JUNE 2021 MEMBER OF THE MONTH– CHRISCILIA COX, MA
Founder and CEO, SUMA Consulting LLC
“Being part of a community means being a part of something greater than you. It’s about sharing, growing and opening up to who you are and what you believe in.”
Chriscilia Cox is a Savannah, Georgia-based environmental consultant who started her career out in the military reserves. Now she applies her decades of experience to focus on how to keep people and communities healthy.
Q: How did you hear about Women in Cleantech & Sustainability?
A: I heard about WCS via a Google search. On the East Coast, it is quite different than the West Coast in terms of access to people with like minds. Simply put, I wanted to get sharpened with a broader network.
Q: You got started in the Military Reserves – how did that set you up?
A: I started my military reserves career in high school. After I got in, I wanted to be a chemist and go into forensic science. I got into Allen University (HBCU) and the University of South Carolina ROTC program in Columbia South Carolina. However, before graduating, I met a chemical officer and – no way – I realized I did not want to follow in those footsteps. Then I crossed paths with some environmental science officers and I was like, well, what do you guys do? It was a real eye-opener. Then I had to figure out what in the world I needed to do to do their jobs. I saw how important their roles were – they have to keep people clean, soldier ready, safe and most of all sustainable. So that changed everything and I was thinking I should have done that sooner.
Q: I would like to know more about Suma Consulting. What does the name represent?
A: SUMA is an acronym for Sustainable Unified Measurable Assessment. SUMA has provided various training for governmental entities for over 20 years. In order to reach any environmental or sustainability goal you have to start with an honest assessment. The key is to understand that your goals will be unique in terms of how YOU operate. You don’t have to spend an enormous amount of funds or time. You just have to get started.
Q: Your SUMA consulting video mentions targeting the health care sector. How is that going?
A: Being part of a community means being a part of something greater than you. It’s about sharing, growing and opening up to who you are and what you believe in. Hopefully, it would result in a relationship. My relationship to my small business community is steadily growing with integrity.
In the military, my roles and time were always in the medical service section. My last portion until retirement (ten years) focused exclusively on healthcare in fixed facilities. Ultimately, I had to master patients from their care point of injury throughout the entire military health care system. Just in Liberty County Georgia alone, SUMA has collaborated, served on boards, participated, volunteered, mentored, and partner with agencies going on seven years.
We believe that generally protecting the environment is a collective responsibility. During this pandemic, consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental issues affecting their homes, businesses, and lifestyles, and are now more than ever making requests to incorporate sustainability into their daily operations.
Because health is a major concern, ultimately, I hope to achieve to become one of the most respected and innovative environmental consulting firms in the southeastern region of the United States for starters. My desire to become a landmark business in the Savannah, Georgia region and become known not only for the quality of our environmental consulting services, but also for community citizenship and charity involvement. After all, our environmental relational interaction between us and Earth depends on us being good stewards for existence.
Q: Your LinkedIn Profile says you are pursuing a 3rd academic degree. Congratulations! What are the details of that and how do you juggle so many balls?
A: Yes, it is an Executive master’s degree in public health from Emory University. Naturally, I’ve always been a planner and goal setter. Plus, I have an awesome support system!
Q: You were recently in Las Vegas to receive an award at the Global Forum for Education and Learning. Please say more!
A: I received an award for being in the top 100 visionary global leaders for the contributions of setting standards for teaching about environmental issues. This group is about sharing research information and setting standards to influence makers.
Q: On a personal note, what are the specific environmental issues that you have a passion for?
A: I remember from my childhood opening up my door and smelling fresh greens … no bad air. A woman from my community lived until age 110 and she did nothing but farm and breathe in the fresh air.
It all really narrows down to environmental awareness and justice education. I am so for the evening of the playing grounds by meeting people where they are to get the message across and appropriate buy-in.
Interview conducted by Jeanne Trombly, an Oakland, CA based “Writer in Residence”
for Women in Cleantech & Sustainability.