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Jessica Thomas

Director of Business Sustainability Collaborative and Lecturer

Lecturer, Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Department of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Business Sustainability Collaborative, Office of the Dean

Nelson Hall 3118


Jessica Yinka Thomas has over fifteen years of experience working domestically and internationally in sustainable enterprise, social innovation and business development. She currently serves as Director of the Business Sustainability Collaborative at the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University.

Jessica previously was managing director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and program director of that center’s Business Accelerator for Sustainable Entrepreneurship.

She also has held leadership roles at Duke University’s Competition for Underserved and Resource-poor Economies (CUREs); CFED, an economic development corporation in Durham, N.C.; and new product development roles in educational toy and communications industries.

Before focusing on academic sustainability programs, she held positions in engineering and new product development.


MBA, Duke University Fuqua School of Business (2004)
B.S., Engineering, Stanford (1995)

Intellectual Contributions

  • Co-author, “Embracing Open-Book Management to Fuel Employee Engagement and Corporate Sustainability.” Co-authored with Anne Claire Broughton, President, SJF Institute (2012).
  • Co- author, “Case study: Jamii Bora.” Co-authored case brief along with Lisa Jones Christensen. Published in online and print editions of The Financial Times (2010).
  • Co-author, “Jamii Bora and Kaputei Town: Affordable and Sustainable Housing for Urban Slumdwellers.” Co-authored with Lisa Jones Christensen case study. Selected as a top 5 case by the 2009 Oikos Social Entrepreneurship Case Writing Competition (2008).
  • Researcher and author, NC Department of Commerce, Industry Sector Sustainability Reports. Conducted research analyzing sustainability issues facing NC’s chemicals, textiles, biotech, and financial services industries (2007-08).
  • Co-author, “Procter & Gamble’s PuR Water Purifier: The Hunt for a Sustainable Business Model.” Coauthored with Lisa Jones Christensen case study. Selected as 2nd place prize winner in the 2008 Oikos Sustainability Case Writing Competition (2007).
  • Co-author, “Myths and Realities in Calculating a Corporate Environmental Footprint: Lessons from Bank of America.” Co-authored environmental footprint article with Professors Al Segars and Lisa Jones Christensen (2007).
  • Co-author, “2006 Development Report Card for the States”. Co-authored with Lillian G. Woo, Dave Buchholz and William Schweke, a state-level analysis of asset-based economic development indicators (2005).
  • Co-author, “Assets and Opportunity Scorecard”. Co-authored with Lillian G. Woo, David Buchholz, and Jerome Uher a state-level examination of asset accumulation and asset policy (2005).
  • Researcher, “Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.” Conducted research and developed methodology for a book which explores how young, entrepreneurial nonprofits have achieved dramatic, sustainable social impact (2004).