive your viewers and suppose forward of them. And, after all, you may have to have the ability to give recommendation. It’s important to actually know your stuff as a topic professional and become familiar in a short time with the totally different challenges that totally different sectors could be dealing with. That’s one of many issues that I like about it as a result of I get to study a ton about totally different corporations. I’m virtually all the time shocked about how related the challenges are throughout totally different sectors. After which each every now and then, you come throughout one thing and also you’re like, “Wow, I’ve by no means heard of that earlier than. Let’s dive in and determine this out.”
Shannon Houde is an ICF licensed profession and management coach who based Stroll of Life Teaching in 2009. Her life’s objective is to allow change leaders to show their ardour into motion and to stay into their potential — creating scalable social and environmental influence globally. To comply with extra tales like these, be a part of Shannon for Espresso & Join the place she interviews sustainability practitioners each month to study extra about what their “day within the life” entails.