Posts Tagged ‘networking’

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by Robin Garcia

Last year, I wrote about the low representation of women during Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), a three-day conference hosted by the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation (NMSF) where hundreds of people from government, nonprofits, the business sector, and Capitol Hill come together to discuss marine and aquatic policy issues. Last month, I was back at CHOW to hear about the latest policy issues, to network, and yes – to see if there were more women highlighted this year.

Some things have yet to change; once again one women, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State, was honored during the Ocean Awards Gala. Yet there were more women on the stage at CHOW this year. Here’s the rundown:

  • Women represented nearly 40% of the panelists compared to 30% last year.
  • The percentage of women that served as moderators dropped from 35% to about 20%.
  • CHOW’s online OceansLIVE sessions saw similar increases, with close to 60% female representation compared to last year’s 55% female representation.
  • More women of color were highlighted as well, with seven women of color featured in both the live panels and OceansLIVE sessions, compared to three women of color last year.
“Closing the Loop on Trash: Innovation and Industry Leadership” panel

“Closing the Loop on Trash: Innovation and Industry Leadership” panel

But since I’m a trained scientist, I had to ask: were these changes actually significant?

Yes, I literally ran the stats to see if these changes were in fact significant.

There was an insignificant increase in the number of women on the panels at CHOW (p = 0.63, t test in case you really want to know!), an insignificant decrease in the number of female moderators (p = 0.25), and an insignificant increase in the number of women of color (p = 0.33). However, there was a significant increase in female representation throughout the OceansLIVE sessions (p = 0.0078).

Marce Gutiérrez-Graudi?š, founder and director of AZUL, speaks with moderator Darryl Fears of the Washington Post during the “The Power of Diversity to Strengthen the Ocean Movement” panel

Marce Gutiérrez-Graudi?š, founder and director of AZUL, speaks with moderator Darryl Fears of the Washington Post during the “The Power of Diversity to Strengthen the Ocean Movement” panel

For me personally, the most exciting panels to watch were “The Power of Diversity to Strengthen the Ocean Movement” and the accompanying OceansLIVE session “Everyone’s Invited: Creating and Inclusive Ocean.” During “The Power of Diversity,” an equal panel of men and women of color discussed the lack of diversity in ocean policy and conservation, and how to empower more minorities interested in marine issues. This panel struck especially close to home for me – ever since I started graduate school for my Masters in Marine Biology, I have become too accustomed to looking around and realizing that I’m often the only person in the room that looks like me. It was mentioned during the panel that this is a difficult conversation, but the consensus was that as uncomfortable as the topic can be, it’s a necessary conversation if we have any hope of creating a marine science and policy community that better reflects the American population in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, economic status, and any other status that can divide us.

Another interesting panel to highlight was titled “Local Voices and Traditional Knowledge for a Sustainable Arctic Economy.” Again, an equal panel of men and women, all of Alaska native heritage, discussed how they can be valuable in the movement to develop a sustainable Arctic economy that both protects the Arctic environment and supports a growing economy.

Overall, great changes have happened and we should recognize and support them. Not only were there some increases in diversity, but there were multiple panels that focused on the benefits of diverse voices in ocean policy.

So, how can we move forward?

What I noticed was that many of the most diverse panels were those that focused on diversity. I would love to attend a CHOW where all panels, whether they’re focus on diversity in the marine community or the future of offshore energy, are diverse in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, and more. Why can’t every panel include an equal number of men and women, an equal number of white people and people of color? That’s the CHOW I want to see next year and in years to come.

Robin is a Policy Analyst at NOAA and a DC EcoWomen board member. A DC native, she enjoys exploring her hometown, developing her yoga skills, and getting out on the water as much as possible. She is especially excited that the season of free outdoor events is finally here. 

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By Robin Garcia

If you are anything like me, the concept of changing career paths feels truly daunting. Where do you even begin? How can you compete with other job applicants that have more traditional backgrounds?

