Earlier this semester the SPEA Career Hub hosted a Corporate Sustainability event with Brian Nash where he talked about his experiences with sustainability and corporate responsibility at a Fortune 500 company.
Brian Nash is the Senior Director of Sustainability for Ingredion, and a proud IU alum!
Nash repeatedly advised students to do things that are not within their job description (as long as it is not illegal or unethical). He emphasized that this method of being comfortable being uncomfortable helped to propel him in his career. He advanced by showing ambition and being open to work that was outside of his wheelhouse. This was also his advice to students who do not get the job they want the most immediately – he told students to find a way to do the things they want to do in the role they have.
When hiring in sustainability, Brian said he looks for a few key competencies. The first being background knowledge and passion for sustainability, because he believes this is what drives the mission forward. He also says it is important for a candidate to demonstrate resilience. Sustainability is a tough industry. Nash highlighted how important negotiation and communication skills like persuasiveness and strategic thinking are in the field. Students who master these skills are best suited to solve internal conflicts and make strides for the company’s mission over the long-term. Further, persuasiveness and being able to speak to other values goes a long way when conveying the value of the sustainability to others in the company. Nash also mentioned the value of cultural competency – as well as relevant study abroad and international client work. Finally, Nash left students with the takeaway that many things can be taught and that employers understand that there is an onboarding curve even with a perfect candidate.
As far as what students should be doing now, Nash recommended students utilize the resources available on campus. He also suggested being humble and recognizing that every action matters as well as staying interested and informed in sustainability news.
For more information regarding Nash’s work with Ingredion, check out this article from Coke: Progressing Sustainably Source Corn Across Ingredion’s Global Supply Chain
Internships with Ingredion can be found here! Consider dropping by the Career Hub to have one of us look over your application materials prior to submitting! We are happy to connect you with Brian Nash if you have questions about the positions.