Archive for April 2013 | Monthly archive page
I have a secret to spill. Sometimes (ok, a lot of the time), I love spending my free time by myself. I will explore the city on my bike, read a book next to the river, or sit in a cafe for hours with only a pen and paper for company. You may have guessed it: I am an introvert.
There’s been somewhat of an introvert ‘revolution’ in our country – probably the most quiet and peaceful revolution of our time. Scientists are realizing just how many people identify themselves as introverts, or have introverted characteristics: a whopping 50% of the US population. Recently, articles and books have been popping up all over to help introverts (and others) understand the circumstances that seem to favor extroverts.
Why is this important for your career? Living in D.C., networking is essential. But it can be scary, especially for an introvert.
The good news is that there are a lot of resources to help you and make networking easier. There are many things you can do before your next networking event, during the event, and afterwards to get the most out of networking. If you want to breeze through your next event, try some of these tips!
Before The Event
1. Know what you want to get out of it.
Networking isn’t always about finding a job. Are you looking for a new mentor? Information on how to break into a certain industry? Hoping to tell people about an upcoming event of yours? Recruiting for volunteers? Make sure you have answers to these questions – know your goal.
2. Do your homework.
Is there going to be a specific person at this event you want to know? If you know what sort of crowd will be there, you can at least have an idea. Research your industry of interest beforehand. If you have trouble with small talk, maybe even come up with some compelling conversation-starters beforehand.
If there’s one place to put an elevator speech – a 20 to 30 second long pitch about your assets and goals – to work, it’s at a networking event. Practice this beforehand.
During The Event
4. Take Initiative
Don’t be afraid to be the first one to walk up to someone with an outstretched hand, or enter a conversation and introduce yourself. Be the first to offer help when it is needed. Playing the active role will make you seem confident, even if you aren’t feeling that way.
5. Use their name
Everyone likes to hear their name! If you repeat someone’s name, not only does it help you remember, but it gives that person a little boost of happiness. Try to repeat their name when they first introduce themselves, and throughout the conversation as well.
6. Learn to listen
Ask open-ended questions about the other person. Really listen to what they are saying, with all of your focus. This lets the other person know you value what they are saying.
7. Be personal, be genuine
Being genuine goes hand in hand with listening. Talk to people you really want to know about, and tell them something real about yourself, too.
After The Event
8. Take notes
As soon as you get home, it’s a great idea to write down everything you remember. On each business card you receive, you can write notes about who gave them to you. Did you learn about a new event? An insight to your industry? A way to learn a new skill? Write them down, before you forget!
9. Say thank you, follow up
The networking event is just the beginning. If you want to form a relationship with someone new, it’s important to follow up right away. Send thank-you notes – you could even be personal and write a card! Schedule a follow up meeting if you’d like to continue the conversation.
There are networking opportunities all the time in this city for networking. The best way to get comfortable with networking is to just do it! What’s more, DC EcoWomen are giving you the perfect opportunity to flex those networking muscles – at our post-conference happy hour!
Maybe you’ll leave your next event with 100 connections, or maybe just one or two really great contacts. Hopefully, you will form a meaningful relationship with someone, or learn something truly valuable.
It’s comforting to know that about half of the people at your next networking event are introverts. But with help, and with practice, networking can be easy – and fun! So give it a shot: on May 18th, come to our networking happy hour and say hello. Even if it doesn’t land your dream job, you’ll get to enjoy the night with delicious appetizers, drinks, and genuine company.
Hope to see you there!
When we think of recycling, we generally think of the plastic bottles and aluminum cans thrown into plastic bins and set out to be collected. There is a feeling of accomplishment in sending in eighteen wine bottles – even if those bottles will just be purchased again in the following months. However, there is an entire world of recycling that exists beyond milk jugs and aluminum cans. At April’s EcoHour, the EcoWomen were lucky enough to learn about some of them.
In honor of Earth day, DC EcoWomen’s April’s EcoHour focused on a few unconventional forms of recycling. We had two great (and not to mention hilarious!) speakers from two very different but equally great causes giving us a glimpse at recycling from for-profit and non-profit sectors.
