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Q&A Aug 3, 2023

Women in Sustainability: Q&A with Rachael Cassidy

Get to know Rachael, a principal social value consultant based in Glasgow, Scotland

  • Rachael Cassidy
  • Rachael Cassidy works with a young student on a STEAM activity
  • Rachael Cassidy presents at the front of a large room
  • Rachael Cassidy and a young girl work on a STEAM activity

Rachael Cassidy’s been with Jacobs for five years in our Glasgow, U.K. office. She works as a Social Value Consultant, helping clients create Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) engagement programs to ensure they meet their social value outcomes. Rachael also leads Jacobs’ global Butterfly Effect initiative, helping young people put sustainability at the heart of every decision they make.

What does a social value consultant do?

Social value consultants translate complex information from projects to bring it to a young audience and help young people all over the world see themselves in STEAM.

What sparked your passion for sustainability?

I’ve been passionate about sustainability for many years now, starting in earnest when I was pregnant with my first child. I suddenly felt so aware and vulnerable to the fragile and unsustainable world I was bringing him into, and it became important to me to help do something about it.  

How are you creating a more connected, sustainable future for our clients and communities?

I have the incredible opportunity to work across an exciting range of projects, from flooding, to infrastructure, to space. Throughout all my projects my role is to inspire and motivate the next generation of STEAM professionals. I make information engaging, accessible and relatable, and help to create the pipeline of future changemakers.  

Why do you think it’s important for Jacobs to embed sustainability into our culture and strategy and how do you achieve this?

Being a large, global solutions provider means Jacobs has both huge power and responsibility. We can generate real change by embedding sustainability through our people, supply chain and clients. To achieve this, we need to ensure sustainability always remains at the heart of our organization’s culture, in the same way Jacobs already has with safety. We need sustainability to be part of every decision we make, both on an individual and companywide level.  

Do you have any advice on how others can incorporate sustainability and climate response into their work, regardless of their role?

I would encourage everyone to stop and think. Before acting or moving forward with a plan or project, consider the sustainability of that action. Where something could be performed more sustainably speak up, and don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. 100 people making small changes will have far more impact than one person acting perfectly every time.  

What has been your proudest moment or project?

By far my proudest project is developing and launching Jacobs’ Butterfly Effect Program. The Butterfly Effect is a set of activities created for educators, linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (U.N. SDGs), and focused on all aspects of sustainability. It’s designed to foster lasting behavior change through short, sharp, progressive activities, delivered by educators at every year of elementary school, providing young people with the information, knowledge and understanding they need to put sustainability at the heart of everything they do. Schools can be supported by a Jacobs STEAM ambassador, providing insight into industry practices and careers information.

The next step for the Butterfly Effect is our secondary program, set to launch later this year. Here young people aged 12-18 will be supported to apply their broad understanding of sustainability by creating a sustainability strategy for their school, club or community group.

“My role is to inspire and motivate the next generation of STEAM professionals. I make information engaging, accessible and relatable, and help to create the pipeline of future changemakers.”

Rachael Cassidy

Rachael Cassidy

Jacobs Principal Social Value Consultant

Tell us about how you discuss sustainability and sustainable solutions with our clients.

Conversations around sustainability are becoming increasingly easier to have with clients as it becomes a priority to all organizations, as well as the education sector. I often find that clients themselves have sustainability as one of their main criteria in the programs they want me to create.  

What do you enjoy most about being part of #OurJacobs?

I love the feeling that anything is possible. The opportunities are endless within such a large organization and that’s incredibly exciting!  

What are your top tips for having a career in sustainability?

Understanding that every career is a career in sustainability. Positive change is only going to come from each of us doing our bit and influencing others to do the same.  

How are you being more sustainable in your day-to-day life?

I follow a vegetarian diet and have been either vegetarian or vegan for most of my adult life. I cycle to work and now own a (very old!) electric vehicle (EV). I also try to address other vital aspects of sustainability by challenging inequality whenever I encounter it. I’m not perfect by any means but I try to do what I can, and factor sustainability into every decision I make.  

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

I’m a keen athlete and qualified personal trainer competing in CrossFit, Hyrox and Power Lifting competitions. I also love to walk, cycle and run as often as I can.  

Want to learn more about sustainability and climate response at Jacobs?

Explore our latest climate response work