Jay Friedlander

Jay Friedlander
Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business
207-801-5716 | jfriedlander@coa.edu

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. College of the Atlantic has been cited by the Princeton Review, the Sustainable Endowment Institute, Fast Company, The New York Times and others as a leader in sustainability.

As Chair of the program, Jay has developed a sustainable business curriculum focusing on how building social, economic and environmental capital sparks innovation and creates competitive advantage. In addition, to move students beyond the classroom, Jay created a sustainable enterprise incubator fostering growth of traditional and social ventures for academic credit. This unique academic program has attracted the attention of Newsweek, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 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.

O’Naturals received numerous awards for sustainable business and was recognized for its innovative approach by international media and industry leaders. 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 business 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.

B.A. Colgate University 1990
M.B.A. Olin Graduate School of Business, 1997

Jay holds the Sharpe-McNally Chair in Green and Socially Responsible Business. The Sharpe-McNally Chair in Green and Socially Responsible Business is named for three people whose commitment and dedication of the college has been transformative: Henry and Peggy Sharpe and Jay McNally. Henry is a Life Trustee of the College and owner of Brown & Sharpe, the world's largest metrology group. Peggy has provided volunteer leadership for environmental organizations including The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Law Foundation. Jay McNally, a COA graduate, founded Ibis Consulting, Inc, a pioneering firm in the electronic discovery industry. The chair was established to help future business leaders leverage the power of environmentally- and socially-focused strategies to bring about positive change in the world, while also gaining competitive advantage.

Courses Taught

HS1025Business and Non-Profit Basics

Anyone who is involved with for profit or non-profit enterprises needs to understand a wide variety of interdisciplinary skills. This introductory course will introduce students to marketing, finance, leadership, strategy and other essential areas of knowledge needed to run or participate in any venture. This course is meant to build basic skills and expose students to a variety of business disciplines and is REQUIRED for all future business courses.

Level:  Introductory.  Class limit: 18.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS1017Creative Destruction: Understanding 21st Century Economies

Joseph Schumpeter in 1942 used the phrase "creative destruction" to describe the process by which capitalism creates vibrant economic growth and new technologies and modes of production, but in doing so destroys organizations and relationships linked to older technologies and modes of production, often with adverse effects on individuals and communities. Many observers feel that Schumpeter's description is even more appropriate today, as information technologies and the long arm of multinational capitalism create vast new potential for economic growth and  improvement in living standards, while rapidly altering social and environmental relationships,  marginalizing those communities unable or unwilling to adapt, and exacerbating existing inequalities. This course gives the student currency in the dynamic issues surrounding 21st Century capitalist economies (including "advanced," developing, and robber/crony capitalisms) using an institutionalist approach; as such, the course focuses more on using a variety of approaches to understanding economic phenomena, and less on imparting the standard body of neoclassical theory (although the latter will be used where appropriate).  Fundamental capitalistic structures and processes are examined and contrasted with traditional and command economies. Major attention is given to the role of multinational corporations in the global economy. Other topics  include technology, stock markets and investing, money and central banks such as the U.S. Federal Reserve, business cycles, unemployment and inflation, trade and currency issues, consumerism and the nature of work, and whatever other topics students collectively wish to explore. Student evaluation is via multiple diagnostic tools, possibly including quizzes, reading questions, a current event portfolio, written book reviews or issue analysis, and oral exams.

Level: Introductory.  Prerequisites: none.  Class limit: 20.  Lab fee:$20.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS


