Jill Stoneberg, Virgin Voyages | Creating an Epic Sea Change for All

Jill Stoneberg is Sr. Director of Social Impact and Sustainability at Virgin Voyages - the award-winning cruise ship division of the Virgin Group - helping create a Sea Change for All in the cruise industry. If you haven’t heard, they’re turning heads and helping push the cruise industry (not typically considered a beacon of sustainable development) forward into a more sustainable future.

While many professionals in this role worked their way into it through product design, marketing, communications, or engineering tracks, Jill was seemingly born into this work. She attended an environmental studies high school and has been on a steady path of sustainability-focused positions since her undergraduate studies under an environment/society hybrid major she created.

Since then, she’s earned an MBA in Sustainable Management and worked in sustainability for companies like Avaya and Intuit before landing what sounds like a dream job for her. Jill leads the company's sustainability and social impact strategy and collaborates cross-functionally to identify priorities and define goals and KPIs. Additionally, she regularly briefs senior management on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics and performance.

You might be surprised to learn how holistic sustainability was already baked into the vision of the Virgin Voyages company - even before Jill arrived - and how many initiatives Jill has executed and rolled out since her hiring back in 2018 (before the first ship's maiden voyage). But what likely won’t surprise you is how passionate Jill is about this work, how much she believes still needs to be done, and what she hopes to achieve in her lifetime.

This was such a fun, insightful, and inspiring conversation. Jill’s love of the company, her work, and her hopes for the future are infectious, and one can’t help but get drawn into her vision and hopes. This ability to draw you in and get you on board (pun intended) is what it takes to be a sustainability leader today. Even if you have all the right credentials.

Our conversation included:

  • Fitting in at a company like Virgin
  • How deep sustainability work requires full leadership support
  • What it takes to drive change in an organization
  • The progress Jill’s been able to make at Virgin Voyages
  • The challenges that still lie ahead
  • Managing sustainability investment costs
  • Putting people at the center of your initiatives
  • Making sustainability part of your organization’s culture Advice to aspiring sustainability professionals (and others in the workforce)
  • And much more


SDG Alignment

#3 Good Health & Well Being, #5 Gender Equality, #6 Clean Water & Sanitation, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, #9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, #12 Responsible Consumption and Production, #13 Climate Action, #14 Life Below Water

Also: Be sure to check out our conversation with Richard Yelland, Director of the film Seeding Change, and Professor Nichole Wissman, who’s using it to inspire students: https://www.theunderswell.com/podcasts/good-things-happening-just-under-the-surface/episodes/2148192137

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#sustainability #cruiseIndustry #seachange #virginvoyages #careers #triplebottomline #keeplearning #purpose #impact #empowerment #oceans #womeninleadership #collaboration #CSR #ESG #changemakers #sustainabilityreporting #presidio #environmentalstudies

Intro/Outro music by QubeSounds from Pixabay.

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