Green.org sat down with Molly Tschang, Founder and CEO of Abella Consulting, to learn about her passion for making the world a better place.
Molly, thank you for being here. Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
My family roots are in China and Hong Kong. My parents, my idols, were the first in their families to immigrate to the states where my two sisters and I were born. We grew up in upstate New York in a happy childhood, though a rough start as I didn’t speak English until age 5; got straight C’s in 1st grade! I think my report card read: “Molly seems smart… doesn’t say much.” I do recall really wanting to fit in, and looking back, our environment wasn’t diverse. I’m a bit of a geek at heart and studied chemical engineering at Cornell. It was for me a game-changing experience, being in a stimulating (and challenging) academic environment, meeting amazing people from around the world, and forging life-long friendships.
Career-wise, I started big corporations IBM sales, Deloitte consulting after business school, then landed in a very high-growth company, U.S. Filter, which was growing through acquisitions. I found my way to Cisco Systems M&A. All in, I’ve integrated over 80 acquisitions, partnered with many senior leaders through a lot of change and growth. I never expected to stay with Cisco 16 years, but did, due to epic assignments, including running a nonprofit, which changed my life. It helped me realize that we all have a role in making the world a better place. In 2014, I started my own consultancy, Abella Consulting, to guide senior management teams Win As One, that is to commit to each other’s success, build powerful chemistry to lead together and maximize value created… which most don’t even try to do.
I also started a new company this year, Say It Skillfully, Inc. I’m on a mission to help people be seen, heard and understood—and make work and life a lot better. Whether senior leader or intern, all of us have the opportunity to use our voices positively and productively to say what needs to be said. Hearing all voices, including what others may not want to hear, is essential for us to Win As One. I’m an adoring Auntie to five nieces and nephews, and love tennis, yoga and cooking.
What would you do with $1 Billion dollars?
Two areas, both core to sustainability: I’d tackle by convening solutions-oriented stakeholders to “hear all voices”, create transparency of the current state, and problem solve together: 1) Health and education in the developing world. There’s enough food on the planet—no one needs to be undernourished. Let’s empower people to make good nutrition choices. Education and vocational training are the enablers for people to work and create better lives for themselves. 2) Putting the “health” back into US healthcare. We’re sadly in the US in a “disease care” system.
The answers exist and we lack the will. In addition to people being healthier, the current health costs are a burden to business and economic development. A healthier US and more vibrant US economy better position America to lead ourselves and others to a world where everyone can play a role in creating a bright future for themselves, their families and communities.
Why do you think sustainability is such an important topic today?
It’s always been important! Today, what’s front and center to me is the need for us to be mutually accountable to each outer and our planet. Living and working sustainably is something each and every one of us can empower ourselves to support. It’s a UNIFYING force that we need in times when people seem not to be able to hear each other. We didn’t get here overnight and won’t solve it overnight either. Galvanizing our collective will and resources, we can turn the tide from a blaming or laissez faire, to individuals and organizations alike doing what they can to “be part of the solution.”
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Care. Care enough to learn, to get educated… to ask questions/engage in dialogue to raise the collective knowledge and consciousness. Then to take the actions you can. AND, when people aren’t doing their fair share, call it out (skillfully). Don’t enable people to be part of the problem.