When it comes to living sustainably, Emily (Ortloff) McGarvey ’02 tells people to “think big and start small.”
As Target Corp.’s senior manager of sustainability, McGarvey is no stranger to the challenges of carrying out actions that promote sustainability in financial, social and environmental areas.
McGarvey began working at Target 12 years ago. Though she imagined herself moving to nonprofit work later in life, a promotion to her current role has given her the chance to make a difference.
“If I can make a small impact on Target, I can make a huge impact on the world,” she says.
Students, faculty, staff and members of the community listened to McGarvey, who spoke on campus as part of the 2014 Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposium on sustainability.
As she spoke, McGarvey shared some examples of Target’s efforts to become more sustainable.
McGarvey heads a project that challenges her and her colleagues to make every Target-owned brand product one step better.
For example, Target recently began producing care labels made from recycled materials. This effort diverts about 11 million water bottles from going into landfills.
This is just one example of the ways Target is thinking big and starting small to make a difference.
McGarvey worked as an intern at the Target store in Fargo, N.D., while she was a student at Concordia. She says the experience introduced her to the company and led her to desire a corporate work environment.
She says her liberal arts education at Concordia has helped her in her work with Target, where she has held several positions, from business analyst to product manager to her current position as senior manager of sustainability.
“Concordia best prepared me by being a well-rounded individual when I graduated,” she says. “While you need technical skills, you still bring your whole self to work.”