Elizabeth Wilmot, founder and president of e-recycling company TurtleWings/Data Killers shared her entrepreneurial story. Jessica Weiss, founder and executive director J of the non-profit growingSOUL, shared her story: how a woman with a truck and a vision can change the way a community sees food waste.
Jessica Weiss – growingSOUL
Jessica, a California transplant, is a small woman with an enviable amount of energy. The passion she has for her work radiates throughout the room, inspiring even the most eco-challenged individuals. With degrees in English Literature and Education, her interest and work in food recycling may seem a bit unconventional. Her journey into food waste and composting began with her experience reading the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle A Year of Food Life. She started to see food differently and wanted to work towards finding ways for everyone to have access to food – good, real food (no Cheetos and Diet Coke here).
Jessica explained how she began to act on her goal by jumping in her pickup truck and visiting restaurants, asking if they were interested in composting. While this may seem like a bold approach, it’s right in line with one of Jessica’s best pieces of advice for success: Do not be afraid of looking like an idiot.
She also believes, “A rind is a terrible thing to waste,” which is why she takes extra food from food banks and delivers it to farmers to use as animal feed. One of Jessica’s greatest successes is working with Chipotle restaurants on composting its waste and taking Chipotle’s used vegetable oil to power the Veggie Mobile, a truck that runs almost exclusively on used vegetable oil.
Elizabeth Wilmot – TurtleWings
The road to following your dreams is not always easy or clear. As Elizabeth Wilmot says, there is never a good time to start a business, you just have to do it. The TurtleWings founder and president may look quiet and demure, but inside is an inspiring, determined woman with an incredible sense of humor.
Elizabeth was inspired to create her electronics recycling business while she was trying to get rid of an old laptop and found there weren’t many options for recycling electronics. She left her cushy marketing job at Citigroup to start TurtleWings with little more than the determination that this was a problem that needed a solution.
The Duke grad created a business plan for TurtleWings, outlining her vision and the exact road she would take to being profitable in the first year. She quickly realized that the shiny business plan she created was great in theory, but more useful as a coaster than a playbook for success. When she began her business she admitted that she didn’t even know what a hard drive was, other than it existed. It was a series of trial and error and a lot of learning experiences for the single parent.
Her goal of being profitable by the first year didn’t happen, nor by the second. She finally succeeded by the third, right about the time where her initial funding (supplied by herself) ran out. The pride that she felt when TurtleWings made its first million could be felt by the entire room.
Through Elizabeth’s path to success she has also stood by her principles. She only recycles products in the United States – the electronics collected by TurtleWings will never be shipped overseas or discarded improperly. Elizabeth knows exactly where parts are shipped and what happens to them once they get there.
Listening to Jess and Elizabeth about their respective recycling and entrepreneurial experiences was inspiring and educational. The EcoWomen members in attendance were engaged and had a never-ending series of questions after the session. Attendees also praised the different viewpoints and their presentation. We hope Jess and Elizabeth never stop working for the planet – but if they do, I think they both have a career in comedy.
This post was written by DC EcoWomen Board Member Lauren Rosco
Guest Post by Catherine Plume
Today is the 44th celebration of our environment and our planet – Earth Day. Now, with climate change hitting hard, we need to make sustainable choices more than ever. Chances are that by now, you’re a vigilant recycler, ensuring that you, your family, and/or housemates put all ”allowables” in the bin. But after you’ve mastered the art of the recycling bin, what’s next? Have you ever looked at your plastic footprint?
First, it’s important to understand why plastics are so bad. In a nutshell, there are a host of chemicals in plastics, and their impact on the environment and on human health is not looking good. Plastics take a very long time to decompose, creating waste that lingers and/or is ingested by wildlife. While most plastics are recyclable, it’s often cheaper (in short-term financial terms) to produce new plastic than to make products out of second-hand plastic. And most of the secondary products are not themselves recyclable – recycling a plastic water bottle only prolongs how long it takes to reach the landfill. Bottom line: throwing your plastics into your recycle bin is not enough. So, what to do? How about reducing the amount of plastics you consume in the first place?
Buy products that have no – or less – plastic packaging. You can buy peanut butter, catsup, mustard, etc in glass jars. Pasta in a 100% paper package is just as good, if not better than pasta in a package with the little plastic window on it.
