By Ruby Bolaria
UCLA Luskin Student Writer
Jaime Nack, President and Founder of the environmental consulting firm Three Squares Inc. is helping to shape the future of the green movement and sustainability industry.
A 2002 Master of Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Nack founded Three Squares Inc. – a globally recognized environmental consulting firm – in 2008 and her first project was greening the Democratic National Convention in Denver. This marked the first time the DNC took efforts to reduce their environmental impact and Nack pioneered these efforts with unprecedented success. Nack became actively involved with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop national green standards for green meetings and events.
Nack will speak on careers in the environmental and clean technology fields on Tuesday, Jan. 29 in the Luskin School of Public Affairs beginning at noon.
In 2011, Nack was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, an exclusive and prestigious honor recognizing young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. Nack was also appointed as the second-youngest member to the National Women’s Business Council. The council is an independent advisory group providing guidance to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to female business owners.
Three Squares Inc. works with a variety of clients including major corporations like Hewlett-Packard and Edison, nonprofits such as Al Gore’s Climate Reality and government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach. In addition to her role as Three Squares Inc.’s leader, Nack also serves as President of the Southern California Green Meeting Industry Council Chapter.
Sustainable event management is just one arm of Nack’s company, which also includes promoting clean technology, operational sustainability and helps businesses with education strategies of implementation.
Staying true to UCLA and the Luskin School, Nack often looks to UCLA for interns and future talent. During her undergraduate studies she was involved in student government, which she credits as a “boot camp” for future entrepreneurial skills.
“I learned to manage a budget, write grants and manage staff,” she said.
Nack hopes to work with the Luskin School to create curriculum that would teach relevant entrepreneurial business skills that could benefit current and future students with similar ambitions. She stressed how her network, including other UCLA graduates and current staff, like Luskin Center Director J.R. DeShazo, are part of her toolkit for success.
“I’ve had a lot of good opportunities, like meetings in the White House West Wing that only happened because of the network I created,” Nack said. “I’m incredibly thankful.”
Throughout her career, Nack noticed a persistent absence of women speakers and leaders at environmental conferences or events. In response, she founded the Women in Green Forum in 2009 to highlight the impact of women in the environmental movement. She envisioned the forum as a space where women could see what options they had within the environmental industry.
“Unlike other traditional male dominated industries, the green movement is relatively new and provides a unique opportunity for women to succeed,” Nack said.
The annual forum held in LA, attracts a global audience with participants coming from Australia, Indonesia and Uruguay among others. This year, it will expand to Washington D.C. where Nack is working to organize a briefing for the EPA, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Labor and other government agencies on the opportunities for women in the green space.
During next week's event, Nack said she’ll tell her story which will give one example of how one can work to create positive change. From working with the DNC and major corporations to greening the Inception movie premier, Nack has a wide range of experience that is invaluable to any student.
When Nack read about the Luskin Legacy gift and how Meyer Luskin worked hard to build his business from the ground up, she could relate. She credited her conservationist and environmental ideals with stories of extreme poverty from her grandmother during the depression. Stories about sharing one can of soup among five people resonated with her and taught her not to waste resources whether it was food or electricity. Professionally, she chose to build an environmental consulting firm with the goal that all their activities should impact the environmental bottom line not just economic one.
“It’s a must to think about both because the world cannot sustain the type of growth and consumption path that we are on," she said. "I feel good about the work we do every day.”