The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022: #RedefiningPower - Sarah O'Sell, Senior Marketing Manager, GE Digital, United States
“Studies have shown that as hierarchy progresses at organizations, gender diversity significantly decreases, while studies also show that when women lead, they show an increased propensity to invest more in de-risking measures such as innovation, crisis prevention, CSR, and ESG disclosures. When the portion of women in leadership reaches a critical mass of 30% or more, there is a measurable boost in firm performance, great news for all stakeholders!” - Sarah O'Sell, Senior Marketing Manager, GE Digital
Sarah O’Sell is a Sr. Marketing Manager at GE Digital, where she drives digital marketing for industrial software and circular economy communications. She is an ambitious technology systems innovator with over 10yrs experience in recognized impact entrepreneurship, community growth, STEAM education, and strategy development for emerging transformative infrastructure companies. Her goal is to inspire open minds, curiosity, and stewardship to shape future realities.
A Smart Solar Window startup she co-founded won successive EPA grants for development, then was licensed to NASA and a private lab. She has led innovation studies and 3D Printing adoption for ceramics factories, engineered retail products and improved packaging sustainability for Starbucks, and served on the Board of the Bay Area Coffee Community. In 2018 she launched the Women in 3D Printing Seattle chapter and in 2019 helped launch the Seattle Circular Economy Club.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design with a focus on Sustainability and Business at Western Washington University, completed the University of Exeter Circular Economy Masterclass, has her Cradle to Cradle Certification, and is a featured contributor for digital manufacturing in the “Circular Economy for Dummies'' book (April 2021). She is rounding out her sustainability knowledge in 2022 with the Sustainable Finance and Investment course at Yale School of Management, as well as the Sustainable Capitalism and ESG course at UC Berkeley School of Law. Sarah is happy to chat about building a career in sustainability with aspiring leaders!
Q: What is the importance of women's leadership in today's society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, Climate, and Conflict, and their deadly consequences?
Studies have shown that as hierarchy progresses at organizations, gender diversity significantly decreases, while studies also show that when women lead, they show an increased propensity to invest more in de-risking measures such as innovation, crisis prevention, CSR, and ESG disclosures. When the portion of women in leadership reaches a critical mass of 30% or more, there is a measurable boost in firm performance, great news for all stakeholders!
Q: What role do you believe women in leadership positions have to play in helping companies and brands transition towards sustainability and circularity, and why is this important?
Companies that prioritize building a working culture of responsibility and agency to transform processes, policies, and education that supports diversity of all kinds will be more receptive to the tangential concepts of digital, sustainable, and circular transformation across the company. This is important because these journeys are multidimensional, requiring a core agile team of cross-skilled representatives who can identify systems, waste, blockage, and implement change measures with the scope of the internal organization, as well as its external position in both the local and global economy in mind.
Q: What can be done to improve women’s participation in corporate and leadership positions? How do we achieve this?
In my opinion, requiring a certain quantity of underrepresented hires in leadership is not sufficient. In order to improve and sustain the participation of women and other underrepresented groups in leadership, cultural behaviors, processes, accountability, and systems need to be addressed. This includes consideration for the inbound hiring pipeline as well as retention. It requires attention to communication and learning styles, value systems, societal expectations, and faults with regard to these groups, as well as a re-evaluation of KPIs and the behaviors they drive.
Q: What does this award mean to you and what significance does it hold to you personally and/or professionally, and your company?
I was that teenager talking on the news about cleaning up trash and organizing my peers to plant trees in local parks, so to say this has been a long-time purpose is an understatement! I’ve continued this work on a volunteer basis through community leadership, and written and verbal advocacy, have pursued educational opportunities and achieved professional success in my own attempts at startups, consulting for other founders, and advising investors. The opportunity to contribute to breakthrough innovation at a corporate scale and drive the adoption of digital tools that help capture real data for circularity transformation at the world’s leading industrial and manufacturing companies is a major reason why I joined the GE Digital team!
The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
The SustainabilityX® Magazine proudly announced the release of The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s inaugural Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ 2022 on Oct 4th, 2022, an inaugural annual list celebrating the powerful work of women in sustainability leadership around the world.
The non-profit digital magazine’s Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ high-level, invite-only program graciously sponsored by the award-winning Canadian construction and engineering firm Belnor Engineering Inc., recognizes achievements of the world’s powerful, groundbreaking female sustainability leaders who’re bridging the gender gap by breaking barriers, shattering traditional stereotypes, and taking the world of sustainability by storm. This campaign is in line with the magazine’s third pillar of sustainability upon which SustainabilityX® is based: social inclusion, which involves marginalized populations and vulnerable communities such as women, persons with disabilities, unemployed youth, LGBTQ+, the elderly, and BIPOC minorities.
“As both a female and one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 In Sustainability Leadership myself, I know how important this is,” says Supriya Verma, founder of The SustainabilityX® Magazine. “The number of women in positions of leadership – from business to politics – are relatively few. With society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, climate, conflict, and their deadly consequences, how can the world advance and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals without having women in decision-making positions at major organizations, political parties, and academic institutions?”
In The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s quest to ‘redefine power’, this is the first international power-list bringing together women around the world involved in sustainability celebrating the power of their work – not their position. This list brings together a diverse group of accomplished women across business, entertainment, academia, law, politics, and beyond ranging from some of the world's leading companies, to independent unsung heroes with one thing in common: using their power with purpose –the power to create change and influence lives to make the world a better place. After all, that's what sustainability is all about. The meaning, or ‘the power’ of one’s work matters, not one’s position in a corporate hierarchy, particularly during this crucial era.
View the full list: The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
About The SustainabilityX® Magazine
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is an award-winning, digital, female-founded, and female-led non-profit initiative bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue. Founded on May 8, 2016 and inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 in Sustainability Leadership awardee, Supriya Verma, the digital media initiative focuses on approaching the world’s most pressing challenges with a holistic, integrated, systems-based perspective as opposed to the traditional and ineffective siloed approach with a single lens on interdisciplinary topics like climate and energy. This initiative ultimately seeks to explore how to effectively bring the environment and economy together through intellectual, insightful dialogue and thought-provoking discussion amongst individuals across sectors taking an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to untangling the intricate web of sustainability.
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is based upon the four pillars of sustainability: Environmental Stewardship which emphasizes improved environmental health, Economic Prosperity which emphasizes economic growth without the element of capitalism, Social Inclusion which emphasizes EDI for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and marginalized, vulnerable populations, and Just Governance which emphasizes the equal rule of law via responsible political leadership to create fair systems for all. Identifying the diverse factors involved in sustainability, how they interact and how the disciplines are interconnected will help accelerate local, national, and international sustainability goals – in simpler words, aligning with The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s mission of bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue for a sustainable future. Whether you have a background in science, engineering, business, law, politics, media and entertainment, or beyond, your voice matters.
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The SustainabilityX® Magazine is a proud member of the Sustainable Journalism Partnership, serves as a cause-based media partner for various events such as Circular City Week New York, and officially delivers remarks at international conferences such as UNESCO’s annual World Press Freedom Day Conference. SustainabilityX® is a brand of the non-profit social business SPSX Group.
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