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United Kingdom / Group support service / Group sustainability advisor

Conor Gask

"one day I might be working with the marine ecology team on promoting awareness of marine plastic challenges and the next day I am in a meeting with regional leads to discuss action on the SDGs."

What attracted you to apply for the role with us?

Sustainability.

In my previous role at the United Nations in China, I had the chance to engage with a range of Chinese private sector partners looking to address their own sustainability challenges. I developed a strong interest in this area and was looking for opportunities to take my experience into a role within a global company. Around this time, Mott MacDonald launched its integrated sustainability reporting initiative, which signalled to me an intention to take serious action to tackle the sustainability challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Doing more research on the company, I found out that Mott MacDonald has expertise across a wide range of sectors that are critical for addressing sustainability, and the role advertised would allow me to engage across these sectors to deliver value for the company.

How did you find the recruitment process?

The process was much faster than I expected, and considering I was still living in Beijing at the time, the recruitment team were very helpful in making the process as smooth as possible. The simplicity of the application was surprising, and a far cry from other unnecessarily complicated application processes I have come across. The actual interview took place over Skype and the positive attitude of my two interviewers made me feel relaxed and engaged. I could tell they were interested in finding out more about me, my interests and background rather than a standard tick box exercise.

What are the three things that make you look forward to coming into work each day?

Working space flexibility: Mott MacDonald is increasingly setting up its offices to promote agile working, so that we have more flexibility in where and how we work.

Daily challenges: the company-wide nature of the role means that each day can bring a completely new type of task, motivating me to remain adaptive and quickly get up to speed on the sustainability challenges faced by different parts of the business.

Meeting new people: our staff come from a wide range of professional backgrounds, and due to the two points mentioned before there is opportunity to engage with new faces every day. Everybody has a story to tell whether they have been working at a client site or at an office overseas, and the open culture encourages us to collaborate with each other.

What’s your team like?

Primarily I support the Group sustainability leader in his day to day work. A large part of my role involves ensuring that we meet our global sustainability objectives. The work is challenging as it involves keeping a range of stakeholders up to date on progress, but it’s made easier by the strong team spirit. Working in a role that requires lots of engagement across the company means the teams I work with are constantly changing. Often, I will be in Skype meetings with colleagues from four different continents or with expertise in multiple sectors, which can make for some dynamic discussions on sustainability and presents opportunities to challenge your own perceptions of how problems should be solved.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The diversity of the role. As a Group sustainability advisor, I can get involved in a wide range of sustainability initiatives. For example, one day I might be working with the marine ecology team on promoting awareness of marine plastic challenges and the next day I am in a meeting with regional leads to discuss action on the SDGs. This helps to keep things varied and has allowed me to work with experts from various backgrounds, who all share a passion for sustainability.

Where do you see yourself in a year?

With a background working in China and a strong interest in the impact of Chinese companies globally, I hope to play a stronger supporting role in that part of the business. My line manager is very supportive of my desire to move into a more client facing role, and I am already starting to get involved with colleagues from across a range of sectors of the business on advisory in this area, so the future at Mott MacDonald is looking great.

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