Co-founder and faculty · Bainbridge Graduate Institute · Bainbridge Island, WA
Our goal at BGI is to integrate sustainability into every aspect of our curriculum and teach business in a way that treats people and planet as precious resources to be nourished rather than expenses to be sacrificed in the name of profit.
We are certainly not alone in that approach, but we are significantly ahead of the curve – especially in business education, which is seriously lagging business practice. In the “real world,” business people are constantly trying new things, muddling their way toward success or failure and learning as they go. Meanwhile, in academia, business professors are trying to derive principles from historical data. But there’s a fundamental mismatch between the way that business actually works and the way that academics go about understanding how it works.
I think this is particularly true in the field of sustainability, where future-oriented business practice is vastly outstripping historically oriented business research. The world is moving in a fundamentally new direction–-and just in the nick of time! Globally oriented progressive businesses are leaving behind the classic free market ideologies that are, alas, still driving much of business education.
Fortunately, business students are on the side of the future. They are hungry for business models and careers with a higher purpose than maximizing shareholder value.
At BGI, we are deeply aligned with the values of our students, with their hunger for meaning and purpose, with their belief that the future will be fundamentally different from the past, with their willingness to confront the messiness of the world from a stance of “not knowing” and being willing to fail fast into new and uncharted success. Our learning community is just that: a community of students, faculty, practitioners and friends committed to working in the world and sharing our lessons in real time.
Watch Jill on Rainmakers TV discussing business education in sustainability:
Jill was the founding dean of BGI and led the development of both the first and second iterations of the BGI curriculum. Prior to joining BGI, she served as a member of the core faculty at Antioch University/Seattle for seven years, teaching courses in marketing, strategy and general management. In her private industry career, she served in a variety of senior level marketing positions at Aldus Corporation, creators of PageMaker software and architects of the desktop publishing revolution. In 2006, Berrett-Koehler published Jill’s book on the challenges of bringing mission-driven businesses to scale, Getting to Scale: Growing Your Business Without Selling Out. Jill has a B.A. in English from Washington University and an MBA from Stanford University.