The good news is that in the current career atmosphere, where few people remain in one position or company for long, it is more common for job applicants to own colorful resumes. It can even be viewed as an advantage by employers. The trick is to market yourself for your target position, instead of focusing on the position you used to or currently have.

In my case, I am academically trained as a marine science researcher. I have my Master’s in marine biology and multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals. I greatly enjoyed research, but soon after moving back home to DC, my interest started to fade. I still greatly value the role of research, yet I became more concerned about the communication of research to two important groups – the general public and policy makers.

Never being one to remain satisfied sitting on the sidelines, I decided to start looking for a new position in science communication. However, working in aquatic animal care wasn’t directly helping me achieve that goal. The idea of a career change was scary, but I got through the process.

Here is what I learned:

Comb Your Resume with Your Future Career in Mind

resume stock photoWhen I looked at my resume with “communicator” in my head instead of “researcher,” I realized that I already had plenty of experience. I may not have a degree in communications, but I had my publications. I also have multiple years of teaching experience in both traditional and non-traditional settings and volunteer positions that require me to use social media. Not only was I already a communicator, but I was a well-rounded one!

My resume reflection also made me realize that every position I’ve had, no matter how irrelevant I thought it was, had a place in my future. My animal care position had nothing to do with science communication, but I did win an award for excellent customer service. I had documented proof of my ability to work well in a team and deliver results, which is a benefit for any profession.

Use Your Diversity as Your Asset

While my new resume focused more on my communication experience, it’s hard to hide the fact that I spent years conducting research. Instead of ignoring my past, I marketed it as a benefit. Since I am academically trained in marine biology, I understand scientific writing and I know how to tailor it to a lay audience.

Volunteer for More Experience

While I had a solid amount of experience under my belt, I wanted current experience that was relevant to the environmental field and that would expose me to people that could help me find my dream job. This is where DC EcoWomen comes into play for me.

In January, I joined the board as the social media and blog manager. I have met wonderful women that have helped me with my job search, providing everything from words of encouragement to informational interviews. I am now the Vice President of Communication, allowing me to further develop my management skills.

In addition to DC EcoWomen, I am also a facilitator for Women in their Twenties, a social discussion group for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women.

Tell People!

networking stock photoIf you don’t tell anyone that you’re changing paths, people will likely assume that you’re just fine with the path that you’re on. The more that I vocalized what I wanted, the more that others looked out for me and thought of me when opportunities came up.

This applies to friends old and new (because of course you’re networking!). I’ve even been helped by a contact that had to send me a denial email for a position in her office.

So how does this story end for me? A friend sent me a job posting for a communication position at NOAA. The contractor company liked that I have both communication and research experience, specifically at a NOAA laboratory. Five months later, I am thriving in my new career.

I am constantly learning and looking for new opportunities and I know that should I decide on a new career down the road, I’ll be ready to make the leap.

Robin is a Communication Specialist at NOAA and a DC EcoWomen board member. A DC native, she enjoys exploring her hometown, developing her yoga skills, and getting out on the water as much as possible. She also welcomes the season of pumpkin-flavored everything. 

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By Robin Garcia

Last month I attended Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) – a three-day conference hosted by the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation (NMSF) where hundreds of people from various levels of government, nonprofits, the business sector, and Capitol Hill come together to discuss marine and aquatic policy issues. NMSF also holds an annual Ocean Awards Gala in conjunction with CHOW to recognize leaders with a commitment to a healthy ocean. With my background in marine biology, current position in science communication, and interest in environmental policy, I could not pass up the opportunity to experience such a meeting.

"Changing Maritime Commerce Space: The Direction of U.S. Shipping" panel.

“Changing Maritime Commerce Space: The Direction of U.S. Shipping” panel.

While I felt very much at home in the audience among women my age, I couldn’t help but notice that there were few women – literally – to look up to on the panel platform. Women are increasingly participating in the marine science workforce and in academia: my own graduate program is mostly female. But no one could figure that out by looking at the panelists. Women made up only 30% of the panels, and 35% of them served as panel moderators instead of panelists. CHOW’s online OceansLIVE sessions were marginally better with 55% female representation, yet like the panels managed to include a session featuring only men. Women as a whole were underrepresented, but women of color were frightfully scarce. CHOW included only three women of color throughout the entire week. Women were similarly misrepresented at the Ocean Awards Gala. Of the four individuals that were presented with a top award, one was a woman – Laura Bush, who was awarded the Leadership Award in partnership with former President George W. Bush.

