The Center for Responsible Business is proud to introduce Reese Costis as our 2023-2025 Fellow. The inception of the CRB Fellowship in 2011 is a symbol of our commitment to advancing graduates who will redefine conventional business practices and strive for impressive social impact. Reese’s dynamic education and professional experience present him as a change-maker and an embodiment of Haas’ Defining Leadership Principles.

Meet Reese

“I like to say I’m a Texas boy, through and through. Born and raised in Houston, I studied Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. After one too many internships showed me engineering wouldn’t provide the degree of impact and human interaction I needed, I came back to Houston to work at Bain & Company and be close to family. At Bain, I’ve been able to explore my passion for sustainability and the energy transition while still having a good time on the tennis court, exploring Houston’s food scene, and hiking the national parks relatively accessible by car.

I have my parents to thank for pointing me in the right direction when it comes to sustainability and social impact. My dad established the health of the natural world as a Costis family priority, from biking and carpooling to phone banking for environmental causes. My mom was the role model of one who lives her life for others, dedicating her career to fighting homelessness in Houston. Still, finding my place in the climate fight has been an ongoing journey. In college, I participated in renewables research, Green New Deal protests, and a brief stint in the Mayor’s office working to protect Houstonians from rising temperatures and floods. At Bain, I’ve worked with conservation non-profits to drive American reforestation, international energy companies studying global energy transition strategy, and in Kenya’s fledgling recycling sector to maintain outsized environmental and community impact during a period of rapid growth. With each experience, I become more and more certain and excited to be a part of the climate impact space.

Haas made my shortlist because of its focus on social impact, its sustainability chops, and the culture that comes with a small class size. What sold me in the end was a phone call with Liz Schasel (the 2022-2024 CRB Fellow!).  After a semester at Berkeley, Liz had no regrets. She mentioned the excellent academic and networking experience at Haas that you’d get from any top program, but then she underlined something else: How Haas is making her a better business leader AND a better person by pushing her to reflect on the social and environmental impact of her lifestyle, her business decisions, and even capitalism more broadly (CRB was a big part of this). That spoke to me. My experiences meeting my future classmates so far, with all their incredible accomplishments and down-to-earth attitudes, have only confirmed the wisdom of my decision to go with Haas. And of course, the great weather and proximity to good surfing don’t hurt.

My recent experience in Kenya showed me something I was never exposed to before to such a degree. I was surrounded by mission-driven people. I lived with several people who worked for the UN, development consulting organizations and startups, who were focused on directly improving people’s lives and the environment. And then at my own workplace, I was supporting one of the coolest people I had ever met: a founder and CEO who had started something from nothing to become the largest waste management and recycling company in Kenya. I want to learn from leaders who also are breaking the status quo, foregoing traditional careers to directly help local communities and the planet and reinvest in good. I think the CRB will be an amazing place to explore such opportunities and ideas, and share them with my classmates.

As I’ve bounced around the sustainability space seeking the right intersection of impact and passion, I’ve learned the power of business to spur progress and innovation. I’ve also seen businesses harm the community and environment for their shareholders.

I have hope that the next generation of business leaders will be the ones to change the story for the better, to hold companies responsible for their impacts to all stakeholders — financial, in the community, and the planet. I’m excited for more companies to rise to the challenge of climate change, not just because they have to, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

About the Fellowship

The CRB Fellowship is one of the ways the Center encourages the development of business leaders who will redefine business for a sustainable future and address the great challenges of our time. Started in 2011, the CRB Fellows are part of a growing network of graduates leading the movement to integrate sustainability into their work and the practices of the firms that employ them.

The CRB Fellowship is graciously funded by retired Goldman Sachs Partner and CRB Senior Advisory Board Member Scott Pinkus. Upon earning the fellowship, this thought-leader serves as a liaison between the Center for Responsible Business and the Haas student body and receives automatic placement on the CRB Student Advisory Board to help calibrate and accelerate the agenda for the CRB. Additional benefits include close access and mentorship from our Senior Advisory Board, CRB Staff and Faculty, and donor Scott Pinkus.

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