Last week WildChina Education was thrilled to partner with Dr. Jane Goodall’s foundation, Roots & Shoots Beijing to bring together a fantastic group of panelists that gave their advice on Women’s Empowerment in Sustainability.
Dr. Goodall, our keynote speaker, led off our panel by discussing her own first steps into the sustainability industry and the importance of taking that first step. Her most impactful words “Together we can make a difference; together we will make a difference, and that includes you”, were meant to inspire the next generation of women to lead.
Women in Sustainability:
Our panelists, Mei Zhang, founder of WildChina, Shelley Bragg, co-founder of Good Travel Limited, and Hongxiang Huang, founder of China House 中南屋, echoed those sentiments throughout their remarks. Each panelist did a fantastic job of not only reflecting on their own experiences and offering advice but also addressing specific questions with actionable next steps.
For Mei Zhang, she encouraged young women to go abroad in any way possible: “Pick the island of your choice, pick the beach of your choice, and just go there. Maybe you’re working in bars but go where the opportunities take you.” WildChina wants young people to pursue their passions and turn those into tangible opportunities for personal and professional growth, even if the beginning is different than what one might imagine.
Hongxiang Huang repeatedly emphasized the importance of professional development for young women, particularly in their ability to conduct solid research in the field. Huang said, “doing international development work is quite professional, and these professional skills are often lacking in young professionals in China”. He encouraged young people to approach NGOs to develop a skill set that goes beyond a simple intention to help.
Finally, Shelley Bragg echoed Mei’s words and highlighted the importance of networking in the field, “Take chances and find some paths that don’t seem to be on the right track. For me, I knew I wanted to get into sustainability and have experience working abroad, but my path there had to be going through different roots and working different jobs and taking whatever opportunities I could”, she continued “It’s so important for youth to connect with many like-minded people that they can in that space”.
For any young female professionals, or men who want to better support their female coworkers, click here for the video recording of the talk and let us know your thoughts. We would love to support anyone who is wanting to take the next step with a career in sustainability.
Special thanks to our partner, Roots & Shoots Beijing for helping organize this event. We strongly encourage our community to donate to their cause and together we can all empower the next generation of sustainability leaders in China!