December 29, 2020
By Pamela Berns
In 2020, the triple bottom line—people, planet, profits—took on a whole new meaning. The number of lives lost to COVID-19 continues to grow into the new year. Environmental regulation rollbacks under the Trump administration and the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement put the planet on even greater climate risk trajectory than before. Job losses and business failures altered the economy in ways that economists say may take years to fix. According to Fast Company
, as of May, 2020, 33 million Americans had filed for unemployment; while some jobs might come back, new ones will need to be created to replace those that didn’t survive.
While, sadly, we will never recoup the lives lost and upended by the pandemic, there is a way forward toward a reciprocal recovery for all of the three Ps. “One of the best ways to add new jobs,” said Fast Company, is to “invest in green infrastructure.”
November 26, 2020
By Melanie Mason
We have spent the better part of our year in throes of the COVID-19 pandemic—social distancing, Zooming, washing our hands like crazy, and carrying out GreenHomeNYC’s mission from the kitchen table. This has almost begun to feel like a normal part of our routines. But at the beginning of the lockdowns back in March, the challenges to life as usual suddenly felt very far from “normal.” Just like everyone else, GreenHomeNYC had to quickly adapt to this new way of being. A testimony to our incredibly driven volunteers, together we dove headfirst into tackling how GreenHomeNYC would go from a live and lively in-person community to operating fully remotely.
Said GreenHomeNYC’s board president Lucie Dupas, “The board is so thankful for all the amazing work that our volunteers are able to get done safely from their homes—this year has been incredibly challenging in all aspects of life, and we are amazed on a daily basis by how passionate and resilient our whole community is!”
August 1, 2020
By Alexa Roccanova
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted business as usual, it has also heightened awareness of the fragile balance between nature and humanity. To some, the magnitude of the virus’s impact represents a culmination of enduring environmental, economic, and social issues. Sustainability presents a globally beneficial path forward; however, not unlike the pandemic, its extensive scope demands responses that both tackle and develop complex and interconnected systems. Public and private sectors are now seeing the COVID-19 economic recovery as an opportunity for an operational reset.
Ambitious Actions Needed: Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations Sustainability Goals
(SDGs) are helping both sectors to pursue environmental and humanitarian targets by providing a universal framework of seventeen integrated objectives needed to facilitate global environmental, social, and economic well-being by 2030.
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.
October 28, 2019
By Elena Weissmann
Photo by Alicja Osinska
On September 10, 2019, the GreenHomeNYC community gathered at GROHE to learn from industry experts about jobs in the energy efficient buildings arena here in New York City. We were lucky to be joined by Elizabeth Taveras of the NYC Division of Energy Management (DEM)
, Daquan Dennis from the CUNY Building Performance Lab
, and Mina Agarabi of Agarabi Engineering PLLC
Elizabeth, Daquan, and Mina gave participants a glimpse into a day in the life at their current workplaces, an understanding of the journeys that took them there, and advice on how participants might navigate their own journeys into this growing field. They also addressed the impact New York City’s new Local Law 97 will have on both careers and culture in the city’s buildings. (more…)
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.
May 9, 2019
Interested in the Sustainability Non-Profit Sector? Join us for a panel on Non-Profits!
When sustainability challenges fall outside the domain of market solutions, who is there to provide redress? Non-profits can satisfy energy and environmental problems of great import that financial interest may ignore. Come learn lessons from professionals experienced in navigating careers in the sustainability non-profit sector.
: May 14th, 2019
: 6:30pm – 8:00pm with networking afterwards
: BrightPower, Flr 21, 11 Hanover Square, New York NY 10005
Danielle Bissett – Billion Oyster Project
Adam Romano – AEE
Irene Nielson – NRDC
Note: To respect the time of our speakers and guests, the event will start promptly at 6:30.
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.