World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

Behind the Scenes with Mary Jo Snavely, Manager, Private Sector Engagement

  • Date: 11 April 2022

In our Behind the Scenes series we speak to WWF staff to learn more about their work and what makes them tick. For today’s post, we sat down with Mary Jo Snavely, a manager with WWF's Private Sector Engagement Team.

Mary Jo Snavely stands by a lake with her dog

Describe your favorite moment in nature.

I have been to some of the most spectacular natural places in the world on work and personal trips. Two very personal moments in nature standout for me. First is the moment my foot falls on my favorite trail in Rock Creek Park in DC. I have a sense of peace every time I hit a certain part of the trail on my run, like I’m stepping out of the hubbub and into a mindfulness retreat. The second is when I proposed to my wife in Yosemite Valley. I surprised her while she was taking photos of a gushing waterfall and we had Half Dome at our backs.

Is there a project you are working on that you are excited about? What is it?

Right now, I’m exploring the role WWF could take in influencing the finance sector companies. With a newly proposed SEC rule that requires companies to disclose how climate change impacts the viability of their business and ESG investing gaining traction, I am hopeful that we can help cascade impacts through new types of corporate engagement.

What previous experience have you had that led you to WWF, educational or professional?

As an undergraduate, I worked on a project granted by the EPA. I worked with a diverse group of students to develop viable business models based on re-use of spent brewery grain. A ragtag group of undergraduate and graduate students from across the university, our ideas ranged from worm composting, organic mushroom cultivation, to solar sterilization equipment. I learned how many different skills and brains we need for sustainability to become business as usual.

What advice would you give a young professional who is interested in sustainability?

Hang on to your optimism but be ready to compromise on your idealism. This will keep you adapting when change seems far off or nearly impossible.

What brings you joy outside of work?

An ideal day for me outside of work would be to do something active outdoors and laugh with friends over a good meal. Even better if my dog is with us.

What does the future of sustainable business look like to you?

The future of sustainable business is radically transparent. We have visibility end-to-end in supply chains, we know which public policies companies are supporting to drive systems changes, and individuals are aware of what actions to take as change agents in their personal and professional lives.


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