We are pleased to introduce you to My Green Lab's new Sustainability Program Manager, IlaSri Bharati Summitt! IlaSri joins team My Green Lab with a true passion for sustainability and a 15+ year career working in laboratories. An avid traveler with a love for art and science, IlaSri grew up in Toronto and North Carolina, and currently resides in San Diego.
Learn more about IlaSri, her interests, and her sustainability journey below!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself & your background.
My name is IlaSri Bharati Summitt, but you can call me “Ila”. I’ve had 15+ years in government, academic, and biotech laboratories from the east coast to west culminating in California. Prior to My Green Lab, I worked with Novartis’ global Environmental Sustainability network to execute sustainable practices at my worksite. As Chair of the Green Team, I partnered with local organizations to collect thousands of pounds of waste in beach clean ups and hazardous/e-waste collection events, implementing polystyrene recycling, donation of unused office products to local charities, and more.
What is your role at My Green Lab?
I’m the Sustainability Program Manager - primarily supporting labs around the world through the My Green Lab Certification process and sharing best sustainable practices. I enjoy collaborating on new ways to create a change in mindset to challenge the status quo in your group that can improve your work AND conditions around the planet.
What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
I grew up in an incredibly environmentally-conscious family and community, so sustainability is always on the forefront of my mind. I grew up wanting to be an environmental scientist of some sort but ended up more on the clinical trials side. Being on the bench really showed me just how much waste the scientific community produces, without much thought at times. I’m really excited to expand on my environmental sustainability passions to now being able to focus that energy and helping labs around the world.
What are your personal sustainability goals?
I’ve witnessed the effects of climate change in my lifetime, even in the last 20 years in my current hometown of San Diego. Our droughts are more severe, our winds are stronger and carry new pollens, our wildfires are more ferocious. It affects my everyday, as I have a small child who is severely asthmatic, so we check the air quality daily. The scientific community is just one part of the global problem we are tackling so I would ultimately love to see the planet reach the goals set forth by the UN’s Race to Zero, which not only focuses on decarbonized economy, but also creating more resilient economies with social justice for all.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I love art of all kinds and all mediums! Art and science are everywhere, and the combination is magical. I also love gardening though I don’t have much to show for it! I am the proud owner of a few hundred worms that compost my family’s green waste. I also love traveling (35+ countries so far) though I must admit that my passport expired for the first time ever during the pandemic!
What are your favorite books / movies?
I’m the proud owner all National Geographic magazines that date back to 1969 under the same subscription that my father started! Other than those, I prefer audiobooks and podcasts so that I can close my eyes and let my imagine go more fully. I love a good horror movie from the classics to whatever is current.
Where do you call home?
My parents immigrated from New Delhi, India to Toronto, Canada where I spent most of my childhood, until moving to North Carolina. I also lived in Baltimore and Utah, before moving to San Diego for graduate school and then staying! I feel a connection to all of the places mentioned above but San Diego is definitely home as it’s hard to leave this sunny weather!
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