On March 17-18, 2016, Yalmaz Siddiqui, BCom '92 and Senior Director of Sustainability for Office Depot Inc. visited his alma mater to impart his knowledge and lessons learned through leading global sustainability efforts. Mr. Siddiqui spoke in several Desautels classes, providing insight on understanding the B2B Green Marketing and Purchasing Landscape to strategies for stakeholder engagement and community consultation when introducing sustainability into operations.
He also participated in a sustainability careers mentorship luncheon with BCom and MBA students as well as career advisors, sharing his own journey from a forward-thinking BCom student interested in environmental issues to senior director role. One of the key takeaways from his discussion was on the importance of developing a valuable or unique management competency and then applying it to an area of passion. He explained that many people have passion towards a broad range of sustainability issues, but passion alone will not advance those causes without applicable skills.
Mr. Siddiqui's visit concluded at the Desautels Business Conference on Sustainability where he was a closing keynote speaker. In front of an audience of undergraduate students, he described the challenges of creating change through centralized sustainability departments and that effective decision making power can more often be made at an organization's functional level. Students in attendance were encouraged to think beyond roles with sustainability explicitly in their titles and consider being functional intrapreneurs, creating organizational change from within.
MDIIM and the Desautels Faculty of Management wish to thank Mr. Siddiqui for the generosity of his time and experience. If you are a sustainability practitioner interested in giving back to Desautels students, we encourage you to contact mdiim.mgmt [at] mcgill.ca