Pursuing my life-long goal to combat climate change

I grew up in Houston, which is a highly diverse global hub for culture, medicine, and research, but not famous for its green spaces. Throughout my childhood, my family frequently visited national parks and I loved being in nature so much that from a young age, I knew I wanted to devote my professional career to preserving our environment.

My desire to do something about climate change galvanized after I lived through some disastrous hurricanes in Texas. I remember fleeing from Hurricane Ike in 2008. Then again in 2017, when my parents were forced to stay in the city to deal with Hurricane Harvey and the aftermath.

My path to McKinsey

Pursuing my life-long goal to combat climate change
Pursuing my life-long goal to combat climate change

I was inspired by legal cases like the Woburn Massachusetts dumping case and the story of Erin Brockovich, so I planned to be an environmental lawyer. During university, I interned mostly in nonprofit or governmental organizations and the activism and vision of the people I worked with inspired me. However, that type of work I wanted to do can move slowly, and I really wanted to scale the impact I could have.

I was introduced to McKinsey through my undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia. I attended a case workshop hosted by the firm, which focused on increasing educational opportunities in emerging economies, and that prompted me to apply. It was exciting to think that would be the type of work I would do every day.

Ultimately, I chose to join McKinsey when I received an offer because here, we get things done quickly and at a scale, which few organizations can match.

My role at McKinsey

Right now I am an engagement manager within the Sustainability practice, focused largely on Green Business Building. We create and scale new climate businesses of all sizes, from large corporations looking to move from brown to green, to new climate startups working on hard-to-crack decarbonization technologies, such as Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS).

I’m responsible for the end-to-end delivery of the client solution. I do a great deal of strategy work, helping clients think through new ways to grow and capture value from sustainability opportunities. I’ve done everything from plant walkthroughs at a facility making low-carbon cement to traveling to truck stops across the US to check out their new offerings. I even ran solar design simulations on my own roof for one client engagement.

In my role, I get to work with passionate sustainability advocates across all types of organizations and functional roles.

Powerful work in green business building

Pursuing my life-long goal to combat climate change
Pursuing my life-long goal to combat climate change

Some of my favorite work is when I’m helping new climate startups that are focused on hard-to-abate industries scale and grow.

For example, I created a business plan for the commercialization and scale-up of a biotech company that was building a solution to address emissions in a hard-to-abate sector—which produces about 8% of global CO2 emissions annually.

The company had this revolutionary technology that was achieving the lowest carbon product possible in their sector. We helped them with a go-to-market strategy so they could accelerate the commercialization of the product. By the end of the engagement, we put them in a position to deliver an ambitious fundraising target, which they hit, and the clients now have a product that is commercially available throughout the US and Europe.

Working in sustainability at McKinsey

McKinsey is at the forefront of sustainability innovation, whether we’re developing new tools for zero carbon product development or through our work with Mission Possible Partnership or Frontier.

We are surrounded by the most knowledgeable and passionate colleagues, at every level from recent graduates who have spent time in climate startups and nonprofits to people who have founded green businesses.

We’re making progress we could have only dreamed about a year ago in the energy transition, and it’s a great time to be a consultant in this field.

More about me

I participate in McKinsey’s San Francisco Green Team and Women at McKinsey group. Outside of work, I spend as much time as possible outdoors and doing environmental activities. When I travel, I try to do it slow and low on carbon when I can, so my preferred vacations are by train, boat, or by foot.

I’m a road cyclist, so on the weekends I do long climbs in the Bay Area up our beautiful state mountain parks like Mount Diablo and Mount Tamalpais. I also compete in long-distance trail runs, half marathons or marathons. I love camping and long-distance backpacking, and I have a goal to visit every national park in the US. So far, I’ve been to 33.

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