“Like a lot of families, we approached it from an economic standpoint — it just made sense to conserve fuel by turning the thermostat down a notch. So the idea of conservation as part of the triple bottom line — people, profit, planet—has always been in the background for me.”

That's what Kathleen (Kat) "McCarthy" has to say about her familiar attachment to the idea of sustainability and conservation. Kat is one of the many women in sustainability who pursued a sustainability-focused business education in order to make a real difference in the economic sphere of the triple bottom line. Keep reading to learn more!

Explore our resource page — A Guide for Aspiring Female Leaders in  Sustainability

Meet Kat — small actions make big differences:

Kathleen “Kat” McCarthy grew up in upstate New York and developed an early sensibility to the notion of sustainability, before the word became part of the lexicon.

Growing up, Kat was interested in taking small actions to improve the environment. She attended Ithaca College, earning a degree in environmental studies and working for Mark Darling, one of the first campus sustainability officers in the country: “I worked with Mark on the recycling and composting program there and did an independent study my senior year, exploring ways to promote energy conservation on campus. This project drew from concepts of community based social marketing to create behavior change.”

It was all ideal preparation for her current job as waste reduction and recycling specialist for the Tompkins County Solid Waste Management Division.

Kat's work to implement 4R programs:

Over the past decade she has helped the organization design and implement 4R programs (reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuy). A recent focus is on food waste, spanning waste prevention, on-site compost education, a residential curbside collection pilot, food scraps recycling drop spots, and business composting.

Kat serves on the board of the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling (NYSAR3) and chairs the organization’s Organics Council. She’s also a co-owner of EcoJarz, a company that strives to promote reuse through products like our drink top for mason jars.

“I’m a firm believer that most things taste better out of a mason jar,” she says.

Advancing knowledge and making a difference:

Kat-McCarthyWhile Kat knew she wanted a graduate degree to advance her career, she didn’t want to leave a great job to attend a traditional residential program. Then she found out about Green Mountain College’s Sustainable MBA program.

“I was specifically looking for a program that connected my experience in sustainability with a stronger business mindset—our organization really focuses on the triple bottom line, although I hadn’t directly thought of it that way.”

Kat also valued the flexibility of the Sustainable MBA. It allowed her to continue her studies on her own time and gave her the background to teach or pursue a leadership position in any organization.


“The degree has given me a lot of tools, and a lot of possible directions for the future,” Kat says.

GMC's Sustainable MBA:

"For more than two decades, I have been examining the relationship between business and sustainable development as a Tokyo-based United Nations policy specialist, impact investing analyst for a London-based sustainable investment company, and now as a Vermont-based business school academic specializing in social and environmental strategy, entrepreneurship and innovation issues. In my role as professor of Strategy, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at Green Mountain College, I have the great honor of working with sustainable businesses in Vermont and elsewhere as well as educating students and future leaders in sustainable business practices." Jacob Park, SMBA Program Director

GMC’s Sustainable MBA program was the first 100% online Sustainable MBA in the nation and is the only online MBA offered by a college nationally known for sustainability.

The SMBA program reflects the growing trend among successful companies, large and small, to focus on the triple bottom line, seeking competitive advantages through practices that succeed economically, are socially responsible, and environmentally sound.

The program provides students with a solid foundation in the core areas of business administration, including:

Core Areas of Business Administration

The Capstone project, the final degree requirement, encourages students to create a business plan or research project that will help them move forward in their specific career path.

What makes GMC’s Sustainable MBA truly unique is that sustainable business concepts are woven through every course. Most other MBAs offer one or two courses related to sustainability. Also, all GMC MBA courses are taught by committed faculty who possess real-world sustainable business experience. Our faculty members have highly regarded professional backgrounds, and they are committed to helping students understand today’s green business issues and challenges.

The Admissions Team at Green Mountain College hopes that you'll consider starting your journey towards an education in sustainability at GMC, especially if you're hoping to work as one of the many women in sustainability. We're dedicated to authentic sustainability, which means that we live sustainability every day.

To learn more, we invite you to request more information today!

Explore our digital page — A Guide for Aspiring Female Leaders in Sustainability — for stories and advice regarding female thought leadership in sustainability.

Explore the Digital Resource