Turning Passion into Action

NCS 2011 Intern: Bonnie Lucara

NCS 2011 Intern: Bonnie Lucara

NCS Interns: Where Are They Now Series

 My internship at Nat Cap was the first step in turning a passion for environmental stewardship into a new career.  The very talented Nat Cap staff worked side by side with interns, treating us as colleagues, to produce their research and many consulting and education projects. I’ve often referred to the interns as a machine; they are an integral part of the engine that is Natural Capitalism Solutions.  Being an intern from spring through fall, meant an enormously enriching experience, working with many different interns, all from diverse backgrounds. I was also involved with Hunter’s first Sustainability Leadership and Implementation Course at Denver University, which provided further experiential learning and indoctrination on the business case for sustainability. What this experience grew into was the inspiration to turn an idea into a reality. Upon leaving Nat Cap I launched my business, Commute Matters.

The business case for sustainability, so thoroughly ingrained in Nat Cap’s mission, is now the primary tenet on which Commute Matters markets its Employee Commute Optimization System. The seed was planted many years ago when I  commuted from Denver to Boulder, always thinking  “someone on the other side of the highway is doing the same job in Denver and making the opposite commute; couldn’t we just swap jobs?” For years I thought about this.  While at Nat Cap I started talking about the idea and with the encouragement I received, finally started doing something about it.  I took an MBA class – Business Planning for Social Entrepreneurs, and there I realized where job swapping was both possible and made the greatest impact: in chain stores, in retail, food service, banking and hospitality, where the majority of the employees drive past two or three company stores getting to the one where they work.  By relocating workers to closer stores, the workers save time, money, and stress. They arrive more often, on time, and happier.  And they quit less, saving the company substantially on turnover costs.  Best of all, the community sees less traffic and emissions, which leads to a better quality of life.  Government has worked long and hard on solutions to traffic congestion and environmental issues, yet these problems persist. Using commute optimization puts control in the hands of business to solve not only a major talent management issue but to take a leading role in solving major transportation and environmental issues.  One retailer in a city can reduce traffic by 6 million miles and CO2 by 7 million lbs in just one year.  What if they all did?  That’s the mission we’re on.

I’m forever grateful for the great experience and education, incredible colleagues, and unforgettable inspiration I developed through my work with Natural Capitalism Solutions. Thank You!

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