Gillian Griffin

Gillian Griffin

My name is Gillian Griffin. I'm from Chicago. I just graduated from DePaul University with a Masters in Business Administration.

What got you interested in sustainability?

My interest and passion for sustainability began at a young age.  I was fortunate to grow up not only with easy access to green space, lakes, and wilderness areas, but ample opportunities to enjoy these resources.  Spending time outside hiking, bicycling, fishing, and camping led me to develop a great appreciation and reverence for the natural environment.  As I've learned about sustainability from environmental as well as social and economic perspectives, I've become passionate not just about the health of the natural world, but about the potential positive impact we can create using all three of these dynamics together. 

What sustainability, energy, and mobility issues are important to you?

Thus far, I’ve focused my curiosity and exploration of sustainability on the energy efficiency of buildings because we use so much energy in the structures in which we live and work. I am particularly interested in current and anticipated advances in energy technology (including building materials), and our energy infrastructure. Our existing power grid is vulnerable for a number of reasons (e.g. age, security, lack of redundancy, etc.), and this presents many opportunities to increase sustainability.

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

Now that I've finished an MBA concentrating in sustainable management, I am preparing to start an MS in Sustainable Systems at the Rochester Institute of Technology where I will gain technical competence in basic sustainability science principles, and develop expertise in things like life cycle assessment and sustainable building metrics. 

What are your plans for the next five years?

In the next five years I hope to carve out my own niche in the sustainability world.  I would love to be working with buildings and successfully making the business case for energy conservation and efficiency.

What made you want to apply to SISE?

One thing that motivated me to apply to SISE is its intensive, collaborative format. Sustainability challenges demand integration not just of concepts and systems, but of people and ideas. The opportunity to hear from business and academic experts and then immediately apply new concepts and learnings to real-world energy problems is invaluable. It will not just make me more competitive from a career standpoint, it will make me a more effective and impactful sustainability professional. 

What are you most looking forward to doing in the city?

There are so many fun and exciting things to experience in Chicago but a few that come to mind are the Chicago History Museum, craft cocktails at Drumbar, the Chicago Architecture Foundation river cruise, any of the dozens of amazing street fests each summer, and last minute theatre tickets.

Do you like cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

I love cats!  I grew up with them and have my own little monster named Idgie.  I'd be lost without her!