August 30, 2020
By Kirstie Dabbs
Jobs in sustainability can be found in all sectors, from corporate to policy to nonprofit. Unlike government and for-profit organizations, nonprofits are specifically structured to serve a public benefit
through their core mission, which all their activities are meant to support. This structure gives employees the opportunity to bring their values to work in a variety of professional roles. While some roles, such as customer service, marketing and facilities management are comparable to their private sector counterparts, others, such as development and community engagement, are unique because of the funding and service delivery structures in the nonprofit sector.
August 7, 2020
Speaker Profile of EnterSolar’s Zaira Akhmedova
By Pamela Berns
Seven seems to be an auspicious number for Zaira Akhmedova. Her professional journey spanned seven years as she made her way from a degree in finance and accounting to her current position as Financial Strategy Manager at EnterSolar, one of the largest commercial solar developers in the U.S. And it was her trip around the world—a seven-month sabbatical from work—that solidified her commitment to a career in renewable energy. (more…)
June 27, 2020
By Jude Jussim
Tom Sahagian knows there’s no time left to dawdle in controlling the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from New York City’s buildings. The problem: There’s a shortage of people with the right skills to do it. Sahagian is not talking about policy wonks. “The life of the mind is not what’s going to get us to solving the climate crisis. Pontificating doesn’t do it. You need people who can actually physically do what’s required.”
Sahagian, a GreenhomeNYC board member with many years of experience as an energy efficiency consultant, believes that to dramatically decrease building-generated GHGs, the city’s buildings will have to be powered with clean electricity (e.g. wind or solar) rather than fossil fuels.
An Electrifying Challenge
“New York City needs to convert a thousand buildings a year for the next 30 years,” he says, “which will take hard work and coordination and commitment—and contractors and workers with the right skills. And right now, we have a shortage of those people.”
January 27, 2020
By Jonathan Oriondo
On October 29th, GreenHomeNYC convened a panel discussion on sustainability careers in government, a field that promises change and growth in the new green economy. In New York in particular, breakthrough climate legislation is not just leading the way to a carbon neutral city; as our speakers demonstrated, it is also leading to innovative and meaningful careers.
January 6, 2020
Join us for our first 2020 Green Careers meeting for a panel discussion + Q&A with individuals who work in corporate social responsibility.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR), is how companies pursue sustainability goals, give back to their local communities, and make general efforts to improve society via the lens of business. This is your opportunity to ask the professionals about their career history and how you too could possibly transition your career into related work. Informal networking will follow at a local venue.
– The New School
– APCO Worldwide
July 31, 2019
By Tamanna Mohapatra
Photo by Kenton Archer
On July 9th, 2019, GreenHomeNYC hosted a panel discussion on careers in waste management. Our three panelists engaged the audience with inspiring stories about their career paths, and offered insights into this growing and varied field. They also shared great career tips with the diverse group of participants.
October 31, 2018
By Radhna Saxena
Photos By Jessica Bartolini
Panelists (from left to right): Kestana Anokye, Michael Roos, Lindsay Robbins, and Tom Sahagian
On October 9, Green Careers hosted a Career Tracks panel on NYC government jobs. Professionals working to advance sustainability causes in various government sectors discussed their educational background, first steps in the sustainability industry, and job roles and responsibilities, while offering advice to those seeking a career in governmental sustainability.
Kestana Anokye is a Project Manager in the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation, the agency that designs and operates municipal programs for cleanup and redevelopment of vacant contaminated lands. Anokye has a background in Geological Sciences and worked with two environmental consulting companies after college. Two years into her second job, she realized her growing passion for sustainability. When a colleague suggested that she attend forums, like those hosted by GreenHomeNYC, to learn about opportunities in the field, it seemed a bit intimidating that almost every speaker had a degree in engineering. But she was determined to find a way to combine her skills and training with her interests to find the right job.
While networking is invaluable, Anokye advised that persistence in your job search is most important, even when things don’t work out immediately. That tenacity and patience led to her current position at the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation.
Michael Roos graduated with a liberal arts degree in economics and geography, and didn’t foresee his current role as a Building Performance Analyst for the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services Division of Energy Management. While pursuing his master’s degree at Columbia University, Roos learned about the role that local governments play in advancing urban sustainability, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC serving as a case study. One of his professors encouraged him to apply for an internship in the Energy Department of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Interning with the largest public housing authority in North America was a valuable introduction to the field of energy management in city government.
Roos returned to the Energy Department in a permanent capacity as an Energy Analyst, deploying his data analysis skills to work extensively with the Utility Management Information System (UMIS), NYCHA’s utility bill database. He working with technical consultants to conduct energy analyses of NYCHA’s 2,500 residential buildings and facilitate energy benchmarking in compliance with New York City’s local laws. After a few years, he transitioned to his current role at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which serves as the hub of energy management activities for over 4,000 municipal buildings across the five boroughs. His role involves managing energy and performance in alignment with Mayor DeBlasio’s goal of a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from municipal buildings by 2025.
