It may seem that Stuart DeCew and Amy Badner are in many places at a time. Having spent the last several years busily building CBEY into a multifaceted organization that pushes new sustainable business research and entrepreneurship, Stuart and Amy, and the rest of the CBEY team, are lucky to have an extra set of hands on deck. As I quickly gathered once I sat down with her, CBEY is especially lucky, given that that set of hands belongs to Jennifer Oldham Rogan. Jennifer jumped on board as CBEY’s first Associate Director in October and I was excited to see what she brings to the table, as well as what she’s getting ready to tackle.
Originally from the UK, Jennifer comes to CBEY via Switzerland, where, most recently, she headed up the World Economic Forum’s civil societies arm. Prior to that, she spent time working on environmental policy for a think tank and on corporate sustainability consulting with ERM. Her career has spanned non-profit and private sector work, and has brought her to Malaysia and Singapore. With such a diverse portfolio of experiences, it’s a good thing that Jennifer’s husband, SOM’s Director of Advanced Management, Ian Rogan, exerted a magnetic pull toward Yale. Jennifer has enjoyed the move to New Haven, and is excited to have the chance to work in the US while capitalizing on her international experience as she works with CBEY students.
While building CBEY’s international capacity is high on her list, her motivation to join the team was largely driven by a desire to help catalyze credible solutions. Over the course of her career, Jennifer has seen a marked change in the discourse around sustainability. When we spoke, she mentioned past frustration with simply getting sustainability on the business agenda, whereas she now sees that there’s a lot of “noise and excitement” across most sectors around sustainability. Instead of having to fight for sustainability to be recognized, she now sees the issue as figuring out how to filter out the positive, impactful, and effective noise from the rest. To her, CBEY, with the credibility, expertise, and power of SOM and FES, is the perfect place to do that.
Since she’ll be spending half of her time working on the current SEEDS (Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies) project, she’s thrilled to get to work on a tangible project that could have macro implications. Through the U.S. Department of Energy ‘s SunShot Initiative, the SEEDS grant program “supports use-inspired research on solar energy innovation dynamics and technology adoption patterns.” Here at Yale, Jennifer and the CBEY SEEDS team are working through a series of Energize Connecticut’s Solarize pilots to review how social networks and other behavioral strategies influence the take up of solar. Working with students to find ways to scale solar energy in Connecticut is not just about putting panels on rooftops, it’s also about discovering how effective strategies could be magnified across various levels. This translation of work at the local scale to a broader, possibly international scale is something she is anxious to run with. Given her network, it doesn’t take much of a leap of faith to think that she’ll be able to help connect CBEY work with what’s happening around the world. That might sound like a big statement, but very concretely, Jennifer is looking forward to expanding CBEY’s international internship and partnership offerings, as well as opening up her address book to any students who want to explore sustainable business outside of the US.
When I asked Jennifer about what she sees as CBEY’s biggest opportunities for improvement, she was quick to point out just how impressive the program is. Translating CBEY’s accomplishments, and really shouting them from the rooftops, on top of expanding international research and opportunities, was her main goal. We need to be more vocal about our work outside of the Yale bubble, and she’s already working on ways to accomplish that.
Jennifer was also quick to mention that she’ll be a better resource to the CBEY team as she gets to know the students. Whether you want to hear about the best place to eat noodles in Malaysia, find a job at the World Bank, or schedule a time for a great road bike ride, stop by to talk with Jennifer in the CBEY office.