The Thing About BHAGs

Natural Leadership


Happy new year!

After 7.5 years I am passing the MASD director baton to my successor, Denise DeLuca. I couldn’t be more delighted with my replacement who is a longtime colleague, friend and instructor in the MASD program. She has the experience, know how and passion to take the program to the next level.

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my tenure and to say a proper farewell. I’ve been so well-supported and taken care of MCAD, it is tough to leave. Thank you, all of my supporters, for everything.

But there’s this thing about BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals (Collins and Porras, 1994)), they guide and they inspire, but they won’t set your mind free until they are accomplished.

When I joined MCAD in 2010, I set to work to understand the value and potential of the program by interviewing faculty, students and alumni. Within a matter of months I knew that we needed to take our certificate program to the next level: to a full-on graduate degree. It became my new BHAG. Two years and a lot of paperwork, red tape and hoops, and countless meetings later, we launched the MA in Sustainable Design program at MCAD. It was MCAD’s first new degree in a decade, MCAD’s first MA degree, and MCAD’s first online degree. It was also -and remains so today- the only multidisciplinary, fully online sustainability-focused degree offered at an art and design institution. We couldn’t have been more proud. Now, 5 years later, we have dozens of successful graduates who are sustainability-focused change agents, leading the charge and conquering their own BHAGs in their own way.

I’m off to achieve my next BHAG; one that’s been growing yet waiting patiently in the wings of my mind and heart for twenty years (yes, 20!). I’m still waiting for deployment but the wheels are in motion for me to realize my dream of working as a field logistician for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

What’s your BHAG? Maybe it’s joining our MASD program? Attend a webinar or join the conversation Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter to learn more about the program.

All the best in 2018 and beyond,


p.s. Keep in touch.


Image of Cindy at the bottom of a glacier at the top of the world in Svalbard, Norway (another dream come true!), courtesy of @ThresholdPodcast.

Cindy Gilbert / Former Director

Cindy is founder and director of Alula Consulting which specializes in innovative online and sustainability education projects for educational institutions, non-profits, and corporations. Recent clients include The Lemelson Foundation, VentureWell, Green Building Research Institute, University of Montana, PBS, Silverback Films, and more. Cindy has taught numerous courses and workshops, around the world and online, in the fields of biology, sustainability and biomimicry.

Cindy was the founding director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program for 7.5 years which is home to the fully online, multidisciplinary MA in Sustainable Design (MASD) that is the first of its kind in the world. In this role, she fostered a culture of awareness and creativity through sustainable, innovative and collaborative design. Before MCAD, she served for nearly four years as the founding director of university education at the Biomimicry Institute where she developed and managed all higher education programs, including the professional certification program, annual education summits, affiliate and fellows programs, and design challenges. Cindy is based in Montana. Please contact her through LinkedIn.