Use glass containers for storing and microwaving your leftovers. Save your glass jars and reuse them for storing leftovers. Just remember, NEVER MICROWAVE PLASTIC!
Don’t buy or drink water in plastic bottles. If the folks who work at on water quality at EPA drink DC water out of the tap, you can too! Get a stainless steel water bottle and fill it up!
Reuse those plastic vegetable bags. In DC, we’re all about bringing our own bags to the store. Take the next step and clean and reuse your vegetable bags! Buy in bulk as you can!
Make your own shampoo! This isn’t for everyone, but about 6 months ago, I gave up shampoo for water mixed with baking soda. I use white vinegar as a rinse. It took my hair a few weeks to learn how to make its own oil again, but now my hair is as soft, if not softer,than when I used commercial shampoo. Google “NO POO” and you’ll find a ton of information and testimonials. I also use baking soda as toothpaste. As an added benefit, my job requires considerable travel, and using baking soda has reduced TSA issues. I’m so glad I made this change!
Use baking soda and white vinegar as your primary cleaning products (just don’t combine them in a container!). Instead of throwing out your empty (plastic) squirt bottles, reuse them to make your own environmentally friendly cleaning products. There are tons of recipes on the web!
Use astringent to clean your face? Make your own! Basil, vinegar and lemon juice make good options – and they go soft on your pocketbook as well as the environment.
Make your own food! I’m a big consumer of plain yogurt, so my recycling bin was loaded with large plastic yogurt containers. Then, a friend gave me a yogurt recipe that involves milk, a crock pot and a bit of yogurt to get the process going. EASY! By making my own yogurt, I’ve reduced by plastic consumption by some 50 large yogurt containers per year. I store it in a crock that I found at Value Village. Now, I’m making my own hummus, tapenade, granola and raita, and I’m looking forward to expanding my repertoire. AND, I’m saving money and making better food than what I can buy in the store – all while reducing my plastic consumption.
About two years ago, while doing research for my blog (www.DCRecycler.blogspot.com), I came across Beth Terry’s My Plastic Free Life blog. Her book, Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, was entertaining and easy to read, and gave me some great ideas for reducing my plastic footprint. Check it out!
And, when you think about Earth Day, recognize that you’re not going to save the world on your own. The carbon footprint I accumulate through my work travel every year is embarrassing, and I still buy frappuccinos in plastic cups even though I (really, really) mean to bring my own. I still have plenty of plastic in my life, but at least I’m thinking about what I do buy, and the impact of what I’m buying on the environment. That’s a start right there!
Catherine Plume is the blogger for the DCRecycler.
The following is a guest post by Rachel Mlinarchik of My Fair Vanity
A Guide to DC’s #1 Second-hand Style Source
The last time I visited with you, I shared a few eco-friendly options for the office. Today I’m going to sing the praises of one of our local area consignment super-stars. After all, purchasing (and selling my own) lightly-used clothing is my favorite way to:
- Trade my rarely worn items for cash to buy clothing I will wear.
- Build quality items into my wardrobe from labels I couldn’t normally afford, thereby avoiding disposable, fast fashion that won’t last.
- Reuse and recycle, keeping perfectly good clothing and accessories out of landfills and inside my closet—or yours!
I would estimate that more than 50% of my regularly worn clothing and accessories were purchased from Secondi. I can say this with some confidence because, looking back through a gallery of my outfit posts, it’s difficult to find an outfit that doesn’t include at least one item from my favorite local store, whether it’s a bangle, a coat, or a blouse.
Below, I’ve put together just a few examples of the ever-growing Secondi collection I have amassed over the years. Every single item I’ve listed is from Secondi:
As you can see, Secondi has me well-equipped for all four seasons, but I made sure to stop in yesterday evening right before closing time to scope out the latest spring treasures on offer for my favorite eco women:
Perfect for a summer wedding or a hot date, these Marc Jacobs sandals are in mint condition.
Tangerine Manolo heels and fuschia Talbots flats are perfect for spring.
A well-cut trench is a key staple for April and summer showers.
These cheery pencil skirts are from JCrew, Tory Burch, Cynthia Rowley and Leifsdottir.
