Impact Connections: Interview with Catalina Campos, Senior Consultant with EY Climate Change and Sustainability Services
by Madison Phelan, GSLI Student Communications Associate
This month, I had the opportunity to chat with MBA alumnus Catalina Campos about her career. Catalina is a dedicated sustainability advocate with nearly seven years in the field, beginning with a startup in Kansas City in 2015. Now as a Senior Consultant for EY, she uses her past experiences to help solve sustainability problems for major companies. She earned her BA from Rockhurst University in Communication and Media Studies, Business Administration, and French and recently graduated from the MBA program at UT. Catalina speaks French, Spanish, English, and Portuguese, along with her talents in strategy and marketing, showcasing her multifaceted abilities that help her thrive in the sustainability field.
Hello Catalina! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us about your experiences at UT and sustainability for the Global Sustainability Leadership Institute. Looking at your bio, you have such a diverse background with your past experiences and work experience; I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about what encouraged you to look for opportunities like getting your MBA at UT?
For sure! I think I’m a curious person, and I really saw an opportunity for me to hone in on my business skills to advance my career and to expand my network. UT was a perfect fit because the program specifically had a big focus on helping working professionals advance in their career fields and pivoted to many opportunities. I was really excited to find a program that’s so well-ranked with so many amazing professors to meet my goals of advancing my career and finding a career path that I was really passionate about.
I noticed that you worked at Green Bay, ICF, and now you work at EY; I was wondering what you would say is your day-to-day schedule, and how has it changed from your past experiences?
EY is amazing company to work for! I really wanted to focus on sustainability, so I started that path by working in a startup out of Kansas City, and that transitioned into a consulting job at ICF; after getting my MBA, it really opened up my eyes to the opportunity to have an impact on a bigger scale by working with a company like EY. In terms of how my day-to-day work goes, climate change and sustainability are changing and growing so quickly. Just to give you an idea, our practice is doubling by the end of the year, which is crazy. We’re really busy, and it is exciting to see how many companies and leaders in every industry are taking amazing strides toward being more sustainable in their practices. By working at EY, I work with an array of clients, and every step of the way we help them figure out an approach to meet their sustainability goals, set sustainability goals, and also track and come up with metrics on how they can be more sustainable and have a long-standing strategy for themselves and their stakeholders.
What advice would you give students looking for a career in sustainability?
It’s such a good time to be doing this. It’s always been a good field to be in, but right now it’s such a great time to be in it because it is changing so much. My advice to them would be to ask questions, to have an open mind, and to look at what different companies are doing — not just consulting firms, but also industry leaders. Pretty much every big Fortune 500 company has sustainability goals, so take a look at those and figure out what role they want to have in changing our world.
What are your future goals that you would like to accomplish for sustainability, business, work, etc.?
I really want to focus on my current role and helping my clients and better understanding our sustainability landscape, so you know you’re always learning. It is changing so quickly that it’s important to stay at the forefront of all of these changes and innovations that are happening in our field. I definitely want to make sure that I stay up-to-date with everything that’s happening and long-term would love to be more of a thought leader in the industry.
For sustainability, what initially made you follow that path to looking toward more sustainable goals and careers?
Growing up, my dad was a builder. Even being a little kid, I remember going to a job site just feeling heartbroken for all of the trees getting torn down, and so much waste happens at the job site that it just kind of always stuck with me. After graduating from college, I had the opportunity to join the startup, and it really aligned with my values and with the fact that I want to leave the world better for the next generation — that was a big driver in wanting to dive into a sustainability role, and that’s what kind of led me there. I’ve really fallen in love with the area and the industry, and I’ve been in it since I started 8 years ago.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us that you want to say, or do you have any closing remarks?
I guess I would say that completing my MBA at UT, even though it wasn’t a traditional sustainability path (a lot of the people that I work with have a Master’s in environmental science or sustainability), really prepared me to do my job well and have really good critical thinking skills and build a network that really fosters those skills and really pushes me forward and encouraged me to take opportunities that otherwise I would have never taken. So, go UT!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.