For Susan Mizrahi, the “aha!” moment came from recognising that corporations today have just as much money and social influence as governments – if not more. This was a stark contrast to how things were during the post-Cold War era when she was growing up, where states were perceived as the dominant actors and changemakers in society.
The problem is that many organisations don’t use their resources to full effect.
“Most companies aren’t necessarily seeking to do the wrong things, but they don’t know how to do the right thing,” Susan says.
“Businesses need to develop the ability to positively impact society and the environment, especially given the complexity of issues facing the planet today.”
This realisation led to Susan transitioning from her human rights work in Washington D.C. to becoming Australia Post’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. Now she leads a team of sustainability and corporate responsibility experts, focusing on how Australia Post can enhance its positive impacts while reducing the negative (e.g. carbon emissions, packaging).
And this wasn’t even her first major career change.
Prior to her 10 years as a human rights advocate and campaigner, specialising in areas such as China-Tibet relations and human trafficking, Susan worked in the communications sector.
She recognises her career as having 3 key phases:
- strategic communications
- human rights advocacy
- driving sustainability.
Yet even while jumping between these radically different fields, Susan’s career paths have been united by two common goals: developing herself professionally and making a real difference in the world.
“In each role, I was able to build on the skills and knowledge from the previous phase,” she says.
“Through each aspect of my career, I have focused on bringing about positive, systemic change.”