Interview with Jae Mather
What made you interested in the field of sustainability?
As a child growing up in Vancouver I was very fortunate to be surrounded by immense natural beauty. It struck me that the vast deforestation and associated impacts didn’t seem to make much sense. As an adult I went to university to study Geography, Ecology and Economics and this served to back up my childhood instincts of not making sense. My entire career has in various ways related to sustainability and it sits at the core of my being.
How do you work with clients to prepare your keynotes?
Most often my presentations are built upon trigger images or pieces of text that facilitate the telling of the story & performance, but if desired I do work personally with clients before a keynote.
Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?
When I was presenting to the heads of the Colleges at Oxford University I was challenged by a member of the audience about a historical reference that I had made. I asked the person if they happened to be involved with history and they confirmed that they were in fact the Dean of History. So I said “I defer to your expertise in that matter but the historical reference is simply a small part of my painting a big picture of sustainability.
Imagine that you and I are in a house right now and were upstairs in a room looking at the colour of the walls. I said that the walls were white and as you are a paint expert you have corrected me by saying that in fact the walls are off white eggshell 276. There is a fire in the kitchen. For most people the relevance of the exact paint colour on the walls in a room upstairs is non-existent when there is a fire in the kitchen. This is about the big picture and the macro trends.” The professor then sat down and engaged positively for the rest of the presentation and afterwards asked me to come and speak again in his department.
What are your hopes for implementing clean technologies in the future?
I currently work on implementing clean technology on a regular basis. I am also a Non Executive Director at an innovative R&D let next generation renewable company that has developed a solar panel that now looks to be the most efficient on the globe. Clean technology is an exciting and fast growing field that is an integral part of our sustainable future. It is where the climate change billionaires are coming from and it is where we as the human race will find many of our answers for how we will transition to a sustainable world.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work as a keynote speaker?
My interests lie in influencing, persuading and challenging others to lead and promote sustainability. The focus is on the interpretation and articulation of the big picture, as well as the detail, of the environmental agenda within the context of the priorities of businesses in terms to which people can relate into their daily roles. In addition to this I focus on making the entire process entertaining and memorable.