Posts Tagged ‘Success Story’

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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. 

posted by | on , | Comments Off on A New Hope for the World’s Coral Reefs

By Sodavy Ou

Over the years, scientists have released countless research results demonstrating the detrimental impacts of increased temperature and atmospheric CO2 on coral reefs that serve as important habitats to numerous marine organisms. These scientific results show that there is much to be done if the international community wants to avoid a 2° C or a 35.6° F increase in the Earth temperature—a threshold at which global warming is irreversible. Already, we have seen major declines in coral coverage in numerous parts of the oceans. For instance, scientists have recorded major declines in coral coverages in the Great Barrier Reef due to increased temperatures and ocean acidification, a process that results from increased atmospheric CO2. However, among these disheartening stories there are a few encouraging stories of corals adapting to the effects of global warming. The telling of these stories, however few, is important in order to fuel and continue the efforts to mitigate the effects of global warming.

Chromis_reef_fish_and_staghorn_coral_underwater_scenicIn the beautiful waters of Florida, global warming has caused populations of Staghorn coral—once found widely throughout South Florida and the Caribbean—to rapidly decrease. In fact, only 2% of the original Staghorn coral population remains in the Florida Reef Tract. However, a study from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science demonstrates that Staghorn corals can withstand decalcification and increasing ocean temperatures when dietary supplements—made of dried zooplankton power—are provided. This supplemental diet increases coral feeding rates, allowing coral to store more energy reserves and mitigate the detrimental effects of ocean acidification and increased temperatures. The results of this study can be implemented into the management of marine protected areas where Staghorn corals are abundant in order to effectively manage this important population of coral reef.

Another study by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies also demonstrates that Staghorn corals are capable of adapting to ocean acidification. This study found that over a relative short period—approximately 9 days—juvenile Staghorn corals can acclimate to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 level and can re-adjust their gene expression to pre-exposure levels. However, this study only tested one stressor, ocean acidification. Still, it is refreshing to know that some corals are capable of adapting to some of the changing ocean conditions.

Red_mangrove_trees_rhizophora_mangle_growing_close_togetherCoral reefs are ecosystems that provide refuge for numerous marine organisms. Yet a recent study by the US Geological Survey shows that corals are seeking refuge themselves to escape the negative impacts of rapidly changing ocean conditions. The study found more than 30 species of corals have found refuge within the red mangroves of the US Virgin Islands. Mangroves are subtropical and tropical tresses that inhabit coastlines and brackish waters. The root systems of mangroves extend toward the seafloor. These systems serve as a perfect sanctuary for corals by providing them with shade from high levels of solar radiation and coral bleaching. In addition, mangroves keep acidity in the surrounding waters below harmful levels, allowing corals to grow on and under their root systems.

Despite these encouraging studies, there are some species of coral that are struggling to survive as the oceans become more acidic and warmer. The composition of the world coral reefs may look very different in the future. Nevertheless, since corals provide important habitats to countless marine organisms, it is promising to know that some of these corals can continue to serve our oceans. In the end, these promising results will only remain if we continue to address global warming with innovative plans and actions.

Sodavy Ou was born in Cambodia and grew up in southern California. She received her BA in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Biology at UC Santa Cruz. She will be starting her Master’s Program in Environmental Science and Management at the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara. She spent more than half of her life living by the coast; it’s only natural that she is a lover of the outdoors. 

posted by | on , , , | Comments Off on EcoWomen Success Story: Sharon D’Emidio

How DC EcoWomen Helped Me Land The Job I Love

Written by Sharon D’Emidio, Program Manager at Bethesda Green

After ten years working in international development I needed a change. Sure, it was a cool field, exotic travel, focused feel-good work with a mission but it wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I had always been an eco-minded person in my daily life and I started to daydream about making my lifestyle into more of a profession as well. Only one problem, I had a master’s degree in public health, not biology, environmental science or anything that seemed to be required on most job postings in the environmental field. I started thinking, how am I ever going to make this leap into a whole new field without my resume standing out to get an interesting and rewarding job?

Well, I had been living in DC long enough at the point to know at least part of the answer: network, network, network! Okay, got it, now how am I going to network in a field where I don’t really have any connections? So, as any good Washingtonian knows, I started emailing anyone and everyone trying to make some new connections in the environmental field. I am not sure who it was (but I owe this person a HUGE thank you) but someone referred me to the EcoWomen, EcoHour meet up. I didn’t know what to expect so I showed up one Tuesday evening downtown at Teaism. I left that first EcoHour hopeful and inspired by the main speaker and also the other women in the room. It was such a welcoming and uplifting environment for a newbie like me. I actually thought to myself, hmm, maybe I can make this happen.

