Cassia Suguinoshita, Amani Fellow in India tells how Social Innovation Management Program (SIM) was fundamental to her career in sustainable fashion
While studying Business Administration at the University of São Paulo, Cássia worked for Artemísia, a non-profit organization that promotes creating impact through businesses in Brazil. After her graduation, Cássia worked in Marketing and Sales with various multinational companies for seven years in the commodities and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sector. Throughout this time she has kept her main passion that is to have impact and purpose through her work. From this will, Cassia set the goal of making the career transition up to 30 years.
Cássia planned to take a sabbatical year and travel to Kenya to meet organizations with purpose, but during this trip, she got to know Amani Institute through a friend who had already done the program in Brazil and saw in the Social Innovation Management Program (SIM) the opportunity to make the dreamed career transition come true and get in touch with the social impact sector in a more structured way. But in 2018, at the time she enrolled, there were no open enrollments for classes in Kenya, so Cássia ended up being part of the first SIM class in India.
She says that in the program she had not only the support she needed but also access to many opportunities through the network created. “The program fell like a glove to the moment I was going through and as soon as I entered I could see that many people were also in the same career moment like mine, the YES brought me a basis in this period of change”, says Cassia.
Throughout the program, the inner journey (inner journey of the change agent) was primordial for the transition planning, to seek the meaning and direction of this new career that Cássia was tracing. “At the beginning of the inner journey I knew only which social issues bothered me, one of them was the impacts caused by the fashion production chain and the impacts of the drug trafficking chain in Brazil,” says Cássia. As the course went on, after much reflection, the social problems that most attracted her attention began to take shape, making Cássia sure of her purposes to generate change. “The processes of inner journey and apprenticeship (professional practices) were decisive so that I could choose in which cause of the sector to work, were very valuable experiences,” says Cássia.
In addition to participating in the program, Cassia says how important the trip to Bangalore – India was “The fact that I traveled to India also gave me a very good experience, at the very moment that I was wanting to expand my way of thinking, I honestly can’t imagine what the YES would have been like if I had done another country.
After the experience in the program, Cássia continued working in clothing for some more time and when she returned to Brazil she started a volunteer at Pano Social, an organization that works with more conscious textile production and with the re-socialization of prisoners. “For me, this was one of the richest work experiences I had because two of the worries I had were aligned in this work,” says Cássia about her experience in the organization. “After volunteering, I provided management consulting for the organization.” she concludes.
A little over a year after the program, Cássia tells about her plans “I have a great desire to consolidate this transition within the fashion production chain and to work internationally, I have worked at Ethical Apparel Africa, an organization that provides consulting services to clothing brands that want to increase their production base in West Africa with social and environmental impact.