His other interest lies in understanding and connecting Intel employee’s diverse professional and personal backgrounds, towards developing and enabling grass roots initiatives/solutions to solve social and environmental sustainability problems. To this, he has received and currently drives three Intel Sustainability in Action grants including the Intel Sustainability Leaders Speakers Series, the Mobile-E-waste Recovery Initiative, and Project Earth – A global, collaborative, visual experience.
He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Following graduation he was a post-doctoral researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO., in the Advanced Vehicles Research Group.
Last month I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 2013 Net Impact conference in San Jose, California. The conference, hosted by Net Impact, aimed to ‘empower students and professionals to use their careers to drive transformational change in the workplace and the world’.
Intel was one of the sponsors of the conference, where we had Intel leaders (Judy Wente, Winston Saunders, and Suzanne Fallender) speak on different panels, we conducted a partial screening of the powerful ‘Girl Rising’ film, and hosted a career expo booth. The latter (expo) is where I had the opportunity to help the corporate responsibility team share Intel’s CSR story and vision with the participants (some 3000 at attendance). While there were take-aways on multiple fronts (some inspiring, some reflective), I thought I’d just share one… nothing very novel, or dramatic, but nevertheless…
Earlier this year, I was giving serious thought to and looking for other work opportunities that I felt were closely aligned with my interest in ‘sustainability’. I reached out to people across the company who has the word environmental, sustainability, or some ‘sexy’ variant off, in their title or group name :). Upon meeting with them and at that particular time, I was faced with the outcome that either new opportunities didn’t exist in that area, or I didn’t have the pre-requisite skills for the position (they needed someone to hit the road running), or in diving in, I found the work not be as I envisioned it from the outside.
Getting a little stymied and bothered, Taimur (a Sr. Environmental Engineer here at Intel), asked me to “Look within” ! It was profound on multiple levels. While we didn’t get into a spiritual discussion :), we spoke about looking for opportunities that present themselves in ones very area of expertise and influence, and looking at sustainability opportunities through a more mature lens (look beyond the sexy titles, and looking for/creating work that has a great impact in line with your key values).
In reacting to this I refocused, and lo and behold there was an opportunity (i.e. a problem within my area that hadn’t been solved entirely, was clearly consistent with my sustainability interest, and perhaps more importantly, in line with Intel’s business goals) that was staring me in the face. I got plugged into the community working on the problem, and am now trying to partner & drive an initiative that is impactful. While my efforts on the problem are nascent, whatever the outcome, the problem gets me excited for it presents a lovely opportunity at the intersection of what I think is important to the world, my skill set, and what’s important to Intel.
So… At the expo, several students, some from the best of business schools with disparate backgrounds were interested in sustainability opportunities at Intel. In approaching me at least, some were very direct, “what jobs do you have open for me in sustainability ?”, others had a slightly more roundabout slant, complimenting my jacket at first, and then getting to the point :). While we were not hiring at the expo, in response to this question, we presented the view that while we only have a handful of employees with ‘sustainability’ in their title, there existed several groups (some large), pockets (smaller), and individuals who drive sustainability initiatives be it in the name of Lean manufacturing or responsible supply chain and the like, and suggested that a possible approach at least within Intel was to leverage their expertise and make the change from within their organization. Having had this conversation numerous time over the course of the day, perhaps through repetition :) reinforced the notion that perhaps we can have the greatest cumulative impact by looking within.
While I’ve heard of, and met with several wonderful people who’ve created sustainability related opportunities for themselves, I’m sure there are a numerous others within Intel. If you have done so, please do share your story (even if briefly), for I think it would be inspiring for others looking for that opportunity within…
P.S. Must watch : It’s what’s inside that counts. #lookinside