Delivering sustainability: Master of Sustainability Leadership Q&A

Benjamin Fogg is a graduate of ASU Online’s Master of Sustainability Leadership program. Recently, we discussed his experience with ASU, his role as Sustainability Specialist at FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh, and how the two intertwined through his capstone project on bringing the concept of a circular economy to the logistics company.

Tell us about the path that lead you to ASU Online.

After finishing up my undergraduate education in Alabama, I started working for FedEx Ground. I’ve always had an interest in sustainability, and began looking into some basic sustainability projects where I could bring ideas to the table with the company. I was debating whether I should pursue an MBA or some other further study when I came across ASU’s Online Master of Sustainability Leadership program. I really liked that the School of Sustainability was the first of its kind, with a lot of innovation occurring there in general. Then there was the leadership aspect of the MSL program, which I feel is an important part because it is such a relatively new field. People need the skills and knowhow to convey the messaging and data. ASU’s program seemed like it had all of that paired with the broader, global context. Since FedEx Corp. operates all over the world, it felt like the perfect fit for my career.

What did you like most about ASU and the online program?

I really liked it because of my work schedule. I’ve moved out of Alabama to Indiana, then Houston and now Pittsburgh, all within four years. I kept being promoted within the company and ASU Online allowed that mobility to happen while I continued my education. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had the chance to jump as easily at those opportunities.

The professors were easily accessible, and if I ever had any questions or needed responses, they were timely. My favorite course was global context because I like looking at things from a bigger picture. The communications aspect of the program was also good. We talked about storytelling and how powerful of an element the story is, and I try to work that into how I conduct presentations to make it interesting for people and avoid the whole death by PowerPoint.

How has your experience as a student impacted your position at FedEx Ground?

My capstone project focused on the concept of a circular economy, and a lot of my research looked into bringing that concept to FedEx Ground. I examined our current situation when it came to materials, waste and recycling, and how we could take that type of data and start transferring it over to concepts that would stem from a circular economy.

Much of my work with FedEx Ground has been operations focused, but I always kept an element of sustainability with me in addition to the other work I was doing. Recently, I was promoted to a Sustainability Specialist position, which is my first official role with that focus.

What does your current role entail, and what are you looking to accomplish in the future?

Right now it’s a lot of project management on a day-to-day basis, from looking at renewable energy to engaging stakeholders, to educating and influencing those working in various field positions and locations.

In the future, I would like to obtain a senior leadership position within the company that focuses on bringing sustainability to the forefront of what we’re doing.

What advice would you have for someone considering ASU Online?

Plan for the unexpected. It depends on what type of job you have, but if something pops up, you’ll want to make sure you’re ahead and try to avoid the procrastination factor. Time is precious, so planning your weeks out in advance and assigning a particular day to get everything done can be very helpful.

Learn more about ASU Online’s Master of Sustainability Leadership program.

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