Jaime Nack is an environmental consultant and marketing strategist guiding businesses on the path to sustainability. Drawn to opportunities with a positive message, she has reconnected with UCLA to share her experience creating her non-traditional career path by matching her education and skills to her passion for the environment. As an “ecopreneur” Nack creates environmentally friendly plans for businesses that use large amounts of resources and have the power to set global trends. She says, “How you walk through life can have impact in many ways. You can choose to look through an environmental and social lens and make change.”
Nack chose to attend UCLA in part because she wanted to be surrounded by the activity of a large city. The summer before college she received a UCLA brochure in the mail listing the 13 student government offices. Nack circled two choices, campus events and the cultural affairs commission, and reached out with a phone call. She connected with Jeanna Yoo, undergraduate cultural affairs commissioner, who invited her to an orientation and became her mentor.
The mission of the UCLA Cultural Affairs Commission is to produce cultural, political, and socially relevant entertainment for students. During her freshman year Nack worked on the Hip Hop Reggae noontime concert, WorldFest, and the JazzReggae festival. By her sophomore year she was producing JazzReggae, and in her junior year she ran for and served as Cultural Affairs Commissioner and executive produced JazzReggae, which had grown from a small concert to a festival with 30,000 attending.
She describes these college experiences as a “boot camp” for her business and marketing skills. Students organized, ran and produced all aspects of the events including getting corporate sponsorships, marketing, writing grants, managing staff and volunteers. Nack and her fellow Bruins had a good eye for booking talent, and with the UCLA brand behind them they were able to book bands like The Roots, Black Eyed Peas and Souls of Mischief. UCLA provided the platform for her to develop her interests and skills, and in her senior year she launched her first business, booking and managing some of the reggae musicians from Jamaica she had met doing on-campus events.
Nack earned her bachelor’s degree in International Economics with a minor in Urban Planning from UCLA. She then worked for the city of Santa Monica organizing community events, including the 25,000 volunteers who attend Coastal Cleanup Day. She went on to work for an environmental consulting firm, building a multimillion dollar clean transportation department. While a UCLA undergraduate Nack had taken public policy classes from former governor and presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, whose teaching inspired and motivated her to return to UCLA to earn her master’s degree in public policy/international trade.
In 2008, she decided to focus on her passion for educating and engaging people with a positive environmental message by founding her environmental consultant and marketing firm Three Squares Inc. She was hired to reduce the environmental impact of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Nack moved to Denver for nine months to create a large-scale sustainability plan, an effort she and the Three Squares Inc. team have repeated again in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012 and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2016.
With her experience “greening” the DNC, Nack began developing industry standards for green meetings and events. Nack and her team create and implement sustainability action plans, actively reducing company’s environmental impact by using green venues, alternative transportation options, sustainable materials and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. In 2013, Nack founded One Drop Interactive, an online platform to engage people in eco-friendly behavior while finding areas for environmental and economic savings.
In 2011, Nack was honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, an organization committed to improving the world. She also received an appointment to the National Women’s Business Council, a bipartisan group that reports to the president, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues that engage women business owners. To highlight the work of women in the environmental industry, Nack founded the Women in Green Forum a venue for sustainability professionals to develop skills, promote women’s leadership and collaborate on building a better world.
Nack travels the globe educating event planners and producers about sustainability and raising awareness about the impact of eco-friendly choices. She also holds herself and her businesses accountable; Three Squares Inc. posts its environmental footprint in the front office. For others who want to make a difference she recommends finding activities that fit your lifestyle. Nack says, “Take the Metrorail, ride bikes if you’re able, compost or recycle. Map out your lifestyle and make choices that have an impact. Look at your purchasing power, everything you spend money on is an environmental and societal choice.”
Nack currently serves on the UCLA Alumni Board of Directors and encourages other alumni to connect with UCLA. She joined UCLA One as a mentor and immediately connected with four students. Three Squares Inc. also posts yearly internship opportunities with UCLA. Looking ahead Nack sees continued growth in the sustainability industry and encourages students and alumni to get involved. She says, “Work as an intern, volunteer, get experience outside of the classroom in the area that interests you. The more experience you can have working in the field is great. Build your professional network and create your path.”
This March 8 on International Women’s Day, and continuing throughout March, the University of California Office of the President will honor 12 alumni as part of the Remarkable Women of UC project. Nack along with Christine Simmons ’98, UCLA Alumni Board President, Shirley Wang ’90, Chair of the UCLA Foundation Board, Ann Wang ’13, UCLA Alumni Board member, and Jessica Willison ’13 will be honored for their contributions and accomplishments with banners displayed in the UC Office of the President.
Nack will be speaking at the UCLA Alumni Association on the impact of UCLA in her life, the role of young people in the sustainability industry and the future of the industry. The event will be held on Thursday, March 23, 7-9 p.m. at the James West Alumni Center.