"Commanders of the Sea: Women Leading the Way in Ocean Stewardship" OceansLIVE session.

“Commanders of the Sea: Women Leading the Way in Ocean Stewardship” OceansLIVE session.

There were one specific situation in which women were front and center. The last OceansLIVE session was “Commanders of the Sea: Women Leading the Way in Ocean Stewardship”. The session featured women from high school to well-established in her career, and explored the roles that women have played in ocean leadership and stewardship. It is worth noting that while the gender representation in CHOW was similar last year, this session was a clear effort to increase recognition of women in the field.

Overall, CHOW was a wonderful experience. There were lively discussions on topics ranging from sustainable seafood, to collaborative marine conservation with Cuba, to what the American youth think of the future. It was exhilarating to hear the passion behind comments such as “We must accept the science” from a senator and “I am sick and tired of pervasive myths about aquaculture in this country” from a university professor. The material was engaging and exciting, and I hope that CHOW builds upon this year’s efforts and continues to support women in marine and aquatic fields, specifically by inviting more female panelists. There is a wealth of female environmental champions on Capitol Hill to engage with during a future CHOW, including Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio. There are many female scientists that could contribute to CHOW, including Nancy Knowlton, the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History; Jackie Savitz, the Vice President for U.S. Oceans at Oceana; Deborah Lee, Director of NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory; and Kimberly Reece, Department Chair of Aquatic Health Sciences at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. These lists are of course not all-inclusive, but they would be an excellent place to start.

Dr. Dionne Hoskins with a group of Savannah State University students at NOAA's 2014 Education and Science Forum.

Dr. Dionne Hoskins with a group of Savannah State University students at NOAA’s 2014 Education and Science Forum.

I would also like to see more diversity in the panelists, for both women and men. Female marine biologists of color that could be featured during CHOW include Dionne Hoskins, a fishery biologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Galveston Laboratory and an Associate Professor at Savannah State University; Danni Washington, Founder of The Big Blue and You; and Shuyi Chen, Professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. The need to increase diversity in the marine science community could also be a topic for discussion at a future CHOW and has been addressed by some of these women.

CHOW must remain on the cutting edge of the scientific and social implications of marine and aquatic issues in order to remain relevant to Capitol Hill and to the nation. Over half of the U.S. population is female. The Hispanic population has increased by over 40% in ten years, and U.S. citizens of color support environmental protection at a higher rate than Caucasian citizens. It is time for CHOW to reflect those trends. Next year’s CHOW has already been scheduled for June 7-9, 2016, and I will definitely be attending again and looking to see whether NMSF increases its encouragement of women in this important discussion.

Robin is a Communication Specialist at NOAA and a DC EcoWomen board member. A DC native, she enjoys exploring her hometown, developing her yoga skills, and getting out on the water as much as possible. She is also waiting to see what Shark Week replaces Megaladon with this year. 

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on Reflections with a DC EcoWomen Leader

By Robin Garcia

DC EcoWomen’s president, Christina Sorrento, is leaving the executive board after nearly a decade of service to the organization and to women in the DC environmental field. A land use attorney in Maryland, Christina has been an integral part of DC EcoWomen’s growth, helping mold it into the wonderful and strong organization that it is today. I met with Christina recently to discuss what her involvement has meant to her.

5278910729_31a74e3ff2_oWhy did you first become involved with DC EcoWomen?

At the time, I wasn’t working in the environmental field, and I wanted to maintain a connection to the community. I went to an EcoHour event in 2006 and left feeling so inspired. I asked the board if they needed help and was immediately brought on board!

What positions have you held on the board?

