Meet the GCX Team: In Conversation with Brent Shone, Business Development Analyst

When he's not mountain hiking or searching for any bakery he can find in Cape Town, one of our newest recruits, Brent Shone is a passionate advocate for sustainability. We chatted to him about his work at GCX, his time as a summer camp counsellor in the States and his hopes for the sustainability industry. 

Raised in Cape Town, I think I most definitely fulfil the stereotype. I spend my time between the beach, the mountains and any bakery I can find. I studied Mechanical Engineering at UCT and graduated in 2019. My grandfather inspired an interest in renewable energy which led me to a 6-month long internship at the SOLA Group in Cape Town. From there I took a gap year working and travelling in the United States and then London. From there I found my passion for sustainability and specifically the environment. I began looking for work in the industry and was lucky enough to find out about GCX.

I’m a highly inquisitive, and motivated person who likes to put up my hand to tackle new challenges, even if I haven’t had any experience with them before. This extends past working at GCX into my everyday life too. I spend a lot of time on the mountain hiking, walking my dogs, trail running and often getting lost. But that is all part of the experience. Connect with Brent on Linkedin.

When did you first join the GCX team?

I joined in January 2021, it has only been 6 months so far but so much has happened for GCX in that time, that the past 6 months have flown by.

What has been your favourite project at GCX so far?

The continuous work that the team is putting in for the complete ESG analytics dashboard. The ESG space is so exciting right now and bringing in the S and G for our clients will really help them unlock valuable insights into their sustainability performance.

If you could switch your job with anyone else at GCX, whose job would you want and why?

I would go with Ohad. I am very new to the sustainability and environmental industry, and thus want to learn as much as I can. O is incredibly knowledgeable on climate/carbon work and has experience with pretty much all of it. He gets to do work on some interesting projects that give our clients the strategies they need to be sustainable and successful.

What do you like the most about GCX and what is your favourite part of working there?

GCX feels like a family, and Kevin runs it like one. Everyone is genuine and always available to lend a hand when needed, no matter how busy they may be. While Covid has meant that the office isn’t as busy, I always enjoy going in and spending the day in the office with Kevin and Sandra. It’s always an upbeat feeling and a lot of jokes flying around.

How did you first learn about GCX and what first drew you to the company?

I got a phone call from a friend of mine asking if I would be interested in a company called GCX, he gave me a brief intro and after doing some digging into them, I jumped at the chance. I had an initial informal chat with Kevin about who the company was and what work they were doing and to my surprise about a month later I got an email asking if I could have another chat about working at GCX and here we are 6 months later. I started here as an intern but now that I have become a full-time employee, I think I owe that friend a dinner.

What are your hopes for the sustainability industry, and in particular GCX’s clients?

My hope is that businesses start seeing sustainability as the way to run their business and start moving from merely compliance and reporting to integrating sustainability into their everyday business practice. Sustainability is not something that should be silo’d but rather incorporated into all business decisions. Our clients, through our Analytics Dashboard, are beginning to see the benefits of this by combing through their financial and sustainability performance.

My hope for our current clients is for them to derive all the benefits that they can from our dashboard and use it to its full potential. On our side, we are continually looking at new features and new ways to enhance their experience and ultimately help them achieve sustainable performance in all aspects.

Before working at GCX, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

Definitely working as a camp counsellor at an American summer camp. It is scarily accurate to how it is portrayed in the movies. Log cabins, lakes with canoes, bonfires and camp songs. It was everything I expected and more. A whole lot of fun mixed with a whole lot of weirdness really makes for a great time. You really have to just put yourself out there and just embrace it all in order to have the best time possible.

What would you say is the biggest career lesson you’ve learnt thus far?

My biggest lesson so far is to rather make a mistake by trying than not try at all. It can be scary putting yourself out there, especially when you’re working with new topics. But I have learned that there is more benefit to putting something down because if it’s wrong, you learn why and can improve on it for next time.

What is your favourite quote?

“everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” – John Lennon

What are some of the books you’ve read recently that you would recommend?

The most recent book I have read is called ‘We are the weather’ by Jonathan Safran Foer. He is a brilliant writer and has an incredible way of contextualising the current climate crisis. Another one would be the ‘Vultures Picnic’ by Greg Palast. It may be a bit outdated, but it exposes the corruption behind some well-known environmental disasters. I am currently without a book to read so if anyone reading this has any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated.

Where is your favourite holiday destination in South Africa?

I am a big fan of most towns of the garden route, Hermanus and Plettenberg bay are the ones I visit most often. I have recently been to the Cederberg for the first time, and I will for sure be visiting again.

Finally, if you could meet anyone in the world (dead or alive), who would it be?

I am a massive rugby fan and grew up watching Jonah Lomu set the standard for rugby, so he is high up on my list. I am an incredibly big fan of the Flight of the Conchords and listen to their music most days so I think they would make for some entertaining company.

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