What impresses me most about Secondi is the range of price points they carry and the keen editorial eye of their staff. Any one of the clutches pictured above may be priced at $15, but those who are looking for more of an investment piece can snap up a structured, tomato red Michael Kors bag.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to head back in tomorrow to pick up a few things. Consider this your fair warning that the good stuff at Secondi goes fast, so if you see something that catches your eye, get thee there today!
To continue with me on my quest for personal style that is kind to the earth and the people on it, I hope you’ll visit with me now and again at My Fair Vanity, or better yet, I hope to see you in person at the DC EcoWomen conference in May. I’ve reserved my spot…have you?
In the workplace, certain things about your body language come as second-nature. If you’re tired during a meeting, you might slouch in your chair. Maybe you get distracted while someone is talking to you, so you glance around the room. Without even realizing, you touch your neck for comfort in a stressful situation.
Body language is surprisingly important in the workplace. The way you move and act may have unintended impacts on how others perceive you, and how you perceive yourself. Body language can make the difference between getting that extra raise or getting stuck on the bottom. Body language can affect the job experience in ways that you might not expect.
Many situations arise in which you have to prove yourself and show your worth – these are the situations where the importance of body language comes into play.
Here are some “do”s and “don’t”s for body language in the workplace:
Get into positions of insecurity. Certain mannerisms can give off an air of nervousness or uncertainty. People respond to confidence and determination in the workplace.
- Touching one’s neck is often subconscious reaction to stress.
- Keeping ankles crossed is also a sign of restraint or discomfort.
- Having your arms crossed can show you are holding something back.
- Slouching too deep into your seat is also a bad idea.
In general, any manner of curling or folding into yourself shows insecurity.
Take a position of dominance. This can take many forms – in general, you want to lengthen your posture and widen your stance.
- Sit with your arm propped up on the chair next to you.
- Keep your ankles side by side instead of crossed.
- Keep your arms open when engaging with someone to show you are open
- Lean forward to express interest.
- Make eye contact, especially during a handshake.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out your “dominance” stand, just think of Wonder Woman. How would she pose? How would she handle the situation?
Even before a stressful situation, body language may even be more important – including when nobody’s watching. Amy Cuddy’s research, profiled in a TedTalk, shows that getting into a position of power and dominance, even for two minutes, can change your hormone balance, and have a positive impact on how you handle stress. Likewise, being in a position of confinement can negatively impact your hormones, and possibly worsen the outcome of a negotiation.
If you have an office with a closed door, Cuddy even suggests standing up on your chair or desk (if it’s safe, of course!) for an extra power-stance boost. This is not a suggestion to stand on your desk during a job interview! But beforehand, and in the privacy of your own office, it doesn’t hurt to feel like you’re on top of the world.
It’s time for Ecowomen to become Wonder Women – or EcoWonder Women!
Do you want to learn more about how to become a EcoWonder Woman, and advance your career? Join us at the First Annual EcoWomen Conference: I’m Here, What’s Next? Building a Sustainble Career!
Washington D.C., the city of young professionals and fast politics, is one of the hardest working cities in our country. And as an environmentalist, it can be particularly easy to get disenchanted with politics. Sometimes you just need to escape.
It’s important to get away and remind yourself what you’re working for. To get lost in the woods, to paddle on a river. To remember why you are working for the environment in the first place. To feel at peace.
The pockets of nature and beauty dispersed throughout the city make DC wonderfully unique. Even in the midst of the hectic atmosphere, it is possible to find stillness in nature.
If you’re looking for your next get-away, here are some places to escape to without leaving city borders:
Although this is probably the most well-known (a.k.a. tourist-frequented) getaways, there are many pockets of beauty that aren’t the first stop on a segway tour. The World War II Memorial usually is less crowded than the others – and in the summer heat, the fountain is a quenching hiatus. You can also take the long walk around the tidal basin, which might seem too daunting for tourists, but is perfect for the DC native trying to escape!
Washington D.C.’s most ubiquitous secret, Rock Creek Park extends all throughout the city. Almost anywhere you are, a patch of this Park is likely nearby. If this park is good enough for 200 deer then it is good enough for a peaceful escape.
Just a few steps can transport you to a foreign land with pandas, elephants, and dragons! Komodo dragons, at least. Go to the zoo to gaze into the eyes of a creature you’ve never seen in person before. Maybe you will see your own image deep in its the eyes – maybe it will awaken your inner tiger. (Or your inner penguin, no one’s here to judge.)