First, I was the Speaker Coordinator. I then became Vice President of the EcoHour Committee, Vice President of the Events Committee (which has now separated into the Professional Development and Program Committees), Vice President of Professional Development, and finally President.

How did DC EcoWomen help with your professional and personal development?

It definitely helped me professionally. While I am an attorney, I used to get very nervous about speaking publically. All of the public speaking that I had to do with the various positions that I have held helped me overcome that fear. I also had the chance to be involved in ways that are not quite as tangible but still important.

8760784245_7e5c4e13cf_oWhat events are you most proud of?

The day-long conference in 2013. We pulled it off in a couple of months, and everyone seemed to love it! The 10 year gala was also a wonderful accomplishment.

Why would you recommend DC EcoWomen to others?

First of all, for the professional development. That was why I first became involved, but the women I met has kept me involved for all of this time. Women I have met through DC EcoWomen have become close friends; I have even been to the weddings of women I met through the organization.

***

I can personally attest that in the past year Christina has always made me feel welcomed and involved. We have been so lucky to have her for as long as we have, and I hope that she will stay involved with the environmental community in DC for years to come.

Thank you Christina for all that you have done!

Robin is a Communication Specialist at NOAA and a DC EcoWomen board member. A DC native, she enjoys exploring her hometown, developing her yoga skills, and getting out on the water as much as possible. She would also like the world to know that Bill Nye the Science Guy is now available on Netflix. 

posted by | on , , , , , | Comments Off on Start a Business for the Win, Part 2: A Beautiful Mixed Bag

By Eva Jannotta

This year I started Simply Put Strategies. I’m a few months in, and learning like there’s no tomorrow. Turns out it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, but it’s still pretty awesome.

Should I work for free? There are other ways to work.

There are also other ways to work besides for money or nothing. I started my organizing business by working pro-bono in exchange for testimonials for my website and before and after pictures. I also barter: a graphic designer friend is designing my business cards in exchange for social media consulting. You could trade babysitting services, pet care, etc. Offering these deals eases pressure on your spending, establishes mutually beneficial relationships, and gives you experience.

Learn everything but don’t do everythingWith the Internet, there is no end to the things you can learn to optimize your success.

You do not need a business degree to start a business. The Internet abounds with resources for everything, which means you basically have no excuse! You can learn to be your own bookkeeper, market yourself, design your own graphics, advertise, ramp up social media, and so on. Of course, doing everything yourself is not necessarily a good investment. If someone else can do it faster and with expertise, it’s worth outsourcing. Weigh if it’s cost effective for you to do, or trade with/hire someone else.

7624914104_16bc3555a6_oHow to cope – Everyone will give you advice and tell you that running a business is hard. Don’t be deterred!

Everyone and their uncle warned me that starting a business is hard. It got old: I knew it would be hard and I like working hard! But it has been challenging in ways I didn’t expect: I didn’t expect the loneliness I feel by spending so much time alone. I didn’t anticipate how easy it would be to get distracted. I hadn’t considered how long some decisions take to make.

Before I started my business, I imagined leaping out of bed every morning and producing badassity until dusk. But sometimes I hit snooze, plant flowers all day, or schedule Skype dates during “business” hours.

When you’re doing your own thing there are no boundaries unless you set them. This is a blessing and a curse: you can work wherever and whenever, which is freeing and invigorating. However, this means that at any given time you may feel like you should be working. Since “working” and “not working” look the same now (they can both be done on your couch or in a cafe) you must consciously designate time not to work.

14360595726_9b6d525bcf_oWork your Network – It may be your best resource.

I put off sharing my business with my network. I worried that sending an email blast to my extended family would be awkwardly self congratulatory. I explained this to my aunt and she said, “you’re going to have to get over that.” She was right.

Part of your unique contribution to a business is your network. You have no idea who wants your services/product or knows someone who does. Take advantage of that as soon as you can – it’s all about people.

