Sustainability Community Manager · Microsoft Corporation · Seattle, WA
Aaron wanted to fly from an early age, so he went the Air Force and achieved his dream as a pilot. Yet he wondered whether the purpose of his flight, in the context of conflict and war, lived up to his emerging values of making the world a better place. Several years later, while working at Microsoft, he came across BGI and found that space where he learned to make the impact he’d been searching for.
Fast forward and Aaron is the new Sustainability Community Manager for Microsoft, through the group Teleion Consulting, on the Microsoft sustainability team under the direction of Chief Environmental Strategist Rob Bernard. Aaron met Rob at a weekend intensive of the MBA in Sustainable Systems when Rob was a Change Agent in Residence. That connection partly led to this new role, and the selection of Aaron to take the lead in educating employees on current sustainability initiatives and creating a global engagement system to fuel future action. Growing a program focused on the Redmond headquarters to engage the full 90,000 employees around the world won’t just be an email distribution list. For Aaron it’s building a structure to drive behavior that moves current systems into a space where employees come together to use their collective intelligence and take on future systems. He plans a speaker series that engages the usual grassroots efforts as well as the executives of the company.
Many companies look at sustainability as an initiative or extra cost with marketing potential. Microsoft is investing in Aaron’s role as part of a strategic initiative to make sustainability a core advantage in both business model and employee job functions. With the “Millennial” generation’s trend toward business with purpose, this integration is essential to attracting and retaining the best talent, and to engaging their best work.
When Aaron reflects on BGI, he recognizes that some things are more appreciated when they’re gone. One aspect of that is co-creation. His new role is all about stepping beyond the standard reality to create a new system. To accomplish this he’ll need to work with colleagues emotions, fears, and hopes. There will be difficult moments, but using the Kaizen approach ingrained in him at BGI he can take a global network’s energy into a positive and constructive space. Add to this the far-reaching BGI community of support and Aaron is confident that in this new role he can soar.
Aaron Donne came to BGI with a B.S. in Business Management from the United States Air Force Academy and nearly seven years of experience in multiple roles with Microsoft Corporation. He is the newly appointed Sustainable Community Manager for Microsoft, through the group Teleion Consulting, on the Microsoft sustainability team and focuses on educating employees on current sustainability initiatives and creating a global engagement system to fuel future action. He is a graduate of BGI’s MBA in Sustainable Systems program.