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At Edelman, Emily Chan Combines What Is Good For Business and the Planet

Emily Chan, Vice President, Business + Social Purpose, Edelman

Alumna: University of Maryland Smith School of Business (MBA, 2009) and UC Berkeley (BS, Natural Resource Management, ‘04)

Reading Emily Chan’s resume, it might seem surprising that she chose to pursue an MBA. After getting her undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of California at Berkeley, Emily applied her studies to work at not-for-profit forestry organizations. Seeing first-hand the inefficiencies of some charitable organizations, Emily realized she would need business skills to make her desired impact on the world. She attended the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business for her MBA, which provided her more options.

Her distinct career path and education are assets in her current role as vice president of Business + Social Purpose at Edelman, a global communications firm. At Edelman, Emily’s environmental science education provides credibility when talking to her clients about the sustainability issues they care about and her MBA gives her insight to clients’ business needs. Although her background is uniquely suited to her work, Emily emphasizes that anyone – regardless of their role or industry –  can make positive societal impact: “We need people to bring smart ideas to the table. What is good for business and good for the planet should not be mutually exclusive.”

Best advice she has received: When I told a college advisor that I was considering graduate school in science immediately after college, she told me to work at a hot dog stand or do anything but go right back to school. I went to work and learned so much about myself, and what I was interested and not interested in. I realized I didn’t want a Masters in science because my skills and interests were in management.
One word that describes her: Dedicated
Song that makes her turn up the volume: “Golden Gate” by STS9 has no lyrics, but it gives me energy and helps me focus.
Role model: An early role model wouldn’t let me call her my boss and insisted that I call her my colleague. That stuck with me through the years, reinforcing the importance of collaboration and stepping up to the plate even if you’re a junior team member.

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