Starting a business is a great time to expand your network. If the thought of wearing a blazer and schmoozing grosses you out, think again. Networking isn’t about meeting as many people as possible to use them for your career. Networking is about investing in your community. Putting down roots by meeting people, joining organizations, and learning about your area makes you feel grounded and connected. It has two benefits: it’s good for you as a person, and it’s good for business.

Eva Jannotta is a professional organizer, social media consultant, and the founder of Simply Put Strategies.

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DC EcoWomen Board’s Best Practices To Take To Your Next Happy Hour

Last year, DC EcoWomen gave you ten great networking tips to bring to our EcoWomen happy hour. Since then, members of the Board have been through countless networking happy hours and events, testing out the networking tricks for themselves. We’ve introduced ourselves to prominent ladies, tested out our elevator speeches, received endless business cards — and in the meantime, we’ve met a lot of great women and made lasting connections.

Now, one year later, we bring you the fruits of our efforts: The best networking tips, tried and true, from the DC EcoWomen Board, starting from the moment you walk in the door:

Take Initiative.

Someone has to do it! Be the first person to walk up to someone, say hello, and introduce yourself.

Confidence is key here — as EcoWomen, we already bring something to the party. More importantly, an air of confidence from the beginning can help you make the first move. Even if you are feeling a little shy, you can fake it — no one will know the difference!

In particular, don’t be afraid to walk up to a Board Member and say hello! We love getting to know our members.

Prepare Your Elevator Speech.

Once you take initiative and say hello, you might want to know what you’re going to say next! So what information do you want to get across to the women and men you meet at your networking event? Brainstorm ideas ahead of time, pick your three best talking points, and fit them into an elevator speech (a 20 to 30 second rundown of who you are and what you do). Make sure to practice your pitch so it rolls comfortably off your tongue, even when you meet your role model .

In addition to your elevator speech, it’s helpful to have a few generic conversation pieces and questions in your back pocket (figuratively — it might be awkward to pull out flash cards mid-sentence). This will prevent undue conversation lulls and awkward pauses.

Listen,  And Be Personal.

Let’s be honest: everyone loves talking about themselves — what they do, how they got there, what they’re passionate about. The best way to learn about who you’re talking to is to ask questions. What are they passionate about? How did they get to where they are? What are their goals? Do you have similar passions or goals?

One Board member advocates bringing an air of curiosity – what interesting things might you learn? All information is currency!

But conversation is a two-way street — you shouldn’t just ask an endless supply of questions without offering some information about yourself. Just make sure to be genuine; personal stories can help open others up and inspire a greater connection.

Take Notes.

The best time to take notes is immediately after the event, and the best vehicle for your notes is on the business cards of who you met. This way you can easily connect your conversation to the contact information you have at hand. Jot a note on the card if you’d like to follow up with its owner, or if they’re expecting your email. If nothing else, taking notes can help you remember someone’s name if you should run into them again — more on that later!

Follow Up.

Following up is essential for keeping your new connections. It can be as simple as shooting someone a quick email if you’re not up for crafting a hand-written thank you message, and can range from a “nice to meet you!” to setting up a burgeoning relationship with your new mentor.

And finally,  our top two tips (tied for first)…
Use Their Name.

Repeating someone’s name throughout the conversation can help them warm to you — people love to hear their own name. But more importantly, it will help you remember who they are so you can take notes or follow up later!

Make sure to glance at their name tags right away when you introduce yourself. One hint is to look at the name tag and then the face several times to try to visualize it — imagine writing it out in your head, thinking about each individual letter as you look at the person. You might even try coming up with some clever rhyme incorporating their job, or something unique they said, as well. It’s hard to train yourself to actively do this while paying attention to what is being said, but extremely helpful.

Then, when someone else joins the conversation, you can introduce the first person to the second and also include something interesting about them. Bonus points!

Practice,  Practice,  Practice!

The best piece of advice anyone can give: to practice, and practice again. There’s really no better way to improve and polish your networking skills. Eventually you will feel confident, comfortable introducing yourself to strangers, and most importantly, you’ll learn which tips work best for you.