After the first EcoHour I attended several for the months to come. I met some truly wonderful women and started making some great connections. I also joined a few other sub-groups within EcoWomen and attended some of their events as well. And of course, I got on the listserv where environmental jobs were posted daily. It certainly made the job search much easier since everyone seemed to be posting their positions there! I am not going to lie; I applied for a lot of positions. Then one day I saw a posting that just seemed like such a perfect fit in terms of my interest and skill set. The person who posted the position also mentioned in the post that she was going to attend a sub-group meeting to share more info about the job. I knew I had to be there to make a good impression so I went. I think there is a great quote (Woody Allen) that states, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up”.

The meeting was fun and insightful and afterward I spoke to the women who posted to position about my interests and my experience. Through our conversation I learned that although she was there to try and interest folks in the position she posted, there was another higher level (read: HIGHER paying) position that she thought I might be a good fit for. We stayed in touch, that meeting lead to a string of emails which lead to a new job posting, my application, an interview and a VERY awesome job.

Fast forward three years later. I had just completed six months of maternity leave and was looking to change my full time career into a temporary part-time career. Although I truly loved the aforementioned job, it was at the time too demanding to balance with a newborn baby so I chose to leave and see what else might be in store. Of course I was still getting my daily EcoWomen job postings email so I was always checking to see what was out there on the job scene. I didn’t have very high expectations for a well-paid and meaningful part-time gig but one can always dream, right?

Lo and behold, one day not long after I started seriously looking and putting out feelers (remember, it’s all about the networking) a really interesting job post came through. I applied and got the position. And, today three years later (with another baby added to our family this year) I am happy to report I still love my job!

Through my current work I interact with a lot of hopeful young women who want to work in the environmental field. I also host an eco-internship fair connecting students and green employers. Without question, I refer every women I come into contact with who wants to work in the environmental field to the EcoWomen listserv and encourage them to attend their events. I know that many of them have found their current positions through the listserv and events. It’s worked for me every time and I know it can work for you too!

Thank you EcoWomen!

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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.


Jamie Carson can be reached via email at [email protected]. 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 and for more information visit, @envirorun (Twitter) and Envirorun (Facebook). 

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Here at DC Ecowomen, our goal is for our community members to benefit from being a part of our community.  It’s a hard thing to measure, but we’re going to give it a try! Throughout the next few months, we’ll be highlighting some of our own Ecowomen Success Stories – and we encourage you to submit your own story to us! If you feel that you have gotten where you are today because of DC Ecowomen, email [email protected] and tell us how!

But first, read our first Success Story, Beth Porter.  Beth is currently a member of the DC Ecowomen Board.

Her Story: 

After I had graduated from college, I spent copious hours doing what every new grad does…emailing resumes and crossing my fingers. Dozens of emails, applications, and cover letters later, I heard back from an amazing non-profit group that works to promote the green economy (requiring both environmental sustainability as well as fair trade and fair labor practices). After a phone call with their director of development, I was on my way from NC to DC for my first post-college full-time job interview.

The first meeting went quite well and though I had a good feeling about the job (Marketing Membership Coordinator), I later received a very kind voicemail from the organization letting me know that they had chosen another candidate who had more fundraising experience. Despite my disappointment, I asked that they keep me in mind as a volunteer, as I truly did love the organization and respected their mission.

Moving to DC

Fortunately, I received an offer from an interview I had a few weeks later with a conservation non-profit in DC, and accepted the open position in their Grants Administration department. I moved to DC and soon began attending EcoWomen events, my very first being a tree-planting day with CaseyTrees last April. Then, in the summer I took advantage of an email for the upcoming DC EcoWomen happy hour which requested resumes to apply for the Executive Board. This led me to become a part of the membership committee of our executive board, which focuses on diversifying membership for the group as well as fundraising efforts and outreach through tabling events and building relationships with groups who have a similar mission.

Getting involved with Ecowomen

After a year of learning about grants funding, I was eager to find a job which would build upon the skills I’d gained from serving on the EcoWomen board. I was thrilled to see that the previous Marketing Membership Coordinator job had become available again, so I applied letting them know that I had previously applied and was still excited about the prospect of working for their organization. During the interview, I cited the experience I had gained from serving on the board in terms of fundraising and outreach to prospective members.

How it all paid off

Less than a week later, I received the call offering me the position I had been denied just a year and a half before. I am incredibly grateful for the chance to build upon skills through the work of DC EcoWomen and have no doubt that the experience I’ve gained was a direct influence on my brand new exciting job.