This biking and hiking path that runs along the Potomac goes on for miles. It extends Northwest out of DC, eventually into Maryland. When the trees start enveloping the landscape, you may forget the city is just a mile away. Grab a bike and go if you want to get really far away – and be able to find your way back after.
Additionally, if you don’t mind leaving city borders (or at least crossing the river to Virginia):
The monument that got separated from the mall. The Theodore Roosevelt monument rests in the middle of this tiny island, smack dab in the middle of the Potomac. With DC on one side, and Arlington on the other, the stillness lies in the middle of the noise. The island doesn’t feel that small when you’re on it – there are footpaths, riverbanks, and an expansive open area around the monument itself.
This is secretly my favorite spot in all of D.C… well, I guess the secret’s out now. A simple, humble park on the Potomac, Gravelly Point is windy enough to be a respite on a hot day. And, the national airport is approximately 20 feet away. To be able to see airplanes heading towards you at top speed, and take off just barely over your head, is exhilarating. You feel like you can almost reach out, grab onto the wheels, and take a ride.
Next time you’re stressed about the inequality of women in the workforce or after five oil spills in one week, you can go to one of these getaways and clear your head. When you come back, you’ll be ready. Ready to walk into work and ask for what you want. Ready to take care of yourself. Ready to jumpstart your career. Ready for change.
The following post was written by Dawn Bickett – DC Ecowoman and Running Commuter
Biking to work is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint while getting exercise. And as the weather finally improves in DC, staying in the sunshine sounds preferable to travelling through the underground tunnels of the metro system.
But what if you don’t have access to a bike? What if you (like me) have heard too many biking accident stories? Or you simply don’t like biking?
As a recreational runner, I’ve decided to try a different approach: running to work.
I began thinking about running my commute when I noticed that I was passing by my office on morning runs only to have to go back home, shower, and return an hour later. Running to work seemed like a logical way to simplify my routine.
Considering trying your own running commute? Here are a few thoughts on the pros and cons:
Benefits of the running commute:
1. Carbon savings. Just like biking to work, running lowers your dependence on fossil fuels for transportation.
2. Time savings. Running to and/or from work saves you time by combining your exercise and your commute. I find that I can get about a half hour more sleep when running to work.
3. Mental health. Getting the heart rate up and blood flowing before or after the work day can be an excellent stress reliever.
Things to consider:
1. How far away is work? If the distance to your workplace is too far to run twice in a day, you can always run one way and take public transportation the other way. However, if you live 20 miles away, running to work simply may not be feasible.
2. Planning ahead. Unless you have a running backpack, it is not easy to bring things with you. When I plan to run in, I bring my change of clothes and shower supplies the day before.
3. Does your workplace have a shower? If not, running home from work may be the only option.
While the logistics of running to work are bit complicated, running to or from the office certainly beats waiting for the metro or getting caught in traffic. The next time you don’t think you can fit a jog into your busy week or your bike needs repair, try it out!
The following is a guest post from EcoWoman Board Member Alison Alford
I recently attended DC EcoWomen’s EcoHour with Teresa Durkin, Senior Project Director for the Trust for the National Mall. I was astonished to find that the Trust plans to make over 700 million dollars of improvements to the mall over the next decade, and raised over 350 million to match the government’s funding to get to the 700 milllion dollars needed for the project. Teresa told us that each year, there are over 3,000 permitted events that bring 25 million people to the the Mall.
“How do you capture their hearts?“ With all of those visitors walking around and through the Mall each day, this is the question on Teresa’s mind. After all, the 700 acre plot that make up the National Mall isn’t just a landmark, it‘s a teaching moment for ecology.
At Templeville University in Philadelphia, Teresa learned that building things right the first time is the key to saving money in the end, and applies that knowledge to projects on the National Mall. You can’t just throw money at the trampled grass on the Mall and just replace it with new grass; you need to restore it with a working system. The National Trust for the Mall decided to dig four feet down into the earth, re-blend the soil and add turf and native grass plants before replanting the grass. They also added a curb, and a solar powered irrigation system that grabs weather data from satellites. The reflecting pool was cracked and leaked 6 ½ million gallons of potable water into the tidal basin, but the Trust for the National Mall spent 100 million dollars to fix the cracks and refill the pool with 4 million gallons of fresh water from the tidal basin. Now, the reflecting pool no longer leaks, and the Mall does not need to waste drinking water to fill an ornamental pool.
