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

Name: Alison Alvarez

Hometown: Jonesboro, GA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have four chickens living in my backyard

Business School Degree Program: MBA, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business 

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

I’m the CEO and co-founder of BlastPoint. We build software systems that predict customer behavior in the automotive and energy industries. Our technology is used, among other things, to find customers likely to sign up for zero carbon programs or energy efficiency programs. We’re also used by some of the largest brands in the US and beyond to predict and facilitate adoption of electrical vehicles.

2. What does Earth Day mean to you? 

My daughter has a poster on her wall that she drew. It says “There is no Planet B”. Earth Day is about the future: protecting the planet so that the next generations have a chance to prosper in a healthy, sustainable way.

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

I grew up in an outer ring suburb of Atlanta. Everything required a car, and if no one was around to drive me somewhere I was stuck at home. My current neighborhood has a denser grid and my house is smaller, but I can walk to the grocery store, my doctor and almost anything else I need. My daughter can walk to the park or to her friend’s house. I get to use my feet and don’t need my car as much.

4. Has climate change affected your life? How? 

Two of the top four rainiest years ever recorded in Pittsburgh happened in the last four years (2019 and 2018). When that happens houses in our hilly city are more likely to shift as the earth gets saturated, unstable and won’t stay put. I can see it in my own house through cracks in the ceiling. I have had friends lose their entire back yards and their homes to the land getting less stable. It’s not just global warming. It’s global weirding — our climate is producing more severe extremes.

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

I learned so much from business school. I learned how to communicate effectively, how to build products with customer input, and how to build a financial structure that lasts.

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

I really needed to learn how to speak in an organized way, so that my points wouldn’t be lost in word salad. The ceaseless practice really took the edge off of the terror of public speaking and I got really good at crafting my message.

7. Where do you see yourself in five years? 

I would love to continue on my path to growing this company for as long as I can.

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

Near future: a day to sit on a beach and not think about anything. Long term: being the most useful person I can.

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