DC EcoWomen provides you with many opportunities to do just that! On February 24, DC EcoWomen is teaming up with WIN’s Environmental Network for a conjoined happy hour. And don’t forget about our monthly EcoHours, where we always give time for networking at the beginning and the end of the event.

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on Make The Most Of Your Interview By Following These 12 Steps

How to Shine: Interviewing Skills To Help You Earn That Dream Job

Alexandra Gilliland

Last summer when my company was hiring a new junior employee, my manager came to me and asked whether I would be willing to conduct my own interview with each candidate. Not only was I extremely flattered, but also, excited for the opportunity. Being on the other side of the interview, I learned a lot about what can make an interview great.

So without further adieu, here are some helpful hints to help you nail your next interview.

Before the Interview

1.) The interviewer is already impressed with your résumé.

Chances are the employer has already seen your résumé, and has already deemed you qualified. Interviews are tedious. Résumés are about qualifications; interviews are about finding the right fit. So, demonstrate how you’ll be a good fit for the company. Are you a team player? Do you need minimal instruction? What can you bring to the company outside of your qualifications?

2.) Do your homework.

In the days leading up to the interview, Google everything you can about the company. Immerse yourself in the company’s website and social media. Scour the Internet, not only for articles about your potential employer, but also about the industry. Draft questions and be prepared to discuss the company’s current projects.

3.) Be ready to discuss anything on your résumé,  and I mean anything.

You never know what an interviewer will zero in on your resume, whether it be a specific project you worked on, your undergraduate education, a language you claim to be fluent in, or the fact that you love to knit. Your cover letter and your résumé may be the only two things the interviewer knows about you, so expect a lot of questions about them.

4.) Practice,  practice,  practice…and aloud.

Have a friend mock interview you. Rehearsing is the best way to succeed. The answers you have prepared in your head will always sound differently when spoken out loud.

5.) Scope out the location.

Nothing ruins the initial tone of an interview more than tardiness. So, make sure you know exactly when and where the interview is and how to get there.

6.) Be conservative in dress.

You never know what will offend someone; so, even if the company has a reputation for being laid-back, make sure to dress to impress. This means wrinkle-free, clean and most likely a suit.

During the interview

7.) Ask,  ask,  ask.

Not only does asking questions make you sound interested in the position, but if you do end up receiving the position, this could be where you spend 40 plus hours a week. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, if you accept the position.

8.) R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It’s safer to be overly respectful, even if the interviewer seems very casual in manner. Never use their first name, unless they give you permission and the very last words out of your mouth should be, “Thank you.”

9.) But,  don’t be afraid to show your personality.

There was one woman I interviewed that came across as so dull, I couldn’t imagine working with her day in and day out, despite how qualified she was. I asked about her hobbies, she claimed to not have time. I tried to make a joke, and no response. Please do not be so caught up in your professionalism that you forget you’re a human being. Passion is attractive; staleness is not.

After the interview

10.) Always,  always,  follow up.

Even if your interview goes absolutely stellar and you are convinced the job is yours to lose, follow up! Nothing says, “I’m not interested,” more than dropping the line of communication. In this day in age, an email is absolutely appropriate, although never underestimate the power of a thoughtful handwritten note.

11.) Reflect.

Remember, the interview isn’t just about whether you are a good fit for the company, but also about whether the company is a good fit for you. I’ve had so many friends who jumped at the first job offer they received because they were worried another offer wouldn’t come along. Give yourself more credit than that. If the job looks like something you’d absolutely dread doing, send a thoughtful note stating that you appreciate the opportunity to interview, but unfortunately will be unable to take the job.

12.) Relax.

At this point, you have done all you can. You have sent in a killer resume, nailed your interview, and sent in a modest, but heartfelt thank you letter, now take a well-needed break, before you jump in the mix of things again.

Happy Interviewing!

