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Image showing a Member Spotlight feature by the Academy for Sustainable Innovation Members Network. It highlights Vanessa Sun, a freelancer specializing in sustainability initiatives. Key areas include nature-based solutions, sustainable finance, and workforce development.

Member Spotlight: Meet Vanessa Sun!

Meet Vanessa Sun, a valued member of ASI’s Members Network! Vanessa specializes in various aspects of sustainability, including nature-based solutions, sustainable finance, and sustainable workforce development. Previously, she spent two and a half years as an analyst at the Vancouver Economic Commission, where she focused on transitioning Vancouver to a decarbonized and just economy. Since then, Vanessa has been freelancing, primarily engaged in report writing and curriculum development. She currently volunteers with the BIPOC Sustainability Collective, a new network of BIPOC sustainability professionals who aim to create a more inclusive and diverse environment for BIPOC to work in sustainability.

 We had the chance to ask Vanessa her thoughts on sustainability, climate action, and how leadership is evolving. Read Vanessa’s short interview below!

Q: Where do you draw hope from in the context of sustainability and climate action?

Vanessa Sun: For me, volunteering and working alongside passionate youth on climate action has been a great resource of hope in the context of sustainability and climate action. Seeing how knowledgeable, innovative, and driven youth are in creating tangible climate action that is more than ‘just the talk’ has been inspiring me to look beyond the systemic challenges preventing action. 

Q: What does leadership mean to you?

Vanessa Sun: Recently I have learned of the NOLS 4 leadership roles, and one that resonated most with me is the role of ‘self-leadership’. They define self-leadership as ‘one who leads by virtue of who they are and how they influence others, not just by the position they hold.’ Self-leadership can look like personal initiative and attention to one’s well-being in order to be a productive member to the group and society-at-large. Personally, this was a good reminder that mindfully focusing on oneself and your well-being can make you a great leader, as well. 

Q: How do you see the role of leadership evolving as we transition to a low-carbon, socially-inclusive economy?

Vanessa Sun: In recent conversations on the transition to a low-carbon, socially-inclusive economy, there is a reoccurring sentiment that there has been great leadership in the ‘talking’ about climate action but little leadership in the ‘action’ – walking the talk. I think that we can see leadership evolving to become more driven to collaboration and ideation to ensure that climate action will have tangible impacts rather than only being held at the discussion table. 

Join the Members Network!

ASI’s Members Network is a peer-to-peer network made up of Canadian sustainability professionals working to accelerate climate action within their organizations. The network offers a space to talk candidly about shifting organizational dynamics and adopting leadership models that support the transition to a sustainable future. Because let’s face it, outdated leadership models have built systems that no longer serve us or the planet.


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