Teresa tries to develop learning initiatives, so when people visit the National Mall, they learn a little about ecology and environmental preservation, along with the rich history that surrounds the Nation’s Capitol.
Teresa did not start out as a landscape architect. In fact, Teresa began as a film producer and went back to school for landscape architecture when she was in her thirties. She was apprehensive, because she thought she would spend her life designing perennial gardens for “ladies who lunched,” but she became a protégé of Ian McHarg and learned that “Land Matters.” Ian McHarg taught her that we need to think of the impact of our designs, and that green roofs and storm water management will make more of a difference to the landscape than just a few ornamental trees planted here or there.
Before working at the Trust for the National Mall, Andrea worked for Andropogon Associates, a design firm that focused on sites covered with invasive species and restoring them to their native and natural habitat. In fact, Andropogon Associates is named after a pioneer native grass species. Teresa worked on creating infiltration beds, restored sites, and wetlands where no wetlands were before it. At Andropogon, Teresa learned that, “when you communicate creatively with people, you get them to believe in your science and ultimately in your goals.”
As a living example, when Teresa worked at global firm in Dubai, she found herself trying to sell storm water management to a place that receives only three inches of rainfall a year. Since Dubai is built on top of salt flats, in monsoon season those three inches of rainfall actually amount to 4 million gallons of water all at once. Without storm-water management, the city would be wasting over 4 million gallons of water a year.
Teresa told us that we must think of cities and parks as whole systems – not just individual components. Urban forests are in poor shape, watershed parks in cities now need stewardship because they are too small of a system to take care of them. Without access to nature, children need to be taught environmental stewardship. We need policy changes, legislation and management to all come together to get something to work.
It’s wonderful to find out that the people that take care of our National Mall love it and work hard to preserve it for generations to come. After attending DC EcoWomen’s EcoHour, I can take my out-of-town relatives to the Mall and truly turn the visit into a teaching moment – just as Teresa envisioned it to be.
It’s a lot to take in: 190 films, in two weeks. And these aren’t just any films. It’s not called the “History of American Literature Film Fest in the Nation’s Capital.” The focus isn’t international politics. Or technology.
As a college student, if someone had told me there was such a thing as an entire film fest dedicated to environmental films, I would have stood in disbelief. It was all I could do to get someone to recycle a plastic bottle or for me to talk about carbon dioxide without being thought of as a loony outlier. I wonder what it would have been like if all of us “fighting against the man” enviros had known we weren’t as alone as we felt.
So today, we’re lucky enough to live in a world, and a city, where in 2013 we could pick from an eco-smorgasbord of flicks, brought to you by the unwavering staff and sponsors of the Environmental Film Fest in the Nation’s Capital.
Picking from the 206 different couches at IKEA would be a heck of a lot easier than picking which of these 190 beauties, at a staggering 75 different venues, would win our heart and our evening. Again, how truly lucky are we to be given such choices!
For the film The Carbon Rush, DC EcoWomen invited our members to see the film together and have a discussion afterwards. The film zeros in on carbon credits and the destructive impact that they are having in some parts of the world.
Our post-film discussion coterie was curious, enlightened, and inspired to do…well, something about what we saw in the film. But at best we had only a few ideas on what we THINK might help, and what we could do. As with all the other environmental crises that we face, we wondered: What can we do to help?
We are skilled, anything-but-faint-hearted enviros, but we agree the number and magnitude of the issues we face is still truly overwhelming. We are dedicated to re-usable water bottles, local & organic food, being fanatical recyclers….and we spend all day at work fighting one enviro-battle after another, but how are we ALSO going to fix a demented carbon credit scheme for the sake of people in Panama? Or for people in India? For Honduras or Brazil? For everyone?
Our intentions are pure and good. And that we have the Environmental Film Fest in the Nation’s Capital as a vast educational resource is incredible. We now have to figure out what we do next, and how we can do it. The answer will probably include the word “together.” Let’s think creatively. And maybe…we can even make a film about it. 🙂