Alexandra Gilliland is an environmental urbanite with a love for warm beverages and long city walks. 

posted by | on , , , , , | Comments Off on DC Net Impact: Bringing People Together at Happy Hour

By DC Net Impact President Mikael Baker

DC Net Impact is extremely excited to partner with DC EcoWomen to co-host a networking happy hour on July 23 at Irish Whiskey in Dupont Circle. This will be a great opportunity for DC EcoWomen members to learn about DC Net Impact, for DC Net Impact members to learn about DC EcoWomen, and for members of both organizations to expand their professional networks. Though there is some overlap between members of both organizations, this will be the first event co-hosted by both DC EcoWomen and DC Net Impact.

Because of our Washington, DC location, DC Net Impact is in a unique position as a Net Impact chapter, with access to experts, lawmakers, think tanks, federal agencies, and NGOs. We bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds across the age spectrum through unique programming including panel discussions, sustainable business tours, special-interest dinners, networking events, film screenings, professional development workshops, and webinars. For example we recently hosted a film screening of The Island President, followed by a lively climate change panel discussion. Key interest areas for DC Net Impact members include Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing, Corporate Social Responsibility, Measuring/Reporting Impact, International Development, Environmental Conservation, and Renewable Energy.

Just over twenty years ago, Net Impact began as a network of MBA students that believed they could be a positive force for social and environmental impact, by focusing their business skills toward initiatives in these areas rather than following career paths traditionally followed by MBA graduates. The idea was radical at the time and is still eye-opening for some. Since its founding, Net Impact has grown to over 10,000 members on six continents.

RSVP for the DC Net Impact joint happy hour today!

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You can be a leader. You already are a leader.

These words of wisdom were heard from Keynote Speaker Dr. Betty Spence at the  First Annual DC EcoWomen Conference: “I’m Here, What’s Next? Building Your Sustainable Career.” Betty spoke to a roomful of women, full of infectious anticipation, about why women need equality in the workplace, and how they might get it.

Dr. Spence said that in her experience, women only want to bring other women up. We all face certain barriers, but we have a network of support to overcome them. This network is of utmost importance, especially in a city like Washington D.C.  The network can include mentors, sponsors, and even just acquaintances from networking happy hours.

Betty’s words coordinated well with the final event of the day:  a networking workshop with Suzy Mink, Director of Principal Gifts for the Mid-Atlantic region of The Nature Conservancy. Suzy touched on several things discussed in the Networking for Introverts post on our blog, and gave even more helpful tools and resources to help women excel at networking.

We were all there to support each other.  But one of the lessons learned that day was that women should not be afraid of the other side of that equation, to ask for favors – even from someone you’ve only just met. In order to create change and parity for women in the workplace, we need a network of support. This network has to start somewhere – someone has to ask first.

If you weren’t able to attend the conference, we’d like to provide you with some support!

Here are Dr. Spence’s 10 Strategies for Success:

  1. Perform beyond expectations – get things done before they are due, do more than what is asked
  2. Build expertise & credibility – make sure you’re getting experience that builds your skills
  3. Take the initiative – if there is an opportunity, don’t hesitate to jump for it
  4. Take risks, step outside of your comfort zone
  5. Diversify your experience. Learn the different parts of your field.
  6. Meet a Mentor. Some say mentors are key to success. In any case, they can only help.
  7. Get known. Talk about what you do, make your successes known.
  8. Find a Sponsor
  9. Network! Meeting people is the only way to break into some careers in D.C.
  10. Take responsibility for your career, own your strengths
Suzy Mink also left us with several insights on networking:
  1. Practice good etiquette
  2. Be willing to engage, to be the one extending a helping hand
  3. Persevere, be resilient in creating contacts
  4. Believe in yourself, be confident
  5. Talk about your aspirations – people like to hear what gets you excited!
  6. Listen. Ask questions that can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes or no.’
  7. Use the virtual world, whatever means you have, to keep in touch
  8. Anyone you meet can be helpful if you make the connection

 

At the end of the day, the EcoWomen were left with feelings of connection, excitement, and empowerment. That excitement was taken to McGinty’s for the networking happy hour, to practice the newly learned skills and discuss the workshops.

