Globe, the Graduate Institute Review
21 November 2022

Alumna Portrait: Brindusa Burrows

Brindusa Burrows is the Founder and CEO of Ground_Up Project, Visiting Lecturer at the Geneva Graduate Institute and Member of the Alumnae-i Association. 

Could you briefly trace your career path?

Since graduating in 2005, I have always followed the public good purpose as a guide to my work. I built international experience working in business and corporate affairs, international inter-governmental organisations and global think tanks, and as a founder and entrepreneur.

I was an Associate Director at the World Economic Forum, where I designed and led a multi-country programme for financing the green economy under the G20. For the past eight years I have been running my own company – Ground_Up Project – where we help small and mid-size (SMEs) impact enterprises from emerging markets prepare for and meet with international investors.

In 2014, I created a research centre that provided fundraising capacity building for climate-focused small businesses in multiple locations around the world, as part of a programme with the University of Oxford, UAT Barcelona, IASS Potsdam and Global Climate Forum in Berlin. In recent years, I advised the development of the first sustainability strategy for the International Olympic Committee.

I am also an adviser for the Romanian Business Leaders Foundation and an Advisory Board member of the Swiss Economic Forum Circular Economy Community. Since last year, I have also been a Visiting Lecturer at the Geneva Graduate Institute, where I teach an introductory, practical course on sustainable development goal (SDG) finance in the fall semester for the Master in International and Development Studies (MINT) programme. 

How did your studies at the Geneva Graduate Institute help you in your career?

Today the Institute covers a wide range of courses and degree pathways on international relations and sustainable development. At the time, I was lucky enough to pursue those two degrees independently, not knowing they would eventually come together under the same roof! I was greatly influenced by my professors, in particular Urs Luterbacher, who ultimately inspired me to choose a career focused on addressing the critical systemic issue of climate change. I owe him a debt of gratitude for opening my eyes to this issue at a time when climate change rarely made the headlines.

What advice could you give our students?

Take advantage of your time at the Institute to sharpen and practice your critical ability. When you go out in the professional world, carry this healthy dose of thinking independently, hold yourself responsible and ask from others that they do the same. The world is changing at a very fast pace and much of the old paradigm needs to change. You – as us all – are each individually responsible for doing the right thing in the world and taking action for our collective future.