My life experiences that led me to pursue a degree in business specifically addressing the GREEN MBA program and my carrier intention after graduation.
I am not a global thinker; however, I was deeply moved by Al Gore’s movie and care deeply about the environment. I didn’t know how I can make a difference beyond recycling and energy savings in my personal life. When I completed eco-Broker training and learned about building orientation, natural landscaping feature, indoor air pollution, energy efficiency and cost-effective ways green-minded consumers can benefit, I felt that I can begin making a difference in the lives of other by educating them and raising their “green” awareness.
“Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.” This is the first sentence in the REALTORS Code of Ethics and Preamble, which establishes obligations that are higher than those mandated by law. I took an Ethics class when I became a REALTOR and I was deeply moved by the imposed obligation beyond those of “ordinary commerce.” Being a real estate consultant for the past ten years allowed me to meet and touch many lives and still have my own. It allowed me to work and be a single parent to my children.
My oldest is an attorney in the state of New York, my second son, graduated from Cal with a double major and interned at the San Francisco Chronicle during his senior year. He is now a reporter for LA Times. My third son is a senior at the UC Santa Barbara, also double majoring in History and Slavic Studies. My third son is at the UC Santa Cruz in the pre-med program and my daughter is a freshman at Redwood High School. She wants to go to John Hopkins Medical School and plans to be a surgeon. My children’ ambition grew as a result of my own late blooming. In high school I was torn between going to law school and art school. I graduated from high school when I was fifteen and unlike most of my class mates who went to college right away, I worked as a court recorder in the most difficult and longest trials. In the evening I attended law preparatory courses. I decided to go to law school the following September, but unexpectedly my mother and I had to leave my country, Ukraine.
My story began on the other side of the globe many decades ago. When I was growing up in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine (part of the former Soviet Union), life was hard but simple. As a little girl I was often sent to the corner store to buy groceries. If my mother needed sour cream I made sure to bring an empty glass jar for the sour cream to bring it back home. Also I brought back empty, cleaned glass bottles and jars back to the store for redemption. If we needed seltzer water, I would carry empty “siphon bottles” and exchange them for the full ones. There were no plastic bags or plastic containers or even paper bags and everything we used was re-used.
I came to the United Stated in 1975. I was amazed at the country’s wealth and opportunities. I lived in a small studio with my mother on the West side of Manhattan. I was grateful to be in America. I studied English as a second language at the Columbia University and tried to get a job. I applied for a part-time job through the student union. During the interview I was told that this job opportunity offered to extremely needy students. In my mind, I did not feel needy. During my three year journey to get to the United States to join my mother, I endured far worst living arrangement than our studio apartment on the West side of Manhattan in a building with a doorman. This was pure luxury. I felt very privileged and fortunate and told them that I am not that “needy”.
Ten years and five children later, I was living in San Francisco. As a family we did the right thing; we recycled bottles and cans. We would clean them and bring them to a recycling plant so the children could learn recycling. We re-used our paper shopping bags before it was fashionable. When my children attended the San Francisco Waldorf School, the entire family was introduced to a more conscience life style. In kindergarten children made soup and grew their own vegetables. They carried their lunches in wicker baskets and played with the wooden toys. They watched very little TV and wore cotton clothes without logos. They painted, performed plays and had a special movement class, called eurhythmy. I found it very holistic and wholesome. In retrospect, I suppose, we were ahead of the trend. As part of their curriculum, my children went to sustainable farm in Covello; they planted seeds and took care of the crops and animals. They learned to honor and love the land.
Our lives changed dramatically when we moves to Marin. I was a single parents with four young children in three different schools. I was working full time and completing my BS in the evenings. The children ranged in age from five to twelve when they attended my commencement ceremony at the San Jose Arena in 1998. They had witnessed me writing my school papers late into the night, they felt excited along with me when I received my grades and missed me the nights I went to school. My graduation was their victory just as much as it was mine. I chose a Bachelor of Science because I felt it was necessary for me to balance my aesthetic side. Studying critical thinking and working on business projects with my cohorts helped to strengthen my pragmatic side and prepared me to see things in the more balanced ways.
One of my son’s personal statements said: “Not going to college was not an option. We grew up seeing our mom going back to college to get her BA. Going to college and beyond was a natural continuum”.
Now that most of my children are on their own, spreading their wings and finding their own passions in life, I felt a need to further my education. I love learning; I literally feel the dendrites in my brain deepen and expand when I am learning something new. When my children are home for the holidays and we discuss their course of studies and they share their ideas, I see a very special light in their eyes. Their intelligence and passion for learning shines though; I can not be more proud of them.
The idea of getting the Green MBA from the Dominican became obvious after I volunteered for the Environmental Educational Council of Marin at the Bioneers conference last year. I was so impressed with the people who organized and attended it. I felt that they were much more evolved and involved in being “green minded” than the majority of people I know. As a REALTOR® I wanted to help my clients and (the planet) to learn about ways they can “green their environment and help them make more conscience decision when buying, selling or remodeling.
In Marin we have limited build-able land; ninety-five percent of our land is dedicated open space and therefore, we have an obligation to make sure that we utilize our resources wisely. I found out that many homes in Marin face the wrong way to utilize solar power while I was helping my clients to install solar power in their new homes. This brings us back to the utilization of land on which depends the survival and growth of our civilization. We owe it to our future generation to take care of our resources. Personally I carry responsibility to my children and to my children’ children to do what I can to promote more sustainable lifestyle and raise my own consciousness and to expand my knowledge.
My carrier intention upon graduation is to help small and mid-size business owner to run their business more efficiently, utilizing green business practices. In a very short time, I envision a standardized “green business practice” for all business in the world. I foresee the County and the cities of Marin impose new standards for the remodel and the new construction practice and use of “green” materials. All businesses will have to be “green” certified by the County of Marin. Unless we, as humans, collectively understand that each and every one is a part of the solution and not just see ourselves as a problem, we can not move forward. When each one of us reduces our carbon footprint and reduces consumption we can ultimately make a difference. The Humanity can not continue doing the same thing and expect different results. The urgency for a change is prominent more than ever, necessitating our individual as well as our collective consciousness to rise to a new level of evolution.
I realize that the ‘green’ MBA will crystallize my ideas and help me transform into a more useful and responsible individual. Most importantly it will empower me to lead the way. I suppose my ‘green awakening’ did not occur overnight. It was a culmination of my upbringing, my life experiences, my beliefs and my education.
Now that I attained my “green awakening”, I am bound to seek ways to improve and to be useful and to make a difference in the lives of all those who I meet on my journey. I am looking forward to the journey.
Thank you for reading.
Broker Associate, e-Pro, SRES, eco-Broker
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