Juliae Riva

The Future of Leadership

Get ready! The next generation of leaders are joining the business world in full force, prepared to address climate change and prioritize work that leads toward a more sustainable world.

Need proof? Look no further than Juliae Riva. As one of 12 Emerging Leaders selected by business media outlet GreenBiz, the University of Oregon senior attended the GreenBiz21 online conference from February 9-11, where she networked with and learned from other industry leaders.

Emerging Leaders is an exclusive program that aims to break barriers for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)—both students and early-career professionals—by providing them with a platform to advance their opportunities in the sustainable business industry.

Riva will graduate in spring 2021 with a double major in general social sciences and planning, public policy, and management and a double minor in business administration and sustainable business. By immersing herself in a variety of disciplines that inspire her to make a difference, Riva is pursuing a diverse education that demonstrates sustainability’s increasing relevance in all aspects of today’s world. “With sustainability, you can be in any industry—any field or interest—and find a way to make a positive difference with regard to climate change,” Riva said.

Riva’s commitment to sustainability carried over into the internships she has held while a student at UO. The summer following her sophomore year, Riva landed an internship in corporate social responsibility at Portland General Electric (PGE). There, she was able to make a connection with the sustainability director and was given the opportunity to explore beyond her internship role and gain additional training in sustainability work. The experience she gained at PGE confirmed her aspirations to pursue her career in the field.

The following summer, Riva used her passion and drive to navigate the challenging internship market during the height of COVID-19 pandemic. She secured an internship with the Oregon Environmental Council, where she conducted research and produced a report detailing the sustainability services currently accessible to Oregon businesses and the potential opportunities to fill existing gaps.

Riva’s steadfast determination and mission reflects the drive of today’s students—a drive that is focused on creating solutions that will have a positive impact on the world. For Riva, the collective voice of the young business leaders she has met during her time at the UO serves as inspiration for the future of sustainability.

She believes that business is key to combating climate change, perhaps more than any other field, because of the amount of money and influence within the sector.

“We’ll keep putting the pressure on companies to not let up and follow through with the commitments they are making,” Riva said.

—Terri Chrestenson, Class of 2022