Jenny Zhang, BS 09
ESG and Decarbonization Director, Urban Land Institute

After Jenny Zhang and her husband moved from the Bay Area to Hong Kong, it’s not surprising she eventually ended up in the real estate sector.

Headshot of Jenny Zhang.“There are three types of jobs in Hong Kong,” Zhang quips. “Finance, real estate, and financing real estate.”

She started out as a Deloitte M&A manager, analyzing deals totaling more than $12 billion. The job, she says, trained her to find patterns to quickly understand everything from animal vaccines to semiconductors. Zhang later launched a knowledge-sharing program to help colleagues become adept advisers across industries and markets in the shortest amount of time.

The work was exciting, Zhang says, but sustainability and climate change—topics that she explored at Haas—interested her more.

“At Haas, I was surrounded by people who felt passionate about social and environmental issues and who believed that we had the privilege and obligation to do something about them,” she says.

Zhang left Deloitte and was one of the first hires at climate-tech startup Carbonbase, working with energy and real estate companies to track their carbon emissions and to purchase carbon offsets. Yet, she wanted to do more.

In 2022, she joined the Urban Land Institute where she’s building a network of developers and investors, researching the ROI of sustainable buildings, and facilitating workshops to redesign industry practices.

Looking back, Zhang says her career path taught her that anyone can have an impactful career, no matter their role.

“My first boss at Macy’s had a quote up in his office that always stuck with me: ‘Bloom where you are planted,’” she says.