Saint Louis University

Laura Lock

Laura LockLaura Lock
M.S. in Sustainability, 2012
President
Compass Strategic Business Consulting, LLC
St. Louis, Missouri

The Center for Sustainability's approach to sustainability was exactly what I was looking for in a graduate program: a well-rounded, multidisciplinary, deep dive into sustainable challenges and innovations. My plan was to combine my public relations skills while developing sustainable business strategies through innovative, analytical planning and reporting.

While in the program, my research focus was on water management best practices. Access to clean water and water stress interested me the most because water is such a basic need. Employees at Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) graciously agreed to offer information and insights as I developed my thesis on the MSD Project Clear Cityshed Mitigation Program.

Through this program, MSD bought homes in bowl-shaped, flood-prone areas where homes never should have been built. This is a great example of a triple-bottom-line project: offering these residents a fair price for homes that would have been impossible to sell otherwise; moving people to safer, healthier living environments; and over time and with community input, innovating reuse solutions that will benefit future generations.

After graduating, I formed my own consulting firm, Compass Strategic Business Consulting, LLC. The sustainability program at SLU greatly prepared me for the current phase of my professional life. The professors were inspiring, passionate, and accessible, and they opened my eyes to the importance of continued outreach and education to help companies in our region embrace sustainable solutions. And MSD, the company I partnered with during my studies, is one of my clients.

My advice to prospective students is to develop a professional plan of action while enmeshed in your academic studies. Faculty and staff at the Center for Sustainability can help, but the ball is in your court. Follow your passions and investigate the sustainable possibilities this region has to offer.

The Center for Sustainability offered me an invaluable academic experience and access to a network of like-minded professionals. If this is what you're looking for in a graduate degree, the Center for Sustainability is the place for you.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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