Weatherhead student Leigh Orne has been selected as a 2010 Sustainability Fellow by the Institute for Sustainable Development in North Carolina. The 2011 MBA candidate will spend her summer working directly with small businesses in the Cleveland area to improve their economic, environmental and social performance, and will work directly with the Council for Smaller Enterprises (COSE), the Institute’s partner in the Northeast Ohio region.
“As a fellow, I hope to re-energize small business owners and help them rethink their operations and strategy in a way that can position them for cost savings in the short term and increased profitability in the long term,” Orne said. “Broadly speaking, I also hope to contribute to the sustainability movement that is gaining momentum here in Cleveland.”
The 2010 Class of Sustainability Fellows includes 13 graduate students and professionals from six universities in four different states. The Fellowships are competitive, and the Institute selects only one in ten applicants. Fellows assist smaller businesses and non-profits in the Institute’s 17 Green Plus partner communities and conduct research projects to advance the principles and practice of triple bottom line sustainability.
“One of our core objectives is to help foster a new generation of leaders in sustainable business practices,” said Chris Carmody, the Institute’s Executive Director. “This year’s class is filled with extraordinarily bright people who have already made a big difference as individuals. The Institute hopes their combined talents will have even greater benefits for our partner communities.”
Schools represented include the University of North Carolina, Case Western Reserve, Coastal Carolinas University, Duke, Elon, and North Carolina State Universities and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fellows represent the disciplines of business, environmental studies, information science, public policy, and social work. The Fellows will attend a week of orientation and training in the North Carolina Research Triangle during early June, after which they will work with the Institute’s chamber partners in several states.
Orne has just completed the first year of her MBA at Weatherhead, where she enjoys learning about how businesses create triple bottom line impact. At Weatherhead, Orne is an active member of the Net Impact Chapter and the Committee for Community Service.
Before moving to Cleveland in 2009, Leigh worked for several years at Winrock International, an international development non-profit based in Washington, DC. At Winrock, Orne specialized in project coordination and proposal development within the Forestry and Natural Resource Management Unit. Her experience at Winrock and the international travel opportunity it afforded allowed her to see first-hand the value of conservation, multidisciplinary collaboration, and capacity building through education and training. Orne graduated Cum Laude in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Gonzaga University.
Orne said that after she graduates in 2011, she plans to continue exploring the role business can play in developing countries to improve the livelihoods of people living in disadvantages communities.