Business, like all disciplines, has its own language. Being able to speak the language of business is critical for activists, social entrepreneurs and business owners alike. Financial statements are a key component of this language. These statements measure the fiscal health of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. They provide insight into all areas of the company. They are a powerful tool for determining investments, competitive positioning and have extraordinary impacts on all of an organization's stakeholders. Unfortunately, most people, including many who run a wide variety of organizations, fail to grasp this language. In doing so, they undermine their organization's opportunity for success, as well as create obstacles to using business as a means of social change. Without guidance, looking at these financial statements is similar to examining hieroglyphics for the first time. Starting from a basic level and layering in complexity, the course will seek to demystify these statements in a way that is informative and unintimidating. In addition, time will be spent advancing students' understanding and familiarity with spreadsheets. Topics of the course will include: Creating and analyzing cash flow statements, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, as well as common sized income statements; Differentiating between each type of financial statement; Relating these statements to each other, tying them together and varying statements depending on business models; Comparing non-profit and for-profit financial statements and approaches; Examining key financial ratios and how they are different for different businesses; and Spreadsheet management and design. By the end of the class students will create their own financial statements and analyze a business through various financial statements. This class is positioned within the business program to provide the students' skills for business plan projections, exploring investing, general management, lead


The Hatchery is applied Human Ecology in action; it offers students a bridge from coursework to actively creating their vision of the future. The Hatchery gives students from across the campus the opportunity to move from ideas to action. Hatchery students work either individually or in teams on a wide array of enterprises. Past projects have included: urban farming; international development; policy and planning; photography and film; alternative transportation; biofuel production; renewable energy; food systems; the arts; furniture production; technology development; social enterprise. Ventures have been for-profit and non-profit, encompassing the range from local businesses to scalable start-ups. Students selected for the Hatchery are required to devote an entire term to launching their venture. Each Hatchery enterprise, whether a team or an individual, must take the course for a minimum of three credits. Along with weekly instructional meetings, students receive office space, supplies, professional services, mentors and potential access to seed capital to develop their ventures. After the initial ten weeks of class, if students decide to continue their enterprises, they have access to the Hatchery space and resources for an additional nine months.

The Hatchery takes place in three phases:
--Application:  Students apply for a position in the Hatchery over winter term.
--Rapid Prototype:  The ten weeks of the Hatchery course. Students create a rapid prototype to test their ventures in the marketplace. These prototypes vary widely depending on the type of ventures.
--Creating an Enterprise Structure:  During the ten weeks of the course, students will have weekly assignments that introduce key elements in an organizational structure and highlight operational considerations that are universal amongst enterprises.
--Development:  The following 9-months. Students have access to the Hatchery space and resources to continue developing their enterprises.

Level: Advanced.  Prerequisites:  Permission of instructor.

HS5034Impact Investing

Impact Investing focuses on the emerging field of impact investing, which seeks to generate returns for society, the environment and financial investors. Impact investing seeks to create avenues for private investment to work alongside existing efforts of NGOs and others to help solve global and local problems. Impact investing can be used to fund solutions in areas as diverse as food systems, climate change, poverty, affordable housing and clean technology among other issues.

This course will examine the strategy of various impact investing mechanisms from crowdfunding to “localvesting.” In addition, students will examine case studies to understand the benefits and pitfalls of different strategies and their potential to create social and environmental change. During the course students will learn how to create financial projections and evaluate the financial returns of enterprises. For their final project, students will have to structure an investment platform that generates returns financially, socially and/or environmentally.

Students will be evaluated based on class participation, written assignments and verbal presentations. This course will be integrated with and requires co-enrollment in Energy and Technology and Islands: Energy, Economy and Community.

COURSE LEVEL: Advanced.  PREREQUISITES:  Instructor Permission and at least one of the following:  Math and Physics of Sustainable Energy (preferred), Energy Practicum, Financials, Business Nonprofit Basics, Sustainable Strategies or Launching a New Venture.  CLASS LIMIT:  10 COA students and 5 Islanders.  LAB FEE: none.  MEETS THE FOLLOWING DEGREE REQUIREMENTS: HS

MD5011Islands: Energy, Economy and Community

This course is focused on developing initiatives in the renewable energy and finance sectors on MDI and Maine Islands and is being offered in conjunction with the Island Institute and the Samsø Energy Academy in Denmark. This will be a comprehensive, intensive, interdisciplinary course. Students and community members from Maine’s Islands will learn from the Samsø Island experience of transforming to a carbon negative island through a community driven, grass-roots approach to create investment opportunities for both individuals and businesses in enterprises that developed and scaled, efficiency upgrades, wind, and solar power production and biofuel distributed heating and other elements of a renewable energy portfolio.