Stay tuned for more updates on the workshops themselves! And don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and make a new connection. You never know who could be the person to lead you to your dream job.

posted by | on , , , , , , | Comments Off on DC EcoWomen Success Story: Jamie Carson

This post was written by DC EcoWomen blogger Dawn Bickett

Welcome to the second installment of DC EcoWomen Success Stories! This month’s success story spotlights Jamie Carson — Founder & Director of C.C. Global, a small business that specializes in environment, resilience & sustainability communications. C.C. Global has most recently launched Envirorun — a running and networking opportunity for the environmental community in Washington, D.C., and other city chapters will be launching soon.

What role has DC Ecowomen played in your career path?

Having a robust network is step one in launching a business, and the DC EcoWomen group empowered my focus. There have been several instances where I have been looking for answers, a connection, a friend in the sector – DC EcoWomen has been there. It is a constant mobilizer for the community through its list-serve, events and workshops.

In one instance, I was planning a press conference before a major event, and I needed to find out – quickly – who was available to attend from the Washington, D.C. area. I sent out somewhat of a environmental journalist S.O.S. and was overwhelmed with the feedback. I thought I may not get a response, and it was the complete opposite. EcoWomen has been an empowering group in so many ways, and I am thankful for this confident group of women helping to back each other, especially when we most need it. Some of these women that reached out that day have remained my closest confidants.

What were the steps you took to get to where you are?

Being a Nebraska native, I grew up surrounded by an environmental-based economy whether it be agricultural practices, conservation research or energy/development projects. In college, I studied environmental journalism, and was most interested in energy issues and the challenges that are associated with resource scarcity.

I received good advice from someone when I got out of school: You’re not going to get your dream job right way. You’ve got to start somewhere and always shift your path back to your passions. When I graduated I first worked at a small local newspaper, but I ended up finding my next job with a company that did journalism and was focused in the private sector. I would cover stories about matters that were important to industrial work. Later, I moved up to a management role, which introduced new skills to learn.

Anywhere I had an opportunity, I would filter my environmental background into what I was working on, whether talking about sustainability on the railroad or how moving freight by train can be more fuel efficient than by truck. And all the while I was building important skills in communications. It’s important to take every opportunity that you’re given and think of it in an optimistic way. Down the road, you can always center your path where you really want to be.

I went from there to Washington, D.C., and started working in the nonprofit world. I worked for the Global Adaptation Institute as director of communications for three years before launching my own small business.

Were there any major hurdles that you faced to get where you wanted to be?

We will continuously experience hurdles, but the most important thing is staying focused on the things that make you happy in your career, and make sure that even if your path goes off in a different direction for a while that you come back.

I really wanted to work right away in the environmental field, but when I think about how my career has progressed from a 1,000-foot-view, I’ve realized that I could not be doing what I am now if I hadn’t had those opportunities. Running my own business is probably one of the most challenging and exciting things that I’ve done to date, and it was those past experiences coupled with the support of my family and my network that have made all the difference.

It’s not just about what you’ve done, but all the people who helped you along the way. It’s important to remember that all of the relationships you create, every job you’ve had, come full circle.

Do you have any advice for women just beginning their work in an environmental field?

It’s all about your knowledge base, vision and projection. Always continue to learn, read and follow the news. If you believe in yourself, as well as your work, expertise and colleagues, you will evoke a confidence that makes boundaries and differences insignificant.

Can you tell us more about Envirorun?

Envirorun is a running and networking opportunity for the environmental community – bringing together all players in the space from academia and science, multilateral, media, NGOs, public and private sector and foundations. D.C. is rich in environmental discussion, and is even more so since the State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama mentioned climate change as a top U.S. priority. The time is ripe to do something about it, and getting people together and talking is a big step.

Envirorun

Jamie Carson can be reached via email at j.carson@ccglobal.US. Visit C.C. Global online at www.ccglobal.US, @ccglobalUS (Twitter) and C.C. Global (Facebook). Anyone interested in receiving information about Envirorun events, please subscribe at envirorun.com/subscribe and for more information visit envirorun.com/dc, @envirorun (Twitter) and Envirorun (Facebook).