IMD alumni group devoted to sustainability progress charts impressive growth
‘We have one chance to act on making sustainability a priority, and the time is now,’ say IMD alumni TOGETHER Initiative members.
It may be made up of a diverse group, but the TOGETHER Initiative is united in one shared goal – a safe and healthy future for the planet.
Founded by IMD participants for all IMD alumni, TOGETHER aims to create a network of professionals and institutions to spark innovation, promote responsible and inclusive leadership and place sustainability at the core of every business strategy.
“We all have the opportunity to make a difference and the responsibility to act now,” said founder Amadeus Beaujolin, EMBA 2021 candidate.
Beaujolin witnessed first-hand the consequences of unrestrained economic development on society and the environment during his professional activities in Asia. Seeing healthcare systems in that continent up close changed his perception of the world. Through his work with social impact organizations and corporate sustainability initiatives, he recognized that the desire to make a difference must come from motivated people who take action both as individuals and as a collective.
He returned to Europe for IMD’s EMBA program to improve his leadership skills and enhance his knowledge of sustainable development.
“Sustainability has become a prism through which IMD furthers its mission of developing impactful leaders, but I wondered whether the Institute could play a larger role in mitigating urgent systemic problems,” he explained.
Beaujolin is serious about making systemic changes – the quicker, the better – “We must improve our systems, and we must start by asking ourselves a simple question: What am I going to do? As community members, corporate employees, business owners, industry leaders, and political representatives, we need to choose what to talk about, where to work, and how to navigate the transition to a sustainable world.”
Aside from the moral and business cases, the motivation behind the initiative is deeply personal. For many years, Beaujolin served as the arms, legs and voice of his disabled brother, and was able to see the world through the lens of the most fragile among us.
“I live each day by my brother’s example of bravery and kindness, shining through despite his handicaps. He showed me that evolution toward a better world can only occur through collaboration,” said Beaujolin.
Taking power, taking initiative
The TOGETHER Initiative met for the first time virtually in mid 2020, discussing their motivations for joining the group.
Laudie Jamous, MBA 2020, said that the reasons for setting up the group were clear: “After the Beirut blast I felt so powerless not to be able to be there and provide help,” explained the Lebanese national, who wanted to find a way to contribute in her own way and take action where she could by helping organizations devote themselves fully to sustainability. “It has been a reminder that by joining hands with IMD alumni, we will be able to challenge what is and inspire what could be.”
As of January 2021, more than 180 alumni have committed to the TOGETHER Initiative. Its steering committee had its first meeting in December 2020. Within the committee’s 15 volunteers, there are six permanent members focused specifically on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4: Inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. This activity has two goals – sustainability education at IMD and in the alumni community.
While the group is currently still developing a specific strategic action plan, its members believe that progress begins with the power of stories – and that this launch point comes by listening to each other and respecting each other’s values and ideas.
Said Beaujolin, “Connection creates movement and movement spurs change.”
With a growing, dedicated alumni base, this change appears to be firmly on the horizon.
Learn more about the TOGETHER Initiative here.