By KERRY WORTHINGTON
We came full circle during the “Are There Bright Green Jobs to be Found in this Dull Gray Economy?” event which was initiated by the Leaders in Energy group on April 16, 2015 (close to Earth Day!). After the event host, LEVICK, welcomed us by telling us about their mission, Janine Finnell, Clean Energy Ambassador and Founder of Leaders in Energy, introduced the “green job” topic and mentioned that the group held a similar, successful event in August. Her personal goal is to provide strategic job and business-partnering connections for members of the Leaders in Energy group as part of the its overall mission to build a community of like-minded individuals working to make positive change on clean energy and sustainability issues. Finnell gave “shout outs” to three aspiring Leaders, all with slightly different areas of expertise and interests – from sustainable transportation to water policy to engineering. The point remained the same: connections, connections, connections!
Dan Smolen author of the book, Tailoring the Green Suit: Empowering Yourself for an Executive Career in the New Green Economy, provided an overview of his background and expertise as an “accidental environmentalist” and recruiter; hence being able to provide the attendees ten keys to overcome their personal barriers to finding their place in the green economy. Before the end of the program, Smolen raffled off five signed copies of his book.
Some of Smolen’s points echoed standard job hunting tips: know your value, develop more value, invest in your network, establish your resume, get a mentor, and be able to summarize yourself in a thirty-second “elevator” speech. For a green job, however, there is a lot to be said about honing in on an entrepreneurial spirit and finding unique ways to demonstrate ones green heart and mind. With 60-70 million new executive jobs in the projection, Smolen encourages the work force to demand green jobs.
One key is to create a green program in your current job: establish credibility in your current role, propose green projects, add more green projects, and exit with green job experience! An audience member added that an individual’s state may have a green committee within its Chamber of Commerce that can facilitate a sustainable program. Another key is to demonstrate ones value by contributing to thought leadership online, such as the Linked-In Pulse, EcoApprentice.com, etc. Other ways to obtain “green” experience include certifications and pursuing skill-based volunteering.
Jack Levenson (SolarCity) presented his experience starting from being a Field Sales Expert to Regional Sales Manager. He reminded the audience that we are all fighting the same fight in trying to find employment in the green sector. In his brief presentation, he had four main messages:
1. Check your ego at the door;
2. Not everything is a good fit; find your good fit;
3. Act on what you can give (time, expertise); and
4. It boils down to being socially responsible
The concluding segment showcased four Leaders in Energy members that leveraged their networks to land a “green” job. For Jan Brinch, a combination of hard work and serendipity made way for her network to bring her consulting projects. She stressed the value of volunteerism and finding alternative employment models. Thomas Schmitt and Carolyn Slaughter both became direct hires at their new firms through widening their network base.
Finally, the full circle: Leaders in Energy member, Oana Leahu-Aluas, had been a “shout out!” from the previously mentioned August event. After establishing her credibility and receiving many offers, she now works full time at a job in her desired field. Many Leaders had come to speak with her after the event to offer their interest in volunteer and part-time work. She has now obtained a full time position at an energy and environmental consulting firm.
The atmosphere was friendly and collaborative. Attendees gathered around food and refreshments, shared their experience finding employment, offered those seeking to change jobs or find new ones with contacts, and left with saying “See you next time!”