Sarah Donnelly | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Sarah Donnelly

Alumni Headshot

, MA

MA, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
BFA, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Current Career
Creative Manager of Sustainability, JLB
St. Paul, MN

Sarah Donnelly (Hummel) '22, MA Sustainable Design, currently serves as the Creative Manager of Sustainability for JLB, a prominent retail business consulting firm in Minneapolis. Sarah plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the surging demand for sustainable solutions in mass retail and the leadership required for credible sustainable design.

With a foundation laid by her degrees and enriched by her thesis work, Sarah orchestrated a significant career shift from a Design Manager to a trailblazer in sustainable design leadership. Her innovative leadership role places a strong emphasis on sustainability during the strategic phase of retailer and consumer packaged goods (CPG) client engagement. This approach aims to instill accountability for responsibly designed products and services in the marketplace.

Sarah draws inspiration from the belief that a single individual can catalyze change by speaking up, challenging the status quo, and actively contributing to solutions that build a more sustainable world. Reflecting on her BFA education from MCAD, Sarah found immense value and sought a sustainability graduate degree rooted in design rather than environmental studies. Her paradigm shift in solution development during the MA Sustainable Design program– from sole material optimization to a systems-thinking approach - has been crucial for creating transformative change.

Balancing full-time work during the two-and-a-half-year program, Sarah appreciated the flexibility of online classes and the autonomy of class work. The MA Sustainable Design program equipped her with credible knowledge, enabling a full pivot of her creative career into the sustainability space.

Embracing imperfection and leading by example, Sarah incorporates sustainable practices into her daily life, advocating for a resilient future. Her message to aspiring students is to enter the program with a clear vision of how they will apply their learnings post-graduation, guiding their project choices and thesis development strategically.