Three weeks of the term will be spent at Samsø’s Energy Academy learning the community process, investment and engineering strategies that the small rural farming and tourist community used to transform themselves into an independent energy community and rejuvenate their local economy. The course will push students to identify opportunities within their communities and develop significant energy related ventures accordingly. COA students and island resident participants will use this knowledge to develop plans for adapting and creating appropriate technology, investment platforms or services to reduce energy consumption and to boost renewable energy production here in Maine.

Students will be evaluated based on class participation, written assignments and verbal presentations.  This course will be integrated with and requires co-enrollment in Impact Investing and Energy and Technology.

COURSE LEVEL: Advanced.  PREREQUISITES:  Instructor Permission and at least one of the following:  Math and Physics of Sustainable Energy (preferred), Energy Practicum, Financials, Business Nonprofit Basics, Sustainable Strategies or Launching a New Venture.  CLASS LIMIT: 10 COA students and 5 Islanders.  LAB FEE: $500.

HS4022Launching a New Venture

This course will cover the process of new venture creation for students interested in creating businesses or non-profits with substantial social and environmental benefit. It is designed for student teams who have an idea and want to go through the formal process of examining and launching the enterprise. Topics covered in this course will include: opportunity recognition, market research, creating a business plan, producing financial projections and venture financing. As part of the course, all students will submit their ideas to the Social Innovation Competition. In addition, students will make a formal business plan presentation.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Class limit: 15


We live in a world of problems . . . global warming, inequality, discrimination, child labor, slavery, waste, species extinction, domestic violence and a myriad of other issues occupy the headlines, courses and can feel overwhelming at times. Unfortunately, we rarely here about solutions, let alone have the opportunity to create our own solutions for the issues that concern us and inspire us to action.
Changing the world takes more than a critical eye for what is wrong, proselytizing a good idea and hope.  There are many factors which contribute to creating social change and in this course we explore what it takes to be a successful change maker in our communities, and thus in the world.  Reversing the lens we use to approach the problems of the world is part of what a Human Ecologist needs to do to understand our challenges:
“...social entrepreneurs are uniquely suited to make headway on problems that have resisted considerable money and intelligence.  Where governments and traditional organizations look at problems from the outside, social entrepreneurs come to understand them intimately, from within.”  -- David Bornstein, How To Change The World
In this experiential, project-based course students will select a specific problem they would like to solve. Students will perform thorough research into a problem of their choosing, understanding it from within by identifying root causes and other exacerbating factors as well as investigating positive deviance and what people around the world are doing to solve this issue. Through these projects and other readings, students will examine a myriad of problems around the world and look at different strategies people are using to tackle them and create positive social change. The final project for the course will be a concrete proposal for solving the problem they selected.  Students will be evaluated based on their performance, participation and the quality of the projects they produce over the course of the term.

Level: Intermediate. Class limit: 12. Lab fee: $50.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS3035Sustainable Strategies

Business has tremendous societal ramifications. Inventions and industries from the automobile to the internet impact everything from air quality to economic and political freedom.  Entrepreneurs, who are often at the forefront of business and thus societal innovation, are changing the way business is conducted by creating businesses that are beneficial to the bottom line, society and the environment.  Through cases, projects and present day examples, the course will challenge students to understand the impact of business on society and the challenges and pitfalls of creating a socially responsible venture.  In addition, it will offer new frameworks for creating entrepreneurial ventures that capitalize on social responsibility to gain competitive advantage, increase valuation while benefiting society and the environment.  The final deliverable for the course is an in-class presentation in which student teams will either: (1) recommend ways to improve the social and environmental impacts of a company, while increasing competitive advantage and bottom line; or (2) benchmark two industry competitors, a socially responsible company versus a traditional company.

Level:  Intermediate.  Class limit: 15.

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