Enjoying the Career Journey While Keeping an Eye on the Summit

By National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM)
May 23, 2017 1:30 PM ET


In 2006 Sophia Danenberg, a corporate EHS leader and recreational mountaineer, became the first African-American to reach the summit of Mount Everest.  For this edition of CSRwire’s Talkback, we spoke with her about how her experiences in the mountains have influenced her career path and how she approaches her work. 

Q: What inspires you about your EHS career?

SD: Discovering that you can have impact and influence in a variety of roles and positions. When I was an undergraduate studying environmental science and public policy, I assumed I would work at a non-profit or in the government. (Environmental science was still seen as a bit of a "hippie" major.) I never imagined I would end up in industry. However, I've learned that you can make meaningful changes when you bring your core values and beliefs into a company as an employee. Business decisions can have such a significant impact on the environment. From the inside, you can usually see more efficient and effective ways to achieve environmental objectives and become an internal activist. Even when you're not in charge, you can influence key decision-makers and can help shape company policy as a subject matter expert or simply by speaking up and offering solutions when you identify issues.

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NAEM, the National Association for Environmental Management, is a non-profit professional association that empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces, and promote global sustainability.  As the largest network for environmental, health and safety (EHS), and sustainability decision-makers, we provide peer-led educational conferences and an active network for sharing solutions to today’s corporate EHS and sustainability management challenges.