Inside BSR is our monthly series featuring BSR team members from around the world. This month, we connected with Cameron Steagall, who recently joined BSR’s Transport and Green Freight team as an Associate.
Cameron chatted with us about how public relations brought him to climate work, his passion for the Earth and its people, and why taking on additional projects in LGBTQI+ rights and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is important to him.
Tell us a bit about your background. Where are you from, where are you based, and how have you been dealing with working from home?
I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina—where I also recently returned to during COVID. While it’s a bit far from the New York City office, I’m grateful for the situation because my parents have needed some extra support during the pandemic, and it allowed me to step in to help them out.
I’ve always had jobs that allowed me to work from home a decent amount, so the transition has felt natural for me. I’m also happy that I can spend extra time with family and my dog.
How did you get into sustainable business, and what made you decide to apply to BSR? Talk to us about your new role here.
While I originally moved to New York to pursue a career in journalism, it soon evolved into public relations work. That experience exposed me to multiple environmental organizations and gave me the opportunity to work directly with sustainable food companies—it was then that I realized my environmental passion could actually turn into a career. That’s why I decided to apply to Middlebury for my M.A. in International Environmental Policy.
I first heard about BSR during school and was immediately interested. It felt like the perfect place for me to leverage my private sector background with my environmental degree. Working at a mission-driven organization was an imperative; I need to feel like I am doing work that matters in the world and with an organization that won’t sacrifice values for profit. I was lucky to find that in BSR.
I joined BSR with a background in the maritime sector, climate adaptation, and climate justice, which allowed me to quickly jump into the Transport and Green Freight team to help lead two of our collaborative initiatives: the Clean Cargo Working Group and the Sustainable Air Freight Alliance (SAFA). This role has been exciting for me because I get to collaborate directly with members, work on one of the most difficult-to-decarbonize sectors, and ultimately learn directly from the companies.
What are some interesting projects that you get to work on as part of your role at BSR? What do you enjoy about them?
I really love working on Clean Cargo and SAFA because, beyond everything I get to learn, I feel a sense of commitment and dedication to the long-term work. I have also had great experiences on projects where I have been asked to leverage my experience and expertise on port sustainability, low- and zero-emission fuels, DEI, and climate justice.
Recently, I had an opportunity to work with a BSR member to help them better understand the ramifications on LGBTQI+ staff should they expand into countries that still criminalize same-sex or non-traditional relationships. As an openly gay man, it’s important for me to be able to share my knowledge, lived experience, and passion for equality with others who want to learn and take steps toward inclusion and equity.
My favorite thing about working at BSR is that I feel that I am asked to take on completely different types of projects like LGBTQI+ rights, climate justice, and transportation sector decarbonization, and still have space to explore other interests.
What issues are you passionate about and why? What do you hope to do and learn while at BSR?
I have always felt a connection with the Earth, which makes me passionate about preserving biodiversity, product circularity, decarbonization, and DEI. One of the main reasons I joined BSR, aside from the development of more climate justice work, is the increased focus on DEI efforts internally. We, like many organizations, have a long way to go, but working with others who share my vision and mission for a better, more sustainable, and more equitable future is imperative for me to find happiness in a career.
There are certain things we cannot compromise on, such as equal rights and equity for all people and protecting our planet for future generations, and I’m grateful to be surrounded by people at BSR who feel similarly.
My one hope for working at BSR is that I will continue to pursue my passion, make a difference, and never stop learning. There are so many problems that seem insurmountable today, but I know with the help of so many passionate experts, we can change the world for the better.
2020 was undoubtedly a difficult year. What brought you joy amid lockdowns?
2020 was a difficult year for me. I was living in California for school and had to graduate over Zoom, enter the job market when nearly every company was downsizing or in a hiring freeze, move home to my parents’ house in North Carolina, and, of course, deal with a pandemic.
However, I found happiness in adopting my dog (the very cute and cuddly Staffy), spending time with family after a decade of living out-of-state, and trying new hobbies like surfing, starting a business, and cooking.
Ultimately, I’ve learned to be more grateful overall, but especially about the fact that I was able to try new things and find a work-life balance that I don’t think I would have found living in a big city and working in the office every day.