Addressing global sustainability requires innovation and leadership on the part of diverse stakeholders working together to solve complex problems at multiple scales. We already have sufficient science and technology to address most environmental challenges; what we lack is effective leadership to create new opportunities for sustainable development.

Leadership begins with individual self-awareness so that you can listen to, communicate with, and influence others. Leadership also requires working with diverse team members on project management and organizational development. It requires knowledge and skills to understand and influence organizational cultures and change management processes. Leadership requires systems thinking to make sense of the complex and increasingly uncertain relationships among sustainability drivers and impacts. Leadership requires strategies to coordinate people, organizations, and institutions separated by space, time, and culture. Additionally, leadership imbues society with new innovations, stories, media, technology, norms, and policies that will shape the future. We believe everyone can practice leadership and lead from where they are.

With this leadership philosophy in mind, our Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program’s interdisciplinary curriculum provides working professionals with the credentials, competencies, confidence, and connections to accomplish their career goals, have greater influence in the workplace, and impact the world in a significant and positive way. All aspects of the XMNR program – including class meetings, online coursework, team projects, the international residency, and the individual development process  – are designed to help students create, craft, or refine their professional identity as leaders in global sustainability.

Between 2011-2018, the XMNR program successfully trained over 200 graduate students working in business, government, and civil society organizations. While you can find profiles of each student on our site, the list below provides examples of  job titles held by XMNR alums, and demonstrates the leadership and positive impact they are having in the workplace and on the world.

  • Land and Climate Program Manager, Land Trust Alliance
  • Executive Director, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Energy and Sustainability Liaison at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)
  • Sustainability Consultant, Dominion Energy
  • International Trade Policy Leader at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
  • Senior Client Engagement Lead at Global Carbon Capture and Sequestration Institute
  • Vice President at Global Environment & Technology Foundation
  • Environmental and Social Specialist at MIGA-World Bank Group
  • Operations Center Unit Lead, USAID – Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
  • Conservation Strategy Specialist, Restoring America’s Forests at The Nature Conservancy
  • Country Director at the Institute for Sustainable Communities
  • Vice President at COEFFICIENT
  • Sustainability and Environmental Specialist, US Geological Survey
  • Executive Director, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Environmental Protection Specialist at United States Coast Guard
  • Senior Product Manager at National Geographic
  • Staff Attorney, Chesapeake Legal Alliance
  • Program Coordinator, Earth Resources Technology (ERT)
  • Director, Education and Marketing at the American Society of Landscape Architects
  • Ecosystems Specialist at Wetland Studies and Solutions
  • Manager, ESH Common Systems at Lockheed Martin
  • Ocean Policy Manager at American Littoral Society
  • Utility Programs Manager at project:HOMES
  • Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Greenville
  • Program Advisor, Energy & Infrastructure at The Nature Conservancy
  • Global Strategy & Operations for the Fish Forever Program at Rare
  • Director, Program Operations at National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • Senior Program Director, Sustainability at University of Notre Dame
  • Vice President Strategic & International Programs, American Public Transportation Association
  • Director of Poverty Initiatives, Crown
  • National Program Manager, US Food & Drug Administration
  • Operations Officer at World Bank Group
  • Regional Environmental Protection Specialist at Department of the Interior
  • National Program Coordinator, US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Deputy Forest Supervisor, US Forest Service
  • NOAA Marine Habitat Specialist, Earth Resources Technology (ERT)
  • Assistant Director of Sustainability at Suffolk County Community College
  • Attorney, US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Director of Foundation & Government Support at Mass Audubon
  • Partner, Director of Engineering & Design at HG Design Studio

At the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, our mission is to educate, inspire, and empower professionals to create a better future for people and the planet. Join us and spread the word!


David Robertson

Dr. David Robertson directs Virginia Tech’s Executive Master of Natural Resources program, advises students, and teaches courses in sustainable development, and urban ecology. He conducts research on green infrastructure systems and sustainable development strategies, and has published research in journals such as Society & Natural ResourcesConservation BiologyEcology & SocietyEnvironmental Management, and Environmental Science & Policy.

The Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability thanks XMNR alumna Allie Dore for permission to use her photograph.