‘Reassess if your solutions address vulnerable communities’ – Q&A with Sheryl Owen

A quick Q&A with Sheryl Owen, Founder & CEO at Surrounded by Opportunities 


What is your most surprising prediction about cities?

Cities will have to embrace utilizing material passports to address their waste generated.

Who is the person that most influenced the way you think about cities and technology?

There is not a specific person that has influenced the way I think about cities and technology but there are different insights I follow from C40, CDP Cities, Bloomberg City Lab, and Science-Based Targets for Cities.

What 2-3 books/podcasts would you recommend?

Sheryl Owen

I like reading a lot of self-help books such as Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.

A recent article I read about waste colonialism: Regulate Hazardous Waste to End New Forms of “Toxic Colonialism”: Stockholm+50 Brief.

A recent Netflix series that I watched was about the world’s water crisis and how major cities will be approaching their “Day Zero”.

Where’s the best place for new ideas?

There is a lot happening in Europe and the first thing that comes to mind is Rotterdam and their goals around circular construction.

Who inspires you?

The work done by Project Drawdown is inspiring because it looks at not only buildings but also technology and addressing inequities experienced by women.

What are the skills we’ll need in 10 years?

Urban mining, circular construction, factoring in equitable distribution of sustainable practices during decision-making processes, peer-to-peer energy trading.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t be afraid to venture off and do what you’re passionate about. Don’t stay too long in something that you know is not right. Everything will be just fine.

What is your call to action?

Identify the vulnerable communities within your city and reassess if your solutions are addressing their problems and their lived experiences. If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.


Connect with Sheryl on LinkedIn

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