MSc. in Sustainability Management
Columbia University, New York, USA
The Interval International Award I received in September 2013 allowed me to successfully complete the final semester of studies to obtain a Master of Science in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. The financial assistance offered by the CTO Foundation was critical. In spite of being employed on a full time basis at The Crane Resorts prior to pursuing my post graduate studies, my personal savings were less than robust due to my continued repayments on the loan I took to provide funding for my first degree.
The course of study provided me with one of the most practical real life experiences of sustainability within the tourism industry as the clients of my capstone thesis project were FEDETUR: the Chilean Federation of Tourism Enterprises, SERNATUR: the government agency responsible of promoting the tourism sector and CORFO: the public sector agency dedicated to promoting innovation and growth in Chile's job market. Together with 10 other students who were part of the project team, I provided the clients with recommendations for implementing a Sustainability Certification System for Chile's Tourism industry. Our recommendations were for the first phase of certification, specific to the hotel & lodging sector and provided guidance on how Chile could achieve international recognition from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). We also provided feedback on promoting the certification to hotels and on how the organization managing the certification system should be structured.
On returning to my substantive post as Project and Sustainability Planner at The Crane Resorts I was able to participate in exploring a sustainably viable solution to solving the challenge posed by the sargassum seaweed along Crane Beach.
Subsequently, I accepted a contract position with the Inter-American Development Bank as a consultant with their Climate Change and Sustainable Development Department’s Housing and Urban Development Division. In this capacity I am currently working on the Emerging and Sustainable Cities (ESC) Program Action Plan for the Greater Bridgetown Area. The ESC program is a technical assistance program that helps intermediate cities in the Caribbean and Latin America to identify, prioritize and structure projects to improve environmental, urban and fiscal sustainability. Developing the action plan requires engaging with a wide cross section of stake holders and because of the importance of the tourism industry in Barbados stakeholders from within this industry have been included. A strong focus of the ESC is how to make the Greater Bridgetown Area more sustainable for Barbadians and tourists alike.
I strongly believe it would have been impossible to secure this position without my post graduate degree since the final part of the interview process necessitated supplying the panel with a copy of a study I wrote during my studies on Climate Resilience in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. This in turn would not have been possible without the award from Interval International.