Jay Friedlander is the founder of the Sustainable Business Program and the inaugural Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. The first climate neutral college in the U.S., College of the Atlantic has been cited by the Princeton Review, the Sustainable Endowment Institute, Fast Company, SmartPlanet and others as a leader in sustainability.
As Chair of the program, Jay has developed a sustainable business curriculum demonstrating how social and environmental responsibility creates competitive advantage. To move students beyond the classroom, Jay created a sustainable enterprise incubator fostering growth of traditional and social ventures. This unique academic program has attracted the attention of Newsweek, as well as Ashoka, who selected College of the Atlantic as one of five U.S. Changemaker Campuses in 2009.
Prior to joining College of the Atlantic, Jay was the chief operating officer for O’Naturals, Inc., a natural and organic fast-food restaurant group. O’Naturals was founded by Gary Hirshberg, the CEO of Stonyfield Farm, and board members included Peter Roy, a former President of Whole Foods Market.
Since opening its first store in 2001, O’Naturals has received numerous awards for sustainable business and has been recognized for its innovative approach by: The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Time, Vogue and media in Europe and Japan.
Jay was instrumental in all elements of the start-up, including fundraising, concept development, daily operations and expansion strategy. Under his leadership, O’Naturals developed a franchising relationship with the $19.5 billion Compass Group. In addition to his start-up experience, Jay has worked with senior executives of Fortune 500 companies. As a strategy consultant he developed and implemented global brand experiences and customer-centered growth strategies for clients including Citigroup and other industry leaders.
Jay has a wide range of work and life experiences. He has served in the Peace Corps in Mauritania; written an ecotourism business plan for a college in Costa Rica; broke fundraising records for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy; counseled Native American students; and taught environmental education.
Jay’s honors include being a ceremonial speaker for the Yale and Goldman Sachs Foundation on Non-profit Ventures; presenting academic papers at International Human Ecology Conferences; serving as an adjunct professor in new venture creation at Babson College for over 8 years; and serving as a board member for Maine Businesses for Sustainability.
Jay received his MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, where he specialized in new venture creation and graduated Summa Cum Laude, Valedictorian of his class. Jay earned his undergraduate degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Colgate University where he graduated with Honors.
In addition to speaking English, Jay is conversant in Spanish, French and Hassiniya Arabic.
Jay is an outdoor enthusiast and has spent time living and traveling throughout North America as well as Africa, South and Central America, and Europe. His son Max has recently joined Jay and his wife Ursula in their adventures.