Sustainable Success

Margaret Ekblom ’17 prioritizes people and planet in her corporate career
by Brooke Thames
Go searching for the secret to succeeding in sales, and you’ll likely find strategies for identifying the customer, mastering the sales pipeline and closing the deal. Ask Margaret Ekblom ’17, and she’ll tell you the key to success in any business is care — not only for one’s work but also for the people who make it possible.
Margaret Ekblom in a black long sleeve and dress
Photo: Eleanor Hagen ’19
Working with Caroline Abramo ’94, Margaret Ekblom ’17 is achieving her goal to care for others and the Earth.

“A lot of the profitable businesses I studied at Bucknell cared about their employees, customers and work-life balance,” says Ekblom, a managing for sustainability major. “Care was not only important in helping a business flourish but also in keeping it going.”

Ekblom wasted no time putting that lesson into action in her own career, which includes a stint with the popular eco-friendly retailer Rothy’s. The sustainable fashion brand produces a line of washable shoes and handbags from recycled single-use plastics. As a sales analyst, Ekblom helped open the company’s first physical store in 2020 and devised strategies to keep customers and employees safe through the pandemic, such as private in-store appointments and curbside shopping.

These tactics “prioritized everyone’s safety and comfort,” says Ekblom, who also led regular meditations to help colleagues slow down and find clarity in the chaos. “I think the backbone of any company is putting the people first,” she says.

Since last spring, her goal to care for others and the Earth has gained greater traction. Ekblom is integral to the marketing effort at Pana LCE Investments, a private-equity firm founded by Caroline Abramo ’94 that invests in companies driving the global transition to carbon neutrality.

“I wanted to know, what are the companies that are investing in zero-waste businesses like Rothy’s? Who’s at the forefront of changing the world for the better?” Ekblom says. “After working in the corporate-sustainability space on the ground level, getting insight into where that fuel is coming from is the next exciting step for me.”