green impact campaign gic volunteer student mimi

Mimi West, UVA Darden School of Business

Meet Mimi.

Retired opera singer. Current MBA candidate. Future impact leader.

Mimi claims to have been “green” before it was cool and we absolutely believe her. After joining Green Impact Campaign in early June 2014, Mimi began reaching out to her existing network in the Salt Lake City area to ask if they were interested in receiving a free energy survey for their small business, including even asking her dentist…while she was in the dentist’s chair.

Looking beyond the “conventional” office space, Mimi then began to reach out to some home businesses in the area. She believed that these at-home-entrepreneurs had a greater potential to take what they’ve learned about their business’s energy use and apply it to their personal lifestyle habits and behavior, making an impact beyond just their business. She was right.

Take a look at the amazing video Mimi created to help tell businesses what she was doing:


Within two weeks of joining GIC, Mimi had conducted energy surveys for 14 local, small businesses in her community, identifying 60,000 kWh in annual energy savings! That’s equivalent to removing 40 metric tons of carbon emissions from the atmosphere every year or taking ten passenger cars off the road every year.

Mimi sat down with us to tell us more about herself and her involvement with the Campaign so far:

What are you currently studying?

I’m an incoming MBA student at the UVA Darden School of Business with a focus in marketing and brand management.

What are your plans and hopes for your future career?

As a retired opera singer, I’m currently making a major career switch from entrepreneurship to corporate management.  As I make this transition, I’m most interested in pursuing a career in the consumer packaged goods and technology industries, both of which are becoming increasingly conscious of their impact on the environment.  Regardless of my job function or industry, my hope is to make a positive impact on the world.

Why did you want to get involved with GIC?

I had “green” sensibilities long before it was cool.  This summer, I was looking to get involved with something meaningful before starting my MBA program in the fall so I joined Net Impact. The moment I received an email from Net Impact about Green Impact Campaign, I knew it was for me.  The Campaign’s goals resonate with mine and the vision I have for the kind of impact I’d like to have on the business world.

green impact campaign gic mimi west

Mimi conducting a green energy survey

What do you feel is the most important thing you’ve learned from your involvement?

Completing the energy surveys actually helped me reverse my negative outlook on sustainable businesses. From a very young age, I wanted to devote myself to sustainability, but I often felt a sense of doom and gloom about the environment. I thought for many years that the planet was doomed, businesses were greedy and most people were in denial or simply didn’t care. As green efforts have become more fashionable, my attitude has improved in recent years. The Green Impact Campaign helped tip the scales even further as I realized how many businesses were already doing well in their efforts to reduce their energy consumption. Conducting the surveys in an area that by my estimation was not as open to green efforts, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many small businesses already had energy-saving light bulbs, motion sensors, and water-saving toilets. I was also pleased how easy it was for the survey to identify ways that businesses could take their efforts one step further, saving money and the environment in the process. The business owners I worked with were much more open-minded than I was expecting them to be. Of course, there were plenty of close-minded people, but they were usually the ones who didn’t let me conduct the survey of their business in the first place. My outlook on the future of sustainability is much brighter, thanks to GIC!

Do you have a message that you would like to share with other students/volunteers?

Yes!  My advice to other GIC volunteers is to try engaging many different types of businesses.  Your experience will be so much more valuable and informed if you do.

At first I was bashful about asking business owners who worked from home to participate.  I had this idea that all the businesses I surveyed needed to have conventional office spaces. However, I soon realized that entrepreneurs who work from home are some of the most open-minded and valuable people to talk to.  Not only are they interested in making their businesses more sustainable and profitable; they are more likely to change their lifestyle and influence their family members as a result of the survey.


Mimi’s Impact Achievements

  • CARBON EMISSIONS OFFSET: 40 metric tons/yr

Want to get involved as a volunteer and conduct energy surveys for local businesses in your community? Click here to join.