My Journey to a More Sustainable Future by PM in SET Learner Stefanie Karbach
Stefanie Karbach is creating a more sustainable future one idea at a time
Her idea is making waves in the startup space and will change the way we look at sustainable business models. She is a PM in SET learner, founder, and change maker.
Steffi was instrumental in closing the gender pay gap and has revolutionized the way we see sustainable economics.
These are the tags for my name that I would like to become true.
This was meant to be one of the learner stories you get to read here. Like how I single-handedly — after studying at Tomorrow University — saved bumblebees by inventing bumblebee honey. But to be honest: My story didn't go like that.
I am (fairly) successful at what I do. I had the honor of being chosen Housecaptain (Harry-Potter-Style) at 16, after only 11 months in the UK. I studied painting in London (Chelsea), and even sold a painting in my first term. But I changed to a communication degree at the newly founded University calling for pioneers in the south of Germany. Worked in India for two years, while earning my Bachelor's Degree. I was a Manager at a pharmaceutical company before I turned 26 and successfully worked with loads of numbers at Amazon for almost half a decade. But there was a reason why I was never a top player — and it has nothing to do with my previous employers — it was simply that at the core of it all, I didn’t want to be there.
None of my previous jobs where I spent the majority of my waking hours got me any closer to living sustainably, being an outspoken feminist, or having a footprint that is deep enough to pave the way for the change that needs to happen. If you want to achieve something new you have to take new approaches and make different choices. So I “just” stopped. I quit my job, moved back in with my mother, and took inventory of my life. I re-started in a tiny rural town that stands for democracy. Waking up early (almost) every morning to walk (almost) 5k. I started consulting for small businesses and am in the process of co-founding a company that stands for products that have a positive impact and are sustainably distributed. I got in touch with my mentors and am working on where I want to be and where I want to go.
Why study at the ToU?
I have a passion for technology, which I know too little about and (sometimes) fail to understand but believe is instrumental in changing the world. I love sustainability but consistently struggle in explaining why it is at the core of any positive development our world needs. I know I need to become an entrepreneur to be in charge of my own decisions — but I don’t trust myself to know how. So as I have very little time left to get to know everything I need to, I decided to do it remotely, and with an institution. There wasn’t a better choice than to study at Tomorrow University of Applied Sciences.
How it’s going?
The program is quite demanding but equally, if not more, rewarding. I have come to appreciate what I'm working towards and enjoy the journey along the way. It isn’t about a number in a spreadsheet or a profit margin of a nondescript product in a nondescript market over two weeks. It is about your mission and what you want to achieve. It is about understanding and implementing economic concepts that do not only consider the bottom line. It is about understanding the fundamentals of a society that is prosperous without exploitation. It is about understanding where and how you can make a difference — with concepts and ideas that you already have or are developing within your studies. A huge benefit is that you get to explore all these new concepts in a community of ambitious and established people. People that have already made an impact and/or failed at it, but have plenty to share and teach. People that are highly knowledgeable about penguins or renewable energies. Everyone here is committed to making a change.
Bringing the fun back to the fundamentals…
Really though that is what I want to do. I got so lucky to make a friend crazy enough to want to start a business with me — and he got another friend to join us. Our approach to sustainability is to share the excitement all these amazing people that develop new sustainable products have for whatever it is they do. Walking into stores, calling up, and discovering people who are in love with their products, their manufacturing processes, and the alternatives they found to avoid exploitation and unfair trading systems is amazing. Really! I highly recommend it! We are building a platform where the decision of which values are most important to you will lead you to find the right product and all these amazing people get to share their work. Not everything will be perfect but everything will be good, honest, and hopefully a lot of fun.