Meet this year’s Exec Team

This is the team that navigates the path forward and keeps everyone on track. Introducing Melissa Small, Barbara Seymour, Clare Connolly, Laurie Burgess and Liz Mullane.

Melissa Small, President

Melissa Small HeadshotHow did you first become interested in CSR and Sustainability?

I first became interested in corporate responsibility when I was working at Text 100 Public Relations. I attended a press conference at the United Nations on behalf of my client, Cisco Systems. Cisco, along with Google and the UN, announced a newly created web-based tool to track the progress of the Millennium Development Goals. I was inspired by the work these companies were doing in this capacity. From that point, I started exploring the idea of companies as critical catalysts that drive innovative, sustainable social change, and I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the field.

What motivated you to join the Net Impact Boston Leadership Team?

Having served on the board of the Boston University Net Impact Graduate Chapter for two years, I witnessed first-hand the power of the Net Impact community and the organization’s ability to create a strong, inspiring network of like-minded people. Upon graduation from BU, I joined the Net Impact Boston Leadership Team not only because I wanted to stay involved in the organization, but also because I wanted to strengthen our network of Boston area professionals dedicated to using the power of business to drive positive social, environmental and economic impact.

Which book would you recommend to Net Impact Boston members?

The Necessary Revolution by Peter Senge and The New Sustainability Advantage by Bob Willard.

What’s your favorite Boston brunch spot and why?

Masa in the South End – delicious brunch fiesta specials

Where is the best place you’ve ever traveled?

Going on safari in Kenya

Check out Melissa’s biography

Barbara Seymour, Vice President

Barbara Seymour HeadshotHow did you first become interested in CSR and Sustainability?

Gosh, I really don’t remember. I didn’t term it CSR or Sustainability initially, but I think it has long been instilled in me. At 14 I was volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and having discussions with my youth group about the importance of home ownership and the pride it created. We debated about whether or not the idea that everyone needed their own home was truly a “need” or if there were other ways to house people that were smarter uses of time, volunteer goodwill, physical space, money etc. that could still build communities and pride of place. When I was ten my summer camp started at compost system and I hauled the buckets of scrap out to the pile . . . I’ve long been a bike commuter, my family has always had gardens and since the availability of comparisons of neighborhood energy usage, my parents have tracked how they are doing. I guess the “C” truly came into focus for me in college, as I explored the drivers of change and the way to make a big-scale impact on the issues of the day.

What motivated you to join the Net Impact Boston Leadership Team?

I had recently finished my graduate program and was looking for ways to connect with the Boston sustainability community.

Which book would you recommend to Net Impact Boston members?

To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild

What’s one particularly quirky thing about you?

I struggle to tolerate the cold and I know next to nothing about Boston sports. My husband has a much higher tolerance for cold and sounds like a native when it comes to discussing our teams. For the record – I’ve lived here a collective 23 years of my life and he has been here for three and in Mumbai for the rest.

Whats your favorite fall/ seasonal/ New England activity?

Whatever is possible at the moment I’m answering the question!

Check out Barbara’s biography

Clare Connolly, Treasurer

clare connollyHow did you first become interested in CSR and Sustainability?

I first became interested in sustainability during a summer internship at a sustainable living and learning center. I got very excited about the potential to help people and companies understand how to shift their behavior to more responsible practices.

What motivated you to join the Net Impact Boston Leadership Team?

I first learned about Net Impact when living in San Francisco – it was a valuable resource to me there providing great networking opportunities and educational events that really helped direct the next steps in my career. When I moved back to Boston, there were mutual contacts between the Net Impact in SF and Boston which led to my involvement with NIB. Since then, I have enjoyed partaking in the development of our organization, meeting like-minded people, and finding ways to offer the many resources to members that have been so valuable to me.

What’s your favorite TED talk?

It’s tough to choose – There are so many great TED talks but one that comes to mind is Your body language shapes who you are by Amy Cuddy. It is a touching personal story and Cuddy shares helpful ideas that can be directly applied to one’s professional development.

What’s your favorite Boston brunch spot and why?

Sofra Bakery – it has delicious pastries!

What’s your favorite fall/ seasonal/ New England activity?

Hiking! Apple picking in the fall is great too.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor and why?

I think I would choose Jill Dumain, Director of Environmental Strategy for Patagonia as a mentor.  I have a great deal of respect for Patagonia as a leader in responsible business operations and environmental advocacy (not to mention great products!). Jill Dumain has been integral in driving the company’s core values rooted in sustainability into action through initiatives like the Common Threads Garment Recycling program and the “Don’t Buy this Jacket” campaign.  I would love to learn from Jill Dumain’s experience in transforming industry standards and having such positive impacts throughout an entire supply chain.

Check out Clare’s biography

Laurie Burgess, Strategic Partnerships Chair

Laurie Burgess HeadshotHow did you first become interested in CSR and Sustainability?

I was encouraged by my marketing teacher to take an introductory class in Corporate Responsibility. My first assignment was to read Let My People Go Surfing by Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard. I was inspired by the idea that businesses can use their core competencies to create social & environmental good, and also reap the business benefits.

What motivated you to join the Net Impact Boston Leadership Team?

I enjoyed my time on the leadership board of Net Impact at Simmons College. I wanted to continue my involvement with this like-minded community of professionals by joining Net Impact Boston.

Which book would you recommend to Net Impact Boston members?

Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World by Gary Hirshberg tells the story of how Stonyfield is able to use business for good.

Where is the best place you’ve ever traveled?

Although I’ve traveled across the country and abroad, one of my favorite places to go is Burlington, Vermont. Although I love the breweries, vineyards, biking, hiking and shopping, I really appreciate the environmental & social consciousness of the community. For example, many restaurants offer meals with local, organic, vegan and/or fair-trade ingredients. People seems conscious of their impact on the earth by using techniques to reduce, reuse and recycle. It’s truly a heart warming place to visit.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor and why?

I would like to choose one of the founders of B Lab/B Corporation Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan, or Andrew Kassoy. For those of you that don’t know, Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Today there are over 850 certified B Corporations. It would be fascinating to hear and learn from the co-founders on their experience working with mission-driven companies and study the ingredients for a successful social enterprise.

Check out Laurie’s biography

Liz Mullane, Student Chapter Relations Manager

How did you first become interested in CSR and Sustainability?

I’ve always been interested and have worked in non profit my entire career.

What motivated you to join the Net Impact Boston Leadership Team?

I first became aware of Net Impact during business school when I participated in their Case Competition in Colorado. Ever since then, I wanted to stay involved and after moving to Boston, I was excited to join such an engaged Chapter!

What’s your favorite Boston brunch spot and why?

North Street Grill – I love the North End and even though there is a wait – the food is always awesome!

Where is the best place you’ve ever traveled?

Hands down it would be Northern Ireland. I lived in Belfast for several months and just recently went back for a visit over the summer – it is still the most beautiful place I have ever been!

What’s your favorite fall/ seasonal/ New England activity?

Definitely apple picking!

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