Programme: MSc in Strategic Management, 2010
Currently: UN Partnerships and Sustainability manager at Royal DSM
Nominated by: Joey Johannsen, sustainability co-ordinator
“Given the issues we face today ranging from climate change to social inequality, it’s difficult to not feel personal responsibility and a desire to act on this,” says Alba Tiley, UN Partnerships and Sustainability manager at Royal DSM. “We don’t have the luxury to sit back and expect other people or other sectors to fix things for us.”
With the ‘Improving Nutrition, Improving Lives’ public-private partnership that Alba works on, Royal DSM and the UN World Food Programme co-develop nutritional food products for the most vulnerable malnourished beneficiaries including small children, pregnant women and people living with HIV/AIDS. Nutrition is a critical component to a healthy and productive life. So far the partnership has improved the nutrition of 21 million people and aims to scale up to reach 30 million annually by next year.
After leaving Canada to study at RSM, Alba researched strategic multi-stakeholder alliances and how they create value for various sectors. “I was fortunate to have helpful professors as supervisors who supported my passion for this subject, which wasn't your typical strategy topic,” says Alba, adding that her master thesis led to her role at Royal DSM. Alba says she feels fortunate to work on issues she’s passionate about. "Of the 10 companies I interviewed for my thesis, DSM stood out because of its work on the UN World Food Programme, where rather than simply being a financial sponsor the partnership was tightly integrated with company's strategy and creating value for all sides," she says.
Alba’s definition of true success is staying true to oneself while contributing to the fullest of one’s abilities. She says Ralph Waldo Emerson nailed it when he said ‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment’. Her inspiration was Nelson Mandela, because of his self-discipline, capacity to forgive and visionary leadership. “I think our generation can learn much from his moral and ethical courage,” says Alba. “It reminds me of how fortunate I am to be where I am and do what I do.”
Alba says there is still much work to be done before we live in a truly equitable and sustainable world. “We have all the ingredients to make it a reality. I try to make my small contribution to this journey and am grateful to RSM for the great start.”