1. What do you do?
I lead interdisciplinary teams on sustainability projects, including engineers, scientists, communications, economists, and sales/marketing people. I typically work shoulder-to-shoulder with executives to assess performance, scope projects, conduct R&D, and help implement system solutions.
2. What's the coolest part of your job?
Helping people unlock their passion to find solutions for complex problems. The educational piece — it's always two-way.
3. Why are you passionate about it?
Because I think it's important to leave a positive impression — to leave this earth better than I found it. I feel like my generation must not leave issues like climate change behind for new generations to inherit.
4. Which skills from Georgia Tech and your IAC degree have helped you be successful in this career?
I can't say enough about the importance of interdisciplinary learning. Analytic and problem-solving skills are essential to address the environmental and social dimensions of sustainability — research design, data analysis, tech forecasting, microeconomics, social networks, the logic of inquiry.
My research assistantship and mini-intern class provided fantastic opportunities for applied learning and really helped me land a great job after Tech that I really loved.
5. What's your #1 tip for students and alumni interested in your field?
A Georgia Tech degree opens doors. Don't worry about how much money you'll make; that will follow. Figure out your passion and be bold and persistent in pursuing jobs that give you a sense of purpose. That's a much more valuable return beyond the paycheck. The money always comes.
Susan Graff is the 2023 School of Public Policy Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Meet more of our Distinguished Alumni Award winners!