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.
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.
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…)
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.
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.
Date: May 14th, 2019
Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm with networking afterwards
Location: 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.
Join us for a workshop on networking! Learn the tricks of the trade from professionals, and make connections of your own. We will talk about the importance of networking and practice skills.
Workshop Leader: Emily Taubenblatt
Emily is a communications consultant at APCO Worldwide and lead volunteer with GreenHomeNYC. She advises clients in online networking strategies and organizes in-person networking events.
Date: March 12, 2019
Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm with networking afterwards
Location: GROHE, 160 Fifth Avenue (Entrance on 21st), Floor 4, New York, NY
February’s Green Careers event had participants refresh their resumes “speed dating” style. Volunteer reviewers offered tips and best practices for the most successful resumes and participants walked away with multiple perspectives on how best to showcase their experience to land the job of their dreams.
In case you missed it, here are some of the tips that were given:
Fit your resume onto one page.
Send your resume in PDF format to preserve the formatting on any computer.
Position your relevant skills and experience at the top of your resume, and put education further down the page.
Include an objective or goal at the top of your resume.
When describing internship experience, avoid using the term “intern”. Instead, take credit for the work you did as an intern by calling it the job that it is!
Avoid extra white space and unnecessary lines.
When describing your skills, keep it limited to those that are the most impressive — everyone knows how to use Microsoft Word!
Break up large chunks of text into bullet points.
Start each descriptive line with a strong verb.
Know your audience and tailor your presentation of your experience to match the job you’re applying for.
Make your experience sound exciting.
January’s Green Careers panel featured three professionals working to design and create built environments that not only work to meet sustainability goals but also positively impact the health and well-being of their occupants. Specifically, this month’s panelists’ work focuses on active design, universal design and building standards looking at the built environment’s impact on occupant health.
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.
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.