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From Consultant to Climate Entrepreneur

From Consultant to Climate Entrepreneur

Yay welcome! Glad you've made it. We know first-hand that building your dream impact career isn’t straight forward. While you may have been told to climb some kind of career ladder, you’re probably feeling more like you’re navigating an open sea or following a zig zagging path. To help you find your sea legs, we’ve gone behind the scenes with some incredible career zig zaggers and ocean navigators to discover ‘How They Did It'.

These are the inside stories of how impact happens, from people you may not know but that are doing some pretty great stuff. They’re stories not just about what they did, but how they did it, so you can get some practical inspo to help build your own impact.

We are so excited to introduce you to Neil Yeoh, who founded his own sustainability advisory group, OnePointFive! 

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Tell us a bit about where you work and your role.

OnePointFive (opf.degree). OnePointFive is currently a virtual, sustainability advisory network of interdisciplinary experts with the unified aim to eliminate climate impact from the business sector. I am the CEO and Founder, but more functionally a sustainability advisor, investor and impact investor. 

Before we dive in, what was your first ever job?

My first job ever was at Accenture in Perth as a Management Consulting Analyst

Can you describe what your current role encompasses day to day?

As the CEO, Founder of OnePointFive (opf.degree) I have to juggle multiple business priorities day-to-day. Given I soft-launched OnePointFive earlier in February 2020, I have been working on adapting our business offerings to a Covid world and in a pending economic recession.

Day-to-day my role requires me to make quick strategic to tactical decisions for the business - from hiring contractors and team management; meeting business partners and potential clients; to setting up internal operational and sales pipeline systems. 

What drives and motivates you?

Whilst travelling to Xian, China as a teenager I experienced the impacts of air pollution for the first time in my life, caused by the burning of fossil fuels. I got sick, and a conviction was seeded. I thought to myself “If this is the place where my grandparents, and ancestors once called home, where they do not have the basic right to fresh air, then what kind of ancestor will I be for my people?”

This drives my work until today, using science, business and technology to find solutions to air pollution and climate change. 

What did you study, and when you set out to do this, what did you imagine your career would look like? Did you ever imagine it would be this?

I have an Executive Masters of Environmental Management from Yale University, MBA from Oxford University, and degrees in Mechatronic Engineering (First Class Honours), International Business, and Management from the University of Adelaide. 

During my undergraduate studies I never would have imagined what my career would look like as it does today. I was always interested in problem solving, and using business approaches and strategies for good. That initial interest led me to follow my interests, passions and instinct to direct my careers as it progressed. The journey from Adelaide to New York was definitely not easy, but the journey taught me a lot, and has developed a lot of resilience in making me the person and business owner I am today.


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We love a zig zagger! Tell us about an experience or job you have had that has taught you skills you use in your job today.

When I first graduated from my engineering and commerce degrees and wanted to become a management consultant, I had little choice in deciding on my location for and sector of work (given my lack of work experience). This landed me in the oil and gas industry in Perth, Western Australia. 

However, as I found my passion in tackling the environmental impacts of the business sector, in part from my early exposure to the oil and gas industry, I was quickly able to use my experiences to learn about the problems from within the sector. This direct knowledge helped me later in my career to invest in alternative solutions, understanding the complexities of what we would need to eliminate pollution and human-made emissions created by the business sector.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to build the skills and experiences to create impact in the environment and sustainability sector? 

My advice to others wanting to build skills in the environment and sustainability sector is to list out the organisations that you feel are having an impact on the issues you care about, and begin to reach out to professionals who work at these organisations for a virtual, or in-person coffee.  

As long as you show authentic curiosity and a desire to learn and gain experience (whether in a volunteering or more formal role), professionals will be more than likely happy to share advice and opportunities on how to build your skills and experiences. 

How has community played a role in you being able to take action on the big issues or challenges that you’re passionate about?

Community has played a critical role in taking actions on the issues I care about. Climate change is a complex issue and no one expert can solve the problem alone. Think about the number of interdisciplinary and multinational actors it took to coordinate the signing of the Paris Treaty in 2015.

In order to create true systemic solutions to big issues, like Climate Change, we will need interdisciplinary experts to work together on solutions. This is why I was driven to build and deploy an expert network and community of interdisciplinary sustainability experts through my climate venture, OnePointFive. 

Where do you turn to for inspiration and motivation?

I turn to inspiration and motivation from non-fiction books on self-development, podcasts on human psychology, and advisors/mentors who are a few years ahead of me.

Want to connect with Neil? 

Find more out about OnePointFive on their website here or on their Instagram @opfdegree. Connect with Neil on LinkedIn here.

 

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