“There is no distance between leadership and sustainability if you care about what’s best for your company and your employees,”
A serial entrepreneur (Zipcar, the largest carsharing company in the world; Buzzcar, a French peer-to-peer carsharing service; GoLoco, an inline ridesharing company, and Veniam, building the networking fabric for the “Internet of Moving Things”), Chase keeps a busy schedule of writing, lecturing, serving on boards, and, by the way, running companies. A list of awards and honorary degrees from the likes of Harvard, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Business Week, and Fast Company populate her CV.
At the core of all this are leadership and sustainability. “There is no distance between leadership and sustainability if you care about what’s best for your company and your employees,” she told us. “I’ve found that people want to work for companies that value the health of the environment, and certainly those companies that lead on green have a competitive advantage over the laggards.”
It only makes sense that Chase has made being a transportation entrepreneur her life’s work. She’s a study in motion, and what interests her most affects us all. “I have been championing low cost wireless connectivity, especially mesh networking, for years because I see it as a key requirement for “smart” (rational) consumption of energy and transportation,” she says. “We can only respond to congested roads and peak electricity demand when we know about it and are charged a premium for it. One of the reasons Zipcar reduces CO2 emissions is because people see and pay the full cost of driving each and every time.”
Chase fully embraces the rapid technological changes to come. She believes self-driving cars as potential game-changers, able to significantly reduce road fatalities while providing lowcost access to jobs, education, and healthcare. Air quality will improve (if the cars are electric), and congestion will be reduced, with less space overall needed for parking and roads.
Her top recommendation to women looking to develop leadership skills: Be honest with one’s self, learn your strengths and weaknesses, surround yourself with people who complement you. “Really listen to how people respond to your ideas,” she says, “then take this feedback to improve how you explain your company or your idea the next time.”
Chase confesses being “in awe” of Christiana Figueres, chair of the UN Climate Summit in Paris (December 2015). “She communicates urgency and upbeat energetic hope while pressing for very concrete action. She appears tireless.”