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A Sustainable Culture

casey michalski stock

Casey Michalski Stock ’10

Casey Michalski Stock ’10 (environmental studies) manages corporate sustainability for DaVita Inc., a Fortune 500 health care company headquartered in Denver, with 75,000 employees in 13 countries. In that role, she creates and leads projects and programs that target resource reduction and educate DaVita employees worldwide about the company’s environmental goals. She says she’s particularly interested in green buildings, so she enjoyed working on recent projects related to the company's new LEED-certified corporate office.

Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts approach helped you along your career path?

I attribute my career path to the fact that I had a liberal-arts education. I went into my college career thinking I was going to be a math major. I recall sitting in Professor [H. Eugene] Wingert’s Introduction to Environmental Science class, one of my lab requirements, and thinking, “This has to be it!” I was quickly immersed in the content, changed my major, pursued education abroad, and here I am today.

I also recall my hiring manager at DaVita telling me that she hired me because she understood the value of a liberal-arts education, and Dickinson’s sustainability program was world-renowned and top-notch. In a company where I was competing against students from Ivy League schools, a liberal-arts education was a defining piece of my resumé.

What was your favorite activity/organization at Dickinson?

I will always look back and smile about my time as a Liberty Cap (tour guide). The organization quickly became a family for me. My time as a sister on campus as part of Kappa Alpha Theta was also defining for me, as I formulated a handful of my closest relationships.

What jumps out as a great memory from your time at Dickinson?

There are so many to choose from, but my time abroad is a period in my life that I will never forget. Exploring Iceland with Professor [Marcus] Key and a few other students is an indelible memory for me. Heading into Dickinson, I hadn’t considered studying abroad, but now I know that it was a differentiator in my college career and my life, as I developed strong friendships, traveled and learned.

How do you stay involved with/support Dickinson?

We are slowly getting a strong alumni base in Denver! I am coordinating a group of alumni to get together and connect over happy hour and different functions. Additionally, I love interviewing local Dickinson prospects as part of their application process. I am continually impressed with the students who are interested in my alma mater. Above else, it makes me extremely proud.

What is the most challenging part of your work?

I am fortunate to work for a company with the motto “A community first, a company second.” The [DaVita] culture helps sustainability to thrive because it has a direct impact on our patients, our teammates and our world. There are two large challenges when it comes to sustainability in a company, especially health care. First, our teammates are focused on saving lives. Oftentimes, sustainability and other initiatives can come last. For this reason, sustainability engagement must be easy, duplicable and fulfilling. Second, a lot falls under sustainability in a health care environment. From green buildings, water management, energy management and waste reduction to supply chain, projects must be prioritized based on impact and the triple bottom line. I am the type of person who wants to do everything at once—to affect as much as possible—but I have learned to prioritize a challenging project list.

What comes to mind as something unforgettable that you’ve done since you graduated?

In April 2015 my team had the opportunity to spend Earth Day with David Gottfried, the founder of the U.S. Green Building Council, as part of a green building charrette forum. We presented DaVita’s new clinic prototype design to world-renowned design professionals. It was two days of amazing collaboration, learning and networking. I look back at that trip and can pinpoint that that was what set me down a path toward green buildings.

If you could have dinner with anyone famous, living or dead, who would it be?

Top of mind, it would be Elon Musk. I would want to hear about his experience and where he thinks his legacy, as well as sustainability, will head in the decades to come.

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

I am a true believer that we dictate our paths, and that there wouldn’t be anything monumental that I would change. If anything, I would commit to traveling more. I try to live by the motto “Love people, not things.” I try to intentionally lead a life that is paved with experiences and travel. My husband, Julian, is from Germany, and I have grand plans to travel the world with him.

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Published June 21, 2017