Roos advised job seekers to set up a keyword search on the city’s job website
and DCAS Energy Management
to stay abreast of new opportunities in city government. He noted that networking is an effective way to connect with the tightly-knit community of energy and sustainability professionals in New York. He added that the DCAS-administered Energy Management Institute
offers continuing education classes for city workers to enhance their technical knowledge.
As Director of Strategic Alignment & Implementation for NRDC’s Healthy People & Thriving Communities (HP&TC) Program, Lindsay Robbins works to foster the development of healthy, sustainable communities for all. While studying film and TV production at NYU, she discovered a love for urban studies and decided to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning. During this period, she became involved with several environmental groups at NYU that banded together to advocate for an environmental program at the university and the adoption of sustainable practices. Leading the effort with a few fellow students, Robbins successfully advocated to set up the program and bring other sustainability initiatives to the campus. After graduation, she was hired by NYU to assist in the planning, design, and renovation of university buildings.
Robbins moved into government work when she was hired to work on multifamily efficiency programs at NYSERDA. Working in NYSERDA’s then-small NYC office was a great advantage, as it helped her take on a lot of responsibility quickly. Subsequently she worked for the state of Maryland, managing an energy assistance program for low income households, where she worked to weave energy efficiency into the mix. Now at NRDC, Robbins works on energy efficiency for the affordable housing sector, helping the HP&TC program achieve its broader goals.
She advised job seekers not to be discouraged by the lack of a technical degree; this is a field that requires a variety of skill sets and there are ample opportunities to learn, if you remain curious and keep asking questions.
Tom Sahagian has had extensive experience working in private, non-profit, and governmental jobs, including the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development. He obtained a degree in journalism, later deciding to make the move into energy efficiency. But he noted that his ability to write well has been a huge advantage over his entire career.
Although there are pros and cons to working in government, he felt one compelling advantage is that government organizations are not driven by profit. The tendency to care more about the work, rather than gains or paybacks, can be a rewarding experience.
Sahagian’s advice is to be willing to start at the bottom, work hard, and learn new things every day to steadily climb up the ladder. He recommended pursuing continuing education for technical topics, and reading magazines on energy efficiency to stay abreast of the latest tools, technologies, and concepts. A few other important qualities for success: Be smart and committed. Be ready to do a lot of reading, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
The panelists noted there’s often a long period between applying for a government job and getting an interview, so it’s important to be patient and persistent. And they agreed that regardless of your educational background, keep learning, keep reading, and keep applying until you find your dream job in sustainability.
August 31, 2018
By Elise Baker
Whether you are an activist making an argument for climate policy or a prospective employee taking interviews in the green sector, persuading an audience requires nuance and skill. But how do you develop a powerful voice that will bridge the divide or get your foot in the door?
On August 14, Pamela Berns, leadership coach and global communications consultant, offered expert advice at the GreenHomeNYC Green Careers meetup, which was hosted at the GROHELIVE! Center and catered by Vegan Outreach.
Berns opened with a slide showing pictures of confident speakers. “Communication looks fun,” she said. “Everybody does it, no matter how old or young you are. Looks easy. But is it?”
Berns suggested that persuading listeners to change their point of view is actually a complex task. Three elements can make it difficult to accomplish: internal noise, frame of reference, and nonverbal codes.
Berns began with internal noise, which is similar to static on a telephone line. Rarely do people engage in pure listening, she said, and internal noise causes distractions. One audience member might remember that he forgot to add milk to the grocery list. Another might be so entrenched in her point of view that she can’t hear what the speaker is actually saying.
June 18, 2018
by Curtis Morrow
The June Green Careers event, held at GroheLive! Center, focused on women and minorities in the green sector. Former Green Careers Lead Volunteer, Samantha Yost hosted the event, the topic of which holds special meaning for her. As an LGBTQ woman, Yost believes that GreenHomeNYC “had her back” and helped her break into the sustainability field.
Our panelists for the evening spoke about their experiences in the green sector as either a woman, a minority or both. Julianna Wei, Energy Engineer and Technical Project Manager at TRC Energy Services, is a female engineer of Chinese descent, who as a child, was a minority in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). She highlighted the importance of finding allies and mentors at every stage of one’s career. Mentors may not directly present themselves as such – it’s up to you to build the relationship through on-on-one, person-to-person discussions. She advised acknowledging the lack of diversity in a specific setting as objectively as possible without adding subjective commentary on how to deal with it.
April 27, 2018
A good resume is your best weapon when you’re on the job hunt. To help you on this quest, the May Green Careers event is our annual “Speed Up-Dating Your Resume” workshop. In timed sessions with resume critics, you’ll receive constructive, personalized feedback on how to present your skills and experience in the best way possible.
This year, we’re adding in a bonus! In addition to sprucing up your resume, you can also get your photo taken for LinkedIn or other uses if you like. So come dressed for the job you want and we will snap a pic and email it to you after the event.
Attendees are expected to:
-Be prompt! The event starts at 6:30pm, so be sure to arrive early.
-Bring at least five hard copies of your resume for review.
-Be prepared to discuss your resume and contribute to evaluating others.
: Tuesday, May 8, 2018
: 6:30pm – 8:00pm with networking afterwards
: Steven Winter Associates, 307 7th Avenue 17th Flr, New York, NY 10001