On Earth Day 2021, Meet The B-School Sustainability Graduates

Names: Rose-May Lucotte and Santiago Lefebvre

Hometown: Vincennes, France, next to Paris

Fun Fact About Yourself: In 2016, we went into a 40-day roadtrip with our 1-month-old baby. During this journey we met a great diversity of people who all had something in common. They have made the bold decision to live their own life with freedom. Those encounters made us realise that we didn’t have to fit in a preconceived box, but that we could create our own different path. 

Business School Degree program: Master of Science in Management, emlyon business school

1. What do you do? And how do you impact sustainability through is?

We founded ChangeNOW, a startup which organizes every year the world’s largest event for solutions for the planet. Our mission is to help the “heroes of change” around the world to connect with the right people to grow their solution at scale, and ultimately solve our most urgent global issues : climate, resources, biodiversity and inclusion.

Our adventure started in 2017, when we organized our first edition with 2000 participants. Two editions later, in January 2020, we’ve gathered 28 000 participants and 1000 solutions coming from over 100 countries, in what has been the first World Expo of innovations for the planet.

This edition has been an accelerator to many innovations which found investors, clients and media recognition. Among the concrete results of the collaboration at the event : a new law regarding microplastics, the launch of a sustainability charter for the audiovisual industry, new investments …

2. What does World Earth Day mean to you?

To us, World Earth Day is a double reminder. On the one hand, it is a reminder of how badly we need to care about the planet, the huge challenges we need to address. On the other hand, World Earth Day is also a day to celebrate the beauty of our planet, because living in such an incredible biosphere is a miracle.

3. What is your top tip for living a more sustainable life? 

For us, living a more sustainable life started by understanding that happiness is not related to how many things you can buy at the end of the month; or whether you get a better job title in your company. Of course, everyone needs a certain situation to live without worrying too much about the future, but happiness is more about having a positive contribution to your loved ones and to the world. Starting from there, our choices were as a matter of fact more sustainable because we stopped buying useless stuff and started to act with more generosity, spirituality and empathy.

4. Has climate change affected your life? If so, how? 

Rose has grown up in the Alpes and witnessed the early effects of climate change. The landscape in her village has less snow year after year. The most impressive impact of climate change can be seen in the Mont-Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, which glacier has dramatically receded during the last 50 years.

5. How has your business school experience helped your career in in this area?

Emlyon is a wonderful school to develop an entrepreneur’s mindset. Climate wasn’t an area of concern at that time, but emlyon teaches you adaptability. You also have plenty of opportunities to get involved in extra-curricular activities. This is a strong part of the hands-on experience you can get.

6. What is the biggest/most important lesson you have learned during your studies?

Beyond the technical aspects of business and management, the school also emphasizes soft skills. Early in the program, we are taught how to connect with alumni, with business people and how to network. Networking is important to build collaboration and ecosystems.

7. Where do you see yourself in five years? 

ChangeNOW is only at the beginning. We still have many things to accomplish, starting by uniting even more heroes of change. We also have a priority for the couple of years to come: the younger generations, by working with universities and helping people access jobs in impact.

8. Finally, what are your hopes for the future? 

We definitely hope that one day we will be able to say that we’ve made it and that by acting collectively for the greater good, we managed to reverse the odds. We hope also that the future generations will regain faith in the future and will be proud of the world we’ve created in the next decades.

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