Saving the World, One Milk Carton at a Time

PROVO, Utah – Oct 13, 2021 – Since graduating from the MPA program at the BYU Marriott School of Business in 2014, alumna Jackie Suggitt has worked at both a company with 1.5 million employees and a nonprofit with twelve employees. Whether she’s driving social change from Walmart headquarters or a nonprofit board meeting, she aims to create a more sustainable future for the planet. Currently, she’s working to help industries to reduce their food waste, one milk carton or loaf of bread at a time.

Suggitt’s fellow students in the MPA program helped prepare her to make an impact wherever she goes. “I have amazing memories of interacting with smart people,” she says. “Those people valued a blend of both religious and secular education, which is a unique aspect of BYU Marriott as a whole.” 

As a student, Suggitt had already started to put her BYU Marriott MPA education into action as she worked with Grantwell, an agency run by MPA students that consults with nonprofits and advises donors on the best ways to spend their money. “One of my favorite projects with Grantwell was working with the Tyler Robinson Foundation, which was started by a man who worked with Imagine Dragons,” she says. “He started the foundation in honor of his younger brother who had cancer, and we helped him strategically set his foundation up for success.”

Suggit’s work with Grantwell opened the door for her opportunity to work with Walmart. “I’m from Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Walmart headquarters. I went home for the summer and took my Grantwell portfolio into the Walmart Foundation,” she says. “I got a summer position with the foundation, and I worked closely with the corporate social responsibility and sustainability teams. I started working full-time with the corporate sustainability team after I graduated from BYU Marriott.”

After working at Walmart for three years, Suggitt moved to her current home in Vancouver, British Columbia. She now works at ReFED, a local nonprofit that focuses on reducing food waste. “Something I like about the small nonprofit space is that there’s a lot of autonomy in the role, which allows me to create my own work,” she says. “If I want to take a risk, I don’t have to go through seven layers of bureaucracy to get approval.”

As Suggitt and her team build the nonprofit, they have opportunities to make a difference in their corner of the world. “I’ve been part of launching initiatives that are fundamentally changing how businesses and other entities act on environmental issues in their supply chains,” she says. “We recently launched a project that we’ve been preparing for eighteen months to identify economically viable solutions for reducing waste, and we hope to implement those solutions. Being a part of something where the work that you’re a part of is going to change the world for the better is rewarding.”

As Suggitt aims to make a difference through her work, she continues to value the lessons she learned from the MPA program that have helped her succeed in her professional and personal life. “The MPA provides a well-rounded education. I felt prepared when I left to go into the public sector or the private sector, and knew I could contribute in both of those sectors,” she says. “The MPA program set me up to continue learning in a work environment and in my family.”

Jackie Suggitt and her famiy
Jackie Suggitt and her family. Photo courtesy of Jackie Suggitt.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce