Building a Brand on Sustainability

Jack Panossian is one of those “slash” people: consultant/environmentalist/entrepreneur/educator/community leader.

Like so many Woodbury MBA grads, Jack was and is a student of Dr. Satinder Dhiman, chair of the MBA program and a champion of the “sustainable MBA.” Jack embodies what Dr. Dhiman has taught and written about for so long.

As founder and executive director of Breathe Feed, a 501 (C)(3) organization, he has made it his mission to cultivate sustainable living through environmental lifestyle education – and much more: establishing urban food gardens, planting fruiting and non-fruiting trees, collecting and donating fruits and vegetables to homeless and food-insecure children, and supporting plant-based products.

“Breathe Feed was something that was always within me but it took Woodbury’s MBA program to give me the tools, the networking and the confidence to actually pull the trigger,” Jack says. “Most importantly, it was Dr. Dhiman’s classes that enabled me to focus on my passion. Breathe Feed comes from within me, intertwined with Dr. Dhiman’s class on Ethics and Leadership, as well as the support and dedication of Woodbury’s staff and students.”

“What excites me most about Breathe Feed is the powerful impact it will have on individuals, the community and the wider world,” he says. “Our motto is, ‘sustainability begins with you.’ The trees planted, the education shared and the gardens that will provide food – that’s what’s most exciting. Breathe Feed lines up with the Green New Deal, a step in a similar direction but one that targets the individual’s character and lifestyle rather than focusing on new laws.”

Breathe Feed may have been incubated at Woodbury, but Jack conceived of the idea prior to his arrival at the university. He did his undergraduate work at CSUN in Health Care Administration/Management and went on to earn a PMP Certificate, as a project management professional, from UCLA.

“Woodbury’s MBA program went out of its way to make me feel special,” he recalls. “I wasn’t interested an institution where faculty members didn’t even know your name, let alone care about your ultimate goals. At Woodbury, professors were impressive both for their credentials and for their humanity.”

Jack responded by pursuing leadership positions within the MBA Association – first as vice president, then as MBAA president. “The MBAA allowed me to further connect with MBA students and staff,” he recalls. “I felt like I had to set a good example, which pushed me to work harder and do better.” For that effort, he was named “Emerging MBA Leader” of the 2015 graduating class. “I have a determination to make a meaningful impact on humanity,” Jack says. “When you do it authentically, people notice. And the university continues to be involved in my life.”

It was through Woodbury’s Entrepreneurship class that Jack began, as he says, “to reach out to real businesses and organizations to help deliver value.” The class led to his current position as Community Development Goals Chairman for the City of Burbank, a post he suggests has strengthened his dedication to serving the community and the greater good – and that complements his vision for Breathe Feed.

“I hope everyone who reads this is inspired to plant a tree somewhere, in alignment with Breathe Feed’s mission,” he says, “and to dedicate that tree to discovering their true passion in life.”

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