CEO of global sustainability consulting firm, AccountAbility, is a past recipient of Lehigh ISE’s distinguished alumni award

“Lehigh was my first bona fide introduction to America,” says Lehigh alum Sunil (Sunny) A. Misser ’89G. “I came to the U.S. to get the best possible education from a well-established American university and to build a successful career as a business leader. At that point in my life, I was chasing a version of the proverbial American dream, and Lehigh gave me that possibility.”

It’s a chase that’s been wildly successful for Misser, who holds a Lehigh master’s degree in industrial engineering and is the CEO of AccountAbility, a global sustainability consulting and standards firm. In that role, which he’s held for more than a decade, Misser works with businesses, governments, and multi-lateral organizations to achieve their ESG (environmental, social, and governance) vision and goals while improving their long-term performance.

“The academic rigor of Lehigh’s engineering program prepared me to work hard, master my craft, overcome the obstacles I faced, and grow as an individual. I remained extremely focused on one thing: doing my best at what I did.”

Misser continues his focus on excellence today—and the business and financial community has taken notice. AccountAbility was recognized as:

  • World’s Best Management Consulting Firms (2022) by Forbes. The Forbes World’s Best Management Consulting Firms awards program acknowledges firms for their outstanding performance, particularly client satisfaction and international recognition. It considers value creationin depth knowledge of international and local markets, and demonstrated experience in multiple industry sectors.
  • Leading Management Consultants (2018 – 2022) by the Financial Times. AccountAbility has been ranked as a Premier Sustainability Consultant by the Financial Times for five years in a row. The firm has been ranked as a Leading Management Consultant every year since the FT's Rankings inception in 2018.
  • Best ESG Strategy Development Partner Global 2021 and 2022 by Capital Finance International ( combines the views of leading multilateral and international organizations such as The World BankUnited NationsInternational Finance Corporationand European Union bodies with top-tier thought leadership to report on the forces influencing and reshaping the global economy.

Read more about the impact Misser’s Lehigh Engineering graduate education had on his career path:

How did your Lehigh experience set you up for success?

In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (during the mid-1980s), I quickly learned what it meant to be a newcomer and an immigrant in America—an experience that shaped my life and career in subsequent years. Most importantly, I learned the value of hard work and the power of strong relationships—both of which were key to my success at Lehigh and my professional career that followed.

After class, I took on multiple jobs—as a teaching assistant and as a trainee, and later consultant, on joint ventures between Lehigh and Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector (65-to-70-hour workweeks were the norm). Prior to that, I spent an entire summer working on construction and demolition jobs (I needed the work and it paid the bills…). I truly believe that my early success in management consulting was partly due to the work ethic, flexibility, and resilience (both emotional and physical) that I reinforced during my time at Lehigh.

Equally important to long-term success is the ability to build and nurture meaningful and lasting relationships. Individual performance has limited impact in isolation. To this day, I continue to work hard to make genuine connections and build relationships in almost every aspect of my life. My professors, administrators, classmates, and roommates at Lehigh are among some of the most real and important relationships that I still hold with me today.

These values were instrumental toward shaping my future career in management consulting, which enabled me to advise some of the “captains of industry” and biggest and best clients in the world.

Describe one takeaway from your time at Lehigh that still resonates with you.

To quote management sage Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

After 30 years of working in the consulting business, I am in full agreement with Professor Drucker. I have witnessed and experienced the spectrum of cultural extremes, and I have seen the benefits of a culture that works.

  • The faculty and staff at Lehigh established, practiced, and communicated a culture that enabled my classmates and me to flourish academically and personally. The professor-to-graduate-student ratio was favorable. In general, professors were smart, knowledgeable, and accessible—they made themselves available to students at every level. And, most importantly, they were genuinely nice and decent people.
  • The resulting impact on students was an ecosystem of collaboration, moderate (not ruthless) competition, and professional excellence to operate in.
  • The importance of establishing an operating environment, or culture, where a team (and individuals) can truly maximize their potential is something that I have carried with me since my time at Lehigh.

At AccountAbility, we are focused on high performance, but performance that is built on a culture of transparency, hard work, inclusivity, and collaboration. As a result, our carefully curated team (also the “best and brightest” in their fields) advise some of the biggest and best organizations in the world.

What is something specific from your time at Lehigh that, with the benefit of experience, you now realize was particularly valuable in your professional development?

The education I received at Lehigh was not only strong, but above all else, extremely practical and relevant. As students in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, we focused on what mattered—real results that worked. This approach has been the foundation of my thinking and work through my professional career that followed.

This is reflected in my current role at AccountAbility. We have a clear purpose and understanding of who we are: We innovate and advance the global sustainability/ESG agenda by improving the practices, performance, and impact of organizations. We are an expert ESG advisory firm that provides objective counsel to CEOs and boards on how to improve their business performance.

Subsequent to obtaining my master’s degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh, I was fortunate to graduate from the MIT Sloan School of Management as a Sloan Fellow with a master’s in management. After graduating from MIT Sloan, I spent almost a decade and half at Price Waterhouse and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) where I held global management roles in firmwide strategy, business advisory services, and the sustainability advisory practice.

As a global consulting and standards firm, AccountAbility focuses on delivering practical, effective, and enduring results that enable our clients to succeed. Delivering this sort of long-term value consistently for our clients requires the same relentless focus on real, practical and lasting results. Lehigh helped shape my early thinking in this area—the rest can be attributed to hard work, good relationships, and effectively managing luck.

Misser received the Lehigh ISE Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Industry in 2017.

Sunny Misser


"The education I received at Lehigh was not only strong, but above all else, extremely practical and relevant. As students in the Rossin College, we focused on what mattered—real results that worked. This approach has been the foundation of my thinking and work through my professional career that followed."

—Lehigh ISE alum Sunny Misser ’89G, CEO, AccountAbility