Alumni Profile: Nature’s Steward
Bachelor of Science in Biology, 1993
Vice President, Mannik Smith Group
Environmental Pioneer | Gladwell’s interest in the environment dates to her childhood. At Xavier, she promoted recycling long before the University made green a priority. Now with MannikSmith, an environmental consultancy, she focuses on sustainable development. She’s also vice president of the board at the Black Swamp Conservancy, a land trust that protects farmland and open space from development.
An Early Affinity | “My interest grew out of a curiosity and vision of stewardship when I was a teen. I grew up with a love of nature. My happiest childhood memories took place outdoors. That grew into a commitment to make sure we had an energy-efficient home.”
Longterm Vision | At Xavier, “I really started to see my interest in the environment as a vision for a career. I wanted my career to be more than a way to support myself and my family, but also a way to contribute to the common good.”
Early Recycler | “I got involved with the recycling initiative on campus, using blue vans from Physical Plant to collect recyclables. Some offices weren’t willing to go to the trouble of setting things aside, but overall we got good support.”
Earthcare | “I helped found EarthCare out of the Dorothy Day House, an inspirational and foundational effort for me, and we received Club of the Year. We focused on expanding recycling and sponsored programs on farming, food challenges and how to be responsible consumers.”
Sustainable Developer | At Mannik Smith, Gladwell works on developing abandoned or underused land in urban areas, known as brownfields, into office space, retail, entertainment venues and housing. She developed funding strategies for an entertainment district being built by the Toledo Mud Hens minor-league baseball team. The district, known as Hensville, is redeveloping three vacant buildings and a vacant parking lot into a $21 million outdoor event space with sustainable stormwater management.
Wake-up Call | “Urban revitalization is one of the reasons I get up each morning. The most sustainable way for people to live is in cities and urban centers. Abandoning the urban core and regional sprawl has a cost that’s not just financial.”
Urban Core | “Once people understand a topic, they have a greater appreciation for environmental stewardship and sustainability. But I think people don’t understand that urban centers are a more sustainable way of living. It ripples out from environmental to economic sustainability.”
Abundant Opportunities | “I challenge myself to bring an environmental awareness to everything. I’m always trying to bring to mind what we can do as an organization to be more sustainable.”