Organization type – are you set on working for a publicly traded company, privately held company, a government organization, or a non-proﬁt? You have to decide which one works best for you and if they have a sustainability program that you can participate in. If they don’t, this might be a great place for you to start a green team once you join the company. How is Houston’s green job scene shaping up? We live in a great city, ripe with opportunity. Our city is home to twentytwo Fortune 500 companies, ranking only second after New York City. Energy and manufacturing represent 74 percent of all publicly traded companies. And there are many green jobs at these companies. A quick LinkedIn search for “green”, “sustainability” and “corporate social responsibility” revealed over 30 open positions. Hydrologist, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Strategic Sourcing Leader for Raw Materials, Business Development Manager in Enterprise Energy Solutions, Recycling Sales Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility Assistant Director. There are many jobs with the green, sustainability, or corporate social responsibility focus out there. But is it that easy, you ask? Growing a solid career in any ﬁeld requires planning and career mapping. Let’s look at our own back yard, where professionals and students are looking for “green jobs”. Sarah Weingarden is an energy efficiency and sustainability consultant, who moved closer to home to look for her next opportunity. Eilanwy Slyboom is a Business Senior at University of Florida about to graduate and looking for a job in Houston. Question: As you are looking for your next opportunity, what are some of the key attributes that you look for in your future employer? Sarah: Since graduating with my Master’s degree, I found my focus has been on opportunities that have tangible beneﬁts on the local community and economy. I’m looking for an employer that shares this same vision. I believe this industry is primed for people who think outside the box and aren’t intimidated by obstacles. Eilanwy: Many people would agree that Google would be a great place to work because of all their attributes such as complimentary gourmet food, electric cars, and a ﬁtness center on site. So besides the obvious, I am looking for an employer that is taking “green” action. An employer that is willing to promote sustainability not only inside the organization but that is also helping to implement environmental performance in other
organizations and communities. Question: Do you see the “green industry” shrinking or expanding in the next ﬁve years? Sarah: Expanding. Especially with relation to energy production and use. There is a lot of opportunity for efficiency and distributed generation provided that we step up on the education component. Eilanwy: Expanding, deﬁnitely! Consumers are demanding social responsibility and with the radical transparency from social media they can’t hide for long. Question: Did your education help you ﬁnd a job in the ﬁeld? If not, what was it? What path do you suggest a student take right out of college to gain employment in this industry? Sarah: My ﬁrst job after grad school was the result of solid networking while I was still a student. In fact, every employment opportunity I have received was the direct result of successful networking. Of course, my educational background is a huge asset in this industry but it’s making good working contacts that will help identify the right opportunity for you. Eilanwy: I graduate with a business degree in May. I believe this is a good foundation in my education, but I do plan to get certiﬁed as sustainability professional and also as a LEED AP. My advice for students would be to make sure to do a couple different internships so you know what “green” job is a good ﬁt for you. I also found that occupational interviews really help students to network and get to know professionals who are already in the ﬁeld that you want to be in one day. This is a great way to learn about the industry challenges and opportunities for innovation. If you still need help mapping out your green career look at the Green Economy Map. Created by Green Career Central’s Carol McLelland, PhD, it‘s a great ﬁrst stop. So, if you are looking to add “social impact” to your resume, a “green” job is a good start. Find an industry, a function, or an organization that is conducive to your contribution. You will be glad you did. In the January edition of HUM, we are taking you behind the scenes of Total Energy USA conference. The conference takes the conversation of energy to the next level by adding renewable energy to the mix. Stay tuned!
Tajana Mesic is the president and founder of GGG Sustainability Solutions. GGG is a full-service sustainability and resource efficiency consulting ﬁrm, providing clients with professional services and guidance on integrating sustainability strategy into operations in a ﬁnancially viable way. GGG is a certiﬁed B Corporation and deeply involved in the Dallas and Houston international community. You can get more relevant sustainability tips at www.facebook.com/greengrovegroup or connect with Tajana at www.greengrovegroup.com
Published on Dec 1, 2012