Alumni in the spotlight: Jo da Silva

Jo da Silva is the Global Director of Sustainable Development at Arup and an Officer to the Arup Group Board, leading the firm’s activities to address the climate, biodiversity and equity crises. Read on and watch the video as she provides an overview of her time as a participant in WBCSD’s Leap Program, and the practical solutions she brought back with her to advance Arup’s sustainability journey. 

What motivated you to join WBCSD’s Leap Program? 

I believe that we must keep learning faster than the world is changing around us, and the Leap Program is a great opportunity to take some time out in a very efficient way. It recognizes the fact that everyone is busy, but it’s precious time that challenges the way you’re thinking on a day-to-day basis. And as well as fantastic lecturers, you’re learning from everyone on the program too. 
What has your experience been so far? 

The Leap Program has been an opportunity to spend time with a diverse group of leaders, all of whom are women, but who come from all over the world. And that was the real surprise, the truly global perspective of the participants. 

What was your key takeaway from the program? 

For me, one of the most important parts of the program was the reinforcement of where I had got to in my thinking, which is the necessity to bring the sustainability and enterprise risk management agendas together. 

Sustainability historically has been a nice-to-have, whereas boardroom decisions are so often based on risk. There was a very good lecture at Yale talking about the opportunity of bringing these two agendas together. And that’s something I’ve been doing since the Yale session. 

A final message for business leaders who are watching? 

We are not going to get to a sustainable future without real leadership at top levels in big companies. Leadership for the 21st century needs people who care, who are courageous, who are confident, and who are collaborative. These are all the qualities of the participants — and bringing us all together unlocked those qualities. So, I recommend it to firms — send your brightest and best female leaders on the Leap program.

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